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Sunday, January 16, 2022

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Alec Baldwin Turns Over His Phone in ‘Rust’ Investigation

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

Mr Baldwin has agreed to a process by which he will hand over his iPhone and his password, and the phone data will be reviewed by officials from the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department and the Attorney General’s office before the relevant data is passed on to authorities in New. Mexico, according to a search agreement provided by Mr. Baldwin’s attorney. His attorney, Aaron Dyer, said Mr. Baldwin, who has a home in Suffolk County, handed the phone over to the police himself.

Juan Rios, a spokesman for the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, said his office has been notified that the phone has been turned over to authorities in Suffolk County, New York.

Under the terms of the search agreement, Suffolk County officials will review phone communications — including texts, emails, call logs, voicemails, digital photos, and internet browser history — between June 1 and December 5 last year, and will rule out any communications with his attorney or wife. , Hilaria, protected par excellence.

“Mr. Baldwin has a right to privacy with respect to the contents of the iPhone, as well as with respect to communications with his attorney and with his spouse, whose communications are protected by attorney and client privilege and marital communications privilege respectively,” the agreement states.

Police in Suffolk County will create a “criminal download” of the “entire” iPhone, according to the agreement, before returning the device to Mr. Baldwin.

The fatal shooting occurred on October 21, while Mr. Baldwin was practicing pulling an old-fashioned pistol from a shoulder holster. He was told the gun did not contain any live ammunition, but it did, and fired a bullet that killed cinematographer Helena Hutchins, and wounded film director Joel Sousa. Investigators looking into the shooting, seeking to determine how a live round got into the gun, obtained a search warrant for Mr. Baldwin’s phone on December 16.

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

“Alec voluntarily gave his phone to the authorities this morning so they can conclude their investigation,” Mr. Dyer said in a statement. “But this is not about his phone, there are no answers on his phone. Alec did nothing wrong.”

While their search is generally limited to communications between June 1 and December 5, officers will be able to access communications with Matthew Hutchins, Ms. Hutchins’ widower, and law enforcement officials in Santa Fe from any date, according to the search agreement. It said Mr. Baldwin had agreed to provide a list of phone numbers for “individuals and entities associated with the production of the film”. According to the agreement, administrators may “extract call logs only for calls to or from these numbers during the relevant time period.”

After the media reported last week that Santa Fe authorities did not have Mr. Baldwin’s phone three weeks after the arrest warrant was granted, Mr. Baldwin posted a video on his Instagram account saying that any suggestion that he was not cooperating with investigators was “relieved.” He said the process would take time and that authorities “must figure out exactly what they want.”

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

In a television interview last month, Mr. Baldwin denied responsibility for Ms Hutchins’ death, saying he did not know how live rounds arrived on the set and that he did not pull the trigger before the gun went off.

Before handing the gun over to Mr. Baldwin on set, the film’s first assistant director, Dave Holz, called it “cold gun,” an industry term meaning that the firearm does not contain live rounds and is safe to use. Mr. Baldwin said in the interview that Mrs. Hutchins had taught him where to point the gun when it was unloaded.

“Obviously he was told it was a cold rifle, and he 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 tours got to the group in the first place.”

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