More than four years after the HBO documentary series “The Jinx” detailed several alleged murders by New York real estate heir Robert Durst, transcripts of the documentary’s raw audio reveal that the filmmakers may have heavily edited Durst’s apparent confession to the crimes.
“What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course,” Durst famously says in the series’ stunning conclusion, captured on a hot mic while going to the bathroom.
His full comments were in a different order, according to The New York Times, which reported Wednesday that Durst’s lawyers are planning to devote much of their defense on the documentary’s “manipulations” when Durst goes to trial later this year.
A portion of the documentary footage’s transcripts, submitted as part of the ongoing court case involving Durst’s alleged murder of close friend Susan Berman in 2000, shows that the filmmakers cobbled together Durst’s apparent confession from a much longer sequence of rambling remarks.
At the time “The Jinx” aired in 2015, the filmmakers’ practices came under scrutiny and raised journalistic and ethical questions.
Viewers questioned whether the documentarians ― Andrew Jarecki, Marc Smerling and Zac Stuart-Pontier ― should have immediately turned over the apparent confession to law enforcement.
In interviews promoting the series, Jarecki revealed that it took “many months” for filmmakers to find the footage, filmed three years before the documentary ultimately aired.
The filmmakers also played around with the timeline of events to create a more compelling narrative arc.
Durst was arrested on the eve of the final episode airing. Law enforcement cited the documentary as having played a role.
In the upcoming trial, Durst’s lawyers are planning to call the filmmakers as witnesses and accuse them of becoming “agents for law enforcement,” according to the Times.
Since the series finale, the filmmakers have been mum about the documentary series, citing their role as potential witnesses in Durst’s legal battle.
HBO stood by the series in a statement Wednesday.
“Andrew Jarecki is an experienced, respected and award-winning filmmaker whose film speaks for itself,” a network spokeswoman said.
This story has been updated with comment from HBO.