NEW ORLEANS – Robert Durst, the real estate scion awaiting extradition to California to face a murder charge, will remain jailed in Louisiana after investigators his attorneys wanted to question did not appear at a court hearing on Thursday.
Attorneys for Durst, recently featured in the HBO documentary “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst,” had subpoenaed two FBI agents and a Louisiana state trooper to ask them about Durst’s arrest on weapons charges in New Orleans.
His lawyers argue his arrest and the initial search of his hotel room last month without a warrant were improper.
Defense lawyer Dick DeGuerin accused prosecutors of playing “a game of hide the ball” after they said they instructed the witnesses not to show up for the hearing because they needed more time to prepare.
Assistant District Attorney Mark Burton said DeGuerin was trying to cloud the substantive reasons for Durst’s arrest by focusing on the officers who arrested him. “This is nothing more than a subterfuge to suppress evidence,” Burton said.
Magistrate Judge Harry Cantrell delayed the hearing until April 9.
Durst, who wore a yellow jail jumpsuit in court, has sought to speed his extradition to California, where he has been charged with the 2000 murder of longtime friend Susan Berman and could face the death penalty.
He was arrested in New Orleans on charges of possession of a weapon by a felon and possession of a controlled substance, which carry a combined maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, but has yet to be formally charged.
The HBO documentary showed Durst being presented with evidence that his handwriting appeared to match that of Berman’s likely killer.
The 71-year-old Durst’s voice was subsequently captured on a microphone saying that he had “killed them all.”
Long a suspect in the disappearance of his wife, Kathleen Durst, in 1982 in New York, Durst was acquitted in the dismemberment killing of his neighbor in Texas in 2003.
The final HBO episode aired one day after Durst’s arrest at a New Orleans hotel, where he was staying under an alias and had over $42,000 in cash, a revolver, marijuana and a latex mask that could fit over his neck and head, authorities said.
Durst, who prosecutors have said is worth up to $100 million, has long been estranged from his powerful family, which has major New York real estate holdings.