updated 2/10/2009 3:56:31 AM ET 2009-02-10T08:56:31

An American woman convicted of drugging her banker husband and bludgeoning him to death in Hong Kong won approval Tuesday to move ahead with her appeal in a case widely known as the "milkshake murder."

Nancy Kissel, dressed in a black skirt and black cardigan, smiled and appeared calm as a three-judge panel granted her request to file a second appeal before the territory's high court.

The high court, known as the Court of Final Appeal, will now decide whether to hear the appeal. Kissel lost the first appeal of her conviction in October.

The housewife from Minnesota was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison in 2005. She was convicted of giving her husband a milkshake laced with sedatives in 2003 and then fatally bashing the wealthy banker on the head with a metal ornament.

The sensational trial made headlines worldwide because of its allegations of drug abuse, kinky sex and adultery in the wealthy world of expatriates in this Asian financial center.

On Tuesday, a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeal sided with Kissel's lawyers. They argued the trial judge improperly allowed statements from several friends to be submitted as evidence. Also, prosecutors should never have been permitted to cross-examine Kissel about her friend's statements, her attorneys said.

The statements, which addressed Kissel's mental state, undermined the defense's claim that Kissel was suffering from psychiatric problems at the time of the killing.

Kissel said her then 40-year-old husband, Robert, an investment banker for Merrill Lynch, was an erratic whiskey-swilling workaholic who also snorted cocaine and forced her to have painful anal sex. She testified that she killed him as he was threatening her with a baseball bat in a quarrel.

More on: Hong Kong

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