Comedian Bill Maher has speculated that overzealous COVID precautions on the set of Alec Baldwin’s Rust might have led to the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
Maher sensationally defended Baldwin in his manslaughter case, while joking on set about probably more concerned about germs than guns.
Baldwin is set to stand trial after he accidentally shot and killed Hutchins, 42, when he was unknowingly handed a gun with live ammunition on the set of Rust in October 2021.
He won his first legal challenge last week after the special prosecutor involved in his case resigned, though he added there was a “total disregard for basic security protocols” that led to Hutchins’ death.
Maher made his comments about the case during the Sunday edition of his Club Random podcast in which he interviewed TMZ founder Harvey Levin.
Maher speculated that the crew members on the set of Rust were more concerned about germs than weapons when cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was fatally shot.
Levin kicked off the conversation by saying, ‘The Alec Baldwin case is bullshit. B ***** it, ridiculous processing where they’re just grabbing headlines. It is scandalous.
Maher responded: ‘We almost always agree, which is great. And I said the same. I mean, like, I would put it this way.
‘Do you think Alec Baldwin shot this cinematographer on purpose? If not, then what are we talking about.
He then added: “Alec Baldwin is not the same as getting drunk, where you have guilt.”
Levin agreed, saying that the gunsmith responsible for loading the gun with live ammunition should take most of the blame.
‘By the way, what I think happened was that they were so worried about the damn COVID masks. That’s my theory,’ said Maher, 67.
‘I’m just getting this out of my ass. But it could be true… I think, you know, everyone, it’s so typical of how America reacts to everything: bad.
‘You know, always afraid of the wrong things, and they could have been so apoplexic about all of COVID.
“And these germs on their set who therefore forgot about the bullets and the gun.”
Baldwin faces two counts of manslaughter after he fatally shot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. He is pictured after being questioned about the shooting in October 2021.
Halyna Hutchins, a 42-year-old married mother of a young son, died at a hospital in New Mexico after the accidental shooting.
An aerial shot shows the film Rust set on October 23, 2021
He then added: “I mean, if I were rewriting this as a play, that’s what I would do, to make it clear what I think the United States does when faced with crisis.”
As the film’s producer, Baldwin faces two counts of manslaughter.
He was holding the gun that killed Hutchins and also wounded director Joel Souza.
Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the on-set gunsmith, is also charged with two counts of manslaughter.
If Baldwin is convicted, he could face up to 18 months in prison.
However, if convicted on the manslaughter and firearms enhancement charges, he faces up to five years in prison.
The trial will begin on May 17 and continue until February 21, 2024.
Special counsel Andrea Reeb resigned from the trial last week, scoring a legal victory for Baldwin.
Last week, the case made headlines again after Andrea Reeb, the special prosecutor involved, announced that she was retiring from her position.
It’s something Baldwin’s team had lobbied for, as they claimed her role as a Republican lawmaker meant she had a conflict of interest.
It has become clear that the best way I can ensure justice is served in this case is to resign so that the prosecution can focus on the evidence and facts, which clearly show complete disregard for basic security protocols leading up to the death. from Halyna Hutchins,’ he said.
“I will not allow questions about my performance as a legislator and prosecutor to cloud the real issue at hand.”