Alec Baldwin’s attorney is likely to gain more notoriety due to representing the actor after new charges were levied in relation to an on-set movie casualty in October 2021.

Luke Nikas, of the New York-based firm Quinn, Emanuel, Urquhart & Sullivan, is staunchly defending his client after he was charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on October 21, 2021, during the filming of Rust at Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Also charged with the same crimes was Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the movie’s armorer who was in charge of weapons on the set.

“After a thorough review of the evidence and the laws of the state of New Mexico, I have determined that there is sufficient evidence to file criminal charges against Alec Baldwin and other members of the Rust film crew,” New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said in a statement. “On my watch, no one is above the law, and everyone deserves justice.”

Nikas has a different perspective, per a statement shared to Newsweek from his office.

“This decision distorts Halyna Hutchins’ tragic death and represents a terrible miscarriage of justice,” Nikas said. “Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun—or anywhere on the movie set.

“He relied on the professionals with whom he worked, who assured him the gun did not have live rounds. We will fight these charges, and we will win.”

In 2018, Law.com described Nikas as a “rising star” due to his background as “a leading commercial litigator with extensive experience representing clients in complex disputes.”

Alec Baldwin Luke Nikas Rust Charges Shooting
Alec Baldwin speaks onstage at the 2022 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Gala at New York Hilton on December 06, 2022, in New York City. Baldwin’s attorney, Luke Nikas, has staunchly defended his client who is charged in the shooting death of a worker on the set of the movie “Rust” in 2021.
Mike Coppola/Getty Images for 2022 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Gala

That year, he was named to Lawdragon’s 2018 list of the 500 Leading Lawyers in America, Benchmark Litigation’s “Under 40 Hot List,” and the New York Super Lawyers list.

He led the defense in a forgery case that publication ArtNews called “The Art Trial of the Century,” vaulting his stature as one of the premier art attorneys worldwide. Nikas is also co-chair of his firm’s Art Litigation and Disputes Practice, also described as one of the most globally prominent and successful art litigation practices.

The Harvard Law School graduate has recovered works of art by Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso; prosecuted and defended fraud, contract, negligence, and racketeering cases involving allegations of forgery and problematic provenance; and located stolen artwork in foreign jurisdictions and countries.

Other clients have included Fortune 50, 100 and 500 companies, large private companies and their executives, prominent art galleries, foundations, collectors, celebrities and Pulitzer Prize–winning journalists.

His biography also lauds recent legal victories that include obtaining the dismissal of a $400 million class action against a New York City real estate firm and winning an appeal in the New York State Court of Appeals on behalf of workers who cleaned up downtown Manhattan after September 11. He advised multiple investment banks regarding approximately $200 billion in troubled credit transactions.

Nearly a year after Hutchin’s death, Baldwin reached an undisclosed settlement with her family following a wrongful death suit filed against the actor.

Days later, Baldwin sued other members of the Rust production for their alleged roles in the incident, including Gutierrez-Reed, the first assistant director Dave Halls, the crew member “in charge of props” Sarah Zachry, and Seth Kenney, who is described as the primary supplier of guns and ammunition to the movie set.

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