REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (KRON) — Tiffany Li revealed in court documents that she feels like a victim of “Asian Hate” and xenophobia because of publicity surrounding her murder trial.
A San Mateo County jury found Li not guilty of murdering the father of her children, and she immediately moved with her two daughters to China to escape from the media’s glaring spotlight.
“The United States news media published regular stories about the criminal case and called me vile and hurtful names like the ‘Accused Murder Mastermind’, ‘Hillsborough Heiress’, ‘Socialite’, and ‘Chinese Heiress.’ These people did not know me but twisted their reporting to grab headlines,'” Li wrote in court documents filed on March 11.
“I was the target of Asian Hate and xenophobia, spurned by sensationalized news that focused on my Asian race and family background,” Li wrote.
Li was acquitted by a jury on all charges in 2019 for the murder of Keith Green. Two of the jurors later told KRON4 that they deeply regretted their verdict.
District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said he still has no doubt that Li and her boyfriend, Kaveh Bayat, were the true killers. But his prosecutors didn’t have enough evidence to prove guilt beyond the shadow of a doubt, Wagstaffe said.
In the new court documents, Li wrote about what her life was like as an accused killer.
“My entire world was turned upside down after I learned that Keith Green was killed in April 2016. Keith was the father of my children with whom I shared custody of Vivienne and Nia. I loved Keith and the news of his death devastated me. I was saddened for my girls who would have to grow up without their father. Immediately, I knew that I had to do everything I could in my power to protect my children from the pain and trauma that would potentially follow from Keith’s death, which I have and will continue to do for the rest of my life,” Li wrote.
“Despite being falsely accused and ultimately acquitted of crimes related to Keith’s death, I was first incarcerated and then put under house arrest for several years from 2016 to 2019. Those years were painfully difficult for me and my girls. Between 2016 and 2019, while my criminal case was pending, my children were taken away from me and only permitted to visit with me under supervised visitation on a court ordered schedule,” Li wrote.
“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,” Li wrote.
Li was out of custody for her trial because she posted a $35 million bail, the largest bail amount in San Mateo County’s history.
“I was grateful, but not surprised, of my acquittal in November 2019 because it meant I would be free and reunited with my children,” Li wrote.
The court documents were filed in response to a wrongful death civil lawsuit filed against Li by Green’s mother, Colleen Cudd.
Li, 36, comes from a wealthy family worth an estimated $100 million. Their wealth comes from owning and selling real estate in both the San Francisco Bay Area and China.
Cudd filed the lawsuit on behalf of herself and Li’s daughters.
To prevent the civil case from moving forward to a civil trial, Li agreed to pay Cudd $150,000 as a settlement. Li also agreed to pay her own daughters an undisclosed amount of money for the death of their father.
“There is no question that defendant Li bears a substantial share of liability, on a comparative fault basis, for the wrongful death of Green,” Cudd’s attorney said.
In a 2019 interview, Cudd told KRON4 that she believes Li is “evil” and orchestrated Green’s murder.
Prosecutors said Green was shot execution-style in Li’s Hillsborough mansion on April 28, 2016. A coroner testified that the autopsy showed someone forced a gun in Green’s mouth and pulled the trigger.
Green’s body was dumped by a body guard in a field north of San Francisco. The body guard, Olivier Adella, told investigators that Li and Bayat paid him to get rid of the body.
Six months before the murder, Li broke up with Green, kicked him out of her mansion, and let Bayat move in as her new boyfriend.
Green and Li became embroiled in a custody battle over their two young daughters, and according to prosecutors, Li grew increasingly angry with Green asking her for money.
Li’s attorneys are currently fighting to keep the wrongful death settlement with the daughters confidential.
“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.”
Li and her attorneys said it is important that the financial settlement remains confidential to protect the children because Green’s killer is still at large.
Li wrote, “I am also concerned about my children’s physical safety since Keith’s killer has not been caught and there is an open and ongoing criminal investigation.”