Susan Berman once posed as the missing wife of Robert Durst to call in sick to her job – on the day she went missing, jurors learned in testimony on Monday in Durst’s ongoing murder trial.
Lynda Obst, a friend of Berman and a film producer, testified that she believed Berman may have been in love with Durst, based on how often she talked about him.
In Obst’s testimony, which was recorded, she claimed that Berman said she once called in to the dean at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, pretending to be Kathie Durst calling in sick for a rotation.
Authorities say that call was placed by Berman after Kathie had already been dead, according to Law & Crime Network.
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The murder trial for Robert Durst (pictured Tuesday) continued this week with new testimony
Robert Durst seen with friend Susan Berman, who he is on trial for allegedly killing
In Lynda Obst’s testimony, which was previously recorded, she claimed that Berman said she once called in to the dean at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, pretending to be Kathie Durst calling in sick for a rotation
Durst (pictured in May) has been in jail since 2015 on charges related to Berman’s death, with his trial in her murder resuming in mid-May
Previous recorded testimony from Dr. Albert Kuperman, the former associate dean, confirmed that the call took place, which would’ve been different from the way people would normally call in sick, bypassing several supervisors.
Prosecutors believe there is a link to Kathie Durst’s 1982 disappearance and death and the 2000 death of Berman, which Robert Durst is currently on trial for.
They claim that Robert Durst murdered Berman because she was allegedly considering coming forward with information about Kathie’s disappearance.
Testimony on Tuesday remains ongoing, with Berman’s ex-boyfriend Paul Kaufman and Obst’s attorney, Lev Ginsburg, testifying in the trial.
One memorable moment appeared to show Durst fall asleep before being roused awake.
Last week, Mella Kaufman testified that Berman confessed to the ‘alibi’ call to the dean.
‘She was telling me about her friend (Durst) and how his wife had disappeared and how she had been an alibi, or made a phone call for him, so that it wasn’t suspicious,’ Kaufman testified, according to the New York Daily News.
The testimony from Obst came on the same day that the judge refused to halt the murder trial after the defense requested a delay because they say he’s in such pain that he can’t stand up to dress for trial.
Durst was hospitalized and the trial was put on pause Thursday. On Monday, with the Los Angeles County jail system doctors declaring Durst fit for court, Superior Court Judge Mark E. Windham ordered that testimony in the trial, which resumed last month after a 14-month pandemic delay, would continue.
Kathie Durst (who disappeared in 1982) pictured with Robert Durst
Robert Durst seen with his second wife, Debrah Lee Charatan
The 78-year-old Durst, charged with killing his best friend Berman, appeared in court looking frail in a wheelchair and jail garb, with a catheter attached that he held up to show the judge.
Defense attorneys argued adamantly that the trial should be adjourned again because Durst was in pain, and because he couldn’t get into the street clothes he is allowed to wear to avoid prejudicing the jury.
The lawyers said Durst had a urinary tract infection as a consequence of bladder cancer, and had undiagnosed health problems that they couldn’t name because the jail hospital had denied them information and access to him.
‘I understand he’s in a good amount of pain because of the catheter,’ Windham said.
Durst’s lawyer Dick DeGuerin answered adamantly, ‘It’s not just the catheter your honor, he´s in chest pain, he’s unable to breathe completely.’
As testimony resumed, the judge had a blanket put over Durst to cover up his jail clothes and to ‘maintain his dignity to some degree,’ adding that ‘one doesn’t ordinarily meet with the public with a catheter bag in full view.’
Durst appeared in court looking frail in a wheelchair and jail garb, with a catheter attached that he held up to show the judge on Monday
Durst (pictured Tuesday) is on trial for Berman’s death, which prosecutors have frequently linked to Kathie’s disappearance
Durst has denied killing Berman or having any involvement in his wife’s disappearance. He was acquitted in a killing in Texas, which his lawyers argued was an accident.
Deputy District Attorney John Lewin argued Monday that Durst, who fled authorities after two of the deaths, had used countless ploys to avoid facing trial.
The prosecutor argued that if anything Durst’s appearance hurt the prosecution.
‘This doesn’t look like someone who’s murdered three people,’ Lewin said.
In a May interview with DailyMail.com, DeGuerin expressed concerns about Durst’s health saying: ‘His health has deteriorated alarmingly over the past fourteen months since the trial was shut down at the beginning of the Covid pandemic.
‘I’m concerned about whether he can withstand the rigors of trial.
‘We are continuing our request for mistrial through a Writ to the appellate courts, which means we have appealed the trial court’s denial of our latest motion for mistrial.’
The real estate heir was the subject of The Jinx, an HBO documentary that ends with Durst seemingly confessing to murder.
Durst has been in jail since 2015 on charges related to Berman’s death, with his trial in her murder resuming in mid-May.
He had admitted to fatally shooting and dismembering his 71-year-old neighbor Morris Black in 2001, but he was acquitted of his murder in 2003 after claiming self defense.
But Lewin said the killing of Berman and Durst’s admission that he had killed Black are both tied to the mystery of Kathie Durst.
Her body has never been found and Robert has not been charged with her death, though authorities believe he is likely responsible, according to the New York Post.
‘Everything starts with Kathie Durst’s disappearance and death at the hands of Mr. Durst,’ Lewin said.