Real estate heir Robert Durst and his longtime girlfriend, Debrah Lee Charatan, were married a year ago by a rabbi hired out of the yellow pages in a hush-hush 15-minute ceremony in a midtown office tower, the Daily News has learned. Durst, 58, wore a conservative suit and a grim expression. Charatan, a 44-year-old real estate broker, had on a somber business suit and a matching look. There was one witness and no pictures at the Dec. 11, 2000, ceremony, which the bride’s mother knew nothing about. “Durst was rather taciturn,” said the rabbi, who officiated in a 25th-floor conference room in a Times Square skyscraper. “He was not buoyant and didn’t smile.
” The secretive wedding has become another mysterious piece in the bizarre puzzle of Durst’s life. In October 2001, Durst was arrested on charges of murdering an elderly neighbor in Galveston, Tex., where he was living alone in a shabby apartment. The millionaire – who has been under suspicion in the 1982 disappearance of his first wife, Kathie Durst – had rented the apartment posing as a mute woman, police said. He used a similar disguise in March to rent an apartment in New Orleans, where he also lived alone, raising questions about the legitimacy of his marriage to Charatan. The nuptials came to light in October, after Charatan used the marriage license to help Durst win release from jail Oct. 10 on $300,000 bail. Days later, she presented the license again during a failed attempt to withdraw $1.
8 million from a Durst bank account. Authorities have since begun investigating whether she helped Durst run from the law after he jumped bail – a flight that ended Nov. 30, when he was nabbed on a shoplifting charge at a grocery store near Bethlehem, Pa. Durst is being held without bail in Easton, Pa. Yesterday, Pennsylvania Gov. Mark Schweiker authorized the Northampton County district attorney to proceed with extradition to transfer Durst to Texas. Questions remain The wedding was a staid, routine affair, said the rabbi, who asked not to be identified. The rabbi had not met the couple before. “They stood under the chuppah, they said, ‘Amen’ to the blessing, they drank some wine and kissed and went out the door,” he said. “There was nothing to it.
” But there are still questions about whether Durst and Charatan are legally married. Durst never divorced Kathie Durst, and her estate remained open until this month, when a Surrogate Court order referred to her as deceased. Family law experts said it’s possible Durst secretly obtained court permission to remarry, arguing that his first wife abandoned him. But without such a court order, he could be considered a bigamist and the marriage unlawful. Charatan, while visiting Durst at Northampton County Prison this week, declined to comment. The status of the marriage could become thorny in the coming months. Prosecutors investigating the Galveston slaying, the bail-jumping case and Kathie Durst’s disappearance may want to subpoena Charatan. If she is Durst’s legal spouse, she could refuse to testify about things her husband said or did while they were married. “If they’re not legally married, then the privileges don’t apply,” said Stephen Gillers, a New York University Law School professor. “She could be compelled to testify.”