Gu Kailai, the wife of a recently deposed top official in the Chinese Communist Party, raised no objections to the prosecution's charges in court Thursday that she and a family aide poisoned a British businessman last year, a court official said.
The closely watched trial, which took place Thursday under tight security in the eastern city of Hefei, adjourned in the afternoon without the announcement of a verdict, said Tang Yigan, deputy head of the Hefei Intermediate People's Court.
The hearing phase of the trial is over, and the verdict will be delivered at a later date after deliberations, Tang said, without giving a specific date.
The trial is the latest phase in the fall from grace of the prominent family of Bo Xilai, Gu's husband, who until earlier this year had appeared destined to join the elite committee of leaders at the top of China's ruling party.
Gu and a family aide, Zhang Xiaojun, are accused of poisoning Neil Heywood, a 41-year-old British businessman, who was found dead in November in the southwestern Chinese metropolis of Chongqing, the city where Bo was the Communist Party chief.
Chinese authorities have said that Gu and her son had "conflicts" with Heywood "over economic interests" and that she was motivated to kill the Briton because of fears for her son's safety.
Prosecutors said in court Thursday that Gu and Zhang had invited Heywood to Chongqing from Beijing, according to Tang.
The three of them drank alcohol and tea at Heywood's hotel, as a result of which the Briton got drunk and began vomiting, the prosecutors alleged.
When he needed water, Gu gave Zhang some prepared poison that he put in Heywood's mouth, killing him that night, according to the prosecutors.
Gu and Zhang didn't object to the account outlined by the prosecution, Tang said Thursday. Gu's lawyer made an argument for leniency based on diminished responsibility, he said.
The saga involving Bo and Gu has become the most sensational Chinese political scandal in recent memory, creating an extraordinary set of challenges for the central government as it prepares for a once-in-a-decade leadership transition later this year.
In an indication of its sensitivity, the trial is taking place in Hefei, in Anhui province, more than 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) east of Chongqing, where support for Bo and his family remains strong.
In a related case, Chinese state media reported Thursday that four top Chongqing policemen will be tried for trying to cover up Heywood's murder to help Gu.
The four -- Guo Weiguo , Li Yang , Wang Pengfei and Wang Zhi -- were charged July 30 and will face trial in Hefei on Friday, Xinhua and CCTV reported.
They have been charged with "acting with partiality and defeating the ends of justice," the outlets reported.
Despite the location of Gu's trial Thursday, a heavy police presence and pouring rain from a nearby tropical storm, supporters of Bo appeared outside the courthouse in Hefei.
Plainclothes officials tried to stop the supporters from talking to members of the news media, dragging away at least two of them and putting them into the back of a van.
CNN and other members of the international news media were unable to enter the court to observe the trial, but two consular officers from the British Embassy in Beijing were allowed to sit in the court.
"This is definitely more than a criminal trial," said Wenran Jiang, a professor of political science at the University of Alberta. He added that the process is being closely watched for signs of what might happen to Bo, who is being investigated for "serious discipline violations" after being removed from his Chongqing and party posts.
Gu's family had wanted to hire two prominent Beijing lawyers to represent her, but Chinese authorities have chosen two local attorneys to form her defense team, a family friend told CNN on Wednesday.
The family planned to send one of the attorneys -- along with another well-known Beijing attorney -- into the courtroom as observers, with the approval of the court, said the friend, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the case.
The cards appear to be stacked against Gu and Zhang, who are at the mercy of a Chinese court system that has been criticized by human rights advocates as being little more than a tool of the country's politically controlled state security apparatus.
The conviction rate for first- and second-instance criminal trials in China stood at 99.9% in 2010, a U.S. State Department report said, citing the Chinese Supreme People's Court. In other words, out of more than 1 million criminal defendants tried in 2010, a total of 999 were acquitted.
"In many politically sensitive trials," the U.S. report added, "courts handed down guilty verdicts with no deliberation immediately following proceedings."
Gu and Zhang are unlikely to escape such summary justice.