Real-estate heir Robert Durst's attorney is accusing prosecutors of trying to "taint the jury pool" by releasing a two-hour interrogation in which the murder suspect talks about using meth, cutting up a body, and being the world's "worst fugitive."
The Los Angeles District Attorney's office released the bombshell interview in a court filing on Friday after Durst's defense team argued that the questioning was "improper and deceptive."
"To put something out that hasn't been tested for admissibility — that they knew is going to be objected to — I don't think is right," Durst's lead attorney, Dick DeGuerin, said on Monday morning.
In a statement, the DA's office said, "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."
The two sides will argue about whether the interrogation can be used in the Los Angeles murder case when they square off at a hearing on Wednesday morning.
Durst, 73, was the subject of the HBO documentary series "The Jinx," which examined his links to the 1982 disappearance of his wife Kathie, the 2000 murder of his confidante Susan Berman and the 2001 dismemberment of his Texas neighbor Morris Black.
Earlier this year, Los Angeles prosecutors charged Durst with Berman's murder. The evidence they have amassed includes boxes of his personal papers. His lawyers say some of the material is subject to attorney-client privilege, while the D.A. says he waived privilege by giving "The Jinx" producers access to the paperwork.
To support that claim, prosecutors noted in a motion last week that Durst told Deputy District Attorney John Lewin during the 2015 interrogation that he turned over the papers because he thought it would make him look like "an acceptable human being" to the filmmakers.
DuGuerin fired back that the interview should not be used to support that document because it was legally out of bounds. He said prosecutors knew Durst had a lawyer and should not have been questioned without counsel.
Hours after DuGuerin filed the opposition papers, the district attorney's office responded by releasing the entire 109-page transcript, saying it would show Durst knew exactly what he was doing when he talked to Lewin.
Among the highlights of the interrogation:
- Durst said he was high on methamphetamine during the filming of "The Jinx," which ended with him muttering that he "killed them all."
- He said "inertia," and a dislike of life on the run, kept him from fleeing the country until it was too late. "I was the world's worst fugitive," said Durst, who jumped bond in 2004 and then was caught shoplifting a sandwich.
- Durst told Lewin that he couldn't give him information about what happened to Kathie and Berman because it would amount to "pleading guilty."
- He matter-of-factly discussed how he didn't use the easiest method to cut up Black's body: "You're not gonna go and try to cut through the God-damned bone like I did...which was hard." (Durst was acquitted of murder after he argued he killed Black in self-defense).
- He agreed it was "reasonable" to think that he wrote the note sent to police alerting them to a "cadaver" at Berman's home after her murder. He also said: "Whoever wrote that note had to be involved in Susan's death." He also said it was possible two people were involved in the slaying.
- Prosecutors allege that Durst killed Berman because she knew too much about the disappearance of Kathie, who is presumed dead. Durst has not been charged with Kathie's death and denied during the interview that he killed her.
Durst has pleaded not guilty to murdering Berman. During the session, Lewin asked him if he would admit it if he had killed her.
"No," Durst said.
Durst is serving a seven-year federal sentence for gun possession after investigators found a revolver in his hotel room when he was arrested in New Orleans in 2015. By his account, even if he beat the murder rap, he's unlikely to ever be free because doctors have told the cancer survivor he probably won't live more than five years.