Robert Durst briefly appeared in a New Orleans courtroom Tuesday morning though nothing of significance happened at the hearing. The arguing of motions was delated until Thursday’s scheduled hearing.
The appearance happened a day after federal prosecutors told a judge that subpoenas issued to two FBI agents and a Louisiana State Trooper who works on the FBI’s New Orleans Violent Crimes Task Force should be moved to federal court.
The move will make it tougher for Durst’s defense team to call the three when Durst’s preliminary hearing resumes Thursday.
The three were no shows at Durst’s preliminary hearing last week. A judge has scheduled a hearing for Thursday as well, to hear why the FBI agents did not appear in court.
A federal prosecutor said he advised the two agents and the trooper not to show up last week.
In the recent federal court filing, Assistant United State Attorney Peter Mansfield said the subpoenas can be moved to federal court because they “are actions against them in their official capacities for the purpose of obtaining testimony, information and material maintained under color of their official duties.”
Mansfield wrote that only the subpoenas are currently being moved to federal court.
“The State of Louisiana’s underlying criminal action against Durst remains pending in Criminal District court,” in New Orleans, he wrote.
As authority for his motion to move the subpoenas from state to federal court, Mansfield sites 28 U.S.C. section 1442(a)(1) which reads:
(a) A civil action or criminal prosecution that is commenced in a State court and that is against or directed to any of the following may be removed by them to the district court of the United States for the district and division embracing the place wherein it is pending:
(1) The United States or any agency thereof or any officer (or any person acting under that officer) of the United States or of any agency thereof, in an official or individual capacity, for or relating to any act under color of such office or on account of any right, title or authority claimed under any Act of Congress for the apprehension or punishment of criminals or the collection of the revenue.
Durst, a multimillionaire from Houston, faces drug and weapons charges in New Orleans.
Durst’s defense team filed a motion Friday asking a judge to rule there is not enough evidence to bring charges against Durst for weapons and drug violations.
The prosecution declined to call any witnesses at a probable cause hearing April 2 which was continued. Instead prosecutors submitted the arrest warrant, signed by a judge, as the only evidence that Durst’s arrest was warranted.
DeGuerin says that is not enough and that the constitution affords a defense the right to cross examine witnesses.
He wants the case tossed out of court and will argue that at Durst’s next hearing.