The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office took the unusual step Thursday of issuing a press release to state that detectives are still attempting to get Baldwin's phone. Baldwin — the star of Rust as well as film producer — was holding an antique prop gun in his hand Oct. 21 when it discharged during rehearsal and a live round fatally shot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza.
The press release stated that despite being granted a warrant on Dec. 16, "the cellphone has not been turned over to authorities." It also noted that the department had been in "negotiations with Mr. Baldwin's attorney" over the transfer of the phone since Dec. 21.
On the heels of that release, the attorney Baldwin hired to represent him in the deadly shooting said the sheriff's office will be receiving the phone imminently. However, no specific date was mentioned.
“We reached an agreement last weekend with the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office and the Santa Fe District Attorney’s Office, and Mr. Baldwin’s phone is being turned over this week for review," Aaron Dyer from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman told Yahoo Entertainment in a statement. "Ever since this tragic incident, Mr. Baldwin has continued to cooperate with the authorities, and any suggestion to the contrary is simply untrue."
That statement continued, "We requested that the authorities obtain a warrant so that we could protect his privacy on other matters unrelated to Rust and have been working through that process. We are finalizing logistics with the authorities in New York who are assisting in this matter."
Baldwin has maintained that he didn't pull the trigger on the gun. In a primetime TV interview on Dec. 2, he claimed it just went off when he pulled the hammer — and a live bullet, which shouldn't have been in it in the first place, killed Hutchins on the Bonanza Creek Ranch film set in Santa Fe, N.M. Baldwin had been told it was a "cold gun," meaning it was safe for him to rehearse with.
In the interview, Baldwin expressed sadness over the death of his friend Hutchins, but said he didn't feel guilt: "I feel that someone is responsible for what happened, and I can't say who that is, but I know it's not me." He also said he was told it was "highly unlikely" he would face criminal charges in the shooting as it was a tragic accident.
On Dec. 16, the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office obtained a search warrant to examine Baldwin's device for text messages, emails, social media messages, browser history and other information related to the investigation. Any unrelated information taken from the phone will be sealed, the affidavit stated.
Immediately following the shooting, a distraught Baldwin was photographed on the phone.
Earlier this week, Baldwin called it "a lie" that he hadn't turned over the phone nearly a month later. He said it's "a process where one state makes the request of another state. Someone from another state can't come to you and say, 'Give me your phone, give me this, give me that.' They can't do that. They've got to go through the state you live in," said the New Yorker. "And it's a process that takes time and they have to specify what exactly they want. They can't just go through your phone and take your photos or your love letters to your wife or what have you."
He added, "But of course, we are 1,000 percent going to comply with all that, we're perfectly fine with that." He said the "best way, the only way, we can honor the death of Halyna Hutchins is to find out the truth."
In addition to the ongoing investigation, Baldwin — and others involved in the indie film production — are facing multiple lawsuits over the shooting.