Former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) blasted the prosecutor who charged actor Alec Baldwin for involuntary manslaughter by suggesting the charges were politically motivated.
Cuomo remarked that while people often believe prosecutors are “above politics,” he believes they aren’t.
“Prosecutors are politicians,” he argued on his “As a Matter of Fact…With Andrew Cuomo” podcast, adding that some may also say “‘Well, they’re not supposed to take politics into account.’ [but] prosecutors are politicians and they are human beings.”
Baldwin and armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed were each charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter last week for the shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the movie “Rust” in 2021. Baldwin’s legal team has maintained that he had no reason to believe that there was live ammunition in the gun or anywhere else on the set.
Cuomo, who claimed he is friends with Baldwin, said the Santa Fe district attorney is charging Baldwin to gain publicity instead of evaluating the situation based on “facts,” according to the video of his podcast 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, and then lose the case.”
He said the second option is to evaluate the case based off of facts, and suggested not charging Baldwin. He said that while the shooting death was a “tragedy,” it was “not a crime.”
“Or you could say, ‘On the facts, on the merits, 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 added.
The former governor said he believes the second option would be “the right position here.”
“Now, it would have been the more difficult position politically for the prosecutor because you don’t get all the publicity of charging Alec Baldwin, you don’t get all the publicity of the trial,” he said. “And you probably take criticism for people who say, ‘Well, the prosecutor didn’t want to do it because it was Alec Baldwin.'”
Cuomo resigned in August 2021 after a report from state Attorney General Letitia James (D) accused him of sexually harassing at least 11 women during his time as governor. He has since criticized James’ work, saying that the investigation was “shoddy” and the outcome was already “predetermined.”
The former governor portrayed himself as a victim of political attack with an ad blitz launched in early 2022. One ad in particular states “Political attacks won. And New Yorkers lost a proven leader.”
He also filed an ethics complaint accusing Jones of misconduct in September, saying that she “cynically manipulated” the investigation during her time as the state attorney general.
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