Lawyer of McCormack family seeks $100M from Durst estate with wrongful death lawsuit

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Lawyer of McCormack family seeks $100M from Durst estate with wrongful death lawsuit
The lawyer representing the family of Robert Durst's ex-wife and New Hyde Park native Kathleen McCormack plans to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the Durst estate. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

A lawyer representing the family of Kathleen McCormack Durst, the first wife of recently deceased real estate scion Robert Durst, said he will soon file a wrongful death lawsuit against his estate.

On Saturday, Lake Success-based attorney Robert Abrams said he plans to file the suit against Durst’s trust, seeking more than $100 million. Abrams also said he would continue to pursue legal action against those who, he believes, helped cover up Robert Durst’s alleged murder of Kathleen Durst. 

Abrams declined to comment further.

A graduate of New Hyde Park Memorial High School, Kathleen McCormack Durst disappeared on Jan. 31, 1982; her body was never found. Thirty-six years after her disappearance, she was declared dead by a Manhattan court in 2017. Last year, the Westchester County district attorney’s office reopened the cold case investigating Kathleen Durst’s disappearance. 

“Not a single day goes by that we do not think about our beautiful, smart and kind sister Kathleen,” the McCormack family said in a statement to News12 in September. “Today, more than ever before, it is clear that she was murdered by Robert Durst in Westchester County. The justice system in Los Angeles has finally served the Berman family. It is now time for Westchester to do the same for the McCormack family and charge Durst for the murder of his wife, Kathie, which occurred almost forty years ago.”

Efforts to reach the McCormack family or Durst’s legal team for comment were unavailing.

The California Department of Corrections said Durst, 78, died of natural causes on Jan. 10 while being treated at a hospital. In October, Durst contracted COVID-19, days after being sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for killing his longtime friend Susan Berman in 2000.

Robert Durst has long been suspected of being responsible for Kathleen Durst’s disappearance, a case he was indicted for last year on charges of second-degree murder. 

Durst, who in the 2015 HBO miniseries “The Jinx” was recorded saying, “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course” on a hot microphone, previously denied the allegations. Kathleen McCormack, the youngest of five children, married Durst in 1971. 

Seven years ago, Kathleen Durst’s sisters and then-101-year-old mother filed suit in state Supreme Court in Mineola against Durst, alleging that he had murdered Kathleen and caused the family “extreme emotional distress, humiliation, mental and physical anguish, as well as economic losses” by keeping her body hidden.

Prosecutors claimed Robert Durst first murdered Kathleen Durst, who was looking to divorce him, and years later shot Berman to cover his tracks. Berman, a journalist, was found dead in 2000 on Christmas Eve, lying in a pool of blood after being shot in the back of the head in her Los Angeles home.

Robert Durst was also acquitted in the 2001 slaying of Morris Black, his elderly neighbor in Galveston, Texas, whose body was dismembered with an ax and bone saw. Prosecutors tied the Black slaying to alleged attempts by Durst to cover his tracks.

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