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Courts & Trials

Robert Durst’s Second Wife Helped Conceal Murder of First Wife, Lawsuit Alleges: ‘Cold Blooded Opportunist’

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Robert Durst
Mike Segar/Reuters/Landov

Real estate scion Robert Durst‘s current wife helped him cover up the death of his first wife, new court papers allege.

The new claims were made by the sisters of Kathleen Durst, his first wife, in an amendment to a $100 million lawsuit suit filed in 2015 and amended Monday to include Debrah Charatan, his second wife.

In the lawsuit, Carol Bamonte, Mary Hughes and Virginia McKeon allege Charatan “conspired and agreed to conceal the whereabouts of Kathie’s body from her next-of-kin,” according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE.

The amended suit is the latest twist in the ongoing Robert Durst saga, which began after Kathleen went missing on June 31, 1982.

Authorities have long believed that Durst killed Kathleen but he has never been charged in her death. She was declared dead in 1987 although her remains have never been found.

“We will make sure anybody who has assisted Robert Durst in either killing and or the disappearance of Kathy will be held accountable,” the sisters’ lawyer Robert Abrams tells PEOPLE. “We are not stopping. In our investigation we are getting help and support from people around the country.”

Kathleen Durst, Robert Durst
REX USA

The lawsuit claims Kathleen’s family was denied “right of sepulcher” – the right to choose a method of burial for their deceased relative.

Charatan’s lawyer, Alan M. Abramson, could not be reached for comment.

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Durst, 74, is currently in jail in Los Angeles pending trial for the alleged murder of his close friend, Susan Berman. Berman, the daughter of a mob boss, was found shot to death in her home in December of 2000 shortly after New York investigators reopened the case into Kathleen’s disappearance.

Debra Lee Charatan
Mike Pont/Getty

Prosecutors allege Durst murdered Berman because she knew too much about what happened to Kathleen.

Durst, who has said he is in declining health since a bout with esophageal cancer in 2007, was arrested in New Orleans in March 2015, the day before the finale of the HBO docuseries The Jinx, which chronicled his life and alleged crimes.

Durst has denied he killed Kathleen or Berman.

Lawsuit: Charatan a ‘Cold-Blooded Opportunist’

According to the lawsuit, Durst, who met Charatan in 1988, asked for her assistance after investigators reopened Kathleen’s case.

“Durst feared that he would be in jail for the rest of his life and he required Charatan’s assistance,” the suit alleges. “Durst and Charatan agreed and conspired to conceal the discovery of Kathie’s body in an effort to prevent Durst’s prosecution for Kathie’s murder.”

Charatan allegedly agreed to help Durst “after Durst agreed to provide her with substantial financial compensation,” the document states.

Susan Berman
Polaris

The lawsuit also contends that Charatan, who according to the suit is living with a real estate lawyer who once worked for Durst, also agreed to help cover up the murder of Berman.

“Upon information and belief, Charatan, a cold blooded opportunist, conspired and agreed to help Durst conceal his murders of Kathie and Berman in exchange for a substantial financial return of tens of millions of dollars,” the suit says.

According to the lawsuit, Durst and Charatan married in 2000 “for the purpose of protecting their communications pursuant to the spousal privilege.”

The lawsuit alleges that Charatan obtained power of attorney from Durst and received approximately $20 million from the Durst Family Trust after Durst settled his lawsuits with his family and reportedly received $65 million.

Also named in the amended lawsuit is Durst’s friend, Susan Giordano, who is accused of allegedly sending Durst more than $90,000 and keeping control over “dozens of boxes of evidence that were concealed as they contained evidence relevant to the Berman murder prosecution, Kathie’s murder and the possible location of Kathie’s body.”

Giordano is also accused of knowing where Durst disposed of Kathleen’s body after he killed her.

“My client has not been served with the complaint so we have no comment,” Giordano’s attorney, Benjamin Ostrer, tells PEOPLE.

Durst’s Team Responds

“It reads like pulp fiction,” Durst’s attorney, Dick DeGuerin, says about the lawsuit.

Of Durst, he says, “He is up for the fight and wants to fight.”

DeGuerin dismisses the suit as baseless.

“It probably is the prosecutor’s wildest dreams come true, but there is no evidence to back it up,” he says. “And that is the problem with that.”