Nolte: Alec Baldwin Made One Huge Mistake – He Talked

Twitter/ABC News
Twitter/ABC News

Alec Baldwin could face 18 months in prison if convicted of felony involuntary manslaughter and did himself no good jabbering on and on about the case.

In October of 2021, Baldwin accidentally shot two people on the set of Rust, a Western he was shooting in New Mexico.

Holding a period firearm he believed was safe, the gun went off, injuring the film’s director and killing 41-year-old cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

It was a terrible, preventable tragedy, an accident that never should have happened. Also culpable per the Santa Fe District Attorney’s office is the movie’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who has also been charged with involuntary manslaughter. In addition, assistant director David Halls has already reached a plea agreement for negligent use of a deadly weapon. If the judge approves the deal, his prison sentence will be suspended, but he will be on probation for six months.

Obviously, some 15 months after the fact, the local district attorney is taking the death of a human being seriously. Personally, I don’t see the logic behind charging Baldwin. He was told the gun was safe or “cold” in industry terms. He certainly had no intent to harm anyone. Could he have done more to ensure the gun was safe? Yes, of course. Nevertheless, it was not at all unreasonable for Baldwin to believe he had nothing to worry about after being handed a firearm that he was told passed inspection by an armorer and assistant director.

Outside of not inspecting the gun himself, however, the dumbest thing Baldwin did was talk.

Right away, Baldwin made the biggest mistake you can make in a criminal investigation: he talked to the police.

You never-ever-ever-ever talk to the police without your attorney present. “I’m sorry, Detective, but I’m not going to talk to you without my attorney.” That’s what you say—every time. Someone breaks into your house, and you shoot him; that’s what you say. You stop a mass shooter at your local Walmart with a gun of your own; that’s what you say. No matter how innocent you might believe you are, no matter how righteous you believe you acted, you never talk to the police without your attorney.

Listen, I’m not anti-cop, but I’m also not one of those “thin blue line” cultists. My personal dealings with the police — the usual number of accidents, traffic tickets — have been positive. But the police are not your friend. When a crime happens, they are not there to protect your rights. They have an agenda of their own. Your attorney’s agenda is YOU. The fact that Baldwin allowed himself to be taken into an interrogation room without counsel was idiotic.

The only thing I would have said in that interrogation room was, Lawyer.

To compound that error, Baldwin talked to the media!

Who was advising this guy, Daffy Duck?

You’ve just shot and killed someone, and you’re talking extemporaneously to the media? You sit down for two hours  — two hours —  with George Stephanopoulos? You sit down with CNN?

From a strictly human point of view, I can empathize with the pressure Baldwin must have felt to get his side of the story out, hoping he could return to a normal life. The problem is that the potential for downside — being convicted of a felony — is not worth any potential upside.

But even from a public relations standpoint, Baldwin’s interviews were a category-five disaster. Claiming he never pulled the trigger and saying he did not feel culpable in any way was as tone-deaf as you get.

I’m not to blame. The gun just went off.


You cannot fire a gun without pulling the trigger.

Everyone knows that, including the prosecutor. And in these situations, the prosecutor is the only audience that matters.

The 64-year-old Baldwin is now left with two choices: He can 1) spend millions on attorney’s fees, not to mention precious months or even years of his life, fighting these charges, or 2) he can work out a plea deal to avoid jail time, but likely find himself a convicted felon.

Maybe he’d still be in this fix if he had kept his mouth shut. But when you have a wife and kids to provide and care for, that’s not the kind of “maybe” you fool around with.

One thing that is not a “maybe” is that the prosecutor has all of Baldwin’s statements to hold against him in front of a jury.

Bottom line:

You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be held against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.

Years back, when I still watched procedurals like Law & Order, and the show wanted me to boo and hiss the smug rich guy who refused to say anything without his attorney, I didn’t boo or hiss. I thought That’s a smart man.

Never talk to the police without an attorney. Never.

Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook Page here.


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