A Chinese real estate scion charged with orchestrating the murder of her children’s father was released from a San Francisco area jail yesterday after posting $35 million bail, an unusual financial transaction that startled and angered the victim’s family and friends, the Associated Press reports. The $35 million bail is the highest in San Mateo County’s history. Tiffany Li will remain out of custody after family, friends and her mother’s business associates raised $4 million cash and pledged properties worth a combined $62 million to post her bail. Courts require double the bail amount when property is pledged instead of cash. Li, 31, is charged with directing her boyfriend and another man to kill Keith Green, 27, and dispose of his body, which was found in May with a bullet wound to the neck 80 miles north of the suburban San Francisco mansion he and Li once shared with their two young daughters.
Prosecutors say Li feared she would lose custody of her daughters. A bodyguard ushered Li out of jail yesterday, three hours after a judge ordered her released. Two men charged remain in jail and haven’t asked for bail to be set because they don’t have the financial backing Li has, Li’s attorney Geoff Carr said. The U.S. bail system has been under legal and legislative attack in recent years. Class action lawsuits have been filed challenging the constitutionality of requiring defendants to post cash bail to go free before trial. Critics of the system argue that cash bail schemes like the one found in California state court unfairly disadvantage poor suspects who can’t afford to post bail while allowing wealthy defendants like Li to go free pending trial.