(Albuquerque) A New Mexico judge on Wednesday denied a request by attorneys for actor and producer Alec Baldwin to dismiss a civil lawsuit brought by three members of the Rust film crew who allege cost-cutting has put endanger the actors and the team.
Chief District Judge Bryan Biedscheid also refused to delay proceedings despite arguments from Mr. Baldwin’s legal team that doing so would put their client at risk of self-incrimination since prosecutors have not yet decided whether they should file new criminal charges against him for the shooting that claimed the life of a cinematographer on set.
Attorney Robert Schwartz told the judge there would be nothing to prevent prosecutors from using the evidence obtained in the discovery in the civil case against Mr. Baldwin in the criminal case, if charges were filed against him. new. As an example, he cited any interpretation of Mr. Baldwin’s production contract and the authority he had over the decision-making.
Mr. Schwartz said the court placed Mr. Baldwin in an “unfortunate position.”
“No protective order can protect him from that. It just can’t happen, Schwartz argued. So what’s going to happen is that Mr. Baldwin is going to pursue his 5th Amendment rights and the plaintiffs won’t get any information in the meantime. »
The judge disagreed, saying he would be mindful of Mr. Baldwin’s rights.
Prosecutors did not say when a decision would be announced, but in asking that the civil case be delayed, Schwartz said Wednesday that it could be in the coming weeks.
The shooting that occurred in 2021 sparked a series of civil lawsuits centered on accusations that the defendants failed to meet safety standards. The cases include criminal homicide claims filed by members of Ms Hutchins’ family. Mr. Baldwin and other defendants disputed accusations that they failed to meet safety standards.
Plaintiffs in the case heard on Wednesday said Mr. Baldwin and the other producers cut corners, ignored reports of multiple unplanned gunshots and rushed to finish the film as they were understaffed. They also claim to have suffered mental anguish and emotional distress from witnessing the shooting.
Lawyers for Mr. Baldwin say none of the plaintiffs were physically harmed and that they should not be allowed to recover damages. They argue that gun safety was the responsibility of others — not Mr. Baldwin — and that his authority as producer was limited to making suggestions about the script and artistic cast.
A separate settlement to resolve alleged workplace safety violations was finalized in March by New Mexico workplace safety authorities and Rust Movie Productions. Following its review, the state released a scathing report alleging security breaches in violation of standard industry protocols, including testimony that production managers took little or no of measures to remedy two accidental shootings on the film set before the fatal shooting.
Authorities also documented gun safety complaints from team members that went unheeded and they said weapons specialists were not authorized to make decisions about additional training. in matters of security.