Attorney says Alec Baldwin could 'absolutely' could face criminal charges

From NEWS.YAHOO.COM

The accidental shooting on the set of the movie "Rust" has dominated headlines since the incident occurred Thursday.

One name has been attached to the story more than any other: Alec Baldwin.

The 63-year-old Oscar nominee was rehearsing a scene for the Western film when he accidentally discharged a prop gun, resulting in the death of crew member Halyna Hutchins. Director Joel Souza was wounded but has since been released from a hospital.

Authorities have since launched an investigation into the incident, with which Baldwin has said he is cooperating "fully."

Details of the investigation are sparse and as rumors swirl, many are wondering whether Baldwin could end up being charged with a crime over the incident.

Fox News spoke about the incident with Chicago-based attorney Andrew Stoltmann, who said the shooting could "absolutely" lead to criminal charges against the "Beetlejuice" star.

"He needs to start thinking like a potential defendant instead of just somebody who made a tragic mistake," the attorney warned. "There are crimes that cover this sort of situation depending on his level of culpability."

Not much is currently known about the incident, including whether Baldwin himself had any level of responsibility to test or otherwise inspect the firearm, making it hard to pin down any potential charges the star could face.

"There are literally about a hundred different issues that would need to be resolved, but there is something called negligent homicide," Stoltmann explained. "I'm certainly not saying he's going to be charged, but what I am saying is anytime somebody shoots another human being – even on accident, even in self-defense – the police and eventually prosecutors look very, very carefully at what happened."

Many are also questioning whether the movie's props team potentially bears some responsibility, though Stoltmann said that "further decisions with respect to any criminal liability would be made at another time" after Baldwin has been investigated.

"If somebody just handed [Baldwin] the gun and said, ‘This is a prop gun,’ then obviously he has no criminal liability," the attorney continued. "But the $64,000 question is: What role did he have with respect to preparing this gun? Were there any testing processes or procedures that he skipped or didn't partake in? At this point, of course, it's just too early to say since we don't know answers to questions like that."

Christopher Melcher, of California's Walzer Melcher, told Fox News that the props department – or whoever is in charge of it – "... (Read more)

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