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Alec Baldwin says he was following orders from Halyna Hutchins when handling gun, claims contract protects him from shooting death lawsuits: Docs

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Alec Baldwin refused to take any responsibility for the shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during the filming of the movie "Rust," according to a new filing. The Hollywood actor also argued that his contract protects him financially from any deaths that occurred during the filming of the movie in New Mexico.

New details about the "Rust" shooting death emerged through a court filing on Friday.

On Oct. 21, the movie crew were rehearsing a scene inside the church on Bonanza Creek Ranch with Baldwin as the character Harland Rust.

Content warning: Some viewers may find the video disturbing

The filing states that Hutchins "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," court documents read, according to the New York Times. "In giving and following these instructions, Hutchins and Baldwin shared a core, vital belief: that the gun was 'cold' and contained no live rounds."

Baldwin asked Hutchins if she wanted him to pull back the hammer of the gun — as the script instructed — and she said, "Yes," according to the filing.

"Baldwin then pulled back the hammer, but not far enough to actually cock the gun," the filing continued. "When Baldwin let go of the hammer, the gun went off."

The Times noted that the filing described the "confusion and horror after the shooting, as Ms. Hutchins was flown by helicopter to a hospital, where she was later pronounced dead."

Baldwin’s lawyer, Luke Nikas, claimed that the actor was not responsible for the fatal shooting of the 42-year-old Hutchins.

"Someone is culpable for chambering the live round that led to this horrific tragedy, and it is someone other than Baldwin," Nikas wrote in the filing. "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."

The filing asserts that "Rust" armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed told Baldwin, "It was her job to check the gun — not his."

"An actor cannot rule that a gun is safe," the filing said. "That is the responsibility of other people on the set."

Nikas also claimed that Baldwin's contract absolved him of any financial repercussions from death during the filming of "Rust." Nikas said that there is a clause in Baldwin's contract with Rust Movie Productions L.L.C. that releases the actor from financial responsibility for legal fees or claims stemming from death on the set of the movie. The document names Rust Movie Productions L.L.C. and producer Ryan Smith as the respondents in the claim.

The filing also said Baldwin was to be paid $250,000 to act and produce the low-budget western. The docs claim that Baldwin returned $100,000 as an "investment" in the movie.

In the weeks following Hutchins' death, Baldwin attempted to persuade the cast and crew of the movie to finish filming to honor Hutchins, according to the filing. Nikas added that there was a plan to give the insurance payout and the film's profits to the Hutchins family.

The court docs revealed that Baldwin exchanged text messages with Matthew Hutchins, the widower of the slain cinematographer. The relationship started off promising with a breakfast in Santa Fe that included Hutchins' 9-year-old son.

"Hutchins hugged Baldwin and told him, 'I guess we’re going to go through this together,'" according to the filing.

However, the relationship took a turn last month when the family of Halyna Hutchins filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Alec Baldwin and other producers for their involvement in the deadly shooting.

Mamie Mitchell — the script supervisor for the Western movie — filed a lawsuit against Baldwin in November. The suit claims that Baldwin acted "intentionally, without just cause or excuse" in the lethal shooting.

Also in November, the head of lighting for the movie filed a lawsuit against "Rust" producers, including Alec Baldwin. Key gaffer Serge Svetnoy claimed to have suffered "severe emotional distress" because of the accidental shooting on the set that "will haunt him forever."

On Saturday at the Boulder International Film Festival, Baldwin blasted people who have filed lawsuits against him and said they were only targeting him because he is wealthy.

"What you have is a certain group of people, litigants and whatever ... on whatever side who their attitude is, oh, the people who likely seem negligent have no money, and the people who have money are not negligent, but we're not gonna let that stop us from doing what we need to do in terms of litigation," Baldwin said. "So we have people that are suing people that they think are deep-pocket litigants."

The 63-year-old actor added, "Why sue people if you're not going to get money? That's what you're doing it for."

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