Alec Baldwin insisted in court documents filed Friday that others on the set of his film Rust were responsible for the fatal on-set shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins last year and gave his most detailed account yet of how the accident transpired.
Seeking to absolve himself of liability amid a slew of lawsuits, Baldwin filed a demand for arbitration against the film's other producers, saying "an actor cannot rule that a gun is safe."
"That is the responsibility of other people on the set," the filing adds.
Baldwin also claims that he was instructed by Hutchins to point the gun toward her during production and that the two believed the gun did not contain any live rounds.
“[Baldwin] pulled the gun out slowly, without issue, and held it still before Hutchins began giving any directions to him. Hutchins described what she would like Baldwin to do with the placement of the gun, which contained only ‘dummy rounds,’ as far as everyone was told,” the filing states. “She directed Baldwin to hold the gun higher, to a point where it was directed toward her. She was looking carefully at the monitor and then at Baldwin, and then back again, as she gave these instructions. In giving and following these instructions, Hutchins and Baldwin shared a core, vital belief: that the gun was ‘cold’ and contained no live rounds.”
According to the court documents, the actor then asked Hutchins if she wanted him to pull back the hammer, and she said yes. The actor said he then pulled the hammer back, “but not far enough to actually cock the gun.”
“When Baldwin let go of the hammer, the gun went off,” the filing adds.
Baldwin is also arguing that his contract should protect him from financial responsibility in the matter of Hutchins’ death and asking that his legal fees be covered. The Hutchins family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Baldwin on Feb. 15.
“Someone is culpable for chambering the live round that led to this horrific tragedy, and it is someone other than Baldwin,” the claim states. “This is a rare instance when the system broke down, and someone should be held legally culpable for the tragic consequences. That person is not Alec Baldwin.”
Representatives for Baldwin did not respond to BuzzFeed News’ request for comment.
The filing also states Baldwin’s role as a producer on Rust didn’t involve him having any control over who was hired to work on the project or what the budget was used for.
The new court documents show text messages between Baldwin and Halyna Hutchins’ husband, Matthew Hutchins. In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, the two were actively in touch and exchanging messages of sympathy and support, but the texts show a deterioration in their relationship.
“Thank you for speaking earlier and I think it is very gracious of you to offer your help,” Hutchins wrote to Baldwin on Oct. 22, 2021. In December, Baldwin sent a message to Hutchins saying he had been advised not to contact him.
“Enjoy your time with your kids. I just want to check in with you about the [ABC] interview. Haven’t seen the interview but aware of it. But please just focus on them and we can talk sometime,” Hutchins responded.