Robert Durst's lawyer says meth use interview was illegally obtained
Robert Durst’s statement to Los Angeles prosecutors that he was high on methamphetamine during the filming of the HBO series The Jinx was improperly obtained, his lawyer tells PEOPLE exclusively.
Attorney Dick DeGuerin says prosecutors interviewed Durst without his lawyers present, and the interview should therefore be ruled inadmissible at his upcoming murder trial.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Durst allegedly agreed to speak with prosecutors after his arrest on March 14, 2015 for the murder of his longtime friend and former publicist, Susan Berman.
In the interview, Durst, 73, allegedly said he “had to be… swooped” and “speeding” during some of the more than 20 hours of interview he gave during the filming of The Jinx.
“I was on meth, I was on meth the whole time,” he said, according to a transcript obtained by The Times. “And, when I looked at the little pieces of it, I was going like this and like that. And it was — and it should have been obvious.”
While he refused to address the specific contents of the Los Angeles Times piece, DeGuerin told PEOPLE he suspects the entire interview will be “tossed out” by the judge when Durst’s murder trial begins. (DeGuerin successfully defended Durst in 2003 while he was on trial for allegedly killing and dismembering his Texas neighbor, Morris Black.)
“This interview was given at a time when they should have contacted his lawyers, especially since they know full well who his lawyers are,” DeGuerin says, adding he has already started drafting a motion to suppress the substance of Durst’s interview.
“I am concerned by the prosecution’s actions,” DeGuerin adds. “Even though they have criticized us for talking to the press, they put this interview out there. I feel this is an effort by the prosecution to influence the jury pool.”
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office responded in a statement to PEOPLE that read, “This motion is being litigated in a public forum and involves information that is relevant, material and necessary to refute the false allegations and mischaracterizations made by the defense in their opposition.”
According to the Los Angeles Times article, Durst allegedly spoke with prosecutors for nearly three hours. He even allegedly answered questions about why he didn’t flee the country after learning he was wanted in Berman’s killing.
Durst told the prosecution “inertia” kept him from going on the run.
“I just didn’t really, really, really think that I was gonna end up arrested,” he told them, before saying, “I was the worst fugitive the world has ever met.”
Durst was charged with Berman’s murder in March 2015. His apprehension in New Orleans preceded the airing of the damning final episode of The Jinx, which focused on the 1982 disappearance of Durst’s first wife, Kathleen Durst, while examining Berman’s execution-style killing.
In the HBO finale, he is heard muttering to himself in a bathroom, “There it is. You’re caught! What the hell did you do? Killed them all, of course.” He was allegedly unaware the filmmaker’s microphones were still recording at the time.
Durst was extradited to Los Angeles in early November, where his impending murder trial will begin in 2017, according to DeGuerin.
He is the only suspect to face charges for Berman’s execution-style shooting death. Her body was discovered inside her home in Beverly Hills, California, in 2000.
Durst pleaded not guilty to her killing in November.
DeGuerin tells PEOPLE Durst has a pre-trial hearing set for Wednesday in Los Angeles, and says a preliminary examination of the evidence in the case must happen no sooner than Feb. 15.