Real estate heir Robert Durst appeared in court on Tuesday to face two felony charges tacked on to his original arrest on a Los Angeles murder warrant on Saturday.
The 71-year-old subject of the HBO documentary The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst was arrested in New Orleans on Saturday at a Marriott hotel where he had checked in under an alias. According to the New York Times, the FBI agents who made the arrest reportedly found a .38-caliber revolver and five ounces of marijuana in Durst’s hotel room.
Durst was re-arrested on charges of possession of a firearm as a convicted felon and possession of a weapon with a controlled substance and was re-booked into the Orleans Parish Jail, according to ABC News.
Durst reportedly appeared “dazed” at his Tuesday hearing while his attorney, Dick DeGuerin, sought to defend him from the charges, including the original charge that he murdered Susan Berman in her Beverly Hills home in 2000.
“Bob Durst didn’t kill Susan Berman and he doesn’t know who did,” DeGuerin told reporters outside the courthouse. “That being said, my concern is that the warrant that was issued in California was issued because of a television show and not because of facts.”
“We want to contest the basis for his arrest because I think it’s not based on facts, it’s based on ratings,” DeGuerin continued. “So we will continue to fight for Bob. We want to get to California as quickly as we can so that we can get to a court of law and try the case where it needs to be tried.”
Durst was arrested hours before the series finale of The Jinx aired on HBO. In the episode’s closing moments, Durst is caught by a microphone saying, ‘There is it. You’re caught,” and “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.”
While Durst faces his legal problems, questions continue to mount about the timeline of the events presented in The Jinx and whether the documentary’s creators may have withheld crucial information from authorities that could have helped them arrest Durst earlier.
People who worked on The Jinx told the New York Times that the fateful interview took place in April of 2012. The documentary’s director, Andrew Jarecki, and producer Marc Smerling told the paper they found the damning audio clip nearly two years later. However, the way the show is filmed makes it seem as if the interview had taken place much later, after Durst was arrested in August 2013 for violating a restraining order his brother Douglas Durst had taken out against him.
In a Good Morning America interview on Monday, Jarecki defended his decision to hold off on presenting what they had found to law enforcement.
“We talked a lot about it with our legal advisors and we said, ‘Look, if we go to the authorities now, we’re missing the opportunity for us to actually get the real story from him, and it may take years for them to do that because the truth is, as filmmakers, we have the freedom to do things that maybe the law enforcement authorities wouldn’t have,'” Jarecki said.
“We’ve been in contact with law enforcement for the past two years, so when we finally found that subsequent admission, what happens in the bathroom, we contacted them and we said, ‘We have something more.'”
After appearing on a number of Monday morning talk shows to discuss the arrest, Jarecki had abruptly cancelled all media appearances by Monday afternoon and released a statement along with Smerling:
“Given that we are likely to be called as witnesses in any case law enforcement may decide bring against Robert Durst, it is not appropriate for us to comment further on these pending matters,” the pair said.
For its part, the Los Angeles Police Department said Durst’s murder warrant and subsequent arrest was not in any way connected to The Jinx.
“We based our actions on the investigation and the evidence. We didn’t base anything we did on the HBO series,” LAPD Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese told the Los Angeles Times. “The arrest was made as a result of the investigative efforts and at a time that we believe it was needed.”
Durst first appeared in court on Monday, where he agreed to be extradited to Los Angeles to face a first-degree murder charge in the death of Berman. Now, Durst’s murder trial will wait while he faces the two felony firearm and drug charges in New Orleans.