During the trial, evidence was presented which placed Mr. Durst with Ms. Berman in December 2000. For nearly 20 years, Mr. Durst denied that he was even in Los Angeles at the time of his murder. . He also denied being the author of an anonymous note sent to the police department alerting officers to the presence of a “corpse” at Ms. Berman’s home, on the edge of Beverly Hills.
In the pre-trial hearings, counsel for Mr. Durst vigorously contested the evidence of the document examiners who identified Mr. Durst as the author of this note. But a friend of Mr Durst’s, Emily Altman, who was acutely questioned by Mr Lewin, blurted out that Mr Durst had told her he was in Beverly Hills at the time of Ms Berman’s death.
On the eve of the trial, lawyers for Mr Durst admitted that their client had both written the note and found Ms Berman in a pool of blood inside her home. Yet in oral argument David Chesnoff, one of Mr Durst’s attorneys, said prosecutors had not argued their case against his client. “No evidence is evidence,” he told jurors. “All you have is this theory. It’s a theory they want to build on, that Susan Berman and Bob Durst were in this situation where Susan had something on him.
Mr Durst’s brother Douglas, who oversees the Durst family’s $ 8 billion real estate empire, was a prosecution witness, as was Nick Chavin, a longtime friend of Mr Durst.
Mr. Chavin testified that Mr. Durst contacted him in December 2014 to tell him that he wanted to talk about their mutual friend, Ms. Berman, and his first wife, Kathie McCormack Durst. As the pair stood on the sidewalk outside a restaurant in New York City, Mr. Chavin asked Mr. Durst what he wanted to say about Ms. Berman. According to Mr. Chavin’s testimony, Mr. Durst replied in his characteristic once rugged voice: “It was her or me. I had no choice. “
In his pleadings, Habib Balian, one of the prosecutors, repeated these words: “The case can be summed up in nine simple words. It was her or me. I had no choice. ‘ That says it all.