Skip to content

Who’s Representing Him in ‘Rust’ Trial?

Alec Baldwin has a high-priced lawyer. More than one, actually. And looks like he’s going to need them.

Despite some previous good news for him, Alec Baldwin is not yet in the clear in the Rust shooting case.

Baldwin’s shooting trial is underway, beginning with voir dire before (optimistically) Wednesday’s opening statements.

Meanwhile, the embattled actor may be paying a tremendous amount for his defense.

Alec Baldwin in court at the Rust shooting trial on July 8, 2024.
Alec Baldwin listens to testimony during a pretrial hearing at the First Judicial District Courthouse on July 8, 2024. (Photo Credit: Ross D. Franklin – Pool/Getty Images)

Alec Baldwin is on trial for the accidental ‘Rust’ shooting death of Halyna Hutchins

In 2021, Alec Baldwin was holding a prop gun while filming Rust in New Mexico. The gun discharged, resulting in injury to director Joel Souza and the tragic death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

Baldwin has pleaded not guilty to the charge of involuntary manslaughter in connection to her death. He has stated that he did not pull the trigger or know that the gun contained live ammo.

If he receives a conviction, he faces up to 18 months in prison.

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed in April of 2024 in court.Hannah Gutierrez-Reed in April of 2024 in court.
Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed looks back at her family members at her sentencing at district court on April 15, 2024. (Photo Credit: Luis Sánchez Saturno-Pool/Getty Images)

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed worked as the armorer on Rust, and was thus in charge of all of the prop weapons on set. Her defense argued that she became a scapegoat for issues beyond her control.

In March, she received a conviction for involuntary manslaughter over Hutchins’ tragic death. She is serving an 18-month sentence while appealing.

The judge has denied her immunity to testify, meaning that she will be unable to answer certain questions as a witness at Baldwin’s trial without potentially incriminating herself. And, of course, that the court cannot compel her to answer certain questions (thank you, Fifth Amendment).

For the trial, Alec Baldwin hired two high-powered lawyers

Alec Baldwin learned of Hutchins’ death during a police interrogation … after what appears to have been an extensive “conversation.” Withholding information to get someone talking on the record is not an uncommon tactic.

Baldwin could have used a lawyer with him at the time to keep this tactic from being effective.

For the trial, he’s not making the same mistake. He has hired two prominent attorneys: Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro.

Alec Baldwin at the courthouse with his lawyers in July 8, 2024.Alec Baldwin at the courthouse with his lawyers in July 8, 2024.
Lawyer Alex Spiro, Alec Baldwin, and lawyers Luke Nikas and Heather LeBlanc participate in a pretrial hearing at the First Judicial District Courthouse on July 8, 2024. (Photo Credit: Ross D. Franklin – Pool/Getty Images)

Luke Nikas is one of Alec Baldwin’s lawyers

Nikas is a Harvard Law School graduate and a partner in one of the world’s largest law firms.

When authorities first announced the charges against Alec Baldwin, Nikas declared that this was a miscarraige of justice.

Nikas’ legal history includes defending former gallery director Ann Freedman in an infamous art forgery case in New York.

Alex Spiro in January of 2023, while representing a man whom some describe as one of the world's worst people.Alex Spiro in January of 2023, while representing a man whom some describe as one of the world's worst people.
Alex Spiro, attorney for Elon Musk, arrives for the Elon Musk shareholder lawsuit trial at the Phillip Burton Federal Building on January 20, 2023. (Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Alex Spiro is also representing Alec Baldwin at the ‘Rust’ accidental death trial

Like Nikas, Alex Spiro is a Harvard graduate. And both are partners at Quinn, Emanual, Urquhart & Sullivan.

Spiro’s work focuses upon government enforcement cases, and if his name sounds familiar, it should. The former Manhattan prosecutor’s name comes up a lot in entertainment litigation and celebrity cases.

Over the years, he’s provided legal representation for people as beloved as Jay-Z and as reviled as Elon Musk. Alec Baldwin is … somewhere between the two on the spectrum of public opinion.

Alec Baldwin in August of 2023.Alec Baldwin in August of 2023.
American actor Alec Baldwin looks on during the Women’s Singles First Round match between Coco Gauff of the United States and Laura Siegemund of Germany on Day One of the 2023 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 28, 2023. (Photo Credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

How much is Alec Baldwin paying his lawyer?

Notably, Alex Spiro does not come cheap. At least, not always. In 2023, he represented entrepreneur Charlie Javice as the founder of the student loan company, Frank, faced charges of fraud and conspiracy.

According to People, court documents from that case showed that Spiro charged Javice $2,025 per hour to represent her.

That is an expensive lawyer, even by legal standards. Ultimately, Javice did not have to pay — in 2023, a court ruled that JP Morgan (who had brought suit against her) had to cover her hefty attorney fees.

Alec Baldwin in December of 2023.Alec Baldwin in December of 2023.
Alec Baldwin speaks onstage during the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights’ 2023 Ripple of Hope Gala on December 06, 2023. (Photo Credit: Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights)

Just to be clear, there are no indications that Alec Baldwin is paying his lawyer that much. While a defense like this costs a pretty penny, we don’t know Alex Spiro or Luke Nikas’ rates for Baldwin.

(Spiro once charged New York Mayor Eric Adams a mere $250 per billable hour to represent him during a sexual harassment lawsuit)

No matter the rate, this will be expensive. It’s unclear if the new Baldwin reality series is paying enough to make up the difference.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *