Prosecutors in the Midnight Rider criminal case have denied allegations suggesting they promised assistant director Hillary Schwartz immunity if she agreed to sit for an interview relating to the death of a camera assistant on the set of the Allman brothers biopic.
Schwartz, director Randall Miller, and producers Jody Savin and Jay Sedrish were all hit with charges of involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass after Sarah Jones was killed by an oncoming train as she filmed footage on a trestle in Georgia in February, 2014.
Schwartz’s lawyer moved to have the charges against his client dismissed earlier this month, alleging authorities made a deal with her to ensure she cooperate with their questioning.
However, District Attorney Jackie Johnson has now disputed Schwartz’s claims, insisting she only promised “that nothing she said in the interview would be used against her”.
In a written response to the court, submitted last Friday, Johnson admitted Schwartz had initially been viewed as a witness, but their suspicions were raised after her version of events failed to match those of other crew members or evidence gathered by police.
She added, “Schwartz has offered nothing even remotely to suggest that the state took unfair advantage of her. She was at all times represented by counsel. The record contains no evidence of a government promise not to prosecute her.”
The four parties have pleaded not guilty to the charges and they are due to stand trial in March.
Production on Midnight Rider, based on rocker Gregg Allman’s memoirs, was halted following the incident.
The suspects also face civil action from Jones’ parents and other crewmembers injured in the tragic accident.
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