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Alec Baldwin, 64. was criminally charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of Rust cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, in New Mexico on Oct. 21, 2021. New Mexico First District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies released the shocking charges in a press release today, more than one year after the fatal shooting occurred. The release stated that, for the first charge, the sentence would include 18 months in prison with an additional $5,000 fine. However, according to the DA’s release, the second charge against Alec carries a mandatory five years in jail. HollywoodLife spoke to Criminal defense and appellate attorney, Matthew Barhoma, founder of Barhoma Law and Power Trial Lawyers, who told us in an EXCLUSIVE interview why Alec’s decision to speak out about this over the past year may actually hurt his chances of defeating these charges.
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“Alec Baldwin really thought he wasn’t going to get charged,” said Attorney Barhoma. “He was giving us a reiteration of how the law works, putting together his own statements and homemade videos. Those things could never help him. They can only hurt him,” Attorney Barhoma, who does not work with Alec but is familiar with New Mexico law, said. “They can only be introduced to hurt him. That’s how the evidence code works. I think he’s starting to learn real quick how the repercussions of speaking so loud while under investigation.”
As reported, Halyna was shot and killed at age 42 on the set of Rust by a bullet that was fired from a prop gun. Director Joel Souza was also wounded after the incident but survived. The armorer for the film, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed — whose job duties allegedly included making sure that the gun did not contain live bullets — was also charged. The film’s assistant director, David Halls, reached a plea deal and received a misdemeanor charge of the negligent use of a deadly weapon.
Check out the full interview below to find out why Attorney Barhoma believes the acclaimed actor’s past may come back to haunt him.
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HL: Do you believe that the charges against Alec Baldwin were just? Why or why not?
ATTORNEY BARHOMA: I do believe that they’re the right charges. I think that the prosecution was smart and brought the right kind of charges. The last thing you want is an overzealous prosecution. Manslaughter is all about negligent killings. The fact that we’re seeing manslaughter charges makes a lot of sense. :
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HL: Alec’s lawyers are adamant that they are going to win this case. Do you agree?
ATTORNEY BARHOMA: I think he could put up a plausible defense. The problem with him though is going to be all the notoriety that he gained himself after it. He’s made multiple statements, including even talking about whether he had pulled the trigger. That is going to be a point of contention now for him. Another factor is going to be his likability. I think that his credibility and likability are out the window. It’s been a little bit shattered. From a defense perspective, they are going to have to rebuild a lot. And that can be difficult.
HL: Do you think that the armorer charged will take a plea deal?
ATTORNEY BARHOMA: It is possible. You never know when a plea deal comes about and what the terms of that plea deal are going to be. The New Mexico prosecution might strengthen their own case by just pleading everybody out and making them testify against Baldwin. I mean, they already got one. Yeah, just need another one.
HL: How long will it be before this goes to trial?
ATTORNEY BARHOMA: This has been an investigation that’s been ongoing, so I have no reason to believe that there won’t be a speedy trial. The prosecution brought the right kinds of charges. They’re adamant in their case. And if they get this other plea deal, it’s going to expedite things even more. I think that you’d probably be looking at a verdict in a case like this before the end of the year.
HL: Would it be wise for Alec to take the stand?
ATTORNEY BARHOMA: If this was a self-defense case, he’d really need to take the stand, but this is all about negligence. I don’t think that there’s any contention he may have been negligent so I think taking the stand in and of itself might not be the best course of action for him.
HL: Will he be permitted to work during this process? How about traveling?
ATTORNEY BARHOMA: That depends on the terms of his bond. There is going to be a bond hearing that takes place. I think he’s going to be okay to travel and work. He clearly had a lack of intentionality. This is not like a criminal act where he sought out a killing. With his lack of intentionality, the bond is going to be pretty lenient.
HL: If you were able to give a percentage chance that Alec could be found guilty. Based on your own experience, what percentage would you say?
ATTORNEY BARHOMA: I can’t weigh in on that. But I do think the prosecution’s been smart in bringing the right kind of chares and that makes it much more difficult for him.
HL: How much jail time will he face if found guilty and convicted?
ATTORNEY BARHOMA: This is a manslaughter charge. It is one of the lowest degrees of murder. And there is no intentional factor. When we think about punishment, and how to punish a defendant, we look at their degree of intentionality, and that doesn’t really exist here.
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