Production company Rust is settling gun charges in New Mexico

Production company Rust is settling gun charges in New Mexico

A worker who said he came to pick up some equipment approaches security guards at the entrance to the Bonanza Creek Ranch film set in Santa Fe, NM, Monday, October 25, 2021.

Jae C Hong | AP

Producers of the Alec Baldwin film “Rust” announced Friday that they will pay a reduced fine of $100,000 to the New Mexico Occupational Safety and Health Bureau to settle a civil investigation into the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the film set.

The final fine was reduced from an original $136,793 fine imposed last April. The state authority also downgraded the case from the strictest classification “deliberate-serious” to “serious”. Billing will be completed 20 days after submission.

“Our top priority has always been to resume production and complete this film so that we can honor the life and work of Halyna Hutchins,” said Melina Spadone, an attorney representing the Rust production company, in a statement. “Settling this case rather than litigating is the best way to achieve that goal.”

Producers plan to resume filming on Rust this spring and also announced that production of a documentary about Hutchins will begin.

New Mexico authorities conducted a series of testimonies into the matter, and in April released a report alleging that the film’s producers “failed to meet industry-wide firearm safety standards.”

Evidence collected in the investigation was used by defendants in other cases related to the shooting and to “correct misinformation” in the media, according to an announcement Friday.

The announcement comes a day after Baldwin, who handled the gun that killed Hutchins, pleaded not guilty and waived his first court appearance, which was due to take place on Friday. In addition to starring in the film, Baldwin is also a producer.

Baldwin and the film’s gunsmith, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, face involuntary manslaughter charges in an ongoing criminal case. Gutierrez-Reed made his first court appearance on Friday. Baldwin is also facing a civil lawsuit from Hutchin’s parents and sister.