Robert Durst indicted on gun charges in Louisiana
Robert Durst was indicted Wednesday on gun charges in Louisiana, likely delaying his extradition to California to face murder charges, court officials said.
Durst, 71, the focus of the HBO documentary “The Jinx,” was indicted on charges of possessing a firearm while carrying marijuana and possession of a firearm by a felon, court officials confirmed. Investigators said they found a .38-caliber revolver and marijuana in his hotel room.
The indictment raised immediate questions about efforts to extradict Durst to California to face charges in a nearly 15-year-old murder case.
Durst’s lead attorney, Houston-based litigator Dick DeGuerin, told The Times he learned of the grand jury indictment from news reports.
“It means once again the DA’s office is avoiding the hearing” on his challenge to the probable cause for arresting Durst in New Orleans and searching his hotel room, DeGuerin said.
An extradition hearing is scheduled Thursday before Orleans Criminal District Court Magistrate Harry Cantrell Jr. and DeGuerin said he intends to push for his client to be extradited to California despite the indictment.
“This is a California born and bred case and that’s where it belongs,” he said, adding, “there was no reason to rush the indictment.”
He said the state charges are “coincidental” to the case in California.
“That’s where we need to be. That’s where the big fight is going to be,” he said.
Durst was arrested March 14 in New Orleans after being stopped by FBI agents at his French Quarter hotel on a California murder warrant.
He has waived extradition to California, where he is wanted in connection with the murder of friend and author Susan Berman, who was shot in the head at her Benedict Canyon home about 15 years ago.
Durst briefly appeared in court Tuesday, but Cantrell continued the issue to Thursday, according to his lead attorney and court staff.
If convicted in New Orleans as a first-time offender, Durst could face sentences of up to 20 years on each of the charges -- possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a firearm with a controlled substance.
Officials have 30 days to enforce Durst’s extradition, which would expire next week, according to his legal team’s staff.
DeGuerin last week filed a motion asking the judge to find there was no probable cause to arrest Durst in New Orleans on the state charges so that he can be extradited to California.
Durst, who is worth an estimated $100 million, is being held without bond at a medical unit of a state prison about 70 miles west of New Orleans -- the Elayn Hunt Correctional Center in St. Gabriel, La.
For more news from the Robert Durst case, follow @mollyhf.
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