Why Robert Durst's TV Confession May Be Admissible at Trial

“What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.” With this bombshell “confession” -- muttered by Robert Durst to himself during a bathroom break at the conclusion of his interview with filmmaker Andrew Jarecki -- HBO’s riveting documentary The Jinx came to a close on Sunday evening. Two days later, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office charged Durst with first-degree murder, in connection with the 2000 gangland-style murder of his friend Susan Berman. While prosecutors will undoubtedly seek to introduce this statement at trial, the question of whether a judge will allow the jury to hear it is debatable, and the statement (and the manner in which it was captured) raises several novel and timely questions, at the intersection of life, art, and law.
Indeed, as the noted scholar and Harvard law professor Noah Feldman recently stated, the admissibility of Durst’s statement “requires going deeply into the law,” but also presents a “profound question about fantasy versus reality, the nature of a soliloquy, and the fascinating human strangeness unleashed by the era of reality television.”