Category: The defenses

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Knox Appeal Points Seem Essentially Points That Gained Limited Traction In The Trial

Posted by Peter Quennell


And the fact that the prosecution will get a shot at firming up their case does seem to have caught the defenses off-balance.

US-based Knox family legal advisor Ted Simon has appeared several times on US networks in the last few days, seemingly clean out of new ideas for how to get Amanda Knox off.

No motive? Well, a motive does not have to be confirmed in Italy, but Micheli, Mignini and Massei all suggested credible motives, each involving an escalation of violence, and each probably involving drugs as one component - drugs like enhanced (skunk) cannabis, crystal meth, and cocaine increasingly seem to be triggering psychotic episodes that can lead to murder.

No DNA in the room? Well, most murders take place with no DNA left behind, and if Knox was the one simply holding the large knife and uttering threats, there is no reason why her DNA should have have deposited. Rudy Guede left only a few microscopic traces of DNA, but clearly he too was in the room. And there was plenty of forensic evidence implicating Knox right outside of Meredith’s door.

And as usual, Ted Simon skirts the very problematic rearrangement of the crime scene, and the testimony of various key witnesses, and the very incriminating pattern of phone calls, and the major discordance between all the alibis.

Pity that the US reporters never ever seem to press him on these things.

And in Perugia, it seems that Mr Ghirga and Mr Della Vedova are also only going through the motions - recycling just a few of their points that were already not too convincing at the trial. Andrea Vogt reported on the grounds for their appeal in the Seattle Post Intelligencer.

The 220-page document filed with the of Court of Appeals in Perugia on Saturday morning is a total appeal of all the points of the sentence, said Knox’s lawyer, Luciano Ghirga from Perugia in an interview with the Seattlepi.com.

“It includes the first days of the interrogation, the DNA and the traces detected with luminol. We re-iterate the innocence of Amanda and remain convinced there is not proof of her presence at the scene of the crime,” Ghirga said….

The hotly contested forensic evidence presented in the trial played an important role in the jury’s reasoning but was not the only element that led them to convict. Inconsistent statements, witness testimony, Knox’s placing the blame on an innocent man, which she maintains she did under police pressure, and the staging of the crime scene were also cited as key factors by the jury.

Knox’s legal teams are expected to contest all points, but are also asking for a third-party review of the forensic evidence. Such a request was rejected once already during the 9-month trial, but a different appeals court judge could decide to grant such an independent review. In Knox’s case, lawyers are contesting the kitchen knife that prosecutors said was the murder weapon that had Knox’s DNA on the handle and a trace amount of Kercher’s on the blade.

Knox’s lawyers also contest the luminol-positive traces discovered in the corridor (footprints) and the spot in the roommates room where prosecutors say Knox and her boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, later staged a break-in to make the scene look like a rape-robbery to throw off investigators. Police biologist Patrizia Stefanoni testified during the trial that these luminol-positive traces had mixed genetic material of Knox and Kercher.


Friday, March 12, 2010

Rudy Guede Now Counter-Claims From Prison That Knox And Sollecito Were Real Instigators

Posted by Tiziano


Please click here to read Rudy Guede’s hand-written letter from Viterbo Prison (above)  in Italian.

Below is our translation of the letter as posted by TGCom.

Rudy Guede was obviously provoked into putting his version of events out by the claim of Alessi (see video at bottom of this post) that he had a colleague with him on the night, and also by the finding of the judges in the Dispositivo that he was the prime instigator.

The complete text of the letter written by the Ivory Coast man.

Guede’s letter to News Mediaset.

Viterbo 07/03/2010

As usual in this beloved beautiful country of ours, there are many dishonest people given over to lying.  And there are likewise those who give these people a voice without the slightest questioning of their consciences, whether it’s worth the trouble of giving space to certain conjectures.

In recent days the only things I have heard have been blasphemous insinuations about me; baseless gossip which has done nothing other than harrying, hither and thither, TV news channels, even though for reasonable people it is the pure invention of a wicked mind.

It must be said that all I have heard in recent days in the media, about what has been falsely stated by this foul being by the name of Mario Alessi, whose conscience is nothing but stinking garbage, are purely and simply the ravings of a sick and twisted mind, his ravings are the dreamed-up, untrue declarations of a monster who sullied himself with a frightful murder in which he took the life of an angelic little human being, as is known throughout Italy. This fellow, now, is telling lies about things that I never said to him and (other things) that I never said, things that don’t exist either in this world or the next.

To his ““ or rather their- rotten declarations, it’s my intention to put in black and white that I never confided in this disgusting creature, since moreover that I’ve got nothing to confess or anything else (to say), and everything that I had to say I have already said to the judges and I will go on shouting and fighting while I am still alive, until the truth itself and justice itself prevail over such lies, and even less did I speak one to one or together with other people or with other inmates about my trial affairs, and if I had ever had something to say, don’t you believe that I would have talked about it with my lawyers?  Giving rise to and giving credit to what is a blasphemous statement made by a sick mind, to a monster who had no pity for a child.

With this latest scenario, which my lawyers, my family and I are now used to, from this latest person, the monster Alessi, I hope that Italians and the rest of the world realise that they are dealing with pigs, pigs which stink of the slime of falsehood, but which, not withstanding everything, go around showing their faces and suffocating people with their fetid lying.

Like their umpteenth scenario which does nothing more than give me the strength and the awareness to struggle more than ever, so that the truth that they want to hide is revealed for everyone to see.

As far as I’m concerned, (I have) the serenity and the calm of complete peace of mind, as a person who does not parade this unfair suffering, but who trusts in justice and in the good sense of Italians. 

And finally I wish that sooner or later the judges will recognise my complete non-involvement in what was the horrible murder of the splendid, magnificent girl who was Meredith Kercher, by Raffaelle Sollecito and Amanda Knox.

Guede Rudy

Below: Alessi’s statement at Viterbo Prison to Raffaele Sollecito’s defense team. Warning: this very self-serving statement by Alessi is graphic and offensive, as well as, in our view, almost certainly untrue. 

Rudy Guede will be interrogated on the claims in this statement today Friday by Mr Mignini and Ms Comodi at Viterbo Prison. There could be news coming out of this interrogation later today.


Friday, February 05, 2010

True Justice Is Rendered For Patrick Lumumba (Sort Of)

Posted by Tiziano



Above & below: Patrick’s bar which Knox managed to drive out of business.

1. Explanation of calunnia

Knox was prosecuted by the Republic of Italy, not by Lumumba, on a calunnia charge and her prison sentence was extended when she was found guilty of that. 

The charge of calunnia (art. 368) has been commonly translated as “slander” in the English/US media. This translation is incorrect, however, as calunnia is a crime with no direct equivalent in the respective legal systems.

The equivalent of “criminal slander” is diffamazione, which is an attack on someone”Ÿs reputation. Calunnia is the crime of making false criminal accusations against someone whom the accuser knows to be innocent, or to simulate/fabricate false evidence, independently of the credibility/admissibility of the accusation or evidence.

The charges of calunnia and diffamazione are subject to very different jurisprudence. Diffamazione is public and explicit, and is a more minor offence, usually resulting in a fine and only prosecuted if the victim files a complaint, while calunnia can be secret or known only to the authorities. It may consist only of the simulation of clues, and is automatically prosecuted by the judiciary.

The crimes of calunnia and diffamazione are located in different sections of the criminal code: while diffamazione is in the chapter entitled “crimes against honour” in the section of the Code protecting personal liberties, calunnia is discussed in the chapter entitled “crimes against the administration of justice”, in a section that protects public powers.


2. Knox Defense

Knox took the stand for two days during her trial, of course, trying to explain why she did what she did to her kindly former employer.

She only seemed to dig herself in deeper.

3. Patrick’s Win

Now Terni In Rete confirms his government compensation for his several weeks in Capanne and some damaging badmouthing.

CASSATION:  EIGHT THOUSAND EUROS FAIR COMPENSATION FOR PATRICK LUMUMBA

February 4th, 2010

By Adriano Lorenzoni

The fourth criminal session of the Court of Cassation has established that the sum of eight thousand Euros is fair compensation for Patrick Lumumba, the Congolese involved in spite of himself in the murder of the English student, Meredith Kercher.

Lumumba was dragged into involvement by Amanda Knox, and precisely because of her statements spent 14 days in prison.  Then the elements gathered by the investigators completely exonerated him. For that unjust imprisonment Lumumba had requested damages of 516 thousand Euros.

In the trial for the murder of Meredith Kercher, Amanda Knox was condemned to 26 years imprisonment, her ex-fiancé, Raffaele Sollecito to 25.

Knox, precisely for her false accusations against Lumumba, was condemned to the payment of damages of the sum of 50 thousand Euros with an interim award, immediately applicable, of ten thousand Euros.  Neither Lumumba nor his lawyer wished to comment on the decision of the Court of Cassation.




Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Our Letter To Senator Maria Cantwell: Please Don’t Take Precipitate Action Till Full Facts Are In

Posted by Highly-Concerned Washington-State Voters


We are all regular voters who live in the Seattle area. We have signed the original of this letter to our US senator, Maria Cantwell, and sent it off to her Capitol office. 

We think we increasingly mirror a very large minority or even a majority of cool-headed but concerned Seattle-area voters who would like to see her speaking up for truth and real justice in this case.

And for the rights of the true victim.

We are not running a campaign. We don’t think Senator Cantwell needs hard persuasion. We think once she immerses herself deeply in the real facts, those facts will tell her the right thing to do.

Dear Senator Cantwell

A number of your well-informed constituents are wondering about your motivations for suddenly injecting yourself into the Meredith Kercher murder trial debate, immediately following last week’s unanimous guilty ruling for American Amanda Knox in Perugia, Italy. 

We wonder because you said you were saddened by the verdict and had serious questions about the Italian judicial system and whether anti-Americanism had tainted the trial.  But then you went on to describe how you knew for a fact that the prosecution in the case did not present enough evidence for an impartial jury to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that Amanda Knox was guilty. 

We’re confused because it seems to us that if you had been following the case closely enough to be certain that not enough evidence had been presented by the prosecution that you would consequently have a very clear idea of how the Italian judicial system functioned and know whether or not anti-American sentiment had impacted the ruling. 

So, as a group of concerned Seattle area constituents who have been following every detail of this case since poor Meredith Kercher was murdered, we humbly offer you our assistance towards bringing things into proper perspective.

Were you aware that Raffaele Sollecito, an Italian from Giovinazzo, Bari was convicted right alongside Ms. Knox?  Mr. Sollecito received some of the best legal representation available in Italy, including senior lawyer and parliamentary deputy Giulia Bongiorno who won fame as a criminal lawyer when she successfully defended former Italian Premier Giulio Andreotti a few years ago. 

Ms Bongiorno has said nothing about anti-American sentiment having influenced the ruling against her client, nor has she complained about fundamental problems with the way this trial was run.  Instead, she is now completely focused on looking ahead to the appeal process as her next opportunity to mitigate sentences or argue for her client’s innocence. 

This should assuage some of your concerns.

But perhaps you are referring to the extra year Ms. Knox received in comparison to Mr. Sollecito’s 25-year sentence as a clear example of anti-American sentiment?  That’s a fair concern; however, in Italy the jury panel for a trial is required to submit a report within 90 days of a ruling describing in great detail the logic used to convict and sentence, or absolve a defendant. 

For example, in Rudy Guede’s fast-track trial for the murder of Meredith Kercher last year Judge Paolo Micheli issued an exhaustive 106 page report outlining the panel’s labored decision-making process, in sometimes excruciating detail.  We can expect no less for the trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, and when that report is issued we will have our best look yet at the evidence that was used to convict the pair.

We suggest that you seriously reconsider “bringing” Hillary Clinton and the State Department into the debate.

Consider that State Department spokesman Ian Kelly stated that the US embassy in Rome had been tasked with monitoring the trial and had visited Ms. Knox in jail, and several embassy representatives were known to have attended the reading of the ruling last week. In addition, an American reporter based in Italy who has followed the case from the outset said last night on CNN that the trial had been monitored from the outset.

Secretary Clinton has clearly been very busy with far more critical tasks than to have maintained a personal familiarity with the Kercher murder case; however, Kelly did state that in response to recent press reports Secretary Clinton had taken time to look things over and has yet to find any indication that Knox did not receive a fair trial.  You surely realize that Secretary Clinton will not be interested making public comments regarding an ongoing legal process in a sovereign, democratic nation that is a long-time ally of the United States.

Also note that on the Italian side of the equation, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini told his countrymen that he has yet to receive any criticisms of the trial from the office of the US Secretary of State and that the fierce criticism of the case by the Seattle based Amanda Knox support group should not be confused as the position of the US government. 

And Luciano Ghirga, Knox’s own Italian lawyer, has stated that he does not question the validity of the trial and that he believes it was conducted correctly. Furthermore, regarding your desire to have Clinton become involved, Ghirga concluded, “That’s all we need, Hillary Clinton involved”¦this sort of thing does not help us in any way.” 

Perhaps he is referring to the heated discussions in the Italian press these days regarding the strong criticisms of Italy’s legal system coming from a country that supports Guantanamo Bay, the death penalty, and other perceived injustices of a far-from-perfect American legal system.

As these examples demonstrate, and from your own humble constituents’ well-informed perspective, there is nothing out of the ordinary or alarming about the Meredith Kercher murder trial process.  The prosecutors and defense teams will continue to debate the evidence throughout the appeal process, just as we should expect them to. 

If you do decide to go forward with your inquiry, despite significant opposition from your constituents, we recommend that you do so only after becoming more familiar with the evidence presented during the trial, as presented by a neutral source. The family and friends of the US citizen recently convicted are probably not neutral.

If you take a good look, you will see that there are checks and balances in the Italian way of achieving justice, just as there are in the American system. In the final analysis, it is completely as Beatrice Cristiani, deputy judge for the Kercher murder trial, put it: “As far as I am aware our system of justice does not make provision for interference from overseas.”

Fully signed by all of us in the original sent to Senator Maria Cantwell


Monday, December 07, 2009

US Overreaction: Amanda Knox’s Own Lawyer Groans “That’s All We Need, Hillary Clinton”

Posted by Peter Quennell


This is from an earlier report by Beth Hale and Daniel Bates in the Daily Mail

Hillary Clinton has been drawn into the battle to overturn Amanda Knox’s conviction. Amid a growing U.S. backlash against the verdict, the American Secretary of State has agreed to meet a senator from 22-year-old Knox’s home state of Washington.

[Senator Cantwell] said she was concerned there had been an ‘anti-American’ feeling at the trial and said she would be raising her concerns with Mrs Clinton…

Luciano Ghirga said: ‘That’s all we need, Hillary Clinton involved. I have the same political sympathies as Hillary but this sort of thing does not help us in any way.’

Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini said: ‘This senator should not interfere in something she has no idea about. I am happy with how the trial went.’

And this below is from a new report by Nick Pisa in the Daily Mail

It quotes the prosecutor as saying that the case was taken before NINETEEN Italian judges. Such caution is not an everyday occurrence in US justice, that is for sure.

Italy reacted with anger today as a transatlantic war of words broke out with the United States over the Amanda Knox murder trial.

Prosecutors involved in the case were outraged that their handling and the Italian judicial system had been called into question, while newspapers published front page editorials saying they would not take ‘lessons from America.’

It came as it emerged US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton had said she would look into Knox’s case after Marie Cantwell, a senator in the jailed student’s home state of Washington, said she was ‘concerned’ about the trial.

In a front page editorial headlined ‘Passport and Justice’ Corriere Della Sera stormed: ‘Once again here we have rule number one for an American accused of a crime abroad - it doesn’t matter if they are innocent or guilty all that counts is their passport.’

Inside it continued under the heading: ‘When an American passport is as valuable as an alibi,’ and recalled an infamous incident in 1998 when a US pilot escaped justice, despite flying through a cable sending a ski gondola crashing into a mountain and killing 20 people at Cermis in the Italian Alps.

It added: ‘Amanda was tried abroad so her defence campaign have enlisted the help of the State Department. This same administration can’t close Guantanamo but it can find the time to attack the sentence in Perugia.’

Its story on Mrs Clinton’s involvement added America had been reacting as if Knox had ‘ended up in the hands of some despotic regime,’ and said: ‘America is just waiting to send a platoon of Marines over to rescue the poor girl.’

Il Messaggero also ran an editorial on its front page under the headline ‘Unacceptable Lessons’ and also compared it to the Cermis incident.

It wrote: ‘If there is any ground upon which our country will not be taught lessons on civility and respect from anyone, the United States included, then it is the penal process.

‘The United States allows the death penalty for minors in some states, as does countries where the high level of civic justice found in Italy is unheard of, such as Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan and Yemen.

‘If Hilary Clinton wants to meet these “doubters” then maybe she can also find the time to look into the cases of numerous Italians held in American prisons for non existent motives and crimes they have not committed.’

There was also criticism of Senator Cantwell’s suggestions the trial was anti-American as many pointed out that ‘an Italian Raffaele Sollecito, was also jailed.’...

Knox prosecutor Giuliano Mignini also hit out at the criticism and said: ‘I am happy. In my conscience I know I have done my duty. It is never easy to ask for a life sentence.

‘That’s especially true in this case where the accused were in their twenties. I have three children who are more or less the same age. Asking for life was the right punishment for the crime.

‘I am not prepared to take criticism from the Americans on how the prosecution and investigators carried out their work.

‘The case went before 19 judges in the end at various levels from a preliminary hearing, through to three levels of re-examination (bail hearings) and all found in the prosecution’s favour.’

Here is some highly recommended reading for the Senator and (f they need it) the State Department.


Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Barbie Nadeau Cracks The Mystery Of Why Sollecito’s Lawyer Was Arguing For Knox

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for the report in the Daily Beast.

Yesterday’s strategy by Ms Bongiorno had been puzzling us behind the scenes. Even the Italian media seemed confused. Some thought she was subtly saying that Knox had framed Sollecito. This analysis sounds authentic.

American murder suspect Amanda Knox was nervous Monday morning when she entered the courtroom in Perugia…

Sollecito’s co-counsel Giulia Bongiorno…. surprised court observers and spent most of the morning ignoring her own client. Instead, she defended Knox even though Sollecito is the only of the two with DNA evidence in the room where Kercher was murdered…

By doing the work of Knox’s defense team, Sollecito’s own defense took a calculated risk that it will be harder for the jury to convict them both. But in doing so, she paved the way for the two to be judged as one, meaning they will either both be acquitted or both receive life sentences.

And by defending Knox and attacking the forensic evidence against her…. [Bongiorno] is banking that Knox’s lawyers will also do their bit to defend Sollecito later this week when it is their turn.

“She is not Amanda the Ripper,” Bongiorno told the jury, which at times must have been wondering when she would get to Sollecito. “She is a little crazy, extravagant. She does the cartwheels in the police station because reality for her is too strong to deal with. She is spontaneous, immediate, and imprudent.”

It was a moment of obvious relief for Knox. The last few weeks have been particularly arduous for her. Two weeks ago, Rudy Guede, the man who has already been convicted for his part in Kercher’s murder, testified in his appeals trial that he saw her silhouette in the window of the crime scene the night of the murder.

The same week, the prosecutor painted a disturbing picture of Knox as a drug-fueled vixen who called Meredith Kercher “prissy” before threatening her at knifepoint to have group sex with Guede and Sollecito. Then last week as the civil plaintiff’s closing arguments against her concluded, Knox was called a “dirty minded she-devil” by lawyers for Patrick Lumumba….

[Monday] was the best day the defense has had in this trial. Bongiorno’s oratory was a tribute to criminal defense. The jury didn’t take their eyes off her as she weaved a story separated by her own self-titled chapters. And when Knox’s defense lawyers begin their summation, they are expected to do their part and pick up where Sollecito’s defense left off.

“We are really four lawyers with two clients,” Knox attorney Carlo Dalla Vedova said after court. “We are all in the same boat.” Soon the jury will decide whether it will stay afloat.


Monday, November 30, 2009

The Summations: Sollecito’s Lawyer Says Knox Was Not The Sort To Commit Murder

Posted by Peter Quennell


TGCom’s headline that Sollecitos lawyer claimed Knox was framing Sollecito is not born out by this longer report from Richard Own in The Times.

A lawyer for the defence today told the judge and jury Ms Knox was not “Amanda the Ripper” but more like Amelie, the wide-eyed innocent played by Audrey Tautou in Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s 2001 hit film of the same name.

Giulia Bongiorno, defending Mr Sollecito, said “Throughout this trial I have heard Amanda described as someone who nursed a hatred, someone who was a maneater and someone who was a diabolical witch. But she is not Amanda the Ripper. She is a fragile and weak girl.”

She said Ms Knox, 22, was like “a little girl who looks at people and the world with child-like eyes, full of energy, spontaneous and imprudent ... If anything, she is similar to the character Amelie, the French girl in the film of the same name she was watching with Raffaele the night of the murder.”

Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito claim they spent the night of the murder at his flat, smoking cannabis. However Mr Sollecito has testified that he cannot remember if Ms Knox was with him all the time….

Ms Bongiorno, an incisive front-rank Italian lawyer, said that Mr Sollecito, 25, an information technology student, could not have taken part in the murder and sexual assault of Ms Kercher since it was he who had “raised the alarm and waited for the investigators on the doorstep of the house of the crime. Would a killer do that?’‘...

In an impassioned address Ms Bongiorno said that Mr Sollecito barely knew Ms Kercher, and did not know Guede at all. The prosecution had “failed to establish any link” between Mr Sollecito and Guede. “In this trial there are many doubts, but one certainty, that the two did not know each other at the time of the crime,’’ she said. “The only link between them is the charge sheet.’’ The prosecution reconstruction of the crime was “incomplete, with the essential part missing”.

Ms Bongiorno, who successfully defended Giulio Andreotti, the former Italian Prime Minister, against charges that he was linked to the Mafia, said a bloody footprint at the cottage was not Mr Sollecito’s, as the prosecution had claimed, but came from a shoe belonging to Guede.

She used quotations from Socrates to the late Italian singer-songwriter Sergio Endrigo to support her case that the prosecution had failed to prove Mr Sollecito’s guilt “beyond reasonable doubt”. She said that the prosecution had also failed to establish a motive for the crime….

On Saturday Mr Sollecito told the court that Ms Knox was “not manipulative or violent or diabolical, as she is made out to be. She does not have a dark side, she is a girl like many others”. Luca Maori, another lawyer defending Mr Sollecito, said that Guede’s DNA was “on Meredith’s sweatshirt, it’s on her handbag, it’s on her bra. Only one person carried out this crime and it was Guede.”

He said that the bespectacled Mr Sollecito, who comes from a well to do family at Bari in southern Italy, was “a calm, quiet and reserved young man” who when he met Ms Knox in Perugia as a 23-year-old student had had “little sexual experience”.



The Summations: Sollecito’s Lawyer Ms Bongiorno Makes It To Court To Sum Up

Posted by Tiziano


This report is translated from Corriere. It predates the report warned of just below on the claimed framing of Sollecito.

Back after an ailment linked to an inflamed appendix, Bongiorno has completely recovered….

Sollecito’s lawyer is claiming the possibility of the contamination of the DNA traces….  Also that the prosecutorial reconstruction “has the flavour of an unfinished opera with the essential part missing”. 

The lawyer also stressed that the proof of an acquaintance between the young man and Rudy Guede is lacking. Bongiorno said, “It is certain that the two did not know each other at the moment of the crime.  The only element linking them is the prosecutor’s charge.”

Referring to what she claims is the incompleteness of the prosecutor’s reconstruction, the lawyer quoted a verse from one of Sergio Endrico’s songs: “it was a such a pretty little house but it had no roof and no kitchen”. 

Bongiorno said, “Sollecito was close to graduating and was nurturing his own dreams when he stumbled over a footprint which tore them away from him.” Then she spoke about the bloody footprint from a shoe, found next to Kercher’s body and initially attributed to Sollecito, but then revealed as belonging to Guede.  “Raffaele - his defence lawyer underlined -  was fitted into the scene of the crime by that footprint and he went to prison because of that footprint.” 

Bongiorno then went on to speak of the morning when [Meredith’s] body was found, November 2nd, 2007.  “Sollecito gave the alarm and waited for the investigators on the step in front of the crime house.  Does it seem credible to you that a murderer would do this?” she said.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Summations: Lawyer Luca Maori Sums Up All Day Today In Sollecito’s Defense

Posted by Peter Quennell


This first report translated by Tiziano is from the news-service AGI.

The trial before the Court of the Assizes of Perugia of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, accused of the murder of Meredith Kercher, has resumed this morning at the Palazzo di Giustizia , with the address of one of the lawyers for Raffaele Sollecito, Luca Maori. The two accused are present in court.

“Defending an innocent person is always more difficult than defending a guilty one” lawyer Maori said “Raffaele has been described as the worst of young men, he has been insulted and wounded in his dearest affections.” Maori continued,

“Raffaele is the second victim in this event. He is twenty-three years old and he has spent two of these years in prison. They have wanted to tailor him “a suit of clothes” which does not belong to him, he has been described as a fellow addicted to drugs, porno films and the search for strong emotions. His past has been morbidly delved into and that of his family, as has the premature death of his mother.”

The lawyer continued, “There is one fact that must not be forgotten in this trial, and that is that there is already a guilty person: Rudy Hermann Guede, condemned to thirty years for the crime.” Lawyer Maori played in the court room the audio recording of a conversation via Skype between Rudy Hermann Guede, who was at that moment in Germany, and the friend of the Ivorian, who was speaking from an office in Perugia police headquarters.

Mr Maori included the hope that Sollecito’s other lawyer, Ms Giulia Bongiorno, who apparently has an appendix problem,  would be well enough on Monday to argue her part of the summing-up.

And this is from Ann Wise’s report for the ABC website.

Maori placed the responsibility for the crime squarely on Rudy Guede, and then spent six hours rebutting the evidence presented against Sollecito by the prosecution.

“We already have the guilty person,” Maori told the court, “and that is Rudy Guede. The DNA is his, as are the fingerprints, and the footprints,” Maori said.

Maori defended Sollecito’s character, saying he is a person friends describe as a “quiet, shy and romantic” young man. Sollecito “is the second victim in this affair,” Maori told the court.

Sollecito’s lawyer meticulously reviewed the evidence and witness testimony presented by the prosecution, including the two main pieces of evidence investigators say put him on the scene of the crime: his DNA on the victim’s bra hook and a bloody footprint police say is compatible with his foot.

He reiterated what was said repeatedly in the course of the trial: that the DNA on the bra is probably due to contaminated evidence, and the footprint, according to Maori, belongs to Guede.

Maori also introduced a new bit of evidence he says defense experts discovered: a biological substance visible on the pillow found in the victim’s room, which Maori’s experts believe to be semen. He said the substance was never tested by the forensic police.

“Why were the two spots visible on the pillow found under the victim not tested?” Maori asked when speaking to journalists outside the courtroom. “The crime against Kercher was sexual,” Maori added, “but no one tested those stains.”

In the course of the trial, investigators said no semen was found on the scene of the crime, though injuries to the victim, and the fact that she was found naked from the waist up, indicated she had been sexually assaulted.

Rudy Guede’s DNA was found on Kercher’s body.

And this is from Nick Pisa’s report on the Daily Telegraph website.

“Despite what has been claimed Sollecito is a calm, quiet and reserve young man. He was just 23 when arrested and he is now approaching his 26th birthday.

“He is the second victim in all this - someone has wanted to sew him a suit which just does not fit him. He is not as the prosecution say a man looking for a strong experience.

“He is a young man of little sexual experience and who had just met a young lady and was in the first week of their relationship.”


Friday, November 27, 2009

The Summations: Patrick Lumumba’s Lawyer Describes Defamation By Knox As Ruthless

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click here for Nick Pisa’s noon report from the courtroom. Some excerpts:

Today the lawyer acting for bar owner Patrick Lumumba, who Knox blamed for the murder, was harsh in his judgement of the American student.

Lawyer Carlo Pacelli described Knox as a ‘talented and calculated liar, who had deliberately gone out of her way to frame Patrick.’

Mr Pacelli recalled how Knox had told police she ‘covered her ears as Patrick murdered Meredith. This was all a lie, his destiny at that moment was marked.

‘It was a ruthless defamation that destroyed Patrick as a man, husband and father. By naming him she hoodwinked the officer in charge of the murder investigation.’

Mr Lumumba was held for two weeks in custody before being released without charge after witnesses came forward to say he was at his Le Chic bar the night Meredith was murdered.

Mr Pacelli added: ‘Who is the real Amanda Knox ? Is it the one we see before us her, simple water and soap, the angelic St Maria Goretti (a teenager made a saint by the Catholic Church after she was murdered by an attempted rapist)?

‘Or is she really a she devil, a diabolical person focused on sex, drugs and alcohol, living life to the extreme and borderline -is this the Amanda Knox of November 1st 2007 (night Meredith was murdered).’

As he spoke, Knox could be seen writing notes to herself on the pad before her.

‘Conclusions drawn before knowing anything,’ she wrote, before adding: ‘In prison you don’t become a better person you become worse unless you have a inner light that guides you.’

 


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Possible Trial Delay While Giulia Bongiorno Gets Well

Posted by Peter Quennell



[This new image was just emailed to us - it seems that we are read in Rome]

Italian media are now reporting that Sollecito’s lead lawyer has appendicitis.

A decision as to what to do will be made by the court today. Under the agreed schedule for the next two weeks, Ms Bongiorno and Mr Maori were due to argue Solllecito’s side of things this Saturday and next Monday.

This is the second time the trial schedule has been affected by ill health. The previous time it was Judge Massei. He contracted a touch of pneumonia.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Trial: Further Expert Examinations Denied: The Report From Andrea Vogt

Posted by Peter Quennell


Excerpts from the report of Andrea Vogt (above) in the Seattle P-I.

An Italian jury rejected Amanda Knox’s multiple requests for an independent review of contested evidence Friday, bringing the end in sight to the Seattle student’s contentious murder trial….

Lawyers for Knox and Sollecito, asked the court to approve an independent review of several contested pieces of forensic evidence, most notably the kitchen knife with Knox’s DNA on the handle and what prosecutor’s argue is the Kercher’s on the blade, and a bra clasp with Sollecito’s DNA.

Knox’s lawyers also asked for a review of the luminol-enhanced footprints, the mark on the pillowcase that the prosecution argued was a woman’s shoeprint, but which the defense argues is simply a bloody crease, and several other traces of DNA found in the flat Knox and Kercher shared….

The Kercher family’s attorney, Francesco Maresca of Florence, argued, however, that the court already had plenty of material to review. “We all know that in all trials of this nature there are different analyses of forensic evidence made by the various expert witnesses,” he said. “The court must now consider the seriousness and integrity of the experts’ testimony.”

Prosecutor Manuela Comodi went a step farther, saying while she did not believe a review was necessary, she would she would “almost be pleased” to see the results with regard to the prosecution’s footprint expert analysis.

The eight-member jury, which includes two professional judges, flatly rejected all defense requests at 9:30 p.m. after deliberating just under two hours.

Immediately after the judge’s announcement, Sollecito bowed his head and briefly wept, as lawyers began haggling over court dates for closing arguments.

Knox glanced worriedly at her lawyers, who patted her on the back and insisted confidently after the hearing that the outcome was not unexpected, nor necessarily negative for their client…

“This doesn’t change anything,” said Knox’s Perugian attorney, Luciano Ghirga. “We wanted to clarify the evidence, but obviously the judge doesn’t feel he needs additional information. We are ready to argue.”

The judge was careful to note that the jury’s decision did not indicate a presumption of guilt and left open the possibility that the court could call for additional review of evidence after closing arguments and before a verdict.

Nonetheless many court observers expressed surprise at the fact that the jury chose to not review even a single element of the controversial forensic evidence. For Knox, however, the complete rejection of a third-party review could have a silver lining—effectively positioning her better for an eventual appeal.

Our legal watchers doubt the validity of that last remark - that somehow the judges and the jury have messed up here, and that this is a get-out-of-jail-free card for Knox’s and Sollecito’s appeals.

They note that Italy has a “smart jury” system which is encouraged to take a very broad birds-eye view of the case. The multi-alibis testimony and the mobile-phone testimony and the eye-witness testimony and the various mixed-blood traces and the various bloody footprints are considered almost impossible to account for if the defendants are in fact not guilty. The DNA on the knife and the bra-clasp are not make-or-break issues in this case and never were.

The sleeper in this trial of course as in the Rudy Guede trial is the huge and very detailed report that the judges must prepare and release within three months of their verdict. The astounding level of profesionalism of those reports - unique in the law world - leaves American lawyers in real awe.  In the case of Guede, the report by Judge Micheli was absolutely damning.

If the verdict here also is guilty, those unconvinced by that report will probably all fit neatly into one Volkswagen.


Trial: Further Expert Examinations Denied - The Report From Nick Pisa

Posted by Peter Quennell


Excerpts from Nick Pisa’s report in the UK’s Daily Mail.

A judge last night rejected defence requests for an independent review of evidence in the Meredith Kercher murder case.

The decision means that a verdict in the trial will come by early December as an independent review could have taken up to a month delaying the decision….

Yesterday lawyers for Knox and Sollecito argued that the review should be held because of errors in the police investigation and the way evidence was collected.

Key to the case is a 30cm black handled kitchen knife on which DNA from Knox was found on the handle and that of Meredith on the blade.

Prosecutors say the knife, which was found in the kitchen of Sollecito’s flat, is compatible with the murder weapon - which has never been found.

Knox’s lawyer Carlo Della Vedova said that too many discrepancies had emerged in the examination of the knife by forensic scientists….

Sollecito’s lawyers had also asked for a review of a bloodied bra clasp found at the scene which had his DNA on it.

They pointed out that the clasp had been found during an initial police search in one point and then ‘lost’ for six weeks before being found else where in the room….

Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini had argued that: ‘There is no need for a review as the evidence was gathered in a very professional way by qualified persons.’

In his ruling judge Massei said: ‘The court has heard from several consultants who have brought several elements and which rule out the need for any further proof.’...

As the judge read out his decision Knox, who earlier had been laughing and joking with guards, closed her eyes and looked upwards.

Sollecito rubbed his eyes and was in tears as the decision would seem to indicate the court has already made up its mind over their guilt.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Trial: Today And Tomorrow Are To Be The Final Two Days Of Defense Testimony

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for La Nazione’s story in Italian. In brief:

The court timetable for today and tomorrow provides for the testimony of the last four witnesses listed by the defense. They are to be another coroner, a neuropathologist, a geneticist, and a computer expert.

There will be court hearings on 2 and 3 October for more expert examination of the prosecution’s evidence. It is virtually certain at this stage that the defenses will ask for a new report on the traces of DNA on the knife considered as the possible murder weapon.

It should then be clearer when the verdict can be expected. It could be several months away, which pushes the date past the date (November 18) set for the start of Rudy Guede’s appeal.

A comment here. As we have observed several times previously, requests for more time for more examination of evidence is really a high-risk strategy by the defenses. If Guede decides to sing and actually tells the truth, all of that would get ported straight over to the Knox and Sollecito trial.

This is posted at mid-afternoon Perugia time and there is still no English-language report out for today and only two brief Italian-language reports. In the circumstances, we will have to wait a few hours, possibly though to tomorrow, to post a wrap-up report for today.

Added: The Associated Press now has this report out on the morning’s testimony.

The woman accused of murdering British student Meredith Kercher in Italy may have have been confused about what really happened because of stress, a doctor has told her trial.

American Amanda Knox gave conflicting statements to police in the wake of 21-year-old Miss Kercher’s death in Perugia, Italy. Neurologist Carlo Caltagirone was giving evidence on behalf of Knox, who is on trial with her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito….

Dr Caltagirone told the court that Knox was under stress after long police questioning, which might have led to her confusion. “To be questioned for long hours in a foreign country without fully realising the situation one is in… can lead to a lot of stress,” he said.

Knox initially accused Diya Lumumba, a Congolese man who owns a pub in Perugia where she worked, of being the killer…. Knox, 22, of Seattle, Washington, has since maintained that she spent the night of the murder at Sollecito’s house.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/25 at 03:51 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The officially involvedThe defensesTrials 2008 & 2009Comments here (11)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Trial: Defense Returns To Weapon While Most Of Prosecution Case Still Not Contended

Posted by Peter Quennell





Journalists were asked to leave the courtroom today during a weak repeat of the contention that the large knife was not THE weapon.

But the prosecution had already indicated months ago that they believed at least one other knife was involved.

Click above for Nick Squires on one report from the press room outside the court.

The black-handled knife, with a 6.5 inch long stainless steel blade, was shown for the first time to the court in Perugia where the 22-year-old American student and her Italian ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, 26, are accused of sexual assault and murder.

A court official brought out the knife in a shallow white cardboard box marked “Evidence ““ handle with care” and showed it to the judge and eight jurors.

Miss Knox, of Seattle, who was wearing blue jeans and a red sweatshirt with a Beatles design, appeared impassive as the purported murder weapon was shown during the testimony of a forensic expert, Prof Giancarlo Umani-Ronchi.

She looked away when police photographs of Miss Kercher’s bloodied body were projected onto a giant screen in the courtroom.

Mr Sollecito, in a white jacket and rimless glasses, bit his fingernails as the alleged use of the knife in the killing was discussed by experts and lawyers.

A forensic consultant, Mariano Cingolani, said that of the three wounds on Miss Kercher’s neck, at least one was not compatible with the size and dimensions of the knife.

“Many other knives in general are more compatible with that kind of wound,” said Prof Cingolani. The wound was too narrow to match the knife, he said.

He added, however, that no firm conclusion could be drawn without knowing the exact angle of Miss Kercher’s neck, or the elasticity of her muscle tissue…

The former lovers, who could be sentenced to life in prison if found guilty, looked tired and nervous.

So there is a question mark over the role of the large knife but again, nothing definitive. No defense attempt to prove that no other knife was used.

Meanwhile, whole other universes of very damning prosecution evidence against Sollecito and Knox remain uncontested, like a herd of elephants in the room.

For example the very damning mobile calls.  And also the highly confused alibis.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New York’s The Daily Beast Reports Knox’s Lawyers Preparing Her For A Guilty Verdict

Posted by Peter Quennell



[click above for a larger image]

Barbie Nadeau reports on the fallouts from yesterday.

On a mistrial for the withholding of some of the DNA evidence.

Denied their request for a mistrial due to mishandled evidence, Amanda Knox’s lawyers promise “bombshells” in the murder trial””but prep her for a guilty verdict….

The defense requested that the indictments against Knox and her co-defendant, Raffaele Sollecito, be thrown out””essentially asking for a mistrial…..  But the request proved futile.

After more than an hour of deliberation, the judge ruled that the trial should go on as scheduled, dealing a crushing blow to the defendants. Even though the defense’s gambit was a legal long shot, the lawyers hoped that, at very least, it might have triggered a mistrial….

Although the defense’s request was denied, they risked nothing by making the request. In fact, the judge’s denial could set the stage for an appeal if the two are convicted. In Italy, an appeal is an automatic part of criminal trials.

And on the down-to-the-wire situation triggered by Guede’s appeal dates.

Rudy Guede, who was convicted for his part in Kercher’s murder, is appealing his guilty verdict, and the race is on now to finish the Knox trial before his appeal begins November 18.

Because his appeal is pending, Guede chose not to testify in this trial, but anything he says at his own appeal hearing can be considered as evidence in the Knox-Sollecito case””and Guede has indicated several times that he was in the house when Kercher died but that he did not kill her.

He has said through his lawyer that Knox and Sollecito were also there that night.

Guede has several times hinted that in his appeal that he will finally tell all. Presumably a self-serving version, but we suspect any confession might be much-hoped-for by Meredith’s family and her Perugia friends.

We have heard conjecture that Guede offered to tell it like it really was at the present trial of Knox and Sollecito but the prosecutors rejected a deal. Perhaps feeling that his proffered version then did not add very much to what they felt was an already-strong case. And seeing no reason why Guede should not serve his full 30 years.

If Rudy Guede does now finally tell all, we sure hope that he does know the meaning of “all”.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/15 at 07:51 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The officially involvedThe defensesTrials 2008 & 2009Amanda KnoxComments here (12)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Trial: Judge Massei Rejects Feeble Defense Bid To Throw Out DNA Evidence

Posted by Peter Quennell


So the trial has resumed, amid conjecture that it might last for additional months if the DNA evidence is to be independently assessed.

That possibility seems to have disappeared in a hurry. Raffaele Sollecito’s lawyer Giulia Buongiorno (above) made a request that some of the DNA evidence be thrown out.

Judge Massei speedily and very firmly ruled against. He clearly appears to consider the evidence and the procedures that were followed to be sound.

First, the DNA analyses in question were performed in the presence of defense experts, who did not make any comment at the time. And second, no substantive DNA information was wrongly withheld from the defenses and so the defendants’ rights were not violated.

[Judge Massei] added that relevant documents had been made available a month-and-a-half ago, suggesting that defence teams had enough time to review the DNA findings.

Our takes on the DNA component of the case (which our legal watchers say is far from being make-or-break evidence in this case) can all be found here.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Attitudes Seem Hardening In Italy Against Knox Campaign And Defense

Posted by Peter Quennell


Increasing negativity is now being reported.

Lack of respect for the victim and for the police, investigation, prosecution, and in some respects Italy itself, do seem not to be paying off. Some of our commenters in the posts below suggested that the behavior and attire of Knox’s family in Perugia seemed a seriously wrong move.

Our posters and readers in Italy and the Italian media report pretty much the same perception.  In Perugia amd Italy generally, sympathy and goodwill seem perilously close to empty. Now Newsweek reflects this deteriorated situation.

1) On behavior around Perugia, attire in court, and those photographs.

There should be a basic set of rules when on trial for murder: Don’t antagonize the prosecutor and judge. Dress appropriately in court. Don’t let your family pose for photos in front of the crime scene…

Two weeks ago, Ashley Knox defied the prohibition on minors attending sex-related hearings and had to be removed from the proceedings. Then Deanna Knox showed up in a red, white, and blue ensemble, complete with hotpants, on July 4.

2) On the strength of the case the prosecution presented

The prosecution took five months to make its case, which relied heavily on circumstantial evidence, including Knox’s lack of alibi, her behavior after the murder, and contradictory statements she and her co-defendant, Rafaelle Sollecito, made during questioning.

Newsweek quotes Alessandra Batassa, a Rome-based criminal lawyer who defends murder suspects, as saying that Italian courts have handed down guilty verdicts on less evidence than this. And an unnamed Perugia judge is quoted as saying “Lies can discredit the suspects as much as hard evidence.”

3) On the muddled wrapping-up of the defense part of the case

The Knox-Sollecito defense team plans to wrap up their case this weekend even though they have presented only a handful of witnesses. Knox’s original witness list contained 35 names but defense lawyers have retracted 23.

Sollecito’s chief forensic consultant walked away from the case (and stuck lawyers with a 50,000 euro bill) in May because he disagreed with the defense strategy.

The witnesses who actually testified for the defense caused even more confusion: two forensic scientists placed on the stand contradicted each other. (Sollecito’s expert told the jury that Kercher was killed by a single assailant from behind; Knox’s said Kercher was killed from the front.)

Among the lawyers, chaos reigns: Sollecito’s lead attorney, a parliamentarian in Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s party, has not been in court for weeks, and his other two attorneys have dismantled their joint practice during the course of this case.

4) And on very important prosecution evidence still uncontested

Nobody has testified about Knox and Sollecito’s whereabouts that night. Nor has the defense broached the topic of the mixed DNA in the bathroom the girls shared. Legal experts who follow this case have suggested that blood evidence cannot be dated and therefore could have been left weeks before the murder.

But when Knox testified in her own defense in June, she conceded that there was no blood in the bathroom the day before the murder, effectively dating those blood stains to that night.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/16 at 02:13 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The officially involvedThe defensesAmanda KnoxComments here (10)

Friday, July 03, 2009

Trial: Prosecution Giving Defense Expert Hard Time Over Guede Break-in Theory

Posted by Peter Quennell


Italian media are reporting on a tough cross-examination of a defense expert this morning.

Francesco Pasquali, a former marshall, showed a video to the court, with three simulations of a large rock being thrown through Filomena’s window, and a theory of how a burglar could have scaled the 4-meter wall and entered the room through the window, leaving no body evidence or any blood where the glass was broken.

For the experiment, the consultant explained, a window and bedroom similar to those of the house (same size, same material and same paint) were constructed. Shots were made with two cameras, one external and one internal to the room, which is in same size and the same decor as Ms Romanelli’s….

The prosecution, represented by Giuliano Mignini and Manuela Comodi, presented a number of objections to the thesis of the expert, such as that in the reconstruction of the events the presence of curtains on the window were not taken into account.

The curtains would have presumably stopped any glass fragments from flying into the room.

It is also being remarked that the defense has not, either for-real or in today’s simulation, had anyone actually climb the 4-meter-high wall and enter through the window, and then place the glass fragments on TOP of Filomena’s clothes scattered around the room. 

As Kermit explained there are actually FIVE easier entry-points to the house, each of which would have required less in the way of acrobatics, and probably no noise or broken glass.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Trial: Defense Witness Makes A Claim About The Second Knife

Posted by Peter Quennell





Click above for the report from an unnamed BBC correspondent. The key parts are quoted below.

The issues today were the role of the second smaller knife which the prosecution had already proven part of the crime; and the size of Meredith’s room.

The stab wound in the neck of a British student killed in Italy was from a shorter knife than the one thought to be the murder weapon, a court was told.

A coroner said that Meredith Kercher was killed with a 3ins to 3.5ins knife, a lawyer for the Kercher family said. But prosecutors say a 6.5ins knife found at the home of one of the accused matched Ms Kercher’s wounds…

Coroner Francesco Introna was called to give evidence for the defence, according to a lawyer representing the Kercher family, Francesco Maresca.

Prosecutors say a 6.5ins knife found at Mr Sollecito’s house matched the wounds and could be the murder weapon. They also say the knife had Ms Kercher’s DNA on the blade and that of Ms Knox’s on the handle.

As well as questioning the length of the knife, Mr Introna also said that no more than a single attacker could have assaulted Ms Kercher, according to Mr Maresca.

However, when cross-examined by prosecutors, Mr Introna conceded he had never been to the house where Ms Kercher was killed and used forensic data to work out the size of the bedroom.

Mr Maresca said that when the court went to inspect the scene of the crime in April, six or seven people could fit into the room.

The reporting today as the defense launches into its portion of the trial to attempt to rebut the evidence seemed thinner than earlier in the trial.


Page 4 of 5 pages ‹ First  < 2 3 4 5 >