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Experts Identify Critical Error in Alec Baldwin ‘Rust’ Trial Defense

Alec Baldwin could become “a liability” for his own defense in the upcoming trial related to the tragic incident on the set of “Rust,” according to legal experts. However, compromised key evidence might favor his case, experts tell Fox News Digital.

In 2021, a gun Baldwin held discharged while on the New Mexico set of the Western film “Rust,” resulting in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza. Baldwin faces an involuntary manslaughter charge and could be sentenced to up to 18 months in prison if convicted. Jury selection is set to start on Tuesday, July 9.

Legal experts are divided on whether Baldwin should testify. Todd Spodek, a lawyer who previously represented Genevieve Sabourin—convicted of stalking Baldwin—warns that Baldwin’s volatile nature could jeopardize his defense if he takes the stand.

“It’s incredibly risky if he testifies,” Spodek told Fox News Digital. “He’s always having outbursts. He’s someone who isn’t in control of his emotions and is extremely volatile.”

Spodek recalls grilling Baldwin during the Manhattan trial, where the actor vehemently denied anything beyond a professional relationship with Sabourin. “My experience with him was when you get under his skin, you get him worked up, he lashes out,” Spodek noted. “He’s a liability and jurors could see him as reckless and impulsive.”

Another defense attorney, Mark Bederow, agrees with Spodek’s assessment. Bederow adds that prosecutors will attempt to undermine Baldwin by highlighting the conflicting accounts he has provided to the media and police about the incident. “There is a real risk that a New Mexico jury may find him insincere and insufferable,” Bederow commented.

One crucial aspect of the case involves the damage to the weapon. Baldwin argued in a televised interview that he cocked the gun’s hammer but did not pull the trigger, suggesting that it fired accidentally. However, prosecutors assert the gun could not have discharged without Baldwin pulling the trigger. The defense contends that the FBI destroyed the Colt .45 during testing, making it impossible to verify if a defect could have caused a malfunction.

“The prosecution’s destruction of the gun could be extremely helpful to the defense,” Bederow said. “It’s never a good look for the prosecution to be so reckless when that is precisely what they are accusing the defendant of being.”

Additionally, the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, who is serving an 18-month sentence following her conviction on the same charge, might help Baldwin’s defense. Jurors found her reckless for placing a live round in the gun Baldwin fired. Bederow expects Baldwin’s team to argue that Gutierrez Reed was responsible for ensuring the firearm’s safety and passing it to the actor only when it was safe.

“The defense will argue she was responsible for keeping the firearm safe and passing it to the actor only when safe,” Bederow explained. Los Angeles-based entertainment attorney Tre Lovell also believes Baldwin’s defense could be strengthened by Screen Actors Guild rules, which outline the duties of workers on a Hollywood set.

Prosecutors argue Baldwin should have checked if the gun was loaded, but Lovell said SAG protocols assign that responsibility to the armorer. He emphasized that on a movie set, everyone has specific roles, including the armorer, who serves as the weapon expert. “But on a movie set it’s different and everyone has a job and duty,” Lovell noted. “It would be a violation of SAG rules for an actor to be responsible for gun or set safety.”

Baldwin’s status as a producer on the film might also come into play. However, during a pretrial hearing, Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer ruled that evidence of Baldwin’s producer role could not be introduced by the prosecution. “I’m having real difficulty with the state’s position that they want to show that as a producer he didn’t follow guidelines and therefore, as an actor, Mr. Baldwin did all these things wrong,” the judge remarked during the hearing.

This legal battle centers not only on Baldwin’s actions but also on the regulatory framework governing film sets and the possible reliance on compromised evidence. As the trial unfolds, these intricacies will undoubtedly play pivotal roles in determining the outcome.

Source: Fox News Digital