Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said actor Alec Baldwin did not commit a crime in the fatal on-set shooting of a cinematographer and said manslaughter charges were brought because prosecutors are political figures.
In his podcast “As a Matter of Fact…With Andrew Cuomo,” the Democratic former political star said Santa Fe, New Mexico, prosecutors brought criminal charges for publicity’s sake rather than the “facts” of the case.
“This was a terrible, terrible tragedy on many levels, and just a really terrible accident, but there was no intent to hurt anyone. And at the essence of this crime is intent. And it’s unfortunate it’s terrible, but it’s not a crime,” he said, describing what he thought prosecutors should have thought of the case.
That didn’t happen, he said on his podcast, a video of which was posted to YouTube on Thursday.
“This conundrum happens for prosecutors all the time,” he said. “You can either charge Alec Baldwin and get a lot of headlines and look like you’re tough, that you’re going to take on the powerful Hollywood big shot.”
However, Mr. Cuomo said, doing that means a prosecutor will “then lose the case.”
Mr. Baldwin and armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed have been charged with involuntary manslaughter in the 2021 shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins while they making the film “Rust” in New Mexico.
His lawyers have said Mr. Baldwin did not have good reason to know that the gun had live ammunition in it.
Mr. Cuomo suggested that prosecutors were driven to bring charges from fear of looking like they were letting a celebrity off.
“You don’t get all the publicity of charging Alec Baldwin, you don’t get all the publicity of the trial” by not bringing charges, Mr. Cuomo said, but “you probably take criticism for people who say, ‘Well, the prosecutor didn’t want to do it because it was Alec Baldwin.’”
Mr. Cuomo has a generally low view of prosecutors.
He resigned as governor in 2021 after state Attorney General Letitia James accused him of sexually harassing more than 10 women as the Empire State’s chief executive.
Mr. Cuomo called the investigation “shoddy” and that his resignation means that “political attacks won.”
He filed an ethics complaint against Ms. Jones last fall, accusing her of misconduct and manipulating the investigation.
“Prosecutors are politicians,” Mr. Cuomo said on the podcast released Thursday.
He said many people think “well, they’re not supposed to take politics into account,” but “prosecutors are politicians and they are human beings.”