Several legal experts have spoken up about why they believe actor Alec Baldwin was finally criminally charged for a fatal shooting that occurred last year on the set of his film, “Rust.”
Specifically, they say Baldwin’s mouth got him into trouble.
“He should never have spoken out after the incident,” said Susan M. Tellem, a senior partner at Tellem Grody PR. “It set the stage for future legal problems, and here we are.”
“His training has dictated that he would get out in front of this, would get his viewpoint out in the court of public opinion, would get out all his statements, his interviews, and show the world that this was just a horrible accident,” said David M. Schwartz, a partner at the New York law firm Gerstman Schwartz LLP. “In the world of court and criminal law, this is a real mistake.”
Meanwhile, Renato Mariotti, a partner at the law firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner and former federal prosecutor, said: “If Alec Baldwin said something to the public that was helpful to him, he could not introduce that statement at trial.
“It would be hearsay. If the government tried to introduce a statement that it thought was hurtful to him, they could,” Mariotti continued. “It would be considered an admission. What he’s doing is potentially giving the government the ammunition against him.
“Mr. Baldwin should exercise his right to remain silent, which is what he should have done from the beginning,” he told the Washington Post.
Baldwin gave several interviews after the shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and the wounding of an associate producer on the set.
Evan Nierman, CEO of global crisis public relations firm Red Banyan, said: “You can explain what happened. You can provide valuable context. You can make your case. But if you’re not fundamentally willing to accept responsibility, then you don’t bring closure. All you do is spark more discussion.”
“Baldwin made his problem infinitely worse because he was so brazen as to position himself as a victim,” Nierman continued.
Rachel Fiset, a managing partner at the California firm Zweiback, Fiset & Zalduendo, added: “The deflection of blame that was constantly coming out of his mouth, even as he struggled to deal with this accident — because I think everybody believes that was an accident — probably just rubbed the prosecutors the wrong way, because what prosecutors want to see is remorse.
“They want to see that somebody has taken a thoughtful, measured approach to something as tragic as this and that it would never happen again,” Fiset noted.
Previously, Baldwin said in an interview: “I’m fully cooperating with the police investigation to address how this tragedy occurred and I am in touch with her husband, offering my support to him and his family.
“My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna. Someone put a live bullet in a gun, a bullet that wasn’t even supposed to be on the property,” Baldwin told George Stephanopoulos.
“Someone is responsible for what happened, and I can’t say who that is, but I know it’s not me. I would never point a gun at anyone and pull the trigger at them. Never,” he added.
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