Headsup: Those in the US and elsewhere who can access the Lifetime cable channel and website and who are following the Epstein/Maxwell saga may wish to catch Surviving Jeffrey Epstein on 9 and 10 August.

Category: Great reporting

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Andrea Vogt’s Interview With Meredith’s Family In The First Post

Posted by Peter Quennell





Click above for the interview with Arline, Stephanie and Lyle in Perugia yesterday morning.

They miss the most ordinary things - the way she used to come dancing into the living room or rugby tackle her brother… her quick-witted sense of humour.

“It’s so sad. At the age she was killed, there was still so much ahead. We had so many laughs and good times ahead that we will never have.”


Barbie Nadeau’s Interview With Meredith’s Family In The Daily Beast

Posted by Peter Quennell





Click above for the interview with Arline, Stephanie and Lyle in Perugia yesterday morning.

They say they haven’t had time to digest the news that Knox and Sollecito weren’t part of the scenario they’ve played over in their minds so many times. They say they will wait the 90 days until the appellate judge’s motivation for acquittal is released before deciding whether to alter what they really think happened that night. In the meantime, they remain in an unimaginable state of limbo, caught somewhere between the hyped celebrations of Knox’s release and their own bottomless void.


Tuesday, October 04, 2011

The Guardian Publishes A Negative Take On Italian Justice Rather Poorly Researched

Posted by Peter Quennell





Click above for Tobias Jones’s take in the Guardian which seems to be trying to report evenly on the case..

Here are our most-read posts on first trials by Italian poster Nikki and the two appeals by Italian poster Commissario Montalbano and often-overlooked victims’ rights about Italian campaigner Barbara Benedettelli.

All explain better than Tobias Jones does the many hoops that prosecutors have to jump through for victims’ interests to come out ahead..

We can agree with Tobias Jones on this below - the elaborate, expensive and slow automatic first appeals complete with lay judges who don’t see the first pass of the evidence at first trial and often act as a wildcard in the process.

It’s one of the many failings of Italian justice that it never delivers conclusive, door-slamming certainty. What usually happens is that the door is left wide open to take the case to the next level, first to appeal and then to the cassazione, the supreme court. The score in the public imagination, at the moment, is simply one-all.

It’s always been that way. There’s barely one iconic crime from the post-war years that has persuaded the country that, yes, justice has been done: the murder of Pier Paolo Pasolini, the Ustica crash, the Bologna railway station bombing, the Piazza Fontana atrocity, the Monster of Florence murders, the murder of Luigi Calabresi, the “caso Cogne” “¦ none has ever been satisfactorily, convincingly resolved. Instead the country seems to split into innocentisti and colpevolisti (those who believe in the innocence or guilt of the accused) and the heated debates continue for decades.

But we’d agree less-so, at least from an American perspective, with the Italian uniqueness of this below.

Dietrologia ““ literally “behindery” or conspiracy-theorising ““ is a national pastime precisely because the courts don’t offer convincing verdicts. It allows every journalist, magistrate and barfly to try their hand. The result is that everyone with an active imagination has a go at explaining the truth behind the mystery, and inevitably the truth only gets further buried beneath so many excited explanations. The media plays an active role in keeping the circus going: in no other country are cronache nere ““ “black chronicles” ““ so much the mainstay of the evening news. There’s always a case on the go.

Tobias Jones should watch the urbane elegance of the Porta a Porta shows, which are reminiscent of human games of chess, and then visit the US and watch all the cable news channels devoting many hours a day to legal talking heads debating one another over high-profile crime cases. CNN and MSNBC could probably not survive without them (Casey Anthony was a godsend) and they go back to the OJ Simpson trial when it seemed half the country joined in.

He probably has a good point about subjudice (blackouts on court news in the UK) but there’d seem more chance of a wrong outcome driven by public opinion in the US with its elected judges and police chiefs and prosecutors angling for news exposure than in Italy. (Judge Michael Heavey is an elected judge.)

Local public opinion in the US is very much behind the high execution rate in several American states and the difficulties non-whites often have in getting off.


Monday, October 03, 2011

Million Dollar Campaign And American Media Come Under Intense Ridicule By An Influential Italian

Posted by Tiziano





Vittorio Zucconi is the US editor of the major daily La Republicca and lives in Washington. He has more influence over Italian perceptions of America than any other. This is translated from the Italian.

A few hours from the verdict, America is in a trance over Baby Amanda - she is the girl from the golden west, an innocent victim of the wicked witches of the east, the ones wearing the robes of the Perugian judges - now awaiting the happy ending that everyone is expecting, which legions of correspondents and American TV cameras talk about and recount, as if the fate of the west depended upon her release from prison on appeal or on the confirmation of the guilty verdict

By Vittorio Zucconi per la Repubblica

She is the “Girl from the Golden West”, the innocent victim of the wicked witches of the east, the ones who wear the robes of the judges from Perugia. It is a melodrama, sung, played and staged for an American audience which relishes it and avidly follows it like a soap opera or one of those legal thrillers which have made the fortune of of authors like Grisham, Turow and before them Earl Stanley Gardner.

Amanda like Puccini’s Minnie, is the snow-white, naive, extremely innocent girl imprisoned on the wild frontier of the Italian justice system, now awaiting the happy ending which everyone expects, which legions of correspondents and TV cameras tell of and which are preparing to recount as if the fate of the West depended on her release form prison on appeal or on the confirmation of her guilty verdict. And which networks like the ABC are already selling for $7.99 to be downloaded to I-pads and tablets.

Such a show of strength, such a shelling out of money on the part of “news organisations”, all now very careful down to the last cent in bad times, about a legal case the like of which has probably not been seen on the other side of the Atlantic since the trial of historic importance of Adolf Eichmann.

Yes, the monster of the SS, the brain and the accountant of the Jewish genocide. Live satellite coverage is expected for the imminent sentence to be pronounced by the Appeal Court and daily services will broadcast, especially those for the morning shows, those desperate housewives, for mothers who have children anxious to escape from the boredom of suburbia, the same old routine of high school parties to fly far away for new experiences, as Amanda dreamed.

The one whom the British tabloid press straight away stained with the nick-name given to her by her soccer team friends, in the football she played as a little girl: Foxy Knoxy, in which foxy means agile, cunning, escaping tackles and not for that “foxy” which, as in Fellini’s Amarcord evokes the arts of an enchantress and insatiable desires. Because while the USA was barracking for Knox, the English cousins were against her.

As well, other than those irresistible ingredients thrown into the cauldron of the morbidity which gains circulation and titillates the worst in every consumer of garbage TV with bombs and horror reconstructions, sex, blood, satanism, the woman with sacrificial lamb and the butcher, in the fury of the American media who throw themselves against this “court peopled with provincial lawyers” (still Rolling Stones which dedicated an extremely lengthy inquest) there is a great repressed and secret desire for vengeance.

There is the repressed rage against that Europe which is always ready with finger raised to accuse American justice of monstrous errors, of inexplicable acquittals (the O J Simpson case), of “puritanical” persecution as is said precisely on our shores, (Clinton crucified for oral sex), of horrible shows, like the arrest and the world-wide shame of Strauss Khan, or the details of the “panties cover-up” - inside or outside? - of the victim of Willy Kennedy Smith, raped on the beach of the Kennedy villa in Florida.

American justice which triumphantly boasts that it is the best in the world, but refuses to recognise that it has sent, and still sends, innocent people defended by useless bar-room lawyers to be executed.

Now swallow this, you supercilious and presumptuous Italians and Europeans. The frenzy of the specials about Amanda is pursued by the satellite nets which have to recuperate their expenses.

CNN, once the authoritative queen of the satellite, yesterday showed a long special on the four years of torments and injustice, with Amanda on show on the site, with her face in the shadow, her fresh-face and prison profile, the “girl next door”, quite different from the she-devil, the satanic female painted by the “baroque” closing arguments (here is another expression which appears in all the reports on the prosecutor, next to “mediaeval”, all that is missing are the Borgias and Machiavelli.)

On the site her face figures in double format in respect to the pallid and sinister image of the jihadist Anwar al-Awaki, killed yesterday, one of the infinite number of aspiring candidates for the succession of Osama Bin Laden. The number of listeners and hits motivates CNN: Amanda is in first place and is beating the terrible terrorists, as well as news on the economy and the stock market, disastrous again.

We are possibly on the way to a second recession, but there is no match, in the ratings, for that travesty, that parody of justice, put in place against the girl from the golden west, martyred in Perugia.

It is a thought that will print books, burn DVDs, work video-recorders to see once more the specials of CNN, Fox, ABC, CBS, MSNBC, local broadcasters, which have exalted as a hero,  the blogger from Perugia who was sceptical from the first day. And the first network which succeeds in obtaining - or buying - the truth from Amanda, the “accidental murderer” who was dreaming of the view of Umbrian cypresses and who saw the prison bars of Italian justice, will be transported to the stars.

‘Is it true that you are always dreaming of sex?” the prison guards would ask the girl, according to her diaries, also printed greedily by Time. True, false, it doesn’t matter. Amanda is a victim, a woman, a little girl, and the verdict has already been issued here. An America, year in year out accused of being an executioner by anti-Americanism, even when its own symbols are collapsing, can finally call itself, this time, the victim. Today, here, we are all Amanda.Knox.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Good Reports By Seattle PI And Daily Beast On Mignini Summarising The Evidence Presented At Trial

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above: The indomitable victim’s proponent Giuliano Mignini preparing for court today with Giancarlo Costagliola]


Click the image above for Andrea Vogt’s report on Mr Mignini’s afternoon in court. Tough points Mr Mignini made:

“They know the truth because they were at Via della Pergola along with Rudy,” said Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini said emphatically, pointing to Knox and Sollecito in his last remarks to the court. “Not only the young man of color should pay.”...

[Mr Mignini] sometimes seemed to obsess on small and bizarre details, but at other times showed an incredibly effective use of courtroom oratory. Just before showing the jurors gruesome autopsy photos of Kercher’s wounds, for example, he told them softly how he would never forget “the wide open eyes of the victim and the composed, immense pain of her parents.”

He reminded the appeals jurors that it was not a U.S. court, but rather one in the Italian republic and urged them to ignore “improvised detectives who give their superficial opinion from 10,000 kilometers away.”...

[Mr Mignini] went over all the witness testimony, described how a break-in in the apartment Kercher and Knox shared had been staged and frequently cited Knox’s own statements on the stand during her first trial, especially on the topic of a large drop of Knox’s blood on the bathroom faucet and mixed traces of blood and DNA of Kercher and Knox in the bathroom.

Highly worth reading the entire thing. Barbie Nadeau covers the same ground equally well in the Daily Beast and notes that today could be the final scene changer. The embattled Sollecito defense counsel Giulia Bongiorno was reduced to making this preposterous claim:

Sollecito’s attorney Giulia Bongiorno told reporters that Mignini was desperately clinging to old arguments because the independent experts’ report had demolished two key pieces of evidence : a knife and a bra clasp.

Demolished?! The independent experts didn’t retest the DNA material with modern techniques when they could and should have and they even admitted that was Meredith’s DNA profile the scientific police had produced the first time around.

They ended up looking weak and evasive. Hardly the silver bullet Bongiorno wants.

By the way, no sign of Mr Mignini being fazed by the presence (surely unhelpful to Knox and her lawyers) of the muddled “ex FBI agent” Steve Moore whose bizarre and often defamatory takes on the case and Italian justice officials we have again and again shown to be wrong.

Perhaps Mr Mignini should ask Steve Moore to publish his own detailed resume. So far, all requests for it have been stonewalled.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Reflecting On Andrea Vogt’s Fine Report “Knox: Innocent Abroad Or “˜Getting Away With Murder’?”

Posted by Skeptical Bystander





Cross posted from my personal blog. Please click the image above for Ms Vogt’s new piece.

In this intelligent and well-written piece, Andrea Vogt wonders aloud how Italians would react to an acquittal of the Seattle woman who was convicted in December 2009 of taking part in the killing of her roommate, Meredith Kercher. She notes that an acquittal would be cause for celebration in Seattle.

It would certainly be cause for celebration among those who have taken up the cause and believe in Knox’s innocence despite the compelling evidence of her involvement in this horrific crime. But the fact is, most people in Seattle are simply not that interested. And among those who are, the consensus is certainly not that an innocent abroad got railroaded.

If it seems so, it’s because the local media has dutifully followed the lead of the national media and adopted the “innocent abroad” narrative concocted by David Marriott, whose PR firm was hired to manage Knox’s image shortly after she was arrested. In Seattle, Meredith’s murder has been played as a human interest story in which only the local protagonists matter. Meredith was British; it is assumed that Seattleites could not possibly give a toss about her.

Hence, local coverage has favored news of fundraisers for the accused local woman and then for the convicted local woman. Questions from local journalists to her supporters (family) have ranged from “How is she holding up in prison?” to “How is she holding up in prison?” And since there is no guilter movement, local or otherwise, except in the minds of a few shrill locals, there has been no local coverage of the movement’s “activities”. How can a non-existent movement have activities?

I have met many people in West Seattle who quietly shake their heads in disbelief at Steve Shay’s coverage for the West Seattle Herald. Yesterday, someone who works at a local business said “you’re skeptical bystander” when she handed me back my credit card. She told me she was a long-time lurker who reads perugiamurderfile.org and TJMK every day for information about the case. There are many people like her in Seattle.

I found it amusing, though sad, to read the comments that follow Andrea Vogt’s thoughtful piece for the First Post. Naturally, loud vocal supporter “Mary H” (this is her online pseudonym, and hiding behind it may be one reason she is so loud on the internet) was quick to condemn Vogt for merely pointing out the obvious. Mary H (fake name) asked Andrea Vogt (real name) how she could sleep at night!

It ain’t that hard, Mary, when you have the courage of your convictions and when you stand by the facts rather than getting sidetracked by the cause.

The fact at hand is that many people—in Seattle, in Italy, and elsewhere—would come away from an eventual acquittal with the feeling that justice had not been done for Meredith Kercher and her family and that at least two of those responsible for her death had gotten away with it. Mary H and others may not like to hear this, but it is a fact. And no amount of shaming on the part of Mary H or anyone else is going to make a bit of difference.

Yesterday, a lawyer friend and I were musing about what would have happened had this case been tried in the US. Many Knox supporters have said, repeatedly, that it would never have gone to trial here. My lawyer friend agreed, but for a different reason than the one implicit in this view (i.e. that there is supposedly no evidence).  He said

I don’t think the case would have gone to trial in the US. First, they would not have had to stop questioning her when they did. They would have artfully gotten her to waive her Miranda rights. They would have told her they can’t help her unless tells her side of the story, been very sympathetic initially and built up her confidence that she could talk her way out of it. They would eventually hone in on the inconsistencies, and when she finally cracked there wouldn’t be a lawyer there to stop her. The death penalty would have been on the table, and her only sure way to avoid that would be to plead guilty in exchange for life.

He also thinks that this would not have been such a high-profile case had it happened in Seattle.

Let’s wait and see how this court weighs the two contested items in the overall scheme of things. As a poster on PMF (another lawyer) wrote last night, it all boils down to this: How many pieces of evidence… ‘consistent with, but not conclusive of’ guilt can stack up against someone before, as a matter of common sense, it is no longer reasonable to believe they are innocent?


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Current Court Reporting: Seattle Post Intelligencer Still Posts The Best, Least Bias, Most Detail

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above: Seattle waterfront just north of downtown - Seattle PI building is at front center with globe]

Witness Andrea Vogt’s excellent report on the proceedings today in Appeal Court.

1). On the assorted criminals testifying today. 

The dramatic day of testimony, requested by the defense, brought together a gang of criminals of whom Hollywood scriptwriters could only dream, including a convicted rapist and childkiller, a mafia snitch and other hardened long-timers with little to lose.

Their riveting testimony (complete rubbish or explosive and key new revelations, depending on your point of view) led jurors down some of Italy’s darkest alleys, from the desperate gangster neighborhoods of Naples to the powerful masonic lodges of Umbria and tough Italian prison wards with their own code of honor….

Only one of the five had no connection to Sicily or Naples and that was a Romanian who claimed on the stand that his signature had been forged on a document presented by the defense and that he knew nothing about anything….

2) On the testimony of Mario Alessi

Alessi took the stand around noon, after a sharp drop in his blood pressure required a nurse’s attentions (the stress of testifying had caused him to lose 15 pounds over he last 10 days, his lawyer told seattlepi.com). Alessi said he earned Guede’s trust while they were incarcerated together.

One day, Guede took him by the arm and led him to a corner of the prison yard where they would be out of view of closed-circuit cameras, he said. Then, Guede told him that the real truth was that a drunkard who had gone to Kercher’s flat with Guede from the disco had sexually assaulted her and then killed her to avoid “rotting in prison” for the rape….

Toward the end of Alessi’s story, the lawyer for Meredith Kercher’s family, Francesco Maresca, branded him a repeat liar. Maresca held up a photo of “Tommy,” whose high-profile disappearance and slaying in 2006 shocked Italy….  In response to the photo of Tommy, Alessi said no, he didn’t recognize the boy, to which Maresca said, “That’s OK, we do.”

3) On the testimony of Luciano Aviello:

But on the night of Kercher’s murder, Nov. 1, 2007, Aviello testified, his brother came home with a ripped, bloodied jacket and was covered in scratches on his arms. He eventually said he had stabbed a young woman after surprising her during a break-in to steal a painting, Aviello said…

The brothers had then hidden the murder weapon and keys to the house in a nearby wall and covered the hole with mortar. “Go and see for yourselves. Verify it! You’ll find I am telling the truth,” said Aviello. “Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are innocent.”  Police and prosecutors have never publicly confirmed that such a search was done. Aviello’s brother’s whereabouts are unknown.

When prosecutors asked him about his connection to Alessi and the other cons, Aviello took offense, saying he had nothing to do with those “pedophiles and rapists,” but was rather just an “honest” gangster from Naples doing time for routine organized crime.

Toward the end, Aviello’s testimony grew increasingly aggressive toward prosecutors and police with whom he had collaborated. At one point guards held his shoulders as he yelled accusations through the gap where two front teeth should be. “You are a klan, not the judiciary!” he yelled.

4) And on the prosecution’s many new rebuttal witnesses.

... the court agreed to call a number of counter-witnesses requested by the prosecution, including two more prisoners and two police officials. The court also agreed to hear Giacomo Benedetti, the friend of Rudy’s whose Skype conversation with Guede while Guede was on the lam in Germany led to his arrest, as well as Guede himself.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Three Excellent Websites Commenting On The Case That We Have No Connection With

Posted by Peter Quennell

TJMK has cross-posting relations with Miss Represented, and Peter Hyatt, and several other objective websites on Meredith’s case.

These below are three careful, objective websites we’ve had no connection with, but admire. Click on the images to get to them.


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Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/18 at 05:42 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in News media & moviesGreat reportingMedia newsComments here (4)

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

The Precise And Accurate Italian Wikipedia Article On Meredith’s Case, Now Translated Into English

Posted by Tom M and Skeptical Bystander


A recent post on TJMK by Gwaendar refers to Wikipedia and the current effort by the Fictitious Friends of Amanda to make her the focus of an article that has so far been devoted to the Murder of Meredith Kercher.

The Eclectic Chapbook blog often comments on the case. It has called this effort “tragically misguided and possibly somewhat demented,” describing it as an instance of “the Enchanted Glen Phenomenon, which is a psychological space wherein normal laws do not apply and all rules are magically suspended. “

We have now examined and translated the Italian Wikipedia article which was written in a space where the normal laws certainly are applied and no rules have been suspended. 

The main reporting and the voluminous records of the trial and the appeal are of course all in Italian, and Italians on the whole have a far better grasp of events and the legal context than do most observers in the US and the UK. Because there is so much source material, and so little misleading reporting, it would seem that If any Wikipedia in any language in the world is going to describe the case correctly, it will be the Italian one.

This translation below of most of the Italian Wikipedia article is not word-for-word, but it is intended to convey the substance of the Italian article as it would have been if originally written in English. 

The index, the sections on books and movie, and the citations were omitted.

The murder of Meredith Kercher, an English student in Italy enrolled in the Erasmus program at the University of Perugia, occurred during the night of November 1, 2007.  Meredith was found lifeless, with her throat cut, in her bedroom in the house she shared with other students in Perugia.  The cause of death was hemorrhage due to bleeding from a wound to the neck caused by a sharp object used as a weapon.

Two men and a woman were convicted as a result, of murder, sexual violence and theft.

Biography

Meredith Susanna Cara Kercher was born December 28, 1985 in Southwark, London, lived in Coulsdon, and was a student at the University of Leeds, where she was pursuing a degree in European Studies. She enrolled in the Erasmus program, and had arrived in Italy in September 2007 to complete her degree in European Studies.

Details and circumstances of the murder

Kercher was murdered at night between 1 and 2 November 2007, in the apartment she shared with three other young women, two Italian and an American, who were away that night. Based on the first examination of the autopsy, the pathologist who handled the case ruled that the death occurred between 22:00 and midnight on that day.

The following morning an elderly woman living near Via della Pergola where Meredith’s body was found, alarmed by the discovery of two abandoned mobile phones, called the police. From information obtained from one of two mobile phones the Postal Police of Perugia sent agents to the house of Meredith Kercher.  On their arrival the police found Amanda Knox (Seattle, USA, July 9, 1987), Meredith Kercher’s flatmate, and her Italian friend, Raffaele Sollecito (Giovinazzo, March 26, 1984), with whom she had recently started a relationship, outside the house.

The two young people said they were awaiting the arrival of the police; when asked why, they said they had found a window broken, the door open, and suspected a theft. Later, these claims were questioned by investigators, given that the Police Post arrived at the house on Via della Pergola at 12:35 and telephone calls to the Police were not made not until 12:51 and 12:54.  Entering, the Police found the bedroom of Meredith Kercher locked and decided to break down the door. Upon entering, they found a number of bloodstains, the room in disarray, and a foot sticking out from under the duvet which had covered the bed.

The Convicted:

The three convicted at the first stage are:

  • Raffaele Sollecito, who was born in Giovinazzo (BA), a university student of 23 years at the time of the murder;
  • Amanda Knox, a student originally from Seattle, U.S., 20, who had a relationship with Sollecito at the time of the crime;
  • Rudy Hermann Guede, born December 26, 1986 in the Ivory Coast, was arrested in Germany on November 20 and extradited to Italy on December 6, 2007.  At his lawyers’ request, Guede received from the court at a preliminary hearing an order granting expedited trial.

Knox and Guede were detained in Capanne prison, a 20-minute drive from Perugia. Sollecito, after also being held in Capanne, was transferred in early 2008 to the Vocabolo Sabbione prison in Terni.

The case also, initially, erroneously involved Patrick Lumumba, owner of the restaurant where Amanda Knox worked; her statement placed him at the crime scene on the night of the crime. The charges were later proved unfounded and demonstrated the unreliability of Knox as a witness. Implicating the Congolese man was also an incorrect translation of a text message sent to him in English by Knox (‘see you later’, which rather than a generic “Ci vidiamo,” was translated literally as “we will see each other later”[“ci vidiamo dopo”].

Thus, police thought that the two had an appointment for the evening of the crime). Patrick Lumumba was ultimately released and all charges against him were dropped.  Following the unjust detention lasting 14 days, Lumumba was awarded € 8000 as compensation, but this was deemed inadequate by his lawyer, who threatened to sue.

The Sentences

Knox, Sollecito and Guede were sentenced respectively to 26, 25 and 16 years in prison. Rudi Hermann Guede opted for an abbreviated trial and his conviction for complicity in murder and sexual violence was made final by the Court of Cassation, First Criminal Division, on December 16, 2010. For the other two participants, the case is on appeal. The decisions reconstruct in detail the manner and circumstances of the murder, a motive defined “violent, sexual, erotic.”

The conviction in the first trial of Sollecito and Knox, issued by the Court of Assizes of Perugia, is based on numerous expert opinions, objective evidence and testimony.

According to the reconstruction regarding Knox and Sollecito, on the evening of November 1, 2007, they met in piazza Grimana, where they had occasionally met Guede, an acquaintance of Knox, who decided to join them for the evening. They decided to go to Knox’s house, to which her roommate Meredith Kercher, after an evening with her English friends, had just returned. Kercher’s bedroom door was presumably ajar, and upon entering the house the three defendants immediately noticed her presence.

Going directly to another part of the house, Knox and Sollecito made love.  Guede, shortly after, went to the bathroom, where he left organic residues in the water of the toilet, as found in the investigation. According to the reconstruction, Guede left the bathroom, probably excited by the sounds of Sollecito and Knox making love, noted again the door ajar at Kercher’s room, and decided to approach. Then he entered Kercher’s room; but after her refusal, he became violent, attempting to rape her.

Kercher’s cries led Knox and Sollecito to go to her room, where they joined Guede’s criminal action, finding it an “exciting situation.” While the Guede violated Kercher, Knox and Sollecito tried to immobilize her: to do this Sollecito and Knox wielded knives to threaten the victim. The analysis shows that the knife wounds by Sollecito were probably quite small, while Knox wielded a kitchen knife, later found, and on which were found genetic traces of her mixed with those of Kercher.

The situation then deteriorated, partly because of the screams and resistance of Kercher: Knox then, with the kitchen knife, struck the victim in the neck, causing fatal injuries. The three defendants, shortly after the murder, fled with Kercher’s phones, fearing that if someone called her and got no response, they would be suspicious and the crime would be discovered: the cell phone was ultimately found in an embankment a few hundred meters from Kercher’s house.

Then they headed in different directions: Guede to a nightclub, Knox and Sollecito to the latter’s flat. The next morning Knox and Sollecito tried to clean up the crime scene and clean up their tracks; then they broke a window in the house to stage a mock burglary, hoping to throw the investigation off course.

Guede’s Supposed Confession

In March 2010 rumors spread of an alleged confession by Rudy Guede. The facts are as follows: it seems that Guede had revealed his complicity, with a friend, in killing Kercher, to Mario Alessi, an inmate housed in the same prison, a character already known to police and media for the murder of little Tommaso Onofri, Guede had invited Kercher to go to a party, she refused, and subsequently the friend of Guede tried to rape her. According to Alessi, Guede tried to come to Kercher’s aid, and Guede’s friend rebuked him, saying that he should just strike the final blow to end the girl’s misery, which is what Guede did.

Then Guede and his friend met again by chance in a nightclub, and Guede’s friend gave him money to flee to Germany, where he was at the time of the extradition and return to Italy for arrest. This reconstruction, which would completely exonerate Knox and Sollecito, was found by investigators to be totally unfounded.


Friday, April 01, 2011

First Excerpt From Will Savive’s “Study Abroad Murder” The Best Book Yet On The Hard Evidence

Posted by Peter Quennell


Will Savive is a New York area criminologist, concerning whom a reviewer on the book’s Amazon page said “Savive is quickly becoming a juggernaut of the true crime industry.”

This looks to be the best book yet on the hard evidence in the case, and on what people actually said both before trial and throughout trial. Will writes just like a criminologist (“just the facts ma’am”) and he has little interest in the absurd notions that Italian professionals fell down on the job or pulled off an enormous cover-up. 

This first excerpt, a proof copy from “The Study Abroad Murder”, is about the arrest of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito at Perugia’s central police station on the night of 5-6 November 2007. 

While police questioned Sollecito, Knox waited in a side room. Policewoman Lorena Zugarini walked into the room to check on Knox and caught her doing cartwheels and the splits. Zugarini told Knox that it was “not the right place for such activities.”

At around 11:30p.m., Inspector Chief of Perugia police’s narcotics unit, Rita Ficarra, came out of the lift into the waiting room of the city’s Flying Squad on the third floor of the police station and witnessed Knox “showing off her gymnastic ability,” turning cartwheels and doing back bends. This angered the inspector, and she scolded Knox, telling her “This is the police station, not a dance theater!”

Knox and Ficarra began talking about the night of the murder, and Ficarra told Knox that the answers she and Raffaele had given don’t add up and are filled with several contradictions. Ficarra tried to explain to Knox, “If you tell me a lie one time, that is comprehensible, but if you lie again””even if it is a small lie””it makes you less credible.” One reason for the officer’s warning was that Knox had originally told police that she had not smoked cannabis, but then said that she had, according to Rita.

Ficarra then decided that since Knox was already present, she would like her to detail a list of people that had visited the house in the two months since she’s been there. Knox agrees, takes out her cell phone, and begins to go through the list of names. “˜He’s been there; he hasn’t been there, etc.’

Rita begins taking notes, but soon realizes that she needs an interpreter. When the interpreter arrived shortly after, Knox again began giving Ficarra names of people who had visited the flat, including “a South African man” she had met at a party in the flat underneath hers. Knox said that she didn’t know his name or phone number, and had never seen him again after that night (Rudy Guede).

At this point, Knox willingly hands over her phone to Ficarra, who begins scrolling through Knox’s text messages and asking her who these people were and when she had met them””she wanted to know everything: “Peter, Juve, Spiros, Shaggy”¦” Ficarra continued, rattling-off names and quizzing Knox. Inspector Lorena Zugarini enters the room and begins observing silently.

Suddenly, the head of the Perugia homicide unit, Monica Napoleoni, enters the room and says, “He [Sollecito] doesn’t cover her anymore, so you’d better ask Amanda again her whereabouts on the evening of the murder.”

It turns out that Raffaele Sollecito had changed his story, claiming that he was with Knox only until 9:00p.m., on the night of the murder. Sollecito claims that he and Knox left the cottage at 6:00p.m., at which time they went into the centre. “At 9:00p.m., I went home alone and Amanda said that she was going to Le Chic because she wanted to meet some friends,” Sollecito told police.

“We said goodbye and I went home, I rolled myself a spliff [Marijuana cigarette] and made some dinner.” Sollecito goes on to say that Knox returned to his flat at around 1:00a.m., at which time the couple went to bed.

Amanda Knox’s alibi had abruptly evaporated! As Ficarra continued through Knox’s messages, she came to a text that Knox had sent to her boss, Patrick Lumumba. Ficarra shows her the message and asks, “Who is this person?” Ficarra believed that the message read like a date””to meet up later that night. “Did you go out with him that night?” Ficarra asked.

Unexpectedly and without warning, Knox put her head in her hands, started shaking her head, as tears streamed down from her eyes. “He’s bad, he’s bad”¦”””Amanda says as if she is in a trance””“He’s the murderer…I can hear him in Meredith’s room…I can hear him killing Meredith!”

Knox was a waitress at the bar Le Chic, which was owned by a Congolese man by the name of Diya Patrick Lumumba [37]. Lumumba was also a musician who was married to a Polish woman named Ola, with whom he had a baby boy named David.


On the night of the murder Knox said that she had originally sent him a text message asking him if he wanted her to come into work that night. Patrick sent a reply back at 8:19p.m., saying that she was not needed. Knox then replied back to Lumumba at 8.35p.m., “Certo. Ci vediamo piu` tardi. Buona serata!”

There has been many discrepancies as to what this statement actually means in Italian, or what Knox meant by the statement; particularly the “più tardi” in the sentence. A rough translation of this phrase in English is “Certainly. See you later. Good evening!” However, “più tardi” in Italian actually indicates a schedule or an appointment.

This expression in Italian assumes that after a lapse of time, with many actions in between, we will meet up later. If you use the words “più tardi” it is assumed that you are going to meet-up with someone on the same day or evening, not tomorrow or at another time. It is possible to suppose that Knox did not understand the language well enough and this is just a simple misunderstanding, but police did not give her the benefit of the doubt; axiomatically because she had already stated that Lumumba was the murderer.

Once Knox had made this accusation, police immediately notified the Pubblico Ministero (Public Prosecutor) of Perugia, Giuliano Mignini, who gives the order to “Stop.”

Questioning for the evening was then suspended at 1:45a.m., as is prescribed by Italian law””in articles 386 & 566 of the Italian Codice di Procedura Penale [Code of Criminal Procedure] (CPP).  Knox signs a one-page statement that recounts her new story, and she is then informed that her status has officially changed from witness to suspect.

Italian law differs from the law here in the United States in several respects (civil law system vs. common law system), but many aspects are strikingly similar. Italian criminal law, which is codified in the CPP, states that Defense counsel’s presence is mandatory during the interrogation of the accused. One way around this, however, is to not officially change the status from witness to a suspect until after getting a sufficient amount of information out of her/him during questioning or to get a confession before changing the status. This is a common police “˜trick,’ per say, in Italy as well as in America.

Italian law does, however, have several differences. According to a provision introduced in 1978, it is not compulsory for the defense counsel to be present when the continuation of an investigation requires the immediate and urgent interrogation of a suspect. The statements made by the suspect, however, may not be minuted for use in judicial proceedings.

Basically, this can be seen as a loop-hole that gives Italian police more leeway to do as they see fit in order to extract what information they need from a suspect. In Knox’s case, she obviously did not have a lawyer as she was not even called into the police station, let alone was she under the impression that she would be arrested at some point during that evening.

In any event, it was Knox that allegedly waived her right to an attorney at that time, according to police. Nevertheless, the absence of a defense attorney during interrogation does not guarantee that the information provided by the suspect will be admissible in court. This decision will later be up to the two judges and six jury members upon trial in Italy, or the Italian Supreme Court.

The officers were completely astonished and dumbfounded by Knox’s admittance. Here was a girl who hadn’t even been asked to come in for questioning, and has not only declared to have been at the house during the time of the murder, but identified the killer!

Mignini headed over to the questura (police headquarters) to witness and question Knox further. Once he arrived””at 3:30a.m.”” Knox repeats her story for Mignini, but this time she goes into great detail… The session is halted at 5:45a.m., at which time Knox signs a five-page statement detailing the events of the interrogation.

In the report, regarding the text message that Knox sent to Lumumba, police changed the text to read:  “Ci vediamo.”(“See you later”). Mignini later used this statement to persuade the judge that Knox and Lumumba met up just before the murder. This information was then fed to the press, who reported the half-text “See you later” (by no fault of their own). An example of this is the story in the London Times on 13 November 2007, entitled, “Meredith Kercher murder: why the timings are critical.” It wasn’t until Lumumba’s subsequent release that the full message was correctly reported to the public.

In any case, police theorized from the text message, and Knox’s statement, that the two met-up shortly there afterwards at the basketball court at Piazza Grimana before heading to the cottage. Shortly after signing the report, Knox is formally arrested then taken for breakfast. Sollecito had also been formally arrested and retained.


Meanwhile, a police task force had already been assembled and sent to arrest the dangerous murderer, Patrick Lumumba. At 6:30a.m., Patrick Lumumba sat in his fourth-floor apartment when he heard his doorbell ringing. Before he could even respond he heard a woman’s voice outside demanding that he open the door…

With Lumumba in custody, the procession headed to Perugia’s police station with sirens blaring. The worst was yet to come for Patrick, who then had to sit through a ten-hour interrogation…

“You did it, you did it!” Patrick was confused and scared, and police would not even tell him what he had just been arrested for. It was only after several hours that police showed Patrick a picture of Meredith’s lifeless body. It was only after seeing the picture that Patrick had made the connection between his arrest and Meredith’s death. “You think I killed Meredith?” Patrick uttered. Lumumba had been handing out flyers publicizing Meredith Kercher’s candlelit vigil just one day earlier…

After Lumumba’s arrest, Knox calls over Ficarra and asks her for a pen and paper. Knox says to her, “I want to give you a gift.” Knox then proceeds to write a two page statement, confirming what she said earlier; but this time she posed her accusations against Lumumba and her presence during the murder as a “vision.”

Her statement is legally known as a voluntary, spontaneous statement, referred to as “˜The Memoir’ (Memorial or Two Page Note). When she is done she hands the memoir to Ficarra and says that it will help them in case they have some doubts. Little did Knox know at the time, but it would be the most damaging ink she would ever inscribe!

Key points in Knox’s statement (”˜The Memoir’):

“This is very strange, I know, but really what happened is as confusing to me as it is to everyone else.”

Knox starts off claiming that she was at Sollecito’s flat “smoking marijuana, having sex,” and “might even have fallen asleep.”

“The next thing I remember was waking up the morning of Friday November 2nd around 10am and I took a plastic bag to take back my dirty cloths to go back to my house.”

As she goes on, she begins to tell a different story of what might have happened, in which she claims her boss, Patrick Lumumba, was probably the murder. According to this version of events Knox met Patrick Lumumba at around 9:00p.m., on the night of the murder at the basketball court in Piazza Grimana then went to her house. This is significant, because a homeless man later testified that he saw Knox on that very basketball court at around that time.

“In my mind I saw Patrik in flashes of blurred images. I saw him near the basketball court. I saw him at my front door. I saw myself cowering in the kitchen with my hands over my ears because in my head I could hear Meredith screaming”¦these things seem unreal to me, like a dream, and I am unsure if they are real things that happened or are just dreams my head has made to try to answer the questions in my head and the questions I am being asked.”

The following statement is telling because Knox does not rule out the possibility that there may be evidence against her at the crime scene. Here she contradicts and back-tracks as she tries to talk her way out of trouble.

“The police have told me that they have hard evidence that places me at the house, my house, at the time of Meredith’s murder. I don’t know what proof they are talking about, but if this is true, it means I am very confused and my dreams must be real.”

In his account to police that night, Sollecito tried to distance himself from the murder, telling police that Knox asked him to lie for her and say that she was with him the whole night.

“In my previous statement I told a load of rubbish because Amanda had convinced me of her version of the facts and I didn’t think about the inconsistencies,” Sollecito told police

Knox responds to this by writing, “I also NEVER asked him to lie for me. This is absolutely a lie”¦What does he [Sollecito] have to hide? I don’t think he killed Meredith.”

Knox then acknowledges that her story seems far fetched, yet she stands by both of her stories, each contradicting the other.

“I also know that the fact that I can’t fully recall the events that I claim took place at Raffaele’s home during the time that Meredith was murdered is incriminating. And I stand by my statements that I made last night about events that could have taken place in my home with Patrik, but I want to make very clear that these events seem more unreal to me that what I said before, that I stayed at Raffaele’s house.”

Knox reaffirms that she is not sure what she was doing the night before the murder.

“I’m very confused at this time. My head is full of contrasting ideas and I know I can be frustrating to work with for this reason. But I also want to tell the truth as best I can. Everything I have said in regards to my involvement in Meredith’s death, even though it is contrasting, are the best truth that I have been able to think.”

Knox reaffirms that she is not sure what she was doing the night before the murder, and that Patrick may have been the killer.

“In these flashbacks that I’m having, I see Patrik as the murderer, but the way the truth feels in my mind, there is no way for me to have known because I don’t remember FOR SURE if I was at my house that night.”

Knox then asks herself a very puzzling question, which is basically like saying that she was not there unless they have proof that she was, and if so then she doesn’t remember.

“Is the evidence proving my pressance [sic] at the time and place of the crime reliable? If so, what does this say about my memory? Is it reliable?”


It wasn’t until 5:30p.m., that day””still handcuffed and bruised””that Patrick was informed of the evidence against him.

Police showed Patrick the hand written statement of Amanda Knox accusing him of being Meredith’s killer. It was only then that Patrick had realized just how mad Knox was with him for considering firing her. Patrick filled-up with rage and contempt toward Knox, but continued to keep himself calm and composed in front of police. After Patrick was fingerprinted and his blood was taken, he sat in a holding cell awaiting his first hearing.

Police then turned their investigation to Raffaele Sollecito’s flat on Corso Garibaldi. Police entered the premises looking for a pair of shoes that matched any of the bloody prints left at the crime scene, and a possible murder weapon.

Armondo Finzi, an assistant in Perugia PD’s organized crime unit, entered the home and immediately noticed a “strong smell of bleach.” As police beagn the inspection of the flat, Mr. Finzi opened a drawer in the kitchen and noticed a shiny knife lying on top of the silverware tray. The Marietti knife with a 6 ½ inch stainless steel blade, was the first knife that he saw and his investigative intuition led him to believe that it might be the murder weapon.

Officer Finzi grabbed the knife, with gloved hands, and placed it into an envelope and taped it shut, and then placed it into a folder. No other knife was taken into evidence. Back at police headquarters, homicide unit captain, Stefano Gubbiotto, removed the knife from the envelope””with gloved hands””and placed it into a cardboard box, and it was scheduled to be sent to Rome for further analysis.

During the search, police also found a pair of Sollecito’s sneakers (Nike size 42½) that they announced was a perfect match with the footprint left at the crime scene. Police also discovered a receipt in Sollecito’s flat for cleaning products from a local supermarket, which they claimed included bleach. This bleach, police then believed, was used to clean the knife found in his apartment.

Police also examined Sollecito’s car (an Audi) for any traces of blood on the pedals, but found nothing. They confiscated Sollecito’s collection of violent Japanese comic books as well. Knox, Sollecito, and Lumumba all spent the next two days and nights in isolation””behind bars in Capanne prison, about a ten-minute drive from Perugia.

_______________

From The Study Abroad Murder by Will Savive

 

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/01 at 06:00 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in News media & moviesGreat reportingComments here (40)

Friday, March 18, 2011

John Follain Foreign Correspondent UK Sunday Times Chats Online About Case And Italian Politics

Posted by Peter Quennell


Transcript of a live online Sunday Times discussion with foreign correspondent John Follain on Monday 7 March 2011.

Sunday Times Foreign Editor:

Welcome to John Follain, foreign correspondent for The Sunday Times who has covered Italy since 1998. He has written a book about the murder of Meredith Kercher which is out in August. So let’s begin, John is waiting for your questions

John Follain:

Hello, all set and looking forward to your questions - about the Kercher case, Berlusconi or anything you see fit to throw at me

[Comment From James Ellington]

Hi John, How do you think Amanda Knox managed to gain celebrity status given the gruesome nature of the crime she has been convicted of?

John Follain:

Hi James,

Should we blame the media or the readers? Seriously, I think one big reason why this case has interested people is that they identify themselves with the parents of Meredith Kercher, or of Amanda Knox.

As for Amanda Knox being a celebrity, I’d say the twists and turns of the investigation and the trial have a lot to do with it - as well as her looks and the fact that it has to be a rarity to have an American exchange student with such a background being convicted (the appeal trial is now on, of coruse) of such a crime.

[Comment From Freddy: ]

What do you make of the film? It doesn’t seem to have gone down too well with anyone involved

John Follain:

Hi Freddy,

Having covered so many of the events, it was very moving to see some of them on screen - the actors do look very much like the real protagonists. But I did find it peppered with inaccuracies and callous in its depiction of events just before Meredith’s death - including a completely unbelievable scene showing Rudy Guede embracing Meredith.

[Comment From Rebecca Ward]

So let’s cut to the chase, do you think Amanda Knox to be guilty or has she been wrongly convicted? And what do you base your opinion on?

John Follain:

Hi Rebecca,

Ah, thought that one would come up. Under Italian law, Knox’s conviction doesn’t become definitive until she has exhausted her chances of appeal - meaning the current appeal trial and a possible Supreme Court trial.

Having said that, I do think she played a role in the murder, along with her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito and Rudy Guede. That’s an opinion based on the evidence against her including the staged burglary, the DNA samples involving all three, and her behaviour at the police station

[Comment From Suzanna, Gloucs]

I have read that Guede was able to elect to go down the “˜fast track’ route for trial. What is that? Sounds like a McDonalds version of the law?

John Follain:

Hi Suzanna,

Not McDonalds but the Italian equivalent of plea-bargaining in a way. The fast track route involves a defendant agreeing to a faster trial, with fewer witnesses and no jury among other conditions, in exchange for a lower sentence if convicted.

But there’s no doubt many in Perugia and elsewhere have been shocked by his final prison sentence of 16 years, which will be greatly reduced for good behaviour among other factors.

[Comment From JJ ]

Can Knox be thought of as credible when saying she had been assaulted and asked questions under duress when being interviewed in light of the Facebook comments and images of swords and rituals?

John Follain:

Hi JJ,

I think it’s hard to accept that she accused an innocent man - Patrick Lumumba, the owner of the bar where she worked - simply because the police supposedly “pressured” her into doing so.

When she appeared in court and was questioned at length by the prosecutor over this, she didn’t come up with a convincing explanation. Plus there’s the fact that the day after the police interrogation, she repeated the scenario of Lumumba killing Meredith at the cottage.

[Comment From Charles and Jane]

I’ve seen interviews with Knox’s parents ““ difficult not to make assumptions here ““ but they seem rather unhinged (especially the mother). I realise it is not the everyday situation you find yourself in re your children but I think they do AK rather more harm than good?

John Follain:

Hi Charles and Jane,

To be honest, no, I don’t think they’re unhinged. I spent more than three hours interviewing them and AK’s sister Deanna in Seattle, and they came across as determined to bring Ak back from Perugia.

As for them doing AK more harm than good, the massive PR campaign they launched didn’t go down well with at least one of her Perugia lawyers, and it has backfired with the courts in the sense that judges in Perugia think the attacks - especially against prosecutor Giuliano Mignini are unjustified.

[Comment From james forrest]

What was the greatest challenge you faced in writing your book and did you meet any of the people connected with the case during the course of your research? Would you be interested to interview Knox if you had the chance? What question would you most like to ask her if you had the chance?

John Follain:

Hi James,

I set out to re-construct events from the moment Meredith and AK arrived in Perugia, through the murder and the subsequent investigation, right up to the current appeal trial - as much as possible describing not only what the main characters did but also what they thought at the time.

So the challenge was obtaining numerous, repeat interviews - one was six hours long - with as many of the characters including the prosecutors, detectives, lawyers, experts, relatives and friends among many others.

Yes of course, which journalist who has followed the case wouldn’t like to interview AK? But she is banned from giving interviews as long as her conviction, or acquittal, hasn’t become definitive. I don’t have a top question for her, what I would like is to ask her to go through events in as detailed a way as possible.

[Comment From Peter Polites]

What do you expect to be the outcome of the Amanda Knox appeal which has been delayed so forensics can carry out a review of the evidence used to convict her? When do you think we will hear the result? And do you think there is the possibility that the forensic evidence was contaminated?

John Follain:

Hi Peter,

Given that more than 20 judges have so far ruled that AK is guilty, I think the appeal court will head the same way - although it could reducer both the sentences for both her and Sollecito.

But no thinks the outcome is certain - the key hearing will be in late May when the court-appointed experts report back on their review of the DNA evidence found on the kitchen knife believed to be the murder weapon, and on Meredith’s bra clasp in her bedroom.

Yes contamination is in theory always possible but I see nothing to indicate that happened here.

[Comment From Ivor Gibson]

There have been heaps of books published about the case of Amanda Knox ““ what does yours do that the others don’t?

John Follain:

Hi Ivor,

I hope that my book offers the fullest-possible account of the case - I hope the reader will feel he or she are with Meredith and her friends in her last weeks in Perugia, behind the shoulder of the prosecutor or the detective as they make their discoveries, with AK and her mother as they talk in prison, and present in the courtroom at the key moments of the trial.


[Comment From Sammy]

what is the reaction of the average Italian to the bunga bunga scandal? disgust or secret envy?

John Follain:

Hi Sammy,

If you believe Berlusconi, 51% are for him, and 49% are against him. The truth is the average Italian does think the scandal is pretty awful but that doesn’t stop a big minority - a majority if you include his coalition partners - thinking Berlusconi is the best man for the job right now.

Basically the Left has yet to persuade anyone apart from diehard followers that it does have a programme for government and can rule the country efficiently.

[Comment From Elise Crothers]

I read that Berlusconi thinks he can prove in court that Karima El Mahroug was not underage when he allegedly paid her for sex ““ what do you think will be the outcome of his trial in Milan next month?

John Follain:

Hi Elise,

The prosecutors are confident that Berlusconi’s claim that she wasn’t underage will be thrown out by the court - her date of birth is on her Moroccan passport and as her father points out, they wouldn’t have spent such a long time trying to get her into community centres for minors if she was an adult.

The outcome is a very tough one to predict, but one near-certainty is that Berlusconi won’t try to stop the trial going ahead. He wants to fight his corner in court by attending all the hearings.

If he is convicted, he would most likely get a suspended sentence because he is over 70 and because he has a clean record.

And if he is convicted, he has said he will stay on as prime minister.

[Comment From jude]

what does Bunga Bunga mean? I think I know but do I?

John Follain:

Hi Jude,

I think I know too, but only on the basis of what Ruby told prosecutors before the whole scandal became public.

And that’s second-hand, in that she said that Berlusconi told her that it was something copied from Gadaffi’s harem - ie. an orgy.

But then again, Berlusconi’s people have claimed it’s no such thing but just a joke about two ministers on an island who come to an obscene end with natives (don’t ask).

And the newcaster Emilio Fede, who is accused of aiding and abetting prostitution for bringing showgirls to Berlusconi’s home, said it was the name of the sofa

[Comment From Mary]

How can you stay on as Prime Minister if you are convicted?

John Follain:

Hi Mary,

A prison sentence of three years or more would automatically include Berlusconi being barred from holding public office for a year or more. But that wouldn’t become definitive until the case was ruled on by the Supreme Court, which could be in a couple of years or more.

[Comment From Simon Kennedy, Edinburgh]

Last year Berlusconi fawned over Gadaffi, treating him like royalty on his visit to Italy and has also described him as “my great friend”. Now they seem to have changed direction due to the threat to their energy supplies. Should Italy take a stand against Gadaffi and what would this mean for the Italian economy?

John Follain:

Hi Simon,

Despite Berlusconi’s previous “friendship”, and embarrassing scenes including Gadaffi being allowed to lecture young women - all from a PR agency - bussed in to attend his lecture on “Islam”, Italy says it will stick to whatever the EU and the UN decide on sanctions.

But it’s been noticeable that Libya’s interests in Italy - there’s even a stake in the Juventus soccer club - have gone untouched officially because they’re not held by Gadaffi himself or his clan.

The trouble for Italy is that taking too strong a stand against Gadaffi could threaten vital energy supplies.

And the Italians are quick to point out that they were not alone in giving Gadaffi red-carpet treatment.

[Comment From Gemima9]

how will Italy cope with the thousands of North African migrants arriving in the country after the unrest in the middle east?

John Follain:

Hi Gemima,

The government hopes it won’t be alone in coping and that other EU countries will step in, because it simply doesn’t have the facilites to cope with the possible arrivals - some estimates are around 250,000 to Italy alone.

The emergency plans drawn up by the government including using converted barracks to house them but this would all be temporary. And the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has regularly criticised the way Italy has been dealing with previous cases, saying it doesn’t give them a proper chance to claim and obtain refugee status.

Sunday Times Foreign Editor

Well, that’s all we have time for folks. Thank you for all the questions. Thanks to John for giving us his time. Do tune in next week at the same time for another heavy-weight topic. Have a good week. Bye.

John Follain:

Thanks to you all for your interest, and hope we get another chance to talk soon.

According to a BBC report Bunga Bunga is the nickname of Greman actress Sabina Began who organizes Mr Berlusconi’s controversial parties. Therefore “bunga bunga parties”.

Not everybody is buying that explanation it seems. Other versions keep surfacing.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/18 at 04:31 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in News media & moviesGreat reportingMedia newsComments here (17)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Andrea Vogt In New York Post Finds Lifetime Movie Fairish Though Hurtful To Kerchers And Ill-Timed

Posted by Peter Quennell


Andrea Vogt reminds us that the legal process is very exhaustive, very balanced and far from complete.

Also that Mr. Mignini is a reasonable person, that an extraordinary number of careful judges have been a party to the process, and that US State Department have monitored the case and not seen any reason to try to intervene - though it is doubtful they could have any influence over the judiciary.

During filming in Rome last fall, the Knox chattering classes speculated whether it would favor “innocentisti or colpevolisti” (the innocents or guilty). As the first clips emerged, everyone was upset. Producers clearly took factual liberties (in real life, Amanda and Raffaele didn’t attend the memorial vigil for Meredith, but in the film they do, for example).

But the communal outrage is nothing new. All the parties agree: it is inappropriate to air this film before completion of appeal. Knox was convicted of murder and sentenced in an Italian court based on the scenario of all three being involved, as described in the judge’s ruling. Lifetime attempted to re-enact this in their own way…

That said, the US State Department has been monitoring the case as more than two dozen judges have considered the evidence and determined (to varying degrees) that Knox was involved…

Unfortunately this case exists in a cultural time warp where fiction races ahead of fact. In the US, everything happens too fast; a film is thrown together in months. In Italy, everything happens too slow: a case can take seven years to get to the Supreme Court. The final judicial decision about who murdered Ms. Kercher and how is still years away.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 02/21 at 02:29 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Crime hypothesesGreat reportingMovies on caseComments here (2)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Daily Beast’s Barbie Nadeau Weighs The Pros And Cons Of The Lifetime Movie

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above: Lifetime TV has an office suite in this giant hitech building which Google is presently purchasing]

We doubt if we are going to rate this film very highly. Already there are critical reviews.

And the Massei report shows overwhelming guilt, the grounds for appeal are slim indeed, and the Supreme Court of Cassation has ALREADY accepted that all three were part of the attack.

Barbie Nadeau’s report upon seeing a preview seems to confirm that the film will at least in part blow smoke and mislead the viewing audience by failing to convey those hard facts.

The movie does a commendable job slaloming between guilt and innocence as it stitches together known details of a very complicated case. It doesn’t shy away from controversial facts like how Knox accused Patrick Lumumba of the murder, or just how tough the Perugian police were on the 20-year-old American during her interrogations…. Lifetime lands squarely on the side of reasonable doubt when it comes to Knox’s conviction, but the network also does a fair job showing just why the jury in Perugia found her guilty.

Reasonable doubt? In fact that is a term that applies only to juries who were present in the courtroom the whole time, and in this case the guilty verdict was already unanimous. They had no reasonable doubt.

Sadly, John and Arline Kercher’s worst fears about the movie dwelling upon the graphic violence done to Meredith seem fully justified.

Indeed, the movie features globs of often-gratuitous violence around their daughter’s tragic death. Sure, it is a TV dramatization bent on ratings about a now-legendary murder, but the CSI-style black-and-white autopsy shots and a disturbing scene where Guede watches Meredith choking on her own blood are unsettling, even for those of us who have covered this case from day one. It’s one thing to see the crime scene video and hear testimony about how it might have happened, but it’s quite another to watch someone act it out in gruesome detail.

There seems to be little mention of the million-dollar public relations campaign that has so misled the public, and none at all of the inflammatory anti-prosecution anti-Italy bias of much of the UK and US media. 

Not all is bad. Mr Mignini and his team are shown as “smart, capable investigators caught up in a terribly complicated crime….”. The Knox family are portrayed as “even-tempered and wholly genuine in support of their daughter”. Hayden Pantierre does “an admirable job playing the quirky Seattle native.”

But Amanda Knox herself apparently comes across as vague and someone who “could have simply been in the wrong place doing the wrong things at the wrong time.” We have already remarked in a previous post “We will be curious to see if Lifetime somehow depicts what a sad drug-driven slide into dependency and desperation the seemingly not-quite-right Amanda Knox appeared to be embarked on.”

However Meredith is said to be infectiously played, by Cambridge University graduate Amanda Fernando Stevens (image below), who we believe really did give the classy depiction of Meredith all she could.

Fortunately, Lifetime also focuses a fair amount of attention on Meredith, painting a portrait of a bright and beautiful young woman who was far more serious than her American roommate, but who had an infectious sense of humor and enviable charm. That careful attention to her charisma makes her murder all the more tragic.


Posted by Peter Quennell on 02/17 at 01:16 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Crime hypothesesGreat reportingMovies on caseComments here (9)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

More Excellent Examiner Reporting: This Time Profiling Curt Knox And Edda Mellas

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above: Capanne Prison, where Amanda Knox was taped undercutting the claims her parents made]

The Examiner network has posted many reports on the case from at least half a dozen reporters.

They have been consistently well-researched, unbiased, and accurate. Today their website carries a comment on Amanda Knox’s parents’ indictment, and how they put themselves into this absurd mess.

So the question remains: will Amanda Knox be called to testify at the trial by her indicted parents - or by the police pursuing the suit? She herself has never publicly made the claims Curt and Edda did, with the minimalist exception of someone she can’t identify clipping her over the head.

That sole claim the interpreter present has made quite clear did NOT happen. And Amanda Knox was CAUGHT ON TAPE telling her mother Patrick Lumumba did not do it - that her charge was false, and accordingly she made NO mention of her accusation against him having been beaten out of her by the cops.

Leaving zero reason to accuse the cops of anything - let alone serially accuse them of criminal behavior again and again, globally. And also, Edda Mellas failed to report what Amanda actually told her. She too left Patrick to languish.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Report Of The Decay Of The Hard Pro-Knox Party Line In West Seattle

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Images by pq above and below: former storefront offices that were the headquarters of the West Seattle Herald]

The Seattle Salmon reports with some amusement on how the residents are increasingly speaking out.

They whisper at the local library branch, nod to each other in line at the Morgan Junction Starbucks, and even occasionally email their true feelings to each other.  What is this secret society?  It’s not the Masons, Scientologists or even the wily Northwestern Republicans.

No, this fearful group is West Seattleites who think Amanda Knox did it.  By “it,” they are referring to the 2007 murder in Italy of which she was convicted. Knox was raised in West Seattle and the community has rallied around her claim of innocence with a fervor that straddles the militant/cult divide.

But some in the community are not so sure and not so talkative about their doubt.  One resident who demanded anonymity told the Seattle Salmon, “It’s like a police state out here.  You have to go to the legal defense fundraisers ““ like six last year ““ or else you are ostracized at the Westcrest Off-leash area.”

Another said, “The groupthink is terrifying.  You step outside of it and you’re like the stupid Regular Seattleite who jaywalks through the all-way crosswalk at The Junction ““ you’re all alone and danger could come at you from any direction.  Plus they’d light your ass up on the West Seattle Blog. You’d have to move.”

Perhaps no surprises there. It has been a long time since pro-Steve-Shay comments on the West Seattle Herald have been in the majority. Yesterday he made this ludicrous claim.

Meredith’s father, John, who believes Knox is guilty and has a lawyer in the courtroom fighting to insure she and her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito remain in jail.

These were the first two responses.

John Kercher’s lawyer is not ‘fighting’ anyone or anything. He has a legal duty to provide representation at the automatic appeal which Italy’s very liberal criminal justice system provides to all convicted criminals.

Your inflammatory, arrogant coverage of this legal process stinks. The US State Department doesn’t think there was anything wrong with the year-long legal process which convicted Knox and Sollecito of torture and murder, and neither do their victim’s family. Again, this doesn’t mean they are ‘fighting’, so grow up.

Mr. Shay atypically made only one glaring distortion in this article; The Kercher family lawyer is involved in the appeals process not to insure that Ms. Knox stay in jail, but rather to make sure the prosecution’s case is presented fairly and objectively, as was certainly done in the court’s verdict.

Not to make the lawyer sound one sided and intent on a path; there are way too many like Shay in the pro innocent Knox camp; this population has been known to lie and distort facts so as to exculpate their darling “West Seattle bred” Knox.

Nice work West Seattle.



Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Letter From Italy: Explaining Why My Pro-Women-Victims Focus In My Forthcoming Movie Samhain

Posted by Stefano Torrese



[Above: Stefano Torrese (right) and his co-author and co-producer Diego Antolini discuss Samhain]


While reading Mr. Kercher’s open letters [here and here] we found so many resonances with our ideas and feelings about the sad drama that occurred to Meredith, feelings which had led us to initiate the film project “Samhain - A Halloween Tale”.

Our starting point was to write a story which could deliver a strong message on behalf of all women whose life had ended because of the violence and ignorance of others; to provide our contribution to making people think and re-think about the society we live in, where nobody is safe, children or students or workers.

Then, as we deepened the research into the subject, and more material came out about the judicial case and the trials, we witnessed, as John sadly remarked, a singular yet logical - for our society - phenomenon, that of the rising of a celebrity, who is in fact charged for murder and sentenced to many years in prison.

Last spring we started to see the first buzz in the US about our movie project and those of others. A few months later we heard the inevitable: an American TV production decided to shoot a documentary about AMANDA KNOX’S trial paths.

As fall approached, we trimmed and refined our story into a thriller with a moral, and a big, positive twist in the end, which developed furthermore a strong message. This message we made clear during our first press conference on last October 28, in the Palazzo della Regione of Perugia, the most important institutional house of local government.

We said that our movie is not - and will never be - a movie about Amanda Knox; as a matter of fact it is not even a movie about Meredith in the sense of the exploitation of her image for economic purposes.

“Samhain - A Halloween tale” is a tale with a moral in the classical form, inspired by a true fact (obviously Meredith’s murder) but then touching many other topics like the very ancient celtic name of Halloween “Samhain”, the possibility to mold the timeframe, and other esoteric elements.

The story turns around former FBI agent Bryan Nolan, who left the US following the personal drama of the disappearance of his little sister Susan.

Once in Perugia, he hears about the murder of a young student and after a series of signs and signals, he realizes the spirit of the young girl is trying to establish contact with him; the spirit seeks for peace and justice, and it is also the key to understand what really happened to Bryan’s sister.

As you can tell from this brief synopsis, our story doesn’t contain the Hollywood-like sparkling and kitsch elements prone to making the protagonist a star or a celebrity. Our movie is difficult, and will be difficult to make because it talks about life, death, and the afterlife.

During the last few months we have received pressure from local and international press about what we really want to make, and so we wanted to be clear: if our movie has ever to be linked to Meredith, it would be in her honor, dedicated to her memory, and it would not use her image.

We said this after noticing the hideous growth in terms of popularity of people who are in jail for murder, and yet became a money machine, and also the attitude of the general audience who are being misled and manipulated into the belief that these people in jail shouldn’t be there.

This shocked us and prompted our more immediate action: we can write and we can make movies, so we will make our contribution to the truth by the means of telling a story and deliver a message to the audience:

A GIRL WAS MURDERED, DIED, AND NOT ONLY HER BODY BUT HER MEMORY IS ABOUT TO BE BURIED AND NEVER COME OUT TO LIGHT AGAIN.

We cannot accept that, what happened to Meredith happened - and is happening - to many other girls in the world. We need to remember this. We need to remember Meredith and through her memory, keep this feeling of hope alive, that what happened to her will eventually cease to happen.

We need to disseminate the message as strongly as we can, and perhaps things could change so that Meredith’s drama would not have occurred in vain.

Our hope here is to respectfully share with Meredith’s family and friends an explanation of what’s behind our project, let them know what we are doing before they read it possibly wrongly put in the papers; and encourage their feelings if they wish to guide us.

A good project about a person without deep caring and respect for that person - be she alive or not - would be a failure to begin with. Meredith evokes our deep caring and respect.

[Below, Stefano Torrese and his co-producer Diego Antolini discuss the Italian film industry]

[Below, the interim trailer for Stefano Torrese’s movie Samhain: A Halloween Tale]

[Below, the poster for Stefano Torrese’s movie Samhain: A Halloween Tale]

Posted by Stefano Torrese on 01/26 at 03:08 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Crime hypothesesGreat reportingMovies on caseComments here (4)

Friday, December 31, 2010

Harvard Political Review Writer Alex Koenig Reproaches The Sliming of Italy’s Justice System

Posted by Peter Quennell


With the Pepperdine University and Washington University student newspapers consistently mis-reporting Meredith’s case, it is nice to see a Harvard publication getting it seriously right.

Alex Koenig writes a column for the Harvard Political Review. He is not commenting on the evidence of Meredith’s case as reflected for example on TJMK and in Massei. But he takes several deadly cracks at the arguments of the conspiracy theorists, which he doesn’t see reflecting the real world.

In 2008, 16,277 people were murdered in the United States. 1,176 of these murders were committed by women, of which about a third were confirmed to be white.

That means that in one year there were around 400 white female murderers on US soil”” the majority of whom were convicted to no public outcry. What America needs to ask itself is: does the fact that Amanda Knox is a white sorority sister exonerate her from the murder she is alleged to have committed on foreign soil?

Knox is currently serving a 26-year sentence in Italian prison, in Perugia, for the murder of her then-roommate Meredith Kercher. Seemingly lost among the outrage towards the Italian justice system, the demands of US government intervention in her defense, and the constant assertions of Knox’s innocence is the possibility that, maybe this once, the trained professionals who investigated, tried, and convicted the 23 year old Knox got it right.

Without getting into the facts of the case, and conceding that people are wrongly convicted on a regular basis both in the United States and abroad, we must consider just how America’s treatment of this case reflects upon our society.

The fact of the matter is, those that immediately claim that Knox was wrongly accused and jailed by a corrupt justice system make two extremely arrogant assumptions that reveal perverse American exceptionalism. 

1) It is assumed that, as an American ““ an American woman no less ““ Knox is incapable of murder. This case differs, of course, from the 1,176 domestic murders committed by women because, well, who knows?

2) It is assumed that not only is the Italian justice system incapable of fulfilling its legal duties, but that the intentions of the court were swayed by anti-Americanism.

This is not merely an abstract sentiment, but was actually articulated by Senator Maria Cantwell (D) of my home state of Washington. Cantwell, whom I generally agree with ideologically, released a statement saying that she “had serious questions about the Italian justice system and whether anti-Americanism tainted the trial.” She went on to say that she would seek assistance from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Regarding the first problem, I take Knox’s assumed innocence in the public eye to be a representation of national pride. I am as proud to be American as the next guy; I understand all the benefits being American has afforded me and appreciate the sacrifices men and women make each day to ensure that these benefits remain for me and my countrymen.

But assume the superiority of the same countrymen when compared to other citizens of the world I do not. It is as if Knox’s co-citizenship has absolved all her sins in the American court of public opinion. This, by itself, is difficult to grasp but can be forgiven.

What’s harder to forgive is the assumption that Knox has been wronged by a corrupt system because she is American.

Having lived in Italy for a year, I would never accuse the Italian justice system of being exceedingly efficient or flawless. However, I wouldn’t accuse the US justice system of this either.

Anti-Americanism does exist in parts of the world, but the chances of it being present in this trial are low. Are the judges supposed to see the conviction of an innocent American college student as a way to deter American tourists from coming to Italy?

“Putting this girl away for 26 years seems to be an easy way to get rid of those annoying tourists with their stupid hotel rooms, airplane tickets and restaurant bills. Good riddance!”

It’s not as if Knox is accused of murdering an Italian either. Kercher was a Brit. Raffaele Sollecito and Rudy Guede, Knox’s alleged accomplices who are both serving similar sentences for the same charges, are both Italian, although Guede emigrated from the Ivory Coast when he was five.

No, I doubt that anti-Americanism was involved in this conviction. It seems, instead, to be nationalism on the side of Knox’s supporters. Amanda couldn’t have possibly been the one at fault, she’s one of us.

And maybe they’re right. I really don’t know. What I do know is that the anger and offense that the American public has taken in response to this trial obscures the real tragedy at hand, the violent death of a young woman.

It’s possible that Knox has wrongly had her future taken from her. It’s a fact that Kercher has. As the appeal process continues and the story gradually slips out of the consciousness of the average American, with the protest left to the truly passionate among us,

I want to remind us all of one thing: Italy’s murder rate is 1/3 that of America. Perhaps, without the actions of one American there’d be one less death in Italy’s tally. I’ll leave that judgment up to the only court that really matters in such a case, the court of law.

One small correction to what Alex Koenig wrote. Italy’s murder rate is actually 1/6th that of the United States. It is a very law-abiding country with a very low crime rate and a very small prison population - less than 1/20th that of the United States.

But Alex is certainly right in his conclusions.Neither the Micheli not Massei Sentencing Reports show ANY sign of extreme nationalism.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

UK’s Sky News Carries A Pre-Session Report from Nick Pisa In Perugia This Morning

Posted by Peter Quennell

Courtroom images are from the session last Saturday.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 12/18 at 03:57 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Trials 2008 & 2009News media & moviesGreat reportingComments here (1)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Newsweek Reports On Damage From Knox/Marriott Campaign To Knox Interests & US Image

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for Barbie Nadeau’s new report.

Only Newsweek, the ABC News website, the Daily Beast, and Seattle PI among the American media have reporters in Italy telling us how it really is.

A pity. Perhaps the five main American TV networks and the press services and main newspapers like the New York Times should charter an aircraft, and go check out the major distaste that is now being expressed across all the Italian media, and among the Italian public generally to the nasty misinformed Knox campaign.

This campaign is now being waged by EIGHT conspiracy-theory websites and in a gullible mainstream media by sock-puppets like the increasingly hapless Steve Moore and Michael Scadron, whose Facebook friends seem to be all Knox family and other sock-puppets (he forgets to mention that). 

We have already reported one reaction to the ill-informed claims of Steve Moore, and our own posters and other contacts in Italy and our own daily reading of the Italian media suggest that Newsweek here is if anything downplaying the distaste being evoked.

Amanda Knox must surely cringe every time she hears that another vocal supporter in the United States has taken up her cause.

Knox does not ask for this kind of attention. Instead, prison guards and inmates say she bides her time behind bars studying and reading, careful not to say anything that would be held against her during her appeal, scheduled to begin later this fall. It will be heard by a new judge and jury who have not been protected from the firestorm around her case, so anything she says publicly could be construed as criticism against the system she is hoping will free her.

She has a job in the prison commissary, taking orders and delivering goods to prisoners in her wing. She is a “model prisoner,” according to Bernardina di Mario, director of Capanne. “She does nothing to stir things up. She just keeps to herself.”

The same can not be said for her supporters. Even the most banal headlines in the United States claiming miscarriages of justice and maltreatment of Knox are inevitably translated, along with snide comments defending the Italian system that impute to the American press a sense of American supremacy.

Since her arrest in November 2007 and conviction in December 2009, Knox supporters have repeatedly condemned everyone involved in the case who does not believe in wholeheartedly in her innocence. Knox’s stepfather, Chris Mellas, ridiculed the ruling judge’s conviction reasoning as a “fictional novel” and a support group called Friends of Amanda regularly called the chief prosecutor “mentally unstable” throughout the trial.

In the wake of the verdict last December, Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington (Knox’s home state) promised to get Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to extradite the young American home from Italy (Clinton has said she will not intervene), and Donald Trump has even boycotted Italy and its products.

“Amanda has become an affair of the state,” wrote La Repubblica months before the verdict. “Italy blames the American conspiracy.”

Newsweek tried checking out what investigations if any were done by Steve Moore (who, as the post below shows, still seems blissfully unaware of the minefield that is the Massei Report) and they came up with this. 

And most recently, retired FBI agent Steve Moore accused the Italians of “manipulating evidence to make Knox look guilty” based on an “independent investigation” he conducted using what he calls “raw materials.” When asked by NEWSWEEK, neither the Italian state forensic department, the coroner who conducted the autopsies on Kercher, nor the homicide squad in Perugia had been contacted by Moore for original reports and documents, calling into question just where Moore’s “raw materials” came from.

And Amanda Knox herself and her lawyers repeatedly undercut, contradict and distance themselves from the campaign.

Various times throughout her yearlong trial in 2009, the prosecutor and members of the jury told NEWSWEEK they were “offended” by American criticism of the case. At the time of her verdict last December, when many Americans were shouting about what they saw as an unfair conviction, Knox herself felt compelled to tell a member of Italian Parliament that she was actually treated fairly, in part to appease the Italians and, according to her lawyers who defended her comments, to protect herself. “I still have faith in the Italian justice system,” she told Walter Verini, a member of Italy’s center-left government. “My rights were respected.”

Despite the heavy criticism from abroad, Knox’s own Italian lawyers have never been part of the frenzy and have repeatedly had to distance themselves from most of the most vocal voices. “There has been a lot of criticism of this case in America, but it is important to remember that no one speaks for Amanda except her lawyers here in Italy,” says her Perugian lawyer, Luciano Ghirga. “The Americans do not represent her here in Perugia, nor does the constant criticism represent her own views.”

So. Over to you, Ted Simon and David Marriott, to try to apply the brakes on this runaway train.

And please insist that EVERYONE including Steve Moore (if we are to actually hear from him again) knows the Massei Report back-to-front before attempting any new spin.


Friday, July 09, 2010

Third Of Three Excerpts In Italian from LA7 Program On Meredith’s Case

Posted by True North

Again, thanks to TJMK poster Cesare Beccaria for the video links. We posted some background last Friday.

This is the interview with Rudy Guede’s defense lawyer Walter Biscotti, and the continuation of the re-enactment of the crime - warning: it is very jarring, with graphical shots of Meredith’s room after the crime, and then three figures running and two later kissing.

Walter Biscotti claims to the LA7 reporter Andrea Vogt that Rudy Guede entered the house with Meredith, they talked for a while, and then they had consensual sex. Rudy later goes to the bathroom.

He hears Amanda’s voice enter the house. He hears an argument over money between Meredith and Amanda. While listening to his iPod Rudy hears a loud scream.

When he enters Meredith’s room, he sees her bleeding and tries to stench the flow of her blood with a towel. Rudy hears two people outside the house running away, and he also runs away.

Mr Biscotti cannot explain the damning evidence of Rudy found on the pillow under Meredith’s body.

*************

Inserted by Peter: We have been told that Biscotti was trying to claim sexual intimacy not sex. Apparently there is some difference. Please read the following paras by True North in that context. Judge Micheli didnt believe ANY claim of intimacy at Guede’s trial, so Biscotti is contradicting the Micheli sentencing report without making that clear. There is ZERO proof of intimacy, and the claim is ugly and highly disrespectful to Meredith and her family. Biscotti should withdraw it.

*************

The sex claim is old, totally improbable, not born out by any facts in evidence, or by the timeline, Meredith’s moral disposition, or her known plans for the second half of that evening. These were to complete an assignment, and then, since she had been up late the night before (Halloween) to get plenty of sleep.

Meredith never - NEVER - had casual sex and she already had a boyfriend (then traveling) who lived in the apartment down below. Even Walter Biscotti may conceivably be repulsed by this line of defense, but he seems to have no other way of placing Guede legitimately in the house, or explaining the signs of Guede having been involved in a sexual attack on Meredith.

Many have pointed out that it seems a severe weakness of the rather soft-line Italian system that Rudy Guede’s defense can continue to make such offensive claims about a victim, make no confession, offer no full apology, and still emerge with a sentence of only 16 years. Meredith’s family and friends are very ill-served by this, and it fuels a dishonest line by Knox’s supporters. 

Mr Biscotti does strongly finger Amanda Knox by name and one other person who everyone watching would take to be Raffaele Sollecito. The lone-wolf theory, also totally improbable, is not even mentioned here. Nor are the claims by convicted baby-killer Mario Alessi that Guede said he had two other accomplices.

There is of course no huge outcry among Italians over the “wrongful imprisonment” of their fellow Italian Raffaele Sollecito. People in Italy followed the trial in far more depth than they could in the UK or US, and they are not susceptible to any blown smoke, almost certainly including the nasty claims Biscotti makes.


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