US tycoon Durst pleads guilty to gun charges

Chicago (AFP) –


Eccentric US tycoon Robert Durst pleaded guilty to weapons charges in New Orleans Wednesday, in a move that will get him one step closer to facing trial for a murder he apparently confessed to on television.

Durst, 71, was charged in Los Angeles last year with murder for the 2000 death of his close friend Susan Berman, who was a mobster's daughter.

Berman was shot in the back of the head at her home in Beverly Hills, a day before she was due to be questioned by police who had reopened an investigation into the 1982 disappearance of the tycoon's wife, Kathie Durst, in New York.

Durst appeared to make an unwitting confession to a number of killings during filming of the acclaimed six-part HBO documentary "The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst."

In the final episode Durst was heard muttering to himself, "What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course," apparently unaware that a wireless microphone remained switched on while he used the bathroom.

It was not clear if Durst was sincerely confessing, but authorities in Los Angeles reportedly said the documentary had played a role in their decision to seek the multimillionaire's arrest for Berman's murder.

He was arrested in April when police found a .38 caliber revolver and marijuana in his New Orleans hotel room.

He pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm, a spokeswoman for federal prosecutors said.

Durst's lawyers have said they wish to go to trial as soon as possible to clear their client of the murder charges, which they said were driven by TV ratings, not solid evidence.