WHITE PLAINS, NY (CBS4/AP) – A federal judge ruled Friday in New York that Narcy Novack’s “chatty” statements to police after the killing of her millionaire husband were voluntary and can be used as evidence at her murder trial.
Some of the statements by Novack, accused of plotting to kill her husband Ben, will be admissible only if she takes the witness stand, the judge said.
Novack, 54, and her brother, Cristobal Veliz, of New York, are accused of arranging the 2009 killing of Ben Novack Jr., son of the man who built the Fontainebleau hotel.
They are also charged in the killing earlier that year of Ben Novack’s mother, Bernice Novack.
If convicted of murder in aid of racketeering, they could be sent to prison for life.
Friday’s hearing concerned only the killing of Ben Novack, who was beaten to death in his hotel room in suburban Rye Brook, N.Y. Narcy Novack denied any involvement when questioned by police.
However, the prosecution claims Novack made false statements about some evidence found at the murder scene, and her lawyer, Howard Tanner, wanted to keep the jury from seeing any of the three days of recorded questioning.
Novack testified two weeks ago that her statements were pressured rather than voluntary. But Judge Kenneth Karas said Friday that Novack hadn’t been arrested, restrained or searched during the questioning and the video recording “makes it crystal clear that she knows she’s free to leave, that she can get a lawyer.”
“She appears to be relaxed and quite chatty,” he added, noting that Novack discussed “some remarkably intimate details” of her sex life.
The prosecution concedes, however, that Novack was technically in custody during a second session, so her statements from that questioning can be introduced only if she testifies.