Robert Durst expected to plead guilty to gun charge, face murder trial


For more than 30 years, Robert Durst and his posse of highly-skilled lawyers have outmaneuvered authorities, but his lucky may finally be running out.

In the end, it was a .38-caliber pistol and his own mouth that did him in. The multi-millionaire murder suspect is expected to plead guilty to a federal gun charge - a conviction leading up to a decade in prison.

But the deal could also force a showdown in the murder case of Susan Berman, reports "48 Hours" correspondent Erin Moriarty.

Durst is asking to spend his sentence in the state of California, where he also wants to go on trial for the murder of his once close friend.

Defense for Robert Durst tries to discredit state's case

Durst's latest problems began earlier this year when he appeared in the HBO documentary, "The Jinx," on which he made several incriminating statements concerning not only his first wife's 1982 disappearance in suburban New York, but also the unsolved 2000 murder of Berman in her Los Angeles home.

When asked in the documentary whether he had anything to do with the death of his wife, he said he did not know if she was dead. But in the Berman case, Durst admitted that his handwriting looked nearly identical to that found on an important piece of evidence.

"The writing is similar and the spelling is the same so I can see the conclusion the cops would draw," Durst said in the film.

The series concluded with the now infamous scene when Durst -- still wearing a microphone in the bathroom -- is heard mumbling what sounded like a confession to murder.

"What the hell did I do -- killed them all, of course," Durst said.

Authorities in Los Angeles, tipped off before the final episode aired in March, issued an arrest warrant for Durst in Berman's murder and then tracked him down to New Orleans, where they found cash, pot and a handgun in his hotel room.

It's the possession of that .38 revolver that finally tripped up Durst. As part of an agreement hammered out between his lawyers and federal prosecutors, he is expected Thursday to return to federal court in New Orleans and plead guilty to possession of a firearm by a felon, facing up to ten years in prison.

But now in another twist, Durst is pleading to spend his state in a federal prison in California, where he no longer has to be extradited and Los Angeles county prosecutors will just have to write him out.

According to his attorney, Durst wants to clear his name and is pushing to go on trial as soon as possible. His attorneys don't think prosecutors have enough evidence beyond a reasonable doubt to actually convict him of murder.

They can waive his right to a speedy trial, which means he could go on before the end of the year. While this is unlikely, his attorneys would like to see the 72-year-old in California as early as next spring or summer.