The star of The Jinx might have the most famous criminal confession in America, but Robert Durst also has a wife, Debrah Lee Charatan. Charatan is Durst's second wife; his first, Kathleen McCormack Durst, went missing in 1982 and has never been found. So here's a big question: can Durst's wife be forced to testify against him about what she knows — or doesn't know — in a court of law?
According to the Federal Rules of Evidence, the spouses of defendants are not obliged to testify in a court of law against their husband or wife, as long as they are married at the time of prosecution. Dust was arrested this week, and he and his wife have been married for years. So, it's a no-go, case closed? Not quite. Looking at the federal rule, a spouse could technically testify, so long as they volunteered to do so. If Charatan decided to take the stand and produce evidence to further incriminate her husband, she could.
In a conversation with his sister, Durst allegedly said that his relationship with Debrah was "a marriage of convenience." Durst and Charatan married in 2000 in a ceremony officiated by a rabbi selected at random from the phone book.
In an interview with The New York Times, one of her former co-workers, Adelaide Polsinelli alleged: “For Debbie, it's all about the money ... When she met Bob, she hit pay dirt.” But Polsinelli doesn't think she knew everything about her husband's secrets before the marriage: "I don't think this was in her plan."
Basically, it's possible that Charatan will testify — but realistically, Charatan will probably abstain from any appearance in court that's not in the audience section.