Alec Baldwin

Alec Baldwin seeks stay of ‘Rust' crew member's suit

Alec Baldwin, inset, and Aerial footage at the scene of the "Rust" film set in New Mexico
KOB/Getty Images

Alec Baldwin is seeking a stay of a lawsuit brought against him and other "Rust" film crew members by the chief lighting technician for the movie because the actor wants to make sure no further criminal allegations are brought against him before the civil case moves forward.

Serge Svetnoy claimed in his original Los Angeles Superior Court suit filed in November 2021 that the fatal shooting on the film's set ``was caused by the negligent acts and omissions'' of the multiple defendants in his suit. 

In an amended complaint brought April 26, Svetnoy added causes of action for assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress against the 65-year-old Baldwin only. 

But in court papers filed Thursday with Judge Maurice Leiter in advance of a scheduled Sept. 5 hearing on the motion, Baldwin's attorneys maintain Svetnoy's case should not move forward unless and until New Mexico prosecutors decide they will not refile a criminal case against him. 

Baldwin and the film's armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, were previously charged along with two alternate counts of involuntary manslaughter in the Oct. 21, 2021, shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins with a bullet fired by the actor/producer from a prop weapon.  

Although charges were later dropped against Baldwin, they were done so “without prejudice,” meaning they can be refiled later, and prosecutors said the investigation was active and ongoing.

“Therefore, if this civil case is allowed to proceed, Baldwin will be forced to choose between providing testimony in his own defense that may be incriminatory and losing the case by asserting his constitutional rights and remaining silent,'' Baldwin's lawyers argue.

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In his suit, Svetnoy alleges Baldwin “willfully disregarded the laws of New Mexico when he acted as alleged herein with the loaded Colt revolver.”

Svetnoy says he felt the bullet whiz by him and that gunpowder and other residual materials struck the right side of his face. 

As a result of Baldwin's ``pointing and subsequently discharging the gun towards him, (Svetnoy) has suffered compensable damages including … physical injury and extreme and severe emotional distress,” according to the amended suit, which further states that the actor's actions were taken with “utter disregard” for the plaintiff's safety.

Svetnoy was among the first ``Rust'' crew members to publicly speak out about the shooting that killed the 42-year-old Hutchins while Baldwin was helping to prepare camera angles on the film's set near Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The weapon, which was supposed to contain only blank rounds, discharged a lead bullet that struck Hutchins in the chest then lodged in the shoulder of director Joel Souza, now 50.

Svetnoy wrote on social media days later that he witnessed the shooting and comforted the bleeding Hutchins until paramedics arrived. He immediately deemed the shooting an act of negligence, saying Gutierrez Reed and assistant director David Halls both failed to check the weapon before declaring it safe and passing it to Baldwin.

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