Robert Durst's Attorney Calls Search of Houston Home "Publicity Stunt"
"I don't know what they could be looking for 15 years after Susan Berman was killed 1,500 miles away," counsel Dick DeGuerin said. "I would really be surprised if they found anything of any evidentiary value. They can search now till kingdom come. They're not going to find anything because there isn't anything."
HOUSTON — As investigators examine two boxes of items seized from Robert Durst's Houston home, the troubled millionaire's attorney says he would be surprised if any evidence against his client were found.
Dick DeGuerin called the search of the condominium Tuesday "a publicity stunt" by a California prosecutor looking to pin the killing of Durst's friend 15 years ago on his client.
But Durst himself may have pointed to his Houston condo in a recording made while talking to himself in a bathroom immediately after a tense interview with the makers of a documentary about his life.
Just before saying he "killed them all," he says "I don't know what's in the house!"
In this bathroom tape — which forms the shocking conclusion of the six-part HBO documentary that wrapped up Sunday — Durst talks to himself in short bursts of whispers, apparently contemplating his arrest. The filmmakers say they shared the tape with police months ago.
The 71-year-old heir to a New York real estate fortune remains in custody in New Orleans on gun and drug charges while awaiting a transfer to Los Angeles to face murder charges in the death of Susan Berman.
Durst also has been suspected — but never charged — in the disappearance of his first wife in New York. In 2003, he was acquitted of murder in a dismemberment death in Texas.
Seven officers spent hours Tuesday searching Durst's condominium in a 17-story building in a posh Houston neighborhood before carrying away the two white cardboard document boxes.
"I don't know what they could be looking for 15 years after Susan Berman was killed 1,500 miles away," DeGuerin said. "I would really be surprised if they found anything of any evidentiary value. They can search now till kingdom come. They're not going to find anything because there isn't anything."
FBI spokeswoman Shauna Dunlap confirmed that FBI agents participated in the search at the LAPD's request.
Harris County district attorney's office spokesman Jeff McShan said the LAPD contacted his office last week — days before Sunday's finale on HBO of The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst.
LAPD spokesman Sgt. Barry Montgomery said the department is not commenting until Durst is in custody in Los Angeles. It's not clear how soon he will be returned to California.
Durst could face the death penalty if convicted of killing Berman, the daughter of a prominent Las Vegas mobster, under special circumstances that allege he ambushed her and murdered a witness to a crime.
A law enforcement official said his arrest on the murder charge was based on words he wrote in a letter to Berman a year before her killing, which match one that pointed police to her body.
That's the key new evidence that revived the cold case, the official told the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing.
DeGuerin disagreed: "This is a case that the L.A. D.A. has issued a warrant based on a television program, a (expletive) docudrama."
Bob Martin, a neighbor of Durst's in Houston, described the murder suspect as courteous, and no quirkier than anyone else in the building.
Durst waived extradition to California on Monday but was then charged with being a felon in possession of a gun and illegally carrying a weapon with marijuana, a controlled dangerous substance. Assistant District Attorney Mark Burton said investigators found more than a quarter-pound of pot and a revolver in his hotel room.
DeGuerin said he wants a quick hearing in Louisiana, so that "Durst can go to California and face trial as quickly as possible."
The judge in New Orleans scheduled another hearing for Monday.