Alec Baldwin Speaks in Public for First Time on Shooting, and Jonathan Turley Has Thoughts

Alec Baldwin. Credit: NBC News screenshot

Alec Baldwin has now spoken for the first time about the shooting. It was definitely an unusual interview.

The actor was in Vermont yesterday, apparently being pursued in a car by the press. He pulled over on by the side of the road and agreed to speak with them — if they would thereafter give him some space.


Baldwin got out of his car with his wife Hilaria, and then insisted that he couldn’t make a statement because it was an “active investigation,” and the sheriff’s office had told him he wasn’t allowed to speak about it.

He then preceded to talk about the case for several minutes.

Baldwin claimed that they had a “very, very well oiled crew shooting a film together, and then this horrible event happened.” He termed the shooting a “one in a trillion event.” He said that the film would not continue.

The interview got intense at one point; he was even short with his wife when she sought to say something.

“But remember, how many bullets have been fired in films and TV shows in the last 75 years. This is America,” Baldwin said. “How many bullets have gone off in movies and on TV sets before? How many, billions in the last 75 years?

And nearly all of it without incident.

So what has to happen now is, we have to realize that when it does go wrong and it’s this horrible, catastrophic thing, some new measures have to take place. Rubber guns, plastic guns, no live — no real armaments on set.

That’s not for me to decide. It’s urgent that you understand I’m not an expert in this field, so whatever other people decide is the best way to go in terms of protecting people’s safety on film sets, I’m all in favor of and I will cooperate with that in any way that I can.”


But the facts and the reports don’t suggest a “very well oiled crew” or even a “one in a trillion event.”

Indeed, reportedly, they had another incident of accidental discharges of a gun a few days before involving Baldwin’s stunt double. Rather than “well-oiled,” the reports suggest a set plagued with safety issues as well as reports of target shooting with the prop guns for fun on breaks, including on the morning of the shooting.

In the hours shortly before the shooting, part of the crew even walked off the set in part because of safety concerns. The police are already saying that there were suspected live rounds on the set that shouldn’t have been there.That appeared to contradict the statement from the armorer that they wouldn’t have live rounds on the set.

Shockingly, the assistant director, Dave Halls, also admitted he hadn’t checked all the rounds in the gun. The Rust Movie Productions company said they had not been formally apprised of any complaints by the employees on set.

The police have now explained there was also a fourth person in the chain of custody of the gun in question — prop master Sarah Zachry. During an appearance on Fox on Thursday, Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza also made some other significant comments, “I’d be careful using the word ‘accident,'” Mendoza said. “This is obviously a tragedy and it was avoidable, so right now it’s a criminal investigation.”


I have some thoughts, and the first one is that while it’s possible that the sheriff told him not to talk about the case, I think it unlikely. It’s likely that his attorney told him not to talk about the case. While prosecutors and police often make the comment that they can’t talk about active investigations, the people involved generally are free to talk about the facts — unless there’s some sort of secret investigation. That doesn’t seem to be in play here.

But then if his attorney told him not to talk (as any good attorney should have done), why is he talking? He may think he’s staying nothing important about the case, but he’s not the judge.

Obviously, he’s now committed himself to these “well-oiled crew” and “one in a trillion” comments, for example. Depending on how the facts shake out and because he’s one of the producers here, he could face potential civil and criminal issues. Not a very smart move. I understand that he wanted the press to back off his family, but still not a good idea.

George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley agrees.


But given how things have unrolled in this whole case, it’s been a mess from the word go. So, maybe it follows that Baldwin wouldn’t be following the advice he was given.



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