8 items from 2015
The Wi-Fi password in the Georgia courthouse where the Midnight Rider defendants will be standing trial beginning March 9 appears to show a distinct bias against criminal defendants. The court's password is Lockumallup** (Lock ‘Em All Up — password partially redacted). "That seems highly inappropriate to me," Don Samuel, the attorney representing Midnight Rider director Randall Miller and producer Jody Savin, told Deadline. Reporters covering the criminal trespassing and… »
Hillary Schwartz, the first assistant director on “Midnight Rider,” will get a separate trial from three other defendants who also face charges of criminal trespass and involuntary manslaughter stemming from the Feb. 20, 2014, accident on the movie’s set near Jesup, Ga., according to the Associated Press.
Camera assistant Sarah Jones was killed and eight others were injured on the set when a train came by on live train tracks as the cast and crew were shooting. Csx, the owner of the tracks, says that the producers did not have permission to be there.
Schwartz’s attorney Austin Catts contends in court filings that his client was promised immunity, but then was indicted in September, several months after the other defendants.
- Ted Johnson
Exclusive: A still photographer injured on the set of Midnight Rider in the February 20 accident that killed camera assistant Sarah Jones has filed a negligence lawsuit against the film's director Randall Miller, producers and several others involved in the ill-fated production. Izabeau Giannakopoulos was shooting photos on the first day of filming in rural Wayne County, Ga and was one of six crew members injured when a freight train roared across a railroad trestle on… »
Two major below-the-line Iatse locals — Local 600 (International Cinematographers Guild) and Local 479 (Studio Mechanics) — have joined a memorial campaign honoring camera assistant Sarah Jones, who was killed on the “Midnight Rider” set nearly a year ago on Feb. 20, 2014, in a train accident in Georgia.
The “Spirit of Sarah” campaign calls for production crews worldwide to take a moment of silence — known as “the Jonesy” — before the first production shot of the day and post photos, videos and remembrances on social media dedicated to promoting safety.
Those site include Facebook pages run by Local 600 and Local 479 along with We Are Sarah Jones, Pledge to Sarah and PSA: Production Safety Awareness.
Local 600 has launched an “Sos: Safety on Set” initiative and the Icg Safety app, resulting in over 1,700 downloads.
Jones’ parents, Richard and Elizabeth Jones, said in a statement, “This Friday, February 20th, marks the one year anniversary of our daughter’s death. »
- Dave McNary
Exclusive: Prosecutors in the Midnight Rider trial, set to begin March 9, are looking to become the first ever to convict filmmakers on manslaughter charges. In the 100 years between the death of Sarah Jones and the first film-related deaths — on July 1, 1914, when 16-year-old actress Grace McHugh drowned and cameraman Owen Carter died trying to rescue her while filming a scene for the movie Across The Border – more than 80 people have died in 52 fatal accidents while filming in the U.S. Only two resulted in indictments, none in convictions.
The last time a manslaughter case went before a jury was nearly 30 years ago, in the infamous Twilight Zone case, which ended in the acquittals of director John Landis and four co-defendants. “It was a very difficult case to prosecute,” Lea D’Agostino, the deputy district attorney who prosecuted the Twilight Zone case, later said. “You didn’t have people who went in maliciously to do something. »
- David Robb
Fitness model Greg Plitt killed in train accident: Plitt was the 'body' of Dr. Manhattan in 'Watchmen' movie Fitness model Greg Plitt, best known for adorning countless fitness magazine covers and for his participation on the reality TV show Work Out, was killed by a passenger train while being videotaped last Saturday afternoon, January 17, 2015, in Burbank, about 20 kilometers northwest of downtown Los Angeles. Authorities are now trying to figure out how Plitt and his two-person crew were able to access a restricted area – without a filming permit – and what exactly they were doing there. Online tabloids claim to have the answer, asserting that Greg Plitt's death was the result of a failed thrill-seeking stunt. The athletic Plitt, who had previously shot at least one workout video on a train track, was purportedly trying to outrun the passenger train, but tripped and fell on the tracks. Police have »
- Zac Gille
A judge in Chatham County, Georgia today denied rail company Csx’s request to prohibit photographs and video evidence from further public dissemination in the wrongful death case of Midnight Rider crew member Sarah Jones. The November 12 motion was filed after an October 31 episode of ABC News’ 20/20 aired partial train footage filmed the afternoon of February 20, 2014 when Jones was struck and killed by a Csx train on the Doctortown trestle in rural Georgia.
That footage had been submitted to the court as evidence in the ongoing civil case brought by Jones’ parents against a number of defendants including Csx, director Randall Miller, producer Jody Savin, and others, most of whom have since been dismissed after reaching settlements with the Jones family.
Related: ‘Midnight Rider’ Crew Kept In Dark Over Safety, Federal Investigation Reveals
Those settlements left Csx as the biggest remaining defendant in an increasingly contentious legal skirmish with the Jones camp. »
- Jen Yamato
A judge in Chatham County, Ga., has denied Csx Transportation’s effort to restrict the further dissemination of a Feb. 20 video of the accident on the set of “Midnight Rider.”
Judge Gregory Sapp issued his order on Tuesday, according to the Chatham Court website.
The video — taken from a Csx train that came unexpectedly as filmmakers were shooting on the tracks near Jesup, Ga. — already has been shown on ABC News’ “20/20.”
Csx contended that it released the video to attorneys for the family of Sarah Jones, the camera assistant who was killed in the accident, but did not agree to its wider dissemination. They claim that the attorneys violated a license agreement required by the video software provider.
But attorneys for the Jones family at the firm of Harris Penn Lowry argued that the video was entered into the public record and that they did not violate the terms of the license agreement. »
- Ted Johnson
8 items from 2015
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