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Prosecutors File Motions in Murder Case Against Robert Durst

Prosecutors filed motions Monday in the murder case against New York real estate scion Robert Durst, objecting to delays requested by the defense team as an attempt to “stall the inevitable.”

Durst is charged in the December 2000 killing of his friend Susan Berman in her Benedict Canyon home. Prosecutors say he killed her because authorities in New York’s Westchester County were about to interview her as part of a reopened investigation into the 1982 disappearance of Durst’s first wife, Kathleen “Kathie” Durst.

The murder charge includes the special circumstances allegation of murder of a witness and murder while lying in wait, along with gun use allegations. However, the District Attorney’s Office does not plan to seek the death penalty.

Durst’s defense counsel David Chesnoff wrote to Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mark Windham on Wednesday requesting a delay in hearings on two issues.

One is whether Durst waived attorney-client privilege during his meeting with Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney John Lewin in New Orleans and the other goes to the admissibility of statements made at that meeting.

Chesnoff said consideration of the issues was “premature” because Durst’s defense team was still investigating and conducting interviews and hadn’t yet filed their motion to exclude Lewin’s interview.

Prosecutors called the claims “disingenuous,” saying the defense had already laid out its legal arguments to the press, claiming that the interview violated Durst’s Sixth Amendment rights and his participation was involuntary because of his diminished capacity.

“Defendant misstates the facts and requests time to conduct additional investigation to locate evidence that, even if discovered, would have no legal bearings on the merits of his claim,” stated one of the two motions filed Monday by prosecutors.

The issues were originally set for hearing in February, when both sides agreed to a delay until April 25. Prosecutors now want that hearing to proceed as planned.

The prosecution’s other motion reports on the lack of progress made in sorting through the mountain of evidence in the case.

A special master was appointed by the court to manage boxes of materials seized from Durst’s home, his hotel room and from his girlfriend, but has been unable to get the job done, according to the prosecution.

“The Special Master made clear more than two months ago that he did not have the ability or time to accomplish this task,” the second motion stated.

Prosecutors asked the court to allow a “dirty team” of District Attorney’s Office investigators access to review the documents and decide which can be made available to the attorneys trying the case.

Durst has objected to the notion of a “dirty team,” raising concerns about potential misconduct or unethical behavior.

Prosecutors asserted their “extraordinary efforts to ensure that defendant has been treated ethically and respectfully” and sought to assure the judge that their process would safeguard privileged documents.

“The defendant must not be permitted to obstruct this process,” the motion concludes.

Durst was arrested March 14, 2015, in a New Orleans hotel room, hours before the airing of the final episode of the HBO documentary series “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst,” which examined Kathleen Durst’s disappearance and the killings of Berman and a Texas neighbor, Morris Black, in 2001.

In the finale, Durst was apparently caught on microphone saying to himself, “Killed them all, of course,” and “There it is, you’re caught.”

Durst has been long estranged from his real-estate-rich family, known for ownership of a series of New York City skyscrapers — including an investment in the World Trade Center.

Durst split with the family when his younger brother was placed in charge of the family business, leading to a drawn-out legal battle.

According to various media reports, Durst ultimately reached a settlement under which the family paid him $60 million to $65 million.

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