The Jinx is seen by many as the cat­a­lyst for Durst’s ar­rest and has been praised for its in­ves­tiga­tive work


Emirates Man - - FEATURE THE JINX - Right: Durst is fac­ing ex­tra­di­tion to Cal­i­for­nia. Left: Jarecki was the main face of the show

An­drew Jarecki, Marc Smer­ling and Zachary Stu­art-Pon­tier are the men be­hind The Jinx. Jarecki was the main face of the show, and spent more than 20 hours in­ter­view­ing Durst for the se­ries, which was recorded be­tween 2010 and 2013. Jarecki had pre­vi­ously di­rected the 2010 crime drama All Good Things, star­ring Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst, which is based on Durst’s life and cu­ri­ously, Durst him­self con­tacted Jarecki af­ter see­ing the movie and of­fered to be in­ter­viewed. Jarecki’s de­but lm was an­other doc­u­men­tary that gar­nered him wide­spread at­ten­tion: Cap­tur­ing The Fried­mans told the tale of a fam­ily ac­cused of child abuse and earned him an Os­car nom­i­na­tion in 2003.

The Jinx is seen by many as the cat­a­lyst for Durst’s ar­rest and has been praised for its in­ves­tiga­tive work. In the doc­u­men­tary, for ex­am­ple, the lm­mak­ers ask a hand­writ­ing ex­pert to an­a­lyse a let­ter sent by Ber­man’s killer to po­lice soon af­ter her shoot­ing, and com­pare it to an­other let­ter sent to Ber­man by Durst. Some 14 years ear­lier, in the Su­san Ber­man mur­der trial, an LA hand­writ­ing ex­pert had stated there was no match be­tween Durst’s hand­writ­ing and that on the let­ter from the killer, and only changed his mind in 2003 when Durst was al­ready on trial for the mur­der of Mor­ris Black. Yet it doesn’t take the ex­pert hired by The Jinx so long to de­clare they were both writ­ten by the same per­son.

But ques­tions quickly sur­faced con­cern­ing the show’s timeline and con­ti­nu­ity, not to men­tion the tim­ing of Durst’s ar­rest the night be­fore the nale. Some went as far as to ask if Jarecki and the crew held back the con­fes­sion to make for more im­pact­ful TV and big­ger view­ing gures. But did this mean they’d know­ingly let a man who’d po­ten­tially con­fessed to three mur­ders walk free? Just to boost rat­ings?

It took less than 24 hours be­fore US press started to nd holes in the show. New York Times re­porter Charles Bagli, who was in­ter­viewed for The Jinx, tweeted that the sec­ond Durst in­ter­view took place in 2012, and not in 2013 as the show im­plied. The edit­ing of the episode led many to be­lieve that the meet­ing took place in 2013, not long af­ter Durst was ar­rested for break­ing a re­strain­ing or­der put on him by Dou­glas, by vis­it­ing his house for the show – US web­site Buz­zfeed re­ported that Jarecki and Durst even ap­pear to be wear­ing the same clothes in the two scenes, even though they were lmed a year apart.

Jarecki, it was re­ported, started talk­ing to in­ves­ti­ga­tors in Los An­ge­les back in 2013, but says the taped con­fes­sion wasn’t found un­til June 2014. “I don’t know if you’ve ever edited any­thing – things get loaded into the edit­ing ma­chine but not ev­ery­thing gets loaded,” said Jarecki. “The sound recorder isn’t lis­ten­ing af­ter a guy gets up and says he wants a sand­wich. It of­ten doesn’t get marked and get loaded. That didn’t get loaded for quite a while. We hired some new as­sis­tants and they were go­ing through some old ma­te­rial. That was quite a bit later. Let me look at my list. It was June 12, 2014.”

What sounds like a plau­si­ble ex­pla­na­tion hasn’t con­vinced ev­ery­one, although Jarecki quickly re­buffed ac­cu­sa­tions of cre­ative edit­ing. “It was ob­vi­ously for us a shock be­cause it was many months since we had sat down with him, and then af­ter sit­ting down with him we thought, well, we’ve got this sort of rev­e­la­tion, which is he was un­able to de­ter­mine which of the two hand­writ­ings that we were show­ing him was his own and, in fact, we think both of them were his own,” he told CBS. “Then af­ter that he got up and it was not un­til many months later that we ac­tu­ally re­alised that the more in­ter­est­ing rev­e­la­tion might have been the se­cret rev­e­la­tion.”

So while Jarecki claimed it was “many months”, be­fore they found the al­leged con­fes­sion tape, it meant that if Durst was last in­ter­viewed in 2012, the record­ing went undis­cov­ered for around two years, and only be­came

public knowl­edge in the lead-up to the show’s nale a year af­ter its dis­cov­ery. Jarecki was quick to point out they had noth­ing to hide, yet it only took un­til March 16, one day af­ter The Jinx nal episode aired, for him and his team to cancel all other in­ter­views, in­clud­ing an ap­pear­ance on Jimmy Fal­lon’s The Tonight Show. “Given that we are likely to be called as wit­nesses in any case law en­force­ment may de­cide to bring against Robert Durst, it is not ap­pro­pri­ate for us to com­ment fur­ther on th­ese pending mat­ters,” said Jarecki and Smer­ling in a state­ment. “We can conrm that ev­i­dence (in­clud­ing the en­ve­lope and the wash­room record­ing) was turned over to au­thor­i­ties months ago.”

What of the sub­ject of the TV show? Durst was ar­rested in New Or­leans on those gun and drugs charges and is cur­rently fac­ing ex­tra­di­tion to Cal­i­for­nia to face the charges of killing Su­san Ber­man – and, de­spite be­ing in pri­son, he’s hardly been out of the head­lines since. Footage was ob­tained by the me­dia of Durst uri­nat­ing on a rack of sweets at a drug store in 2014, an act that saw him charged with mis­de­meanour crim­i­nal mis­chief. He’s cur­rently still in New Or­leans on two weapons charges, even though his lawyers claim he wants to get to LA as soon as pos­si­ble to prove he didn’t ex­e­cute Ber­man. Mean­while, the feud with his brother goes on, with Dou­glas at­tempt­ing to freeze 74 mil­lion of Robert’s for­tune and claim­ing his older sib­ling leaked fam­ily se­crets to Jarecki dur­ing lm­ing for The Jinx. The FBI are also in­ter­ested in why a New York woman called Su­san Gior­dano, who they think Durst is ro­man­ti­cally linked to, sent him a pack­age con­tain­ing 117,000 shortly be­fore his ar­rest in March. Gior­dano claims they’re just friends. Fi­nally, there’s Durst’s legal team’s opin­ion of his end of show ‘con­fes­sion’. His at­tor­ney Chip Lewis was quick to sug­gest Durst’s re­marks might not ac­tu­ally mean any­thing. “Your hon­esty would lead you to say you’ve said things un­der your breath be­fore that you prob­a­bly didn’t mean,” he told Fox News’ Jea­nine Pirro, who, iron­i­cally, was also in­ter­viewed for The Jinx be­cause she had been the dis­trict at­tor­ney in New York who re­opened the Kathie Durst case. One thing is for sure, though – if Durst is found guilty of mur­der in Cal­i­for­nia, he won’t be spend­ing more time in pri­son, he’ll be fac­ing the death penalty.

Right: Durst recre­ates his battle with Mor­ris Black. The jury agreed with his self-de­fence plea and ac­quit­ted him of mur­der

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