INGLEWOOD (CBSLA) – In her second day of testimony in the trial against Robert Durst, charged with the December 2000 killing of writer Susan Berman, original “Saturday Night Live” cast member Laraine Newman sat Thursday for continued cross-examination by Durst’s attorneys.
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Newman testified that she felt ashamed for not initially recognizing the significance of her friend, Berman, telling her before she was killed that she’d provided Durst with a false alibi in connection with the disappearance of Kathie Durst, the New York real estate scion’s first wife.
Under cross-examination, she acknowledged that she told Deputy District Attorney John Lewis in 2015 that “there were times” that it was difficult to know what was true and what wasn’t when it came to Berman. Newman also said that Berman subsequently rescinded her statement about the alibi.
“Do you remember telling Mr. Lewin in September of 2015, `I felt like I’m not sure it’s true,’ referring to the alibi issue, and `I don’t want to, you know, put forth something that could just be nonsense?,” one of Durst’s attorneys, David Chesnoff, asked.
“Yes,” Newman responded.
A witness for the prosecution, Newman testified that she didn’t tell police, who were looking into Berman’s death in 2001, about the alibi conversation because didn’t remember at the time. She also said she’s unsure of exactly when the conversation with Berman occurred.
Attorneys for both sides stipulated that Newman did not mention in the 2015 interview with investigators that the alibi involved a phone call.
“I knew it to be a false alibi from her telling me that,” she said, adding that she felt exasperated when she realized the importance of what Berman had told her.
“Well, I was ashamed that … I didn’t appreciate the gravity of what she was saying to me and that I blithely accepted her back-tracking and rescinding …,” Newman said, telling the panel that she felt she had been “feckless about this whole subject.”READ MORE: Bill Clinton Expected To Be Released From UCI Medical Center Sunday
Newman said she thinks her friend took back the account of the false alibi because Berman sensed she’d “told me something I didn’t approve of and wanted to back-pedal becasue she didn’t to get in trouble.”
Newman and Berman met while Berman was working on an article about the “SNL” cast and went out to eat on one occasion with Durst and Berman at the Apple Pan restaurant in Los Angeles. She said she considered Berman a great storyteller who had a “drama queen personality,” but stated that Berman’s hyperbole was “usually in the context of extolling the virtues of her friends.”
Under questioning, Newman acknowledged using drugs regularly for 21 years until 1987.
“If you’re trying to drive a point to the idea that I would say something that didn’t happen, that’s not true,” she told Durst’s attorney.
She said that it was fair to say that Berman almost worshipped Durst and that she never knew of Berman representing him in a bad light.
Durst, now 78-years-old, met Berman at UCLA and the pair had been longtime friends. The murder charge against Durst includes a special circumstance allegation that Berman was killed because she was witness to a crime.
In her first day on the stand Wednesday, Newman said that she learned of Kathie Durst’s disappearance when Berman told her that she had provided “an alibi for him, for Bobby, in relation to the disappearance.”
“I remember her saying that she made a phone call,” Newman said.
When asked how certain she was that Berman told her she had provided Durst with an alibi, she responded, “100%.”MORE NEWS: Three Teenagers Critically Wounded At Halloween House Party In Whittier
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