The actor Alec Baldwin turned his phone in to the police in Suffolk County, N.Y., on Friday morning, 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.
Mr. 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 the authorities in New Mexico, according to a search agreement provided by Mr. Baldwin’s lawyer. Mr. 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, voice mail messages, digital images and internet browser history — between June 1 and Dec. 5 last year, and will exclude any communications with his lawyers or his wife, Hilaria, which are protected by privilege.
“Mr. Baldwin has a right to privacy regarding the contents of the iPhone, as well as regarding communications with his attorneys and with his spouse, which communications are protected by the attorney-client privilege and the marital communications privilege respectively,” the agreement states.
What Happened on the Set of ‘Rust’
The police in Suffolk County are to create a “forensic download” of the iPhone “in its entirety,” according to the agreement, before the device is returned to Mr. Baldwin.
The fatal shooting occurred on Oct. 21, while Mr. 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 did, and it discharged a bullet that killed the cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, and wounded the movie’s director, Joel Souza. Investigators looking into the shooting, and seeking to determine how a live round got into the gun, secured a search warrant for Mr. Baldwin’s phone on Dec. 16.
The agreement to turn over Mr. Baldwin’s phone states that the search warrant is not enforceable in New York — where he lives — and that without Mr. Baldwin’s consent to search the phone, the authorities would be required to seek a separate warrant in the state. To avoid that, the agreement says, Mr. Baldwin has agreed to proceed “as if the NM Warrant had been obtained in New York.”
“Alec voluntarily provided his phone to the authorities this morning so they can finish their investigation,” Mr. Dyer said in a statement. “But this matter isn’t about his phone, and there are no answers on his phone. Alec did nothing wrong.”
While generally limiting their search to communications between June 1 and Dec. 5, officers will be able to access communications with Matthew Hutchins, Ms. Hutchins’s widower, and Santa Fe law enforcement officials from any date, according to the search agreement. It said that Mr. Baldwin had agreed to provide a list of telephone numbers for “individuals and entities connected with the production of the film.” The officials “may only extract call records for calls to or from those numbers during the relevant time period,” according to the agreement.
After media outlets reported last week that the Santa Fe authorities did not have Mr. Baldwin’s phone three weeks after the warrant was granted, Mr. Baldwin posted a video on his Instagram account saying that any suggestion that he was not cooperating with investigators was “a lie.” He said that the process would take time and that the authorities “have to specify what exactly they want.”
“They can’t just go through your phone and take, you know, your photos or your love letters to your wife or what have you,” Mr. Baldwin said in the video.
In a television interview last month, Mr. Baldwin denied responsibility for Ms. Hutchins’s 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.
Before handing Mr. Baldwin the gun on set, the movie’s first assistant director, Dave Halls, called out “cold gun,” an industry term implying that a firearm does not have live rounds and is safe to use. Mr. Baldwin said in the interview that Ms. Hutchins had been instructing him on where to point the gun when it discharged.
“It is clear that he was told it was a cold gun, and was following instructions when this tragic accident occurred,” Mr. Dyer said in the statement. “The real question that needs to be answered is how live rounds got on the set in the first place.”