Prosecutors and defense lawyers in Robert Durst’s murder trial are arguing over whether the names of two witnesses should be kept secret until shortly before their testimonies.
Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney John Lewin wants to keep their identities under wraps and preserve witness testimonies, citing fears that Durst might kill or intimidate them. “Defendant is a menace to society,” he wrote in a motion. “He has demonstrated a willingness to use deadly force to escape justice – killing two people and arming himself with deadly weapons to kill anyone who stood in his way of escape.”
Durst’s defenders oppose the motion, claiming that “there is simply no factual basis upon which one could claim that Mr. Durst has the ability to harm anyone.”
Durst, on trial in Los Angeles for the alleged murder of his friend Susan Berman in 2000, has pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors claim he killed her because she had incriminating evidence about the disappearance of his first wife Kathleen in 1982.
Durst was arrested in New Orleans in 2015, after filmmakers from HBO docu-drama “The Jinx” taped comments of his that could be construed as an admission of guilt. Durst later said he was high on meth during the filming of the miniseries.
Robert is the brother of Douglas Durst and a former executive in the family real estate business, but they fell out decades ago and at one point Douglas hired a bodyguard to protect himself against his brother. [NYP] — Konrad Putzier