Alec Baldwin's lawyers on Friday filed an arbitration demand against the actor's fellow producers and claimed their client was not liable for the shooting death of a cinematographer last year.
Baldwin says his contract protected him from financial responsibility in Halyna Hutchins' death, and he is seeking coverage of his legal fees, The New York Times reported.
Hutchins was killed Oct. 21 during filming of the Western movie "Rust" in New Mexico.
Matthew Hutchins, Halyna's husband, filed a wrongful death suit Feb. 15 against Baldwin "and others responsible for safety on [the] set." Script supervisor Mamie Mitchell also filed a lawsuit against Baldwin and the film's producers in November.
Baldwin shot and killed Hutchins while practicing a scene that required him to draw a gun.
The Friday filing said Baldwin was not responsible for Hutchins' death because the actor had been assured the gun did not contain any live ammunition. It added that Baldwin was not responsible for checking the ammunition or for firearm safety on the set, the Times reported.
"Someone is culpable for chambering the live round that led to this horrific tragedy, and it is someone other than Baldwin," attorney Luke Nikas wrote in the filing.
"This is a rare instance when the system broke down, and someone should be held legally culpable for the tragic consequences. That person is not Alec Baldwin."
Some former crew members claimed safety on the set had been sacrificed by cutting costs. The filing said that while Baldwin, as a producer, had been involved in creative matters, other people had authority over hiring and budgets.
The filing also contained text messages between Baldwin and Matthew Hutchins. A correspondence that began with mutual expressions of condolence evolved to include messages about the wrongful-death lawsuit.
The court filing provided a detailed account of the fatal shooting, which occurred when Baldwin rehearsed a scene inside a church in which his character, Harland Rust, is cornered and draws his gun, the Times said.
The filing said Halyna Hutchins told Baldwin how to position the gun, the Times reported.
"She directed Baldwin to hold the gun higher, to a point where it was directed toward her," the filing said, the Times reported.
"She was looking carefully at the monitor and then at Baldwin, and then back again, as she gave these instructions. In giving and following these instructions, Hutchins and Baldwin shared a core, vital belief: that the gun was 'cold' and contained no live rounds."
Baldwin then asked the cinematographer if she wanted him to pull back the hammer, as the script instructed, and she said yes, the filing said.
"Baldwin then pulled back the hammer, but not far enough to actually cock the gun," the filing said the Times reported. "When Baldwin let go of the hammer, the gun went off."
The projectile that passed through Hutchins also wounded the film's director, Joel Souza, the filing said.
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