EXCLUSIVE: In a pretrial hearing this morning in a Georgia courtroom, Midnight Rider first assistant director Hillary Schwartz’s attorney successfully pried Schwartz out of next month’s trial of three other defendants. All are facing charges of criminal trespassing and manslaughter in the death of 27 year-old crew member Sarah Jones when a train plowed through the film’s set. Above, Deadline has exclusive video of the short hearing, part of decisions handed down today by Brunswick Circuit Court Judge Anthony Harrison.
Today’s decision leaves the ill-fated film’s director Randall Miller, his wife/producer Jody Savin and the executive producer/unit production manager Jay Sedrish still facing trial on March 9. As you’ll hear from the Assistant District Attorney Jackie Johnson in the video, Schwartz still may be called as a witness in the trial, though Johnson hasn’t decided that yet.
No decision was made on a separate motion to get charges dismissed against Schwartz who claimed prosecutorial misconduct after she was charged based on information she gave while under what she believed was immunity.
Schwartz, who as first A.D. was among those responsible was safety, was on the set the day of the accident. The film’s location manager Charley Baxter refused to show up after the filmmakers were twice denied location permits to shoot on the train trestle. According to a federal investigation, those indicted kept that information from the rest of the crew.