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Susan Berman Vowed to ‘Blow the Case Wide Open’ Before She Was Killed, Her Friend Testifies at Robert Durst Trial


A masked Robert Durst appears in court on May 20, 2021

Days before she was killed, Susan Berman nervously spoke to her friend about her plans to help solve the cold case of the disappearance of New York real estate heir Robert Durst’s wife nearly two decades earlier.

That is what Berman’s friend Robin Karr-Morse recounted of that conversation in prerecorded testimony shown to a California jury on Tuesday.

“She was going to talk to someone about this case and blow it wide open,” Karr-Morse testified, referring to Kathie McCormack Durst’s disappearance.

Though Durst is only standing trial for one alleged act of murder, California prosecutors have accused Robert Durst of killing three people. The first was said to be his wife, who disappeared in 1982 and was later presumed dead. Deputy District Attorney John Lewin has argued that Durst perpetrated back-to-back slayings decades later to keep the case cold.

Only one of those alleged killings is at issue in Durst’s ongoing trial: that of his former friend Berman, who was shot execution-style in the back of the head in her Beverly Hills home in December 2000.

Over the course of the nearly four-decade road to the trial, witnesses have aged and even died, and prosecutors and defense counsel agreed to an accommodation to protect the senior citizens taking the stand from COVID-19 via prerecorded testimony. The prosecution called several witnesses about Kathie Durst’s disappearance to establish motive, but Karr-Morse’s testimony went to the heart of the charged murder.

Throughout her remarks, Karr-Morse used variations of the phrase “blow the case wide open” several times. Sometimes she used the word “case,” before correcting herself that Berman planned to blow up the “situation,” as no case was then charged.

However one described it, Berman’s planned to spill the beans in short order, according to the witness.

“In just a few days,” Karr-Morse recounted. “It was very imminent.”

As Karr-Morse recalled, Berman was reluctant to go into details—for her own protection.

“She told me my life would be in danger,” Karr-Morse testified, adding later: “She said, ‘Robin, I would tell you, but your life would be in danger.”

Earlier that day, the jury also heard videotaped testimony from Berman’s other friend Danny Goldberg, who said that he told prosecutor Lewin in 2015 that Berman told him that she was a gangster’s daughter.

Defense attorneys wanted to postpone trial indefinitely, citing Mr. Durst’s bladder cancer diagnosis. Durst, now 78, has appeared throughout trial in a wheelchair.

Live trial coverage continues on Law&Crime, which was selected as the sole pool camera for the trial.

(Screenshot from the Law&Crime Network)

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Law&Crime's managing editor Adam Klasfeld has spent more than a decade on the legal beat. Previously a reporter for Courthouse News, he has appeared as a guest on NewsNation, NBC, MSNBC, CBS's "Inside Edition," BBC, NPR, PBS, Sky News, and other networks. His reporting on the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell was featured on the Starz and Channel 4 documentary "Who Is Ghislaine Maxwell?" He is the host of Law&Crime podcast "Objections: with Adam Klasfeld."