‘Rust’ row: Alec Baldwin hands over his phone to authorities for probe
New York, Jan 15 (IANS) Almost a month after investigators obtained a search warrant to seize Hollywood star Alec Baldwin’s phone with regards to the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the sets of ‘Rust’, the actor surrendered his device to law enforcement authorities in Suffolk County, New York.
They will download the data and provide relevant material to Santa Fe County (New Mexico) Sheriff’s Office, Juan Rios, a sheriff’s spokesman told ‘Variety’.
The device in question will help the sheriff’s office seek information that will be necessary to piece together a timeline leading up to the October 21 incident, when Baldwin (allegedly unaware) fired a live round during the set-up for a scene from ‘Rust’, killing Halyna Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza.
Aaron Dyer, who is Baldwin’s civil attorney, said in a statement quoted by ‘Variety’: “Alec voluntarily provided his phone to the authorities this morning so that they can finish their investigation. But this matter isn’t about his phone, and there are no answers on his phone.”
He added: “Alec did nothing wrong. It is clear that he was told it was a cold gun, and was following instructions when this tragic accident occurred. The real question that needs to be answered is how live rounds got on the set in the first place.”
The investigators from Santa Fe had asked Baldwin to surrender his phone voluntarily, but his attorney advised them to get a warrant, according to the search warrant affidavit.
The New Mexico prosecutor’s office subsequently got involved in negotiations with Baldwin’s attorney to obtain the phone after the warrant was issued on December 16.
Baldwin, who was told that the gun contained only dummy rounds, has said that he does not expect to face charges in the case. Prosecutors, however, have repeatedly said they have not ruled out charges against anyone.