- Alec Baldwin burying his head in his hands when he answered a cell phone call Monday at Domino Park in Brooklyn
- He stood alone for 10 minutes on the phone call, grim faced and displaying heavy bags under his eyes while hunched over a fence overlooking the river
- New Mexico prosecutors have indicated they may charge Baldwin over the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of his movie Rust
- He put his 10-acre estate in Amagansett in New York’s Hamptons on the market for $29million last week
- Legal observers tell DailyMail.com the decision may be part of an effort to shift and potentially shield assets from lawsuits that could cost him a fortune
- The legal experts speculate Baldwin could be tempted to place millions into a trust for his eight children or buy property in Florida
- The Hutchins family is pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit against the actor
Alec Baldwin buried his head in his hands when he answered a cell phone call Monday, just hours after it was revealed that a New Mexico prosecutor was looking to file criminal charges against him in the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, exclusive DailyMail.com photos reveal.
The apparent scene of despair, coming after a weekend in which he welcomed his eighth child into the world, unfolded after he arrived at Domino Park in Brooklyn, where he took a stroll with his children along the East River near the Williamsburg Bridge.
He stood alone for 10 minutes on the phone call, grim faced and displaying heavy bags under his eyes while hunched over a fence overlooking the river. At another point, he could be seen with an armful of popcorn and a water bottle, a blue mask covering his mouth but not his nose.
Earlier in the day, news broke that New Mexico prosecutors may charge the actor, after he handed over his cellphone to be considered as evidence.
In a letter to the state’s financial board, asking for funding to prosecute the high-profile case, Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said she was ‘ready’ to file charges against four people.
She stopped short of confirming the charges she planned to bring but said she was ‘certainly looking (at) all the homicide statutes and any gun statutes under New Mexico criminal code’.
‘One of the possible defendants is well known movie actor Alec Baldwin,’ she wrote, adding that there could be four separate criminal trials.
Meanwhile, the Hutchins family is pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit against the actor. And earlier this month, a judge ruled he was primarily responsible for firing the shot that killed Hutchins during the filming of Rust in New Mexico last October.
It was in the midst of all these developments that Baldwin last week placed his largest asset – his $29million estate on Long Island – on the market.
Legal observers tell DailyMail.com that Baldwin‘s decision to sell his $29million estate in the Hamptons may be part of an effort to shift and potentially shield assets from lawsuits that could cost him a fortune.
His timing has sparked speculation that the actor, who last weekend celebrated the birth of his eighth child, is less interested in a lifestyle change than in preparing for a potential doomsday in the courts.
Baldwin purchased the estate in 1996 for $1.75 million and listed it just last week for more than 16 times that amount, days after a judge ruled he was primarily responsible for firing the shot that killed cinematographer Hutchins last October.
So the 64-year-old could be looking to transfer his wealth into more protected assets, such as irrevocable trusts for his kids or real estate in a state that shields properties from creditors, experts speculate.
‘I’d be interested to see if he’s buying anything in Florida because Florida has special homestead protections,’ Robert Steele, a Manhattan trust lawyer, told DailyMail.com. ‘O.J. (Simpson) bought a house in Florida and got protections there that you can’t get in most states. I’d be curious to see if the creditors could claw that back.’
Whatever Baldwin plans, his recent moves, including his July sale of a house on Oneida Lake in upstate New York for $530,000 and purchase of a $1.75 million farm in Vermont, have caught the eye of various plaintiffs who are going after him for tens of millions of dollars.
The Hutchins family is pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit against the actor. Meanwhile, the sister of a dead Marine who Baldwin called an ‘insurrectionist’ because she posted selfies in Washington on January 6 has filed a $25 million defamation lawsuit.
‘Let’s hope he’s selling it to pay me,’ Dennis Postiglione, the sister’s lawyer, half-joked to DailyMail.com. ‘Baldwin’s obviously moving money. It’s clear that, despite the bombastic tone he takes in interviews about everything from the Rust shooting to our case, he has to know or have been informed by people who are much smarter than him that he has a risk of exposure in all of these cases.
‘You don’t sell a $29 million house in the Hamptons and an upstate New York property in the same year just by coincidence,’ Postiglione continued. ‘There’s a reason he’s doing it. My guess is he’s following some legal advice to do that.’
Baldwin, who is already racking up hefty legal bills employing topflight attorneys to defend him against lawsuits, just listed the home in Amagansett – a tony hamlet in the town of East Hampton – last week, attempting to offload the property as one of the most expensive listings in the area.
Adam Bailey, a Manhattan real estate lawyer who’s met Baldwin in the Hamptons, told DailyMail.com that Baldwin’s real strategy will reveal itself after the property’s sale, when he decides where to plant the windfall. The lawyer said it’s possible he could protect assets by placing them in an irrevocable trust, or by moving to a state like Florida.
‘We don’t have Florida’s laws where your property is protected if you are sued,’ Bailey told DailyMail.com. ‘If you are sued in New York, your entire property could be taken away.’
But he claimed Baldwin might also be tempted to place millions into a trust for his children – he is father to model Ireland Baldwin from his marriage to Kim Basinger and has seven children with second wife Hilaria Baldwin.
‘The smartest thing to do may be to create an irrevocable trust to avoid creditors who would go after him, and put it in the names of his children who he likes,’ Bailey said.
But Robert Steele said it’s probably too late to consider an irrevocable trust.
‘If you transfer assets to a trust and there’s a pending lawsuit against you, they’re going to go after that,’ Steele said. ‘It’s called a fraudulent conveyance. The horse has left the barn on that one. It doesn’t protect assets from someone who’s already knocking on the door.’
It’s also possible that Baldwin has, in fact, just soured on New York. In February, he purchased a 50-acre farmhouse in Arlington, Vermont, then in July dumped his lake house upstate. Hi only other property is his penthouse in the Greenwich Village section of Manhattan.
‘Maybe it’s not just about running from these lawsuits, and he wants a change in life, especially at a time when a record number of New Yorkers are moving,’ Bailey said. ‘He may want to go to a place where they’re not talking about him or recognizing him everywhere he goes.
‘One of the things Vermont is known for is that they don’t bother you.’
Postiglione, who represents the family of fallen U.S. Marine Rylee J. McCollum, wasn’t buying it. Even if Baldwin’s not trying to shield assets, he’s likely selling now because he needs to have more cash to handle litigation and potential million-dollar settlements.
‘My opinion, he wants to be as liquid as possible,’ said the lawyer.
Baldwin’s net worth has been estimated at $60 million, but Postiglione hopes to drill down into the actor’s actual finances if or when his case gets to the discovery phase.
He re-filed the defamation case in New York in August after it was dismissed in the family’s home state of Wyoming, where a federal judge determined there was no jurisdiction.
‘He’s been one of the most famous people and highest paid actors on the planet for the better part of 40 years,’ Postiglione said. ‘I would imagine he has points on the back end of a lot of his movies, and he has for some time. It’s clear he’s invested in real estate properties. He’s been very smart with his money. He’s probably worth substantially more than $60 million.
‘With any real property, like a Hamptons home, those are a lot harder to deal with than cash,’ he continued. ‘So my guess is that, in light of all these legal issues, he’s making an attempt to be liquid and consolidate assets.
‘To use a cliché, he’s saving for a rainy day.’
Baldwin has been named as a defendant in multiple lawsuits that have been filed in connection with the fatal shooting.