Millionaire real estate tycoon Robert Durst is expected to take the witness stand in his defense today, his legal team told CNN. Durst is charged with the first-degree murder of his close friend and confidante, Susan Berman, in 2000.
Here’s what you can expect from Durst’s testimony:
- It will last several days. The testimony is expected to stretch across several days, although legal analysts caution Durst needs to be careful about what he says. According to CNN legal analyst Joey Jackson, Durst’s testimony could “open the door to all types of prior bad conduct that he could be questioned about.” Jackson added, “If the jury thinks he’s lying, being evasive or if he’s unsympathetic, a conviction is assured.”
- He could evoke sympathy. Durst, 78, has bladder cancer and has undergone multiple surgeries, including the insertion of a shunt in his head to relieve pressure on his brain. Testifying in a wheel chair, Durst is thin and frail and speaks with a whispery voice. Thus, there’s a chance his condition could evoke sympathy from the jury. However, Jackson believes Durst needs to be careful about how jurors perceive his medical issues. “If he testifies and feigns sickness or incapacity, the jury will see right through it,” he said.
- It could be delayed. According to Loyola Law School Professor Stan Goldman, the judge could still delay the trial due to Durst’s poor health. “That’s if the judge changes his mind and determines Durst’s condition makes him unfit to testify at this time or in the foreseeable future,” Goldman said.
Live updates: Robert Durst takes the stand in his own trial