FBI Report Casts Doubt on Baldwin's Trigger Claim

Actor says he never pulled it in cinematographer's death, but tests suggest that's impossible
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 15, 2022 11:35 AM CDT
FBI Report Casts Doubt on Baldwin's Trigger Claim
Alec Baldwin speaks on the phone outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office in Santa Fe, NM, in October, soon after the shooting.   (Jim Weber/Santa Fe New Mexican via AP)

The investigation into exactly what transpired before Alec Baldwin accidentally killed a cinematographer on set is ongoing, but a new FBI report casts doubt on one element of Baldwin's account. The actor told ABC News definitively last year that he never pulled the trigger of what he was told was a "cold gun" without live ammo. "I would never point a gun at anyone and pull the trigger at them, never," Baldwin told George Stephanopoulos. "The trigger wasn't pulled." A new FBI forensic test obtained by ABC suggests that's impossible, however.

The agency tested the same type of .45-caliber revolver that killed Halyna Hutchins and concluded that it "could not be made to fire without a pull of the trigger," according to the FBI report cited by ABC. The testing covered scenarios in which the weapon was fully cocked, as well as quarter- and half-cocked. (Baldwin has acknowledged that he cocked the weapon.) In no scenario could a bullet be fired without a trigger pull. The FBI report has been turned over to the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office, which is conducting a criminal investigation into the fatal shooting.

The New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator has previously ruled the death to be an accident. "Review of available law enforcement reports showed no compelling demonstration that the firearm was intentionally loaded with live ammunition on set," said the office. An attorney for Baldwin says this conclusion is the one that matters. "The critical report is the one from the medical examiner, who concluded that this was a tragic accident," Luke Nikas tells CNN. (More Alec Baldwin stories.)

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