UPDATE 1:00 pm
February 17, 2016
Today will be my fourth day at the Airport Courthouse, attending a pretrial hearing in the Robert Durst murder case.
There was a preconceived notion that the hearing would only last three days. I'm not placing any bets that by 4:30 pm today direct and cross examination of the "secret witness" will be completed. The hearings are to question witnesses the prosecution plans to call at trial just in case these witnesses might not be available by the time the trial takes place. This is conditional testimony and that questioning comes with wider latitudes. There has been testimony that in a regular trial would be considered hearsay, and has not been offered for the truth of the matter. If the witnesses are available for trial, then this conditional testimony is moot. However, if for some reason these witnesses are unavailable, some of this testimony taken today will be admitted at trial. The DA has also taken the step of video taping the witnesses.
I am days behind in posting my detail notes on the last few days of the hearing. Having a recovering husband means my writing time at home is limited. Until I get those notes published, I will give a short synopsis on what each witness has testified to so far.
On Tuesday the first witness was Dr. Kuperman. He testified about his duties at Albert Einstein Medical College, what the curriculum, assignments and responsibilities were for med students during each year back in late 1978-1982.
Dr. Kuperman stated that he remembered Kathy Durst, the defendant's first wife, how attractive she was, that she was bright and a "sharp dresser" and that in four years he had two conversations with her. He testified the total time he had spoken to her in those four years was about 15 minutes.
Kathy disappeared February 1, 1982, months away from graduating. Dr. Kuperman stated that based on her school records, he saw no reason that she wouldn't have graduated. Dr. Kuperman also testified that he had never spoken to her on the phone before he received a phone call from a female voice on February 1, 1982 who identified themselves as Kathy Durst. Today, Dr. Kuperman cannot be certain that the voice he heard on the phone was Kathy Durst.
On Wednesday, Susan Giordano, a close personal friend of the defendant, testified that Durst was her best friend. She said she loved Durst and that their relationship was strictly platonic. She also testified that she did not give police permission to remove over 60 boxes of Durst's personal effects that were stored in her basement.
On Wednesday afternoon and all day Thursday, the prosecution's "secret witness" Nathan "Nick" Chavin took the stand. He testified that he met the defendant, a long-time close friend over 30 years ago through their mutual friend, victim Susan Berman.
Chavin testified that in December 2014, he had dinner with the defendant. After the dinner when they were walking away from the restaurant, Chavin and Durst had a talk about the murder of Susan Berman. Chavin testified, "Bob said I had to. It was either her or me. I had no choice." Chavin then asked about Kathy but "... he continued to walk away."
Chavin's direct testimony continues today.
Defense cross examination of Nathan Chavin by lead counsel Dick DeGuerin began around 10:40 am and continued to the lunch break. At one point, DeGuerin raided his voice and appeared to be yelling at the witness. The prosecution objected to this.
Chavin was confronted via transcripts with conflicting statements he made in his various interviews with the prosecution team, about what he said the defendant told him regarding Berman's murder at their dinner meeting in 2014.
Right before the lunch break was called, DeGuerin informed the court that when they resume, they will be playing the entire 60 minute audio of a July 24, 2015 interview Chavin had with prosecutors.
It's doubtful at this point this hearing will be concluded today. On Thursday we learned that Judge Windham has a trial that is scheduled to start on Tuesday. Monday, President's Day is a court holiday.
Correction, DeGuerin states the recording is from July 23, 2015.
Amazing we finished today. Next hearing is for motions on April 25.
More to come.....