Alec Baldwin gave an interview saying he never pulled the trigger in 'Rust' shooting. Here's why experts say it was a 'super risky' legal move that he could regret.

·3 min read
Alec Baldwin
Alec Baldwin attends a news conference at United Nations headquarters in 2015.Seth Wenig/AP Photo
  • Alec Baldwin gave his first sit-down interview this week since the fatal "Rust" shooting last month.

  • He told ABC News he never pulled the trigger on the prop gun that police said discharged while he was holding it.

  • No one has been charged in the shooting, but legal experts said the interview was likely a "mistake" for Baldwin.

Alec Baldwin gave his first sit down interview on the deadly shooting on the "Rust" film set this week, but legal experts say it might not have been a smart move for the actor.

Baldwin, who was also a producer on the movie, was holding a prop gun that discharged on set last month, killing the film's cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, and injuring director Joel Souza, according to police reports.

But in his first extensive public comments since the incident, Baldwin told ABC News he never actually pulled the trigger.

"I would never point a gun at anyone and pull a trigger at them," he told George Stephanopoulos in an interview that aired Thursday. "Even now, I find it hard to believe that. It doesn't seem real to me."

Police are investigating the shooting, including how a live round ended up on set, and no charges have yet been brought in the case. But legal experts told Insider the interview was a risky move for Baldwin, who could potentially be criminally charged.

"Alec Baldwin has made a super risky move by agreeing to this interview, especially because he's taking an absolute position on how the gun was fired," Los Angeles personal injury attorney Miguel Custodio said in a statement provided to Insider. He said it was especially risky given the findings of the police investigation are still unknown.

Custodio said the interview was probably conducted with a lot of forethought and that Baldwin's comments could be setting his legal team up to argue Baldwin is the "victim of a rare occurrence" and to shift blame onto the gun supplier or manufacturer.

But Harry Kazakian, a Los Angeles-based private investigator, said in an email to Insider detectives could likely tell if the gun malfunctioned: "That would be easy to figure out based on how resistant the hammer was when cocked, and they would be able to duplicate a misfire. There would be a ton of evidence if it's a malfunctioning gun."

In a statement, former Assistant US Attorney Neama Rahmani, cofounder of West Coast Trial Lawyers, said the interview was a "mistake" from a legal perspective, adding that his remarks will likely be used against him in civil lawsuits or a criminal trial, if that happens.

Baldwin has already been targeted by multiple lawsuits related to the shooting.

Even if Baldwin didn't pull the trigger, Rahmani said, that "doesn't absolve him from civil and potential criminal liability."

"At best, the interview was a calculated public relations move that may backfire," he said.

Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Lara Yeretsian, who has represented high-profile people like Michael Jackson and Scott Peterson, said she thought the interview actually helped Baldwin.

"Baldwin came across as very genuine, honest and natural. He did not seem to hold back or to be hiding anything," she said in a statement, adding that he also seemed "earnest in his desire that law enforcement find out how the live bullet made it on the set."

Have a news tip? Contact this reporter at kvlamis@insider.com.

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