Robert Durst’s lies will prove his ‘undoing’ prosecutor claims as murder trial reopens

Robert Durst has told so many lies over the years that he is unable to remember them all – and his own words will be his ‘undoing’, a prosecutor said Tuesday during a new round of opening statements at his resumed murder trial. 

The multimillionaire has lived a life of such privilege and ease that he didn’t bother keeping track of the lies, Deputy District Attorney John Lewin told the court. Lewin spoke after the trial reopened following an unprecedented 14 month recess because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking at the trial in Los Angeles, Lewin wove a combination of Durst’s statements — what he said were truth and lies — to outline evidence that will show the New York real estate heir killed his best friend and a neighbor to cover up the mystery of his wife’s disappearance.

‘One of the hallmarks of Bob Durst is that despite all the lies he tells, he doesn’t take or use the mental energy to even remember them because his life has been spent privileged in getting away with whatever he wants,’ Lewin said. 

‘The evidence is going to show that’s going to be his undoing in a lot of ways in all three of these cases.’

Durst, the son of billionaire New York real estate mogul Seymour Durst, is charged with the December 2000 slaying of his best friend, Susan Berman, in her Los Angeles home. 

The real estate heir was the subject of The Jinx, an HBO documentary that ends with Durst seemingly confessing to murder. 

Robert Durst (pictured on Tuesday) has told so many lies over the years that he is unable to remember them all – and his own words will be his ‘undoing’, a prosecutor said Tuesday

Deputy District Attorney John Lewin claimed Durst's own words will how he killed his best friend and a neighbor to cover up mystery of wife Kathy's disappearance. Pictured: Robert Durst and Kathy Durst

Deputy District Attorney John Lewin claimed Durst’s own words will how he killed his best friend and a neighbor to cover up mystery of wife Kathy’s disappearance. Pictured: Robert Durst and Kathy Durst

Durst, the son of billionaire New York real estate mogul Seymour Durst, is only charged with the December 2000 slaying of his best friend, Susan Berman in her Los Angeles home. Pictured: Susan Berman and Robert Durst

Durst, the son of billionaire New York real estate mogul Seymour Durst, is only charged with the December 2000 slaying of his best friend, Susan Berman in her Los Angeles home. Pictured: Susan Berman and Robert Durst

He allegedly killed Berman by shooting her in the back of the head, with prosecutors believing she had information on his wife Kathie Durst’s disappearance, which may have motivated Durst to allegedly murder her.

Durst, 78, has pleaded not guilty and his lawyer said he doesn’t know who killed Berman, who was his longtime confidante and at one point an unofficial spokeswoman when his wife Kathie vanished in New York in 1982.

Durst has been in jail since 2015 on charges related to Berman’s death, with his trial in her murder resuming yesterday.

He had admitted to fatally shooting and dismembering his 71-year-old neighbor Morris Black in 2001, but he was acquitted of his murder in 2003 after claiming self defense. 

But Lewis said the killing of Berman and Durst’s admission that he had killed Black are both tied to the mystery of Kathie Durst. 

‘Everything starts with Kathie Durst’s disappearance and death at the hands of Mr. Durst,’ Lewin said.  

Durst has been in jail since 2015 on charges related to Berman's death, with his trial in her murder resuming yesterday

Durst has been in jail since 2015 on charges related to Berman’s death, with his trial in her murder resuming yesterday

It comes after Durst faced new allegations on Monday that his brother and father helped cover up the murder of his wife Kathie.      

The explosive claim was made by lawyers representing the family of Kathie, saying that brother Douglas and father Seymour were involved in the cover-ups.    

Cathy Russon of Law & Crime Network tweeted about the new allegation on Monday while Robert Durst was in the courtroom.

Kathie Durst, the wife of Robert, has been missing for almost 30 years after disappearing from the couple’s South Salem, New York home on January 31, 1982.

Her body has never been found and Robert has not been charged with her death, though authorities believe he is likely responsible, according to the New York Post.  

On Tuesday, Durst, who suffers from myriad maladies, was slumped in a wheelchair dressed in a blue sportcoat, white dress shirt and tan pants.

His gray hair was disheveled and he appeared to show no emotion behind a white mask as he followed the proceedings on a tablet computer that provided a real-time transcript because he has impaired hearing.

Lewin provided an abbreviated opening statement to refresh jurors on what they last heard over six days in March 2020 before the case was recessed an unprecedented 14 months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Defense lawyers will present their own summary of the evidence on Wednesday. Last year, they stunned the audience when they said they would put Durst on the witness stand.

Durst was acquitted of murder in a Texas court after testifying he killed Morris Black when the man pulled a gun on him and they wrestled for the weapon in the Galveston rooming house where they both lived.

Durst had gone into hiding in Texas after New York prosecutors reopened the investigation into Kathie Durst’s suspected death. He killed Black because he had discovered Durst’s identity and was trying to leverage the wealthy scion to buy a house for the two of them, Lewin said.

Prosecutors have said Durst (pictured with Kathleen Durst) shot Berman because of what she knew about the fate of his spouse, whom authorities have said they presume was slain by Durst

Prosecutors have said Durst (pictured with Kathleen Durst) shot Berman because of what she knew about the fate of his spouse, whom authorities have said they presume was slain by Durst

Durst killed Black about nine months after Berman was found dead in her Benedict Canyon home in December 2000. Police were directed to the home by a note with only her address and the word, ‘CADAVER’ written in block letters.

Durst told the makers of ‘The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst’ in 2010 and 2012 that he didn’t write the note. He told the filmmakers and investigators in 2015 that whoever wrote the note had to have been Berman’s killer.

‘You’re writing a note to the police that only the killer could have written,’ Durst said.

Lewin said that now amounts to a confession after defense lawyers conceded before trial that Durst wrote the note. Evidence had shown he once penned a note to Berman in identical handwriting, with her address similarly misspelled ‘Beverley’ Hills instead of Beverly.

The defense argues Durst found Berman’s body, panicked and ran. He sent the note to police so she’d be found, though her body was discovered before police got the note.

Durst killed Berman to keep her from talking to police about how she helped him cover up his wife’s disappearance, Lewin said.

Lewin played a clip of testimony from Nick Chavin, a mutually close friend of the defendant and victim, who said Berman once told him that Durst had killed Kathie. He said Durst told him he killed Berman after the two had dinner in New York in 2014.

‘I had to,’ Durst said on the sidewalk, according to Chavin. ‘It was her or me, I had no choice.’

In 1973, just after his thirtieth birthday, Robert Durst married Kathleen McCormack (pictured)

In 1973, just after his thirtieth birthday, Robert Durst married Kathleen McCormack (pictured)

Lewin said Berman, the daughter of a Las Vegas mobster who never would have turned her back on a stranger, had no idea Durst had come to kill her when she let him in her home just before Christmas.

‘She turned around because because she trusted him, because he was her close friend, because he was not somebody to fear,’ Lewin said. ‘She turned around, she took a few steps and he basically blew her brains out.’

Lewin showed a photo of Berman lying on her back, her raven hair spread out on the floor and dark blood pooled under her head. 

Durst’s lawyers claim the jury can no longer be impartial due to the long layoff and high-profile nature of the case.

The real estate heir was the subject of The Jinx, an HBO documentary that ends with Durst seemingly confessing to murder.

The defense also wanted to postpone the trial because Durst is suffering from health issues, including bladder cancer.

Lawyer Dick DeGuerin told DailyMail.com: ‘His health has deteriorated alarmingly over the past fourteen months since the trial was shut down at the beginning of the Covid pandemic. 

‘I’m concerned about whether he can withstand the rigors of trial. 

‘We are continuing our request for mistrial through a Writ to the appellate courts, which means we have appealed the trial court’s denial of our latest motion for mistrial.’

Durst was present at his most recent court hearing on March 17 but looked frail and sounded weak.

He is being held in the Twin Towers correctional facility in Los Angeles.

His legal team said they are willing for him to pay for his own security, be subjected to GPS monitoring, and have a high bail amount if he is released to a medical facility. 

In July, a judge denied a request for a mistrial after a delay from the coronavirus outbreak.

The Westchester District Attorney’s office recently relaunched an investigation into Kathie’s disappearance.

‘The Westchester DA’s Office Cold Case Unit was established to review and reinvestigate unsolved homicides. It is reviewing a number of cases, including the murder of Kathie Durst,’ said Westchester County District Attorney Mimi Rocah. 

News 12 reports DA’s office has been conducting interviews for several weeks.

Her family met with investigators last month, with three of her four siblings present for that meeting.    

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