Bay Area heiress acquitted of killing ex-lover says she is a victim of anti-Asian hate

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Image: CBS SF Bay Area; KRON 4
  • Tiffany Li, the Bay Area woman accused and then acquitted of killing her ex-boyfriend Keith Green, says she has been a “target” of anti-Asian hate and xenophobia during the years of her trial.
  • Li’s statement comes as a settlement in the wrongful death lawsuit brought by Green’s mother nears resolution.
  • Li and lawyers on both sides have asked that the settlement amount that will go towards Li’s children, aged 9 and 7, remain private to avoid further media attention and speculation.
  • Li said she has been living in China with her and Green’s two children to protect them from xenophobia, Asian hate and “falsehoods” published against her.

Tiffany Li, the Bay Area woman accused and then acquitted of killing her former lover, Keith Green, claimed to be a victim of anti-Asian hate and biased media coverage in court documents filed last Friday.

Li’s declaration comes as a settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit brought by Green’s mother, Colleen Cudd, is about to reach completion. The civil case was settled in January, but Li, with the support of both legal teams, has asked San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Danny Y. Chou to keep the settlement amount going towards her and Green’s daughters confidential.

Li’s lawyers also gathered statements from a psychologist, a social worker and others to support their demand to keep the settlement amount private. 

Judge Chou has tentatively ruled against their request, saying there is no legal precedent to keep the settlement amount under wraps. A hearing is scheduled on April 21.

Li’s two daughters, aged 9 and 7, currently live with her in China, as Li has said she wants to protect them from media coverage.

“I aimed to shield my children from the xenophobia, Asian hate, and falsehoods publicized against me that I experienced while standing trial in the criminal proceedings,” Li wrote.

Cudd will receive $100,000 as part of the settlement. Another $50,000 will be used to pay for Green’s burial and other expenses, according to ABC.

In her declaration filed on March 18, Li maintained her innocence in the fatal shooting of Green, which prosecutors said had taken place in her Hillsborough mansion and for which she was acquitted. Two other individuals — Kaveh Bayat, Li’s new boyfriend at the time, and Olivier Adella, their friend and bodyguard — were also accused of Green’s murder.

Bayat’s case resulted in a mistrial, and the county so far has not decided to prosecute him again. Charges against Adella were also dropped, but he was later sent back to jail for passport fraud after authorities learned that his real name was Mustapha Traore.

Li, whose family made a fortune in Chinese real estate, described her incarceration and house arrest between 2016 and 2019 as “painfully difficult” for her and her children. She slammed U.S. media outlets for calling her “vile and hurtful names” such as “‘Accused Murder Mastermind,’ ‘Hillsborough Heiress,’ ‘Socialite’ and ‘Chinese Heiress.’”

“These people did not know me but twisted their reporting to grab headlines, sell newspapers and ads, and generate revenue at my family’s emotional expense, which included my children,” Li wrote. “I was the target of Asian Hate and xenophobia, spurned by sensationalized news that focused on my Asian race and family background.

“During my criminal trial in 2019, I was harassed by cameras and reporters who followed me to and from the courthouse to try to get their stories to report on the news. I want to protect my children from this type of needless focus, harassment, and emotional trauma.”

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