Robert Durst’s attorneys filed an urgency motion on Thursday asking a judge to postpone his murder trial indefinitely and release him on “heavy bail,” citing the 78-year-old property’s “serious health problems” – Sprout.
The court records were filed less than a week before the jury in Durst’s trial will return to court on Monday after a delay of more than a year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Jurors heard opening statements and two-day testimony of the death of Durst’s longtime friend Susan Berman in December 2000 at her home in Benedict Canyon, Los Angeles, before the case was put on hold in mid-March last year over concerns about COVID-19. The pandemic forced court officials to close the district courthouses for all but time-sensitive, essential matters.
In the defense’s motion, von Durst’s lawyers say criminal proceedings are “mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting”.
“It’s exhausting for a healthy person, let alone a 78-year-old man with serious health problems including bladder cancer, previous esophageal cancer, malnutrition, coronary artery disease with drug-eluting stents, atrial fibrillation and chronic kidney disease,” said attorneys Dick DeGuerin, David Z. Chesnoff, Chip B. Lewis, and Donald M. Re wrote in the file. “When Mr. Durst is forced to undergo the rigors of the process (and preparation for the process), he is exposed to serious risks to his health and possibly his life.”
Defense attorneys – who have repeatedly called for trial – wrote in the motion that Durst is being held with “extremely limited medical care” and that medical records show that his condition has worsened.
“Although the charge in question is grave, the required conditions for GPS monitoring, clearance to a medical facility with security and a high bail ensure that Mr. Durst is not a flight risk and that he is not a danger to the community,” wrote the lawyers, adding that Durst “would pay and see for his own safety”.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether prosecutors would be filing a written response to the defense’s motion or waiting for a response at a court hearing on Monday morning just before the jury returned to court for a day or two-day briefing.
The judge said earlier this year that he would allow attorneys to re-issue abbreviated opening statements on social distancing due to the lengthy interruption of the trial, which was relocated from concerns by the Los Angeles Airport Court to a larger courtroom in the nearby Inglewood Courthouse.
In opening speeches last year, Assistant District Attorney John Lewin alleged that Durst killed Berman after she told him she would speak to investigators to investigate the unresolved disappearance of his first wife, Kathie, from 1982.
Durst was acquitted of murder in Texas after testifying that he killed his neighbor, Morris Black, in self-defense in September 2001. Los Angeles County prosecutors allege Durst was in Galveston, Texas when he posed as a dumb woman after authorities launched a new investigation into what happened to Kathie Durst.
The opening statements begin in the murder trial against real estate mogul Robert Durst. As seen on NBC4 News on March 4, 2020.
In his opening address last year, DeGuerin told jurors that Thirst panicked after finding Berman’s body in her home while visiting her on vacation. Durst wrote an anonymous “corpse note” which was subsequently sent to Beverly Hills police for their body to be found, said Durst’s chief attorney, noting that Durst would testify in his own defense.
Durst’s attorneys have argued that evidence of what happened to Black in Galveston would inflame the jury and should not be allowed in his trial. The judge has repeatedly denied the defense’s motions for trial.
At a hearing earlier this year, the judge said evidence of Black’s dismemberment and Kathie Durst’s disappearance could be brought to court to support a particular allegation that Berman was killed for being a witness instead To prove Berman’s murder.
The judge said prosecutors could also use this evidence from Galveston to refute claims that Durst’s wife was merely missing and not killed.
Durst was featured on a six-part HBO television series “The Jinx: The Life and Death of Robert Durst,” in which the defendant was later recorded as saying, “There it is, you’re trapped” and “All Killed, of course.” ”
Durst has been behind bars since March 14, 2015, when he was detained in a New Orleans hotel room hours before the final episode of the HBO series was broadcast, which investigated Kathie’s disappearance and the murders of Berman and Black.
Durst has long been estranged from his real estate-rich family, who are known for owning a number of New York City skyscrapers – including an investment in the World Trade Center. He separated from the family when his younger brother was blamed for running the family business, resulting in a lengthy legal battle, and eventually reached a settlement after which they reportedly paid him $ 60-65 million.