This is going to be a very long trial and my plans are NOT to do a daily play by play, but I already heard a few things during opening arguments from prosecutor John Lewin and Durst attorney Dick DeGuerin that have me scratching my head.
So, for those of you pinging me for my thoughts thus far, here are a few items to consider.
LEWIN: SUSAN BERMAN TOLD DURST THAT THE LA POLICE WANTED TO INTERVIEW HER.
Say what? That was something Lewin referenced to Durst, who said that during “The Jinx.” But it was something Durst spit out under duress, and I knew then he was lying (It made zero sense for the LA police to be involved in a renewed NY investigation, particularly since NY didn’t reach out to interview Berman until Jan. 5, 2001, nearly two weeks after Berman was killed).
How Lewin made the jump to Berman actually saying that to Durst is beyond me. But let’s see if he circles back to it. He has five months.
DEGUERIN: DURST FLED TO GALVESTON IN 2000 BECAUSE OF THE EVIL JEANINE PIRRO.
This one is easy to unpack. It’s from DeGuerin’s 2003 narrative at the Morris Black trial, the one where Pirro relentlessly pursued Durst via the media, forcing him into hiding. Poor Bob, said DeGuerin. IT NEVER HAPPENED. The problem then was the Galveston prosecutors were too dumb, timid or both to lay down the truth, which was Jeanine Pirro didn’t spend much time on the Durst case until long after Durst arrived in Galveston, and AFTER her detective Joe Becerra learned that Susan Berman had been murdered (for those paying attention, yes, that was Jan. 5, 2001). It was learning about the Berman murder when she seized the airwaves and went nuclear on CNN, FOX and every other network and newspaper she could find. Lewin appears to be very competent prosecutor, so let’s see if he destroys this old fairy tale.
DEGUERIN: DURST DRESSED IN DRAG AND PRETENDED TO BE A MUTE IN GALVESTON TO PROTECT HIS IDENTITY.
So, as I wrote in A Deadly Secret, Durst had already had the drag thing down pat, having done it years earlier in Eureka, Calif. For those who read the book, you’ll recall that Durst had a house in nearby Trinidad in the mid-90’s and was seen inside a woman’s shoe store dressed in drag and silent. That store happened to be owned by the aunt of Karen Mitchell, the teen who went missing in 1997 not long after Durst’s unveiling there. Mitchell, who lived with the aunt and worked at the store, also volunteered at a local soup kitchen (one of Durst’s favorite haunts). Durst thought he was going to be indicted when I first reported the Mitchell connection (just look at the police composite of the man she was last seen with and you'll know why). He also stopped wearing the wide rimmed glasses. Lewin knows the truth on this one too. He told me he wasn’t bringing in any of the other missing women linked to Durst, but let’s stay tuned here too.
DEGUERIN: DURST WILL TESTIFY.
I can see Lewin licking his chops over this unexpected treat. Durst testified during his 2003 trial and, thanks to DeGuerin, that crazy (or paid off) jury actually felt sorry for him. That won't happen with Lewin. While the nation has pretty much given a collective yawn to this trial so far, Durst taking the stand would give it some juice.