The Santa Fe County district attorney is investigating the fatal shooting on the set of the Western movie set Rust and criminal charges are not being ruled out. “It’s probably weeks, if not months, of follow-up investigation that we’re going to need to get to the point of charging,” district attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies told the New York Times. One person who is unlikely to face a criminal indictment is Alec Baldwin, who fired the prop gun that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza.
“How complicated, as a legal question, does this become if charges are brought and who they’re brought against?” host Anderson Cooper asked CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin during Tuesday’s episode of Anderson Cooper 360. “It’s a very complicated situation,” he replied. “A lot of it has to do, will have to do with state of mind, which is always difficult for prosecutors to show. What did these various people know about the status of this gun at this point? And again, I just want to say at this point, Alec Baldwin looks like, frankly, the least likely person to have any sort of criminal liability, because it’s very hard for me to imagine that he could be expected to know that this was a gun that could have inflicted real harm. Unless evidence comes to show that he had reason to know that, I think he would be criminally in the clear.”
As for the rest of the crew, including the assistant director who reportedly handed Baldwin the gun with “live rounds,” Toobin told Cooper that the first thing the prosecutor will want to know is “who had custody of this gun? Who had access to ammunition? Was there any actual live ammunition on the premises? And who controlled it? And who put it into this gun if, in fact, that’s what happened? Certainly, following the evidence related to the weapon itself will be central to what the investigators have to do.”
You can watch the Anderson Cooper 360 clip above.