Robert Durst's Lawyers Claim 'The Jinx' Subject Was Illegally Arrested
William Gibbens and Dick DeGuerin have asked a New Orleans court to schedule a preliminary hearing to prove there is no probable cause to keep Durst jailed.
Millionaire Robert Durst was illegally arrested on charges that he murdered a woman in California as well as drug and weapons charges filed in New Orleans, attorneys said in court papers Friday.
In the papers filed at the State Criminal District Court in New Orleans, William Gibbens and Dick DeGuerin asked a magistrate judge to schedule a preliminary hearing so that they can prove there is no probable cause to keep Durst jailed. They say he should be released.
The judge agreed to schedule that hearing during another court appearance by Durst on Monday in New Orleans.
The attorneys also asked the judge to order that evidence be preserved from the hotel where Durst was arrested. They are seeking any and all records related to Durst and Everett Ward, the pseudonym Durst used to check into the hotel.
The documents blasted the arrest, which the attorneys say was orchestrated "to coincide with the final episode of the HBO docudrama The Jinx." The six-part documentary concluded Sunday.
Durst, a member of a wealthy New York real estate family, was charged with murder in California for the December 2000 shooting death of Susan Berman. Durst's arrest came shortly before the HBO finale about his links to three killings — that of his first wife, who disappeared in New York in 1982; Berman, the daughter a mobster and a close friend who acted as his spokeswoman after his wife disappeared; and a 71-year-old neighbor in Texas, whose dismembered body was found floating in Galveston Bay in 2001. Durst has only ever been tried for the Texas killing, and he was acquitted of murder.
Durst waived extradition in New Orleans but is being held there on charges that he was a felon in possession of a gun and illegally carried a weapon with a controlled substance. Court documents say investigators found nearly $43,000 in cash, a gun and a rubber mask that could cover his head and neck in his hotel room when he was arrested. Authorities have also said marijuana was found in the room.
However, Durst's attorneys say his previous convictions are not serious enough to merit the gun charge.
Earlier Friday, CBS This Morning aired part of DeGuerin's first network TV interview on the case, included in a 48 Hours special CBS is airing Saturday night.
In that interview, DeGuerin claimed that the assistant district attorney in L.A. interviewed Durst without his lawyer present.
"A prosecutor came out here and took him aside and questioned him for three hours Sunday morning," DeGuerin said. "I would have hoped that they wouldn't have tried to trick him into being interviewed with his lawyer not present, but they did."
DeGuerin continued to insist that the prosecution has a weak case and questioned the quality of their evidence.
"I think the evidence here is a lot more troublesome for the prosecution," DeGuerin pointed out. "Not only is it a circumstantial evidence case, but it's a weak circumstantial evidence case. And it's based primarily on two things: this junk science letter and the bathroom confession. Throw me in that briar patch."
CBS News' 48 Hours special "The Bizarre Saga of Robert Durst" airs Saturday night at 10 p.m. ET. Watch the preview that aired on CBS This Morning below.
March 20, 2:15 p.m. This story has been updated with a preview of DeGuerin's interview with 48 Hours.