Will Alec Baldwin Face The Law For Prop Gun Incident ? Find Out


An accident struck the movie industry when a star Alec Baldwin accidentally discharged a prop gun on the cinematographer.

One of the  assistant director on set unwittingly handed Baldwin a loaded weapon and told him it was safe to use in the moments before the actor fatally shot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins  on the New Mexico set, court records released Friday show. Director Joel Souza   who was standing behind her, was wounded.

The news sent shockwaves through the entertainment industry. But what are the legal ramifications of such an incident?

"Proper compliance with safety issues on the set will be a large, general question that will be asked that may have a huge impact on any potential legal matters that may come from this case," says Rachel Fiset, managing partner of Los Angeles firm Zweiback, Fiset & Coleman. "And then on the worst side of the scale, you could have potential criminal issues that would range from criminal negligence to intentional acts that may have caused this tragedy."

According to legal experts, law enforcement's investigation into the incident needs to yield more details before questions about liability and criminal charges can be answered with certainty. But here are some things they say to expect.

Will anyone be criminally charged?

There are criminal issues outside of who discharged the weapon, says Rahmani.

According to an affidavit obtained by the Associated Press, several crew members handled the firearm before it was handed to Baldwin and deemed a "cold gun," or a weapon without live ammo that was safe to use. "Assuming it was just incompetence or a colossal mistake, that rises to the level of criminal negligence, which would be sufficient for a manslaughter prosecution," Rahmani says, adding that if charges are brought, the person who loaded the gun could be prosecuted, as well as anyone who knew the gun contained live ammo.

Will Baldwin be sued?

Even though experts say criminal charges are unlikely for Baldwin, he'll still likely face legal repercussions, says Custodio, adding that a civil lawsuit will likely come from Hutchins' family and name Baldwin, the film's production companies, the prop master and other producers involved in the making of "Rust."

"I guarantee there's going to be a few lawsuits, and lawsuits are going to name him in both senses — as the actor and as a producer," Custodio says. "And it's in the producer sense where I think there's a big potential for liability."

According to Fiset, damages in a civil lawsuit would include any future profits Hutchins could have brought to her family that are now lost due to her death. And because Hutchins had such a promising film career, this estimate could amount to millions.

"Given what a star she was becoming, it becomes a very expensive civil suit when you think, sadly, from the dollars and cents perspective of the damages caused by her loss to her family," Fiset says.

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