You can find links to all of CRIME STORY’S coverage of the Robert Durst trial here.


Robert Durst — who’s story became an international sensation through the HBO Series “The Jinx” — was back in an LA courthouse yesterday. Durst has been residing a hospital room at the LA County Jail since his trial for the murder of his friend Susan Berman was suspended almost exactly one year ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of the hearing was for Judge Mark E. Windham to assess the readiness of the parties to resume the trial on May 17 of this year with the same jury that was hearing the case before the hiatus. In a surprise development, Durst sought to personally raise legal issues with Judge Windham at the end of the hearing.


The hearing began with Judge Windham asking Durst if he acknowledged having signed a waiver of his right to have the trial restart on the date originally agreed to by him, April 12.

Judge Mark E. Windham:

Mr. Durst, you’ve consented in writing to the further delay and waived any right you may have to resume on April 12th. Is this your signature I have before me? 

Stephanie Ames:

Bob. Bob, did you hear the Judge? The waiver that you signed on Friday… Is that your signature? 

Judge Mark E. Windham:

Is that your signature on the document, Mr. Durst. Please answer out loud. 

Stephanie Ames:

Bob, you need to answer out loud. 

Robert Durst:

I can’t read it from here.

Stephanie Ames,

And your honor, so the court is aware… Mr. Durst has recently been seen by the ear specialist and they say that he’s having problems with the hearing aids. Uh, so it’s very difficult for him to hear 

Robert Durst:

Yes, this is my signature. 

Judge Mark E. Windham:

And, uh, and do you agree to waive any rights you have to begin on April 12th and start on May 17th instead? Yes? 

Stephanie Ames:

Do you agree to start on May 17, Bob? 

Robert Durst:

I agree to start on May 17.

Judge Mark E. Windham:

Very good. Then a time is waived.


The Judge then proceeded to review various stipulations and the motions for retrial put forward by the defense which will be argued at a hearing on April 12. At the center of these motions is the defense’s assertion that the nearly unprecedented year long hiatus — in and of itself — prejudices the jury against Mr. Durst.

All of this felt very perfunctory, and just as the hearing seemed about to come to an uneventful closing, Robert Durst raised his frail voice to be heard.

David Chesnoff:

Stay well, everyone. 

Judge Mark E. Windham:

Yes. Anything else? 

John Lewin:

No, thank you, Your Honor. 

Judge Mark E. Windham:

Yeah. Take care everyone. 

Robert Durst:

Your Honor…

Judge Mark E. Windham:

Yes. Yes, Mr. Durst. 

Robert Durst:

Two months ago I mailed you a letter. 

Judge Mark E. Windham:

Two months ago you mailed me a  letter? I did not receive the letter. 

Robert Durst:

Two weeks ago the letter was returned to me. May I give you the letter now? The letter was returned to me stamped with: “Return to Sender. Insufficient address.”

Judge Mark E. Windham:

My apologies.

Robert Durst:

May I give you the letter here?

Judge Mark E. Windham:

Ms. Ames, will you, will you look at that letter and see if it’s appropriate for me to receive it? Anything that I received goes into the court file and is shared with all parties. 

Stephanie Ames:

I understand your honor. Um, I believe his team is actually going to address this issue. I am aware of the letter. I have advised Mr. Durst against reading the letter or providing it to court for the reasons you’ve just stated. I believe that Mr. DeGuerin has discussed the letter with Mr. Durst and otherwise I’ll let the team address the issue. 

Judge Mark E. Windham:

Very well. And Counsel, I’ll invite Counsel, it has something to do with his conditions or circumstances that may be appropriately addressed ex parte… But if you give me a letter, I am going to put it in the court file. So I, I think you’re probably wise Mr. Durst to trust Ms. Ames on this. I’m sure she’ll communicate every single idea that you have in that letter, to me, in a way that couldn’t couldn’t harm you in any legal sense. Alright. 

John Lewin:

And obviously, your honor, if the letter relates to issues regarding Mr. Durst’s housing or medical needs, those are properly dealt with ex parte. If they instead relate to issues involving the trial, then obviously we believe that we’re going to have a right to, to see that. So I just want to make sure there’s no review of such materials if we are not provided opportunity to observe as well.

Judge Mark E. Windham:

Thank you, Mr. Lewin. I will be mindful of that. 

John Lewin:

Mr. Durst was starting to say something, your honor, when I was speaking and I could hear over, I don’t know if the Court could. 

Judge Mark E. Windham:

Is that all Ms. Ames? Thank you and we’ll see Mr. Durst on April 12.

Robert Durst:

The letter has to do with stipulation 45.

Stipulation 45 was a court document filed on January 20 of last year, just days before jury selection began, in which both parties “irrevocably” agreed that the previously recorded “conditional examination testimony” of a number of designated witnesses would be be presented by the parties in lieu of live testimony. Durst presumably now regrets that his attorneys agreed to at least some of these witnesses being released from having to return to testify at trial.

Judge Windham breezily deflected Durst’s verbal objection.

Judge Mark E. Windham:

Okay. Well, it is a legal issue apparently. And so, um, I have not received the letter. If I do. I’ll share it. Thank you. 

Don Re:

Thank you very much, Your Honor. Stay well.

Judge Mark E. Windham:

You too.

And with that, the proceedings came to close and Robert Durst was wheeled out of the courtroom.


You can find full video, audio and a transcript of this hearing here.