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'The Jinx - The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst' on HBO

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Ken H, Mar 2, 2015.

  1. Message #101 of 132 Feb 3, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2016
    Ken H

    Ken H Stunt Coordinator

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    Robert Durst Pleads Guilty to Gun Charges, Setting Up Possible Murder Trial

    From The New York Times
    By CHARLES V. BAGLI, February 3, 2016



    [​IMG]
    Photo by Mike Segar, Reuters

    Robert A. Durst's luck may be running out.

    Mr. Durst, the estranged scion of a New York real estate family who has long been a suspect in several murders, pleaded guilty in New Orleans federal court on Wednesday to illegally possessing a .38-caliber revolver.

    In March 2015, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, fearing that Mr. Durst was about to flee the country, arrested him at the J.W. Marriott Hotel on Canal Street, where he had registered under an alias. During a search, they discovered the handgun. Because Mr. Durst, 72, is a convicted felon, it is illegal for him to possess a firearm. His arrest came as the cable network HBO was broadcasting a six-part documentary about him, which turned him into a notorious national figure.

    Under a plea bargain arrangement, Mr. Durst will be sentenced to 85 months in federal prison.

    Mr. Durst will eventually be transferred to federal prison in Los Angeles to face charges that he murdered a former confidante, Susan Berman. Under the plea agreement, the prosecution has to arraign Mr. Durst there by Aug. 18.

    The resolution of that case could wrap up the mysteries that have enveloped Mr. Durst for the past 34 years.

    Mr. Durst is the oldest son of Seymour Durst, whose family owns a dozen skyscrapers in Manhattan. Robert Durst broke with his family in 1994, after his father and uncle picked his younger brother Douglas to take over the business.

    Mr. Durst’s first wife, Kathleen, abruptly disappeared in 1982, and the authorities believe that he killed Ms. Berman to ensure she did not reveal what she knew about the case.

    Over the years, Mr. Durst, who is worth more than $100 million, has benefited from some of the best defense lawyers money could buy. He was never charged in the disappearance of his first wife.

    In 2003, a jury in Galveston, Tex., acquitted him of murder charges, despite his grisly testimony explaining how he cut up the body of a neighbor, Morris Black, and threw the parts into Galveston Bay. The head is still missing.

    Mr. Durst claimed that Mr. Black’s death was an accident that occurred while the two men grappled over a gun. Investigators in New York, California and Texas do not believe it was self-defense. Mr. Durst later pleaded guilty to charges of bond jumping and evidence tampering in connection with the case.

    Mr. Durst and his defense team, led by Dick DeGuerin, appear to have miscalculated in New Orleans. The defense had argued that the search of Mr. Durst’s hotel room by two F.B.I. agents was illegal and that the evidence they turned up, in particular the revolver, should be thrown out.

    Federal prosecutors and investigators from Los Angeles disputed that account and countered that a second, independent search, conducted hours later by Los Angeles detectives, was unquestionably legal.

    Mr. Durst’s lawyers were so confident that the federal judge in the case, Helen G. Berrigan, would throw out the evidence that they never formalized a proposed plea agreement that would have meant a sentence of up to 27 months, according to lawyers briefed on the negotiations who were not authorized to discuss them.

    Instead, Judge Berrigan sided with the prosecution in October, leaving the defense with little leverage in subsequent plea negotiations.

    Mr. Durst’s lawyers say they have been eager to resolve matters in New Orleans so they can get to Los Angeles to answer what they say are spurious murder charges. Once Mr. Durst is arraigned in Los Angeles, the defense has the right to discovery and a look at the prosecution’s case against him.

    “They’ve got a TV show and 15-year-old evidence that wasn’t good enough back then,” Mr. De Guerin said, “and certainly isn’t good enough now.”

    The “TV show” is “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst,” which was broadcast on HBO in February and March of 2015. Mr. Durst cooperated in the making of the film, giving the producers more than 20 hours of interviews and turning over reams of court records, phone bills and credit card statements.

    At one point, the filmmakers confronted Mr. Durst with strong similarities between the handwriting on a letter he sent to Ms. Berman and on a note the police received after her killing, alerting them to the existence of a “cadaver.”

    The documentary concluded with Mr. Durst’s own words, uttered while he seemed unaware that his microphone was still recording: “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.”

    Mr. Durst’s defense team will be going up against John Lewin, a Los Angeles County deputy district attorney who has a reputation as a skilled prosecutor of cold cases, including murders. Mr. Lewin has flown to New York repeatedly to interview witnesses, including friends of Ms. Berman and Mr. Durst.

    Mr. Lewin also interviewed Mr. Durst for 90 minutes in New Orleans, although the defense will almost certainly challenge the admissibility of that encounter given that his lawyers were not present.

    Lawyers are expecting legal battles over handwriting experts and Mr. Durst’s utterances during “The Jinx.” Mr. Lewin must also contend with memories that in some cases are 34 years old.

    Ms. Berman and Mr. Durst became fast friends after they met in Los Angeles in the late 1960s. “She was really smart and really interesting,” said Julie Smith, a mystery writer who was close to Ms. Berman. “You never knew what she would say or do. And she had a fascinating background.”

    The daughter of a Jewish gangster, Ms. Berman was a promising magazine writer living in New York in 1982 when Kathleen Durst disappeared. Her body was never found. During that investigation, Ms. Berman served as Mr. Durst’s shield against inquiring reporters.

    “He was like a brother to her,” said Kim Lankford, Ms. Berman’s friend. “She always spoke of Bobby adoringly.”

    But investigators also believe that Ms. Berman knew Mr. Durst’s secrets, which put her in jeopardy in October 2000, when he learned that the authorities had reopened the investigation into Kathleen Durst’s disappearance.

    In “The Jinx,” Mr. Durst said that Ms. Berman had called him shortly before her death to say that the authorities wanted to interview her.

    Two months later, Ms. Berman was found dead in her Los Angeles home, shot in the back of the head.

    Although the police investigation looked at other suspects, it eventually focused on Mr. Durst, who was in California at the time of Ms. Berman’s death.

    Ms. Berman, who was in dire financial shape before she died, was fiercely loyal to her friends, Ms. Smith said. Mr. Durst lent her $50,000.

    “She described Bobby as the greatest guy in the world and how sweet he was,” Ms. Smith said. “She was not going to rat him out.”

    Allen M. Johnson contributed reporting.


    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/04/nyregion/robert-durst-gun-charges.html?hpw&rref=nyregion&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well&_r=0


    Wow. I'd bet Durst was probably thinking today exactly what Chester A. Riley used to say; "What a revoltin' development this is!" But I'd also bet any number of people will sleep much better tonight, including his brother Douglas Durst, his wife Debrah Lee Charatan, 'The Jinx' director Andrew Jarecki, and countless other friends, relatives, and acquaintances......

    At least now it's clear why it didn't make sense to me that Durst had to cop a plea - the vaunted Dick DeGuerin finally screwed up. And 85 months is just over 7 years, more than two years longer than the 5 years previously reported. Either way a lot longer than the 2 years and 3 months if DeGeurin handled the plea agreement correctly - with time off for good behavior Durst could have been back on the streets in about 1 1/2 years, not counting what happens in LA.

    One thing that I couldn't quite figure until now, was the discrepancy about what Durst said regarding his conversation with Susan Berman in December 2000, before she was murdered. He claimed she told him she had been contacted by investigators in New York about Kathie's 1983 disappearance, but no confirming reports have ever surfaced, with New York prosecution sources saying there was no attempt to contact her. Even though Susan Berman's friends swear she would never 'rat out' Durst, is it possible she caused her own death because Durst thought she was trying to shake him down due to her dire financial situation? I wonder. After all, she knew Durst had millions and millions, and he wasn't noted for being particularly generous - maybe she just wanted to prime the pump, and ended up swimming with the fishes instead?


    I disagree with Mr. Bagli's assertion that "the resolution of that (Berman murder) case could wrap up the mysteries that have enveloped Mr. Durst for the past 34 years". Although it will hopefully resolve the Berman murder case, it has no impact on the unresolved death of Morris Black, and no impact on the disappearance of his first wife Kathie. Not to mention the myriad of other missing person cases across the country that Durst is under suspicion and investigation for. These I suspect, will remain mysteries, with the resolution dying when Durst himself does.
     
  2. Ken H

    Ken H Stunt Coordinator

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    From Click2Houston.com

    March 4, 2016

    Robert Durst seeking to drop lawsuit against private investigator

    HOUSTON - Robert Durst — the millionaire facing murder charges — is seeking to drop a lawsuit against a private investigator.

    Three years ago, Tim Wilson was deposed by the attorney for Durst's brother, Douglas Durst.

    Wilson claimed Robert Durst admitted to him that he went to his brother's home in New York to kill him. But after sitting outside the home armed with two guns, he later changed his mind.

    Durst is now trying to drop the lawsuit against Wilson, after a judge called it frivolous and threatened to sanction Durst's attorneys.

    http://www.click2houston.com/news/robert-durst-seeking-to-drop-lawsuit-against-private-investigator

    This is all new to me.

    Tim D. Wilson worked as a private investigator for Robert Durst's defense team in 2001, when Durst's was on trial for the murder of Morris Black. He interviewed Durst on at least three separate occasions. Eleven years later, Wilson cooperated with the legal team that represented Durst's family members when Durst was arrested in August 2013 for criminal trespass. The arrest resulted in 13 of Durst's family members being granted orders of protection against him. Wilson claimed Durst told him he had "strong hostility towards Douglas Durst, wished him dead and made threats against his brother and family".

    In December 2014, Durst was found not guilty of criminal trespass and the orders of protection were vacated.

    In January 2015, Robert Durst then filed suit against Wilson claiming damages to the tune of $1 Million, represented by Paul A. Pilibosian and T. Michael Ballases of Hoover Slovacek LLP.

    Durst now wants to drop the suit; I suppose the fact Durst won the case proves no damages were incurred.

    Here is an article with details:
    http://www.chron.com/neighborhood/bayarea/crime-courts/article/Investigator-s-claim-that-millionaire-Durst-6024999.php
     
  3. Message #103 of 132 Apr 2, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2016
    Ken H

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    Family wants Robert Durst’s missing ex declared dead

    The New York Post
    By Julie Marsh, March 31, 2016

    More than 34 years after her disappearance, Kathleen Durst’s family wants to have her legally confirmed dead — killed by her oddball millionaire ex-husband Robert Durst.

    “It is now time for this court to judicially declare that Kathie died on Jan. 31, 1982 when she was murdered by her husband, Robert Durst,” her sister Carol Bamonte says in papers filed Thursday in Manhattan Surrogate’s Court.

    [​IMG]
    Kathleen and Robert Durst in the HBO documentary “The Jinx.”
    Photo: HBO

    Bamonte, her siblings and their 102-year-old mother, Ann McCormack, need the ruling to pursue a civil wrongful death case against Durst.

    In the filings, family attorney Robert Abrams argues that Kathleen should be declared dead partly because of Durst’s confession in the HBO documentary “The Jinx.”

    In the series finale, Durst was caught on a live mic muttering, “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.”

    Kathleen’s sisters submitted affidavits saying they are all convinced Durst killed her, suggesting that he disposed of the body the same way he got rid of a Texas neighbor he said he accidentally shot during a 2001 dispute — by dismembering his body and tossing it in Galveston Bay.

    “I cannot conceive of any circumstances that would tend to show that Kathie is still alive, and it is believed that Kathie was tragically murdered by Durst on Jan. 31, 1982,” says sister Mary Hughes.

    Another sister, Vigrinia McKeona, adds, “Kathie would not just wander off and completely cut off communication with her loved ones.”

    [​IMG]
    The Post’s cover from Feb. 8, 1982

    While Kathie’s family has “no doubt” that Durst killed her, “for the purposes of this proceeding the court need only make a finding that it is highly probable that Katie died on Jan. 31, 1982,” Abrams says in the filing.

    “There is a strong probability that Durst killed Kathie in their weekend home in South Salem, New York,” he says.

    The law requires a continuous, unexplained absence for three years and a “diligent search” in order for a missing person to be deemed dead.

    The family also believes the declaration would help California prosecutors in their homicide case against Durst for the 2000 murder of his friend Susan Berman, which is scheduled to go to trial this summer.

    Berman was shot in the head at her Beverly Hills home shortly after the Westchester County district attorney contacted her regarding a rekindled investigation into Kathie’s disappearance.

    “So convinced that Durst killed Berman to prevent her from testifying against him for the murder of Kathie, the State of California is seeking the death penalty against Durst,” Abrams says in court papers.

    Finally, the petition calls into question the validity of Durst’s marriage to New York City real estate broker Debrah Lee Charatan in December 2000. According to court papers, Durst obtained a “secret divorce” from Kathie in Westchester County Supreme Court in 1990.

    In sworn court papers, Durst claimed “Kathie voluntarily abandoned him.” He also allegedly lied about his residence at the time and where Kathie’s family lived in an effort to hide the divorce from her relatives.

    [​IMG]
    Kathleen’s family need her murder declared so they can pursue a civil wrongful death case against Durst.
    Photo: Splash News

    Kathie’s family says that Durst married Charatan out of convenience, so she could manage his money if he was arrested or became a fugitive.

    If their marriage was a sham, Charatan could be forced to testify against her husband instead of invoking spousal privilege.

    Abrams also reveals in the filing that a soon-to-be-unsealed deposition of Durst may contain details about his role in his wife’s death.

    Durst was grilled under oath in connection with a suit he filed against a private investigator named Tim D. Wilson. Durst accused his hired PI of betraying him, when Wilson signed a statement saying that Durst confided in him that he wanted to kill his brother Douglas, who runs the family’s real estate business.

    Douglas bought his black-sheep brother out of The Durst Organization, which runs properties such as 1 World Trade Center, for $65 million in 2006.

    http://nypost.com/2016/03/31/family-wants-robert-dursts-missing-ex-declared-dead/
     
  4. Ken H

    Ken H Stunt Coordinator

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    Robert Durst is ill and needs special medical attention behind bars, his attorney says

    From The Associated Press
    April 25, 2016

    Robert Durst is asking a federal judge to recommend a Los Angeles-area prison when he's sentenced on the weapons charge that's kept him in Louisiana pending his trial on a California murder charge.

    Sentencing is scheduled tomorrow for the 72-year-old real estate heir, arrested last year in New Orleans.

    A Monday court filing by Durst's lawyers says Durst is ill, and that California's Terminal Island prison has the sort of medical facilities he needs. And, they note, it's near Los Angeles, where Durst faces trial in the 2000 death of his friend Susan Berman.

    Durst pleaded guilty to the weapons charge in February, accepting an 85-month prison sentence. Judge Kurt Englehardt said he would decide whether to accept that agreement after reading a pre-sentencing report that has not been made public.

    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-robert-durst-is-ill-20160425-story.html
     
  5. Ken H

    Ken H Stunt Coordinator

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    The Jinx, Going Clear win Peabody Awards in documentary category

    From EW.com
    April 26 2016

    A peek into Scientology, a miniseries about accused murderer Robert Durst, and two celebrity biopics were among the nine honorees in the Peabody Awards’ documentary and educational category.

    HBO’s headline-grabbing miniseries The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst and its lauded Scientology documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief are two of the most recognizable names among the winners, which also include Showtime’s Marlon Brando documentary Listen to Me Marlon and Netflix’s Nina Simone doc What Happened, Miss Simone?

    How to Dance in Ohio, Independent Lens: India’s Daughter, ISIS in Afghanistan, Night Will Fall, and POV: Don’t Tell Anyone round out the list for the category.

    The awards committee is revealing its 30 winners in a series of Facebook Live events, ahead of the ceremony on May 21. In past weeks, the Peabody Awards have announced they are honoring former late-night hosts David Letterman and Jon Stewart, and that Jessica Jones, Mr. Robot, and more TV series will win awards.

    http://www.ew.com/article/2016/04/26/jinx-going-clear-peabody-awards-documentary
     
  6. Message #106 of 132 Apr 27, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2016
    Ken H

    Ken H Stunt Coordinator

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    Robert Durst’s Transfer to a Los Angeles-Area Prison Is Approved

    From The New York Times
    By Charles V. Bagli, April 27, 2016

    Robert A. Durst, the real estate scion charged with shooting a confidante in the back of the head in her Los Angeles home 16 years ago, is headed to the same federal prison that once held the crime boss Al Capone, the former Harvard professor and LSD advocate Timothy Leary and the mass murderer Charles Manson.

    Mr. Durst, 73, who has been held in New Orleans on unrelated gun charges for more than a year, will be transferred to the minimum-security federal prison at Terminal Island, outside Los Angeles, where he will await formal arraignment by Aug. 18 on murder charges in the killing of his confidante, Susan Berman.

    Prosecutors in Los Angeles contend that Mr. Durst killed Ms. Berman shortly before Christmas 2000 so that she would not reveal what she knew about his role in the sudden disappearance of his first wife, Kathleen, 18 years earlier.

    At the time, the authorities in New York had reopened the investigation into Ms. Durst’s disappearance, prompting Mr. Durst to flee New York.

    During a 16-minute hearing on Wednesday in United States District Court in New Orleans, Mr. Durst, appearing frail and shrunken in an orange jump suit, told Judge Kirk D. Engelhardt that he had been “wanting to get to Los Angeles for almost a year to enter my not-guilty plea.”

    Judge Engelhardt approved a defense motion that Mr. Durst be sent to Terminal Island. The judge also approved a prior plea bargain arrangement, in which Mr. Durst was sentenced to 85 months in prison for illegally possessing a .38-caliber revolver. Mr. Durst was assessed a $5,000 fine.

    Mr. Durst’s lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, said Terminal Island “has the facilities to take care of a 73-year-old man” with various health issues.

    “He didn’t kill Susan Berman,” said Mr. DeGuerin, the lead lawyer in what has become a formidable defense team of lawyers from Houston, Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

    For more than two years, John Lewin, a deputy district attorney in Los Angeles County, has been building a circumstantial case against Mr. Durst that ties together Ms. Berman’s unsolved murder and Ms. Durst’s disappearance.

    After the arraignment in August, Mr. Durst will for the first time get a look at the prosecution’s case, through discovery. That will almost certainly lead to a protracted period of wrangling over the evidence, which includes handwriting analysis, filmed interviews with Mr. Durst and testimony from friends and relatives.

    Mr. Durst had been active in New York in the family real estate business until 1994, when his father and his uncle turned the reins of the empire over to his younger brother, Douglas Durst.

    In 2003, Robert Durst, who had moved to Houston, was acquitted of murder charges in Galveston, Tex., in spite of admitting in court that he had carved up the body of a neighbor and threw the body parts into Galveston Bay.

    Mr. Durst has been fodder for books, television specials, and dramatic and documentary movies, including the HBO documentary mini-series, “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst.” He has even been parodied on comedy shows: The actor Fred Armisen, who first played Mr. Durst in a “Saturday Night Live” sketch, is reprising the role in the Netflix series “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” where he appears as an old flame of one of the characters.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/28/nyregion/robert-dursts-transfer-to-los-angeles-area-prison-is-approved.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0
     
  7. Ken H

    Ken H Stunt Coordinator

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    Another take on today's developments.

    Once-fugitive real estate heir's plea deal approved

    From The Associated Press
    By Janet McConnaughey, April 27, 2016

    NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Robert Durst, the estranged member of a wealthy real estate family and subject of a documentary about the death of his first wife, was sentenced to 7 years and 1 month in prison on a weapons charge that cleared the deck for him to face murder charges in California.

    U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt sentenced Durst, 72, on Wednesday in New Orleans, approving a sentence that Durst had accepted in February as part of a plea agreement. Engelhardt also fined Durst $5,000 and said that his sentence, once served, would be followed by three years of supervised release. Durst will serve more than 4 ½ times the maximum under federal guidelines.

    Durst is charged in Los Angeles in the 2000 killing of a female friend, Susan Berman, to keep her from talking to New York prosecutors about the disappearance of his first wife in 1982.

    His attorneys have said repeatedly that he is innocent, does not know who killed Berman, and wants to prove it.

    "I have been waiting to get to California about a year so I can state my not guilty plea," Durst, looking pale in an orange jail jumpsuit, told Engelhardt. "I truly, truly want to express my statement that I am not guilty in the death of Susan Berman."

    Ten years and a $250,000 fine would have been the maximum sentence that Durst could have faced for illegally carrying a .38-caliber revolver after being convicted of a felony. However, Engelhardt noted, a presentence report recommended 12 to 18 months under federal guidelines.

    Engelhardt said the longer-than-standard sentence was reasonable because the plea deal included agreements with U.S. attorneys in Houston and Manhattan and the Orleans Parish district attorney not to prosecute Durst on a variety of offenses. Those could have carried sentences longer than 85 months, Engelhardt said.

    He will get credit for time served since his arrest in mid-March last year, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael McMahon said.

    "They always do that," he said.

    Accepting the sentence "cleared the decks — at a cost," defense attorney Richard DeGuerin said. "It's a great cost, but he's not facing any other prosecutions except what's in California."

    "This case is and always has been about the accusation that Bob killed his best friend, Susan Berman. He did not kill Susan Berman, he doesn't know who did, and he's eager to get to California and prove that," DeGuerin said.

    McMahon and DeGuerin said Durst also will forfeit more than $44,000 found in his hotel room when he was arrested and $117,000 in a package sent to Everette Ward, the name under which Durst had registered, and intercepted by the FBI after his arrest.

    Durst's attorneys and prosecutors in Los Angeles have agreed that he will be in Los Angeles by mid-August.

    He's likely to leave Louisiana within a couple of weeks, McMahon said.

    "He'll be out of here pretty quickly," McMahon said, noting that timing and the specific prison that Durst goes to is up to the federal Bureau of Prisons.

    Engelhardt recommended that Durst serve his time at FCI Terminal Island, California, about 30 miles from downtown Los Angeles. The location is near the trial venue and has medical facilities Durst needs because of his "advanced age and serious health considerations, including mobility challenges," defense lawyers wrote in a request filed Monday.

    An estranged member of the wealthy New York real estate family that runs 1 World Trade Center, Durst was tracked to New Orleans in March 2015 by FBI agents worried that he was about to flee to Cuba.

    He was detained at a hotel on the eve of the finale of a six-part documentary about him, and was arrested early on the morning of the show. "The Jinx" described the disappearance of Kathleen Durst, the death and dismemberment of a neighbor in Galveston, Texas, and Berman's death.

    At the end of the show, Durst is heard muttering, "What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course."

    http://bigstory.ap.org/article/9681dee7b00247b79958a1b2f338453b/once-fugitive-real-estate-heirs-sentencing-wednesday
     
  8. Ken H

    Ken H Stunt Coordinator

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    After sentencing, Robert Durst tells The Times: 'I didn't kill Susan Berman'

    From The Los Angeles Times
    By Molly Hennessy-Fiske, April 27, 2016

    In an exchange with The Times following his sentencing Wednesday, real estate heir Robert Durst reflected on his health, politics in America and the 16-year-old murder case that’s expected to bring him back to Los Angeles this summer.

    Durst, 73, was sentenced Wednesday to seven years and one month in prison on weapons charges in New Orleans as part of a deal that will allow him to be transferred by Aug. 18 to L.A., where he is wanted in connection with the killing of his friend Susan Berman, who was shot in the head at her Benedict Canyon home in 2000.

    Last year, Durst wrote to The Times, not to discuss Berman, but to wistfully reminisce about his days in L.A. and his love of opera and football.

    This time, responding to questions submitted to his attorney, Durst touched on the Berman murder case and the HBO documentary “The Jinx,” which examined his possible connection to her death.

    “I’d rather be going to California on my own, but I’m anxious to get to trial to prove I didn’t kill Susan Berman. You couldn’t print what I think about ‘The Jinx.’ I didn’t kill Susan Berman and I don’t know who did.”

    He said he keeps busy by reading a lot. On politics and the presidential election, Durst kept it simple: “I follow politics. It’s a mess.”

    Were there places in L.A. that he liked best? “SCI-Arc,” he replied.

    And his health? “On a scale of 1-10 my health is a zero,” Durst wrote. “I have balance and memory problems, but the U.S. Marshal’s office has provided very good medical care.”

    His last comments were echoed by what he said at his sentencing Wednesday.

    “I’ve been waiting to get to California for a year so I can state my not-guilty plea,” Durst told the judge. “If there’s anything you can do to speed up that process, I would truly, truly appreciate it. I am not guilty of murdering Susan Berman.”

    At sentencing, U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt endorsed Durst’s defense team’s recommendation that he be transferred to Terminal Island, a low-security federal prison with medical facilities near San Pedro.

    In a legal filing this week, attorneys cited Durst’s “advanced age and poor health” in requesting he be housed at Terminal Island.

    Durst’s lead defense attorney, Dick DeGuerin, called the plea deal “a compromise.” Part of the deal is that prosecutors won’t share their case until after Durst arrives, which frustrates the defense. But the Houston-based attorney noted “we got a lot out of it. He won’t be prosecuted anywhere else but California; he won’t be prosecuted in New York or sent to Angola,” Louisiana’s largest and most notorious prison.

    Durst was a suspect in the 1982 disappearance of his wife, Kathy, in New York, but was never charged.

    “This case is really about the Susan Berman murder,” DeGuerin said.

    “We need to get to trial.”

    Once they do, Durst’s health will probably play a major role.

    “He’s stable but he has balance problems. He was examined as recently as yesterday having to do with his neck problems, the spinal fusion of his neck. He still has the hydrocephalus [water on the brain], which is probably causing the balance problems,” DeGuerin said, describing Durst as frail with “some memory problems.”

    Could that affect his ability to function at trial?

    “Yes, it could,” DeGuerin said. “Memory is an important facet of being able to defend yourself.”

    [email protected]

    http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-robert-durst-plea-deal-20160427-story.html
     
  9. Message #109 of 132 May 1, 2016
    Last edited: May 2, 2016
    Ken H

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    With this additional information, perhaps Mr. DeGuerin didn't screw up after all.

    If law enforcement authorities were going after Durst on other charges and DeGuerin thought he couldn't successfully defend against them, then taking the plea deal stopped additional prosecutions and even longer jail time for Durst.

    If you believe what Durst and DeGuerin said on Wednesday, then Durst won't be around much longer, anyway. Hopefully 7 years is more than enough and it simply won't matter what happens in The Golden State.....

    I thought the part about Durst "surrendering" $161,000 was pretty funny. Like he's concerned about such a piddling amount. Ha! What I'd really like to know is what will happen to the rest of his $100-110 Million? Will Debrah Lee Charatan close on the biggest deal of her life? I'd think not. After "backing away" from her "husband" in another hour of need, he has probably made other arrangements.
     
  10. Ken H

    Ken H Stunt Coordinator

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    From The New York Times

    Family of Robert Durst’s First Wife Asks Court to Declare Her Dead

    By CHARLES V. BAGLI, JULY 14, 2016

    Kathleen Durst’s storybook marriage to a wealthy real estate heir had descended into violence and recrimination by 1982, when she suddenly vanished on a rainy winter night from the couple’s stone cottage on Lake Truesdale, about 50 miles northeast of Manhattan.

    Ms. Durst’s body never turned up. Nor is there an official crime scene.

    Now, more than 34 years later, her family is asking Surrogate’s Court in Manhattan to finally “declare that Kathie died on Jan. 31, 1982, when she was murdered by her husband, Robert Durst.”

    Legally, Ms. Durst has been considered an “absentee.” But for decades her family, her friends and investigators in three states have suspected that Mr. Durst killed his wife in the midst of a heated argument on that rainy night.

    This month, Mr. Durst’s lawyers responded in Surrogate’s Court, saying that it “can and should presume that she died three years after the date of her unexplained absence.” (Three years is the time after which a missing person may legally be presumed to have died.) The lawyers deny the allegations that Mr. Durst murdered her.

    They also contend that Ms. Durst’s family is making an “ill-motivated and legally flawed” request based on “inadmissible hearsay” and a “heavily edited, sensationalized ‘docudrama’ called ‘The Jinx,’” which was broadcast by HBO in 2015.

    “The Jinx,” a six-part documentary, included lengthy interviews with Mr. Durst, who conceded that his marriage was punctuated by “fighting, slapping, pushing,” and that he lied to the police about talking to Ms. Durst after she left their house on Lake Truesdale for the last time.

    “The court only has to decide that it’s probable that Kathie died on Jan. 31, 1982,” said Robert Abrams, a lawyer representing her family. “The court doesn’t have to decide anything else. But given the totality of the circumstances and what’s come to light over the past 35 years, what possible explanation can there be, other than that Robert Durst killed her?”

    Ms. Durst’s mother, Ann McCormack, who was said to have clung to life in the hope of justice for her daughter, died at home on May 15 at the age of 102. Ms. McCormack’s daughter, Carol Bamonte, now represents her mother’s estate.

    [​IMG]
    Ms. Durst shown on a Police Department webpage for missing people. Credit New York Police Department

    Separately, the family has filed a $100 million lawsuit against Mr. Durst.

    Lawyers had assumed that Ms. Durst had already been declared dead. In 1999, her court-appointed guardian concluded that “there is no evidence that Kathleen may be alive.” Mr. Durst then sought a portion of her estate in Surrogate’s Court.

    At the time, a temporary administrator prepared a stipulation for all the parties — including Mr. Durst — to sign, declaring that Ms. Durst was dead. Mr. Durst never signed the document.

    The Surrogate’s Court battle is only the latest chapter in the bizarre tale of Mr. Durst’s life of privilege, mystery and mayhem. The Dursts own a dozen skyscrapers in Manhattan, although Mr. Durst has long been estranged from his family.

    Mr. Durst, 73, frail and worth an estimated $100 million, is currently in jail on gun charges in New Orleans. He is awaiting extradition to California, where he has been charged with the December 2000 killing of his onetime confidante, Susan Berman, allegedly to prevent her from revealing to the authorities his role in Ms. Durst’s disappearance.

    In 2003, Mr. Durst was acquitted of murder in Galveston, Tex., despite admitting in court that he had dismembered his neighbor’s body and thrown the body parts into Galveston Bay. Mr. Durst insisted that the man’s death was both an accident and an act of self-defense.

    Dick DeGuerin, Mr. Durst’s lead lawyer in the Galveston case and now in Los Angeles, insists that his client had nothing to do with either Ms. Berman’s death or the disappearance of his wife.

    “There is no evidence that Robert Durst had anything to do with Kathleen’s disappearance,” Mr. DeGuerin said on Thursday. “Anybody can file a lawsuit, but eventually they have to come with evidence.”

    Lawyers for Mr. Durst in the Surrogate’s Court case did not return calls requesting comment.

    In March 1990, Mr. Durst obtained a divorce from his wife without telling her family or friends, arguing that she had abandoned him. He sold the cottage on Lake Truesdale and later married Debrah Lee Charatan, a real estate broker. Ms. Charatan controls Mr. Durst’s financial affairs and oversees payments to his legal team, although she lives with another of Mr. Durst’s lawyers.

    Mr. DeGuerin said that it is now likely that Mr. Durst will be arraigned on murder charges in Los Angeles in September. He is recovering from back surgery he had in June and is wearing a brace.

    [​IMG]
    Robert Durst in a New York courtroom in December 2014, when he was on trial on a trespassing charge. Credit Mike Segar/Reuters

    The Federal Bureau of Prisons has not yet determined where it will send Mr. Durst, although he is likely to end up at Terminal Island, a minimum-security prison outside Los Angeles.

    The prosecutor in the murder case, John Lewin, has indicated in court papers his intention to link Ms. Berman’s death in 2000 to the disappearance of Ms. Durst 18 years earlier. The authorities contend that Mr. Durst went to Los Angeles in 2000 shortly after learning that the authorities had reopened the investigation into his wife’s disappearance.

    In 1982, Ms. Berman was living in New York and dealt with reporters and others on Mr. Durst’s behalf after his wife vanished.

    Investigators in New York and Los Angeles have long said that Mr. Durst told Ms. Berman details about what happened in January 1982.

    Mr. Durst married Kathleen McCormack, a 19-year-old dental hygienist, in 1973 after a whirlwind romance. The couple was happy for a number of years, friends say, but Ms. Durst grew unhappy after Mr. Durst pushed her to have an abortion and became controlling.

    Ms. Durst later graduated from nursing school and went to medical school as she sought to define herself. She disappeared three months before the medical school’s graduation.

    “She said she wants her independence,” Mr. Durst said in “The Jinx.” “She doesn’t want me controlling her all the time.”

    “Our life was half arguments, fighting, slapping,” he continued. “Pushing, wrestling. It deteriorated from there. It never got better. It got worse and worse.”

    In a 2015 interview, Mr. Durst insisted that he did not know what happened to his wife. But he complained about constant hectoring from her family.

    “We’ve heard Kathie’s family saying, Why won’t he tell us what he did with her, on and on, as if they actually expect me to say, I put her over there near the lamppost,” he said.
     
  11. Message #111 of 132 Aug 21, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2016
    Ken H

    Ken H Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, here we are on August 21st, and absolutely zero word about Durst being moved to his new prison home in The Golden State.

    I wonder what's happening.
    Is he there now?
    Is he too sick to move?
    Did he escape and not tell anyone? No, if Durst escaped, he'd be doing interviews on The Today Show with Matt Lauer.

    Inquiring minds want to know!
     
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  12. Ken H

    Ken H Stunt Coordinator

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    A Robert Durst Lifetime Movie Is on the Way, but Probably Not a Lifetime Christmas Movie

    By Matthew Dessem
    From Slate.com

    Lifetime is getting into the Bobby Durst business, Deadline reports. After a feature film, a documentary series, and a cameo on The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, the allegedly homicidal heir will get another chance to captivate the nation. Lifetime has optioned Matt Birkbeck’s book A Deadly Secret: The Bizarre and Chilling Story of Robert Durst, which, under its original title A Deadly Secret: The Strange Disappearance of Kathie Durst, was one of the books found at Durst’s Houston apartment when police searched it in 2015. (Actually, it was technically two of the books: Durst had both the 2002 hardcover edition and the 2003 paperback.)

    Lifetime’s got the 2015 edition, which includes updates on Durst’s activities since 2003. Bettina Gilois, who co-wrote Glory Road, McFarland, USA, and Bessie, will write the script; Linda Berman is producing. According to Deadline, the film will “tell the troubling story of Robert Durst through the eyes and relationship of his wife, Kathy Durst,” which raises some narrative questions, since Kathy disappeared in 1982, and presumably has very little to say about post-1982 developments.

    The film is as-yet untitled; A Deadly Secret would fit right in with the other Lifetime films, but has probably been ruled out because of Kristen Wiig and Will Ferrell’s perfectly-titled Lifetime movie A Deadly Adoption. Will it ultimately be called The Burping Butcher? The Deadliest Durst? Not Without My Chicken Salad Sandwich? As the nation anxiously waits for the title, it’s reassuring to know that America’s favorite alleged multiple murderer has landed at Lifetime, a network that excels with this sort of bleak material: In 2014 they drove the entire nation to existential despair with the chilling docudrama Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever.

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2016/08/23/lifetime_is_making_a_robert_durst_movie.html
     
  13. Ken H

    Ken H Stunt Coordinator

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    Exposed! Evil Robert Durst Planned ‘Manson-Style’ Superstar Slaughter

    Madmen created hit list that included Jen Aniston & Julia Roberts, pal claims.

    From Radaronline.com, 9/2/2016

    RadarOnline.com has exclusively learned that millionaire madman Robert Durst planned to “turn Hollywood’s red carpets red with celebrity blood” by whacking superstars — including Barbra Streisand, Julia Roberts and Jennifer Aniston.

    That’s the sensational claim of an imprisoned jewel thief who told Radar in a blockbuster world exclusive that Durst asked him to carry out the A-list massacre using his connections with the New York Mafia and Colombian drug cartels.

    “He said ‘his people’ would obtain all home addresses and to start with ‘L.A.’ area celebs,” claimed the insider, adding Durst promised to cough up $100,000 for the first celebrity, $200,000 for the second — up to $1 million.

    Other stars targeted by the demented real estate heir were Celine Dion, Janet Jackson, Meryl Streep, Sharon Stone, Drew Barrymore and Raquel Welch, according to the source.

    Federal agents have interviewed him about 73-year-old Durst’s “celebrity hit list” — and he may testify at the murderous mogul’s upcoming trial for killing pal Susan Berman.

    Radar is withholding the name and location of our source, now serving 15 years for escaping prison after being convicted for burglary and grand theft auto.

    The source claimed he was attending locksmith school in the early 1980s when he met Durst outside the New York City school. The encounter developed into a relationship, said the source, as he provided Durst with cocaine, marijuana and firearms.

    The source alleged that Durst hatched his sinister plan after New York authorities re-opened the case of his wife Kathleen mysteriously vanishing on Jan. 31, 1982, amid vicious fighting with Durst, and her demand for a $250,000 divorce. Authorities wanted to re-interview Berman, who, it’s believed, provided the loony developer with a fake alibi for Kathleen’s disappearance.

    According to the source, Durst, who was afraid Berman would reveal his secret, hatched his celebrity hit list plot to fool police into believing a “Manson-style” serial killer was on the loose, thus deflecting suspicion from his planned murder of his UCLA college pal, Berman.

    “He wanted the same gun and techniques used on the celebrities as would be used to kill Susan Berman,” said the insider. “He wanted to create such a panic that all suspicion would be removed from him, and he’d beat his L.A. case for murdering her. It was a ruse.”

    As Radar reported, Berman was killed execution-style on Dec. 24, 2000, in her L.A. home. Her murder remained a cold case until HBO filmmakers caught Durst muttering to himself while being recorded during the filming of the 2015 documentary The Jinx. “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course,” Durst said.

    http://radaronline.com/celebrity-news/robert-durst-wrote-hollywood-hit-list-includes-jen-aniston-julia-roberts-celebrities/
     
  14. Ken H

    Ken H Stunt Coordinator

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    Lawyer: 'Medical Complications' Delaying Robert Durst's Extradition on Murder Charge

    From People.com
    By Chris Harris, 08/24/2016


    The lawyer representing Manhattan real estate heir and accused murderer Robert Durst says several unspecified "medical complications" have delayed his client's impending extradition to California, where he has been charged with the 2000 execution-style shooting death of his longtime friend and spokeswoman Susan Berman.

    Prominent Texas attorney Dick DeGuerin tells PEOPLE that Durst could be transferred "any day now" from the Louisiana prison that has held him for over a year to Los Angeles, where he will face prosecution. But DeGuerin is still awaiting word on when his client's extradition will occur.

    Late last year, the 73-year-old former fugitive agreed to be extradited by August 18. However, Durst's mysterious medical issues keep delaying his eventual trip out west, according to DeGuerin.

    The lawyer tells PEOPLE Durst has endured "serious surgery" that has ultimately "delayed action by the Bureau of Prisons" to initiate his extradition. DeGuerin did not provide more specifics on Durst's condition.

    "He's recovering from the surgery very nicely," DeGuerin says. "Of course, he's had other serious medical problems, and he's 73-years-old. That said, he's eager to get to California and prove he didn't kill Susan Berman."

    DeGuerin says he expects the state will begin trying his client in court in late 2017.

    New Orleans police arrested Durst in Berman's death on March 14, 2015 – a day before the airing of the last episode in HBO's six-part documentary series The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, which focused on the 1982 disappearance of his first wife, Kathleen, as well as Berman's death.

    In the finale, Durst is confronted by filmmaker Andrew Jarecki, and presented with a 1999 letter Durst had written to Berman.

    The missive's handwriting appears to match an anonymous letter mailed to Beverly Hills Police, alerting them to a "cadaver" at Berman's residence.

    During that last episode, Durst appeared to mutter to himself that he'd "killed them all, of course." He was allegedly unaware the filmmaker's microphones were still recording at the time.

    Durst denies any involvement in Berman's death or his first wife's vanishing.

    In a 2015 interview with PEOPLE, DeGuerin said the show's creators "were out to get [Durst] from the very get-go" and that Durst was "tricked into thinking he would get a fair opportunity to explain himself after being under unfair suspicion for almost all of his adult life in the disappearance of his wife."

    DeGuerin added, "Now, he's unfairly suspected of killing Ms. Berman because of this entertainment program being creatively edited to make it look like he was either confessing or that there is new evidence when there is not. He is eager to finally get have his say in court, at his trial, in front of a jury and not with somebody who was only out to get an Emmy."

    http://www.people.com/article/lawyer-says-medical-complications-delaying-robert-dursts-extradition


    Well. At least now we know why the delay. Maybe Durst will never make it to California. We can all hope.
     
  15. Ken H

    Ken H Stunt Coordinator

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    Lawyer: Robert Durst assigned to medical prison in Indiana

    From The Associated Press
    By Janet McConnaughey, 9/18/16

    Real estate heir Robert Durst has been assigned to an Indiana prison which has a medical unit, rather than the California prison requested because he faces a murder trial in Los Angeles, attorney Dick DeGuerin said Sunday.

    Durst, 72, has been in the St. Charles Parish jail, which is about 25 miles (40 kilometers) from New Orleans and has a contract to hold federal prisoners, since April 2015.

    DeGuerin said Sunday that the Bureau of Prisons has assigned Durst to the federal prison in Terre Haute.

    "We do not know when he will be moved, but we will find out more on Monday," DeGuerin said in an email to The Associated Press.

    He said Durst's legal team learned about the assignment late Friday — too late to ask the Bureau of Prisons for details.

    "He will be moved from Terre Haute and federal custody to State of California custody to stand trial, but there's no date set yet for such moves or for trial," DeGuerin wrote.

    Durst is serving seven years and one month after pleading guilty in New Orleans to a federal weapons charge.

    He's charged in California with killing his friend Susan Berman in 2000 to keep her from talking to New York prosecutors about the disappearance of his first wife in 1982. In April, Kathleen Durst's family asked a judge in New York to declare her legally dead — a step needed to file a wrongful death suit against Durst.

    Durst was detained the night before HBO broadcast the finale of a documentary about him, the two women, and the death of a neighbor in Galveston, Texas. He was arrested early the morning of the broadcast.

    He was charged in New Orleans with illegally carrying a .38-caliber revolver after being convicted of a felony. Judge Kurt Engelhardt said a presentence report recommended 12 to 18 months under federal guidelines. However, he said, the longer sentence was reasonable because the plea deal included agreements with U.S. attorneys in Houston and Manhattan and the Orleans Parish district attorney not to prosecute Durst on a variety of offenses which could have carried sentences longer than 85 months.

    When Durst was sentenced on the weapons charge in April, he told the judge, "I have been waiting to get to California about a year so I can state my not guilty plea. I truly, truly want to express my statement that I am not guilty in the death of Susan Berman."

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/09/18/robert-durst-assigned-to-medical-prison-in-indiana-lawyer-says.html


    Again, hopefully Durst will never see The Golden State again.
     
  16. Message #116 of 132 Sep 20, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2016
    Ken H

    Ken H Stunt Coordinator

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    Robert Durst's lawyer: Indiana prison doesn't make sense

    From The Associated Press
    By Janet McConnaughey, 9/19/2016

    It doesn't make sense to send real estate heir Robert Durst to prison in Indiana, where he's been assigned, when he faces a murder trial in Los Angeles, Durst's attorney said Monday.

    "Our legal team is doing what they can to find out the why of it and find out if anything can be done" to get Durst sent to the federal prison closest to Los Angeles, Richard DeGuerin said Monday.

    But he said he doesn't know if there's any way to change the decision to send Durst to Terre Haute to serve his sentence of seven years and a month on a weapons charge.

    "The Bureau of Prisons is an agency all of its own. Even a federal district judge can't tell them what to do," DeGuerin said. "There's no process of appeal."

    DeGuerin said the assignment may have been made because the Terre Haute prison has one of two "level 3" medical facilities in the federal system. The other is in North Carolina at a prison for sexual offenders.

    He said Durst had spinal fusion surgery in mid-July

    "They figure he needs a higher level of medical care than we think he needs," he said.

    Durst is accused in California of killing his friend Susan Berman in 2000 to keep her from talking to prosecutors about the disappearance of Durst's first wife, Kathleen Durst, in 1982.

    "We've been saying from the date of his arrest in April of last year that he didn't kill Susan Berman, doesn't know who did and he wants his day in court and wants to prove that he didn't. And the only place that can be done is in California," DeGuerin said.

    When U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt sentenced Durst in New Orleans, he recommended that Durst serve his time at FCI Terminal Island, California, about 30 miles from downtown Los Angeles. The location is near the trial venue and has medical facilities Durst needs because of his "advanced age and serious health considerations, including mobility challenges," defense lawyers wrote in their request.

    DeGuerin said Monday that Durst "does have serious medical complications, but they're under control."

    He says Durst is a 72-year-old cancer survivor, has had brain surgery for hydrocephalus, and has had two operations to fuse neck vertebrae, the most recent in mid-July.

    "He's recovering from his surgery. Doctors have treated him. They say he's OK to travel to California," he said.
     
  17. Ken H

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    Real Estate Heir Robert Durst Moved To Terre Haute Federal Prison

    From The Associated Press, 9/28/2016

    An attorney for New York real estate heir Robert Durst says he’s been moved to a federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana.

    Dick DeGuerin says in an emailed statement that the transfer Tuesday will delay proceedings in California, where Durst was accused of killing his friend Susan Berman in 2000. DeGuerin says Durst is eager to get to California and prove he is innocent.

    The attorney says the temporary move will make it harder for Durst’s attorneys to visit and communicate with him.

    Durst pleaded guilty in New Orleans to a federal weapons charge. He was arrested early the morning that HBO broadcast the finale of a six-part documentary about him in March 2015. At his first court appearance, he waived extradition to Los Angeles.

    http://indianapublicmedia.org/news/real-estate-heir-robert-durst-moved-terre-haute-federal-prison-106162/
     
  18. Ken H

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    Robert Durst arrives in L.A. to face murder trial; first court appearance is Monday

    From The LA Times, November 4, 2016
    By Richard Winton

    New York real estate heir Robert Durst arrived in Los Angeles on Friday and will be arraigned next week on a murder charge in the 2000 slaying of his friend Susan Berman, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office said.

    The arrival of Durst, who is scheduled to appear at the Airport Courthouse Monday afternoon, marks the latest chapter in a legal saga that was reinvigorated last year when the New York aristocrat was featured in the HBO documentary series “The Jinx.”

    Durst, 73, had been due to be transferred to Southern California by Aug. 18 from a federal prison in Louisiana, where he had pleaded guilty to a weapons charge.

    "Bob Durst didn't kill Susan Berman and he doesn't know who did,” Durst’s attorney, Dick DeGuerin, told The Times on Friday. “He's eager to get to trial to prove it."

    DeGuerin said he expected a preliminary hearing in the case to take place in the spring and a trial later in 2017. Durst was booked into the Los Angeles Police Department jail at 1:20 p.m. Friday. His move from Louisiana was delayed this summer as federal prison authorities had at one point proposed moving him to an Indiana prison with more sophisticated medical facilities.

    Durst has insisted he had nothing to do with Berman's fatal shooting.

    The six-part HBO series explored the disappearance of Durst’s first wife, Kathie, who went missing in New York in 1982, and the slaying of Berman, a writer who was found dead in her Benedict Canyon home in 2000. Police believe Durst killed Berman because she planned to speak to New York prosecutors about Kathie’s disappearance.

    Among the evidence against Durst is a letter sent to Berman in 1999 that has handwriting strikingly similar to that on an anonymous note sent to Beverly Hills police at the time of Berman's killing, telling them that they would find "a cadaver" at Berman's house. In both samples, the writing is in all capital letters, and Beverly Hills is misspelled as "Beverley Hills." In the final episode of the HBO documentary, Durst admitted he wrote the letter to Berman but denied writing the "cadaver" note.

    In 2003, a Texas jury acquitted Durst even after he admitted killing his neighbor, Morris Black, chopping the body into pieces and then dumping the remains into Galveston Bay.

    At the time, Durst was living in Galveston under an assumed identity as a mute woman in a threadbare apartment that rented for $300 a month. At the sensational trial, Durst's legal team, spearheaded by DeGuerin, laid out an elaborate argument of self-defense.

    "Morris Black died as a result of a life-and-death violent struggle over a gun that Morris Black had threatened Bob Durst with,” DeGuerin told jurors.

    Before the series finale of “The Jinx,” Durst disappeared from his Houston condo, prompting a manhunt that ended in New Orleans. Federal prosecutors filed a weapons case against him after FBI agents found a loaded revolver in his hotel room there.

    Durst pleaded guilty to a weapons charge and was sentenced in April to seven years and one month in federal prison.

    In a letter to a Times reporter, Durst wrote that he is eager to come to Los Angeles to defend himself.

    “I’d rather be going to California on my own, but I’m anxious to get to trial to prove I didn’t kill Susan Berman,” Durst wrote. “You couldn’t print what I think about ‘The Jinx.’ I didn’t kill Susan Berman, and I don’t know who did.”

    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-robert-durst-murder-trial-20161104-story.html
     
  19. Ken H

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    Robert Durst Pleads Not Guilty to 2000 Murder in Los Angeles

    From The New York Times
    November 7, 2016, by Charles V. Bagli

    LOS ANGELES — Robert A. Durst, the multimillionaire whose bizarre life of privilege and mayhem was the subject of a 2015 documentary, was arraigned here on Monday on charges of murdering a onetime confidante 16 years ago.

    Mr. Durst is accused of having shot his friend, Susan Berman, to stop her from revealing any secrets behind his first wife’s disappearance in 1982. Ms. Berman was shot once in the back of the head in her Benedict Canyon home shortly after Mr. Durst said she told him that the authorities in New York wanted to talk to her about what happened to his wife.

    Mr. Durst, 73, sitting in a wheelchair and wearing a neck brace, appeared before Judge Mark Windham in Los Angeles County Superior Court and entered a plea of not guilty. He had orange prison slippers on his feet.

    Answeringa procedural question from the judge, Mr. Durst said in a hoarse, low voice: “I am not guilty. I did not kill Susan Berman.”

    Later, outside the courthouse, his lead defense lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, said the same thing. “Bob is not guilty,” Mr. DeGuerin said. “He did not kill Susan Berman. He doesn’t know who did.”

    Deputy District Attorney John Lewin said the state would not seek the death penalty against Mr. Durst. Both sides agreed to convene again on Feb. 15 to set the date for a preliminary hearing.

    Mr. Durst was arrested in New Orleans in March 2015 on a murder warrant issued in Los Angeles. He subsequently pleaded guilty to the illegal possession of a firearm. On Friday, he was transferred here from federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind., to stand trial.

    Suspicions have surrounded Mr. Durst since 1982, when his first wife, Kathleen Durst, disappeared from the couple’s stone cottage in Westchester County, N.Y. His friends and relatives believed that Mr. Durst, a member of the wealthy real estate family that runs the Durst Organization, was involved.

    He was never charged in connection with the case.

    Mr. Durst met Ms. Berman during the late 1960s at the University of California, Los Angeles, where they were students. Friends say there was an immediate bond. They came from wealthy families and had lost their mothers at a young age, possibly to suicide. Ms. Berman, the daughter of Davie Berman, a mobster who was a partner in Bugsy Siegel’s Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas, became a journalist and a screenwriter.

    “We became fast friends,” Mr. Durst said during courtroom testimony in Galveston, Tex. “We were never boyfriend and girlfriend.”

    Mr. Durst counted on Ms. Berman to shield him from the press when his wife’s sudden disappearance generated tabloid headlines in New York. He walked her down the aisle when she married at the Hotel Bel Air in Los Angeles in 1984.

    He left the family business in 1994 after his father, Seymour Durst, appointed his younger brother Douglas to take control of the Durst Organization. He has been estranged from his family since then — Douglas is expected to testify for the prosecution in Los Angeles — and for years led a peripatetic life, moving restlessly among California, New York and Texas, even as he became a suspect in three murders.

    But it was Mr. Durst’s own hubris that brought his freewheeling ways to an end.

    Beginning in 2010, he agreed to participate in the documentary — “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst” — about his life and the murder allegations, which was eventually broadcast on HBO in February and March 2015.

    His friends and lawyers had advised him not to participate for fear of antagonizing prosecutors.

    But Mr. Durst told The New York Times he thought there was “no reason I shouldn’t say anything I want to anyone I want,” because it was unlikely that any prosecutor would undertake a “budget-busting” investigation for a couple of cold cases.

    In “The Jinx,” Mr. Durst said Ms. Berman contacted him in October 2000 saying the authorities wanted to talk to her about his first wife. In quick succession, he married his current wife, Debrah Lee Charatan, and fled New York, renting modest apartments in Galveston and New Orleans while posing as a mute woman.

    In December of that year, Ms. Berman’s body was found in her Los Angeles home, the back door open and her dogs running loose.

    Initially, the police focused not on Mr. Durst but on Ms. Berman’s landlady and her agent.

    But the authorities came to suspect that Mr. Durst was the author of a short anonymous note sent to the Beverly Hills police the same day Ms. Berman was found dead, saying there was a “cadaver” in her home.

    The makers of “The Jinx” obtained a letter he wrote to her in which the lettering of the address on the envelope appears identical to that of the “cadaver” note, down to the misspelling of Beverly Hills as “Beverley.”

    In 2001, when Mr. Durst was living in Texas, body parts of his elderly neighbor were found floating in Galveston Bay, and Mr. Durst was charged with his murder.

    He was acquitted in 2003, despite his testimony of how he sat in a pool of blood while cutting up the body. Mr. Durst insisted that the man’s death was an accident and an act of self-defense.

    Mr. Durst said during a 2015 interview that he did not have “the faintest idea” what happened to Ms. Berman, or to Ms. Durst, although he conceded in “The Jinx” that he had lied to the police about his whereabouts when his wife disappeared — “Nobody tells the whole truth,” he said — and that their relationship had descended into rounds of “fighting, slapping, pushing.”

    “The Jinx” ended with Mr. Durst’s own words in an unguarded moment: “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.”

    Just hours before the final episode of the documentary was broadcast, Mr. Durst was arrested in New Orleans. The police feared he was about to flee the country.

    There is very little forensic evidence in either case and no apparent witnesses as to what happened to either woman. Prosecutors will have to rely on the decades-old memories of the people who knew the two women and Mr. Durst.

    But Mr. Durst left footprints and provided leads for the authorities when he granted access to the producers of “The Jinx” to his credit card receipts, phone bills and legal papers, which put him in California at the time of Ms. Berman’s killing; when he gave a lengthy deposition in 2005 as part of a lawsuit against the Durst family trust; and when he spoke for 90 minutes with John Lewin, the Los Angeles prosecutor, after his arrest in New Orleans.

    But all of that is likely to be the subject of fierce litigation before trial, as the defense moves to exclude the material. Mr. DeGuerin has described “The Jinx” as a “sensationalized docudrama.”

    Mr. Durst has also told falsehoods over the years, which could cast doubt over both his protestations of innocence and his damaging admissions.

    He told Ms. Berman and other friends that he witnessed his mother’s fall or leap from the roof of his childhood home in 1950, but Douglas Durst said that he was not there.

    He testified in court in Galveston that he was “relieved” that his father did not hand him the family business, after telling friends in the 1990s that he was so furious with his father that he refused to attend Seymour’s funeral.

    Even if Mr. Durst is ultimately found not guilty of murder, he will go back to prison to complete his 85-month sentence on the gun charge.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/08/nyregion/robert-durst-pleads-not-guilty-to-2000-murder-in-los-angeles.html
     
  20. Message #120 of 132 Feb 23, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2019
    Ken H

    Ken H Stunt Coordinator

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    With the recent list on Ranker claiming The Jinx is the Best True Crime Documentary To Watch, I thought an update on the trial would be of interest.

    After the arraignment in November 2016, a preliminary hearing was initially scheduled for October 2017 but was postponed to April 2018 and concluded in October 2018 with Los Angeles County Superior Judge Mark Windham ruling there was enough evidence to try Durst for the shooting of Berman. Much of the time was spent taking testimony from elderly and ill witnesses that may not be around when the trial is underway.

    On January 16, 2019, Judge Windham scheduled the trial to begin on September 3, 2019. At the same time the judge ruled that prosecutors can present evidence involving the 2001 killing of Durst's neighbor Morris Black in Texas. Prosecutors will try to connect Berman’s death with Kathleen Durst’s disappearance, which they want to show as the foundation for the motive for Berman’s slaying. In his ruling that prosecutors could use evidence from the Texas case, the judge said the killings of Black and Berman seemed “to be intertwined.” The murder charge against Durst includes the special circumstance allegations of lying in wait and killing a witness to a crime. There is also an allegation that he used a handgun to carry out the murder.
     
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