Faced with the possibility of re-filing criminal charges in the deadly 2021 shooting of Rust cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, Alec Baldwin failed in an attempt to have a civil case over the tragedy dropped on Wednesday.

Baldwin and co-defendants El Dorado Pictures and Rust Movie Productions’ petition to dismiss was denied this morning in a technically challenged virtual hearing before New Mexico’s First Judicial District Court judge Bryan Biedscheid. The judge also dismissed a second motion to halt the proceedings until the criminal trial was completed.

Rust crew members Ross Addiego, Doran Curtin, and Reese Price sued Baldwin and the production firms earlier this year for “negligent and reckless conduct.” Faced with a slew of charges stemming from the production of the indie Western, the defendants devised a back-up plan to have the Addiego, Curtin, and Price cases postponed until the Rust criminal trial was completed.

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Biedscheid stated today that while he “doesn’t know” the status of “criminal prosecution with Mr. Baldwin” at the moment, it was “surprisingly common” for a defendant to be involved in both a criminal and civil case. While denying the stay, the judge did leave open the possibility of defendants being able to “assert their constitutional rights as they see fit” in the future.

This is the second major courtroom change in the Rust case this week.

RELATED: Alec Baldwin Is ‘Grateful’ For The Support As Rust Production Resumes

The criminal prosecution of armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed in connection with Hutchins’ death was postponed on Monday to February 21, 2024.

Although no formal explanation was offered for the latest delay in the long-delayed criminal trial, “scheduling issues” involving witnesses appear to be at the heart of the decision. The trial is slated to run around two weeks, but it might alter if Baldwin is called back in.

In late January, Gutierrez-Reed and Rust producer-star Baldwin were accused with two counts of second-degree involuntary homicide after a Colt.45 revolver discharged, killing Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza.

RELATED: Alec Baldwin Has Been Given Permission To Waive His Preliminary Hearing In The Rust Shooting Case

The accusations against Baldwin were withdrawn in April in the face of a wall of constitutional criticism and more, but newly appointed special prosecutors cautioned at the time that the charges may be refiled at a later date if new evidence arose. Two months later, prosecutors Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis added an evidence-tampering charge against Gutierrez-Reed, alleging that the armorer “did transfer narcotics to another person with the intent to prevent the apprehension, prosecution, or conviction of herself.”

If found guilty, Gutierrez-Reed faces a maximum sentence of 18 months in prison and a fine of $5,000.

A subsequent forensics analysis on the contentious handgun itself, commissioned by Morrissey and Lewis, contradicted Baldwin’s long-held claim that he never pulled the trigger on the rifle.

“Although Alec Baldwin repeatedly denies pulling the trigger, given the tests, findings, and observations reported here, the trigger had to be pulled or depressed sufficiently to release the fully cocked or retracted hammer of the evidence revolver,” weapons examiners Lucien Haag and Michael Haag wrote in their August 2 report.

Despite the fact that the rifle had been damaged in previous inspections, the Haags’ findings mirror the FBI’s results from later last year.

“Charges against Mr. Baldwin are being considered, but a final decision has not yet been made,” Morrissey stated last week. There is no timetable for the final judgment, although it is likely within the next month at the most.

RELATED: Alec Baldwin Pleads Not Guilty To Fatal ‘Rust’ Shooting; First Hearing In Criminal Case Axed

Plaintiffs’ attorney Alex Cervantes stated during today’s hearing that “there are a lot of moving parts” in the case. She also alleged that Rust decided to engage “inexperienced contractors” like armorer Gutierrez-Reed to “cut costs” – claims that have repeatedly surfaced in the numerous Rust lawsuits.

In arguing against the negligence accusations, Cervantes referenced “multiple crew members who resigned” on the day of the October 21, 2021 shoot, claiming “safety concerns” – as has been mentioned in a number of incidents involving Rust. “It’s all there, this is a robust complaint,” Cervantes added, pleading with Biedscheid to reject the dismissing request.

Defendant counsel Robert Schwartz contended that Baldwin had only a “producing agreement that gives him virtually no power” over Rust. The idea contradicts Baldwin’s previously expressed position on the picture, which he co-created with director Joel Souza. “The contract they claim created this relationship did not create this relationship.”

Schwartz unsuccessfully asked the court today that the civil issue and any discovery be put on hold for a “couple of weeks” until it is determined whether Baldwin would be dragged back into the criminal prosecution. Following the judge’s rulings, Schwartz described the situation as a “real injustice,” claiming that Baldwin is “on the verge of being charged criminally.”

Whether or whether Baldwin returns to the criminal case, Rust the picture concluded production this spring after filming in Montana. That means the film might be released while the multiple civil trials in California and New Mexico are still being heard in the courts.


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