April 21, 2015 / 6:50 PM / 4 years ago

Federal gun trial for Robert Durst delayed until September

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - The trial of real estate scion and accused murderer Robert Durst on a federal weapons charge in New Orleans has been delayed until September after his lawyers requested more time to prepare his defense, court records show.

Robert Durst sits in a police vehicle as he leaves a courthouse in New Orleans, Louisiana, in this file photo taken March 17, 2015. REUTERS/Lee Celano/Files

Durst’s lawyers had sought his speedy extradition to Los Angeles County, where prosecutors want him in connection with the 2000 killing of a longtime friend, Susan Berman, in a case recently chronicled in the HBO documentary series “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst.”

But by asking for an extension in the weapons case, in which Durst has pleaded not guilty to a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm, Durst’s lawyers appear to have conceded he will be in Louisiana for the foreseeable future.

The request for more time was granted on Monday by U.S. District Court Judge Helen Berrigan, with a new trial date set for Sept. 21, court records show.

The 72-year-old Durst, who remains incarcerated pending trial, is due in court on May 7 on separate Louisiana state charges of possessing a weapon as a felon and carrying a gun with a controlled substance.

The final episode of the HBO series aired a day after his March 14 arrest at a New Orleans hotel, where authorities said he was staying under an assumed name with over $40,000 in cash, a revolver, about five ounces of marijuana and a latex mask.

His attorneys say FBI agents who arrested him and initially searched his hotel room did so improperly.

The federal charge carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

The HBO series documented several police investigations of Durst over the years. In a 2003 trial in Texas, Durst admitted to the killing and dismemberment of a male neighbor. He claimed he acted in self defense and was acquitted of murder.

He has also been suspected in the 1982 disappearance in New York of his wife, Kathleen, though he claims to have no knowledge of what happened.

Toward the end of the series, Durst was presented with evidence of his handwriting appearing to match that of Berman’s likely killer. Durst’s voice was subsequently captured on a microphone after the interview concluded as saying he had “killed them all.”

Durst has long been estranged from his family, known for its significant New York real estate holdings. Prosecutors have said he is worth some $100 million.

Reporting by Jonathan Kaminsky; Editing by Alan Crosby

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