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Robert Durst hospitalized, according to judge, forcing to stay on trial

Robert Durst, a multimillion-dollar real estate heir and accused in a labyrinthine and closely watched murder trial, was hospitalized Thursday morning with an unspecified health problem, forcing another setback in the long-delayed proceedings.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mark E. Windham, who is presiding over the trial, said Durst was sent to a Los Angeles County Correctional System hospital for “an incident this morning involving his health.”

The judge said he did not have much information on Durst’s condition, beyond the fact that prison staff found the 78-year-old man “on the ground” and not in his wheelchair on Thursday morning. Windham dismissed the jury and postponed proceedings until Monday morning.

Chip Lewis, one of Durst’s attorneys, had no information about his client’s condition beyond what the judge revealed in court. “All we know is that he was hospitalized earlier this morning,” he wrote in an email.

For the past month, Durst has been escorted to court each morning in a wheelchair to face the charge of killing his friend and confidante, Susan Berman, at her home in Benedict Canyon in 2000. According to the theory of The prosecution on the case, Durst feared that Berman would speak to authorities who had reopened an investigation into the disappearance of his wife, Kathleen Durst, who went missing in 1982 and has never been found.

Durst’s attorneys argued that he never killed Berman, but stumbled upon his body inside his home and panicked, later writing a letter to Beverly Hills police alerting them of a “corpse” to Berman’s address.

Dist. Atty. John Lewin, who heads Durst’s prosecution, has expressed suspicion the defendant was faking a medical crisis to force the trial to be quashed. Lewin said Durst was “taped” in his county jail appeals saying he intended to feign dementia or seek an overturned trial due to COVID-19.

“I don’t know if it’s legit or not, but obviously, given its history, it’s definitely suspect as to its actual condition,” Lewin said. Noting that Durst’s lawyers had twice requested that the trial be set aside during testimony the day before, the prosecutor added: “It is very clear that the defense and the accused want this trial to end.

Windham said it would be up to doctors at the prison hospital to determine Durst’s fitness to stand trial.

“Is this wrong? It’s wrong ? They do a good job in the prison to determine if a person is good to go to court, ”he said.

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