— -- A shouting match erupted in court today during a hearing for Robert Durst and the various charges he faces relating to his arrest in New Orleans last month.
The 71-year-old real estate heir, who was shackled in a yellow prison jumpsuit and appeared to be falling asleep when reporters entered court this morning, was arrested in a New Orleans hotel on charges of murdering his friend Susan Berman in Los Angeles in 2000.
He was also subsequently charged with weapons and drug possession when the FBI agents searched him and found he had a gun and marijuana at the time of his March 14 arrest.
Today's court appearance in New Orleans was slated as a preliminary hearing relating on whether or not Durst should be tried in Louisiana for the gun and drugs charges or if he will be extradited to California to face the murder charge.
Durst's defense team, who have repeatedly proclaimed that he is innocent of Berman's murder (though they have not yet had to enter a formal plea), had subpoenaed the FBI agents and state trooper related to his arrest, along with a former New York district attorney who had been involved with the investigation into his first wife's disappearance.
But none of those witnesses showed up -- leading state prosecutors to shout at Durst's defense attorney Dick DeGuerin.
That's when the judge decided to call for a postponement, pushing the hearing back to next Thursday, at which time the FBI agents and others subpoenaed could face contempt of court charges.
The defense team is pushing to have the gun charges thrown out because they believe that it was found as a result of an illegal search that they say took place before the FBI agents had formally received the necessary search warrant.
DeGuerin today accused the prosecutors of "playing hide the ball," though the prosecutor said in court that the allegation was "unconscionable."
Durst's actions first came under public scrutiny when his first wife Kathie disappeared from their country home in upstate New York in 1982. His friend, Berman, was then found shot dead in her Los Angeles home in 2000 and the by the next year, he had moved to Galveston, Tex. and killed his neighbor Morris Black. Durst was arrested for Black's murder but was acquitted, saying that he killed Black in self defense, going on to tell the court how he dismembered Black's body and dumped the bagged parts in Galveston Bay.
On Wednesday, Durst's lawyers filed a request to have a subpoena filed against Jeanine Pirro, the Westchester district attorney involved in the investigation of Kathie Durst.
The various sagas involving Durst gained recent public attention when an HBO series called 'The Jinx' featuring interviews with him brought further public scrutiny to the unsolved disappearance of Kathie Durst and unsolved murder of Susan Berman.
In the documentary, it was stated that Pirro and her team had scheduled an interview with Berman shortly before she was killed, but now the motion submitted by Durst's defense team states that he "seeks to confirm" that Pirro "never requested an interview, or otherwise contacted Susan Berman, prior to Susan Berman's death."
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