NEW ORLEANS – Louisiana gun charges against real estate heir Robert Durst were dismissed Wednesday, clearing the way for federal proceedings in New Orleans in a similar case.
Durst, who faces a murder charge in an unrelated California case, remains jailed without bond in Louisiana.
A spokesman for District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro confirmed the move, saying Cannizzaro has a close working relationship with federal authorities in New Orleans. "The District Attorney did reserve the right to look at the case again upon its conclusion in federal court," said assistant prosecutor Christopher Bowman.
Defense Attorney Dick DeGuerin said state and federal prosecutors had been discussing the possibility of the state case being dismissed. He says he was pleased with the decision.
"It makes sense to try this case in federal court because FBI agents arrested Mr. Durst, and there shouldn't be two prosecutions, state and federal, at the same time for the same crime. We're looking forward to our day in court," DeGuerin said in an email.
Durst was arrested at a New Orleans hotel in March. Authorities said he had a gun and marijuana in his room. He faced state charges of possessing a handgun with drugs and illegal possession of a handgun by a felon. The charge in the federal indictment says Durst violated the federal gun-control act because he was in possession of a firearm after being convicted of earlier felonies
Associated Press writer Janet McConnaughey contributed to this report.