Nancy Kissel, who claimed she killed her Merrill Lynch & Co. banker husband in self-defense in 2003, asked a Hong Kong court to stop her retrial for murder.
The 46-year-old mother of three, who remains in custody after having been sentenced to life in prison, would be freed immediately if the application for a permanent stay of proceedings is successful.
Judge Andrew Macrae today ordered the media not to report on the details of the hearing, which is expected to last five days. The retrial is scheduled to begin on Jan. 10 if Kissel’s lawyers fail to win a halt.
Hong Kong’s top court in February overturned Kissel’s 2005 conviction, ruling the judge wrongly allowed hearsay evidence and prosecutors improperly questioned her during the trial. Jurors heard in the three-month trial that she drugged her husband with a milkshake, bludgeoned him to death and hid his body in a carpet.
Robert Kissel moved to Hong Kong from New York in 1998 with his wife and worked as co-head of Asian special situations for Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Merrill hired him in 2000 to head its distressed-assets business in Asia.
Nancy Kissel testified in her original trial that her husband was a cocaine addict and that she suffered years of abusive sex. She admitted to killing him and said it was in self-defense.
Prosecutors said that the banker had intended to divorce his Michigan-born wife after discovering she was having an affair with an electrical technician in Vermont.
Kissel’s lawyers had said a manslaughter charge, which would carry a sentence of eight to 12 years, was more justified, before prosecutors indicted her again for murder.
The case is Nancy Ann Kissel and HKSAR, HCCC55/2010, Hong Kong Court of First Instance.