HILLSBOROUGH, Calif. (KGO) -- Tiffany Li, the Hillsborough heiress who was found not guilty in 2019 of the murder of the father of her two children, is responding to questions in the wrongful death case against her being brought by Colleen Cudd, the mother of victim Keith Green. In newly released court documents, Li comes close to implicating her ex-boyfriend Kaveh Bayat for the murder and reveals what she said to her two daughters about their father's death.
The case is headed for trial in January, but a transcript of Li's at times contentious deposition has been made public. Li could not be compelled to take the stand in the criminal trial because of the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination. No such protection exists in civil cases.
In the deposition, one of Cudd's attorneys asked Li if she ever asked her former boyfriend Kaveh Bayat if he killed Green. She responded "No, ma'am." She also answered "No, ma'am" when asked if she ever asked her former friend and personal trainer Olivier Adella if he had anything to do with the disappearance of Green.
Bayat was tried with Li for the 2016 murder of Green, whose body was found in a remote field in Sonoma County. A jury deadlocked on his guilt and prosecutors opted not to retry him. Li's deposition was conducted on July 15 over video from China, where she is living now. While she did not blame Bayat or Adella for Green's murder in the deposition, her lawyers did in a document filed last month.
"After Ms. Li heard all the evidence from the criminal trial, Ms. Li believes Defendant Olivier Adella and/or Defendant Kaveh Bayat killed decedent Keith Green," Li's attorneys wrote. "The sole cause of the death of Keith Green was due to the acts and/or omissions committed by Defendant Olivier Adella and Defendant Kaveh Bayat. Ms. Li has no liability in this matter."
MURDER MYSTERY TIMELINE: The disappearance of Millbrae resident Keith Green
In her deposition, Li said she didn't know what happened to Green and that she never asked Bayat or Adella if either had killed Green or had anything to do with his disappearance.
Court filings in the case also included a series of letters she wrote to God, whom she addressed as "Father."
In a letter dated June 17, 2016, Li wrote, "Please let my mom win the court hearing on the temporary and permanent guardianship (of Li's two daughters). Father please help me too. Please help me get bail soon and I pray I'll never come back to jail or prison again. I don't belong here. You have been by my side for years and made so many of my prayers come true because you know I'm a good person and have a kind heart. So Father please don't give up on me, please continue to hear my prayers and make them come true."
Li had been in jail nearly a month when she wrote that letter. She was finally freed on a record $62 million in property and $4 million in cash bail in April 2017 after spending more than 10 months in jail.
Li was asked in her deposition by Cudd attorney Nabilah Hossain what she told her daughters about their father's death. Li responded, "I just told them that he loved them a lot."
Hossain followed up, "Did they ask you any questions about how he passed away?"
"My oldest child did," Li responded.
"And how did you answer that question?"
"I just told her that -- I just told her that I would tell her when she gets older."
Earlier in the deposition, Li said her older daughter is nine and the younger just turned seven.
Li's attorney Jason Fellner objected to many of Hossain's questions, telling Li not to answer because the question required the "disclosure of attorney-client privilege communication."
Attorneys in Li's criminal case argued that Li had no motive to kill Green because she had settled a custody dispute with Green days before he was killed. Prosecutors said she settled because it didn't matter because she had already given the "green light" on a plot to kill him with Bayat. Li used the phrase "green light" in a text with Bayat, but her criminal defense attorneys Geoff Carr and May Mar told jurors that had nothing to do with a murder plot.
Prosecutors said Li lured Green to her mansion in Hillsborough where he was shot by Bayat. Adella admitted to disposing of the body.
In an exclusive interview with ABC7 I-Team reporter Dan Noyes, Adella said he reluctantly agreed to dispose of Green's body out of fear for his own life and his family's safety. He also said he was afraid the couple would try to pin the murder on him if he didn't go along.
"You're a Black man in America, my friend," he said. "You're screwed. You get rid of the body, you're screwed. Don't get rid of the body, you're screwed."
A transcript of a combative deposition with Adella was also made public. Adella was identified in the deposition as Olivier Adella, however federal authorities who later investigated his immigration status say his true name is Mustapha Traore.
"And I didn't kill anybody," the former star witness said. "I got used, I got--I got set up as a fall guy. Your client did the killing. Please take me to trial Make sure the media is there. Trust me, you are going to love it."
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