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Novack Case Takes Unexpected Twist

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSMiami) – A detective investigating the murder of Ben Novack gave $5,000 to a woman expected to be a key prosecution witness after she said she was fearful for her safety, a court document revealed Wednesday.

Narcy Novack is accused of masterminding the murder of both Ben Novack and her mother-in-law. The payment revealed Wednesday was news to Novack's defense team, who said that was the first they had heard of the deal.

The payment went to witness May Abad, a stepdaughter of Ben Novack and daughter of Narcy. Abad is expected to testify against her mother in both cases and against Narcy's brother, Cristobal Veliz, who is a co-defendant in the case.

Ben Novack was the son of the builder of the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach. He was found beaten to death in New York in 2009 where his travel company had organized an Amway convention.

The $5,000 payment was revealed in a prosecutor's letter to the judge filed Tuesday. Prosecutors said Abad was fearful for her safety and asked the government for money to help her relocate after family members reportedly tried to assault Abad and tried to frame her by planting guns and drugs in her truck.

But, prosecutors said, before the government could secure the money to help Abad, Westchester County detective Alison Carpentier gave Abad $5,000 of her own money. Prosecutors didn't say if the money was ever paid back to Detective Carpentier.

Defense attorneys for Novack wouldn't say whether the payment would be used to challenge the detective's credibility. Carpentier was among the investigators that talked with Narcy Novack after Ben's murder.

Prosecutors said if defense attorneys said that if the defense cross-examines Abad or Carpentier about the $5,000, they should be allowed to mention Abad's security concerns.

The trial is scheduled to start later this month.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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