SANTA FE, NM — The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office has released its report on the fatal shooting on the set of Alec Baldwin’s film Rust, revealing text messages sent by the actor in the days and weeks following the incident.
The 550-page report follows a year-long investigation into filming the western on set in New Mexico. The film’s cinematographer, 42-year-old Halyna Hutchins, was killed by Baldwin, who pointed a Colt .45 revolver at her as the latter fired. Director Joel Souza was also injured.
Among the finds are text messages from Baldwin’s phone, which was turned over to investigators in January after a search warrant was issued for the device.
Two days after the shooting, Baldwin began texting Matt Hutchins, husband of Halyna Hutchins, according to the report, and sent sporadic texts over the next several weeks. On December 2, Baldwin reported that both he and Halyna Hutchins “believed the gun was empty,” according to the report.
On December 10, Baldwin informed him of a possible “angle of sabotage,” the report said.
“Important for you to remember: The Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office may lack both the skill and the will to properly investigate the angle of sabotage,” Baldwin told him, according to the report. “I’ve been told their agenda is to write it off as an accident and throw it in the civil courts. And yet, the more I am presented that day about certain anomalies, the more receptive I become. I reject the sabotage claim first. But don’t know. I hope these NM have the brains to pull it off.
When Matt Hutchins asked who told him about this “agenda,” Baldwin said several attorneys told him about it, according to the report.
Baldwin started a text chain with an investigator in the case on November 8, 2021, asking if the film’s gunsmith or assistant director had ever instructed anyone to inspect the guns themselves and said he had never been instructed to conduct self-tests, the authorities said Report. Two days later, he asked if there was a chance he would be charged, the report said.
Baldwin previously said he didn’t think he would be prosecuted for the accident.
“I’ve been told by people in the know, even within the state, that it’s highly unlikely that I’ll be criminally charged with anything,” he said in an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos late last year.
Two days after the shooting, Baldwin also wrote to his assistant advising, “I need to clear my archive,” the report said, saying “There are no further details on the meaning of this message.”
Baldwin “was referring to his Twitter archive, which he has long wanted to delete,” according to his attorney Luke Nikas of Quinn Emanuel.
Baldwin “fully cooperated with the investigation and turned over his phone to the Suffolk County Police Department with all records, including all records from the day of the incident,” Nikas said in a statement to ABC News.
After reviewing the records, police then turned them over “directly to the Santa Fe County Sheriff unless the records reflected privileged communications or were irrelevant to the Rust film,” Nikas said. “He kept all records related to Rust in their entirety and turned them over to the authorities almost a year ago.”
The report’s release comes three weeks after the sheriff’s office turned it over to the local district attorney, who will decide whether to file criminal charges against anyone involved in the shooting.
Prosecutors said at the time they would conduct a “thorough review of the information and evidence to make a considered and timely decision on whether to press charges.”
Fees have yet to be announced.
In the weeks and months following filming in October 2021, questions remained about how live ammunition got onto the New Mexico set and into the prop gun, and whether crew members had taken proper safety precautions.
Several lawsuits have been filed in connection with the incident, most recently by Baldwin. In a lawsuit filed last week, the actor accused several of the film’s crew members of negligence in trying to “clear his name.”
Baldwin’s counterclaim follows a lawsuit filed last year by the film’s executive writer, Mamie Mitchell. The civil suit accused Baldwin of “playing Russian roulette” with the revolver.
Last month, the Hutchins family reached a settlement in their wrongful death lawsuit against the film’s producers, including Baldwin. In a statement on the agreement, it was announced that Hutchins’ husband will serve as executive producer and production on the film will resume next year with Baldwin and Souza.
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