The actor and producer conducted an impromptu press conference roadside, during which he said he is cooperating with police and has been speaking to them every day regarding the fatal on-set shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. Baldwin maintained that he could not speak on the active investigation.
“It’s an active investigation in terms of a woman died. She was my friend,” Baldwin said. “We were a very, very well-oiled crew shooting a film together, and then this horrible event happened.”
Fox News spoke to two experts, an attorney and a PR crisis manager, who weighed in on Baldwin’s presser and how it might affect his image.
“Obviously, it wasn’t pre-planned,” said Lara Yeretsian, a criminal defense attorney based on the West Coast, who is not involved in the case. “It’s very raw, very real, very emotional. It’s not necessarily what a lawyer would want the client to do. But can I tell you it just shows how upset he is, how this has affected his life, how he’s lost a friend. It’s real and harrowing.”
Yeretsian said from the video that “you could see his wife [Hilaria] is also upset, very upset to the point where she can’t control herself because clearly, her husband’s going through something very traumatic.”
The attorney also maintained that “there’s nothing that [Alec] said here that could hurt him” in a potential criminal case if charges were to be brought against him. As of yet, there have been no charges filed against anyone.
Yeretsian also admitted that if she were to rep Baldwin, she wouldn’t have advised speaking to the press in this way.
“No lawyer is going to be happy with the fact that his/her client did that. But at the same time, I think at the end of it, when you look at it, you think, ‘No, I don’t think he hurt himself from the criminal and a PR perspective,”‘ she said.
Meanwhile, Eric Schiffer, chairman of Reputation Management Consultants, told Fox News that Baldwin’s using the phrase “well-oiled crew” is “going to come back to haunt him.”
“They’re going to use that against him, especially if they’ve got evidence otherwise. … If crew members walked out because of safety issues and problems, then I’m sure they’re going to use it against [the producers] now,” he said. “It’s possible that that’s what he thought he had, and the issues were minor. We don’t really know. And maybe that’s why he’s using that term or that phrase, but time will tell.”
Schiffer also interpreted Baldwin’s roadside presser differently as well.
“It’s a bizarre and chaotic moment between him and his wife and the press along the road,” he explained.
“He is breaking one of the most important rules of managing a crisis, which is don’t do any further damage when you are blatantly telling an untruth to the public at a time where your own credibility [is an] issue,” Schiffer opined. “You’re hurting yourself in unimaginable ways, especially when the public right now is wondering why an adult would think it would be okay to aim a gun at anyone.”
He advised Baldwin, “Keep yourself away from the media. Make sure you’re doing whatever you can behind the scenes away from the cameras to help the family of those that you’ve hurt and allow the investigation to reveal what it will go. I would not [advise] putting [Baldwin] in front of cameras at this point. He made one statement that was enough.”
Baldwin discharged a gun on the set of “Rust” in New Mexico on Oct. 21, fatally shooting cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza. Assistant director Dave Halls had told Baldwin that the gun was a “cold gun,” meaning “not hot” or unloaded, after armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed had placed the gun on a cart on set.
Prop master Sarah Zachary also handled the gun before the fatal shooting, according to a search warrant executed by the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office.
The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department is still investigating the incident and said it was “too early” to comment on potential charges during a press conference Wednesday. However, Sheriff Adan Mendoza has since referred to the department’s efforts as a “criminal investigation.”
“I’d be careful using the word ‘accident,'” Mendoza said during an appearance Thursday on “Fox & Friends.”
“This is obviously a tragedy, and it was avoidable, so right now it’s a criminal investigation.”
Fox News’ Lauryn Overhultz contributed to this report.