Chicago law firm involved in Blackhawks, Alec Baldwin shooting investigations

ByChuck Goudie and Christine Tressel, Barb Markoff and Ross Weidner WLS logo
Friday, October 29, 2021
Chicago law firm involved in Blackhawks, movie shooting probes
The I-Team explains how former Chicago federal prosecutors are involved in the Blackhawks sex assault scandal and Alec Baldwin movie set shooting investigations.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Lawyers for Jenner & Block, a law firm headquartered in Chicago, are right in the middle of two major U.S. news stories: the Blackhawks investigation and the investigation of the fatal shooting on an Alec Baldwin movie set out west.

The firm has assigned former Chicago federal prosecutors to sort through the evidence of the two vastly different cases that are posing big problems for the principals involved.

RELATED | Chicago Blackhawks scandal: Meet attorney Reid Schar, investigator who unraveled front office

Dozens of current and former Blackhawks players from the past decade, along with more than 100 team staffers and executives, were interviewed during the law firm's independent investigation. An exhaustive report concluded there were numerous failures to respond to allegations of sexual assault by a team assistant.

That investigation was supervised by Jenner & Block lawyer Reid Schar. He is a former Assistant U.S. Attorney in Chicago and is best known for the public corruption case he built against former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, which eventually landed Blagojevich in prison for eight years.

The Blackhawks investigation is now complete, and at Jenner & Block headquarters in Chicago, attention has now turned to a case out west: a movie lot in New Mexico. The producers of the film "Rust" have hired the firm to conduct an investigation of last week's mysterious shooting that left cinematographer Halyna Hutchins dead and wounded director Joel Souza.

RELATED | Kyle Beach releases 1st statement on social media after Chicago Blackhawks scandal

Brandon Fox, the partner who runs the Jenner & Block office in Los Angeles, is in charge of that investigation

Fox graduated from the University of Illinois and DePaul law school. He also ran the organized crime and public corruption sections at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Chicago.

"It's not at all uncommon to have both law enforcement conducting its investigation and a private law firm conducting the company's investigation. That's what's happening here," said ABC7 legal analyst Gil Soffer, who also worked as a federal prosecutor in Chicago. Soffer said the movie lot investigation and the Blackhawks investigation rely on similar tactics.

"There's a playbook that law firms typically follow when they're asked to do an internal investigation. They amass documents, identify witnesses, they conduct interviews, they write a report, typically, and they reach their findings. And that's what this law firm is going to do," Soffer said.

While Soffer said civil lawsuits are very likely in the New Mexico movie case, he said it's just too early to know if criminal charges will be filed against anyone, although Alec Baldwin has different levels of potential liability as an actor and as a producer.

Reid Schar declined an interview request to discuss the Blackhawks case.

Brandon Fox was invited to do a television interview about the movie death shooting investigation. A spokesman for Jenner & Block late Thursday said: "He's not able to talk at this point."