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Alec Baldwin Makes A Stunning Claim In First Interview After Rust Shooting

"I have done thousands of interviews over the last 20 years," journalist George Stephanopoulos said of his recent sit-down with "Rust" actor and producer Alec Baldwin. "This was the most intense I have ever experienced."

In an upcoming interview airing next week on ABC, Stephanopoulos has obtained the first long-form interview Baldwin has done since the tragic shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of his now-scrapped Western, "Rust," and it appears that Baldwin has made some absolutely shocking claims while in conversation with the veteran reporter.

On October 21, Baldwin was reportedly handed a gun on the set, which should have been filled with dummy rounds but did in fact contain live (read: deadly) ammunition. The gun went off in Baldwin's hand, hitting Hutchins, who was declared dead shortly thereafter. Since then, the incident has been one of America's top stories, with investigations ongoing into the experience of the employees and lax safety standards on the production, both of which may have contributed to the horrific accident. Baldwin has called the shooting a "one-in-a-trillion event" (via CBS News).

In advance clips of the Stephanopoulos interview, Baldwin calls the shooting the worst thing that ever happened to him and makes an emphatic claim that seemingly modifies one of the central facts around which the entire case hinges.

Baldwin: 'I didn't pull the trigger'

In the trailer for Alec Baldwin's soon-to-air interview with George Stephanopoulos, the actor makes a shocking claim about his involvement in the shooting (via ABC on Twitter). When the ABC reporter asks, "It wasn't in the script for the trigger to be pulled?" Baldwin responds, "The trigger wasn't pulled. I didn't pull the trigger."

Stunned, Stephanopoulos incredulously asks for Baldwin to confirm, "You never pulled the trigger?" 

Baldwin responds in no uncertain terms: "No, no, no, no, no. I would never point a gun at anyone and pull a trigger at them. Never."

If Baldwin is telling the truth, it's an important and potentially game-changing detail. It would mean that not only did a live round make it onto the set and then into the prop gun, but that the gun also misfired without having its trigger depressed. That sequence of events truly would be, as Baldwin claims, one-in-a-trillion. It may also alter Baldwin's legal exposure, though the issue of civil liability derives largely from his role as producer on the film.

Much is left to be uncovered in this tragic and bizarre case, and the facts are continuously unfolding as law enforcement investigates and lawsuits begin to pile up. Baldwin's claim is, of course, incredibly hard to verify, but we'll have more details as they emerge.