Alec Baldwin’s Defense Concedes He may have pulled trigger on Rust set – Daily Frontline

Alec Baldwin’s Defense Concedes He may have pulled trigger on Rust set
– Daily Frontline

On Wednesday, during the opening statements of Alec Baldwin’s manslaughter trial in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Baldwin’s defense attorney, Alex Spiro, acknowledged for the first time that Baldwin may have pulled the trigger on the set of “Rust,” leading to the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. However, Spiro argued that this does not equate to criminal negligence.

Since the incident, Baldwin has consistently claimed he did not pull the trigger. This assertion has been central to his public defense, aiming to absolve him of responsibility for Hutchins’ death. Prosecutors, who find Baldwin’s claim “absurd on its face,” have made significant efforts to disprove it.

In his opening statement, Spiro contended that pulling the trigger on a movie set does not inherently make Baldwin guilty of homicide. “On a movie set, you’re allowed to pull the trigger,” Spiro stated. “Even if he intentionally pulled the trigger… that doesn’t make him guilty of homicide.”

The prosecution plans to focus on proving Baldwin did pull the trigger. Special prosecutor Erlinda Johnson stated that multiple firearms experts would testify that the gun was functioning correctly at the time of the shooting. The prosecution will also present testimony from Alessandro Pietta, the gun’s manufacturer, who will discuss his quality control measures.

“The evidence will show… this gun functioned and worked just fine,” Johnson asserted. Additionally, the prosecution is expected to call a crew member who witnessed Baldwin pull the trigger.

The defense has not fully conceded that Baldwin pulled the trigger, maintaining that the gun may have misfired. Baldwin’s lawyers will argue that an FBI examiner destroyed the gun, preventing conclusive evidence of its functionality. Spiro also mentioned the gun’s “hair trigger” and the possibility of accidental discharge if the hammer drops on a live primer.

Spiro acknowledged that jurors might conclude Baldwin did pull the trigger but urged them to acquit him regardless. “If he did, of course, that would only make his statement incorrect,” Spiro said. “That would mean he misspoke.” He emphasized that the critical issue is the presence of a live bullet in the gun, which violated film industry safety standards.

“He did not know, or have any reason to know, that the gun was loaded with a live bullet. That’s the key. That live bullet is the key. That is the lethal element,” Spiro argued. He suggested that the focus on disproving Baldwin’s denial was a distraction from the core issue of the live bullet’s presence.

In contrast, the defense for Hannah Gutierrez Reed, the “Rust” armorer, took a different approach. Her lawyer, Jason Bowles, argued that she was a “scapegoat” for others’ mistakes and did not concede any potential wrongdoing on her part. Despite this, Gutierrez Reed was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in less than three hours. Whether Spiro’s strategy will yield a different outcome for Baldwin remains to be seen.

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