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Robert Durst Admits To Past Deceptions, Says He Would Lie About 'Certain Very Important Things'

Robert Durst told the prosecutor during cross-examination that "what I’m saying is mostly the truth."

By Jill Sederstrom
Robert Durst Admits On The Stand To Lying About His Past

Robert Durst admitted in court to lying in the past about aspects of his life—and said he might lie again about “certain very important things,” including whether he had killed friend Susan Berman.

Durst, who stands accused of murdering his long-time friend and confidant in 2000 at her Los Angeles home, made the admission during his fifth day of testimony in a Los Angeles court room Tuesday while being cross examined by District Attorney John Lewin, according to the Associated Press.

“If you’ve said you’ve taken an oath to tell the truth but you’ve also just told us that you would lie if you needed to, can you tell me how that would not destroy your credibility?” Lewin asked.

“Because what I’m saying is mostly the truth,” Durst said. “There are certain things I would lie about, certain very important things.”

During the questioning, Durst admitted he lied in the past to avoid incriminating himself, but insisted he had not lied while testifying in the ongoing trial.

When pressed about whether he would lie about killing Berman, Durst said he would never admit to the killing.

“’Did you kill Susan Berman?’ is strictly a hypothetical,” he said, according to the Associated Press. “I did not kill Susan Berman. But if I had, I would lie about it.”

Durst also said if he had killed his wife, Kathleen Durst, or murdered Texas neighbor Morris Black while trying to hide from prosecutors looking into his wife’s case, he would also not admit to it.

Durst did admit on the stand to lying about one critical aspect of the case, telling jurors that he really had been the one to write a so-called "cadaver note" alerting police to Berman’s body after he said he stumbled upon her dead during a visit, The Los Angeles Times reports.

Durst said he’d traveled to see Berman for a “staycation” in December of 2000 but arrived to find her unresponsive and bleeding on the floor.

“I did a double take. I saw Susan lying on the floor,” he said. “I shouted ‘Susan!’ a couple of times, then quickly ran to the bedroom where she was. Her eyes were closed.”

Durst testified that he attempted to lift his friend to see if she was breathing and tried to call 911, but realized that her phone line wasn’t working. He went to a pay phone about two miles away and tried to reach out to authorities, he said, but had second thoughts after realizing his “voice is very recognizable” and hung up.

Durst said he opted instead to write a note to police, including her address and the word “cadaver” to ensure his friend’s body would be found.

Durst denied writing the note for years—most famously in the Netflix docuseries “The Jinx.” After he was confronted in the series with evidence that the handwriting in the note appeared to match his own, Durst was captured on a hot mic in the bathroom apparently muttering to himself, “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.”

Durst was arrested the night before the series finale aired because investigators believed he might try to flee.

In court this week, Durst testified that the outburst did not reflect his entire thought.

“What I did not say out loud or, perhaps I said very softly, is: ‘They’ll all think I killed them all, of course,’” he said, according to The Associated Press.

He claimed he had lied about writing the note because he didn’t want police to know he had been in Berman’s home and think he had something to do with the crime, but Lewin challenged that explanation.

“You previously said on multiple occasions that ... ‘That’s a note only the killer could have written,” the district attorney said.  

Durst said his decision to participate in “The Jinx” had been a “very, very, very big mistake” according to The Wrap, and said he was often high on crystal meth during interviews with the production team.

Durst’s wife Kathleen disappeared in 1982. He’s long insisted that he had nothing to do with her disappearance, but prosecutors contend he killed Berman to keep her silent about what she knew about Kathleen's case.

Durst has never been charged in connection with his wife’s death.

He was acquitted by a Texas jury in 2003 of murdering Black after arguing that he had killed the man in self-defense.