Wealthy wig-wearer Robert Durst was such a yenta in prison, newly discovered recordings of his telephone babble have put the start of his murder trial in jeopardy.
Openings were slated for Monday in the trial of the heir to one of New York’s biggest real-estate fortunes on charges of murdering and dismembering 71-year-old neighbor Morris Black.
Now Durst might profit from a clever move that could keep any incriminating prison chats secret – and push back his trial – a judge said yesterday.
Durst, who lived in Galveston disguised as a mute old lady, was arrested last year in Pennsylvania after the millionaire pinched a $5 sandwich.
While he was held in the Pennsylvania pokey, Durst frequently called his wife, Debrah Lee Charatan, and had her patch the calls through to third parties.
He also was in the habit of calling lifelong buddy Stewart Altman, who happens to be a lawyer, although he never worked on Durst’s murder case.
Durst’s conversations with Altman are subject to attorney-client privilege, and are not admissible at trial, Judge Susan Criss ruled yesterday.
Criss is expected to rule Monday on whether Durst’s calls to Charatan are subject to husband-wife privilege.
Durst’s trial was thrust into turmoil last week when 36 hours worth of recorded prison prattle suddenly surfaced.
Putting the trial’s start in further disarray, Criss said the newly discovered tapes could lead attorneys to demand a new jury.