Actor Alec Baldwin turns over his phone in Rust shooting probe

NEW YORK (NYTIMES) – Actor Alec Baldwin turned his phone in to the police in Suffolk County, New York, on Friday morning (Jan 14), his lawyer said, starting a process that will allow investigators to collect data related to his fatal shooting of a cinematographer on the set of the film Rust last year in New Mexico.

Baldwin agreed to a process in which he would hand over his iPhone and its password, and the phone’s data would be reviewed by officials from the Suffolk County police department and district attorney’s office before the relevant data would be passed to authorities in New Mexico, according to a search agreement provided by Baldwin’s lawyer.

Baldwin, who has a home in Suffolk County, handed the phone over to the police himself, his lawyer, Aaron Dyer, said.

Neither the Suffolk County Police Department nor the Sheriff’s Office were immediately able to confirm they had received the device.

According to the terms of the search agreement, officials in Suffolk County will review the phone’s communications – including texts, emails, call records, voicemail, digital images and Internet browser history – between June 1 and Dec 5, and will exclude any communications with his lawyers or his wife, Hilaria, which are protected by privilege.

The fatal shooting occurred Oct 21 while Baldwin was practicing drawing an old-fashioned revolver from a shoulder holster. He had been told that the gun did not contain any live rounds, but it discharged a bullet that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza.

Investigators looking into the shooting secured a search warrant for Baldwin’s phone on Dec 16.

The agreement to turn over Baldwin’s phone states that the search warrant is not enforceable in New York – where he lives – and that without Baldwin’s consent to search the phone, authorities would be required to seek a separate warrant in the state.

To avoid that, the agreement says, Baldwin has agreed to proceed “as if the NM Warrant had been obtained in New York.”

Baldwin has denied responsibility for Hutchins’ death, saying that he did not know how live rounds got onto the film set and that he did not pull the trigger before the gun went off.

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