Hollywood actor Alec Baldwin’s decision to sit down with George Stephanopoulos following the fatal “Rust” set shooting was a massive mistake, according to Fox News contributor Leo Terrell.
“One of the biggest mistakes Alec Baldwin made was to go on George Stephanopoulos’ program and say he didn’t pull the trigger. That was a lie,” Terrell told “The Faulkner Focus” on Thursday. “I guarantee you that’s going to come back to haunt him.”
Terrell said Baldwin and the set armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed both had an “affirmative duty” to inspect the gun that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and is the reason their conduct has risen to a level beyond simple negligence. The two were charged with involuntary manslaughter on Thursday in the deadly incident.
He also asserted that the Gutierrez-Reed cannot escape her “sky-high” duty to collect and handle weapons on the movie and ensure the safety of cast and crew members.
Terrell added that both the Gutierrez-Reed and Baldwin had to be charged together, not one or the other, and predicted a legal battle between the two defendants over who was ultimately responsible for Hutchins’ death.
New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies announced charges in the death of Hutchins on Thursday.
Baldwin was charged with involuntary manslaughter, according to the district attorney. Gutierrez-Reed was also charged with involuntary manslaughter.
Before announcing the decision, the district attorney’s office spent time reviewing a comprehensive report submitted by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office.
Hutchins died when a gun Baldwin was holding fired, while practicing a scene on Oct. 21, 2021. The group had been rehearsing in a small church on the Bonanza Creek Ranch set.
The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department has spent the last year investigating how live rounds made it onto the movie set. Armorer Guiterrez-Reed and assistant director Dave Halls were the only other crew members believed to have handled the gun.
In December 2021, Baldwin gave his first sit-down since the Oct. 21, 2021, shooting on the set of the Western film. The 63-year-old told ABC’s Stephanopoulos that he did not pull the trigger on a prop gun he was holding on the New Mexico film set.
Fox News legal analyst Mercedes Colwin said it was clearly a difficult decision for the prosecutor, noting Baldwin’s clear remorse over the accident.
“But the prosecutor said what you did was criminally negligent, and it resulted in the death of a person. End of story,” Colwin said.
Legal experts previously said Baldwin should not have done the televised interview, noting that his remarks could be used against him by investigators but not aid his defense. Baldwin said at the time that he didn’t expect to be criminally charged in the shooting and also denied pulling the trigger.
“I’ve been told by people who are in the know and even inside the state that it’s highly unlikely I would be charged with anything criminally,” Baldwin said.
He said he was not responsible in the interview, saying he had been told he’d been handed a “cold gun” without live ammunition. He added he might have committed suicide if he truly thought he bore culpability for the tragedy.
“Someone put a live bullet in a gun, a bullet that wasn’t even supposed to be on the property,” Baldwin said. “Someone is responsible for what happened, and I can’t say who that is, but I know it’s not me.”
Rachel Fiset, the managing partner of Los Angeles-based Zweiback, Fiset & Coleman, told Fox News that while Baldwin felt it was necessary to speak out following the tragedy in a public format, his comments about the active investigation could potentially be used against him.
Like Fiset, litigator Molly Mauck of New York City-based law firm Romano Law told Fox News that the televised interview was a risky move that could cause more harm than good as the investigation continues.
Fox News’ Stephanie Nolasco and Lauryn Overhultz contributed to this report.