Alec Baldwin has turned over his cellphone so it can be searched for evidence in the criminal investigation into the fatal “Rust” shooting.
On Friday morning, the star and producer of the low-budget western — who fatally shot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on Oct. 21 — provided his cellphone to sheriff’s deputies in New York, according to Santa Fe County Sheriff’s spokesman Juan Rios and Baldwin’s attorney.
Suffolk County Sheriff’s investigators in New York will review the contents of Baldwin’s phone to search for text messages, emails, photos or other data that may be relevant to New Mexico’s Santa Fe County Sheriff’s investigation into the accidental shooting, Rios said.
“Once that data is retrieved from the phone, they will provide the data to us,” Rios said.
As recently as Thursday, sheriff’s investigators expressed frustration at the delay in obtaining Baldwin’s cellphone.
New Mexico First Judicial Dist. Atty. Mary Carmack-Altwies — Santa Fe County’s top law enforcement officer, who is overseeing the case — had stepped in to lead negotiations with Baldwin and his Los Angeles attorney, Aaron Dyer, to allow Baldwin’s phone to be searched.
The process was complicated because Baldwin didn’t provide his phone voluntarily, according to an affidavit for the search warrant.
In addition, the actor had returned to New York, where he has a home in the Hamptons, and New Mexico authorities seemed powerless to force him to turn over the phone.
“Alec voluntarily provided his phone to the authorities this morning so they can finish their investigation,” Dyer said in a statement.
Santa Fe County Magistrate Judge David Segura on Dec. 16 authorized a search warrant allowing local law enforcement to search Baldwin’s iPhone for evidence that may prove valuable to their investigation of the fatal shooting that also injured the film’s director, Joel Souza.
The search warrant issued by Segura was enforceable only in New Mexico, according to local attorneys, leading to the behind-the-scenes effort to work out a consent agreement. Because of these jurisdiction issues, the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office was brought into the negotiations.
The various parties worked out an agreement over what data could be taken from the phone, Rios said.
Baldwin’s delay in turning over the cellphone fueled additional controversy surrounding his role in the tragedy.
Last weekend, Baldwin posted a video on Instagram, denying that he was trying to impede the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office investigation.
“Any suggestion that I am not complying with requests or orders or demands or search warrants about my phone, that is bull-[expletive], that’s a lie,” Baldwin said in the video from his car.
“This is a process where one state makes a request to another state. Someone from another state can’t come to you and say, ‘Gimme your phone, gimme this, gimme that.’ They can’t do that,” Baldwin said in the video. “They have to go through the state you live in. It’s a process that takes time.”
Dyer downplayed suggestions that Baldwin’s cellphone would provide any tantalizing evidence.
“This matter isn’t about his phone, and there are no answers on his phone. Alec did nothing wrong,” the attorney said. “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.”
Earlier this week, the movie’s 24-year-old armorer, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, sued the weapons provider in New Mexico, Seth Kenney, alleging he supplied a mismarked box of ammunition containing live rounds to the set. Kenney has denied supplying any live ammunition to the set.