Alec Baldwin made a handful of mistakes following the fatal shooting of Halyna Hutchins Oct. 21, 2021, according to legal and brand experts.
Baldwin will be charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter by the end of January. The actor was holding the gun that fired on the set of “Rust,” killing the cinematographer and injuring director Joel Souza.
Here’s a look at the missteps experts say Alec Baldwin made following the fatal shooting:
Alec Baldwin did a tell-all interview shortly after the fatal shooting
In December 2021, Baldwin sat down for a highly-anticipated tell-all interview.
“The interview was a mistake,” former U.S. Assistant Attorney Neama Rahmani told Fox News Digital. Rahmani said the idea for the interview likely came from the actor’s PR team.
“I’m sure [his lawyer] did not want Baldwin to do the interview. But Baldwin or his PR team ignored his advice,” Rahmani suggested
During the interview with George Stephanopoulos, Baldwin detailed the moment the gun went off and made other statements regarding the fatal accident, including that he did not pull the trigger.
Rahmani isn’t the only observer who thought the interview was a mistake.
“One of the biggest mistakes Alec Baldwin made was to go on George Stephanopoulos’ program and say he didn’t pull the trigger,” Fox News contributor and attorney Leo Terrell told “The Faulkner Focus” Thursday. “That was a lie. I guarantee you that’s going to come back to haunt him.”
Alec Baldwin discredited himself with the public
Baldwin discredited himself early on in the investigation with his “terrible” media strategy, according to brand expert Eric Schiffer.
“He hurt himself early on in unimaginable ways with the public who thought, ‘Why would any adult think it would be OK to aim a gun at anyone, let alone have it go off?'” Schiffer told Fox News Digital. “And the other challenge for Baldwin is this claim that he never pulled the trigger, which is seen by the public as a big lie. Not only was it horrifyingly dumb, but it defies gun physics.”
The FBI said the gun Baldwin used “could not be made to fire without a pull of the trigger,” according to a report obtained by ABC News. The authorities found that when the .45 Colt caliber F.LLI Pietta single-action revolver’s hammer was in the quarter and half-cock positions, the gun would not fire without the trigger being pulled during a discharge test.
Baldwin also made Americans feel like they were “suckers,” Schiffer explained.
Public statements can be “potential bias”
Rachel Fiset, co-founder and managing partner at Zweiback, Fiset & Zalduendo, explained that any public statements Baldwin made following the shooting can be used against him during a potential trial if they are proven to be untrue by the investigation.
“Generally speaking, when a possible defendant is under investigation, public statements about that investigation only serve to raise potential bias against the defendant,” Fiset explained to Fox News Digital. “It is difficult for people in the public eye not to respond publicly to any allegations against them, and Baldwin did what so many people do, which was attempt to exonerate himself in the public’s opinion while the investigation was still pending, which is a natural reaction for a celebrity.
“However, the message seemed a bit uncontrolled by his legal team and statements he made, which could now turn out to be untrue as a result of the investigation, may be used against him later to reduce his credibility.”
Baldwin made multiple statements to the public after the shooting. He spoke in a lengthy rant to Fox News Digital in Vermont Oct. 30, 2021.
“It’s an active investigation in terms of a woman died, she was my friend,” he said of Halyna at the time. “We were a very, very well-oiled crew shooting a film together, and then this horrible event happened.
“As I said, we are eagerly awaiting for the sheriff’s department to tell us what their investigation has yielded. There are incidental accidents on film sets from time to time, but nothing like this. This is a one in a trillion episode. It’s a one in a trillion event.”
Baldwin continued to make statements on social media along with his wife Hilaria. The yoga instructor previously said she was worried the actor would develop PTSD.
“I brought [Alec] up here because we have to mourn Halyna’s death,” she told the New York Post. “Alec had a really traumatic thing happen, and I am trying to limit the PTSD. You look at what happens to soldiers and police officers when something like this happens, it’s traumatic. We just came up here for quiet.”
Alec Baldwin participated in a police interview immediately following the shooting
Immediately after Halyna was shot on the set of “Rust,” Baldwin participated in an interview led by investigators seemingly without a lawyer present.
“Baldwin’s interrogation with police officers was also a mistake,” Rahmani explained to Fox News Digital. “Any competent lawyer will advise you to keep your mouth shut and not talk to the cops.”
The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department released footage of Baldwin’s interview in April.
“When I shot the gun, away from the cameraman, I never aim the gun at the camera, I turned, and I went like this,” he told investigators, making a gun with his fingers and panning his arm across a cluttered table in an interview room at the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office. “And she was there. And the gun went off. And she just went right on the ground.”
He also claimed in the interview that armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed handed him the gun, contradicting police statements that the gun was given to Baldwin by assistant director Dave Halls.
The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department has spent the last year investigating how live rounds made it onto the movie set. Gutierrez-Reed and Halls were the only other crew members believed to have handled the gun that fired on set.
Halls allegedly handed Baldwin a .45 revolver, telling him that it was “cold,” or safe. Prior to that, Gutierrez-Reed spun the cylinder to show Halls what was in the gun, her lawyer said.
Along with Baldwin, Gutierrez-Reed will also be charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter. Halls signed a plea agreement and will receive a suspended sentence and six months of probation.