Secret Witness Spills on Durst: Wife's Fears, Open Marriage

Former BFF Nick Chavin says disappeared Kathie Durst called husband 'impossible'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 16, 2017 8:06 AM CST
Secret Witness on Durst: Wife Was Afraid of Him
Real estate heir Robert Durst sits in a courtroom during a hearing on Dec. 21, 2016, in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, Pool)

The bizarre story of Robert Durst took a new turn this week as the much-talked-about "secret witness" emerged with details on Durst's first marriage. Per NBC News, 72-year-old Nick Chavin showed up at the real estate heir's pretrial hearing for his murder case Wednesday—through a back door for security reasons, CBS News reports—saying he was once extremely close to the man he calls "Bobby" and that they were introduced through writer Susan Berman, the woman Durst is accused of killing. Chavin, who said he considered Durst one of his best friends, shed some light on Durst's marriage to Kathie Durst, who disappeared in 1982 (and whom Durst is also suspected of killing). Prosecutors think Berman was murdered because Durst feared she'd link him to Kathie's death.

Chavin, who told the New York Times in 2001 that Durst hadn't killed Kathie, offered testimony in a somewhat different tone Wednesday, noting Kathie had confided in him she feared Durst (though she'd never said Durst had hurt her) and that her husband was "impossible," the Los Angeles Times reports. Chavin described the Dursts' marriage as "strange," per NBC, noting Durst told him it was an open relationship and would go with Chavin to clubs looking to hook up. CBS notes Chavin's testimony was part of a "rare proceeding" in which testimony is gathered from older witnesses who might not live till the trial, as well as witnesses who fear for their safety. A woman named Susan Giordano also testified, per NBC, claiming she'd become Durst's "closest friend" after meeting in 2002 and had wanted to spend her life with him. (Durst says he was on meth during The Jinx filming.)

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