Production company behind Rust film agrees to pay $100,000 fine to health and safety bureau following Halyna Hutchins death


Halyna Hutchins was fatally shot in October 2021 (Picture: AP/Getty)

The production company behind the film Rust has agreed to pay a fine of $100,000 (£83,711) to the New Mexico Environment Department’s Occupational Health and Safety Bureau (OHSB) following the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

The bureau previously issued a fine of $136,793 (£104,810) to the production company last April, the maximum allowable by state law in New Mexico.

Under the settlement, which is pending approval, the bureau downgraded its claim from ‘wilful-serious’ to a ‘serious’ violation.

Melina Spadone, senior counsel at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman and lawyer for Rust Movie Productions, said: ‘We are pleased to have entered into an agreement with OHSB, subject to approval, which downgrades the citation and reduces penalties.

‘Our top priority has always been resuming production and completing this film so we can honour the life and work of Halyna Hutchins.

‘Settling this case rather than litigating is how we can best move forward to achieve that goal.’

Halyna Hutchins, Rust

The 42-year-old was shot by actor Alec Baldwin on set (Picture: Facebook)

On Thursday, Rust actor Alec Baldwin pleaded not guilty to two charges of involuntary manslaughter over the death of Hutchins.

The actor will next face a preliminary hearing at a date yet to be set, which will determine whether or not the case will go to trial.

He was first charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter by the Santa Fe District Attorney’s office in January.

Then, earlier this month, the actor sought to have one of the charges thrown out by a US court.

He has since won that legal battle, after lawyers for the Hollywood actor, 64, argued that New Mexico prosecutors had committed an ‘unconstitutional and elementary legal error’ by charging him under a statute that did not exist at the time of the fatal Rust shooting.

Alec Baldwin

Baldwin pleaded not guilty to his involuntary manslaughter charge this week (Picture: AFP)

The first charge can be referred to as involuntary manslaughter and requires proof of underlying negligence.

The second charge is involuntary manslaughter in the commission of a lawful act, which requires proof that there was more than simple negligence involved in a death, and includes a firearm enhancement, which makes the crime punishable by a mandatory five years in jail.

But in a filing this month, Baldwin’s lawyers said such enhancement had only been enacted last May, seven months after the incident, and that the charge was ‘unlawful’.

‘The prosecutors in this case have committed an unconstitutional and elementary legal error by charging Mr Baldwin under a statute that did not exist on the date of the accident,’ the motion read.

The Rust lawyer said they wish to ‘honour the life and work of Halyna Hutchins’ (Picture: Instagram)
Baldwin will soon face a preliminary hearing (Picture: Jim Spellman/Getty Images)

‘It thus appears that the government intended to charge the current version of the firearm enhancement statute, which was not enacted until May 18, 2022, seven months after the accident.’

The filing added: ‘Mr Baldwin also respectfully requests that the Court decline to bind over that enhancement.’

It was later confirmed that the DA has indeed dropped the gun enhancement charge in the case.

According to TMZ, this matters as it means Baldwin may not even spend time in jail if convicted.

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MORE : Alec Baldwin to resume filming Rust despite involuntary manslaughter charges

MORE : Alec Baldwin faces new lawsuit from Halyna Hutchins’ family after involuntary manslaughter charges

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