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Alec Baldwin Essentially Claims TOTAL EXONERATION In Statement On Rust Investigation Findings!

Alec Baldwin Essentially Claims TOTAL EXONERATION In Statement About Rust Finding!

A major update in the Rust shooting case has been made, and it seems to be a huge victory for Alec Baldwin. That’s certainly how he’s treating it anyway.

On Wednesday, the New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Bureau and Environmental Department announced its investigation findings after looking into the fatal shooting that took place on the set of the western film Rust in October.

According to a press release, the Rust production team is being fined its maximum penalty for what the report found to be “plain indifference” regarding firearm safety on the set! Wow! The Associated Press reported that Rust Productions (the LLC set up just for the movie) will owe the state $139,793! The fine comes as part of an investigation that the Occupational Health and Safety Act required to be completed within six months of the incident.

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In the report, it was determined that Rust Productions willfully violated protocols in safety bulletins, and for doing so, was fined the maximum citation. The OSHB said in a statement:

“Members of Rust management knew that firearm safety procedures were not being followed on set and acted with plain indifference to employee safety by failing to review work practices, adhere to film industry standards for firearm safety, and take corrective action.”

All that said, the production team is not going down without a fight. A spokesperson told TheWrap:

“While we appreciate OSHA’s time and effort in its investigation, we disagree with its findings and plan to appeal. Our thoughts and prayers remain with Halyna [Hutchins]’s family.”

So, where does Alec stand amid this investigation?

He was the actor holding the unfortunately deadly weapon that ultimately struck two individuals — including director Joel Souza. Well… in a shocking turn of events, the Oscar nominee is taking a victory lap, saying the report “exonerates” him from fault because they agree he believed he was holding a “cold” gun. Baldwin’s attorney, Luke Nikas, said in a statement shared by the actor on social media:

“We are grateful to the New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Bureau for investigating this matter. We appreciate that the report exonerates Mr. Baldwin by making clear that he believed the gun held only dummy rounds and that his authority on the production was limited to approving script changes and creative casting. Mr. Baldwin had no authority over the matters that were the subject of the Bureau’s findings of violations, and we are pleased that the New Mexico authorities have clarified these critical issues. We are confident that the individuals identified in the report will be held accountable for this tragedy.”

Whoa! It’s unclear how these findings could affect Matt Hutchins’ lawsuit against Baldwin, but the attorney sure seems confident his client will make out fine.

What about Alec’s role as a producer on the film? Should that have given him the power to make changes to crew members’ concerns, and therefore more responsibility? Well, not necessarily. The OSHA report had more to say on that — evidence that also seemingly helps exonerate the dad of seven. Quoting the report, Alec wrote on Twitter:

“Alec Baldwin, Actor and Producer, and Joel Souza, Director, negotiated with various producers to help create and fund the Rust project. Alec Baldwin’s authority on the set included approving script changes and actor candidates.”

Essentially they’re confirming something we have thought may be a possibility since the beginning. Sometimes stars of films are given producer credits not because they are putting the movie together day-to-day but because their names get the movie funding and they have some amount of power. It does not often mean they are actually handling producer duties like hiring and firing prop masters.

OSHA’s findings say he had no hand in any safety decisions that would have resulted in the tragedy, despite having a hand on the actual weapon. Speaking of…

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Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the film’s armorer, also responded to the findings via her lawyers. The report found that she was never asked back to the rehearsal space to check the gun after an impromptu decision to fire it in the scene was made, something her representatives are claiming could have prevented the tragedy. Her lawyers Jason Bowles and Todd Bullion said:

“OSHA found that Hannah Gutierrez Reed was not provided adequate time or resources to conduct her job effectively, despite her voiced concerns. Critically, OSHA also determined that production failed to call Hannah in to perform her armorer duties and inspect the firearm right before its use in the impromptu scene with Baldwin. As we have stated before, had anyone from Production called Hannah in back into the church before the scene to consult with her, this tragedy would have been prevented. Hannah has also reached out to OSHA recently in an effort to provide her suggestions for changes and improvement of safety standards on sets to avoid a tragic incident in the future.”

We should note that this report investigated the workplace conditions on the Rust set, but it does NOT include any criminal investigations. OSHB has also not called out any individuals by name, but rather the production team at large. A criminal investigation is currently ongoing by the New Mexico Sheriff’s Department and District Attorney’s Office. So no one is out of the woods just yet. For more on OHSB’s report, read all the details HERE.

Thoughts, Perezcious readers? Are you surprised by this result? Do you think Alec Baldwin will be off the hook when it pertains to criminal charges? Let us know what you think (below)!

[Image via WENN/MEGA/Lu Chau]

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Apr 21, 2022 13:02pm PDT