News Robert Durst May Have Had a Mission Impossible–Style Plan to Flee the Country

Discussion in 'The Howard Stern Show' started by Ving, Mar 19, 2015.

  1. Ving

    Ving Well-Known Member

    Jan 16, 2012
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    March 18, 2015 6:31 pm
    Robert Durst May Have Had a Mission Impossible–Style Plan to Flee the Country
    Robert Durst.
    Courtesy of HBO.
    Just when you thought it really couldn’t get weirder.
    If there’s one thing we know with absolute certainty after watching the Robert Durst debacle unfold on HBO’s The Jinx, and in the days since his arrest and first-degree murder charge, it’s that Durst’s saga will somehow keep growing even more bizarre.

    Just today, authorities reveal that the New Orleans hotel room where Durst was arrested contained a latex mask, a fake I.D., and over $42,000 in cash. “What’s the problem with traveling with a latex mask, a fake I.D., and over $42,000 in cash?” you might ask. “I never leave home without those exact items.”

    The loot supports The Jinx director Andrew Jarecki’s claim that the 73-year-old eccentric had been planning to flee the country after seemingly confessing to multiple murders in the finale episode that aired this past Sunday.

    Making the hotel-room discovery even more suspicious is the fact that, per TMZ, the cash was “parceled out in various small envelopes . . . Authorities believe Durst wanted to use the envelopes to send money to the place where he was fleeing.” It seems as though Durst might not have exactly denied this theory. The report continues: “Cops even found a UPS tracking number in the hotel, which Durst told them was so he could ship a large sum of cash.”

    Back to this intriguing latex mask though—TMZ reports that the mask would have “covered his head and neck and served to completely alter the characteristics of his face.” We can’t help but imagine a Mission Impossible–style mask like the ones Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt has used to thwart all kinds of bad guys throughout the film franchise. And although those particular masks might seem like some kind of fictional movie creation, MythBusters proved that you can specially order handmade masks and look somewhat convincing in them from afar. Even creepier: at least one person has successfully boarded a flight while disguised in a realistic-looking mask—a younger Asian male who was able to dupe authorities into thinking he was an elderly man.

    Police have previously said that Durst was found in possession of a .38 caliber revolver and marijuana when they arrested him. An affidavit filed by Houston police reveals that authorities also found a trash bag full of court transcripts in his Houston home as well as copies of Without a Trace and A Deadly Secret, both books about Durst.

    In the last 24 hours, Durst was moved to a jail where he can be treated for mental illness after officials determined that the New York real estate heir may be suicidal. (Durst’s lawyer denies this, however, writing, “He is not suicidal,” in an e-mail to the Washington Post).

    As this strange narrative continues to unfold, other weird and downright disturbing anecdotes about Durst are surfacing again online. Among them: that he allegedly urinated on a CVS candy rack in Houston in 2014, and that he may have been responsible for the deaths of his own dogs. CinemaBlend uncovered the latter item, pointing to a New York Times interview Durst’s brother Douglas gave this past January. In it, Douglas shares an unsettling story about his brother’s pets.

    “Before the disappearance of my sister-in-law, Bob had a series of Alaskan Malamutes, which is like a husky,” Douglas Durst said. “He had seven of them, and they all died, mysteriously, of different things, within six months of his owning them. All of them named Igor. We don’t know how they died, and what happened to their bodies.

    “In retrospect, I now believe he was practicing killing and disposing his wife with those dogs.”

    What led him to that conclusion, Douglas said, was that Robert turned the word “Igor” into a verb and inflected it with a menace: “When he was in jail in Pennsylvania, he was recorded saying, ‘I want to Igor Douglas.’"

    Check back on for future updates about the Robert Durst saga.
  2. Ving

    Ving Well-Known Member

    Jan 16, 2012
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    Director of Durst Film Says He Is ‘Relieved’ About Arrest
    By Bruce FrettsMarch 16, 2015 11:40 am March 16, 2015 11:40 am

    The director Andrew Jarecki and his co-writer and cinematographer Marc Smerling didn’t know what they were getting themselves into when they agreed to interview Robert Durst. The real estate heir contacted them following the release of their 2010 film “All Good Things,” a thinly veiled dramatization of the 1982 disappearance of Mr. Durst’s first wife, Kathleen McCormack. Mr. Durst said he wanted to tell his side of the story. The results of Mr. Jarecki’s and Mr. Smerling’s investigation became “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst,” a six-part documentary whose final episode aired Sunday night, one day after Mr. Durst was arrested in New Orleans on charges stemming from an investigation into the murder of his friend Susan Berman in Los Angeles in 2000. In the final episode, Mr. Durst is heard, on a live microphone he’s wearing in the bathroom following a formal interview in April 2012 with Mr. Jarecki, seeming to confess to three murders. Mr. Jarecki and Mr. Smerling spoke by phone this morning about the case, “The Jinx” and its aftermath. Here are edited excerpts from the conversation:

    When did you discover the piece of audio from the bathroom, in which Mr. Durst seemed to confess?

    Jarecki: That was at the tail end of a piece of an interview. I don’t know if you’ve ever edited anything — things get loaded into the editing machine but not everything gets loaded. The sound recorder isn’t listening after a guy gets up and says he wants a sandwich. It often doesn’t get marked and get loaded. That didn’t get loaded for quite a while. We hired some new assistants and they were going through some old material. That was quite a bit later. Let me look at my list. It was June 12, 2014.

    So it was more than two years later. From watching the episode, it seemed as if the 2013 arrest of Robert Durst for violating the order of protection by walking on his brother Douglas’s brownstone steps happened after the second interview.

    Jarecki (to Smerling): I’m hearing a lot of noise. And if we’re going to talk about the timeline, we should actually sit in front of the timeline. So that’s my suggestion, if that’s the subject you want to talk about.

    I’m just trying to clarify if the arrest for being on Douglas Durst’s property happened after the second interview.

    Jarecki: Yeah, I think I’ve got to get back to you with a proper response on that.

    How did you feel about the timing of his arrest on Saturday night? You didn’t have any control over it, but it obviously was very beneficial with the finale airing the next night.

    Jarecki: We were obviously glad that they made the arrest. We were concerned that Bob was floating around, and we knew that Bob had been upset about Episode 5. We had anticipated he would be upset about Episode 5. The truth is, we had reached out to law enforcement to try and get color about when they planned to arrest him. Because as civilians, one always assumes that law enforcement is going to move more quickly than they naturally do. We understand why they have to be cautious. We understand they have obligations that filmmakers don’t have. But we were nervous. We had security. We were in a position we had not been in before. For the first many months we were working on the film, we never felt that sense of being in jeopardy. But once that evidence was out there, and Bob knew that it was on national television, it raised a level of concern. So personally we were relieved that he was arrested when he was.

    At what point did you turn over the evidence you’d found to law enforcement, in terms of the letter to Susan Berman and the audio from the bathroom?

    Jarecki: Obviously, we’d spoken to them about the details of the case. We need to be careful about how much we describe about the details of the case, so what we’ll say about that is we provided the relevant evidence to law enforcement some months ago, and it’s been in their court. And obviously they’ve got their own timetable for how to address it.

    After you heard the audio in 2014, did you try to reach out to Mr. Durst again to interview him about it?

    Jarecki: We didn’t reach out to him again. We had done the second interview. When we’d approached him, he was reluctant to do the second interview. So getting him back to the table seemed superfluous and unrealistic at that time. He was attuned to the fact that in the second interview, we had asked him questions that made him uncomfortable. Because we had asked him about the letter. That was obviously something he was surprised by. And then he called not long after that to check back in and it was clear he was sniffing around the question of whether we thought that revelation about the letter was a big deal. So he was trying to take our temperature after leaving that interview to see if that was something that perhaps we were going to run off and show law enforcement.

    Smerling: You have to understand that after the first interview, it took us two years to get him to do a second interview. So you can imagine, the first interview was broad and over a long period of time. It was a tough interview for him. It was an emotional interview. Andrew challenged him several times and then on the second interview, it was hard to get him back. I imagine after seeing that letter, it would be very difficult — I think it would almost be impossible to get him to sit down for a third time.

    In terms of the audio, do you have any idea whether it will be admissible in court?

    Jarecki: I’m not a lawyer and we’re not the people who will need to make this case. Our film is not the legal case. Having said that, I would say that Bob signed a release in which Bob agreed that we could use any recording of him in any way we deemed appropriate. We had no limitations on how we used that material. He was well aware that he was miked all the time. There are numerous times — not just when he’s sitting in the chair and his lawyer comes and admonishes him, but other times when he was walking down the street toward his brother’s house and he’s mumbling, “That’s just ridiculous.” He’s aware that we are with him whenever he is speaking. So from my standpoint, not a legal standpoint, there was nothing about him being recorded in the bathroom that was surreptitious. It was something there was plenty of precedent for. But it was obviously a surprise, probably to both of us.

    Smerling: I don’t think we can comment on the legal issues. We’re not professionals. We’re just trying to make our film as honest as possible.

    Is there any way to interpret his comments other than as a confession?

    Jarecki: It’s impossible to know how Bob is going to respond to that. I think the more important question is whether any explanation of that is going to fly with the jury. That’s up to the prosecutors to make that case. In terms of our psychological analysis of it, I think that section is very fertile ground. He’s talking about a lot of different things. I think some of the things are fairly straightforward. When he says, “I was wrong, he was right,” my interpretation of that is he’s talking about his lawyer. But that’s my view of it. In other words, I know his lawyer was saying, “Don’t do this interview.” That seems to me to be what he’s talking about there. But he rambles.

    Smerling: But you can hear that he’s under a lot of stress. He’s under stress in the interview. He’s certainly not doing anything lightly. It seems to me he’s reacting to the stress.

    Do you have any idea how critical the letter was in getting the arrest to happen?

    Jarecki: I don’t think we know what the items are that drove them to arrest Bob. But from our standpoint, it seemed to us that was something that was an important piece of evidence that we wanted to turn over.

    Smerling: Another hugely important piece of evidence was the original interview. It’s comprehensive. You’re seeing a small part of it. Bob admits to lying about his alibi after Kathie disappeared. His whole demeanor is evidence, in my opinion.
    Droog likes this.
  3. Ving

    Ving Well-Known Member

    Jan 16, 2012
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    Do you think on some level, Bob wanted to get caught? Did he want to confess?

    Jarecki: Marc and I have often talked about the fact that Bob has obviously been driven to talk about this. This doesn’t seem to be a casual matter for him. If you watched all of the episodes, it’s not a film that goes easy on Bob Durst. It’s not a film that whitewashes some of the crimes he’s been accused of. If somebody sits and watches that film and knows they have some culpability, the idea of reaching out to filmmakers and saying, “Let’s talk more,” is not something the average person would do. So in this case, we felt for a long time — and this is just our interpretation — that Bob doesn’t seem to feel totally comfortable unless he’s at risk. He seems to like to put himself at risk. It may make him feel more vital. It may be something he’s just compelled to grasp for. In this case, we felt he had a kind of compulsion to confess.

    Were you surprised by his reaction when you confronted him with the letter? He seemed to have a physical reaction — burping — before he went into denial mode.

    Jarecki: One of the things that is most extraordinary about what he says in the bathroom is when he comments about the burping. My interpretation of that is he knows he’s doing it, it’s involuntary, he can’t stop himself from doing it, either when he’s nervous or when he’s emotionally wound up. So when he’s doing the postmortem in the bathroom, he remarks on it. He realizes that he was not able to control himself.

    You talked about how hard you thought it was going to be to confront him about the letter in the interview. How hard was it in the moment? It seemed like you weren’t making eye contact with him.

    Jarecki: The most difficult thing for me was knowing how much or how little to speak. Because I did feel that he was on a kind of trajectory of his own, and my job was to nurse him along slightly, but that he had certain things he was willing to say. So I didn’t want to talk too much. But at the same time, I was nervous, because obviously it was a crucial moment, and it was something that we prepared a lot for. As you could see, Marc and I spent a lot of time thinking about how to pose that question, because he’s such a bright man. So it was a nerve-racking moment, but we had gotten ourselves prepared to ask the questions in the right sequence so that it would be hard for him — as Marc said, “How’s he going to back out of that?” We were prepared for it, but it was very delicate.

    Smerling: Ultimately we wanted him to see the letter and not run away from the letter and the envelope. It was a process of bringing the information to him in a way that he couldn’t run away from it.

    You’ve said he’s charming, manipulative, witty, likable in some ways. Was there ever a time when he convinced you he was innocent, or were there always doubts?

    Jarecki: Even when I talk about that in the show, I don’t say I think Bob was innocent. It was just that we didn’t know that he was guilty. The truth is, our opinion now is that he’s guilty. We can’t say that from the standpoint of the law. We can just say that from the standpoint of our opinions. But that was a big shift for us, going from a place where we felt we had to be as balanced as possible and give him the benefit of the doubt and create a kind of safe environment in which he could tell his story. That transition was jarring, but it was obviously something that was going to happen. It had to happen.

    Smerling: That’s the dynamic of Andrew’s and my relationship. We’re always on the opposite sides of things, in some ways. We argue these things out. For me, it was a very simple case of a guy who was close to three people who were murdered. Not that Andrew ever thought Bob was completely innocent, but Andrew had to have a relationship with Bob. He was in constant contact with Bob. When you’re in constant contact with somebody, the things you know about their past fall away. In the moment you’re having a relationship with that person. I think Andrew was involved in that relationship. That’s the second part of the film. We didn’t know that was going to happen in the beginning. In reality, we were making a documentary about Bob Durst, and then the relationship between Andrew and Bob became closer as the film went on. Then we found new pieces of evidence, and everything changed. It became an investigation, and all of a sudden, we were in the film. That was not planned.

    You say before you go into the second interview that your goal is to get justice. Was that always your goal?

    Jarecki: In the beginning, our goal was to respond to the fact that a man that we had just spent five years making a movie about [“All Good Things”] was offering to sit down for the first interview ever. Marc and I both felt like we had to do that. We didn’t go into it with any kind of overarching goal. We did feel very strongly, particularly for the McCormack family, who we had gotten to know, that if there is closure to be had for them, that would be an important outcome. But we just couldn’t predict going in that was going to be the goal of the thing. It went from being more of a movie to being a bit more of a mission when we started to realize how open Bob was being.

    Do you think you’ll continue to film the case as it goes to trial in Los Angeles?

    Jarecki: We have been. Interestingly, just in the last few days, there’s been a flood of calls from people saying, “Oh, I should’ve told you this” or “I never came forward.” We always respond to those things, because you never know what’s going to come out of those types of discussions. We’re always fascinated by it. So we’re still in filmmaking mode, the way we always are.

    Smerling: Also, it would be nice to find Kathie. So we’ve got our ear to the ground. We’re hoping somebody will come forward who saw something that will lead us to find Kathie.

    Did you hear from Bob directly after the fifth episode aired? How did you know he was upset?

    Jarecki: We heard it indirectly. We knew he would be upset. We didn’t know how upset he would be, because obviously one could argue that he should’ve known that he set himself up for this situation. We heard through a friend of his that he was in a kind of dejected state and he was angry.

    Smerling: I think we can go a little further. We heard that he was sort of preparing to go on the run. Everyone’s making the timing of the arrest like we had some sort of control over it. But because law enforcement had the information that we had, they knew when Episode 6 came out, there was going to be a real chance that Bob would go on the run. I think that’s what really drove the timing for them, because they weren’t telling us anything.

    Did law enforcement actually see the episode before it aired, or did they just know what was in it?

    Jarecki: It’s fair to say they saw everything that was in the episode. I actually don’t remember exactly the state in which they saw it, but they saw the material.

    Were you surprised by Douglas Durst’s reaction that the family was relieved by the arrest? He seemed to be saying the family believed all along he was guilty of these crimes.

    Jarecki: Douglas has been very consistent about that one thing. He’s said since the series has been in the news that Bob is a sick man. Originally I think he took the view that we had been taken in by Bob. At one point he said he thought the film was being financed by Bob Durst. Then most recently, yesterday, he said he wanted to thank everybody that was involved in bringing Bob to justice, so we took that as a compliment.

    Why did you decide to do re-enactments in the film, and why did you shoot them in such a stylized fashion?

    Smerling: The re-enactments are almost mandatory in this film. We have to tip our hat to “The Thin Blue Line.” When you have a story that’s based on three crimes, the re-creations have a kind of “Rashomon”-like quality. Every time you learn something new in each of these episodes, you’re adding visual storytelling to those re-creations. There are so many jumps in time over 30 years, so it takes the audience to that time immediately. When they see those re-creations, they know what part of the story they’re in. There’s no bending over backwards to explain, “Hey, we’re going back in time or forward in time.”

    So in some ways, the storytelling depended a little bit on us coming up with a visual form of storytelling that could move the audience through time in a very fluid way. That’s why we started doing the re-creations. There wasn’t a lot of historical footage. We used newspapers and newscasts, but the way we shot those re-creations, to make them so iconic, to make them so metaphoric, it creates this other world. It’s not to say, “Hey, this is the real world.” This is another world. This is the slow-motion use of very beautiful photography. It was to say to the audience, “This is not real. This is where we are in the story.”

    Do you think Bob regrets asking you to interview him now?

    Jarecki: It’s funny. I got the impression in the days before he was arrested that he was telling people that. And yet Marc and I both felt that confession in the washroom was really something that came bubbling out of him. When you listen to it, it’s chilling because it feels like you’re channeling something from very deep inside a person, and that while he could argue that he was sorry that he did it, the truth is he seemed to be compelled to confess. And I think the confession on some level must be a relief to him, because he’s living with these secrets.
  4. Droog

    Droog Well-Known Member VIP

    Jan 15, 2012
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    Good interview. I was hoping they'd talk about the timeline sooner than later. Interesting how long ago the police were made aware of the letter and audio. I also didn't realize how long it had been since the interview in episode 5 and the final sit down.