Jan 23, 2023
Alec Baldwin Facing Involuntary Manslaughter Charges in ‘Rust’ Shooting Transcript
Prosecutors announced the actor and the film’s armorer will each face involuntary manslaughter charges for the 2021 fatal on-set “Rust” shooting. Read the transcript here.
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George Stephanopoulos (00:00):
It wasn’t in the script for the trigger to be pulled.
Alec Baldwin (00:04):
Well, the trigger wasn’t pulled. I didn’t pull the trigger.
George Stephanopoulos (00:06):
So you never pulled the trigger?
Alec Baldwin (00:07):
No, no, no, no, no. I would never point a gun at anyone and pull a trigger at them. Never. Never. That was the training that I had. You don’t point a gun at somebody and pull the trigger.
Speaker 3 (00:14):
That was Alec Baldwin, of course, in his own words, to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos saying he did not pull the trigger in the 2021 fatal shooting of a cinematographer on the set of his movie, Rust. Welcome back, everyone, to GMA3.
Speaker 4 (00:27):
Well, now the Oscar nominated actor and the armorer from the set will be charged with involuntary manslaughter according to Santa Fe officials. Joining us today, our ABC News contributor homicide defense attorney and host on the Law in Crime Network, Brian Buckmire and ABC News contributor, Mike Muse. Thanks to the both of you for being with us.
Brian Buckmire (00:43):
Speaker 3 (00:43):
Mike Muse (00:43):
Speaker 4 (00:45):
All right, Brian, so we’ll start with you. Two counts of involuntary manslaughter for Baldwin and two counts for Hannah Gutierrez Reid, the armorer on the set. Are you surprised that both faced the same level of charges?
Brian Buckmire (00:57):
I am. I would’ve expected that the armorer would’ve actually gotten the charges and not Alec Baldwin. Because when we talk about involuntary manslaughter, we’re talking about negligence, that you didn’t do your job or have a level of care that caused someone else to die. Alec Baldwin might wear two hats, actor and directly here, but I would’ve thought the person who prepared the gun would’ve faced charges and not the actor.
Speaker 3 (01:18):
Mike, let’s bring you in. The DA telling ABC News’s, Lindsay Davis, that the set was not run well, it was not safe. Of course, this is all what the DA is saying. When you heard about these charges yesterday, how surprised were you? What were your initial thoughts?
Mike Muse (01:33):
I was shocked. Even including the state news made from the DA about the set was not safe, that doesn’t fall responsibility of the actor. That falls on responsibility of the assistant director who actually took a plea deal. The assistant director’s in charge of the safety of the set. Also, to the assistant director is the one who called out cold gun to Alec Baldwin indicating that there was no live ammunitions within that space. Also, to the other part is the armorer is the one who’s in charge of all making sure the safety and protocols in there that there is no live ammunition, but there are dummy ammunitions that are there. So the fact of they’re blaming this on the actor doesn’t really make any sense. One would assume, as the actor, that it is safe.
Speaker 4 (02:11):
Now, Baldwin’s attorney released a statement saying, quote, we want to put it up for our viewers, “Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun or anywhere on the movie set. He relied on the professionals with whom he worked, who assured him the gun did not have live rounds. We will fight these charges and we will win.” An FBI forensic report from last year, Brian, showed that the gun could not be made to fire without a pull of the trigger, and you say the trigger will prove some type of negligence.
Brian Buckmire (02:37):
Yeah, this is what it’s all going to come down to, because it’s what steps did you take? Right? While he’s talking to George and saying, “I didn’t pull the trigger,” the thing that sticks out to me is his training, because that’s what’s going to come down to this whole case. What training did you receive? What steps did you take? Mike’s talking about the cold part. That’s another part of his training. He’s being alerted, you’re safe, you’re good. Now, if the FBI tests this gun and says, “This could not have happened but for the pull of the trigger,” that’s damning for him. But if, like in the interview, says, “I just pulled the hammer back and it went on its own as defective,” that could help his case in proving this wasn’t negligence.
Speaker 3 (03:09):
Let’s talk about SAG-AFTRA. That is, of course, the Actor’s Union. They released a statement yesterday in support of Baldwin after the charges were announced. They said, “The prosecutor’s contention that an actor has a duty to ensure the functional and mechanical operation of a firearm on a production set is wrong and uninformed. Firearms are provided for their use under the guidance of multiple expert professionals.” Mike, it sounds like he will have at least some support in Hollywood. But how do you think all of this is going to affect his career? He’s obviously a huge movie star.
Mike Muse (03:39):
He is. But really quickly before I go to how it’s going to impact that. I think it’s really interesting that SAG made that statement, because recently the union, such as SAG, and studio executives came together to really examine what is called Safety Number One. It’s a bulletin that they have. In bulletin number one, it goes to the use of firearms and ammunition. In that, it was really interesting why Alec Baldwin, he keeps saying, “I didn’t pull the trigger,” part of Safety Number One says that you never place your hand on the trigger until it’s time to shoot. So I think that is rationale of why he keeps emphasizing that going to Safety Number One bulletin. How this will impact his career going forward is yet to be determined. I think the more that the industry comes out to support him to say that we don’t believe he’s at fault with that, I think he’ll be fine. Now, if a conviction does get handed down to him, I think we have to examine that later, depending on how long he gets. If it’s five years, then he’ll be out of Hollywood for a while. But if no conviction, I actually think, listen to that SAG quote, he will have support going forward. So it might not impact him too much.
Speaker 4 (04:36):
Speaking of a conviction, Brian, involuntary manslaughter, that’s a series charge there. What are they facing right now?
Brian Buckmire (04:42):
Yeah, so there are two different types of involuntary manslaughter there. In one, he’s facing 18 months. In the other, there’s an enhancement because he’s using a weapon or a gun, and that’s five years. But as a defense attorney, you see three different defendants, now one already taking a plea, he took a suspended sentence, meaning he’s not going to go to jail but has six months of probation. What the other defense attorneys for the other two would do is say, “Hey, if this assistant director got six months and this person is one who,” as Mike is saying, “supposed to say cold and all these other things, then my person shouldn’t get jail time.” So they’ll try to pin that off the others.
Speaker 3 (05:14):
Wow, really fascinating. So many questions a lot of people still have, so we’ll have to see what happens, I guess.
Brian Buckmire (05:20):
Yeah. Very fascinating.
Mike Muse (05:21):
Speaker 3 (05:21):
Thank you both so much, ABC contributors, Brian Buckmire and Michael Muse. Thank you for joining us today to talk about this.
Speaker 4 (05:28):
Good to see you guys.
Brian Buckmire (05:28):
Thank you. I like the colors, too.
Speaker 4 (05:29):
Yeah. We got coordinated. R.
Speaker 3 (05:29):
See. All in purple.
Mike Muse (05:29):