Judge seals wrongful death suit in ‘Rust’ case

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SANTA FE, N.M. – The rights of a child outweigh curiosity – that’s essentially the ruling Monday from a Santa Fe courtroom. 

It all centered on the deadly shooting on the set of the movie “Rust,” and a settlement in the works that will benefit the son of slain cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. 

Halyna Hutchins was shot and killed on the set of the movie “Rust” in 2021. Officials say the gun was in the hand of actor Alec Baldwin.

Hutchin’s husband filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of himself, and their 10-year-old son. A settlement in that suit was reached, but the public won’t know the details. 

Attorneys for the Hutchins family went to court to keep court hearings and filings secret. Because of this, some of the named defendants won’t even know what happens. 

Those being cut out include armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, prop master Sarah Zachary, and prop supplier Seth Kenney. 

“What our objection is to and what we will never agree to is for plaintiffs to essentially pick and choose what named plaintiffs get to show up to a hearing that contemplates settlements of all defendants in this matter,” said Drew Larkin, attorney for Sarah Zachary.  

Attorneys for those defendants argued they have a right to know what happens in court. 

But attorneys for the Hutchins’ family say under the settlement, which we have not seen, those three defendants will be dropped from suit. 

So, the Hutchin’s family attorneys argue that it was curiosity driving them to see the sealed documents as opposed to the motion.

“I understand how different this matter is from many others from an interest perspective, but what is driving my decision is really the interest of the minor child,” said First Judicial District Judge Bryan Biedscheid.  

Judge Beidscheid ordered the case be sealed, saying the privacy of the child overrides other concerns. 

Meantime, actor Alec Baldwin filed to have a separate wrongful death suit against him dismissed. This suit was filed in February by the parents and sister of Halyna Hutchins. 

NBC News reports Baldwin called their suit “misguided.”  He claims the family was distanced physically, financially, and emotionally. A hearing in that case is scheduled to happen in June. 

Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed also face criminal charges in the case. They’re both charged with involuntary manslaughter.

A preliminary hearing is set to start early next month.