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Louisiana weapons charges dismissed against Robert Durst, federal case remains

Louisiana state weapons charges against Robert Durst dismissed

Louisiana authorities dismissed weapons charges against real estate heir Robert Durst -- who faces a murder charge in Los Angeles -- on Thursday as federal authorities moved forward with their case against him.

Orleans Parish District Leon A. Cannizzaro Jr., who is working closely with federal prosecutors, decided to dismiss two state gun charges against Durst: possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a firearm with a controlled substance.

“It was determined that this case would be prosecuted in the federal courts,” Assistant Dist. Atty. Christopher Bowman told the Los Angeles Times.

Although state prosecutors have dismissed charges, Bowman said they still “reserve the right” to look at their case against Durst again after the federal case is over.

Durst's lead attorney, Houston-based Dick DeGuerin, told The Times that the move was “fair and reasonable, as otherwise there would have been parallel prosecutions going on at the same time.”

“I look forward to our day in court and to getting the Louisiana case resolved, so we can get to California and challenge the murder accusation,” he said.

Durst, the subject of the recent HBO documentary series “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst,” pleaded not guilty April 8 to a federal gun charge.

The New York millionaire was charged with breaking state and federal gun laws after FBI agents who stopped him at a New Orleans hotel found a .38-caliber revolver and marijuana in his room.

Agents were looking for Durst, 72, in connection with a Los Angeles murder warrant issued for the 2000 shooting of Susan Berman at her Benedict Canyon home.

Berman, Durst's longtime friend, served as a spokeswoman for him after his first wife, Kathie, disappeared in 1982 in New York.

“Bob Durst didn't kill Susan Berman and he doesn't know who did,” DeGuerin said Thursday.

Durst has waived extradition to California, but Louisiana authorities have refused to release him.

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Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times


10:52 a.m.: Updated with quotes from Durst's lead attorney, Dick DeGuerin.

This story was first published at 10:39 a.m.