Robert Durst, the eccentric New York real estate heir who was the focus of HBO’s crime documentary “The Jinx,” is scheduled to be re-arraigned next month in New Orleans, suggesting he plans to plead guilty to a federal gun charge there.
Dick DeGuerin, a Houston attorney who heads up Durst’s legal team, declined to comment on a potential plea deal, but in a statement, he suggested the new development would speed up Durst’s extradition to Los Angeles, where he is facing a murder charge in the 2000 death of a longtime friend and confidant, Susan Berman.
“Bob Durst did not kill Susan Berman and doesn’t know who did,” DeGuerin said. “From the time of his arrest in New Orleans in March, Bob and his legal team have been eager to get to California so he will finally have the opportunity to prove his innocence.”
Durst, 72, was arrested in March at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in New Orleans the day before the season finale of “The Jinx,” which explored his suspected involvement in the 1972 disappearance of his first wife, Kathie, and Berman’s killing. In the final moments of the last episode, Durst, perhaps unaware that he was wearing a live microphone, was heard whispering to himself, “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.”
The comment came after the filmmakers had presented Durst with an envelope he had mailed to Berman shortly before her death, which included handwriting that appeared similar to an anonymous note sent to police tipping them off to a “cadaver” at Berman’s home.
Durst was initially picked up on a Los Angeles murder warrant amid concerns that he was preparing to flee the country. Though he waived extradition to California, Durst has been held in New Orleans on the federal gun charge — a move DeGuerin has criticized as an attempt to give California prosecutors more time to build their case.
Until Durst is transferred to California and formally arraigned there, his legal team cannot see what evidence prosecutors have against him in the Berman slaying. But in an interview with Yahoo News earlier this year, DeGuerin called their case “flimsy” and “weak.”
“They've got an entertainment show and 15-year-old evidence that wasn't good enough back then and is not good enough now,” DeGuerin said.
In a federal court filing Monday, U.S. District Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon set a Dec. 17 hearing for Durst to enter a new plea in the gun charge case.