Two friends of Robert Durst have been ordered to testify at a preliminary hearing for his Los Angeles murder trial.
Stuart Altman, a friend and attorney who advised Durst on criminal and real estate matters, and his wife, Emily, received a subpoena to appear in Los Angeles on July 24 to testify as material witnesses in trial, the New York Times reported. Stuart has said he introduced Durst to his first wife, Kathleen Durst, who went missing in 1982 and was never found.
Durst is suspected of having killed Kathleen, but has never been charged.
The Altmans plan to appeal a New York State Supreme Court judge’s decision to approve the out-of-state subpoena on technical grounds and the argument that the information could be gleaned elsewhere.
New York State justice Christopher Quinn, however, argued that the Altmans have given several interviews to the media over the course of the past 17 years about Durst. Altman plans to claim attorney-client privilege in Los Angeles if the appeal is not granted.
Prosecutors allege that Durst shot his longtime friend Susan Berman in 2000 shortly after he learned that authorities in New York has relaunched a probe into the disappearance of his first wife.
The deputy district attorney handling the case in Los Angeles has said in court papers that the murder was an attempt by Durst “to eliminate a witness who participated in the cover-up of his missing wife’s disappearance and death.” [NYT] – Rich Bockmann