EXCLUSIVE: Just hours before law enforcement officials are scheduled to hold a press conference in Santa Fe tomorrow on the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins by Alec Baldwin on the set of Rust, the producers of the low budget western film have now brought in a high-profile law firm to interview crew and cast about the events of Thursday, Oct. 21.
“In addition to cooperating with authorities, we hired a legal team from Jenner & Block to conduct an investigation of the events,” said a correspondence sent tonight from the Rust production to cast and crew members.
“We have stressed that they will have full discretion about who to interview and any conclusions they draw,” the note added.
“They may reach out to you over the next week as well. Because we want to reduce the amount of times you are inconvenienced, when allowed, Jenner & Block will join you for the OSHA interview,” read the note. OSHA has started interviewing crew members, and have asked the Rust production to coordinate meetings over the next week.
According to sources close to events, the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Department wrapped up their initial investigation on the site two days ago and OSHA has already been through the set. Today, Deadline was told by Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Juan Rios, “More search warrants could be coming, but nothing has been filed yet.”
“It’s going to be ongoing for a while,” Rios added.
“It feels too soon to be discussing interviews of crew members, but it is important that we hear from you as close to this tragedy as possible,” read tonight’s correspondence. “We know that reliving this tragedy will be hard, but your participation is important for all of us to be able to fully understand what happened, and we encourage you to share your perspective.”
According to an Oct. 22 affidavit, Baldwin was told by Rust Assistant Director David Halls that the gun he was pointing toward the camera for a rehearsal scene was a “cold gun.” The police investigation also determined that all three “prop guns” were prepped by the on-set armorer Hannah Gutierrez. The First AD “did not know live rounds were in the prop gun.” Director Joel Souza was also injured in the shoulder when the gun went off.
Earlier today Santa Fe’s top prosecutor told The New York Times, “everything at this point, including criminal charges, is on the table.” Going on to call reports that crew members on the troubled $7 million-budgeted 1880s-set Rust had been using guns intended for the film for target practice after hours “unconfirmed.” First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies also made a point of referring to the weapon as “an antique, era-appropriate gun” and not a “prop gun” as the Sheriff’s Office and others have said during the past week.
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