A forensics expert examined the gun that Alec Baldwin accidentally discharged on the set of the film “Rust,” killing cinemaphotographer Halyna Hutchins, and determined that the actor must have pulled the trigger. Although previous charges against Baldwin were dropped in April because the weapon was found to have been modified, the latest findings could lead to new charges.
Baldwin has consistently denied that he fired the gun:
Since the fatal shooting of the cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, in October 2021, Mr. Baldwin has said that he had pulled the hammer back and let it go just before the gun discharged, maintaining that he did not pull the trigger. The revolver was supposed to be loaded with dummy rounds, inert cartridges used to make it appear loaded on camera, but it turned out to be loaded with a round of live ammunition.
The shooting also wounded the director of the film, Joel Souza.
Despite Baldwin’s denials, forensics expert Lucien C. Haag found that the old-fashioned Pietta revolver could only have been fired if someone exerted around two pounds of pressure on the trigger.
“Although Alec Baldwin repeatedly denies pulling the trigger, given the tests, findings and observations reported here, the trigger had to be pulled or depressed sufficiently to release the fully cocked or retracted hammer of the evidence revolver,” Mr. Haag wrote in the report, which was released through a public records request. He also included photos of Mr. Baldwin handling a revolver on set earlier in filming, highlighting the actor’s finger on or near the trigger as he was cocking the gun.
Special prosecutor Kari Morrissey said Wednesday that new charges are being considered against Baldwin but that a final decision has not been made. The FBI examined the gun in 2022 and came to the same conclusion:
The new report by the special prosecutors’ experts echoes a similar conclusion as the FBI forensics analysis, which was released in August 2022.
The FBI performed an accidental discharge test and found that the gun used in the fatal shooting of Hutchins “could not be made to fire without a pull of the trigger,” according to the report obtained by ABC News.
The armorer on the set, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who loaded the revolver that day, was charged with involuntary manslaughter and evidence tampering in the case. She pleaded not guilty and is scheduled to stand trial in December.
Baldwin’s behavior has been questionable since the shooting, as he has repeatedly cast himself as the victim and at times been stunningly callous toward the victims’ families. He consistently makes the story all about him:
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It will be interesting to see if this new report is enough for prosecutors to move forward with the case. Baldwin’s lawyers have maintained that because the gun was modified, there is no way to prove he fired it. Los Angeles-based personal injury lawyer Miguel Custodio doesn’t think the evidence is all that compelling:
This expert’s report does bolster the prosecution’s case a bit. But it is problematic that he had to reconstruct the gun with new parts.
Once you start tinkering with evidence like that, it’s easy for Alec Baldwin’s defense to say, ‘”The gun didn’t work properly to begin with and the FBI damaged it. Putting it back together again doesn’t prove anything.” And it’s true, whenever you alter evidence, you have problems.
That being said, the more evidence that comes in, the more problematic Baldwin’s denials become.