Miguel Custodio on Alec Baldwin's 'Rust' Interview: "Baldwin has made a super risky move"

Custodio & Dubey LLP logo

Alec Baldwin during ABC News interview

It’s been over a month since Alec Baldwin fatally shot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza with a prop firearm on set of the movie ‘Rust’ in New Mexico. While no charges have been brought in the case as the police investigation is still underway, Baldwin may have proved to be his own worst enemy in last week’s ABC News interview with George Stephanopoulos.

In his first interview speaking on the tragedy, Baldwin made the statement that would soon make headlines: “I didn’t pull the trigger.”

Miguel Custodio, accident and personal injury lawyer and co-founder of Custodio & Dubey LLP, was recently quoted in Insider, Yahoo Entertainment and Fox News on why this interview may have put Baldwin in a precarious position: “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,” he said. “The legal strategy behind this high-profile broadcast was likely done with a lot of thought, including what the potential ramifications could be and how this starts to frame the debate.”

Although this interview has raised eyebrows from legal professionals, Custodio suspects that Baldwin’s legal team is preparing for upcoming announcements about the investigation: “The timing of this interview leads me to believe we’re going to hear some results of the investigation soon, and they want to get ahead of it – but not too far ahead of it that empathy for Baldwin starts to dissolve,” Custodio said.

Other than Baldwin, who could be held responsible? When looking for who to blame, the public has pointed fingers at ‘Rust’ armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed and assistant director Dave Halls.

According to BBC, firearm safety on film sets is the responsibility of the property master or armorer. Their job entails securing the weapons when not in use, instructing actors on proper and safe usage and loading and checking the firearms before and after each scene. In this case, a production source told The Daily Beast that the assistant director should have verified whether the gun was loaded or not, especially since he was the one who handed it to Baldwin.

When news of the accident broke in late October, Custodio was quoted in several outlets, including USA Today and The Daily Beast, on who may be charged in this case: “It’s likely they’ll go after Baldwin the actor, Baldwin the producer, the film company and the prop manager. And remember, director Joel Souza also was injured, and many others on set also are traumatized and affected by this.”

Aside from the speculation that has filled the news for the past few weeks, the overarching issue that this devastating accident is drawing attention to is the use of firearms on film and TV sets. With a lack of specific state or federal regulations, the Associated Press states that it’s up to the production’s crew to follow industry standards and ensure guns are used safely.

In California, Senator Dave Cortese said he would introduce legislation banning live ammunition on movie sets in the state. At the same time, some industry professionals are instead calling for stricter enforcement and regulation of industry standards to avoid rare instances like this.

See full coverage on Fox News, Insider and more, which you can find here on Custodio & Dubey LLP.

Halyna Hutchins

Categories