Robert Durst, troubled heir of a New York real estate empire, has sued a Houston-area private investigator over allegations that the eccentric millionaire said he had strong hostility toward his brother and would like to see him dead.
Durst, who lists his residence as Harris County, denies the allegations in a suit filed Friday against Tim D. Wilson in Harris County’s 127th State District Court.
Wilson was part of Durst’s defense team in 2001 when Durst, now 71, was charged with the murder of his Galveston neighbor, Morris Black, and with bail-jumping after he left Galveston following his arrest. He was ultimately acquitted of that charge.
The new lawsuit is especially timely in light of HBO’s six-part documentary entitled “Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst,” set to begin airing Feb. 8.
Lawyers representing Durst family members have asked to review the series before it airs out of concerns that the show will be a “vicious broadside” about the family, according to the New York Daily News.
According to the plaintiff’s petition in the latest suit, Wilson met with Durst in 2001 at least three times — twice in Pennsylvania, where he was arrested on the bail-jumping charge, and once in Galveston after Durst was extradited back to Texas to await trial on the murder charge.
If Wilson hadn’t been part of Durst’s defense team in 2001, the two would not have spoken to each other, the suit states.
“Based on the circumstances and the dealings between plaintiff and defendant, and the fact that defendant was part of plaintiff’s legal defense team, defendant had a fiduciary duty to plaintiff to act with the utmost loyalty and (good) faith in the best interests of plaintiff,” the suit states.
Eleven years later, however, when Durst was charged with criminal trespass on his estranged family’s property in Manhattan, 13 orders of protection were put in place against him by family members, including his brother, Douglas Durst.
In December, a Manhattan judge found Durst not guilty of criminal trespass and the order of protection were vacated, the Jan. 16 suit states.
During the trespass case, Durst’s lawyers found that Wilson had “willingly cooperated with prosecutors in their frivolous campaign” and had signed a sworn statement claiming that Durst had made statements “against his own interests” in the 2001 interviews.
Specifically, Durst purportedly told Wilson that he had strong hostility towards Douglas Durst, wished him dead and made threats against his brother and family.
“Plaintiff purportedly admitted in 2001 that he had visited Douglas Durst’s property several times between October 2001 and November 2001 with the intent to kill him and other family members.
Wilson’s actions caused Robert Durst significant defense costs and created a great deal of stress and embarrassment for the plaintif, who feared that he would be imprisoned for 15 days for merely standing on a stoop and of having mulriple protection orders signed against him.
Durst seeks at least $1 million in damages. He is represented by Paul A. Pilibosian and T. Michael Ballases of Hoover Slovacek LLP.