Alec Baldwin refuses to turn his phone over to investigators, who have a warrant to seize it. They believe it could provide evidence clarifying the chain of events that led to the shooting death of a cinematographer on the set of the film “Rust” in New Mexico in October.
And yet, in a video the actor posted to Instagram, he’s “demanding” law enforcement “honor the death” of the cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, by finding out “the truth.” Which, presumably, isn’t on his phone.
This isn’t the first time Baldwin’s stories have clashed, sadly, and it’ll hardly be the last. We’ve been pointing the inconsistencies out since the beginning here at The Western Journal — and we’ve also noted how basic firearm safety on Baldwin’s part almost certainly could have prevented Hutchins’ death. We’ll continue bringing readers this important message — and you can help us by subscribing.
The Instagram video came after a Friday New York Post report in which legal experts contacted by the newspaper said “incriminating evidence” could be on the phone or the actor could be worried about privacy violations.
In addition, the deletion of any text messages dealing with the shooting could open Baldwin up to criminal contempt charges.
Investigators say Baldwin shot Hutchins Oct. 21 while he was rehearsing a scene in which he drew a prop gun. A live round was in the chamber and fired, killing the cinematographer and injuring another cast member.
In the five-minute video posted Sunday, Baldwin said “any suggestion that I am not complying with requests or orders or demands or search warrants about my phone, that’s bulls***. That’s a lie.”
Instead, he said that authorities in New Mexico have to go through authorities in New York, where Baldwin is. He said the issue involved identifying exactly what authorities in New Mexico need.
“They can’t just go through your phone and take your photos, or your love letters to your wife, or what have you,” Baldwin said.
But, Baldwin insisted his primary focus is discovering “the truth” about Hutchins’ death — and he’s “demanding” investigators get right on that.
“The best way — the only way — we can honor the death of Halyna Hutchins is to find out the truth. That’s what I’m working toward, insisting on, demanding, that the organizations involved in this investigation do everything in their power, everything in their power, to find out what happened. That’s all that matters.”
Alec Baldwin says the only way to honor Halyna Hutchins is to find out “the truth”. Baldwin said HE is “demanding” the sheriff investigate to find out “what really happened.” pic.twitter.com/E0IJ0WI3jF
— Emily Miller (@emilymiller) January 8, 2022
“And any suggestion that we’re not complying — myself and any lawyers I’m working with — is a lie. As soon as we go through this process, by all means, we will comply. But I have no worries about that,” he continued. “Regardless of what they say in these right-wing rag-sheets and people who are all about hate.”
One doesn’t wish to impute guilt or responsibility upon someone who hasn’t even been charged with anything. However, it’s not a particularly good look for Baldwin to post a video in which he insists he’s doing everything to comply with law enforcement except complying with the warrant for his phone.
On Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reported, New Mexico First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said in a statement that investigators “are actively working with the Suffolk County, New York, Sheriff’s Department and Mr. Baldwin’s lawyers, within jurisdictional constraints, to obtain any materials from Mr. Baldwin’s phone that pertain to the ‘Rust’ investigation.”
Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Detective Alexandria Hancock said, in a Dec. 16 affidavit, that investigators were seeking information from Baldwin’s phone such as text messages, browser history, private messages, images — including deleted ones — and GPS data, among other things.
Santa Fe County is currently working with the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office in New York, Baldwin’s place of residence, to secure the phone.
While there’s the possibility investigators leak those sensitive love letters between Baldwin and his wife Hilaria, that seems significantly less likely of a motivator for Baldwin to refuse turning over the phone. Rather, this seems like limiting his exposure to the investigation — which is his legal right, of course, but it’s not the best messaging to then turn around and demand law enforcement do everything in its power to find out the truth, a tacit implication that not enough is being done.
The irony is that, for all the sturm and drang aimed at the New York Post’s piece, one of the most prominent legal experts the newspaper talked to for the article — Los Angeles-based criminal defense attorney Louis Shapiro — said it was unlikely there was “damaging” evidence on the phone.
“They’ll be looking for [texts saying] ‘Oh my god, I didn’t check the gun’ or ‘I hired someone who’s not competent’ — anything that’s incriminating or that could shed more light and give more context. Or anything that could show the culpability of other people,” Shapiro said.
However: “Keep in mind, he gave an interview [to law enforcement]. You have to assume he and his lawyers knew what was on that phone so it wouldn’t be contradicted.”
That said, Baldwin has made a series of very specific statements in public and in interviews that have cast him as practically blameless — including the insistence his finger wasn’t on the trigger when the gun fired — and intimated a specific (if unnamed) person on the set was responsible for the tragedy. The phone could present a muddier picture of events, even if it doesn’t incriminate Baldwin.
Nevertheless, in the wake of the tragedy, the actor promised full cooperation with authorities, according to Reuters. This doesn’t look like it.
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