January 3, 2022

Fox News – Rachel Fiset says Alec Baldwin’s interview following ‘Rust’ shooting ‘was a mistake,’ legal experts say: It ‘may backfire’

12/3/2021 – Fox News

Legal experts believe Alec Baldwin should have given his televised interview a second thought before speaking out.

On Thursday night, the actor gave his first sit-down since the Oct. 21 shooting on the set of the Western film “Rust.” The 63-year-old told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that he did not pull the trigger on a prop gun he was holding on a New Mexico film set when it went off, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

Authorities have said Baldwin was told the gun was safe to handle but continue to investigate how a live round ended up in the weapon.

Rachel Fiset, the managing partner of Los Angeles-based Zweiback, Fiset & Coleman, told Fox News that while Baldwin felt it was necessary to speak out following the tragedy in a public format, his comments about the active investigation could potentially be used against him

“Alec Baldwin is clearly devastated by the tragic accidental killing of Ms. Hutchins,” she said. “He likely feels compelled to speak publicly as a result, and he is sympathetic at times as it relates to the trauma he is experiencing. He is trying to direct the narrative in a way that shifts blame for this tragedy away from him. [However], it is never a good idea to speak publicly during an active investigation and this case is no different.”

“Any statements made on television during an investigation could result in unintended admissions that could be used against him later at trial or could prejudice the prosecutor against him,” Fiset pointed out. “If statements relating to facts turn out to be disproved, it will hurt his credibility with law enforcement or at trial. His admissions that someone is to be blamed – but not him – could also potentially be used against him later in either a civil or criminal case if it is determined that he had some responsibility for set safety as a major producer of the film.”

During the interview, Baldwin said, “I didn’t pull the trigger. I would never point a gun at anyone and pull the trigger at them. Never.”

At one point, Baldwin broke down in tears as he described Hutchins, 42. Director Joel Souza was also wounded.

In response to a question about how a live round ended up on the set, the star replied, “I have no idea. Someone put a live bullet in a gun, a bullet that wasn’t even supposed to be on the property.”

Former assistant U.S. attorney Neama Rahmani, president and co-founder of Los Angeles-based West Coast Trial Lawyers, called the interview “a mistake.”

“Baldwin says he didn’t pull the trigger, but that doesn’t absolve him from civil and potential criminal liability,” he explained. “Baldwin’s finger should have been nowhere near the hammer or the trigger, even if we are to believe the gun misfired. Nor should Baldwin ever point a firearm at another human being, even if cinematographer Halyna Hutchins told him to and he believed it wasn’t loaded or had blanks.”

“From a legal perspective, Baldwin’s interview was a mistake,” he shared. “His statements can and will be used against him in the civil lawsuits and any potential criminal prosecution. And Baldwin’s attorneys can’t use the interview to help him because his answers are hearsay. At best, the interview was a calculated public relations move that may backfire.”

Investigators have described “some complacency” in how weapons were handled on the “Rust” set. They have said it is too soon to determine whether charges will be filed, amid independent civil lawsuits concerning liability in the fatal shooting.

Los Angeles personal injury attorney Miguel Custodio, the co-founder of Custodio and Dubey LLP, wondered if Baldwin’s interview meant that new updates from the investigation will be announced soon and Baldwin’s team is looking to get ahead.

“Alec Baldwin has made a super risky move by agreeing to this interview, especially because he’s taking an absolute position on how the gun was fired,” he said. “The legal strategy behind this high-profile broadcast was likely done with a lot of thought, including what the potential ramifications could be and how this starts to frame the debate… the timing of this interview leads me to believe we’re going to hear some results of the investigation soon, and they want to get ahead of it – but not too far ahead of it that empathy for Baldwin starts to dissolve.”

Los Angeles criminal appeals attorney Matthew Barhoma agreed, stating that Baldwin is “saving face” and “fighting for his career.”

“Whoever comes out first with the narrative can control the narrative the most and here you see Baldwin really trying to distance himself from blame,” he said. “… He says that somebody will face the consequences in civil court and he’s absolutely right about that. He is going to be jointly and severally liable and it might be him to pay the price. In other words, if it’s determined Baldwin is less liable than other defendants, but he’s in a position to pay the judgment and the others aren’t, Baldwin could be on the hook for just about the whole amount. It will also depend on how much the production’s insurance policy will cover.”

Despite Baldwin facing backlash on social media following the sit-down, veteran Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Lara Yeretsian, who has represented Michael Jackson and Scott Peterson among other clients, said the actor came across as “very genuine, honest and natural.”

“He did not seem to hold back or to be hiding anything,” she pointed out. “He answered the tough questions, including the toughest question of why he didn’t check the gun. He has done several things in this interview that I thought really helped him. He had solid answers and reasonable explanations on tough questions, he spoke extremely highly of the deceased, Halyna Hutchins, he was appropriately emotional without overdoing it and he was earnest in his desire that law enforcement finds out how the live bullet made it on the set.”

Hutchins, who has been described as a gifted filmmaker among her peers, is survived by her husband and their son.

You can read the entire Fox News article at https://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/alec-baldwin-interview-rust-shooting-mistake-legal-experts

 

November 24, 2021

How Will Travis Scott and Kylie Jenner’s Brands be impacted by Astroworld tragedy? Experts weigh in.

November 24, 2021 – Yahoo News
Experts weigh in on how Travis Scott and Kylie Jenner could be financially impacted following the Nov. 5 Astroworld tragedy.
(Photo: Getty Images for Netflix)

Kylie Jenner returned to social media for the first time since she was criticized for her handling of the Astroworld tragedy while partner Travis Scott remains out of the public eye. It has been less than three weeks since the rapper performed during the deadly concert that killed 10 people and injured hundreds of others.

Scott, 30, has been named in multiple lawsuits totaling more than $3 billion dollars and they continue to pile up. But what exactly is the rapper on the hook for? One legal expert says the case will “come down to what he knew regarding safety issues, when he knew the issues and what he did about them.”

“If Scott actively disregarded known risks to his concertgoers either before the show or during it, he could be on the hook for negligence, at the least, and the millions of dollars in damages that could result from the suits,” attorney Rachel Fiset, managing partner of Zweiback, Fiset & Coleman, tells Yahoo Entertainment. “Incidents at Scott’s prior concerts will be a factor in plaintiffs’ claims that Travis Scott should have done more to alleviate the risks at his show, but the investigations into what happened to cause the horrific tragedy at Astroworld is still ongoing and Scott’s knowledge appears to be yet unknown.”

Read the entire article here

 

November 5, 2021

Yahoo News – Rachel Fiset comments on Alec Baldwin’s Video

November 5, 2021 – Yahoo News

“‘Rust’ Shooting: Alec Baldwin is ‘hurting himself in unimaginable ways,’ says crisis PR expert”

Various experts weigh in on Alec Baldwin's handling of Rust shooting.
(Getty Images)

 

It’s been two weeks since Halyna Hutchins was killed on the set of Rust, and there are still questions about how such a tragedy occurred. Alec Baldwin, star and producer of the Western indie film, fired a gun during rehearsal that contained a live round. The actor initially issued a statement saying that he had “no words to convey my shock and sadness” about the accident. Baldwin’s remarks about the tragedy have been sparse, but telling, since Oct. 21, the day of the events.

According to crisis and PR expert Eric Schiffer, Baldwin “broke the essential rules of managing a crisis: don’t do any further damage.”

…One legal expert agrees that Baldwin is not helping himself by “trying to control the narrative of this case.”

“While it is very difficult to sit back while involved in an active investigation, he would be best served to stop speaking directly about it and stop reposting,” says white collar criminal defense attorney Rachel Fiset, managing partner of LA-based law firm Zweiback, Fiset & Coleman. “It does not help his case and it makes any helpful message he reposts look biased towards him or planned, which makes potentially helpful information less credible to law enforcement.”

Read the entire article here.

October 27, 2021

NewsNation Prime – Rachel Fiset on Possible Criminal Charges in Deadly ‘Rust’ Movie Shooting

October 27, 2021- News Nation Prime

Investigators said Wednesday that there was “some complacency” in how weapons were handled on the movie set where Alec Baldwin accidentally shot and killed a cinematographer and wounded another person, but it’s too soon to determine whether charges will be filed.

Rachel Fiset joins NewsNation Prime to discuss what charges could be filed.