Allegations of jury tampering during Robert Durst‘s 2003 murder trial in Galveston are proving elusive to track down.
The New York real estate heir who was acquitted after admitting that he killed and dismembered his Galveston neighbor has been arrested again.
According to the Associated Press, Durst was arrested Aug. 16 outside his Harlem home on a trespassing violation. The arrest stemmed from a report that he showed up at his brother’s midtown Manhattan home in June after being ordered to stay away, police told the AP.
An Aug. 16 article in the New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/17/nyregion/new-charge-for-durst-as-fbi-sifts-his-past.html?_r=0 reporting on Durst’s latest arrest, mentioned one unnamed person who had been interviewed by federal authorities about possible jury tampering in the 2003 case.
Chip Lewis, a Houston attorney who helped defend Durst in the high-profile trial, dismissed the suggestion as baseless.
“The latest rumors are nothing more than a reprise of the same old bull. After almost 10 years, you would think folks would just move on,” Lewis said by email Tuesday. “Everyone involved with the case (from the judge, to the jurors and the prosecutors) recognizes the propriety of the ‘Not Guilty’ verdict,” Lewis said. “The verdict had everything to do with the evidence and nothing to do with tampering. These baseless rumors are perpetuated by pundits and headline-seeking folks with ulterior motives.”
Galveston County District Attorney Jack Roady said Tuesday he could neither confirm nor deny whether his office was taking part in an investigation of the case.
Shauna Dunlap, a spokeswoman for the FBI’s Houston region which encompasses Galveston, had the same comment.
Joel Bennett, a former Galveston County assistant district attorney who was a prosecutor in the Durst case, said Tuesday he wasn’t aware of any investigation.
Now an attorney in private practice, Bennett said he left the district attorney’s office in 2009.
“We presented our case to the best of our ability,” he said of the Durst trial. “The jury did what they did, and that’s kind of where we left it.”
State District Judge Susan Criss, who presided over Durst’s trial, said, “It’s not something I would comment on.”
In November 2001, Durst was arrested in Pennsylvania on the Galveston murder charge but was acquitted two years later after claiming self-defense.
Durst’s family runs The Durst Organization, a privately held billion-dollar real estate company that owns several New York skyscrapers, the AP reported.