Actor Alleges ‘Jump Cut’ in Paparazzo’s Video
Alec Baldwin’s years on the silver screen served him well on the witness stand Wednesday when he noticed a gap on a video recording of his altercation with a paparazzo and pointed it out to the jury, dramatically alleging that the tape had been edited.
Baldwin, momentarily turning the tables during cross-examination, said the missing segment would support his account of the brouhaha with celebrity photographer Alan Zanger at the homecoming of his wife, Academy Award-winning actress Kim Basinger, and his newborn daughter Ireland nearly three years ago.
As the tape was rolling before jurors in Van Nuys, Baldwin, who has starred in such movies as “The Hunt for Red October” and “The Juror,” suddenly blurted out: “There’s a ‘jump cut’ in this tape.”
He said that would explain why the tape did not show him peering into the windows of Zanger’s camper, as he had testified he did. Zanger’s lawyer, Leonard Steiner, quickly suggested that the missing footage might instead back his client’s contention that Baldwin was angry and yelling when he approached the photographer’s pickup truck.
Zanger and Baldwin are squaring off over who attacked whom outside his Woodland Hills home on Oct. 26, 1995. Baldwin claims Zanger assaulted him and that he struck back in self-defense. Zanger claims he did nothing to provoke the actor.
Baldwin is also suing for invasion of privacy, claiming that Zanger intruded on his “solitude” by staking out the celebrity household and taping the event.
Baldwin testified Wednesday that while Zanger may have a right to shoot video from a public street, “There are moments in which I have a right to ask people not to intrude on my private life.
“I would consider this the great moment in my life that I was entitled to privacy,” he said.
Zanger’s lawyers have argued that because he was parked legally on a public street, his filming is protected by the 1st Amendment.
Baldwin spent much of Wednesday under cross-examination, sparring with Steiner.
Steiner brought out apparent inconsistencies between Baldwin’s initial report of events to authorities and his current court testimony. Principally, Steiner highlighted that the actor told a 911 operator and responding Los Angeles Police Department officers that he slapped Zanger on the face, without mentioning his present claim of having hit him only in self-defense, after Zanger raised the camera in a threatening manner.
According to a police report, Baldwin also told officers that he was yelling when he approached Zanger’s truck, that he knew he was wrong and that he was sorry.
Baldwin replied that he may have taken events out of order or left out details when speaking to authorities and that, in some instances, the officers are mistaken.
“I recall saying that I was sorry. I don’t recall saying that I was wrong,” Baldwin said Wednesday, his second day of testimony.
“In preparation for this trial, I did not review all of these materials to make sure any statements were perfectly synchronized,” he added. “I’m giving you my honest recollection of things.”
Baldwin was arrested on charges of battering Zanger, but a jury acquitted him, saying the photographer lost credibility when he admitted to exaggerating the incident during a television interview.
Under questioning by Baldwin’s lawyer, Philip Weiss, Zanger said video can be edited by copying it from one videocamera to another and that a paparazzo who was his friend was parked down the street with a second camera.
Outside court, Steiner said he had never seen the jump in the video before Wednesday and that his client believes that he taped the incident straight through. He would not allow Zanger to answer questions about whether the tape was edited.
Closing arguments in the case will be made today.