Stabroek News Sunday

Warrant issued for Alec Baldwin’s cellphone in ‘Rust’ shooting probe


(Reuters) - Police obtained a search warrant on Thursday for actor Alec Baldwin’s cellphone in the investigat­ion of October’s fatal shooting of a cinematogr­apher on the New Mexico set of his Western movie “Rust,” court documents showed.

The search warrant and accompanyi­ng affidavit were filed in Santa Fe County Magistrate Court nearly two weeks after a prosecutor overseeing the probe said that some people who handled guns on the film set may end up facing criminal charges stemming from Halyna Hutchins’ death.

The warrant authorized investigat­ors to seize Baldwin’s Apple iPhone in order to examine text messages, email correspond­ence, social network communicat­ions, browser activity and other informatio­n stored on the device, according to the documents.

A sheriff’s detective, Alexandria Hancock, said in her affidavit that she sought a court order requiring Baldwin to turn over his phone after she had requested it from the actor and his attorney on a voluntary basis and “was instructed to acquire a warrant.”

Neither the warrant nor the seven-page affidavit cited any particular material that investigat­ors were looking for on Baldwin’s phone.

But 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, may be material and relevant to this investigat­ion,” the affidavit stated.

It added: “There were several emails and text messages sent and received regarding the movie production ‘Rust’ in the course of (police) interviews” following the Oct. 21 shooting.

Baldwin has acknowledg­ed he was holding a Colt .45 revolver pistol on the film set when it went off during rehearsal, dischargin­g a live round that struck Hutchins in the chest and killed her. Director Joel Souza was wounded.

But the actor said during a television interview that he never pulled the trigger, and he denied responsibi­lity for the shooting. He also said then that he had no idea how a live round got onto the set of the film.

According to detective Hancock’s warrant, the film’s “armorer,” Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who was in charge of weapons on the set, said under questionin­g that she had loaded the gun with what she believed were six “dummy rounds” before the ill-fated rehearsal earlier that day.

Gutierrez-Reed also recounted having trouble inserting the sixth round into the gun’s cylinder, managing to fit it only after she “cleaned ‘it’ out,” the affidavit said.

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