Legal Experts Accuse Alec Baldwin of Using Wife and Baby for Courthouse ‘Stunt’ That Might Have Backfired

It was showtime outside of a New Mexico courthouse on Tuesday when actor Alec Baldwin arrived for jury selection in his involuntary manslaughter trial, but many gave the performance a thumbs down.

In October 2021, on the set of his film “Rust,” Baldwin fired the gun that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza. He has been charged with involuntary manslaughter. Baldwin has said publicly he never pulled the trigger on the gun.

In April, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the film’s armorer, was sentenced to 18 months in prison after she was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in connection with a live round being in a gun that should not have had real ammunition.

On Tuesday, Baldwin and his wife, Hilaria, arrived at the Santa Fe courthouse where the trial is being held in separate vehicles.

Hilaria Baldwin exited the vehicle in which she arrived, showed her baby to the assembled media, and then handed off the infant to a nanny who left as she went into court with her husband.


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Writing on EmilyPostsNews, Emily Miller said the stunt “backfired badly.”

By heading into court as the baby was crying, she wrote, “They left the impression of uncaring parents who used their child as a prop. The stunt was a failure.”

Others said the attempt to make the actor seem more human was not successful.

“The bringing of the child is unusual because it’s not really a great place for a child,” divorce attorney Christopher Melcher told Fox News. “And you’ve got to think, if they have care with a nanny, why bring the child other than for show?”

Although images of the couple and child spread online, Melcher said the reaction to them might not be as warm and fuzzy as Baldwin wanted.

“There’s many people who have to go to court, and they have no child care, and they’re stuck bringing their kid to court,” he said. “That happens quite often.


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“But, you know, this is not the situation with the Baldwins. They could have afforded child care. A courthouse is not really a place for a child. So, it does seem to be strategic.”

New Mexico-based attorney Elizabeth Bunker noted that it is an accepted strategy to “humanize someone that’s on trial, to show that they’re more than this incident that’s under a microscope.”

But she said too much showbiz ruins the effect.

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“On the flip side, doing too much empathy-garnering can backfire,” Bunker said. “If there’s any sense of desperation, my experience is that, naturally, jurors will reject anything inauthentic and too performance-like.”

New York-based lawyer Mark Bederow said indulging in performance art is a risk.

“Why would you have the baby come out of the SUV just to hand the baby off as though it’s a prop? It could be perceived as a contrived way to garner public support and positive coverage,” he said.

As noted by CBS News, opening statements in the trial were scheduled for Wednesday after jury selection was completed on Tuesday.

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