What's Next for Alec Baldwin After FBI Says He Pulled Trigger: Expert

This week, the FBI concluded that actor Alec Baldwin must have pulled the trigger of a prop gun that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins last year, and a legal expert has speculated what could happen next for the actor and the investigation.

On October 21, 2021, a prop gun being handled by Baldwin discharged on the set of the movie Rust, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, and injuring director Joel Souza. Baldwin has consistently stated that he didn't pull the trigger on the prop gun.

The recent FBI analysis of the revolver held by Baldwin during the rehearsal suggested it was in working order and would not have discharged unless it was fully cocked and the trigger was pulled.

Special Agent Jose Cortez announced that the FBI did three accidental discharge tests of the gun used by Baldwin to determine if it could have fired without a trigger being pulled.

Alec Baldwin
Alec Baldwin poses at the opening night of the new play 'Hangmen' on Broadway at The Golden Theatre on April 21, 2022 in New York City. Bruce Glikas/Getty/WireImage

The report's findings led to Baldwin receiving much backlash on social media Monday.

Jason Lampert, a litigation partner at Salzano Lampert & Wilson, LLP, believes that prosecutors have several options now that the Baldwin investigation is nearing its conclusion.

"They can continue to work with Baldwin's attorney and have Mr. Baldwin proffer, or if the prosecutors believe they have enough evidence to proceed with an indictment, they can move forward with a grand jury proceeding," Lampert told Newsweek.

Additionally, the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator stated in a report Monday that the fatal film-set shooting was an accident.

This report concluded that there was "the absence of obvious intent to cause harm or death" and stated that there was "no compelling demonstration" that the firearm was intentionally loaded with live rounds on the set.

Meanwhile, the discrepancy between Baldwin's story and the FBI's findings "screams consciousness of guilt" says Bradford Cohen, a criminal lawyer and licensed firearms instructor.

"Common gun safety in any circumstance, let alone pointing a firearm and pulling the trigger, is to check the firearm," Cohen told Newsweek.

"Actors don't suddenly become less responsible because they are actors. If this was a rap video, charges would have already been filed."

Alec Baldwin "Rust" shooting investigation nears end
Alec Baldwin is pictured left on December 09, 2021, in New York City. Halyna Hutchins is pictured inset on January 19, 2018, in Park City, Utah. The police investigation into the fatal accidental shooting of cinematographer Hutchins is nearing its end, it has been announced. Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images;/Mat Hayward/Getty Images for AMC Networks

Baldwin's lawyer, Luke Nikas, has said that the FBI report has been "misconstrued."

"The critical report is the one from the medical examiner, who concluded that this was a tragic accident," Nikas said in a statement shared with Newsweek. "This is the third time the New Mexico authorities have found that Alec Baldwin had no authority or knowledge of the allegedly unsafe conditions on the set, that he was told by the person in charge of safety on the set that the gun was 'cold' and believed the gun was safe."

Nikas added: "The FBI report is being misconstrued. The gun fired in testing only one time—without having to pull the trigger—when the hammer was pulled back and the gun broke in two different places. The FBI was unable to fire the gun in any prior test, even when pulling the trigger, because it was in such poor condition."

Detectives are now reportedly waiting to receive and review phone records, according to NPR, before the case file is forwarded to the district attorney for final decisions regarding charges.