As the investigation into the tragic accidental shooting that took place on the set of the Alec Baldwin Rust film continues, legal experts have weighed in on whether the actor could be charged in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. These experts spoke about Baldwin’s chances of facing either criminal or civil charges in the shooting death and gave as clear a picture as possible during these uncertain times about what acts of justice could spring from this tragedy.
In the aftermath of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins’ accidental shooting death on the set of Rust, an investigation has been launched that could bring criminal or civil charges for those found responsible. Alec Baldwin, who pulled the trigger on a prop gun while rehearsing, has been at the center of the tragedy.
Trial Lawyer Weighs In On Shooting Involving Alec Baldwin
A Los Angeles trial attorney, David Ring, spoke with People about the possible criminal or civil charges that could await Baldwin following the police investigation into the deadly incident. “Based on what we know now,” Ring explained, “it doesn’t seem like Alec Baldwin is the focus of any criminal case because he was handed a gun and he was told it was a cold gun, meaning that someone has looked at it and [found] there’s no ammunition in it.”
Ring added, “And I think he has the right to rely upon that, to assume that it also is cold.” While Ring said he didn’t believe Baldwin has any “criminal culpability” in the actual shooting of Hutchins, he added that the actor could possibly face criminal charges since he is one of the producers on the Western film.
“There’s certainly a chance that the authorities say this was such a dangerous operation that whoever’s in charge, including the producer, are somehow criminally liable,” Ring continued, though he added, “That’s a much more difficult case to prove. We’re talking about intent.”
What One Criminal Defense Attorney Says
Concerning the potential charges that could be brought forth, Albuquerque criminal-defense attorney Erlinda Johnson told the publication that involuntary manslaughter could be on the table. “Whoever handles the firearm has a duty to check it for any live rounds,” Johnson insisted, adding, “there’s a lot of civil liability here. It’s going to be a nightmare for [people involved with the movie].”
Ring agreed that civil liability will “no doubt” affect Baldwin, who will almost certainly be named in a wrongful death lawsuit if Hutchins’ family decides to file one. “He’s absolutely going to get named in any wrongful death lawsuit. You just have to show that there was negligence that led to the shooting, and it’s a much lower standard than a criminal case,” Ring remarked. “Obviously there’s negligence [in this case] and it just depends on who was negligent. But ultimately the production company is in charge. It happened on their watch.”
Baldwin wouldn’t be the only one named in such a suit, should it be filed, Ring explained. “Anyone who should have been in charge is going to get named in a wrongful death lawsuit.”
Baldwin’s First Public Remarks Following Tragedy
Alec Baldwin made his first public comment about the tragic accident on Friday via Twitter. He wrote, “There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours.” He continued, “I’m fully cooperating with the police investigation to address how this tragedy occurred and I am in touch with her husband, offering my support to him and his family. My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna.”
Investigation Still Ongoing, Nothing Ruled Out
It is still too early for charges to be filed, police sources have said, as the case is still being investigated. In a press conference members of the Santa Fe County law enforcement community said Baldwin is “an active part of this investigation,” adding that he has been “cooperative.” The DA on the case, Mary Carmack-Altwies, said “No one has been ruled out,” in regards to the possible charges, but didn’t go any further, as the investigation is still ongoing. We will be continuing to monitor and provide updates as they become available.