Alec Baldwin returns his phone in the “Rust” investigation

Actor Alec Baldwin turned his phone over to police in Suffolk County, New York, on Friday morning, his attorney said, beginning a process that will allow investigators to collect data related to his shooting death of a cinematographer on the set of the movie “Rust” last year in New Mexico.

Mr. Baldwin agreed to a process in which he would hand over his iPhone and password, and the phone’s data would be reviewed by officials from the Suffolk County Police Department and the District Attorney’s Office before the relevant data was released. be turned over to New Mexico authorities, according to a tracing agreement provided by Mr. Baldwin’s attorney. Mr Baldwin, who has a home in Suffolk County, turned the phone over to police himself, his lawyer, Aaron Dyer, said.

Juan Rios, spokesman for the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, said his office was notified that the phone had been turned over to authorities in Suffolk County, NY.

Under the terms of the search agreement, Suffolk County officials will review communications from the phone – including text messages, emails, call recordings, voicemails, digital images and phone history. internet browser – between June 1 and December 5 of last year, and exclude any communication with his lawyers or his wife, Hilaria, who are protected by the privilege.

“Mr. Baldwin is entitled to confidentiality with respect to the contents of the iPhone, as well as with respect to communications with his attorneys and with his wife, which communications are protected by attorney-client privilege and spousal communications,” the agreement reads.

Suffolk County Police must create a “forensic download” of the iPhone “in its entirety”, according to the agreement, before the device is returned to Mr Baldwin.

The fatal shooting happened on October 21, when Mr Baldwin practiced firing an old-fashioned revolver from a shoulder holster. She had been told the gun did not contain live ammunition, but it did, and it fired a bullet that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured the film’s director, Joel Souza. Investigators investigating the shooting and seeking to determine how live ammunition entered the firearm, obtained a search warrant for Mr Baldwin’s phone on December 16.

The agreement to hand over Mr. Baldwin’s phone states that the search warrant is not enforceable in New York – where he lives – and that without Mr. Baldwin’s consent to search the phone, authorities would be required to seek a separate mandate in the state. . To avoid this, the agreement says, Mr Baldwin agreed to proceed “as if the NM warrant had been obtained in New York”.

“Alec voluntarily provided his phone to authorities this morning so they could complete their investigation,” Dyer said in a statement. “But this case is not about his phone, and there is no answer on his phone. Alec didn’t do anything wrong.

While generally limiting their search to communications between June 1 and December 5, officers will be able to access communications with Matthew Hutchins, Ms. Hutchins’ widower, and Santa Fe law enforcement officials from n’ any date, depending on the research agreement. He said Mr Baldwin had agreed to provide a list of phone numbers for “individuals and entities connected with the production of the film”. Managers “may only extract call records for calls to or from these numbers during the relevant time period,” according to the agreement.

After media reported last week that authorities in Santa Fe did not have Mr. Baldwin’s phone three weeks after the warrant was issued, Mr. Baldwin posted a video to his Instagram account saying that any suggestions according to which he was not cooperating with investigators was “a lie.” He said the process would take time and that authorities “have to clarify what exactly they want”.

“They can’t just go through your phone and take, you know, your pictures or your love letters to your wife or whatever,” Mr. Baldwin said in the video.

In a TV interview last month, Mr Baldwin denied responsibility for Ms Hutchins’ death, saying he did not know how the live ammunition got to the set and did not press the trigger before the weapon fires.

Before handing the gun to Mr. Baldwin on set, the film’s first assistant director, Dave Halls, called it a “cold gun”, an industry term meaning a gun has no live ammunition and can be used safely. Mr Baldwin said in the interview that Ms Hutchins told him where to point the gun when it discharged.

“It is clear that he was told it was a cold gun and was following instructions when this tragic accident occurred,” Mr Dyer said in the statement. “The real question that needs to be answered is how the live rounds got to the set in the first place.”

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