An attorney for Alec Baldwin said today that Wednesday’s report by the New Mexico safety regulators “exonerates” his client. The report cites “serious management failures” by the Rust production company in its investigation of the on-set shooting that killed DP Halyna Hutchins and badly injured director Joel Souza last year.
“We are grateful to the New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Bureau for investigating this matter,” Luke Nikas wrote in a post on Baldwin’s Instagram page (see it below). “We appreciate that the report exonerates Mr. Baldwin by making clear that he believed the gun held only dummy rounds and that his authority on the production was limited to approving script changes and creative casting. Mr. Baldwin had no authority over the matters that were the subject of the Bureau’s findings of violations, and we are pleased that the New Mexico authorities have clarified these critical issues. We are confident that the individuals identified in the report will be held accountable for this tragedy.”
The report (read a summary here) concludes that Rust Movie Productions LLC’s management “knew that firearm safety procedures were not being followed on set and demonstrated plain indifference to employee safety by failing to review work practices and take corrective action.”
Environmental Cabinet Secretary James Kenney said Wednesday that “there were serious management failures and more than sufficient evidence to suggest that if stardard industry practices were followed, the fatal shooting of Halyna Hutching and the serious injury to Joel Souza would not have occurred. … This is a complete failure of the employer to follow recognized national protocols that keep employees safe.”
Hutchins was killed and Souza wounded by a bullet fired from gun held by Alec Baldwin, who has said that he was told that the gun was not loaded. He has also claimed that he did not pull the trigger and that it must have misfired as he pointed the gun toward the camera during rehearsals October 21 at the Bonanza Creek Ranch outside Santa Fe.