Could Alec Baldwin face charges after the shooting of the movie “Rust”? Experts intervene

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The accidental shooting on the set of the movie “Rust” has made headlines since the incident on Thursday.

One name has been attached to history more than any other: Alec Baldwin.

The Oscar nominee, 63, was rehearsing a scene for the film Western when he accidentally discharged a propeller pistol, resulting in the death of team member Halyna Hutchins. Director Joel Souza was injured but has since been released from hospital.

Authorities have since opened an investigation into the incident, with which Baldwin said he was “fully” cooperating.

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Details of the investigation are scarce and as rumors swirl, many wonder if Baldwin could end up being charged with a felony as a result of the incident.

“Level of guilt”

Fox News discussed the incident with Chicago-based attorney Andrew Stoltmann, who said the shooting could “absolutely” lead to criminal charges against the “Beetlejuice” star.

Actor Alec Baldwin accidentally discharged a gun on the set of the upcoming movie
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Actor Alec Baldwin accidentally discharged a gun on the set of the upcoming “Rust” movie, which resulted in the death of a crew member.
(Getty Images)

“He has to start thinking like a potential defendant instead of just someone who made a tragic mistake,” the lawyer warned. “There are crimes that cover this kind of situation depending on his level of guilt.”

“He has to start thinking like a potential accused instead of just someone who made a tragic mistake.”

– Andrew Stoltmann, Chicago lawyer

Andrew Stoltmann, Chicago lawyer.  (photo Stoltmann law)

Andrew Stoltmann, Chicago lawyer. (photo Stoltmann law)

Not much is currently known about the incident, including whether Baldwin himself had any level of responsibility for testing or inspecting the firearm, making it difficult to identify potential charges the star might be at. confronted.

“There are literally a hundred different issues that should be addressed, but there is something called negligent homicide,” Stoltmann explained. “I’m certainly not saying he’s going to be charged, but what I’m saying is that every time someone shoots another human being – even by accident, even in self-defense – the police and possibly prosecutors are looking very, very carefully at what happened. “

“Whenever someone shoots another human being – even accidentally, even in self-defense – the police and possibly prosecutors look very, very carefully at what happened.”

– Andrew Stoltmann, Chicago lawyer

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Many also wonder if the film’s prop crew potentially bears some liability, although Stoltmann said “further decisions regarding any criminal liability will be made at another time” after the Baldwin investigation.

“If someone has just handed over [Baldwin] the gun and said, “It’s a propeller gun,” so he obviously has no criminal responsibility, ”the lawyer continued.“ But the $ 64,000 question is, what role has- he played in the preparation of this weapon? Were there any testing processes or procedures that he ignored or did not participate in? At this point, of course, it’s just too early to tell as we don’t know the answers to such questions. “

The film props department has an eye

Christopher Melcher, of Walzer Melcher in California, told Fox News that the props department – or whoever is responsible for it – “bears most of the blame.”

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, left, was killed in Thursday's incident in New Mexico while director Joel Souza was injured.  He has since left the hospital.

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, left, was killed in Thursday’s incident in New Mexico while director Joel Souza was injured. He has since left the hospital.
(Getty Images)

He said the props team would know if guns on a movie set “pose a danger” to people nearby due to other incidents of actors being killed or injured by guns, let alone common sense”.

“The prop master would know that it is dangerous and should take extreme precautions to ensure that the weapon has been handled correctly, that the actor has learned how to use it, to verify that there is no no bullets in the gun – that they were blank, to ensure that there was a safe distance between the actor and [anyone] who was anywhere near the weapon, ”he explained.

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“All of these precautions would be applied to the actor, to anyone handling the weapon. They would follow these procedures back and forth every time,” Melcher continued. “Failure to do so would certainly lead to a civil suit for damages by anyone injured here, and then possible criminal charges for being so reckless to allow it.” “

“The prop master would know it is dangerous and should take extreme precautions to ensure that the weapon is handled correctly, that the actor has been instructed in how to use it.”

– Christopher Melcher, Walzer Melcher California law firm

He also pointed out that the murky details make it difficult to determine how the potential case might be judged and unfold next.

“Yes [the indcient] was during the shooting of a scene, the props would know exactly how this scene was set up, where everyone stood, the distances that had to be there… ”, explained the lawyer. “Not to do so would be so reckless. that it is not an accident, it is not a mistake. It’s something beyond that because it’s so predictable for someone who knows guns it’s deadly. “

911 audio from Thursday's incident in New Mexico confirmed that the shooting

911 audio from Thursday’s incident in New Mexico confirmed that the “Rust” shooting occurred during a rehearsal.
(NATION INFO via KRQE)

Melcher said “there could be criminal proceedings against the prop master if the gun was fired during a scene.”

911 audio from the incident confirms that the pistol was fired during a rehearsal, which are typically used to examine different camera angles and practice dialogue, all choreography and use of props – raising the question of why Hutchins and Souza were rather in the crosshairs. than looking from the side.

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Further, Melcher said that if Baldwin used the gun as directed, he had “no responsibility” for the incident, but if the gun was handed over to him without checking whether it was loaded, it “would be reckless.” and would potentially make Baldwin “responsible ,.”

Any evidence that Baldwin was “playing” with the gun could also get him in legal trouble, the lawyer said.

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The case will likely evolve slowly, Stoltmann said, predicting that due to its large scale, it could take “at least two months, if not longer” before progress is seen.

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