Alec Baldwin is charged — again — with involuntary manslaughter

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Double jeopardy at this point?


I keep getting the impression that Baldwin probably could have avoided the criminal charges for Ms. Hutchins’ death if he’d been smart enough to keep his damn mouth shut beyond a statement of condolences issued through his publicist.


Yeah i don’t know what’s up with that. I suppose its maybe because it was dismissed rather than him being exonerated of any guilt with a verdict, not a lawyer though so…


I hate that about our legal system. You can’t even express sorrow without it being interpreted as remorse for a guilty conscience.


The FBI accidentally destroyed the main piece of physical evidence. There is no case left.

This looks like playing up to national media.

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I don’t think he’s in trouble because he confessed to feeling sorrow. I think he pissed off a lot of people by going on TV in the immediate aftermath of the shooting to talk about how nothing that happened was his responsibility, and that public anger helped motivate prosecutors who wanted to make a name for themselves taking him down.


Disclaimer: I have no facts aside from what I’ve read in the media. Here is my speculation: Prosecutor wants to make headlines, grand juries almost always provide an indictment. Good (maybe) for the prosecutor’s career. Bad for everyone else.

It’s honestly hard to imagine how Baldwin could be directly responsible. Indirectly - (i.e. pushing safety boundaries on set to save money or make deadlines) sure, but I find it very hard to think he would have been willing to even handle the gun if he’d known it was loaded with a bullet.

And if pushing safety boundaries to cut costs is criminal (maybe it should be) then there are a lot of corporate bigwigs I’d like to see in the docket. How many people are estimated to have died as a result of VWs ‘dieselgate’ nonsense? More locally, how many people do HMOs kill each year by fucking around with their health care?


Given the makeup of the current Supreme Court, maybe it’s just “anything goes.”

He did insult Dear Leader after all.


Jeopardy doesn’t attach until a jury is impaneled and sworn in. So jeopardy never attached in the first indictment.


It would be more accurate to say that grand juries typically do whatever the prosecutor wants them to do. Sometimes, that’s actually to not return an indictment, but more often it’s to return one. Grand jury hearings are very one sided affairs. The defendant doesn’t get to present a defense. And the rules of evidence that apply in a trial don’t apply here, so yeah, it’s not really surprising that this grand jury returned an indictment. As far as the prosecutor’s motives, I doubt they would do this if they didn’t think they could get a conviction. Getting an indictment and then losing a high profile case at trial doesn’t typically help one’s career.

They aren’t saying he is. If he were, they would be charging him with murder or voluntary manslaughter.

We’ll just have to wait and see what evidence they have. A lot of this seems to turn on Baldwin’s statement that he never pulled the trigger, and an expert’s report that the gun couldn’t possibly have fired if he didn’t. This is @Brainspore’s point. If Baldwin had kept his mouth shut, he probably wouldn’t have been charged. He appears to have lied. That’s always going to bring extra attention from prosecutors.


It boggles my mind how infrequently people get consequences for lying under oath. Not that this is a good example; he could very well have simply misremembered. He was probably in a state of shock at the time.

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This was a statement he made in an interview with, I think, George Stephanopoulos months later. He was not in a state of shock, and it wasn’t a statement made under oath. Nevertheless, attorneys will always tell their clients to keep their mouths shut when there is the possibility of prosecution or lawsuit. But these guys all have big egos. They think if they just get a chance to tell their side of the story, everyone will believe them and everything will be fine. Sometime today, Baldwin’s lawyer had to summon all of his strength to not tell him “I told you this would happen!”


There was no trial and the previous charges were withdrawn so there’s no jeopardy. The prosecution said before that they were still investigating.


So, the basic gist is that Alec Baldwin the actor is not responsible, but Alec Baldwin the producer is. The person directly responsible is Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, whose ONE JOB was to oversee firearm safety on set, and she fucked the pooch badly enough that she needs to never work again. When the actor picks up a gun, they do so knowing that the armorer has ensured that it’s safe- So again, Baldwin isn’t really responsible for the shooting itself. BUT, as producer, he’s the armorer’s boss- He hired them, they report to him, and he’s ultimately responsible for their work or colossal fuckup thereof.

When filming, they use real guns. They also have rubber (plastic, but they will sometimes call them “rubbers”) guns that are used for most background, set dressing, or action shots, but anything involving a close up, they use the real thing.

There’s two types of ammo- Dummies and blanks. Dummies are real bullets with the powder removed and primer disabled, and they’re used as props (like in a shot where a character is loading the gun). Blanks have the casing, primer, and gunpowder- Every part of the “bullet” but the projectile itself, so they flash and go bang. They come in a variety of different strengths, depending on how much effect they need for a particular shot. You never have real, live ammo anywhere on set for what should be very obvious reasons. You also methodically check the gun before using blanks, because if there’s something stuck in the barrel, the gunpowder in the blank propels it the same as an actual bullet- Like happened to Brandon Lee.

The armorer’s job is to store and maintain the firearms on set, prep dummies and blanks, and check, double check, and triple check exactly what is or isn’t loaded into a functioning prop gun before handing it to an actor to use in a scene. Actors can’t be assumed to know any more about firearms than the cast of Gray’s Anatomy does about internal medicine. That’s the whole reason for having an armorer- To have someone on set that’s the expert in charge of that particular safety issue.

This fucking moron took the same guns they were filming with and used them to go target shooting with some of the crew, and brought live bullets onto the set. Live bullets exactly like the dummy bullets they use. That’s not just negligent and stupid, it’s keeping-your-rat-poison-in-a-soda-bottle-in-the-fridge level negligent and stupid. She should do some time for that. Baldwin’s liability again isn’t for pulling the trigger, but for being in charge of the person who declared it safe to do so- Which… There’s a lot to say about that, but it’s probably a civil, rather than criminal issue.


No. Double jeopardy requires a trial to have started. No trial, no double jeopardy. The if the statute of limitations hasn’t passed, he can be charged again if this is dismissed.

The gun should have been unloaded, but also, the part he was doing did not require him to pull the trigger. The gun may have been damaged, but only in the process of proving that the gun required the trigger to be pulled to do so. It isn’t destroyed any more than a blood sample that is tested is destroyed.

A large part of Canada has the right idea there:


I would have thought that everybody involved–the production company, the armorer, etc.–would have had insurance policies up the wazoo that would cover them in cases like this, so when things go to trial the insurance companies would have to deal with it.

Oh, yeah- for the civil suit, everyone’s insured for everything. The question is whether the negligence was criminal. I don’t know whether you’re US based or not, but our legal system is divided into criminal cases where you can be sent to jail, have property seized, or face other penalties; and civil cases where the worst they can do is order you to pay money. Again, I’m not a lawyer, but I’m pretty confident saying the armorer should be criminally liable while the producer is only civilly liable.

BUT, I think there is a much deeper, more nuanced, and far more difficult conversation that needs to be had over broader issues regarding people who are hiring the people who are liable. There’s a LOT of layers of ethics, law, and responsibility to unpack.

I don’t think hiring someone who turns out to be dangerous for those around them should be a prosecutable issue per se, unless they’re well-known for being unsafe. It’s relatively easy to deceive someone at a job interview after all.

However, generally allowing a culture of lax safety on set should definitely be on the producer. That includes not firing people contributing to that culture (or at least disciplining them and instituting extra controls if necessary).

But whether that happened in this case (i.e. whether he allowed the bad safety culture to flourish or tried to curb it) is a bit harder to establish, so it probably makes sense to have a trial to do so.