It has just been revealed that the Hollywood star Alec Baldwin has not yet handed over his phone to police despite officials having obtained a search warrant for it.
A press release stated that the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office and New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney’s Office are “actively working” with the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department, New York, and Baldwin’s lawyers to get the phone for their investigation into the fatal shooting on the set of the movie Rust that claimed the life of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
Daily Mail reported that Baldwin said he was holding a revolver while rehearsing on the film set back on October 21 when it went off and fired a live round that killed Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza. Baldwin has since claimed that he didn’t pull the trigger and had no idea how a live round got on the set.
“The choices regarding any props by me for the film RUST were made weeks before production began,” he tweeted last month. “To suggest that any changes were made ‘before fatal shooting’ is false.”
Prosecutors have said that criminal charges for Baldwin and anyone else involved in the shooting are not off the table.
An affidavit states that a detective from Santa Fe said that she sought the search warrant for Baldwin’s phone after she requested it on a voluntary basis and “was instructed to acquire a warrant.” It added that suspects, victims, and witnesses “often make and/or receive telephone calls and/or messages before, during, and/or after the commission of crime(s).”
“Such information, if it exists, maybe material and relevant to this investigation,” it continued.
Legal experts have said that Baldwin may be worried about “incriminating” evidence on his phone.
“There could be incriminating evidence on the phone, or it might be for privacy reasons,” Kevin Kearon, a former Nassau District Attorney’s Office who’s now a criminal defense lawyer, told The New York Post. “If he deleted text messages or call records, then he would face the possibility of criminal contempt. Or if there are personal messages, for example, between he and his wife, it’s not shocking that he wouldn’t want them in the public domain.”
Kearon went on to say that Baldwin not handing over his phone goes against his previous claim that he was cooperating with police.
“It’s not consistent with his pledge early on to cooperate with law enforcement,” he said. “It certainly looks suspicious to the average person.”
Los Angeles-based criminal defense attorney Louis Shapiro said that Baldwin might believe that handing over his “whole phone” is “over-broad” and should be narrowed to only text messages and calls related to the case.
“For Baldwin to say, ‘Get a warrant’ might come across as arrogant or not forthcoming, but it’s pretty common,” Shapiro said. “He might be saying, ‘If you want my whole phone that gets into my personal life, and I don’t want to pull other people into this. But a warrant could narrowly tailor the case-related information that can be extracted from the phone. The more salacious reason is that there’s something incriminating on the phone.”
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