The trigger on the gun used by Alec Baldwin on the set of Rust that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins had to have been pulled, according to a new forensics report from the FBI.
But nearly a year after Hutchins’ death, Baldwin is still denying that he pulled it.
The trigger on the Colt .45-caliber revolver that was being used as a prop on the set “could not be made to fire without a pull of the trigger” while in the quarter- or half-cocked positions, and if it had been fully cocked, that it could not have fired without pulling the trigger “while the working internal components were intact and functional,” according to the FBI forensic report obtained by ABC News. (The FBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment from VICE News.)
Baldwin was holding the gun when it discharged and killed Hutchins, 42, and injured Rust director Joel Souza. The movie, a Western that Baldwin was both starring in and producing, suspended production after the shooting.
Baldwin has forcefully denied that he pulled the trigger. “The trigger wasn’t pulled,” Baldwin told ABC News last year. “I didn’t pull the trigger. I would never point at anyone and point a trigger at them.” Before filming began, Baldwin had boasted about being an “actor of the old school” who took his “gunplay” and horseback riding seriously, in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter.
An attorney for Baldwin told VICE News in a statement Monday that the report is “being misconstrued” and said a report by the Office of Medical Investigator in New Mexico, which ruled the shooting was accidental, was the “critical” report.
“The gun fired in testing only one time—without having to pull the trigger—when the hammer was pulled back and the gun broke in two different places,” lawyer Luke Nikas said in a statement. “The FBI was unable to fire the gun in any prior test, even when pulling the trigger, because it was in such poor condition.”
The New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Bureau, a state-level agency, released a report earlier this year which found that Rust Movie Productions, LLC “willfully” violated OSHA regulations and demonstrated “plain indifference to the safety of employees and exposing those employees to the serious hazards associated with firearm use,” and fined the production nearly $137,000, the maximum allowed under state law.
The movie’s producers have appealed the New Mexico workplace safety board’s ruling. Lawyers for Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the crew member in charge of gun safety on set, have suggested the live rounds were a result of “sabotage” on set, and said that the FBI report shows that “various production members” have attempted to “shirk responsibility and scapegoat Hannah.”
“Hannah was tasked with doing two jobs, including props assistant and the very important job as armorer but not given adequate time and training days to do so despite repeated requests or the respect required of the armorer’s position and responsibilities,” Gutierrez-Reed’s lawyer said in a statement to ABC News.
The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office’s homicide investigation remains ongoing, per ABC News.
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