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HBO’s ‘The Jinx’ to Be Scrutinized in Robert Durst Murder Trial

Filmmakers accused of using murder suspect’s quotes out of context.

HBO’s ‘The Jinx’ to Be Scrutinized in Robert Durst Murder Trial
Marc Smerling/HBO

“What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.” Those were the damning final words Robert Durst muttered to himself during a private moment in HBO’s The Jinx, the 2015 documentary that dived into the case of the real estate heir accused of murdering three people.

But as Durst, 76, prepares to head to trial for the 2000 murder of his close friend Susan Berman, The New York Times reports that Andrew Jarecki, Marc Smerling, and Zac Stuart-Pontier, the men behind the award-winning film, will also be grilled on the stand. Why? Because they appear to have edited Durst’s final words in the documentary’s March 15, 2015, finale, which aired just one day after the mogul was arrested for murder.

A transcript of the recorded audio of Durst shows that the filmmakers may have plucked two key phrases and edited them together. Per the transcript obtained by the NYT, Durst’s quotes were:

“I don’t know what you expected to get. I don’t know what’s in the house. Oh, I want this. Killed them all, of course. [Unintelligible]I want to do something new. There’s nothing new about that. [Inaudible] He was right. I was wrong. The burping. I’m having a difficulty with the question. What the hell did I do?”

At least one expert thinks the defense team may be able to use the transcript to their benefit.

“The editing is problematic,” Mark J. Harris, an Oscar-winning filmmaker and USC professor, told the NYT. “They put those lines together in a way thats’ very damning. But it is definitely more ambiguous in the transcript.”

According to the NYT, Durst’s legal team is already looking to have all of the evidence gathered by Jarecki, Smerling, and Stuart-Pontier thrown out, arguing that the timing of the arrest and the finale’s airing was a publicity stunt.

Durst was originally a suspect when Berman was found shot in the back of the head, but wasn’t charged at the time. The heir, who is believed to be worth $100 million, was also suspected in the death of his wife Kathie, who disappeared in 1982 and was never found. She was declared dead in 2017, and Berman was the one who gave Durst his alibi. Less than a year after Berman was found dead, Morris Black, a Texas neighbor of Durst’s, was discovered dismembered in 2001. Durst was charged and tried for the elderly man’s death, but a jury acquitted him.

Durst’s murder trial for Berman’s death is set to begin on September 3.

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