FBI Investigation Determines Alec Baldwin Must Have Pulled Trigger in 'Rust' Shooting: Report

·4 min read

The gun held by Alec Baldwin that discharged and killed Halyna Hutchins on the set of Rust had to have had its trigger pulled, the FBI found in its investigation — but the actor's attorney says the report is being "misconstrued."

According to an FBI forensic report obtained by ABC News on Friday, the revolver at the center of this case, when "intact and functional," "could not be made to fire without a pull of the trigger" unless the hammer was "de-cocked on a loaded chamber" and "the hammer was struck directly."

Back in December, Baldwin, 64, said in an interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos that he "didn't pull the trigger" on the gun during the Oct. 21 incident. "The trigger wasn't pulled. I didn't pull the trigger. I would never point a gun at someone and pull the trigger on them, never," said Baldwin at the time.

A rep for Baldwin did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

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However, Luke Nikas, an attorney for Baldwin, said in a statement to ABC News that the FBI report is "being misconstrued." He added, "The gun fired in testing only one time — without having to pull the trigger — when the hammer was pulled back and the gun broke in two different places. The FBI was unable to fire the gun in any prior test, even when pulling the trigger, because it was in such poor condition."

Alec Baldwin
Alec Baldwin

Jim Spellman/Getty Alec Baldwin

"The critical report is the one from the medical examiner, who concluded that this was a tragic accident," added Nikas. "This is the third time the New Mexico authorities have found that Alec Baldwin had no authority or knowledge of the allegedly unsafe conditions on the set, that he was told by the person in charge of safety on the set that the gun was 'cold,' and believed the gun was safe."

ABC News also obtained a postmortem report from the medical examiners, which noted that "review of available law enforcement reports showed no compelling demonstration that the firearm was intentionally loaded with live ammunition on set." The document reportedly added, "Based on all available information, including the absence of obvious intent to cause harm or death, the manner of death is best classified as accident."

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Alec Baldwin speaks during the 2021 RFK Ripple Of Hope Gala at New York Hilton Midtown on December 09, 2021 in New York City.
Alec Baldwin speaks during the 2021 RFK Ripple Of Hope Gala at New York Hilton Midtown on December 09, 2021 in New York City.

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Alec Baldwin

RELATED: Rust Production Issued 'Highest Level of Citation' and 'Maximum Fine' After Death of Halyna Hutchins

Director Joel Souza was also shot and injured in the incident. An attorney for assistant director Dave Halls previously claimed to Good Morning America in December that Baldwin "had his finger outside the trigger guard, parallel to the barrel. ... Dave has told me since the very first day I met him that Alec did not pull that trigger."

The Santa Fe County Sheriff's detectives received the FBI's completed forensic reports on Aug. 2, authorities confirmed in a Friday press release. Additionally, detectives are still in the process of "obtaining, processing, and disclosing Alec Baldwin's phone records. Those records are forthcoming."

Once detectives finish reviewing the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator reports and the phone records, the final Sheriff's Office investigation case file will be forwarded to the District Attorney for review and final charging decisions, the press release added.

RELATED VIDEO: Alec Baldwin Says Wife Hilaria Gave Him 'a Reason to Live' After First Interview Since Rust Tragedy

After the New Mexico Environment Department's Occupational Health and Safety Bureau issued the production a fine of more than $135,000 — the maximum possible — back in April, Baldwin's attorney commented on the report in a statement.

"We appreciate that the report exonerates Mr. Baldwin by making clear that he believed the gun held only dummy rounds," the statement read in part. "Additionally, the report recognizes that Mr. Baldwin's authority on the production was limited to approving script changes and creative casting."

"Mr. Baldwin had no authority over the matters that were the subject of the Bureau's findings of violations, and we are pleased that the New Mexico officials have clarified these critical issues. We are confident that the individuals identified in the report will be held accountable for this tragedy," the statement continued.

Although SFCSO has not ruled out charges until the investigation is complete, Baldwin and the film's producers have faced several lawsuits, including one filed by Hutchins' family.