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Alec Baldwin 'Rust' shooting trial: Female-heavy jury may be more 'sympathetic' to defense, expert says

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Alec Baldwin’s female-heavy jury at his involuntary manslaughter trial – featuring 11 women and five men – could both help and hurt the embattled actor, experts told Fox News Digital.

Maryland-based lawyer Randolph Rice said both prosecutors and defense attorneys sometimes tailor their tactics to a jury’s gender breakdown.

Rice said Baldwin’s lawyers may well stress his profound grief after fatally shooting cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the Western film “Rust” in 2021 in order to tug at heartstrings.

“Maybe the defense is trying to latch onto the emotional portion of this,” Rice said. “That he was so consumed with grief and that he couldn’t commit any crime because of his reaction at the scene.”

FATAL TIMELINE IN ALEC BALDWIN ‘RUST’ SHOOTING THAT LED TO ACTORS INVOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER CHARGE

Photos of a distraught-looking Baldwin appearing to cry on a cellphone call after the accidental shooting were featured prominently online.

The jury, which includes four alternatives, heard opening statements and testimony from four witnesses on Wednesday. 

Attorneys also note that female jurors may chafe at Baldwin’s gruff personality and the fact that the victim in the case was a mother.

Rice also highlighted the presence of Baldwin’s wife, Hilaria, and brother Stephen in the front row during Wednesday’s opening statements. After court broke for the day, the couple strolled up Santa Fe’s ritzy East San Fracisco Street, popping into shops with their 20-month-old daughter in tow. 

ALEC BALDWIN’S ‘RUST’ ARMORER REQUESTS PRISON RELEASE DAYS BEFORE ACTOR’S INVOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER TRIAL

Alec Baldwin and his wife Hilaria Baldwin leave District Court
Alec Baldwin and his wife Hilaria Baldwin leave District Court

Stressing his sprawling family ties, Rice said, appears strategic.

“The defense may try to use to their advantage the fact that he has eight children, seven with Hilaria and a grandchild,” he said. “Females may be sympathetic to a father and grandfather along with his fame.”

“The defense may try to use to their advantage the fact that he has eight children, seven with Hilaria and a grandchild.”

— Maryland-based lawyer Randolph Rice

Attorney Elizabeth Bunker countered that female jurors could recoil at the aggressive posture assumed by Baldwin’s attorney, Alex Spiro, and Baldwin’s abrasive persona.

The actor’s counsel grilled Santa Fe police officer Nicholas Lefleur on the stand Wednesday in an attempt to highlight what he deemed to be shoddy investigative work.

Alec Baldwin embraces his brother, actor Stephen Baldwin
Alec Baldwin exits the courtroom after his hearing in Santa Fe County District Court

“Sometimes being too aggressive on cross can backfire more with a female-heavy jury,” Bunker said. “It could go either way.” She also noted that Baldwin’s reputation as gruff could hurt him more with women than men.

Stressing that the trial hinged largely on Baldwin’s handling of the gun that killed Hutchins, “a female-heavy jury might not have as much firearm knowledge,” she said.

“Men are a little more black and white, and they might say, ‘Of course, you pulled the trigger.’”

Baldwin has repeatedly said he cocked the gun but did not pull the trigger.

ALEC BALDWIN’S CLAIM HE DIDN’T PULL TRIGGER ON ‘RUST’ SET QUESTIONED BY SHERIFF: ‘GUNS DON’T JUST GO OFF’

Alec Baldwin sits in Rust church

But entertainment lawyer Tre Lovell said gender is unlikely to weigh heavily on a verdict.

“Overall, for this case, I don’t see how gender is all that significant,” he told Fox News Digital. “What is significant is how the jurors feel about Alec Baldwin and what their feelings are in terms of guns and being able to rely on experts.” 

The actor accidentally shot and killed Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza on Oct. 21, 2021, after the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, accidentally loaded a live round into the revolver.

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins poses in a leather jacket.

Prosecutor Erlinda Johnson argued in opening statements that Baldwin “violated the cardinal rules of firearm safety” by pointing a real gun on set.

Spiro countered that Baldwin was told the gun was cold and that on a movie set it is the duty of the armorer, not the actor, to ensure the weapons are safe.

“On a movie set, safety has to occur before a gun is placed in an actor’s hand,” the attorney told jurors in his opening. 

The trial resumes Thursday.

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