Headsup: Will Gladwell perpetuate hoax at heart of new book Monday in Los Angeles interview with Brit Marling? We'd appreciate someone warning her, also Larry Wilmore, and help them avoid legal liabilities.

Category: More hoaxers

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Why Did The Mainstream Media Enable A Takeover By The Conspiracy Nuts?

Posted by The Machine



How Seattle is misinformed. Exoneration? Riiiight….

Rampant Conspiracies

This condemnation is written in light of the ever-growing wave of translated transcripts.

They show how extremely good the investigation and case at trial really were. And how extremely wrong were too much of the press. Why did mainstream media organisations allow so many conspiracy nuts to spout their unsubstantiated and ridiculously far-fetched claims?

Mainstream media organisations have known for a while that the general public has an insatiable appetite for documentaries about allegedly innocent people who have been convicted of murders they didn’t commit.

A cursory glance at the selection of true crime documentaries on Netflix provides evidence of the appeal of this specific genre. Amanda Knox, West of Memphis and Making of a Murderer are all hugely popular.

The Serial podcast about the Adnan Syed/Hae Mine Lee case is one the most downloaded podcast of all time. Sarah Koenig presented the case from the defence’s perspective and concluded there isn’t enough evidence to convict Adnan Syed of Hae Min Lee’s murder. 

The juries in the respective cases above listened to the prosecution and defence present their cases in court.

They weighed the testimonies of the experts and witnesses for both sides and they were all convinced that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, Damian Echols, Jesse Misskelley and Jason Baldwin and Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey and Adnan Syed were all involved in exceptionally brutal murders.

There is damning evidence against all the people mentioned above. But many journalists don’t want the facts to get in the way of a good story.

Among The Worst

Paul Ciolino admitted in a question-and-answer session about the Meredith Kercher case at Seattle University that CBS News didn’t care whether someone was innocent. The only thing they care about is the story.

I work for CBS News. I want to tell you one thing about CBS. We don’t care if you did it. We don’t care if you’re innocent. We like a story. We want to do a story. That’s all we care about.

It was recognised as far back as 1999 in the legal profession that journalists have an inclination to slant their reports in favour of the defendants.

P. Cassell, “The guilty and the ‘innocent’: An examination of alleged cases of wrongful conviction from false confessions”, Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, 1999:

...academic research on miscarriages should not rely on media descriptions of the evidence against defendants. Journalists will all too often slant their reports in the direction of discovering “news” by finding that an innocent person has been wrongfully convicted.

The default position of mainstream media organisations in the US was that Amanda Knox is innocent despite the fact that the vast majority of journalists who covered the case weren’t in a position to know this - they hadn’t regularly attended the court hearings or read a single page of any of the official court reports.

The news organizations in Seattle was so partisan in their support of Amanda Knox that they were effectively just mouthpieces for the PR firm of David Marriott that was hired by Curt Knox to influence a credulous and naive local audience who felt duty-bound to support the hometown girl.

Lawyer Anne Bremner couldn’t resist the temptation to use the case to promote herself in the media. Judge Michael Heavey was recruited so he could use his position as a judge to sway the public.

The vast majority of people in Seattle were kept completely ignorant of the basic facts of the case by all their newspapers and all their TV news, so they were not in a position to realize that both Bremner and Heavey got basic facts wrong.

Many American journalists who reported on the case hold the ridiculous belief that the US legal system is the only competent and just one in the world, and that no US citizen charged by a foreign court with any crime can possibly be guilty of it or ever receive a fair trial.

The claim that Amanda Knox was being framed for a murder she didn’t commit by corrupt officials in a foreign country by her supporters was manna from heaven for mainstream media organizations in America.

It was a sensational story that was guaranteed to enrage and entertain a gullible American public in equal measure.

It’s not possible to ascertain precisely who originated the story that Amanda Knox was being framed for a murder she didn’t commit by a corrupt legal system.

But it almost certainly came from someone within or very close to Amanda Knox’s family. Jan Goodwin was one of the first journalists to make the claim after interviewing Edda Mellas for Marie Claire in 2008.

Studying abroad should have been a grand adventure. Instead, Amanda Knox has spent a year in jail, accused by a corrupt legal system of murdering her roommate.

Goodwin didn’t offer any evidence to substantiate her claim that the Italy legal system is corrupt, presumably the word of Edda Mellas was good enough for her.

It transpired that the word of Edda Mellas and ex-husband Curt and Amanda Knox’s supporters was good enough for the vast majority of journalists who covered the case on both sides of Atlantic.

They unquestiongly accepted everything they heard without bothering to do any fact-checking whatsoever. Time and again not a single investigator or court official in Perugia was interviewed.

This explains the reason why so many articles about the case are riddled with factual errors and well-known PR lies.

Other media organisations wanted to get in on the act and claim there was dastardly plot to frame Amanda Knox for Meredith’s murder.

CBS News allowed a couple of zany conspiracy nuts to spout their nonsense without providing any evidence to support their wild-eyed claims. Here’s Paul Ciolino again:

This is a lynching ... this is a lynching that is happening in modern day Europe right now and it’s happening to an American girl who has no business being charged with anything. (Paul Ciolino, CBS News.)

Here is Peter van Sant.

We have concluded that Amanda Knox is being railroaded… I promise you’re going to want to send the 82nd Airborne Division over to Italy to get this girl out of jail. (Peter Van Sant, CBS News.)

The reporting was invariably tinged with xenophobic sentiments. Italy was portrayed as some backward Third World country whose police force was comically incompetent. Here’s CBS’s Doug Longhini.

But in the case of Amanda Knox, the American student convicted of murder in Italy last December, the Via Tuscolana apparently failed to separate fantasy from truth. Too many Italian investigators rivaled Fellini as they interpreted, and reinterpreted facts, to suit their own, surrealistic script.” (Doug Longhini, CBS News).

WHERE in all the transcripts is that proved?  Doug Longhini’s pompous and pseudo-intellectual comments are meaningless and lack any substance, although he was no doubt very pleased himself for his “clever” reference to Fellini.

Ironically Longhini was unable to separate fantasy from truth when he produced the error-ridden American Girl, Italian Nightmare for CBS News. The documentary includes the familiar PR lies about satanic rituals, the 14-hour interrogation sessions, and Knox not knowing Rudy Guede.

Lawyer John Q Kelly seemingly forgot the Latin maxim “semper necessitas probandi incumbit ei qui agit” - “he who asserts must prove” - when he claimed that Knox and Sollecito were being railroaded and evidence against them had been manipulated.

My thoughts, Larry, it’s probably the most egregious international railroading of two innocent young people that I have ever seen. This is actually a public lynching based on rank speculation, and vindictiveness. It’s just a nightmare what these parents are going through and what these young adults are going through also.

“There’s been injustice here. There’s been injustice in other countries but this is just beyond the pale. The manipulation of evidence; the most unfavorable inferences drawn from the most common of circumstances and conduct was just a gross injustice here.”

(John Q Kelly, CNN).

Judy Bachrach was also allowed to claim there was a conspiracy to Amanda Knox on CNN.

Everyone knew from the beginning that the prosecutor had it in for Amanda Knox, that the charges are pretty much trumped up…

From the beginning this was carefully choreographed, they wanted to find her guilty, they’ve kept her in jail for two years even before trial and they did find her guilty. This is the way Italian justice is done. If you’re accused, you’re guilty.

There isn’t an ounce of hard evidence against her and all of Italy should be ashamed actually.” (Judy Bachrach, CNN).

Arguably the craziest conspiracy nut - and the competition is fierce - is the former FBI agent Steve Moore in early retirement.

Steve Moore claimed the Perugian police, Guilano Mignini, Dr Patrizia Stefanoni, Edgardo Giobbi the head of the Violent Crimes Unit in Rome, Judge Massei, and the Italian Supreme Court were all part of a dastardly plot to frame Amanda Knox.

Moore claimed the following on his blog.

For this to happen, though, pompous prosecutor Giuliano Mignini, forensic perjurer Patrizia Stefanoni, and mind-reading detective Edgardo Giobbi (and others), must be prosecuted for their corruption. The judge who rubber stamped the lies in the first trial, Massei, must be also called to the bar of justice-or back to law school.

In a discussion with lawyer Paul Callan on CNN Moore actually claimed the Supreme Court was involved in the conspiracy.

Paul Callan: “And now “¦ and they (the Perugian police) got the Supreme Court of Italy involved in this conspiracy? You know, that’s like saying that “¦ [Steve Moore interrupts]”

Steve Moore: “Yes, they do. Yes, they do. You are being naive. You don’t understand the Italian system. You don’t understand it. You are defending something you don’t understand.”

Barbie Nadeau reported Moore’s claim that evidence was manipulated for The Daily Beast.

The evidence that was presented in trial was flawed, it was manipulated.

Steve Moore has never provided any evidence to support his wild-eyed hysterical claims there was a huge conspiracy involving a prosecutor, different police departments, Judge Massei and judges at the Italian Supreme Court to frame Amanda Knox for Meredith’s murder.

It’s no wonder TV legal analyst Paul Callan was smiling, desperately trying not to burst out laughing, when he discussed the case with Moore on CNN.

Moore provided irrefutable proof in the short time he was on CNN that he is ignorant of the basic facts of the case, and that he hasn’t read any of the official court reports. He falsely claimed “the DNA that they said was Raffaele’s was actually a woman’s DNA.”

No expert claimed this at the trial.

Sollecito’s DNA was identified by two separate DNA tests. Of the 17 loci tested in the sample, Sollecito’s profile matched 17 out of 17. David Balding, a professor of Statistical Genetics at University College London, analysed the DNA evidence against Sollecito and concluded it was “very strong”.

Moore told Erin Burnett: “The second trial proved with independent experts that the DNA that they claim was the victim’s was not on the knife.”

A number of forensic experts - Dr Stefanoni, Dr Biondo, Professor Novelli, Professor Torricelli, and Luciano Garofano - have all confirmed that sample 36B which was extracted from the blade of the knife WAS Meredith’s DNA. The independent experts did not carry out a test on this sample. 

In England there were deranged conspiracy nuts claiming Amanda Knox was framed too.

Amy Jenkins bizarrely claimed in The Independent that Knox and Sollecito were the victims of a miscarriage of justice because Knox was a young woman, the Italians didn’t like the fact Knox snogged her boyfriend and someone needed to save face or something.

The truth is, Amanda Knox’s great crime was to be a young woman ““ but mainly it was to be a young woman who didn’t know how to behave. She was 20 years old, she was suffering from shock, and she was in a foreign country. She was interrogated with no lawyer and no translator present. She made a phony confession.

Clearly no saint, she wasn’t a Madonna either. That’ll make her a whore then. She snogged her boyfriend; she was slightly provocative on Facebook; she turned an inappropriate cartwheel. In a Catholic country, it’s clearly not such a leap to go from there to stabbing your room-mate in the neck during a violent sexual assault ““ because that’s the leap the prosecution made.

To save face, Knox and her poor boyfriend had to be somehow levered into the frame. As the whole juggernaut of injustice chugged on it became harder and harder for the six lay judges who acted as a jury to destroy a case that had been constructed over two years by prosecutors who were their close working colleagues.” (Amy Jenkins, The Independent).

Conclusion: READ THE DOCUMENTS

More and more the translated documents prove that all of them have been wrong. The conspiracy theorists predictably haven’t provided one iota of evidence that there was ever any conspiracy to frame Amanda Knox for Meredith’s murder.

I suspect the producers at mainstream media organisations like CBS News and CNN knew there never was any conspiracy to frame Amanda Knox all along, but they didn’t get care because they wanted a sensational story. 

Too many people within the media perversely see murder as entertainment. Rather than providing balanced and factually accurate coverage of murder cases they want to outrage and entertain the masses with melodramatic stories of conspiracies involving corrupt prosecutors and cops who want to frame innocent people for murders they didn’t commit instead.

We shouldn’t be surprised by the popularity of Making of a Murderer on Netflix. It filled a vacuum after Knox and Sollecito were acquitted in 2015.

I have no doubts that journalists from mainstream media organisations are currently looking for the next alleged case of someone being framed or railroaded for a murder they didn’t commit.


Saturday, December 09, 2017

Exoneration Hoax: Why Knox Groupies Like Martha Grace Duncan Should READ The Final Report

Posted by The Machine



Emory Law Dean Schapiro; Martha Grace Duncan; Harvard Law Dean Manning

1. Overview Of This Post

This flows from our first post ten days ago.

Martha Grace Duncan credits many dozens for their research help. Really? For precisely what? 

This is more about the research that Martha Grace Duncan and the huge group she thanks (see Part 4 below) should have done.  We will see here how she makes false claims that even a mere hour or two of checking if the courts actually said what she claimed would have stopped those claims dead in their tracks.

Did neither Duncan nor any of those hapless dozens now associated with her fraud think to do that? Below, with quotes, I will show how it is done.

2. Misrepresentation Of Supreme Court

It is blatantly apparent from reading Martha Grace Duncan’s academic paper bizarrely titled “WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN YOUR ROOMMATE IS MURDERED IN ITALY: AMANDA KNOX, HER “STRANGE” BEHAVIOR, AND THE ITALIAN LEGAL SYSTEM”  that she hasn’t actually read Judge Marasca’s final Supreme Court report.

She is ignorant of what that court actually said, and so she thoroughly misrepresents it.

Remember that Knox received TWO convictions: (1) for murder and (2) for calunnia. Duncan falsely claims in her academic paper that Amanda Knox has been “fully exonorated by Italy’s highest court” implying both. Knox was not exonerated for either in fact. 

(1) If Martha Grace Duncan had bothered to read Judge Marasca’s Supreme Court report, she would have known that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were acquitted under paragraph 2 of article 530, which is an insufficient evidence acquittal. That is appealable, as overuling of the Nencini court and dabbling in the evidence were both against the code.

(An acquittal under paragraph 1 of article 530 is a definitive acquittal or exoneration, the much stronger outcome.)

(2) Martha Grace Duncan further highlights her ignorance with regard to the contents of Marasca’s Supreme Court report by falsely claiming that the Supreme Court dropped all charges against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.

“March 29, 2015: The Supreme Court of Cassation overturns the murder convictions of Amanda and Raffaele and drops all charges against them.”

The Supreme Court confirmed Amanda Knox’s conviction for calunnia. She served three years in prison for repeatedly accusing Diya Lumumba of murder despite the fact she knew he was innocent.

“It is restated the inflicted sentence against the appellant Amanda Marie Knox, for the crime of slander at three years of prison.”

Judge Marasca pointed out in his report that Amanda Knox’s conviction for calunnia cannot be overturned.

“On the other hand, in the slanderous declaration against Lumumba, which earned her a conviction, the status of which is now protected as a final judgement”.

There is a common misconception amongst Amanda Knox’s supporters that the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) might overturn Knox’s conviction for calunnia.

However, she is believed not even to have asked for that. And the ECHR cannot quash or reverse verdicts anyway, it can only recommend. In other words, Amanda Knox will remain a convicted criminal, a felon, for the rest of her life. That cannot be wound back.

Appeal Judge Nencini pointed out in his report that Amanda Knox didn’t retract her false and malicious allegation against Diya Lumumba the whole time he was in prison, and the motive for her allegation was to deflect attention away from herself and Sollecito and avoid retaliatory action from Rudy Guede.

“Amanda Marie Knox maintained her false and malicious story for many days, consigning Patrick Lumumba to a prolonged detention. She did not do this casually or naively. In fact, if the young woman’s version of events is to be relied upon, that is to say, if the allegations were a hastily prepared way to remove herself from the psychological and physical pressure used against her that night by the police and the prosecuting magistrate, then over the course of the following days there would have been a change of heart. This would inevitably have led her to tell the truth, that Patrick Lumumba was completely unconnected to the murder. But this did not happen.

“And so it is reasonable to take the view that, once she had taken the decision to divert the attention of the investigators from herself and Raffaele Sollecito, Amanda Marie Knox became fully aware that she could not go back and admit calunnia. A show of remorse would have exposed her to further and more intense questioning from the prosecuting magistrate. Once again, she would bring upon herself the aura of suspicion that she was involved in the murder.

Indeed, if Amanda Marie Knox had admitted in the days following to having accused an innocent man, she would inevitably have exposed herself to more and more pressing questions from the investigators. She had no intention of answering these, because she had no intention of implicating Rudy Hermann Guede in the murder.

“By accusing Patrick Lumumba, who she knew was completely uninvolved, because he had not taken part in the events on the night Meredith was attacked and killed, she would not be exposed to any retaliatory action by him. He had nothing to report against her. In contrast, Rudy Hermann Guede was not to be implicated in the events of that night because he, unlike Patrick Lumumba, was in Via della Pergola, and had participated [100] in the murder. So, he would be likely to retaliate by reporting facts implicating the present defendant in the murder of Meredith Kercher.

“In essence, the Court considers that the only reasonable motive for calunnia against Patrick Lumumba was to deflect suspicion of murder away from herself and from Raffaele Sollecito by blaming someone who she knew was not involved, and was therefore unable to make any accusations in retaliation. Once the accusatory statements were made, there was no going back. Too many explanations would have had to be given to those investigating the calunnia; explanations that the young woman had no interest in giving.”

The Marasca/Bruno court took no issue with that. Judge Marasca also believed Amanda Knox wanted to avoid retaliatory action from Rudy Guede and stated it was a circumstantial element against her.

“However, the said calunnia is another circumstantial element against the appellant, insofar as it can be considered a strategy in order to cover up for Mr. Guede, whom she had an interest to protect because of fear of retaliatory accusations against her.”

Apart from these two significant factual errors concerning the Supreme Court’s rulings in her academic paper, it’s clear that Martha Grace Duncan is labouring under the misapprehension that Amanda Knox was “fully exonerated” by the Supreme Court because there is some exculpatory evidence that provides definititve proof that Amanda Knox is innocent. However, she never explains what this exculpatory evidence is.

If Martha Grace Duncan had taken the time to read Marasca’s report, she would have known that the Supreme Court didn’t fully exonerate Amanda Knox at all. On the contrary, it actually implicated her in Meredith’s murder.

It ascertained the following: (1) there were multiple attackers (2) it’s a proven fact that Amanda Knox was at the cottage when Meredith Kercher was killed (3) she washed Meredith’s blood off in the small bathroom (4) she lied to the police (5) she falsely accused Diya Lumumba of murder to cover for Rudy Guede in order to avoid retaliatory action and (6) the break-in at the cottage was staged.

I’ll substantiate each and every one of the claims above with quotations from Judge Marasca’s report to show Martha Grace Duncan how it is done and to give her the full picture of what’s in the report rather than the partial one that has been given to her presumably by Amanda Knox and her supporters.

1. There Were Multiple Attackers On The Night

“The [court’s] assessment of it, in accord with other trial findings which are valuable to confirm its reliability is equally correct. We refer to multiple elements linked to the overall reconstructions of events, which rule out Guede could have acted alone.

Firstly, testifying in this direction are the two main wounds observed on the victim’s neck, on each side, with a diversified path and features, attributable most likely (even if the data is contested by the defense) to two different cutting weapons. And also, the lack of signs of resistance by the young woman, since no traces of the assailant were found under her nails, and there is no evidence of any desperate attempt to oppose the aggressor, the bruises on her upper limbs and those on mandibular area and lips (likely the result of forcible hand action of constraint meant to keep the victim’s mouth shut) found during the cadaver examination, and above all, the appalling modalities of the murder which were not pointed out in the appealed ruling.

“And in fact, the same ruling (p323 and 325) reports of abundant blood found on the right of the wardrobe located in Kercher’s room, about 50cm above the floor. Such occurrence, given the location and direction of the drops, could probably lead to the conclusion the young woman had her throat literally “slashed” likely while she was kneeling , while her head was being forcibly held tilted towards the floor, at a close distance from the wardrobe, when she was hit by multiple stab wounds at her neck, one of which - the one inflicted on the left side of the neck - caused her death, due to asphyxia following the massive bleeding, which also filled the breathing ways preventing breathing activity, a situation aggravated by the rupture of the hyoid bone - this also linkable to blade action - with consequent dyspnoea” (p.48).

“Such a mechanical action is hardly attributable to the conduct of one person alone.” (p.49)

2. Amanda Knox was there when Meredith was killed

“Given this, we now note, with respect to Amanda Knox, that her presence inside the house, the location of the murder, is a proven fact in the trial, in accord with her own admissions, also contained in the memoriale with her own signature, in the part where she tells that, as she was in the kitchen, while the young English woman had retired in the room of same Ms Kercher, together with another person for a sexual intercourse, she heard a harrowing scream, so piercing and unbearable that she let herself down squatting on the floor, covering her ears tight with her hands in order not to hear more of it. About this, the judgement of reliability expressed by the lower [a quo] judge [Nencini] with reference to this part of the suspect’s narrative, [and] about the plausible implication from the fact herself was the first person mentioning for the first time [46] a possible sexual motive for the murder, at the time when the detective still did not have the the cadaver examination, nor the autopsy result, nor the witnesses’ information, which collected only subsequently, about the victim’s terrible scream and about the time when it was heard (Nara Capezalli, Antonella Monocchia and others), is certainly to be subscribed to. We make reference in particular to those declarations that the current appellant [Knox] on 11.6.2007 (p.96) inside the State Police headquarters. On the other hand, in the slanderous declaration against Lumumba, which earned her a conviction, the status of which is now protected as a final judgement [giudicato] [they] had a premise in the narrative, that is the presence of the young American woman, inside the house in via della Pergola, a circumstance which nobody at that time - except obviously the other people present in the house - could have known (quote p.96). 

“According to the slanderous statements of Ms. Knox, she had returned home in the company of Lumumba, whom she had met by chance in Piazza Grimana, and when Ms. Kercher arrived in the house, Knox’s companion, directed sexual attentions toward the English woman, then he went together with her to he room from which the harrowing scream came. So, it was Lumumba who killed Meredith and she could affirm this since she was on the scene of the crime herself, albeit in another room. (p.97)

3. Amanda Knox washed Meredith’s blood off in bathroom

“Another element against her [Amanda Knox] is the mixed traces, her and the victim’s one, in the ‘small bathroom’, an eloquent proof that anyway she had come into contact with the blood of the latter, which she tried to wash away from herself (it was, it seems, diluted blood, while the biological traces belonging to her would be the consequence of epithelial rubbing).

“The fact is very suspicious, but it’s not decisive, besides the known considerations about the sure nature and attribution of the traces in question.”

4. Cassation confirms Amanda Knox lied to the police

“Elements of strong suspicion are also in the inconsistencies and lies which the suspect woman [Amanda Knox] committed over the statements she released on various occasions, especially in the places where her narrative was contradicted by the telephone records which show different incoming SMS messages”.

5. Knox accused Lumumba of murder to avoid Guede’s retaliation

“However, the said calunnia is another circumstantial element against the appellant, insofar as it can be considered a strategy in order to cover up for Mr. Guede, whom she had an interest to protect because of fear of retaliatory accusations against her.”

6. The break-in at the cottage was staged

“And moreover, the staging of a theft in Romanelli’s room, which she is accused of , is also a relevant point within an incriminating picture, considering the elements of strong suspicion (location of glass shards - apparently resulting from the breaking of a glass window pane caused by the throwing of a rock from the outside - on top of the clothes and furniture) a staging, which can be linked to someone who as an author of the murder and flatmate [titolare] with a formal {“qualified”] connection to the dwelling - had an interest to steer suspicion away from himself/herself, while a third murderer in contrast would be motivated by a very different urge after the killing, that is to leave the dwelling as quickly as possible.”


3. Duncan’s Misrepresentation Of Supreme Court

Writing an academic paper on the Amanda Knox case without having read Judge Marasca’s Supreme Court report is akin to writing an academic paper on the assassination of JFK without having read the Warren Report and relying on Oliver Stone’s film and some books written by conspiracy nuts.

The fact Martha Grace Duncan hasn’t even read Marasca’s Supreme Court report, but has instead relied primarily on Amanda Knox and her PR and partisan supporters for her information is embarrassing, to say the least.

Amanda Knox admitted lying to the police in her Waiting to Be Heard. She was convicted of lying by all courts, including the Italian Supreme Court. Since when did the word of a convicted liar trump the official court reports?

Martha Grace Duncan is a professor of law, although you couldn’t tell that from reading her academic paper. Her mistakes e.g. getting basic facts wrong and not bothering to read Marasca’s Supreme Court report or any other official court reports for that matter are unforgivable.

An early version of this Article received the Judith Siegel Pearson Award for Nonfiction in 2014. I am grateful to the judges. Previous versions of this Article were presented at the Dipartimento di Giurisprudenza, Università  degli Studi di Torino; the European University Institute, Fiesole, Italy; the Emory Law Faculty, the Emory Psychoanalytic Studies Program, and the Emory Workshop on Geographies of Violence. My thanks go to the participants. My thanks also go to Robert Ahdieh, Giulia Alagna, Cathy Allan, Flavia Brizio-Skov, Michele Caianiello, Elisabetta Grande, Joe Mackall, Stefano Maffei, Alice Margaria, Claudia Marzella, Gaetano Marzella, Colleen Murphy, David Partlett, Lucia Re, Bob Root, Elena Urso, and Liza Vertinsky. Deep appreciation goes to my research assistants: Stefania Alessi, Mary Brady, Andrew Bushek, Peter Critikos, Sarah Kelsey, Tess Liegois, Zishuang Liu, Mike McClain, Jon Morris, Kaylie Niemasik, Sarah Pittman, Faraz Qaisrani, Deborah Salvato, Shannon Shontz-Phillips, Anthony Tamburro, and Michelle Tanen.


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Netflixhoax 17: Omitted - Too Many Pesky Truths, To Inflame False Notion Italian Justice Failed Here

Posted by Corpusvile



Inside Netflix’s Silicon Valley headquarters


Amanda Knox the Netflix documentary was directed and exec produced by two ardent Knox supporters, Rod Blackhurst and Stephen Robert Morse

They have been campaigning for Knox since 2011, which has included harassing real journalists who actually covered the case far more thoroughly than they did.

The movie opens with lingering almost gleeful close ups of the bloody crime scene and goes downhill from there. It begins by trying to shape a false narrative of handy villains who all seemingly came together like the stars aligning to make innocent Amanda look so screamingly, beyond a reasonable doubtingly guilty.

In the beginning, there were the cops. It was them who railroaded and coerced poor Amanda.

Then it was the nasty prosecutor, who the documentary falsely intimates took part in Knox’s trial and appeal, whereas he only took part in her trial and was one of several prosecutors. The documentary attempts to make out he’s some Sherlock Holmes fanboy nut job.

They also mistranslate him, by having him proclaim that only a female killer would cover a female victim, when he actually said that an “unknown” male killer - within the context of a supposed burglary gone wrong - would be unlikely to cover up a victim.

Then it was the ENFSI certified forensic specialist who Knox’s fan club labeled a “lab technician”. (Oddly, though, the same forensic specialist and prosecutor seemed to do a great job testifying against and prosecuting the black guy, and sogood work guys).

Then it was Meredith Kercher’s friends who conspired against The Railroaded One, then it was the innocent victim’s innocent family themselves who were “persecuting” sweet Amanda.

Now, courtesy of Netflix, the REAL villains were the tabloid media, specifically one tabloid hack, Cockney wideboy Nick Pisa, who comes across like I’d imagine Danny Dyer’s dad would come across as and is quite hilarious, albeit totally devoid of any scruples as any tabloid hack worth his/her salt would.

The media, the prosecutor, the witnesses, THEY were the ones who were responsible for poor Amanda’s woes (and not the 10,000 pages of behavioral, circumstantial and hard physical evidence against her which the documentary brushes over in a cursory manner.)

It makes out that Knox and Sollecito were in love after an alleged five day romance. I say “alleged” as Sollecito is rather inconsistent in this regard, variously claiming a fortnight, 10 days, to a week to now apparently five days. This is hammered home by shots of what I presume to be lovebirds, complete with feel-good treacle music.

Sollecito comes across as a smirking stoned weirdo, and Knox comes across as her usual creepy quasi psychopathic self, complete with crocodile tears and loud theatrical sighs.

Knox is also her usual inconsistent self and can’t seem to stop changing her story, whether it’s droning on that she and Meredith weren’t the best of friends (after droning on in other interviews that they were “dear friends”).

Or claiming that she only knew Guede to look at and had only seen him two or three times. This despite claiming that she only saw Guede for the first time ever in court (Dianne Sawyer interview) and claiming she never had contact with Guede, in her rambling eight page email to the Nencini appellate court before claiming - in a consecutive sentence no less - that she actually did have contact with him.

She proclaims it’s “impossible” for her DNA to be on the murder weapon, disregarding that it was a matter of established fact that her DNA is on the murder weapon with Meredith’s DNA on the blade.

The film makes out that Rudy Guede, the sole person convicted for Meredith Kercher’s murder, left his DNA all over the crime scene, with funky arrows pointing here, there, and everywhere. The problem is this simply isn’t true. Rudy Guede was convicted on less DNA evidence (five samples) than Amanda Knox (six samples).

The documentary also displays quasi racism, where trial and appellate courts can be rejected for innocent Amanda, but innuendo is sufficient for black guys, as Knox lies in the documentary that Guede is a known burglar.

The documentary happily facilitate this lie by obligingly showing a mugshot of Guede with the intimation that it’s a mugshot for burglary. The problem again is, this is simply untrue. Guede has no burglary convictions, and indeed was the only one out of the trio with no prior criminal record before Ms Kercher’s murder.

Knox and Sollecito both had minor run-ins with the law resulting in fines. Guede was never even charged with the burglary, and even the acquitting court decreed that the burglary was staged, as in staged in another flatmate’s room where Amanda Knox left her presumed blood DNA mixed with the murder victim’s and where no trace of Rudy Guede exists.

Knox also claims that no biological traces of her exist in one localized area of the crime scene, specifically Meredith’s bedroom, yet ignores that by such a rationale Guede couldn’t have committed the burglary.

Knox also claims that Guede acted alone, but no court decreed this, and she claims that he broke into her home when Meredith was present, neglecting to explain how Meredith never heard the 4 kilo rock hurling through Filomena Romanelli’s bedroom and why she obligingly did nothing while Guede shimmied 13 feet up a sheer wall TWICE.

The documentary, apparently not content with trying to match the record of most lies ever told in a single documentary before, then breezily attempts to surpass such a record, by introducing the film’s saviors, Stefano Conti and Carla Vechiotti, as “independent forensic DNA experts”.

Conti hypothesizes, like he did in court, that anything is possible. It’s like totally possible that contamination could have occurred, therefore it…  DID occur. Basically a hypothesis on the basis that “anything’s possible” supersedes actual submitted evidence.

Vechiotti not to be outdone promptly contradicts Conti by attacking Low Copy Number (LCN) DNA as a science. Basically he claims Meredith Kercher’s DNA profile on the murder weapon (found in Sollecito’s flat, causing him to lie in his diary as to how the DNA got there by claiming that Meredith had cut herself cooking while at his apartment; but Meredith had never visited Sollecito’s apartment) is so tiny that it should be discarded and ignored.

LCN DNA is however now accepted by courts of law worldwide, including in the State of New York USA. Vechiotti also admitted in court that it was Meredith’s profile, and that contamination couldn’t have occurred due to the six day delay between testing.

She does a u-turn on the documentary though, claiming that contamination was likely due to Meredith’s profile being LCN and so small, despite testifying the exact opposite where it mattered the most, in court.

Problem is, Conti makes the contamination hypothesis for the bra clasp, only Sollecito’s DNA found there isn’t LCN, it’s a 17 loci match, with a US court considering between 10-15 loci sufficient enough to be used as evidence.

The doc also fails to explain how his DNA ended up only on the tiny bra clasp in such abundance and nowhere else apart from a cigarette, but mixed with Knox’s. So, too small for the knife, and hey, anything’s possible for the bra clasp.

They also make a big thing about the bra clasp lying in a sealed crime scene for 46 days, yet don’t mention that two samples of DNA evidence used to convict Guede (Meredith’s sweatshirt and purse) also lay there for 46 days. I guess there’s different burdens of proof bars for black guys.

However again the problem is that all of this (yep, again) is simply untrue. Conti and Vechiotti are not experts in forensic DNA or ENFSI certified.

Carla Vechiotti is a pathologist. Her lab at Sapienza University was shut down due to atrocious hygiene practices including honest to God corpses being strewn about the halls, I kid you not.

Conti’s expertise is “computer medical science”...whatever that’s supposed to be. Nor are they independent. Conti and Vechiotti were found “Objectively biased” and “Objectively deceptive” in court by the Nencini appellate. Specifically because Vechiotti falsely claimed that the technology did not exist to re-test the murder weapon. It did indeed exist in 2011.

Vechiotti was also filmed by the BBC shaking hands with Sollecito’s father in court, no less, hardly appropriate behavior for so-called independents. Vechiotti has also been found guilty of criminal misconduct in a separate case, and was fined €150,000 for screwing up in yet another separate case, known as the Olgiatta murder.

You’ll notice in this review how I’ve rarely mentioned the victim Meredith Kercher. That’s because she barely gets a mention in this sad excuse for a documentary. Not even an RIP.

Meredith, the victim is relegated to a mere footnote and indeed a foot under a duvet.

The doc does use archive footage of her mother, Arline, and intimates that she herself is having doubts, whereas the Kerchers have made very clear on several occasions that they know who murdered their daughter.

Reprehensibly, the doc also displays close up autopsy photos of Meredith, yet the autopsy photos were never made public.

Considering only the Kerchers (who didn’t take part in Netflix’s PR makeover) and the defence - and by extension the two former defendants - had access to such material, this begs the very pertinent question: who provided two ardent Knox supporters with autopsy photos of the murder victim?

The filmmakers should be ashamed of themselves for this alone, utterly contemptible behavior which comes across as needlessly and despicably taunting the victim’s family, and at the very least exploiting their daughter and sister purely for lurid effect to make their documentary more “gritty”.

So what’s the verdict on Amanda Knox the documentary?

Well, it’s a terrible, false and ultimately immoral exercise in innocence fraud, and here are some more of the facts that Knox’s PR infomercial left out:

1 The Supreme Court’s acquitting report states that Amanda Knox was present during Meredith’s murder and may even have possibly washed the victim’s blood from her hands afterwards but it STILL can’t be proved that she did it, which begs more questions, namely why didn’t innocent Amanda call the cops for her friend and why wasn’t she charged as an accessory at least? (The same Supreme Court did not make the same allowance for the black guy though, had he washed the victim’s blood from his shoes for example.) The court also states that there’s “strong suspicion” that Sollecito was there.

2 The Supreme Court’s acquitting report states that the burglary was staged.

3 The Supreme Court’s acquitting report states that Meredith was murdered by three attackers and that Guede had two accomplices. (And you really don’t have to be Stephen Hawking to figure out who these two accomplices were, when you view the evidence in its totality)

4 The Supreme Court’s acquitting report states that Meredith’s murder was NOT due to a burglary gone wrong.

5 The Supreme Court’s acquitting nonetheless finalizes Knox’s calumny/criminal slander conviction, which she was handed for falsely accusing her innocent employer of rape and murder, leaving him in prison for two weeks, and never retracting her statement, despite false reports that she did, meaning that Knox’s status is still that of a convicted criminal felon.

6 In finalizing Amanda Knox’s calumny/criminal slander conviction, the Supreme Court’s acquitting report states that Knox blamed her boss to protect Rudy Guede as she was afraid that Guede could “retaliate by incriminating” her, which of course begs some more very interesting and pertinent questions, such as how could Guede incriminate innocent Amanda to begin with?

7 The Supreme Court’s acquitting report does NOT exonerate Knox, it acquits her due to “insufficient evidence”,like Casey Anthony, OJ Simpson and that nice man Robert Durst now back on trial.

The Truth is Out There, as a fictional 90s FBI agent who investigated strange stuff once mused. The truth in Meredith Kercher’s case is out there too, specifically in the Massei and Nencini court reports.

Never have I seen a case where such overwhelming evidence existed and where all the primary sources and court reports are fully available, only for such false reporting and fawning (and equally false accounts abound). It’s like the mainstream media have collectively turned into the robotic town of Stepford.

Yet the truth often has the strangest habit of coming to light, often when we least expect it to shine. I have hopes it’ll shine in Meredith’s case, in time. The supporter fanboy filmmakers are fooling nobody who is familiar with Meredith’s case, and neither are Amanda Knox or Raffaele Sollecito.

RIP Meredith Kercher, who along with her stoic dignified family (who have been subjected to absolutely abhorrent abuse and attacks by Knox’s supporters online) and Knox’s employer Patrick Lumumba are the only victims here.

May the truth shine in your case one day and the facts and truth come to light.


Friday, October 28, 2016

Netflixhoax 15: Omitted - Amanda Knox’s Incriminating Lies To The Police, Prosecution And Courts

Posted by The Machine



In 2008 Knox lawyers publicly ask that she stop lying publicly; one resigned earlier over lies.

Netflix’s Amanda Knox is an extreme example of misleading bias by cherrypicking. This post is another in our ongoing series, the mothership for material for this media-friendly page online soon.


Overview Of This Post

The filmmakers Blackhurst, McGinn and Morse allow Amanda Knox to portray herself as a terrified ingenue.

One who lied about Diya Lumumba killing Meredith and placed herself at the cottage only because she was subjected to a coercive police interrogation and was physically assaulted.

They don’t question ANY of the witnesses who were present when she was questioned at the police station to contradict her account of events - witnesses who testified as to exactly what did happen over many days at the trial in 2009.

They allow her account of her questioning to go unchallenged though NOT ONE JUDGE at pre-trial hearings, the trial, first appeal, Supreme Court, second appeal, and Supreme Court appeal considered any of her varying accounts to be the truth.

The filmmakers also don’t address the fact that Amanda Knox lied repeatedly to the police and others both before and after her questioning on 5 November 2007, let alone provide viewers with a plausible innocent explanation for these lies.

In this article, I will detail the lies Amanda Knox told the police and others using the official court reports and court testimonies as well as Amanda Knox’s book Waiting to Be Heard.

Instances Of Knox Lies Refuted

Amanda Knox lied to Filomena about where she was on 2 November 2007.

But the Nencini report, 2014, page 174, said:

“In the first telephone call the defendant made to Filomena Romanelli, she clearly said that she would go back to Raffaele’s place to tell him about the strange things discovered in the apartment, and then return with him to check the situation. This circumstance is clearly false, since when Amanda Knox made the first call to Romanelli at 12:08:44 pm on 2 November 2007 she was at already Raffaele Sollecito’s apartment and not at 7 Via Della Pergola.

This fact is certain because it is gleaned from the telephone records, as has been already been said, and specifically from the fact that the telephone call above connected to the cell that served precisely 130 Via Garibaldi, a cell that is not within reach of anyone who would have been at 7 Via Della Pergola.

Amanda Knox claimed that she and Sollecito called 112 before the arrival of the postal police officers at the cottage.

But the Nencini report, 2014, page 176, said:

“There was one specific circumstance about which, this time, both the defendants lied. This is about the succession of events at the moment when the postal police intervened on the spot.”

And the Nencini report, 2014, page 179, said:

“From the testimony of the witnesses referred to above it thus clearly emerges how both of the defendants (but to be precise it was Raffaele Sollecito to tell the police this) declared to Inspector Battistelli that they were sitting there awaiting the arrival of the Carabinieri whom they had called. However Inspector Battistelli indicated in his service notes that he arrived on the scene at 12:35 pm, and questioned in the court hearings by the Judges of First Instance Court, he explained that he looked at his watch at the moment when he arrived at the cottage.” (The Nencini report, page 179).

Amanda Knox told the postal police on 2 November that Meredith always locked her door.

But the Massei trial report, 2010, page 31, said:

“This last circumstance, downplayed by Amanda, who said that even when she went to the bathroom for a shower Meredith always locked the door to her room (see declarations of Marco Zaroli, page 180, hearing of February 6, 2009 and declarations of Luca Altieri, page 218, hearing of February 6, 2009), had alarmed Ms. Romanelli more. She said she was aware of only once, when she had returned to England and had been away for a few days, that Meredith had locked the door of her room. (This circumstance was confirmed by Laura Mezzetti, page 6, hearing of February 14, 2009).”.

Knox pretended she hadn’t called Meredith when she spoke to Filomena.

But the Massei trial report, 2010, page 387, said:

“Amanda called Romanelli, to whom she started to detail what she had noticed in the house (without, however, telling her a single word about the unanswered call made to Meredith, despite the question expressly put to her by Romanelli)”

Amanda Knox falsely claimed in her e-mail to friends on 4 November 2007 that she had called Filomena first

But she had actually called Meredith a minute earlier.  The Nencini appeal report, 2014, page 169, said:

“A first discrepancy is immediately noticeable between what the defendant states in the memorial and what is ascertained from the telephone records.”

“At the moment when Amanda Marie Knox rang Filomena Romanelli she had already made a call to the English telephone used by Meredith Kercher, not therefore the opposite.”

Amanda Knox claimed that when she called Meredith’s English phone after speaking to Filomena, it “just kept ringing, no answer”.

But the Nencini appeal report, 2014, page 170, said:

“From the telephone records it appears that the telephone call made at 12:11:02 pm to the Italian Vodafone service of the victim lasted 3 seconds”

Amanda Knox claimed she slept until around 10:00am the next morning.

But the Nencini appeal report, 2014, page 158, said:

“What the Court finds proved is that at 6:02:59 am on 2 November 2007 they were not in fact asleep, as the defendants claim, but rather the occupants were well awake. At 5:32 am on 2 November 2007 the computer connected to a site for listening to music, remaining connected for around half an hour. Therefore, at 5:32 am someone in the house occupied by Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito sat in front of the computer and listened to music for around half an hour and then, at 6:02:59 am, switched on Raffaele Sollecito’s mobile phone”¦”

Amanda Knox claimed she was at Sollecito’s apartment when she received Diya Lumumba’s text message.

But the Nencini appeal report, 2014, pages 132-132, said: 

“At 8:18 pm and 12 seconds, Amanda Marie Knox received a text message sent to her by Patrick Lumumba, in which he informed her that it would not be necessary for her to go to the bar to carry out her usual work. At the time of receipt, Amanda Marie Knox’s handset connected via the sector 3 mast at Torre dell’Acquedotto, 5 dell’Aquila, as shown by phone records entered in evidence. This mast cannot be reached from the vicinity of 130 Corso Garibaldi, the home of Raffaele Sollecito. According to the findings of the judicial police entered in evidence, this mast could be reached by anyone in Via Rocchi, Piazza Cavallotti or Piazza 4 Novembre, all locations in Perugia which are intermediate between 130 Corso Garibaldi, the home of Raffaele Sollecito, and Via Alessi, where the “Le Chic” bar is located.

“From this set of facts established in the case, Amanda Marie Knox’s claim, according to which she received Patrick Lumumba’s text message while she was at 130 Corso Garibaldi, appears false. Given the mast connected to and the time, it is reasonable to assume that, when Amanda received the message, she had already left Raffaele Sollecito’s home and was on her way to the “˜Le Chic’ bar. Presumably, she then turned around and went back.”

Amanda Knox initially claimed she was at Sollecito’s apartment on the night of the murder.

But Sollecito categorically stated in his own signed witness statement that Amanda Knox wasn’t at his apartment on the night of the murder: Raffaele Sollecito’s witness statement, 5 November 2007, said:

“At 9pm I went home alone and Amanda said that she was going to Le Chic because she wanted to meet some friends. We said goodbye. I went home, I rolled myself a spliff and made some dinner, but I don’t remember what I ate. At around eleven my father phoned me on the house phone. I remember Amanda wasn’t back yet. I surfed on the Internet for a couple of hours after my father’s phone call, and I stopped only when Amanda came back, about one in the morning, I think.”

And Judge Bruno and Judge Marasca of the Fifth Chambers stated in their 2015 report that Amanda Knox was at the cottage when Meredith was killed.

The Bruno and Marasca report, 2015, said:

“”¦ now we note, regarding Amanda Knox, that her presence in the dwelling, that was the “theatre of the murder”, was proclaimed in the trial process in alignment with her own admissions, including those contained in her signed statement in the part where she states she was in the kitchen, after the young English girl [Meredith] and another person went off to Kercher’s room for sexual intercourse, she heard a harrowing scream from her friend, so piercing and unbearable that she fell down huddled on the floor, holding her hands tightly against her ears so as not to hear more.

We do indeed share the previous judge [Nencini’s] opinion that this part of the accused’s story is reliable, due to the plausible observation that it was she who first put forward a possible sexual motive for the murder and mentioned the victim’s harrowing scream, at a time when the investigators still didn’t have the results of the examination of the corpse or the autopsy, nor the witness information, which was subsequently gathered, about the victim’s scream and the time it was heard.

Amanda Knox told the police she hadn’t replied to Diya Lumumba’s text message.

But Judge Chieffi’s Supreme Court report, 2008, page 36, said:

“the police, who merely asked Ms Knox whether she had replied to the message that he had sent her, that her phone showed she had received, and to the young woman’s negative response it was put to her that [her telephone showed] that a reply was in fact given.”

Amanda Knox claimed the police hit her.

But the witnesses who were present when Knox was questioned, including her interpreter, testified under oath at the trial in 2009 that she wasn’t hit.

These repudiations are from the relevant court transcripts:

Giuliano Mignini: ... violence, of “¦

Monica Napoleoni: But absolutely not!

Mignini:  You remember it”¦ you’ve described it; however, I’ll ask it. Was she threatened? Did she suffer any beatings?

Anna Donnino: Absolutely not.

GM: She suffered maltreatments?

AD:  Absolutely not.

Carlo Pacelli:  In completing and consolidating in cross-examination the questions by the public prosecutor, I refer to the morning of the 6th of November, to the time when Miss Knox had made her summary information. In that circumstance, Miss Knox was struck on the head with punches and slaps?

Anna Donnino:  Absolutely not.

CP:  In particular, was she struck on the head by a police woman?

AD:  Absolutely not!

CP:  Miss Knox was, however, threatened?

AD:  No, I can exclude that categorically!

CP:  With thirty years of prison”¦ ?

AD:  No, no, absolutely not.

CP:  Was she, however, sworn at, in the sense that she was told she was a liar?

AD:  I was in the room the whole night, and I saw nothing of all this.

CP:  So the statements that had been made had been made spontaneously, voluntarily?

AD:  Yes.

Carlo Della Valla:  This”¦

Giancarlo Massei:  Pardon, but let’s ask questions”¦ if you please.

CP:  You were also present then during the summary informations made at 5:45?

AD:  Yes.

CP:  And were they done in the same way and methods as those of 1:45?

AD:  I would say yes. Absolutely yes.

CP:  To remove any shadow of doubt from this whole matter, as far as the summary information provided at 5:45 Miss Knox was struck on the head with punches and slaps?

AD:  No.

CP:  In particular, was she struck on the head by a policewoman?

AD:  No.

Knox told the police she hadn’t smoked marijuana.

But Amanda Knox herself in “Waiting to Be Heard” said:

“When we finished, a detective put me through a second round of questioning, this time in Italian. Did we ever smoke marijuana at No.7 Via della Pergola? ‘No, we don’t smoke,’ I lied. squirming inwardly as I did.”

Amanda Knox was forced to accuse Diya Lumumba of murder.

But Amanda Knox voluntarily told the police and her interpreter that Diya Lumumba had killed Meredith.

Anna Donnino: “It’s a thing that has remained very strongly with me because the first thing that she did is that she immediately puts her hands on her ears, making this gesture rolling her head, curving in her shoulders also and saying “˜It’s him! It’s him! It was him!’”

Rita Ficarra: “She suddenly put her hands to her head, burst out crying and said to us “˜It’s him, it’s him, it was him, he killed her’.

Amanda Knox then claimed Diya Lumumba killed Meredith in two witness statements she insisted on writing.

But the Nencini appeal report, 2014, page 114, said:

“Amanda Marie Knox accused Patrick Lumumba of the murder at 1:45 am on 6 November 2007.”

“Amanda Marie Knox repeated the allegations before the magistrate, allegations which she never retracted in all the following days.”

Also Amanda Knox reiterated her false allegation against Diya Lumumba on 6 November 2007 when under no pressure.

“[Amanda] herself, furthermore, in the statement of 6 November 2007 (admitted into evidence ex. articles 234 and 237 of the Criminal Procedure Code and which was mentioned above) wrote, among other things, the following:

“I stand by my [accusatory] statements that I made last night about events that could have taken place in my home with Patrick”¦in these flashbacks that I’m having, I see Patrick as the murderer”¦”

This statement was that specified in the notes of 6 November 2007, at 20:00, by Police Chief Inspector Rita Ficarra, and was drawn up following the notification of the detention measure, by Amanda Knox, who “requested blank papers in order to produce a written statement to hand over” to the same Ficarra. (Massei report, page 389.)

For several weeks Amanda Knox let the police believe Diya Lumumba killed Meredith.

But the Nencini report, pages 115-116, said:

She never retracted her false and malicious allegation the whole time he was in prison. This verdict from the 2013-14 Nencini Appeal Court was THE FINAL WORD from the courts; the Supreme Court did not reverse it: 

“Amanda Marie Knox maintained her false and malicious story for many days, consigning Patrick Lumumba to a prolonged detention. She did not do this casually or naively. In fact, if the young woman’s version of events is to be relied upon, that is to say, if the allegations were a hastily prepared way to remove herself from the psychological and physical pressure used against her that night by the police and the prosecuting magistrate, then over the course of the following days there would have been a change of heart. This would inevitably have led her to tell the truth, that Patrick Lumumba was completely unconnected to the murder. But this did not happen.

“And so it is reasonable to take the view that, once she had taken the decision to divert the attention of the investigators from herself and Raffaele Sollecito, Amanda Marie Knox became fully aware that she could not go back and admit calunnia. A show of remorse would have exposed her to further and more intense questioning from the prosecuting magistrate. Once again, she would bring upon herself the aura of suspicion that she was involved in the murder.

Indeed, if Amanda Marie Knox had admitted in the days following to having accused an innocent man, she would inevitably have exposed herself to more and more pressing questions from the investigators. She had no intention of answering these, because she had no intention of implicating Rudy Hermann Guede in the murder.

“By accusing Patrick Lumumba, who she knew was completely uninvolved, because he had not taken part in the events on the night Meredith was attacked and killed, she would not be exposed to any retaliatory action by him. He had nothing to report against her. In contrast, Rudy Hermann Guede was not to be implicated in the events of that night because he, unlike Patrick Lumumba, was in Via della Pergola, and had participated [100] in the murder. So, he would be likely to retaliate by reporting facts implicating the present defendant in the murder of Meredith Kercher.

“In essence, the Court considers that the only reasonable motive for calunnia against Patrick Lumumba was to deflect suspicion of murder away from herself and from Raffaele Sollecito by blaming someone who she knew was not involved, and was therefore unable to make any accusations in retaliation. Once the accusatory statements were made, there was no going back. Too many explanations would have had to be given to those investigating the calunnia; explanations that the young woman had no interest in giving.”

Knox claimed that Mignini questioned her and made suggestions on 5 November 2007.

But the transcript of Knox’s cross-examination at trial 2009 said:

Amanda Knox: The declarations were taken against my will. And so, everything that I said, was said in confusion and under pressure, and, because they were suggested by the public minister [Giuliano Mignini].

Carlo Pacelli: Excuse me, but at 1:45, the pubblico ministero was not there, there was only the judicial police.


Conclusion

The computer and telephone records as well as the corroborative testimony of multiple eyewitnesses provide irrefutable proof that Amanda Knox lied repeatedly to the police and others. Many of these lies were told before and after her questioning on 5 November 2007, so they can’t be attributed to police coercion.

There isn’t a plausible innocent explanation for these lies. Perhaps that’s the reason why the filmmakers don’t address them - they presumably don’t want to portray Amanda Knox in a negative light. It would be far harder to persuade their audience that Amanda Knox is an innocent victim, which is undeniably their ultimate objective. They were never interested in making an objective and balanced documentary that give viewers the full picture. 

Judge Bruno and Judge Marasca clearly couldn’t brush these numerous lies under the carpet and pretend they didn’t exist because Judge Massei, Judge Nencini and Judge Chieffi had detailed Amanda Knox’s lies in their reports. They acknowledge that Amanda Knox lied and claimed she had lied to cover for Rudy Guede.

The Netflix filmmakers completely hide all of this in their documentary.


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Netflixhoax 14: Omitted - Any Mention Of Big Red Flag In Forced Closing Of Vecchiotti’s Laboratory

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters


Netflix’s Amanda Knox is an extreme example of misleading bias by cherrypicking. This post is another in our ongoing series, the mothership for material for this media-friendly page online soon.



This post is one in our ongoing series.

Amazingly EIGHTEEN MONTHS AGO Dr Carla Vecchiotti became quite possibly the most discredited DNA expert in the world, when news about her appalling lab conditions exploded in Italy. 

In their narrow-minded fanaticism to make Dr Mignini the most reviled prosecutor in the world - and Nick Pisa the most reviled reporter - the producers somehow left that awkward fact out of their report entirely. She and Dr Conti are given major time in the film to misrepresent key evidence. 

Netflix’s own due diligence (if any; we think not) missed all of this entirely. Now thanks to Netflix the misrepresented evidence and Vecchiotti’s discredited opinions of the Scientific Police labs are being given credence as hard fact worldwide.

KrissyG in her own excellent review of the movie summarised the conditions that led to the lab being closed down. It happened directly because the Carabinieri DNA experts Dr Barni and Dr Berti appointed for the 2013-14 Nencini appeal (which Netflix also omitted any mention of) visited the place to inspect it, and to pick up some key evidence, a DNA sample from the knife.   

They made mention of what they encountered in their report and in court testimony. That was nearly three years ago (January 2014) long before the final cut of the movie and long before the sale to Netflix was a done deal.

In our view this HAD to be yet another deliberate dishonesty. 

2. Catnip’s Translations Of Main Italian Reports Of Lab Closing

Catnip kindly provided us with these translations of some of the Italian news reports 18 months ago.

The March 2015 report from News 24

The Medico-Legal Institute of Sapienza University in Rome was closed down this morning.

For some time it has been known that unhygienic conditions were the norm in the Institute and the Rector of the University has decided today, in anticipation of NAS findings, to shut down the entire mortuary.

Sapienza’s Institute did not have adequate space to accommodate the large number pf bodies and quite often they had to be spread out along the corridors.

The hygiene rules were onerous and the building inadequate. It was for this reason that the Public Prosecutor’s Office had ordered a detailed report by NAS which would have presented their findings within a few weeks.

The Rector of the University, Eugenio Gaudio, has pre-empted the PPO’s expected closure of the Institute. The closure, explains Guadio, had been necessary to prevent the raising of legal questions as regards the autopsies being carried out, which would have risked the results being no longer reliable in future.

During the NAS inspections, even cadaver remains from 1990 had been found, a serious anomaly due to, as the mortuary attendants explained, the fact that no one had ever reclaimed the bodies. Another serious problem at the Sapienza Institute is the huge disorder that reigns inside the building, where, in point of fact, cadavers are to be found out in the corridors.

The March 2015 report from Corriere.

Rome: bodies in the mortuary corridors, Medico-Legal Institute of Sapienza closed

The Rector’s decision anticipates the MOSSA by the Prosecutor’s Office which has been investigating conditions at the Medico-Legal Institute of Rome’s flagship university

by Giulio De Santis

ROME ““ The University of Sapienza’s Legal Medicine Institute has been closed for health reasons. The decision has been made by the university’s Rector, Eugenio Gaudio, who made the order before the Prosecutor’s Office could make a move. At Clodio Place the investigators, in fact, are expecting the filing of a report by NAS, where serious hygienic shortcomings by the management of the Institute are highlighted.

Unreliable autopsies?

The closure has been necessary to head off the raising of questions relating to future autopsy results that would have risked being unreliable. The problems discovered by the Carabinieri of the Health and Food Adulteration Unit ““ and noted to the university administration ““ relate to, in fact, the equipment, starting with the tables, intended for carrying out autopsies, which have deteriorated during the course of time. The oldest have been in the building since the early 1980s while those acquired more recently go back to ten years ago. Even the instruments used to examine the cadavers have deteriorated and should be replaced.

Cadavers in the corridors

During the inspections, remains of cadavers preserved since 1990 were found. An anomaly due to the fact that no one had ever reclaimed the bodies. The other problem raised by the doctors at the Institute and revealed by NAS is the disorder that reigns in the Institute, where it is possible to see cadavers in corridors due to the lack of space in which to store them. Sapienza has now promised to proceed with restoration works. There is lack of certainty though on the end point by which the Institute will become operative again. There is no compulsory time limit but the university has guaranteed a return to normality by the beginning of May.

Transferring the bodies

Contributing to the uncertainty are Sapienza’s empty coffers and the collection of funds is expected to be complicated. In the meantime, to try and minimise the impact of the closure, autopsies will be carried out at the Tor Vergata Institute directed by Professor Giovanni Arcudi. The bodies have already started to arrive in the last few days in the mortuary of that university and in some cases the work has been given to specialists from the Gemelli Polyclinic. A case file has been opened by the Prosecutor’s Office and assigned to Antonella Nespola who in October had already ordered the sequestration of the mortuary. The decision to close the Institute has been communicated to the Prosecutor’s Office, who is caught out by the choice.

The March 2015 report from RAI News.

Rome, Medico-Legal Institute closed. The Public Prosecutor’s Office is investigating health conditions. The decision of the Sapienza University Rector Ettore Gaudio. Cadavers from 1990 found.

Cadavers in the corridors because of lack of space for storing them, serious health issues in the management of the Institute. For this reason, Sapienza’s Medico-Legal Institute has been shut down for health reasons. The decision was made by the university’s Rector, Eugenio Gaudio, who made the order before the Prosecutor’s Office could make a move. At Clodio Place the investigators, in fact, are expecting the filing of a report by NAS, where serious hygienic shortcomings by the management of the Institute are highlighted.

The closure had been necessary to pre-empt questions being raised about the risk of future autopsy results being unreliable. During the inspections, cadaver remains preserved from 1990 were found. An anomaly due to the fact that no one had ever claimed the bodies. The other problem raised by the doctors at the Institute and noted by NAS is the disorder that reigns in the Institute, where it is possible to see cadavers in the corridors because of the lack of storage space.

The March 2015 report from Cronaca

Cadavers in corridors, Medico-Legal Institute in Rome closed
Rector Eugenio Gaudio’s decision: «Autopsy results at risk».
01 March 2015

There were cadavers in the corridors due to lack of space, as well as serious health issues in the management of the building. For this reason the Medico-Legal Institute at Sapienza University in Rome has been closed for health reasons.

RECTOR’S DECISION. The decision had been taken by the unicersity’s Rector, Eugenio Gaudio, who made the order before the Public Prosecutor’s Office could act. At Clodio Place, the investigators, in fact, are expecting the filing of a NAS report, where serious hygiene problems in the management of the Institute are highlighted. The closure was necessary to forestall questions being raised concerning future autopsy results which would have been at risk of being unreliable.

REMAINS OF CADAVERS FROM 1990. Inspections revealed remains of cadavers preserved from 1990. An anomaly due to the fact that no one had ever reclaimed the bodies. The other problem raised by the doctors at the Institute and noted by NAS is the disorder that reigns in the Institute, where it is possible to see cadavers in the corridors because of lack of space to store them.

The March 2015 report from Dagospia.

Sad corridors dimly lit. A room with refrigeration units from the 1980s, dozens of units occupied by the bodies of persons deceased by violent means and never recognised, never asked for, and, if foreigners, never repatriated. It’s here that, as many say, along the basement corridor it is even sadder: there’s no space inside and the cadavers are just left there, on trolleys, at times not even in mortuary bags. The smell, they say, is pungent and nauseating. To say nothing of the dissection tables and the equipment, or even the safety of the workers. Non-existent.

And so the Public Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation by NAS, the Carabinieri of the Health and Food Adulteration Unit [nucleo antisofisticazione e sanità ]. Eugenio Gaudio, Rector of Sapienza University “” of which the Medico-Legal Institute is a part “” and Domenico Alessio, Director-General of the Polyclinic at Umberto I University, have pre-empted likely legal orders deciding to shut down the building.

SAPIENZA MORTUARY

It received the latest body last Wednesday a little before midnight. The others “” like that of the young man squashed on Friday night by a bus in Piazza Venezia and dying in San Giovanni Hospital “” will all be, from Thursday onwards, taken to the Gemelli Polyclinic.

A truly disconcerting situation for the largest mortuary in the Capital, the Sapienza Medico-Legal Institute. Already by October month end Public Prosecutor Antonella Nespola had sequestered six operating theatres at the Umberto I University Polyclinic, which is close to the mortuary, and also placed the Medico-Legal Institute in her sights.

And «for possible contamination, likely compromised results, the building physically falling apart, cadavers in the corridors and inadequate equipment», they explain in the mortuary. «NAS inspected the mortuary when I was not even Rector» explains Eugenio Gaudio. «We are all hopeful that the restoration works will conclude as soon as possible: within two months».

MORTUARY

Eight years a scandal led to the lose of the operating theatre at Umberto I: not only were the health and safety conditions extremely bad (blood traces everywhere, building falling apart, a back and forth of funeral agency operators who were following the relatives of the deceased), but corneas were being stolen from the bodies, which in turn ended up having to be transferred from one place to another under armed guard. But today «we’re re-opening the Polyclinic dissection room» explains Gaudio. «I’ve put in an order for autopsy tables and new and modern equipment».

And even if the Rector highlights that the decision to close «had been taken in accord with the Health Director and Director-General of the Polyclinic, with all due care and authority» in the Public Prosecutor’s Office the news of the closure, which seems to have arrived with only 24 hours’ notice, has raised a storm. Chief Prosecutor Giuseppe Pignatone plays it down. But he also explains that today or at the latest tomorrow «there will be a meeting at the PPO with the top layers of management from the Polyclinic and Rector Eugenio Gaudio». And in the meantime, «for now, Gemelli will be asked to handle the immediate exigencies».

The funeral undertakers who tell of the scene from hell are describing «flies and bluebottles attracted by the odour, doors that don’t seal properly and when you go downstairs at the least you almost fall ill», as a source who works in the mortuary recalls. «But even on the first floor, where the forensic pathologists work, everything has remained stuck at 40 years ago. To say nothing of the place where the evidence is kept: all heaped up on each other, contaminated according to me unusable».

EUGENIO GAUDIO

Captain Dario Praturlon, NAS Commander in Rome who last September on delegation from the Public Prosecutor’s Office carried out an inspection, explains that «we only had to check if there were health and safety irregularities: and we had found lots of them. The employers “” that is the Rector and the Polyclinic Health Director “” are obliged to fix up the building. To give the workers a safe place to work. We found none of all this». The first criminal charges are expected quite soon, although relating to previous management.


3. Lab Reopens Sans Vecchiotti

The lab has been closed for 18 months but now Corriere reports its reopening under the supervision of three prosecutors’ offices, making it all but impossible for either the lab or Vecchiotti to perpetrate further transgressions.

University’s Polyclinic takes over management of Rome’s mortuary instead of Sapienza University, while the forensic pathology department is now overseen by the three relevant Public Prosecutor’s Offices (Rome, Tivoli and Civitavecchia).


Monday, October 17, 2016

Netflixhoax 13: Omitted - How The DNA Processes And Evidence Points Were Deliberately Misrepresented

Posted by KrissyG



Above, modern Scientific Police labs in Rome; bottom, hellhole consultants labs (now closed)

1. Introduction

“Amanda Knox” by Netflix is massively misleading on the DNA. It completely ignores that Conti’s and Vechiotti’s 2011 report was unceremoniously ridiculed in 2013 by the First Chambers of the Supreme Court and the fraudulent pair branded as “˜intellectually dishonest’. 

Netflix presents Conti and Vechiotti as trustworthy and competent when Vechiotti’s appalling lab had already been forcibly shut down. They ignore that the pair illegally colluded with US and British DNA academics Hampikian, Budowle and Gill beholden to the defense who interfered to pervert the outcome of the appeal.

They present Knox and Sollecito as “˜exonerated’ and “˜innocent’ based in part on Vecchiotti & Conti’s misleading narrative when they were nothing of the kind.

They ignore that, in large part because of their incompetences and dishonesties, the 2011 appeal was annulled.  They ignore that the case was remitted back down to a different Appeal Court, in a different area (Florence) under a different judge (Nencini) while the 2011 judge (Hellman) was edged into retirement.

And they ignore that Italy’s best DNA experts, from the Carabinieri labs in Rome, were assigned the role of DNA analysis for the repeat appeal, as they should have been in 2011, and important confirmations were presented and barely challenged.

Here is TJMK’s series of DNA analyses and the Wiki’s giant DNA spreadsheet with a lengthy explanation of how it works. And here in Italian is the full rebuttal of all defense challenges by Dr Stefanoni, lead prosecution expert at trial and annulled appeal. 

Finally, a tip on the images below. These are movie snippets, with English subtitles included. They expand to full screen in Acrobat Reader (please download it if you dont have it) if you click on each image.

Part 2 below explains what is in the film that misleads, and Part 3 describes all that was left out.

2. What Is In The Film

In the film, Vecchiotti and Conti appear quite deeply into the film, at minute 64 of 92 minutes.  The appearance of the “˜DNA experts’ towards the end enables the film makers to reinforce the image of a great miscarriage of justice, leading up to the grand finale denouement. 


Enter Conti. Referring to the evidence of Sollecito’s DNA found on the bra, Conti introduces the audience to a key principle of DNA.  It is “˜dust spread everywhere,’ he avers.  To set the scene, we are informed that the Forensic Police (”˜Scientific Police’ in Italy) acted chaotically and that the crime scene was an absolute shambles.  We hear an audio voiceover of a supposed scientific policeman saying to another “˜this is absurd, there is unbelievable chaos everywhere’.

So there we have it.  “˜A crime scene must be completely sterile’.  We are roundly informed that this crime scene was not, based on Conti’s word for it.




Next, enter his co-partner, the other “˜independent’ expert hired by the Hellmann appeal court to evaluate the evidence concerning he DNA identified on the presumed murder weapon knife, and the bra clasp sample: Carla Vecchiotti.


Carla Vecchiotti claims that the issue of contamination of the DNA “˜was raised by the court’.  Shot moves to the scientific police as she continues, “˜ it could have been by other people’.

She then throws in a red herring.  “˜There was the DNA of two unknown males on the clasp’, which we can dispense with straight away.  In reality they were fragments of DNA, no more than 6 ““ 8 alleles, and precisely of the type of dust contamination Conti is talking about.  This effectively subverts the issue away from the strong DNA profile of Sollecito found on the clasp.




Vecchiotti then continues the theme of the film that the prosecutor Mignini was acting entirely intuitively.  “˜You can’t just make it what you want it to be’.

She claims there are “˜problems with contamination in the laboratory’, yet in court she insisted the alleged contamination was at the collection stage, and not at the laboratory.  A picture of the knife comes up.




Vecchiotti comments, “˜The Knox DNA profile is a very good one.’

Of the Kercher DNA on the blade she states, “˜It’s so small.  So scarce, the likelihood of contamination is very high.’

From this, she concludes the Kercher DNA is “˜inconclusive’.

The film makers show us the picture at least three times with “˜INCONCLUSIVE’ in bold red letters.  “˜I asked Dr Stefanoni (the forensic police chief in charge of this case) how she concluded this is the murder weapon without any other evidence?’

However, the courts upheld, and Conti and Vecchiotti themselves concurred under oath, that far from being inconclusive, it was a strong profile of Meredith, at 15 alleles.




Again, Vecchiotti repeats the lie that the laboratory was contaminated, when no such finding was upheld by any court, including Hellmann’s, by referring to Stefanoni stating she had examined fifty of Meredith’s samples at the same time, see above.  She insinuates Stefanoni overrode standards so that they would not have to close the lab up between samples.




The film then cuts to clips of US media outrage at Vecchiotti’s findings of “˜contamination’, even dragging in Donald Trump, no doubt sucking on a tic tac, with just a small cameo of Mignini for “˜balance’, stating that “˜all evidence’ needs to be looked at, implying that Mignini accepted the alleged contamination and was now trying to deflect from it onto other evidence.  The reader should bear in mind, that in fact, there was no such finding of contamination in Stefanoni’s labs.

Nor does she or her co-partner ever once in the film, and nor do the film makers mention that their report was discredited by the Chieffi Supreme court and Hellmann expunged.




Having established ““ falsely ““ that Vecchiotti and Conti had proven contamination to an unwary audience, the film then cuts to Amanda Knox claiming, “˜There is no trace of me in the murder room’.

We are shown a diagram of eight black spots of Rudy Guede’s traces and one white one for Sollecito, some distance away from the body, underneath which it was actually found.  A police mug shot of Guede appears on screen, whom Knox describes as “˜ a guy who regularly committed burglaries’.

From this we are led to believe Guede is a seasoned criminal career burglar, when as of the time, he had no convictions at all.  The film makers inform the audience it is, “˜a burglary gone wrong’, not a finding by any court, apart from the vacated Hellmann court.  The balance (at roughly six to one against, in terms of time coverage) once again is provided by Mignini who points out its unfairness, given the evidence found at the trial.




The film then cuts to Conti, who makes an astonishing confession ““ for a scientific professional expert witness and professor ““  stating, “˜What happened inside that room between Guede and Meredith, was not a job assigned to me.’

So now it is out in the open, Vecchiotti and Conti, far from protecting their professional integrity by following their ethical code, which states that they are expected to act with objectivity in their professional role and should safeguard this by recusing themselves should they feel that they have become advocates for a party, in the film do not even hide their partisanship.

Conti feels confident in this “˜documentary’, now as a global film star, to declare his advocacy for Knox and Sollecito with the above statement.




The Vecchiotti and Conti sequence of the film ends with a drawn out episode of a supercilious Conti leaning back in an attitude of condescension, no doubt aimed at Mignini, when he concludes,

“˜Cicero once said’ ““ pause ““ “˜ Any man can err, but only a fool perseveres.’

Next, the film completely ignores that his and Vechiotti’s 2011 report was unceremoniously ridiculed in 2013 by the next level court ““ Chieffi, Supreme Court ““ and the pair branded as “˜intellectually dishonest’.  It ignores that the case was remitted back to a completely different Appeal Court, in a completely different area, from Umbria to Tuscany, and under a completely different judge.

In the Netflix film, a diagram showing Knox’ DNA on the knife handle is admired as a strong profile.  Meredith’s DNA on the blade is highlighted as a question mark.  About three times, the viewer is shown the same diagram with the word “˜INCONCLUSIVE’ above the Meredith DNA in red letters.

The truth is, ALL of the defence experts ““ including Vecchiotti and Conti ““ accepted it was a strong DNA profile of Meredith (15-allele) so we see a blatant misrepresentation here, that rather than the confidently strong profile it is, Vecchiotti declares that it is “˜inconclusive’, and leads the viewer to believe this was because of proven contamination.

This deception is underlined by the film makers immediately galloping to the 2011 Hellman Court after the Vecchiotti & Conti interview, with wild scenes of Hellmann freeing the pair and declaring them innocent.

The connection is made: the knife DNA ““ and the bra clasp ““ is “˜contaminated’ and that is why the pair were freed.  “˜This was the only flimsy evidence,’ is the message conveyed. Thanks to the lurid and putrid imaginings of Mignini and Pisa, those kids suffered, the viewer is told.

Cue mass media bombardment by the outraged Netflix viewers, on Twitter and Facebook excoriating Pisa, mostly, and also Mignini as having botched up the whole case and ruined the lives of these two kids.

3. What Was Left Out

Part 3 is perhaps twice as long as Part 2 because Netflix lied by omission to its audience on such a grand scale. These are the areas to be covered.

  • I will look at Vecchiotti and Conti’s true track record, which is appalling. The husband of a murder victim was denied justice for a staggering NINETEEN years, as DNA investigator Vecchiotti, et al, negligently refused to investigate the DNA of the perpetrator of the murder.

  • How did Vecchiotti and Conti get appointed by Hellmann court at all? I reveal how the US contingent of pro-Amanda Knox scientists helped “˜fix’ it.

  • I will highlight the legerdemain ploys adopted by the pair in preparing their report, which predicated Hellmann freeing the pair from prison. It was a moot point henceforth as to whether they would ever return.

  • I will set out Chieffi’s and Nencini’s damning criticisms of Vecchiotti and Conti in the case.  Crini points out, in the Nencini report, that Vecchiotti’s own laboratory fridge did not have a thermometer!

  • I will show how the elaborate “˜heist’ of the judicial system in springing “˜the kids’ from jail happened. A US scientist, using Boise University resources Greg Hampikian was bragging to courts in the US under oath, even as Hellmann had been expunged and Nencini had just recommenced the appeal, that, “˜I am still working on the Amanda Knox case’.

  • My analysis exposes the interconnections between US advocates Hampikian, Bruce Budowle and British forensic expert, Dr Peter Gill, with Vecchiotti and Conti, which casts grave doubt on the pair being “˜independent’ expert witnesses at all.



Vecchiotti lab

The Conti and Vecchiotti Track Record

On 21 April 2016, Carla Vechiotti, together with Pascali, Vicenza and Arberello, was found guilty in a civil suit of gross negligence in the examination of the murder of Contessa Ogliata, dating from 1991, and ordered to pay €150,000 in damages.  Vecchiotti appears to have a reputation for cutting more corners than Stirling Moss, with other cases often quoted, with which she is associated.

Recently, Conti and Vecchiotti’s laboratory in Rome was closed down due to public health issues. Contamination almost certainly occurred in their laboratory.  Rotting cadavers unclaimed by relatives, were said to have piled up in the corridors.  Stefanoni’s laboratory, which followed all the conventional standards of the day was never proven to have been contaminated.
Carla Vecchiotti’s reputation is in tatters. She has made a number of shocking errors in a couple of murder cases, she repeatedly misled the appeal court - Judge Nencini described her and Conti’s work as “misleading” and “reprehensible”.



Vecchiotti lab

The Hellmann Court (Appeal Court)

On 18 Dec 2010 at the Hellmann appeal the defences made three unusual requests, (a) to get an independent review of the DNA and (b) to bring in Alessi to challenge Guede’s testimony and (c) Aviello, a mobster.  Hellmann agreed to appoint Conti & Vecchiotti from La Sapienza University in Rome.  In the interim 16 Dec 2010, Rudy Guede was definitively convicted.

Request (a) was challenged by Comodi, saying there were many experts for both sides already.  Hellmann argued a judge did not have sufficient expertise to evaluate the experts’ opinions.  Having achieved the appointment of Conti & Vecchiotti , Conti & Vecchiotti [”˜the experts’] delivered the coup de grâce: claiming international standards were not met, contamination could not be ruled out, and that the DNA profile of Meredith could not be reliable.

The pair made the claim the DNA could have “˜come from dust’, strongly rebutted by Stefanoni, who said in that case, there should have been contamination elsewhere, not just on the bra clasp.

Contamination from the laboratory was completely ruled out, contrary to the claims made in the Netflix film, after which, “˜the experts’ moved to a stance that the contamination happened before it even got to the laboratories.  At the hearing, Conti was constantly asked what the criteria were for alleging contamination, to which he replied, “˜Anything is possible’.  As a scientist, a proper evaluation of probability was expected of him.

In their report they claimed, “˜The electrophoretic profiles exhibited reveal that the sample indicated by the letter B (blade of knife) was a Low Copy Number (LCN) sample, and, as such, all of the precautions indicated by the international scientific community should have been applied.’

It transpired “˜the experts’ had decided to use the US standards of Bruce Budowle and supported by Gill, et al., that the threshold for Low Copy Number (LCN) DNA should be raised to 200 picograms, from the hitherto conventional 100 picograms.

In addition, “˜the experts’ argued, the US standard of 50 RFU’s should be used in place of the then Italian standard of 30 RFU’s.  Analysis of DNA below these levels introduces a higher risk of “˜background noise’; contamination from alien sources, i.e., everyday dust, which may contain DNA fragments.

Hellmann, “˜the experts’ and the US scientists getting involved, by virtue of “˜the experts’ quoting extensively from their papers, erred in presupposing that Dr Stefanoni knew nothing about these issues.  Professor Novelli, for the state, challenged the claim that there was any contamination.  Indeed “˜the experts’ were unable to demonstrate this other than by quoting lengthy academic papers which had little to do with mundane case law and more to do with ivory towers.

Vecchiotti, born 1951 with a long CV from medical student days would have known what Italian standards were, yet tried to subvert them in retrospect.

A complaint was lodged by the prosecution about the pair being seen to openly fraternise with Sollecito’s defence team during the hearing, a strict Bar Standard “˜no, no’ for an independent expert witness.

“˜The experts’ refused to analyse a further sample of DNA found on the knife, giving the reason it was LCN, and they “˜didn’t want to make the same mistake as Stefanoni.’

Hellmann accepted “˜the experts’ findings and acquitted Knox and Sollecito declaring them innocent, aside from the calunnia for Knox, together with finding that Guede acted alone, as a “˜burglar disturbed.’

For the film makers, this defines the end of the film.

The Chieffi Court (Supreme Court)

In 2013 the next level of appeal court overturned completely Hellman’s findings.  It rebutted that the DNA sample of Meredith’s was ipso facto low quality just because it was LCN.

“˜The experts’ had claimed, relying on their US sources that LCN sampling should only be done on special projects, such as missing persons or cadaver identification, and that there was not the technology as it was “˜too innovative’.

Chieffi did not buy this, pointing to embryology studies.  He scoffed at the idea of “˜the experts’ being more expert than Professor Novelli or Dr Torricelli.  He censured Hellmann for failing to consider their equivalent expert knowledge.  Chieffi was particularly critical of “˜the experts’ refusing to test the remaining knife sample, calling their reasoning, “˜intellectually dishonest’.

On 25 March 2013, Chieffi ordered the case back to the Appeal court to consider the DNA evidence again, amongst other issues, and that the knife sample be tested.  One suspects “˜the experts’ were loath to test the sample in case it turned out be further DNA of Meredith, and this may be why Chieffi smelt a rat.

The Nencini Court (Appeal Court)

In 2014 Judge Nencini made it clear in a newspaper interview it was not within his remit to criticise “˜the experts’, but rather, to assess the legal rectitude of the Massei court decision, which Hellmann patently failed to do.  However, criticise he does. 

He directs Dr Barni, witness for the Carabinieri Lab, that “˜no US standards’ are to be quoted which C&V had done profusely. In upholding the findings of the Massei court he makes the following point in his reasoning about the DNA of the knife and bra clasp:

“”¦ The consultant holds furthermore that the most appropriate technical approach to interpret the genetic profile arising from trace 165B and to avoid subjective interpretations is to “call upon”, meaning to consider as valid, all of the alleles with RFU > 50, independently of their position or whether or not they might be stutter.

Once the complete profile is determined, given that there may also be more than two contributors to the trace, we feel that the only statistical approach that can be used adequately here is the RMNE (Random Man Not Excluded) method.

This statistical approach makes it possible to estimate the possible error due to a chance compatibility, meaning that of a person chosen randomly from the population and who by pure chance is fully compatible with the genetic characteristics of the individual represented in the trace.

The higher and nearer to 1 that probability is, the more likely it is that the profile could be the result of a random choice and thus the higher the probability of an error in the attribution of the genetic profile to a given individual. In this case, as seen in Table 5, the profile of Raffaele Sollecito is compatible at all the loci analyzed in the mixture of DNA found on Exhibit 165B.

The probability that a random individual from the population would also be compatible (the inclusion probability) [245] was calculated, and came out to be equal to 3.05592 x 10^-6, which is about 1 in 327 thousand. This computation is considered to be extremely conservative, since all of the allelic components are taken into consideration together with their frequency in the reference population.” (Pages 15-17 of the technical report submitted at the 6 September 2011 hearing before the Court of Assizes of Appeal of Perugia.)

The same investigative method was also suggested by the consultant of the Prosecutor in relation to the interpretation of the genetic profile of the markers located on the Y chromosome of trace 165B. Here again, all alleles with RFU>50 were considered, giving the following table:



[246] On the basis of the data in the above table, applying the method of statistical calculation indicated above, Prof. Novelli estimated the probability of a chance inclusion of a random person from the population in the mixed profile, together with the chance compatibility of this random individual with the major contributor to the Y chromosome, as about 1 in 3 billion.”

He upholds that the Forensic Police, aside from some human error, acted correctly and dismissed defence claims that Stefanoni had withheld raw data, and as claimed by “˜the experts’, citing documentary proof the information had been deposited.  Nencini reinstated the convictions, 31 January 2014, and dismissed the claim of contamination.

The sample on the knife “˜the experts’ had claimed was “˜starch’ and “˜too low LCN’ was successfully tested and found to be that of Amanda Knox.  None of this is mentioned by Vecchiotti & Conti in the film and nor do the film makers point it out, leaving their audience to believe “˜the experts’ claim of “˜contamination is proven’.

A key finding was that Professors Novelli and Torricelli had already been the target of the criticisms raised specifically by Prof. Adriano Tagliabracci, technical consultant for the Sollecito defense, at the first instance trial court, and thus was a matter settled (res judicata).

This is important to note, for Marasca later describes Tagliabracci in glowing terms as “˜world renowned’ when he reinstates the Hellmann findings in this matter, at the next level.  Nencini observes, “˜Finally, it is observed that Prof. Tagliabracci’s criticism is founded on an unproven and unprovable suspicion, namely that the biologist doing the work being already in possession of reference samples supposedly used the “suspect-centric” method.’

Nencini also found that the second instance [Hellman] court undervalued the fact that the tests carried out took place during the preliminary investigation [of which the Defence was notified and had the right to attend], that at the time of those tests, there were no objections concerning the sampling and laboratory activity, nor was a pre”trial hearing requested regarding the testing, all of which proves agreement with the [laboratory] procedures.



Nencini

Was There Contamination?

There were NO full male DNA profiles on the bra, apart from Sollecito and Guede’s.

Vecchiotti and Conti, significantly, in the film, try to detract from this highly incriminating scientific fact, by making reference to everyday dust fragments, as if that could possibly account for it.

The assertion by Conti in the film that “˜a crime scene must be kept sterile,’ is meaningless for there are many environmental pollutants at every crime scene.

The expert witness testimony of Professor David Balding, to the court is as follows, and who, until October 2009 was Professor in Statistical Genetics at Imperial College, London, where he still retains an affiliation as Visiting Professor. He is an editor of the Handbook of Statistical Genetics.

“Sollecito’s alleles are all represented and these generate the highest peaks, but there are some low peaks not attributable to him; so at least one of the additional contributors of low-level DNA to the sample was male.”

“They correctly criticised the scientific police for ignoring these: many do appear to be stutter peaks which are usually ignored, but 4 are not and definitely indicate DNA from another individual.  The extra peaks are all low, so the extra individuals contributed very little DNA.

That kind of extraneous DNA is routine in low-template work: our environment is covered with DNA from breath and touch, including a lot of fragmentary DNA from degraded cells that can show up in low-template analyses.  There is virtually no crime sample that doesn’t have some environmental DNA on it, from individuals not directly involved in the crime.

This does create additional uncertainty in the analysis because of the extra ambiguity about the true profile of the contributor of interest, but as long as it is correctly allowed for in the analysis there is no problem - it is completely routine.” (David Balding).

“in some cases we have peaks that correspond to a fourth person.”

“The fourth person is not Guede, it seems. This mystery fourth person hasn’t been mentioned much. (Luciano Garofano, Darkness Descending).

“But because Sollecito is fully represented in the stain at 16 loci (we still only use 10 in the UK, as the legal threshold, so 16 is a lot), the evidence against him is strong.”

“In this case all the peaks associated with Sollecito seem clear and distinct so I think there can be no concern about the quality of the result as far as it concerns him or Kercher.”

The Italian Scientific Police follow the guidelines of the ENFSI - the European Network Forensic Science Institutes. Dr Stefanoni observed that they followed these specific guidelines whereas Conti and Vecchiotti basically picked and mixed a random selection of international opinions:

“We followed the guidelines of the ENFSI, theirs is just a collage of different international opinions”.

In other words, Conti and Vecchiotti were not referring to the specific guidelines and recommendation of one particular international forensic organisations despite giving that impression at the appeal in Perugia.

They cited a number of obscure American publications such as the the Missouri State Highway Patrol Handbook and Wisconsin Crime Laboratory Physical Evidence Handbook. The Italian Scientific Police are under no obligation to follow the DNA protocols of the Missouri State Highway Patrol and Wisconsin Crime Laboratory.

Professor Novelli also pointed out that contamination has to be proved:

“The contaminant must be demonstrated, where it originated from and where it is. The hook contaminated by dust? It’s more likely for a meteorite to fall and bring this court down to the ground.”

Professor Torricelli testified that it was unlikely the clasp was contaminated because there was a significant amount of Sollecito’s DNA on it. Professor Novelli analysed the series of samples from all 255 items processed and found not a single instance of contamination, and ruled out as implausible that a contaminating agent could have been present just on one single result.

Back in 2008 pre-trial there was an independent review of the forensic evidence.

Dr Renato Biondo, the head of the DNA Unit of the Scientific Police, reviewed Dr Stefanoni’s investigation and the forensic findings. He testified at Rudy Guede’s fast-track trial in October 2008 and confirmed that all the forensic findings were accurate and reliable. He also praised the work of Dr. Stefanoni and her team.

“We are confirming the reliability of the information collected from the scene of the crime and at the same time, the professionalism and excellence of our work.”

So thus we have a pointer as to why Conti introduced his presentation by claiming “˜DNA is spread like dust.’

To the bottom line, then, WAS there any possibility of contamination, as Vecchiotti and Conti are now claiming in the film?

    1. Conti and Vecchiotti didn’t prove there had been any contamination. Judge Chieffi pointed this out.

    2. Conti and Vecchiotti lied to the appeal court - Judge Nencini pointed this out - and they didn’t test the DNA sample despite the fact they were specifically instructed to do so.

    3. Numerous DNA experts believe the bra clasp is strong evidence - Professor Balding, Professor Novelli, Luciano Garofano, Professor Torricelli and Dr Biondo.

    4. It’s impossible that the knife was contaminated.

    5. There is no universally accepted DNA standards for collecting and testing DNA evidence. DNA protocols vary from country to country.

    6. Conti and Vecchiotti cited obscure sources, They didn’t refer to the specific guidelines of an international forensic organisation.

    7. Conti and Vecchiotti excluded contamination in the laboratory.

    8. The defence experts had no objections when the DNA evidence was tested.

    9. Vecchiotti made calamitous errors in other cases and her lab was closed down.

    10. Does anyone really believe Sollecito’s DNA floated on a speck of dust under Meredith’s door and landed on the exact part of her bra clasp that had been bent out of shape during the attack on her?

The Marasca-Bruno Supreme Court (Final)

In the final Marasca-Bruno Supreme Court appeal, the short-form provisional 48- page reasoning from March 2015, the guilty verdicts as upheld by Massei and Nencini are overturned, and Vecchiotti & Conti”˜s report reinstalled.

“The second reason [the first reason being: The first reason challenged the violation and inobservance of the criminal law], highlights a problem of great relevance in the circumstance of the present judgment, that is the right interpretation of the scientific examination results from a perspective of respect of the evaluation standards according to article 192 of the criminal procedural code and the relevance of the genetic evaluation in the absence of repeatable amplification, as a consequence of the minimal amount of the sample and, more generally, the reliability coefficient of investigations carried out without following the regulations dictated by the international protocols, both during the collecting phase and the analysis.

Particularly, anomalies were challenged in the retrieval of the knife (item 36) and the victim’s brassiere hook, which do not exclude the possibility of contamination, as correctly outlined in the Conti-Vecchiotti report, ordered by the Perugian Court of assizes, which also notified the unreliability of the scientific data, precisely because it was not subject to a further examination.

It was also denied that the retrieved knife would have been the crime weapon.”

Thus, we see the First (Chieffi) Supreme Court Chambers directly challenged by the Fifth Chambers and the criticisms of Vecchiotti and Conti swept aside, as though they had never happened.

Judges Marasca & Bruno write:

“˜In fact, no trace of Sollecito was found in the room of the murder. The only element of proof against him was represented by the DNA trace retrieved on the brassiere hook of the victim; trace of which relation with the indicted was actually denied by the Vecchiotti-Conti report, which, in this regard, had accepted the observations of the defense advisor Professor Tagliabracci, world-renowned geneticist.’

It further states:

“˜12) Also erroneous was the interpretation of the results of the genetic evidence on item 36) “¦[”¦]

14) Obvious also was the flawed reasoning on the results of the genetic investigations on the bra hook, “¦[”¦]”¦

With regard to the possible contamination of the item, the appeal judges overlooked the photographic material placed before the court, which clearly demonstrated the possible contamination, regarding the way the hook was treated, with a “hand to hand” passage carried out by persons who wore dirty latex gloves.

Furthermore, a second amplification was not carried out on the hook “¦[”¦]”¦ With regard to this, the objections by the defense and the contrary conclusions of the defense adviser professor Tagliabracci, were not considered.’

In other words, the DNA evidence for the knife and the bra clasp is completely dismissed.  We see no proper rationale by Judge Marasca, just a few handfuls of abstractions along the lines of Conti’s famous, “˜Anything is possible.’

It takes on board Gill’s theories of “˜secondary’ and “˜tertiary’ transfer of DNA, when Gill himself appears to have overlooked that he himself wrote, that “˜this is highly improbable after 24 hours have passed’.

If Marasca’s rulings are considered bizarre, then light is shed when one realises that Bongiorno, for Sollecito, was given NINE times longer to present her appeal than any of the other parties, so it is fair comment to assume its reasoning is based on Bongiorno’s appeal points.

Nobody from either the Perugia or Florence prosecution teams was even present.

In addition, her 306 page appeal was appended with Gill’s advocacy report. Gill was never cross-examined.

The resuscitation of the hitherto presumed decaying corpse of Vecchiotti & Conti is remarkable, given the cadaver of their report to Hellmann was picked raw, first by the First Chambers Supreme Court (Chieffi) and then Judge Nencini.

Vecchiotti and Conti have risen like Lazarus from a car crash, shrouded in the malodorous cloth of something fishy.



Illegal intruder Hampikian

How the “˜Heist’ was pulled off.

Andrea Vogt wrote of the Marasca reasoning:  “˜In my opinion, their report is superficial at best and intellectually dishonest at worst, when even the most minimal amount of Quellenkritik is applied’.

Andrea Vogt writes an incisive analysis of the US influence on the C&V reports, which I cannot better here, so do read it for yourself.

However, I will repeat her prophecy, ironic in hindsight:

“If Knox is acquitted at the end of this month, the quiet American hand in her forensic defense will be heralded as the turnkey that made the ultimate difference in her case. But if she is convicted, there are legitimate questions to be asked about exactly what public resources were spent on this international defense.”

Vogt uncovered what appears to be a whole secret network that she was unable to penetrate through the fog of Freedom of Information law, which enabled Hampikian to claim “˜trade secrets’ as a project of Boise University, where his laboratory is based, to evade the question of, “˜Who was funding his Amanda Knox advocacy work?’

If then it is clear beyond any reasonable doubt that both Meredith’s and Sollecito’s DNA is strong and background contamination ruled out by the trial courts, why then does the film revisit the discredited testimony of “˜court experts’ Vecchiotti & Conti?

We can link this back to the film makers own self-professed strong pro-Knox beliefs in her innocence.  Thus we have come full circle.

The defence managed to convince the now expunged Hellmann court to appoint “˜independent experts’; the Chieffi Supreme Court ruled that, whilst this was within Hellmann’s remit, he did not provide adequate reasoning for doing so. 

Vecchiotti & Conti, remarkably, in their report, relied heavily on US standards, thus making the straw man claim that Italy hadn’t followed them, notwithstanding their strong academic and legal background in Italy.  This therefore cannot have been due to ignorance, so we have to point to their own volition to be influenced strongly by Knox-advocates.

For example, Hampikian, funded by Boise University grants and protected by a blanket of secrecy, citing “˜trade secrets’ when journalist Andrea Vogt requested information under the Freedom of Information statutes.

In addition, Bruce Budowle, a more conservative ex-FBI forensic expert, was heavily relied upon, together with peers Gill, et al.  It was at this stage Gill may have got roped in.  His later book draws on Vecchiotti &Conti’s Hellmann’s Report.

Thus, we see a band of pro-Amanda Knox advocates determined to influence the so-called “˜independent’ experts, even when both Hampikian’s and Budowle’s reports were rejected as depositions by the courts.  Even when “˜the experts’ were spiked by the Chieffi Supreme court, Hampikian was still averring, “˜I am involved in the Amanda Knox case’.

Friends of Amanda Knox even today lovingly quote Hellmann despite his de facto ex-communication from the judiciary.  Little surprise we see the film makers eager to include Vecchiotti and Conti, who made it all possible for the birds to fly.

On the subject of Dr Peter Gill, who is widely regarded as having influenced the Fifth Chambers, via Bongiorno’s Appeal, to which his theories were attached, is now drawing on Vecchiotti and Conti as his main source, so we have a case of the experts’ racing car, as it were, driven by the man referred to devoutly by the defence as “˜the father of forensic science’.

Dr Naseer Ahmed of PMF.net was moved to comment:

““ A look at his sources show that the chapter on Meredith Kercher was directly influenced by the Conti-Vecchiotti report.

““ He argues contamination, but doesn’t prove a path of transmission.

““ He cites papers on secondary transfer of DNA, but misses the point his suggested routes, RS>door handle>investigator’s latex glove>bra clasp is tertiary transfer.

““ He argues the low cell count of Meredith’s Kercher’s DNA on the knife suggests contamination without considering that rigorous washing with household bleach might degrade it. (Yet miraculously those cells did provide a full match with Meredith’s DNA)

““ The shoe box belonging to Meredith story has been shot down.

““ He clearly has not read Inspector Gubbiotti or Finci’s testimonies, which removes all possible paths of “˜innocent transfer’.

““ Reading the actual research papers he cites, there is no way that such significant amounts of DNA could actually transfer to the bra clasp.

““ He did not review Patrizia Stefanoni’s Scientific Report or any of her notes, instead relying on the IIP translated C&V report and Hellmann decision.

““ He refers to the Meredith Kercher wiki, but never even looked at the DNA segments which would have alerted him to problems with the C&V report.

““ He may have had indirect input from Sollecito’s first DNA expert, Vincenzo Pascali, and Carla Vecchiotti, but does not seem to know of Vecchiotti’s colorful record of falsifying evidence.

Last, and worst of all, he did not refer to the Supreme Court decision annulling Hellmann even though the translation was widely available almost ten months before his book was published.

There is no way he could not have known this, since we had been in contact with him since earlier this year. It is unconscionable that he chose this route to promote his theories. Elsevier under its new ownership and editorial policies seem to have allowed any number of self-published books to be written.

If Professor Gill had written a scholarly text book it would have to be reviewed by an editorial board and sent for peer review, which might have led to professional experts critiquing and hopefully pointing out his errors.

Instead, he wrote a slim, unreviewed “˜popular’ book to promote his own theories, which, embarrassing perhaps for him, is being critiqued and torn apart by lay persons, ahem.

Misleading DNA Evidence ““ Reasons for Miscarriages of Justice, Peter Gill, Academic Press.  Quote:

Recommendation 1: The expert should provide the court with an unbiased list of all possible modes of transfer of DNA evidence (pg 20).”

The irony is not lost.



Illegal intruder Gill

My Main Sources:

Thanks to Naseer Ahmed and The Machine, for the section on “˜Contamination?’

The Machine’s analysis of 50 of the most common myths still promoted.

The Meredith Case Wiki

The Perugia Murder File Forum (Net Version)

The Nencini Sentencing Report.

The Chieffi Sentencing Report.

The Massei Report.

The Marasca-Bruno Report:

My thanks to the wonderful translators and everybody who helped me with material.


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Netflixhoax 11: Omitted - How Italian Justice Is Misrepresented By Multiple Cherrypickings Of Facts

Posted by Swansea Jack


Netflix’s Amanda Knox is an extreme example of misleading bias by cherrypicking. This post is another in our ongoing series, the mothership for material for this media-friendly page online soon.



Quote: “The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”  Malcolm X

We live in a society where I believe I’m justified in saying a majority of people are easily swayed by the material they see on TV or read in the newspapers.

Recently I have witnessed a mass of new posters on Twitter and other social media forums who after watching the Amanda Knox Netflix documentary have formed a cast iron, unshakable opinion on the case.

It is clear after engaging with them very briefly that they frankly have very limited knowledge and understanding of the facts relating to the murder of Meredith Kercher.

I will credit the producers of the documentary Blackhurst and McGinn on what I consider to be a quite clever (but ever so sneaky) disguising of their absolute bias towards Amanda Knox which will not be evident to those who are not acquainted with the case.

They have obviously correctly banked on the ignorance of the majority of their audience.

I get the impression that Nick Pisa is used as a “filler” and a distraction. I come to this conclusion as I feel the producers would be hard pushed to make a 90 minute documentary, favourable to Knox, while addressing the real facts of the case without getting themselves into serious legal trouble.

I also know from first-hand experience that it is a long-term strategy of Knox and her little band of PR hate-mongers to vilify others, in order to distract attention away from the real villains.

It is my impression that the intended main target for vilification was Perugian Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini.

But try as they might, even with their selective editing, they could not produce enough material to achieve their goal due to Mignini’s humility and integrity.

For me personally the documentary raised a few questions which I will share with you.

We have Knox herself stating words to the effect of “either i am a psychopath, a Wolf in sheep’s clothing or I am you” Well she certainly isn’t me or anyone else, she is her, so is this an involuntary but frank admission?

The documentary shows a clip of Diane Sawyer’s interview with Knox in which Amanda is asked “Were you there that night?” She replies “No” but nods yes.

It is my opinion that Knox gets a real power kick out of the notoriety afforded to her and revels in the “Did I or didn’t I” mystery.

She then goes from being the wolf in sheep’s clothing to being a “Warrior Princess like Xena”. An ultimate and powerful fantasy figure.

Knox maintains that she was at Sollecito’s address at 110 Corso Garibaldi watching Amelie at the time of Meredith’s murder.

Not even Raffaele supports this version of events.

It begs the question why Blackhurst and McGinn have omitted the fact that Marasca and Bruno who acquitted the pair state in their motivation report “her (Knox) presence inside the house, the location of the murder, is a proven fact in the trial.”

The acquitting Judges go on to explain their reasoning that Knox was the first person to offer a sexual motive before there was any cadaver or autopsy reports available.

They also make mention of Amanda’s description of “the victim’s terrible scream” which was confirmed some time later by witnesses Nara Capezzali, Antonella Monacchia and others.

How could a person who wasn’t present know these details of the crime?

Knox goes on to describe an idyllic evening, smoking pot and making love, yet makes no mention of who was listening to music on Sollecito’s computer at 05:32 in the morning, a time when both Knox and Sollecito claim to be blissfully sleeping.

Knox can’t comprehend why there is a knife with her DNA on the handle and Meredith’s DNA on the blade.

There is no mention in the documentary of Amanda’s recorded prison conversation with her parents in which she says “I am very worried about this thing with the knife, because there is a knife of Raffaele’s” (*Reference Massei report page 292.)

Neither do they address Sollecito’s claim that the reason Meredith’s DNA is on the blade is because he “accidentally pricked her while cooking.”

He later admitted this was a total fabrication, Meredith had never attended his home.

Knox claims that she accused Diya Lumumba after long hours of questioning. Yet we know that due to the time recorded on her signed voluntary statement that she had fabricated a story swapping Guede for Lumumba in under 2 hours.

She only did so upon learning Sollecito was no longer supporting her alibi.

There is no mention in the documentary that Amanda had provided Diya Lumumba’s name to Rita Ficarra in a list of persons of interest prior to learning Raffaele was not corroborating her version of events.

There is no mention of the sample of Knox’s blood recovered from the faucet of the bathroom she shared with Meredith which Amanda herself dated in her court testimony to the night of Meredith’s murder.

There is no mention of the mixed DNA sample of Knox and Meredith, recovered from a luminol revealed bloodstain in Filomena Romanelli’s room. This is where the alleged point of entry for the burglary occurred. It is worth noting there is no biological trace of Rudy Guede in this room.

Addressing the bra clasp, the Netflix documentary fails to address the fact that the only other sample of Sollecito’s DNA identified in Via Della Pergola 7 was on a cigarette butt in an ashtray in the kitchen. This was a mixed sample containing Raffaele and Amanda’s DNA.

The documentary emphasises the farcical views of the so called “independent experts” Stefano Conti and Carla Vecchiotti. It fails to mention that Vecchiotti confirmed that contamination at Dr Patrizia Stefanoni’s laboratory was not possible if there was a six day gap in the testing of materials during cross questioning at the Hellmann appeal hearing.

    PROSECUTOR COMODI: “Is six days a sufficient interval to rule out contamination?”

    CARLA VECCHIOTTI: “Yes absolutely”

Neither do they address Conti’s explanation (or lack of) as to how and why Sollecito’s DNA was located on the hook of Meredith’s bra clasp

    PROSECUTOR COMODI: “How would Sollecito’s DNA accidentally arrive on the hook of Meredith’s bra?”

    STEFANO CONTI: “Anything is possible”

During his input in the documentary Conti implies that DNA is easily transferable, he gives an example of running his fingers along his arm and magically shedding DNA.

If this is the case I would like to pose a few of questions to him.

1, Why is the only other sample of Sollecito’s DNA located on a cigarette butt in the kitchen?

2, Why is there no genetic trace of Guede in the small bathroom or in Filomena Romanelli’s room?

3, Can you provide a figure for the statistical probability of Sollecito’s solitary sample of DNA (other than the mixed trace on the cigarette butt) innocently finding it’s way on to Meredith’s bra clasp?

Blackhurst and McGinn predictably make use of Rudy Guede’s Skype conversation with Giacomo Bendetti in which he states Knox wasn’t there, yet do not address the letter Guede wrote to his lawyers in which he refers to “a horrible murder of a splendid, beautiful girl that was Meredith by Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox”

Why have the documentary makers chosen to ignore so very many facts?


Saturday, October 08, 2016

Netflixhoax 10: Omitted - How Amanda Knox Falsely Accused Dr Mignini Of A Felony

Posted by Peter Quennell


Netflix’s Amanda Knox is an extreme example of misleading bias by cherrypicking. This post is another in our ongoing series, the mothership for material for this media-friendly page online soon.


1. The 2009 Trial Verdict Was Exactly Right

The 2009 prosecution phase was as perfect as any Italian prosecution heard in court. 

This phase from January to June was fast and implacable, about as forceful as a high-speed train. Amidst so much that damned, days of largely unchallenged police testimony for example proved that Knox framed Patrick only because Sollecito sold her out.

Nothing else. He said she had made him lie, and never wanted to see her again, and he and Knox never got back to one narrative theme.

Knox on the witness stand in June was a wince-making disaster - this tough sarcastic rather thuggish girl claiming “the cops were meanies to fragile little me” did not exactly ring true.

The defense lawyers never ever recovered from that and we expected at least two to simply walk off. Late in the trial Sollecito lawyer Maori sarcastically said Knox had been high on cocaine (we believe that is true) as barb after barb was exchanged.

Remember that the Massei court was the only one to see all of the massive evidence.  That included days and days of autopsy-related evidence in closed court with both the perps being closely observed throughout.

And that jury got the verdict and sentence exactly right. Knox and Sollecito should indeed be serving their time as in the US or UK they would. 

So. Why did the two ever get released? Simple. Gaming of the Italian justice system to produce two bent appeals.

The 2011 appeal court was bent when the defenses got the Umbria region’s top criminal judge blatantly forced aside in favor of a semi-senile business judge absolutely at sea on the law.  Additionally his “independent” DNA experts were cherry-picked for him.

The 2015 Supreme Court was bent by way of known mafia connections and of the blatant breaking of Italian appeal law. Italian law enforcement never talks about mafia investigations before some bad guys are locked up, but one day the whole story should be widely known. We know much of it now.

2. Thirty PR Hoaxes To Make You Ignore The Above

Check out the 30 PR Hoaxes in our right column, or better still, wait a few days, and we will open a new page summarizing each hoax. What the Netflix hoaxers have done is to pick up a few of those hoaxes, and run with them in a mocking, sneering tone.

Hence the mocking, sneering tone of many ill-researched movie reviews.

The best way to annihilate the Netflix slant is to fully comprehend each hoax they used. One major hoax is that the synthetic Knox you see now is the real-life Knox around the time of the crime and at trial through 2009.

We can show that back then Amanda Knox was a loose cannon - and widely seen as such.

Another major hoax Amanda Knox herself advances in the film is that she was yelled at and abused by cops on 5-6 November 2007 over a long time. And so, desperate, she fingered as the real killer Patrick Lumumba.

Believe her? We address this question to Knox herself about the “interrogation” as described in her book six years later. Let us see if her response (if any) makes her look like someone you can blindly trust.

We will also post more later to destroy the interrogation hoax.

3. Question For Knox About Her “Interrogation”

Here is how you describe in BOTH editions of your book (2013 and 2015) a supposed interrogation by Prosecutor Mignini at your first (witness) interview. Below the quote, we describe what everyone else present says took place.

[This is the voluntary witness interview.] Eventually they told me the pubblico ministero would be coming in.

I didn’t know this translated as prosecutor, or that this was the magistrate that Rita Ficarra had been referring to a few days earlier when she said they’d have to wait to see what he said, to see if I could go to Germany.

I thought the “public minister” was the mayor or someone in a similarly high “public” position in the town and that somehow he would help me.

They said, “You need to talk to the pubblico ministero about what you remember.”

I told them, “I don’t feel like this is remembering. I’m really confused right now.” I even told them, “I don’t remember this. I can imagine this happening, and I’m not sure if it’s a memory or if I’m making this up, but this is what’s coming to mind and I don’t know. I just don’t know.”

They said, “Your memories will come back. It’s the truth. Just wait and your memories will come back.”

The pubblico ministero came in.

Before he started questioning me, I said, “Look, I’m really confused, and I don’t know what I’m remembering, and it doesn’t seem right.”

One of the other police officers said, “We’ll work through it.”

Despite the emotional sieve I’d just been squeezed through, it occurred to me that I was a witness and this was official testimony, that maybe I should have a lawyer. “Do I need a lawyer?” I asked.

He said, “No, no, that will only make it worse. It will make it seem like you don’t want to help us.”

It was a much more solemn, official affair than my earlier questioning had been, though the pubblico ministero was asking me the same questions as before: “What happened? What did you see?”

    I said, “I didn’t see anything.”

    “What do you mean you didn’t see anything? When did you meet him?”

    “I don’t know,” I said.

    “Where did you meet him?”

    “I think by the basketball court.” I had imagined the basketball court in Piazza Grimana, just across the street from the University for Foreigners.

    “I have an image of the basketball court in Piazza Grimana near my house.”

    “What was he wearing?”

    “I don’t know.”

    “Was he wearing a jacket?”

    “I think so.”

    “What color was it?”

    “I think it was brown.”

    “What did he do?”

    “I don’t know.”

    “What do you mean you don’t know?”

    “I’m confused!”

    “Are you scared of him?”

    “I guess.”

I felt as if I were almost in a trance. The pubblico ministero led me through the scenario, and I meekly agreed to his suggestions.

    “This is what happened, right? You met him?”

    “I guess so.”

    “Where did you meet?”

    “I don’t know. I guess at the basketball court.”

    “You went to the house?”

    “I guess so.”

    “Was Meredith in the house?”

    “I don’t remember.”

    “Did Patrick go in there?”

    “I don’t know, I guess so.”

    “Where were you?”

    “I don’t know. I guess in the kitchen.”

    “Did you hear Meredith screaming?”

    “I don’t know.”

    “How could you not hear Meredith screaming?”

    “I don’t know. Maybe I covered my ears. I don’t know, I don’t know if I’m just imagining this. I’m trying to remember, and you’re telling me I need to remember, but I don’t know. This doesn’t feel right.”

    He said, “No, remember. Remember what happened.”

    “I don’t know.”

At that moment, with the pubblico ministero raining questions down on me, I covered my ears so I could drown him out.

    He said, “Did you hear her scream?”

    I said, “I think so.”

My account was written up in Italian and he said, “This is what we wrote down. Sign it.”

So you choose to portray yourself as reluctant to talk at all? While Dr Mignini relentlessly edges you more and more into saddling Patrick with the blame? While you have no lawyer there?

In fact, as you well know, every word of that dialogue is made up. You invented it. Dr Mignini was not even there. Right then, he was home in bed.

Now we contrast this malicious figment of your imagination with the account of that night by many others who were present at various times. Even you yourself essentially agreed to this narrative at trial, with the one exception that the slaps to your head that several observed were by you were actually by someone else.

Feel free to tell us where we have got this wrong:

1. You insist on being around in the central police station despite being grumpy and tired while Sollecito helps investigators to check a few claims.

2. After a while an investigator, Rita Ficarra, politely invites you to help build a list of names of men who might have known Meredith or the house. She is somewhat reluctant as it was late and no interpreter was on hand. You quite eagerly begin. An interpreter is called from home. You calmly produce seven names and draw maps.

3. Sollecito breaks suddenly and unexpectedly early in his own recap/summary session when confronted with phone records which showed he had lied. He quickly points the finger at you as the one having made him lie. You are briefly told he is saying you went out.

4. You break explosively soon after when an outgoing text shows up on your phone after you had claimed you sent none. You slap your head. You yell words to the effect that Patrick is the one, he killed Meredith. Police did not even know of the existence of Patrick before you identified the text as to him.

5. Thereafter you talk your head off, explaining how you had overheard Patrick attack Meredith at your house. The three ladies present and one man do what they can to calm you down. But you insist on a written statement, implicating him, and stating you went out from Sollecito’s alone.

6. This from about 2:00 am is the state of play. You are taken to the bar for refreshments and helped to sleep. You testify at trial that you were given refreshments, and everybody treated you well.

7. As you had admitted being at the scene of a crime you had not reported, you had in effect admitted to a crime, so a legal Miranda-type caution is required saying the signee understands they should not talk without a lawyer, and if they do talk that can be used as evidence in court.

8. Dr Mignini, the on-call duty judge for that night, is by multiple account, including your own at trial, not present at that list-building session with Rita Ficarra, and in fact knows nothing about it until Rita Ficarra closes it down. He comes from home.

9. Dr Mignini reads you your rights. You now sign acknowledging you know you should not talk unless your lawyer is there. Dr Mignini asks you no questions. He is anxious to get the session over so he can get on to the task of pulling Patrick in. You yourself shrug off a lawyer and repeat your accusation and insist on a new written statement. Though you are again warned, you see it done.

10. Under Italian law that second statement could and should have been used against you, but the Supreme Court denied its use except against Patrick. Dr Mignini has said he thinks that was wrong in law but did not appeal.

Really a very simple chain of events, which was attested to at trial by all of those who had been present on the night, even including yourself.

There are no signs at all in anyone else’s description that you were leaned on by anybody, and nobody at the central police station had the slightest vested interest in making you into a target that night.

So where precisely does this new claim in your book and the Netfllix film of an illegal interrogation by Dr Mignini fit in? Now would seem a very good time to simply admit it is a hoax. Remember all courts saw it as such.


Friday, October 07, 2016

Netflixhoax 9 Omitted - Numerous Facts The More Widely Viewed BBC Report Did Not Hide

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters


1. The BBC Report

This fine BBC production has been aired in many countries and although it has been “officially” blocked in the US over one million have watched it there.

The superior Andrea Vogt/Paul Russell report for the BBC Is Amanda Knox Guilty? was made on a lower budget and took substantially less production time.

It actually contained some Italians other than two discredited DNA experts and a hoodwinked Dr Mignini and Nick Pisa.

British viewership exceeded 700,000 in its first airing in February 2014. Foreign broadcasts worldwide - mysteriously it was not ever aired in the US - exceeded that by up to 10 times. There are several pirated uploads available on BitTorrent, and YouTube views are well over 100,000.

Let us say a total of at least 5 million worldwide for the BBC production by Andrea Vogt and Paul Russell, and maybe up to twice that. 

Promotion of the fair and unemotional BBC production was low-key worldwide. The formidable prosecution case is explained in an interesting way, and the very odd claim that some minor 2007 UK reporting is what swayed a row of judges and a smart Italian jury two years later is absent.

2. The Netflix Report

More than twice those who have watched the biased Netflix report online. It is hard to see Amanda Knox breaking even. It could be a big loss for the Knox-beholden producers.

iTechPost is estimating viewership of Amanda Knox as below 400,000.  A typical primetime success in the US would exceed that by maybe 30 times.

The iTechPost report suggests that leaving so much factual material out, and simply playing to American emotions, looks to have been a major mistake.

By comparison, Netflix’s Avery success Making A Murderer which dwelled on plenty of evidence (though not all of it) and courtroom drama exceeded one million views in the US for each of 10 episodes, making a total of over 10 million. 

There were many more views elsewhere.

Amanda Knox included such audience-bait as demonization of the prosecutor to hiss at, and demonization of one UK reporter to hiss at. Plenty about Italian justice to hiss at.

Also a major (and long discredited) smear by Amanda Knox accusing the investigators of felonies - which Dr Mignini was not even told about, let alone allowed to respond to; now that would have been fair and interesting.

The promotional theme was Monster v Victim but the movie did not devote even a minute to exploring that theme. Now that really could have been interesting.

Amanda Knox was given pervasive and very expensive promotion in the US including a costly billboard in NYC’s Madison Square Gardens. Netflix and Knox PR have engineered close to 100 positive reviews (though negative reader comments are in the clear majority).

3. The Bottom Line

Why pay to see PR distortions? Objectivity rules. Truth rules. Fairness rules. Fact rules. Good word-of-mouth rules. A lot less of the dishonest ultra-self-absorbed whiner Amanda Knox rules.

The ratings for Amanda Knox are a fail by Netflix’s own Avery standard. And a big fail by the BBC standard.


Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Netflixhoax 8: Omitted - Honest Picture Of Sleazy Production Team, Hard Facts That Challenge Them

Posted by Ergon


Netflix’s Amanda Knox is an extreme example of misleading bias by cherrypicking. This post is another in our ongoing series, the mothership for material for this media-friendly page online soon.



I saw the film at the Toronto International Film Festival. As a passionate lover of movies and documentaries, I respect the right of ANYONE to create a documentary or film through the prism of their own POV.

On the other hand, they owe us, the audience, a modicum of honesty in their reporting. Otherwise, as some one once complained about deceptive editing and reporting in one of Katie Couric’s documentaries, it prevents “democratic discourse” and this is what we ask.

By all means, engage with us, but do so honestly.

Having followed the case for many years as well as attending the earlier Supreme Court hearing in 2013 I can add the following:

  • Rudy Guede’s lawyer Valter Biscotti had a lot more to say about his client being convicted ‘in conjunction with others’. This was edited out, as well as the caption Knox put alongside her blog when she posed with a machine gun, “The Nazi Within”.  Something the media reported correctly at the time, McGinn and Blackhurst not.

  • The Producer Stephen Robert Morse hid his involvement in the project with Brian McGinn and Rod Blackhurst since 2011. They had ALL made inflammatory comments in favour of Amanda Knox over the years, with Morse hastily deleting some (but not all) as the Netflix sale came up.

  • He even called Nick Pisa “a piece of shit” in Perugia in 2011. It was the reputable Danish production company head Mette Heide that approached Mignini and Pisa, who didn’t know of Morse’s involvement, but that gives the background to this biased ‘documentary’ and why some may feel it is less than fair or balanced in its portrayal of the protagonists.

  • Mignini was referring to the Monster of Florence case when he talked of people coming up to shake his hand, the film makes it look like they were congratulating him for putting away Amanda Knox.

  • He was referring to it being an inside job when he said an “unknown” man (edited out to make him seem misogynistic) would not have covered Meredith with a blanket.

  • The film emphasized his Catholic beliefs to make it seem he was making a moralistic judgement about her. As he pointed out, the evidence was somewhat overwhelming. It also made it seem like his love of Sherlock Holmes was proof of him following a hunch. Um, that’s what investigators sometimes do, especially when faced with the numerous prevarications and failed alibis of Amanda Knox. Obscuring the evidence to match your narrative is dishonest to the extreme.

  • The ‘independent’ DNA experts Conti and Vecchiotti were given lots of room to claim contamination though that was never proved in court, only inferred. Also left out: Vecchiotti’s sentence for not maintaining sterile conditions in HER laboratory. Her switching a suspect’s DNA with another in one of Italy’s worst murder cases in order to falsely exonerate someone with ‘connections’. The tests had to be redone to obtain a conviction. As they make fun of Nick Pisa for ‘not fact-checking’, should they not have fact-checked before they placed her on camera?

  • The biggest laugh the Toronto audience gave was WITH Nick Pisa when he said “I mean, she’s (Knox) a complete and utter loon”.

  • This follows the Netflix template of creating reasonable doubt as it did with “The Making Of A Murder”. By over emphasizing the defense case, and ignoring the prosecution’s, it reads like propaganda.

  • This is neither fair nor balanced, nor is it original. It adds nothing to our knowledge, being a rehash of her book and numerous TV interviews, and already covered in Michael Winterbottom’s “The Face Of An Angel” in his fictionalized ‘the making of a movie within a movie’ adaptation of reporter Barbie Nadeau’s book. Oh, and producer Morse insulted HER too.

  • There were several prosecutors and numerous judges helped convict her, not just prosecutor Mignini. Nor was it an exercise in misogyny, the case was largely driven by five women: Judge Claudia Matteini, co-prosecutor Manuela Comodi, Scientific Police DNA lab technician Patrizia Stefanoni, homicide Inspector Monica Napoleoni, and Inspector Rita Ficarra.

  • This exercise in PR looks like an Amanda Knox Production, with her playing the lead role, director, producer and writer. Yet she fails to see how she comes across with her melodramatic styling and emotive pauses and outbursts. She is neither believable nor sympathetic, no matter how hard they all try.

  • Two stars out of ten for production values and slick cinematography, none for the film itself.

In the end, the picture belongs to Meredith Kercher, remembered by her family with a grieving Arline Kercher, her mother saying how she just could not understand how there could be two convictions and two acquittals; justice denied.

And a haunting video of Meredith, taken in the full bloom of her youthful promise by Amanda Knox. She didn’t want to be filmed, but as Knox admits in her book, she took the video anyway. (And included in her film).

Meredith Kercher, RIP.


Monday, October 03, 2016

Netflixhoax 7: Omitted - How Knox Lied Repeatedly To Florence Court She Was Too Scared To Attend

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters


Netflix’s Amanda Knox is an extreme example of misleading bias by cherrypicking. This post is another in our ongoing series, the mothership for material for this media-friendly page online soon.


1. Many false claims in the film

NONE of the false claims by speakers were rebutted. Not one, by the Knox PR team moonlighting as serious directors and producers.

The producers’ bizarre technique was to place Knox, Sollecito, Conti & Vecchiotti in front of a camera and then to let them lie unchecked as they did repeatedly throughout the 90 minute film.

For example, Knox makes a very shrill claim in the film that she was repeatedly hit and forced into a “confession” by angry and abusive cops.

In fact she wasnt hit by anyone, except by herself. There was not even an interrogation that night - only the building of a list of names with a couple of kind cops.

Her own lawyers confirmed she was not hit, and they never filed a complaint. They publicly pleaded that she stop making things up. The movie never tells us this, never ever challenges Knox.  We’ll return to this false claim in depth.

For balance, how many Italian justice officials do you suppose the PR team invited to represent the huge team of police, prosecutors and judges, and all of the witnesses, and the huge body of evidence? And to rebut Knox’ claims? After, all she was accusing his staff of crimes.

Precisely one. Dr Mignini. That was it.

He was not even told of the accusations of crimes from Knox. Instead he was asked to address only childish touchy-feely questions which no Italian journalist would ever dream of addressing to a highly trained prosecutor or judge. Dr Mignini is a regular on Italian TV explaining serious legal issues of some complexity, and is a master at it. 

2. Lies previously reported and rebutted

We have so far rebutted seven false claims made by the team in the media or in the film in the previous posts here..

(1) That Knox was found innocent by the Fifth Chambers and fully exonerated or exculpated. No she wasnt. She was confirmed as being at the scene at the time with blood on her hands based on copious evidence, and any trial or appeal court which normally handles murders (the Fifth Chambers does not) would have insisted the Nencini verdict should stand. She remains guilty for life of calunnia and she still owes Patrick his award. Research anyone?

(2) That Dr Mignini hoodwinked the Justice system some way in a supposed pursuit of Amanda Knox although 30-plus judges in fact guided the judicial process - in Italian justice they and not prosecutors are the equivalent of American district attorneys. Raffaele Sollecito is conveniently not accounted for in this conspiracy theory, although with the possible exception of Patrick Lumumba’s lawyer, Sollecito’s words for Knox were the harshest, and his anger rattled on for years. Research anyone?

(3) That Dr Mignini pursued this because he had been convicted, although the conviction, by a rogue prosecutor and rogue judge in Florence with murky connections, had been annulled (in effect deleted; no record) by an appeal court and that confirmed by a strident Supreme Court ruling more than three years prior to the Netflix movie. Research anyone?

(4) That Dr Mignini had consulted a psychic, though it was widely known for many years that he had done no such thing and had written to Corriere at length refuting this more than three years prior to the Netflix movie. Research anyone?

(5) That Dr Mignini holds satanic and sex-orgy theories in this and other cases. No he does not. He has been on national TV pushing satanic theories back and saying they are few. The satanic theory of the Monster of Florence case goes back over a decade before he was requested to check an arm of the case. Knox and Sollecito and Guede were all convicted of murder with a sex-crime element, read all the judges reports prior to trial, all agreed an attack with a sexual aspect was what the evidence said.  Research anyone?

(6) That the Italian justice system is somehow a dangerous error-prone joke (widely accepted as gospel by the movie’s reviewers) though in fact it is one of the most careful systems in the world and unlike the American system (with which it links extensively) never ever sees a false conviction standing by the end of the exhaustive appeals process. Research anyone?

(7) That the release of a provisional positive HIV finding for Knox and a list she created of her recent sex partners was a malicious act by prison staff or prosecutors, though they released precisely NOTHING and it was the Knox defense team that was fervently distributing those materials (of considerable damage to Knox’s public perception). Research anyone?

3. Starting to address Knox’s lies

Much of what Knox says in the movie is untrue. That is not unusual. She consistently lies in all her interviews. She also consistently tries to damage people.

In her book alone we have counted several lies on each page, close to 1000, and about 100 instances of defamations, lies intended to create real damage.

We are going to post separately on each of Knox’s most sweeping and most self-serving lies. Here, we give several dozen examples of lies repeatedly refuted, some of which are in the movie.

The Knox PR team moonlighting as serious directors and producers claim that they devoted SIX YEARS to getting their movie right. They could have found these rebuttals and read them all in a day or two if an honest movie was what they wanted to make.

Perhaps they were simply uncaring of the truth, lost in the complexities of the case, and uncaring of who they damaged, including the real victim’s family, and of what portrait they offered of Italy and Italian justice and its officers, however damaging and vile and untrue.

Or perhaps they were already deeply corrupted, and crazed at the prospect of fame and future career prospects and bloodmoney. If so, they are in unsavory company.

4. Knox’s lies to Italy (#1) rebutted

Knox does not often get the opportunity to lie on a grand scale to Italians. Just as well for her as the negative reaction is opposite and immediate.

Italians followed the trial in real-time witnessed a strident contemptuous sharp-tongued “Terminator Knox” on the witness stand for two days at trial, resulting in this sarcastic reaction and this sarcastic reaction.

“Daffy Knox” and “Terminator Knox” who forever sought media attention at trial in 2009 were retired from 2010 onward in favor of “Whiny Victim Knox”.

In 2013 Knox was too timid to return for her own Florence appeal presided over by Judge Nencini, but not too timid to send him a massively self-infatuated email containing some of the same lies Knox repeats in the movie. Here they all are, easily rebutted by Finn MacCool in Dec 2013. Research anyone?


[By Finn MacCool] You can read here the email Amanda Knox sent to Judge Nencini.

It is dated 15 December 2013 and was handed to Dr Nencini by Dr Ghirga, apparently to the disdain of both of them. It contains many statements which, if she were under oath, could be considered perjury.

One telling point is that she claims “I am not present in the courtroom because I am afraid.”  Her co-defendant, Raffaele Sollecito, was not so afraid and he did present himself at an earlier stage of the proceedings.

He made a spontaneous statement and the judge assured him that he should feel free to intervene and make further interventions whenever he wished. So far he hasn’t wished to - he preferred to head back to the Caribbean for his holiday.

But that event and that presence by Sollecito completely undermine the credibility of Knox’s claim that she feels afraid of the court proceedings. There would be nothing to stop her coming and going, at this stage, just as Sollecito did.

I have no doubt that my lawyers have explained and demonstrated the important facts of this case that prove my innocence and discredit the unjustified accusations of the prosecution and civil parties.

That’s what her lawyers were about to try to do. But instead they had to hand this email to the judge, showing their client’s complete contempt for the court process.

I seek not to supplant their work

She doesn’t want to supplant the work of her own lawyers? Most defendants don’t, nor do they feel the need to tell the court that using an archaic seventeenth-century grammatical construction (where modern English would have “I do not mean to…” or “I do not wish to”¦”)

Because I am not present to take part in [my own appeal], I feel compelled to share.

As Judge Nencini said, if anyone wants to talk to a court, come to court. Knox chose not to be present, which means that the word “because” is not a logical connector for why she feels compelled to share what she thinks. “Even though” would make more sense.

The Court has access to my previous declarations and I trust will review them…

The court has access to thousands of pages. Everybody trusts that courts will review the evidence before passing judgment ““ that’s how the legal process works.

I must repeat: I am innocent.

In fact she does not have to repeat that, which is simply a reiteration of her not guilty plea.

I am not present in the courtroom because I am afraid.

The wording is reminiscent of a previous declaration, “I am very afraid of Patrik, the African boy who…” Also the court may remember the presence of her co-defendant, who made a brief presentation to the court (and was invited to intervene again at any time he saw fit) and who afterwards flew back to his extended vacation in the Dominican Republic. It is difficult to see what the defendants have to be afraid of from the court, except perhaps the truth.

I am afraid that the prosecution’s vehemence will leave an impression on you, that their smoke and mirrors will blind you.

The prosecution’s case has already been made; this was the opportunity for the defense to make their case. It is the court’s duty to consider the evidence without being overly swayed by the vehemence of lawyers from either side ““ they look at the facts, and pass judgment based on that, and this happens in literally millions of cases every year. (Cassazione alone reviews more than 80 thousand cases each year.)

This is not for lack of faith in your powers of discernment, but because the prosecution has succeeded before in convincing a perfectly sound court of concerned and discerning adults to convict innocent people ““ Raffaele and me.

The second half of the sentence contradicts the first. The writer is explicitly stating that she doubts that the court has sufficient powers of discernment to be able to see through the prosecution’s arguments. Her justification for saying this is simply that it has happened before, with a previous court.

I’ve attentively followed this process and gleaned the following facts…

This is a delusional statement. The writer is the defendant, who is the subject of the process, not an external observer to it. We can compare it with her statements following her arrest, in which she claimed still to be helping the police on an equal basis with them, despite being charged with the murder.

No physical evidence places me in Meredith’s bedroom, the scene of the crime…

The bedroom is where the murder took place, but the crime scene is much wider than that, and certainly encompasses the adjoining room where the burglary was faked, the bathroom where the killers cleaned up, and the corridor that connects those rooms. Knox’s blood, DNA, bare footprints are all found in those places. Within Meredith’s room itself, there is also a woman’s shoeprint that does not match the victim, and which Knox’s own lawyer was obliged to claim was caused by an unfortunate fold in the pillowcase.

Meredith’s murderer left ample evidence in the brutal scenario: handprints, footprints, shoe prints in Meredith’s blood, DNA in her purse, on her clothing, in her body.

The term “brutal scenario” makes no sense here, although she repeats it again a couple of lines later. Perhaps she means “crime scene” or “bedroom”. The only footprints found at the crime scene are those of Knox and Sollecito. A woman’s shoeprint in the room where the murder took place cannot be that of either Guede or the victim, and is most likely that of Knox.

The prosecution has failed to explain how I could have… been the one to fatally wound Meredith ““ without leaving any genetic trace of myself. That is because it is impossible.

Actually it is perfectly possible to do this ““ for example, simply by stabbing someone to death while wearing gloves. However, in this case the prosecution has in fact explained how several traces of Knox’s DNA have been found on the handle of the knife which had the victim’s DNA on the blade. That obviously fits a scenario in which Knox stabbed Meredith Kercher with that knife.

Either I was there, or I wasn’t.

The same thing applies to the appeal court. Either the defendants are there, or they are not. In this case, the defendant is not.

The analysis of the crime scene answers this question: I wasn’t there.

Knox’s footprints, blood and DNA, sometimes mixed with that of the victim, all place her at the crime scene, and so does her DNA on the handle of the murder weapon.

My interrogation was illegal and produced a false “confession” that demonstrated my non-knowledge of the crime.

“Non-knowledge” is a curious word. Knox’s witness interview was perfectly legal ““ it was only the unexpected confession from the witness that changed the status of that interview, so that its contents could no longer be used against her. But there is no question over its legality.

The subsequent memoriali, for which I was wrongfully found guilty of slander…

This is an extraordinary aside. The defendant is here rejecting the legitimacy of the Italian Supreme Court, which has definitively found against her, and is also rejecting the findings of the Hellmann court that provisionally freed her, pending appeal. Every single court has found against her on this count.

. ...did not further accuse but rather recanted that false “confession”.

Let us reread some excerpts from this supposed recantation: “After dinner I noticed there was blood on Raffaele’s hand… I stand by my statements that I made last night about events that could have taken place in my home with Patrik… In these flashbacks I’m having, I see Patrik as the murderer…Why did I think of Patrik?... Is there any other evidence condemning Patrik or any other person?” This is not a recantation, and it does in fact contain further accusations of Patrick Lumumba while also seeking to throw suspicion both on Sollecito and an unnamed “other person”.

My behavior after the discovery of the murder indicates my innocence.

As dozens of witnesses have testified in a series of trials and appeals, Knox’s post-murder behavior indicated the exact opposite, which is why suspicion fell on her in the first place.

I did not flee Italy when I had the chance.

On page 71 of her memoir, Knox recounts the following exchange with Officer Ficarra, on the day after the murder was discovered: “My parents want me to go to Germany to stay with relatives for a couple of weeks. Is that okay?” She said, “You can’t leave Perugia. You’re an important part of the investigation.”

I stayed in Perugia and was at the police’s beck and call for over 50 hours in four days.

Chapter Ten of her memoir gives her own account of what she did on Monday, November 5th. She went to a nine o’clock grammar class, at which she refused to discuss the case with her fellow students; she spoke on the phone with her Aunt Dolly, admitting that she had not yet contacted the US embassy; she bumped into Patrick Lumumba where she refused to talk to BBC reporters; she spent the afternoon with Sollecito and then accompanied him to a friend’s house where she played the ukulele. Far from being at the police’s beck and call, she ignored their request that she stay home while they interview Sollecito separately, and turned up to the Questura regardless, although not before they had finished their evening meal.

The police coerced me into signing a false “confession””¦.

Her false accusation of Patrick Lumumba, for which she was convicted and has already served four years in prison, was not a confession and was not coerced.

. “¦one may be coerced into giving a false “confession” because of psychological torture”¦ This is a universal problem.

The US-based Innocence Project reports that there have been 244 exonerations since 2000, which is just over seventeen per year, which in turn means that currently in the USA, roughly 0.1% of cases are eventually overturned. Being wrongfully convicted might be devastating for the person concerned, but it is not a universal problem.

I did not carry around Raffaele’s kitchen knife.

The defendant has not been accused of carrying the knife around, but rather of stabbing Meredith Kercher to death with it. Forensic evidence supports that accusation, too.

I had no contact with Rudy Guede. Like many youth in Perugia, I had once crossed paths with Rudy Guede.

Very typical of Knox’s writing is this kind of self-contradiction, sometimes occurring within the same sentence, or as in this case, in consecutive sentences, seemingly with no self-awareness that any contradiction has even occurred.

If the prosecution truly had a case against me, there would be no need for these theatrics.

The prosecution is present in the court, having made its presentation in the usual way. The defense lawyers are about to do exactly the same thing. The only theatrics happening in the court at that moment is a bizarre email sent by one of the defendants, in lieu of attending her own appeal to her own murder conviction.

But because no evidence exists that proves my guilt, the prosecution would seek to deceive you with these impassioned, but completely inaccurate and unjustified pronouncements.

No further comments… [End Finn MacCool] 

5. Knox’s lies to Italy (#2) rebutted

The Italian weekly magazine Oggi is actually on trial for contempt of court for translating and republishing some of the numerous lies and defamations in Knox’s book Waiting To Be Heard.  This is the article with offending Knox quotes in bold, and below our own rebuttal. Research anyone?

Amanda Knox: The American girl’s sensational story

Chilling. No other adjectives come to mind after having read Waiting to be Heard, finally released in the United States. An extremely detailed and very serious charge against the police and magistrates who conducted the investigation into the murder of Meredith Kercher.

Immediately after the crime, Amanda recounts, and for entire days and nights, they had interrogated the American girl and placed her under pressure to make her confess to a non-existent truth, without officially investigating her, denying her the assistance of a lawyer, telling her lies, even prohibiting her from going to the bathroom and giving her smacks so as to make her sign a confession clearly extorted with something similar to torture.

And now the situation is very simple. There are only two choices: either Amanda is writing lies, and as a consequence the police officers and magistrates are going to have to sue her for defamation; or else she is telling the truth, and so they are going to have to go, not without being sanctioned by the CSM [the magistrates’ governing body] and the top brass of the Police. The third possibility, which is to pretend that nothing has happened, would be shameful for the credibility of our judicial system.

Amanda Knox has written her Waiting to be Heard memoir with the sense of revulsion and of relief of someone who has escaped by a hair’s breadth from a legal disaster, but has got her sums wrong. Cassation has decided that the [appeal] proceedings have to be redone and the hearings should be (re)commencing in October before the Florence Court of Appeal.

In a USA Today interview, Ms Knox has not excluded the possibility of “returning to Italy to face this battle too”, but it would be a suicidal decision: it’s likely that the appeal will result in a conviction, and the Seattle girl will end up in the black hole from which she has already spent 1,427 days.

In this way Waiting to be Heard risks being the “film” on which Amanda’s last words are recorded about the Mystery of Perugia, her definitive version.

We have read a review copy. And we were dumbfounded. Waiting to be Heard is a diary that has the frenetic pace of a thriller, written in a dry prose (behind the scenes is the hand of Linda Kulman, a journalist at the Huffington Post), even “promoted” by Michiko Kakutani, long-time literary critic at the New York Times.

The most interesting part does not concern the Raffaele Sollecito love story (which Amanda reduces it to puppy love: “With the feeling, in hindsight, I knew that he… that we were still immature, more in love with love than with each other”), and whoever goes looking for salacious details about the three Italian boys Amanda had casual sex with, one night stands, will be frustrated (Ms Knox describes those enounters with the nonchalance of an entomologist disappointed with his experiments: “We undressed, we had sex, I got dressed again with a sense of emptiness”).

There are no scoops about the night of the murder and even the many vicissitudes endured during the 34,248 hours spent in Capanne prison ““ the [claimed] sexual molestations suffered under two guards, the unexpected kiss planted by a bisexual cellmate, the threats made by another two prisoners ““ remain on the backdrop, like colourful notations.

Because what is striking and upsetting, in the book, is the minute descriptions, based on her own diaries, on the case documents and on a prodigious memory, of how Ms Knox had been incriminated (or “nailed”).

COME IN KAFKA. A Kafkian account in which the extraordinary naivety of Amanda (the word naïve, ingénue, is the one which recurs most often in the 457 pages of the book) mixes with the strepitous wickedness of the investigators decided on “following a cold and irrational trail because they had nothing better in hand”.

Devour the first 14 chapters and ask yourself: is it possible that the Police and Italian justice work with such incompetence, ferocity, and disdain for the truth? You place yourself in her situation and you scare yourself: If it happened to me? You’re in two minds: is it a likely accusation, or a squalid calumny, the version of Amanda?

Because in reading it you discover that in the four days following the discovery of Meredith Kercher’s body (on 2 November 2007), Amanda was interrogated continuously, and without the least of procedural guarantees [=due process].

She changes status from witness to suspect without being aware of it.” No one had told me my rights, no one had told me that I could remain silent”, she writes. When she asked if she had the right to a lawyer, the Public Prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini, had responded like this: “No, no, that will only worsen things: it would mean that you don’t want to help us”. Thus, the Public Prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini.

For a long period of time, Ms Knox, who at the time spoke and understood hardly any Italian at all, mistook him for the Mayor of Perugia, come to the police station to help her.

Then, with the passage of time and of the pages, the assessment changes: Mignini is a prosecutor “with a bizarre past”, investigated for abuse of office (he was convicted at first instance, but Cassation annulled the verdict on the grounds of lack of jurisdiction: the case will be held in Torino ““ ndr) and with the hunger to fabricate “strange stories to solve his cases”.

Mignini “is a madman who considers his career more important than my liberty or the truth about the killing of Meredith”. On the phone, the Perugian prosecutor reacts with aplomb: “First I will read the book and then I will consider it. Certainly, if it really calls me “˜mad’ or worse, I think I will file suit”.

BEING IN PRISON IS LIKE CAMPING Amanda goes looking. When the officers mysteriously bring her along to the crime scene inspection of the apartment below the one in which she and Meredith were living in, Ms Knox put on the shoe protectors and the white forensics gloves and called out Ta-dah! spreading her arms “as if I was at the start of a musical: I wanted to appear helpful”.

When they dragged her in handcuffs into Capanne Prison, she believed what the Police would have told her, and that was they would hide her for a couple of days to protect her (from the true killer, one presumes) and for unspecified bureaucratic reasons. “In my head I was camping: “˜This won’t last more than a week in the mountains’, I told myself,” writes Amanda.

They take her money off her, and her credit cards, licence and passport, and she draws strength from repeating to herself that “surely they’re not going to give me a uniform, seeing that I’m a special case and that I’ll be here for only a little while”.

But it’s the account of the notorious interrogation that takes the breath away. Around ten in the evening on her last day of freedom, Ms Knox accompanies Raffaele to the police station (he was called in, also without a lawyer, by the Police) and is thrown into a nightmare which she populates with many faces: there is Officer Rita Ficcara, who gives her two cuffs on the head (“To help you remember,” she would say); there’s another officer who advises her: “If you don’t help us, you’ll end up in prison for 30 years”; Mignini arrives and advises her not to call a lawyer; super-policewoman Monica Napoleoni dives in and bluffs: “Sollecito has dropped your alibi: he says that on the night of the murder you had left his apartment and that you had told him to lie to “˜cover you’”.

And a crescendo of yelling and intimidations that lasts from 11 at night until 5.45 in the morning. Seven hours “produce” two confessions that, exactly because they are made without a defence lawyer, cannot be used in the proceedings, but forever after “stain” the image of the accused Knox: Amanda places herself at the scene of the crime and accuses Patrick Lumumba.

RAFFAELE CONFIRMS THE ACCUSATIONS An account of the horror is confirmed by Sollecito in his memoir, Honor Bound, Raffaele writes of having heard “the police yelling at Amanda and then the cries and sobs of my girl, who was yelling “˜Help!’ in Italian in the other room”, and of having being threatened in his turn (“If you try to get up and go, I’ll punch you till you’ll bleed and I’ll kill you. I’ll leave you in a pool of blood”, another officer had whispered to him).

Published lines which have passed right under the radar of the Perugian investigators: “No legal action [against the interrogators] has been notified to us,” Franco Sollecito, Raffaele’s dad, tell us. For having recounted the sourness of her interrogation in court, Amanda was investigated for calunnia: the trial will take place in Florence. This one, too, will be a circumstantial case: it’s the word of two young people against that of the public prosecutor and the police.

The recording of the interrogation would have unveiled which side the truth stands on. But it has gone missing.

Our own rebuttals:

  • Knox was NOT interrogated for days and nights. She was put under no pressure in her brief witness interviews except possibly by Sollecito who had just called their latest alibi “a pack of lies”.

  • Knox WAS officially investigated in depth, after she surprisingly “confessed” and placed herself and Patrick at the scene. Prior to that she’d been interviewed less than various others, who each had one consistent alibi.

  • Knox herself pushed to make all three statements without a lawyer on the night of 5-6 November 2007 in which she claimed she went out from Sollecito’s house, met Patrick, and witnessed him killing Meredith.

  • Far from Knox being denied a lawyer, discussions were stopped before the first statement and not resumed, in the later hearing she was formally warned she needed one; she signed a confirmation of this in front of witnesses.

  • Prosecutor Mignini who Knox accuses of telling her a lawyer would hurt her prospects when she claims she asked for one was not even in the police station at that interview; he was at home.

  • She was not prohibited from going to the bathroom. At trial, she testified she was treated well and was frequently offered refreshments. Her lawyers confirmed this was so.

  • She was not given smacks by anyone, though she did repeatedly smack her own head. Over a dozen witnesses testified that she was treated well, broke into a conniption spontaneously, and thereafter her talking was hard to stop.

  • There is no evidence whatsoever that Knox was subject to “something similar to torture” and as mentioned above only Sollecito applied any pressure, not any of the police.

  • There is nothing “suicidal” about returning to Italy to defend herself at the new appeal. Sollecito did. She risks an international arrest warrant and extradition if she doesn’t.

  • There is no proof except for her own claims of sexual molestations in prison; she is a known serial liar; and she stands out for an extreme willingness to talk and write about sex.

  • Many people have testified she was treated well in prison: her own lawyers, a member of parliament, and visitors from the US Embassy were among them; she herself wrote that it was okay.

  • She may have based her account on her diaries and “prodigious memory” but the obviously false accusation against the prosecutor suggests that much of the book was made up.

  • The investigators had a great deal of evidence against Knox in hand, not nothing, and they were not ever faulted for any action; they helped to put on a formidable case at trial in 2009.

  • “Police and Italian justice work with such incompetence, ferocity, and disdain for the truth” is contradicted by a very complete record prior to trial which was praised by the Supreme Court.

  • Mr Mignini has NO bizarre past at all. He is widely known to be careful and fair. He would not have been just promoted to first Deputy Prosecutor General of Umbria otherwise.

  • He was put on trial by a rogue prosecutor desperate to protect his own back from Mignini’s investigations; the Supreme Court has killed the trumped up case dead.

  • There was nothing “mysterious” about Knox being taken to the crime scene to see if any knives were gone, but her wailing panic when she saw the knives was really “mysterious”.

  • Knox never thought she was in prison for her own protection; she had signed an agreement at the 5:00 am interview confirming she did know why she was being held.

  • Monica Napoleoni did not “bluff” that Sollecito had just trashed their joint alibi; he actually did so, because his phone records incriminated him; he agreed to that in writing.

  • There was no crescendo of “yelling and intimidations that lasts from 11 at night until 5.45”. There were two relatively brief sessions. Knox did most of the talking, named seven possible perps, and drew maps.

  • There was zero legal requirement to record the recap/summary interview, no recording has “gone missing” and many officers present testified to a single “truth” about what happened.


6. Coming up In Our Next Posts

More of the same. Knox blowing smoke and our exposing her. Some of the same smoke she blew for Netflix. And also, our lies of omission seies.


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Netflixhoax 6: Omitted - The Almost Unique Carefulness Of Italy’s Justice System

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



Bigotry for fame and profit: Stephen Robert Morse, Rod Blackhurst, and Brian McGinn

Netflix’s Amanda Knox is an extreme example of misleading bias by cherrypicking. This post is another in our ongoing series, the mothership for material for this media-friendly page online soon.


1. Wrong “facts” and numerous omissions

As first explained previously in this series the very loaded Netflix report Amanda Knox included some seriously wrong “facts”.

Here is another of them.  The HIV Hoax. Italian doctors did NOT fool Knox about a possible HIV positive; they told her in confidence not to worry, they would retest (a common practice in HIV testing) and that test soon came back negative.

NOBODY in the justice system leaked about this. The leak to the media complete with Knox’s list of recent sex partners was blatantly and well-recordedly made by the Knox-Mellas defense team. Even several of us were leaked-to - this was months before we got a grip on the case.

We shall be deconstructing the various wrong “facts”.

But mainly though the film operated at the level of cut-and-paste innuendo. And it banked on the extreme ignorance of its audience.  Hundreds of inconvenient facts were omitted, any few of which would have disrupted its propaganda purpose.

We shall be adding in the numerous omissions.

2. The report’s macro-level takeaways

About 50 movie reviewers so far have mostly declared these to be their main takeways.

    (1) A muddled or desperate or evil Dr Mignini framed Knox and fooled his co-prosecutor, numerous experts, 30-plus judges, and most of Italy.

    (2) The justice system of Italy is a dangerous error-prone joke, but thankfully some much smarter Americans are here, to save silly Italy from itself.

    (3) Somehow a few BRITISH tabloids influenced an ITALIAN jury to vote “guilty” and the damning prosecution case the hapless defenses did not once dent in 2009 was immaterial.

All three of them are untrue. We’ll take a first stab at correcting for them below, with much more to come.   

(1) The REAL Dr Mignini

He framed Knox? On this there is vast evidence to the contrary. Dr Mignini has already explained some and we have much more to come. Dr Mignini had no motive, early on he was pretty good to Knox, and the checks and balances against any such hoax are simply enormous.

Ask yourself, why would a prosecutor intent on framing Knox do this recorded interrogation?

In fact he did it as a favor to Knox, because she asked him for it. She asked also for the interrogation at trial. Those were the ONLY two interrogations of Knox. Both damning. There were no others, ever.

In both of them, Knox by her own tongue dropped herself in it, far more than any police or prosecutor ever did. The second had a major effect on the jury (and on Italy).

In that same post we pointed to two of the Netflix team’s numerous self-serving omissions.

(1) [The movie]  appears to accept that innocence was proved and that Knox and Sollecito had zero role. That was not what the Supreme Court said. [See Dr Mignini’s final paras.]

(2) Italian lawyers think the Fifth Chambers ruling may have been illegal as well as bent. The reasoning can be read here. That is headed to court soon.


(2) Italy’s REAL justice system

Pretty well the exact opposite of what you’d suppose if you read only Michael Heavey and Frank Sforza and Paul Ciolino and Bruce Fischer and John Douglas and Saul Kassin and Steve Moore and of course Doug Preston and the late Mario Spezi. Read only them, and one might be excused for thinking Italy’s is a huge, horrible system which the Italian population desperately needs THEM to save it from! Bigotry for fame and profit.

A total illusion, which Morse, Blackhurst, and McGinn now want you to swallow. Bigotry for fame and profit.

The main characteristics of the Italian system are (1) a large and visible national and local police presence with excellent forensics labs, (2) a low crime rate even by European standards, and even more-so by American standards, and (3) a very low rate of incarceration that is only 1/6 the rate of the US.

The system is immensely careful and with two AUTOMATIC rights of appeal for convictions for serious crimes the chances of a false conviction standing are zero. Compare this with thousands uncovered in the US. The vast wave of appeals has clogged the courts and right now Parliament is trying to reverse this. 

Appellants have a huge advantage which makes it easy for them to game this system: the prosecution presents their case ONLY at trial. Then seasoned defences can game bewildered prosecutors at higher levels.

Officially the US knows all of this. It has much to gain politically from Italian co-operation and works very hard on their functional relationships. The FBI and the Italian equivalent embed one another’s officers in Rome and Washington, aid one another’s labs, share huge amounts of information, mutually take down mafia, and organize dozens of extraditions annually.

Almost all prosecutors are highly-trained by career-path; the only three who were not in this case (Judges Hellmann, Marasca and Bruno) and sprung Knox and Sollecito are all believed to have been corrupted.

Finally, the mafias and fellow-travelers work hard to smear police and prosecutors (as well as assassinating them, over 100 now). In this respect the Knox PR has wittingly or unwittingly been functioning as an arm of the mafias. Bongiorno, substituted for the hapless Sollecito PR which cost Vanessa her Carabinieri post, became famous for mafia defenses.

The 20 posts we link to below go deeper. You might read at least the headlines and the quotes below. That Italy’s is a pretty good system should be compelling.


1. Click here for post: How Italian Justice REALLY Works

Comparing the US and UK common law system - a model founded on non-written laws and developed through judicial proceedings - with this system which arose from the Roman Law model - based on a written civil code - is really like comparing apples to oranges.

They were both conceived to protect individual’s rights at a maximum level, while seeking justice for the victims. But with entirely different processes.

One is not necessarily better or worse. But there are legal experts who think the Italian system is distinctly fairer - much more weighted toward the defendants. In the US and the UK the prosecutor usually has to make it through only one pre-trial hoop. In Italy the prosecutor has to make it through a whole row of pre-trial hoops…

2. Click here for post:  Why The Prosecutors In Italy Are Relatively Popular

Italy’s a tough country with, albeit dwindling now, a legacy of violent crime, and many brave prosecutors over the years have been assassinated.

And the Italian legal system is not particularly weighted in their direction, with a large number of hurdles they have to climb over before a case ever gets to trial.

And the Italian prison system is relatively lenient, heavily pro-prisoner-remediation and early release, and proportionally only 1/10 the size of the US’s.

So the endemic attempts to undermine Prosecutor Mignini have invariably won only MORE popular support for him and his case in Perugia and Italy in general.

3. Click here for post:  Why The Italian Judiciary’s Probably Less Prone to Pressure Than Any Other In The World

Italian magistrates enjoy an extraordinary level of autonomy from the other powers of government (executive and legislative) and the point of this post is to explain why. This autonomy is above all due to the Italian constitutional framework.

That framework is intended to guarantee such an exceptional level of independence so as to avoid the abuses that occurred during Mussolini’s fascist regime, when Italian magistrates were forced by the executive to prosecute (and persecute) political opponents to the fascist dictator…

4. Click here for post:  Explaining How The Italian Appeals Process Works And Why It Consumes So Much Time 

The extraordinary broad appeal rights awarded by the Italian system are all part of the 1989 reform, which intended to add even more guarantees to the right of the accused. This has resulted in an incredible increase in pending cases in the overburdened Italian justice system….

This situation is exacerbated by the broad appeal rights guaranteed also on the 2nd level of appeal, at the Supreme Court of Cassation. Like other supreme courts around the world, such court does not re-examine the entire body of evidence, but only “˜errores in iudicando’ and “˜errores in procedendo’ (errors in procedure or application of the law).

However, unlike its American or English counterparts, the Italian Supreme Court cannot refuse to review a case, and defendants have unlimited appeal rights to the Supreme Court of Cassation. They don’t even have to wait for the Appeal Court. You can in fact appeal to the Supreme Court directly after the first trial. ...

5. Click here for post:  Barbara Benedettelli: Campaigner For Victims And Families Says Italian System Denies Them Justice

There are proportionally very few perpetrators in Italians prison by global standards, and when there in prison they are given quite a nice time, trained to perform usefully when released, and very often get out of prison early.

Seemingly very humane. But this does carry very high costs. There are often almost unbearable pressures on victims’ families, as Meredith’s father John Kercher has several times described. On top of all this, there is the growing western fascination with perps, and in many cases their elevating to popular cult-worship status.

Barbara Benedettelli is a writer and columnist and the editor of the popular “Top Secret” program on Rete4 TV…  Her latest book (only in Italian) is called “Victims Forever”. She talks of various prominent perps and the enormous and unrequiting pressures on victims’ families. In polls a large majority of Italians detest this. They want much less stress on “fairness” and MUCH more compassion for victims families and, if still alive, for the victims.

6. Click here for post:  Harvard Political Review Writer Alex Koenig Reproaches The Sliming of Italy’s Justice System 

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.

7. Click here for post:  Interesting Tilts Of Marcia Clark And Alan Dershowitz Toward Educated, Informed Italian-type Juries 

“[American] jury instructions are so numerous and complex, it’s a wonder jurors ever wade through them. And so it should come as no surprise that they can sometimes get stuck along the way. The instruction on circumstantial evidence is confusing even to lawyers. And reasonable doubt? That’s the hardest, most elusive one of all. And I think it’s where even the most fair-minded jurors can get derailed.”

“Well, if you want justice, don’t look to the criminal law system. That’s not its job. Its job is not to produce a just result. Its job is to produce a legally correct result…”

“We’ve opted for a much more democratic system, and it means that in the end you’re going to be dissatisfied with a lot of verdicts. Just don’t expect too much from our legal system. Don’t expect truth. Don’t expect justice, because that’s not what it’s supposed to give you.”

8. Click here for post:  The Chief Enforcer Of The Constitution And The Rule Of Law is Wildly Popular Throughout Italy 

He is said to receive dozens of petitions a day and in certain cases he does act to get things done. Significantly, two that he chose to ignore recently concerned the ongoing Sollecito-Knox appeal process.

Of two pretty blatant attempts to bias the Perugia process, one came from Joel Simon of the US-based Committee to Protect Journalists, and one came from the junior Berlusconi-party MP Rocco Girlanda.

President Giorgio Napolitano simply ignored both of them.

9. Click here for post:  Compared To Italy, Say, Precisely How Wicked Is The United States? 

We have often remarked that Italy’s crime rate is low, the three mafia families (Sicily, Calabria and Naples) are on the rocks, and the justice system is one of the most cautious - conviction rates are infuriatingly low for the suffering families of victims, but in a forgiving Catholic nation rates of incarceration are unlikely to jump any time soon.

The American incarceration rate in sharp contrast has for a decade led the rest of the world, and it increased every year for nearly 30 straight years from the arrival of President Reagan to the departure of President GW Bush. Its prison rate is ahead of Russia’s, with its mafias and corruption and poverty, and ahead of China’s, with its large population of political prisoners.

10. Click here for post:  Involvement Of The Formidable Carabinieri Shows How Italian Justice Will Not Be Leaned Upon 

Judge Nencini may have invoked the help of the Carabinieri for reasons going beyond simply very good science.

Italy has among the world’s lowest crime-rates, murder-rates and incarceration-rates. Unusually low criminal and anti-social tendencies among native-born Italians, and strong family pride, explains a large part of this.

But another main reason is the high-profile and exceptionally smart police presence. Deliberately a cool presence rather than a hot and intimidating presence, and in fact a very popular one

11. Click here for post:  Italy’s Unpopular Politicians And Mafia Fellow Travelers Against Italy’s Popular Justice System 

For comparison, in 2011 the percentage of Italians who declared they trust the justice system “a lot” or “enough” was 53.3%. By comparison, the percentage of Italians who declared they trust the government “a lot” or “enough”  were 14.7%, and those who trust the parliament were only 15%.

In 2012, the percentage of Italians who trust the parliament is now only 9.5%, and those who trust the Mario Monti administration are only 21.1%.

Over the eight years from 2004 to 2012 the percentage of Italians who trust the justice system was always bigger than those who trust parliament or government by at least ten points, and in some years we can see a spread of 20, 30, even 39 percentage points achieved by the judiciary over the parliament and government.

12. Click here for post:  Italy’s Advanced, Effective, Humane Law & Order System Also Adopted By City Of New York

New York is now the safest big city in America. It is following a route that is not only almost identical to Italy’s - it is being watched and emulated elsewhere across the US….

Now that the United States has the world’s highest reported rate of incarceration, many criminologists are contemplating another strategy. What if America reverted to the penal policies of the 1980s? What if the prison population shrank drastically? What if money now spent guarding cellblocks was instead used for policing the streets?

13. Click here for post:  Italian Prime Minister Renzi Will Push Measures To Speed Up Justice 

In a move popular not least among those who are part of it Mr Renzi announces moves to speed up Italian justice.

Italian justice and those who work in it are widely trusted and respected in Italy. But a very humane system designed post WWII to give those accused a level of rights unique in the world has been even further tilted over the years by politicians passing laws to aid political and business colleagues in legal trouble.

14. Click here for post:  Why Numerous American JUDGES Favor The Supremely Neutral Italian Kind Of System 

See that above at the bottom of the YouTube screen? Some $280 million has been spent since the year 2000. Can you guess what the $280 million was for?

In fact the $280 million is funds raised and spent for judges’ election campaigns in the roughly 3/4 of all American states where such judges’ elections are held - the original intention of which was good: to get judicial choices out of smoke-filled rooms.

15. Click here for post:  Meredith May Not See Justice (Yet) But She Will Leave At Least Three Legacies 

Knox behaved grossly irresponsibly in heading to Perugia under-funded, intent on drug-doing, and with zero intention of seriously studying.

The University of Washington and many others realised they could have huge liabilities if they did not distance themselves a lot from such loose cannons in future.

In October 2009 we reposted this report by Andrea Vogt which described the initiation of measures many American universities have now come to implement….

16. Click here for post:  Counterterrorism: Another Way Italian Law Enforcement Is An Effective Model For Everywhere Else 

A leading military analyst is citing Italy as a model of counterterrorism done right, pointing out that despite many factors going against it, Islamic terrorists have failed to kill a single person on Italian soil.

17. Click here for post:  Italian Justice & The Telling Status Of Extraditions To And From Italy 

If countries agree to extradite to other countries, that suggests a high degree of trust in justice at both ends. They are in effect voting confidence in each other’s justice systems.

Italy achieves an exceptionally high rate of extraditions in both directions and continues to sign more bilateral treaties.

It is clearly trusted almost worldwide as a destination where those charged will receive a fair shake. And it is very no-nonsense about sending back fleeing felons who try to go to ground there.

18. Click here for post:  Knox’s Nasty-Prisons Hoax: NY Times Describes How Italy Leads The World In Rehabilitation 

Around five years ago, largely because of immigrant crimes, the prison population (previously below 100,000 - in the US, California prisons alone hold almost twice that) began to balloon.

New prisons were built, with no expenses spared, and in these images you can see the result.

Stories of extreme over-crowding have gone away, and the New York Times profiles the new prisons and their programs of today.

19. Click here for post:  How The Italian “Justice Tortoise” Is The Likely Winner Compared To For Example the US System 

Italy is working to try to update its justice system right now and we will report on that shortly. At least in theory, it has one of the easiest tasks in the world, because post WWII its legal system was redesigned from the ground up. It had already junked bad aspects, some going back centuries.

Italy already has some of the world’s smartest juries - jury service is compulsory, so smart people cannot dodge them. And the system already has some other very positive things going for it.

Mainly what is needed is some weeding. And such reforms are made easier in Italy because (1) judges and prosecutors all follow career paths and so they are not politically competing with one another;  and (2) there is the Council of Magistrates (CSM) which can be very progressive in the reforms it pushes at its level.

20. Click here for post:  So Where Would YOU Want To Go On Trial? In Italy Or In The U.S.?

We have still not seen even ONE American lawyer claim that after the first trial in 2009 which found RS and AK guilty that there were strong grounds for an appeal.

In the US, back in 2009, full prison terms would have been begun.

And in fact virtually nothing at the 2009 trial was challenged in the appeal. But the defenses subversively organized to get Civil Judge Hellmann instead of Criminal Judge Chiari to preside, and in 2011 a farcical “not guilty” outcome was the result.

Then there was a THIRD jury trial, in 2013-14, which (as so often in Italy) threw out the not guilty outcome of the previous appeal trial.

And finally, in 2015, due to more subversive defense machinations with a little mafia help, the final Supreme Court appeal was assigned to the FIFTH Chambers, for the first murder appeal that Chambers has ever heard.

A second farcical “not guilty” outcome was the result.

Say what you like about the American system, there is not remotely any parallel in its judicial history to all of that.  Quite the opposite in fact. We have had various posts pointing to an increasingly hard line in the US.


(3) British tabloids corrupted a jury in THIS system?

Subject of future posts. Check back shortly.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Netflixhoax 5 Omitted - Blackhurst Now Nervous Of Legal Risks For Doing Mafias’ Dirty Work?

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



Netflix Director Rod Blackhurst has worked for Knox PR since 2010

1. How Blackhurst Went Wrong

First, see above. Blackhurst’s pro-Knox fanaticism goes back seven years THAT is sure not explained in the film.

Second, see the image of Blackhurt’s bizarre tweet at bottom, conceivably welcoming our expose of his huge hoax. A minor development which could come to signify more.

The REAL story here is not the framing of Knox or a justice system that doesnt play fair. It is instead the giant innocence fraud perpetrated by Curt Knox and David Marriott since late 2007, and the known mafia manipulation to spring RS and AK and to bring Italian justice down a peg.

The aggressive PR scheme is not even mentioned at all, though it put out and took in millions of dollars. It has promoted anti-Italy fanaticism to the extent that several dupes have screamed at public events in Perugia and cops have been told to be wary of Americans who might tote guns.

Check out the 30 hoaxes in our right column hatched by the PR which we will expand upon in coming weeks. Many are furthered by this hapless film.

2. How Blackhurst Might Get Things Right

Blackhurst could start setting things right by starting way back when. That well-documented childhood abuse (touched on also in Knox’s book) could explain why so many have found Amanda Knox erratic and hard to take.

Not the least of those of course is Sollecito, who on and off  since 2007 has railed at her.

Meredith and her other flatmates and her cellmates in prison and pretty well anyone she ever met in Perugia found her hard to take, though when she was not high on drugs she did seem now and then to be trying to act right.

Why did Curt Knox initiate take-no-prisoners PR in a heartbeat in 2007? To cover his own tail for damage he had done to her in childhood, provoking a crazed escalation resulting in Meredith’s death? And why did so few in Seattle speak up for Amanda Knox in 2007? Why were so few parents keen to see an award created in her name at her high school?

Let’s hope Blackhurst is capable of real work and not simply parroting the PR..



Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Netflixhoax 2: Omitted - Producers Morse, Blackhurst, McGinn Commited Stalking Crimes

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



Bigotry & stalking for fame & profit: producers Morse, Blackhurst, McGinn


Under Italian law the stalkers Stephen Robert Morse, Rod Blackhurst, and Brian McGinn have committed four kinds of crimes.

    (1) Misrepresenting evidence in an attempt to affect the outcome of an ongoing legal process in Italy.

    (2) Stalking justice officials (see below) in an attempt to affect the outcome of an ongoing legal process.

    (3) Stalking the family of the victim (this is a crime also in England and the United States).

    (4) Stalking members of the media (see further below) including screaming abuse at them in public.





Numerous abusive tweets have been deleted, but these and others were captured, and would weigh against them in court.

@NickPisa “Convinced you’re a heartless tabloid journo, but wanted to remind you that you f*cked up people’s lives:”

@BLNadeau “Reminder: Your quest for the latest, greatest story damaged people. You should be ashamed of yourself:”

@andreavogt “Wanted to remind you that your work seriously damaged many lives & you should be ashamed of yourself:”

Our main poster Pataz posted this about the gang’s harrassment of the Kercher family on his own site.

See “Amanda Knox” producer Stephen Morse’s shocking comment about the Kercher family

Posted on September 26, 2016 by pataz1

Here’s what we know: Sometime in late 2010 or early 2011, “Amanda Knox” directors Rod Blackhurst and Brian McGinn hooked up with Stephen Robert Morse and decided to create a documentary on Knox. Morse and Blackhurst went to Perugia in September of 2011 when Knox’s first appeal was heard. It appears that McGinn may have been with them, and that they connected with journalist Mario Spezi (who had previously been arrested by prosecutor Mignini for interfering with an investigation).

The Kercher family was represented at trial by their lawyer, Francesco Maresca. In Italy, the civil suit happens at the same time as the criminal suit, so Maresca was there to represent the Kerchers in their civil suit against the defendants for Meredith’s death. As a part of the original conviction in 2009, the Kerchers were awarded damages.

Knox’s defenders frequently attacked the Kercher family and their lawyer, Maresca, for the damages awarded to the Kercher family. Knox’s defenders claimed Maresca and the Kercher family were driven by the monetary damages awarded to the Kerchers.

Producer Stephen Morse, while covering the appeals, joined in these attacks on Meredith’s family, claiming the Kerchers were blinded by money.  While covering the appeals, Morse stated his belief the DNA evidence would result in an acquittal. Three days later, while waiting for the verdict, Morse claimed the Kerchers were ignoring evidence. In a tweet (still available Sept 2016), Morse charged the Kercher family with being driven by money:

“i feel for the kercher family but they cannot ignore dna evidence simply because they were awared an 8 figure civil victory. #amandaknox” ““Stephen Robert Morse, 3-Oct 2011, 7:57 am.

For US readers, this is similar to claiming the Nicole Brown family was only out for money when they filed their civil suit against O.J. Simpson.

Two of the Kerchers- Meredith’s father John and her brother Lyle- have previously spoken about the symbolic nature of the damages, and that they do not care about the money awarded. In 2009 Lyle told the Guardian “It’s not the case that this has ever been about us seeking money, which is why we’ve been reluctant to do much media stuff throughout. That money will never really change anything in that respect.”

Meredith’s father John Kercher spoke to the Sun after the Hellmann appellate court overturned the trial conviction. He spoke out against potential book and movie deals for Knox and Sollecito:

Kercher explained that their civil claim- and an £8million damages award made when Knox was convicted ““ were symbolic in Italian law. “I find it distasteful that Knox stands to make millions from what happened to Meredith. I don’t think anyone should make money out of it ““ not us, not them,” he said.

“How would any parent feel if their daughter’s murder was to be turned into a movie for people’s entertainment?”

“We would not take a single cent from Amanda Knox,” Kercher added.

Nobody has asked yet how much Netflix is paying Rod Blackhurst, Brian McGinn, and producer Stephen Robert Morse for the rights to add the “Amanda Knox” film to Netflix’s library on September 30th, 2016.


Sunday, September 04, 2016

How Bob Woffinden And So Many Others Managed To Misstate The Case And Get Away With It

Posted by Peter Quennell



Meredith on a Skype chat session


Do you know this? Most people still dont. It explains a LOT including the numerous innocence frauds.

The attack on Meredith as summarised by Dr Mignini in the Machine’s must-read post below was reconstructed by Italy’s best crime-scene specialists, from Rome Headquarters, and it took an entire Saturday. Every mark in Meredith’s room and on her body were convincingly accounted for.

After the killers left and locked her in, Meredith was still alive, holding both sides of her neck to stop her life-blood leaking out. She might have lived for half an hour, in great pain, during which time an ambulance could easily have arrived and saved her.

But nobody called one. Her death was quite deliberate.

The Massei jury is said to have found all this evidence very powerful and left in NO doubt three had been involved (unanimous verdict) in what was a prolonged and exceptionally barbaric attack.

The Kercher family had asked Judge Massei in January 2009 for a closed trial as the autopsy part in particular would be key but also long and very graphic. Unfortunately it was settled that only the trial days covering the autopsy and the horrific attack would be closed.

This unique call by Judge Massei turned out to be a terrible one. It has caused immense damage to public understanding outside Italy, and to the legitimacy of the case ever since.

The public and the two later appeal juries never got to witness directly all this compelling evidence. In Italy, descriptions leaked out (not illegal) and so Italians following the case could get a good grasp - and the vast majority, perhaps all, were convinced (and still are) that the government team had got it right.

But the Hellmann and Nencini appeal juries and the Marasca/Bruno panel of the Supreme Court never got the full impact. And trial followers in the US and UK and so on had no idea (and even now only a very few have any idea) of what was presented behind those closed doors in 2009 and how it came across (several present were in tears during it) to the trial jury.

This terrible situation has allowed Knox and Sollecito and their teams and media supporters starting with Doug Preston, Candace Dempsey and Frank Sfarzo (a stage name, real name Sforza) and ending (for now) with Woffinden to lie incessantly for eight years about Guede as a lone wolf and about the numerous hard facts of the attack and the autopsy.

There would be NO effective PR and NO effective appeals and NO effective innocence fraud otherwise.

Our summaries of the sentencing reports by Judge Micheli for Guede and by Judge Massei for Sollecito & Knox are very good, but even they fall short here. The best way to get all this powerful evidence right is to read the full Micheli report (translated by Catnip) and full Massei report (translated by Skeptical Bystander and team). Both reports are on the case wiki.

“Missing” still from the public record because it was part of the closed trial was what is said to be a very compelling video construction of the attack. This video is also ridiculed and misrepresented by Sollecito and Knox and their teams and apologists - because they could get away with it.

Will the Netflix movie being unveiled in Toronto this week explain all or even any of this? Why do we doubt it?


Thursday, September 01, 2016

How Bob Woffinden, Aggrandizing Investigative Journalist, Attempts To Perpetrate Innocence Fraud

Posted by The Machine



Said to be Bob Woffinden - as a pop music reporter, some years ago

1. Woffinden and innocence fraud

These days innocence fraud is a very real thing.

A stern warning was issued to crime laboratory administrators that some post-conviction exonerations may have been secured by innocence activists using malicious tactics, or ‘innocence fraud’, creating potential public safety threats as convicted felons are released from prison.

In this post, I will analyse another example of innocence fraud, this time by British journalist Bob Woffinden on Meredith’s case. Woffinden has done this on other cases before.

He specialises in alleged miscarriages of justice, and has written articles for The Guardian, The Daily Mail and The New Statesman and authored a number a books about high-profile murder cases: Miscarriages of Justice; Hanratty: The Final Verdict and The Murder of Billy-Jo.

Woffinden’s default position when it comes to controversial murder cases seems to be to assume a miscarriage of justice, and to claim someone has been convicted of a crime they didn’t commit.

He’s claimed that James Hanratty, Jeremy Bamber, Barry George, Sion Jenkins and Jonathan King are all innocent. Reflexively anti-police, Woffinden as I described in the post linked to above on the James Hanratty case has a history of putting victims’ families through considerable pain.

2. Woffinden On Meredith’s case

Here he tries to prove that Rudy Guede is innocent of murder, and falsely claims he was convicted because he was black. He also tries to cast doubt on the hard fact that Meredith was sexually assaulted - or that the police got anything right.

Anyone who has read the official court documents and court testimonies with regard to the Meredith Kercher case will be able to assess Bob Woffinden’s professionalism and credibility and ethics as an investigative journalist article by reading his contorted take.

To those who really do know the case, it is immediately apparent that he’s pretty ignorant of the main facts, and that he hasn’t bothered to read the official court documents or the court testimonies available in English here.

He mindlessly repeats various endemic Friends of Amanda PR myths. For example, he erroneously claims the prosecutors concocted the scenario of a sex orgy gone wrong.

“The second mistake then ensued from the first. Needing to explain the presence of their three suspects in connection with the supposed sexual assault ““ and knowing there was absolutely no evidence to link Guede with Knox and Sollecito ““ they [the prosecutors] concocted the absurd scenario of a sex orgy gone wrong.”

Dr Mignini didn’t ever say anything about there being a sex orgy that went wrong when he presented his scenario to the court at the trial in 2009 and the numerous hearings (which Woffinden seems totally unaware of) in the 15 months before.

Instead he gave the court a detailed chronological account briefly summarized below of a vicious physical and sexual assault on Meredith, which culminated in her dying some time after the killers left and locked her in.

23:21: Amanda and Raffaele go into the bedroom while Rudy goes to the bathroom.

23:25: A scuffle begins between Amanda, helped by Raffaele, and Meredith. The English girl is taken by the neck, then banged against a cupboard, as shown by wounds to the skull. She resists all this. Rudy Guede enters.

23:30: Meredith falls to the floor. The three try to undress her to overcome her; they only manage to take off her trousers. The girl manages to get up, she struggles. At this point, the two knives emerge from the pockets of Amanda and Raffaele: one with a blade of four to five centimetres, the other, however, a big kitchen knife. Meredith tries to fend off the blades with her right hand. She is wounded.

23:35: The assault continues. Sollecito tries to rip off the English girl’s bra.

23:40: Meredith is on her knees, threatened by Amanda with the knife while Rudy holds her with one hand and with the other hand carries out an assault on her vagina. There is first a knife blow on her face, then straight away another. However, these blows are not effective. The three become more violent. With the smaller knife, Sollecito strikes a blow: the blade penetrates 4 centimetres into the neck.

There is a harrowing cry, which some witnesses will talk about. Amanda decides to silence her, still according to the video brought to court by the prosecutors, and strikes a blow to the throat with the kitchen knife: it will be the fatal wound. Meredith collapses on the floor.

23:45: Meredith is helped up by Rudy and is coughing up blood. The English girl, dying, is dragged along so that she can continue to be undressed.

Why is Woffinden unable to substantiate his claim that the prosecutors concocted the scenario of a sex orgy gone wrong with a verbatim quote from Mignini or Comodi?

Because they never claimed this at all. A competent and ethical professional journalist should be able to support every claim they make.

Woffinden regurgitates another popular PR myth by claiming that Rudy Guede pleaded guilty late in 2008.

“Even as he [Rudy Guede] pleaded guilty, he vehemently asserted his innocence, saying, “˜I can’t talk about things I haven’t seen and that didn’t happen to me’.”

Rudy Guede has never pleaded guilty or confessed to Meredith’s murder. He has always denied killing Meredith. He opted for a fast-track trial in mid 2008 because he could escape a blatant attempt to frame him as sole perpetrator by the Knox and Sollecito defense.

It meant he would automatically received a third off his prison sentence but at the time he had no idea what that would look like.

Bob Woffinden gets yet another fact wrong when he claims the Hellmann appeal court sanctioned a full review of the scientific evidence.

“...the Italian court sanctioned a full review of the scientific evidence on which they had been convicted.”

It did nothing of the kind. Hellmann merely asked Carla Vechiotti and Stefano Conti to review two pieces of DNA evidence - the knife and bra clasp evidence.

They didn’t review the bloody footprint on the bathmat, the bare bloody footprints which had been revealed by Luminol, or the five samples of Knox’s DNA or the blood mixed with Meredith’s blood in three different locations in the cottage.

Yet another wrong “fact”. Bob Woffinden claims that a police officer flushed away Rudy Guede’s faeces and thus destroyed evidence.

“His recollection that he had leapt up from the toilet seat the instant he heard the scream was bizarrely corroborated by the fact that there were faeces still in the pan when the police arrived. Needless to say, one officer activated the toilet, thereby flushing away important evidence.”

Needless to say? In fact this claim is complete and utter nonsense. The faeces in the toilet wasn’t flushed away. It was carefully collected as evidence and tested. However, it didn’t yield any results.

“The faeces present in the toilet of that bathroom did not, however, yield any results, and Dr Stefanoni, the biologist of the Scientific Police, explained that the presence of numerous bacteria easily destroys what DNA might be found in faeces.” (The Massei report, page 43).

Why would Woffinden make these and other demonstrably untrue claims? It seems obvious that he wants to portray the Italian National Scientific Police (much respected by the FBI) as the Keystone Cops, in order to ridicule the forensic investigation, seemingly his purpose here.

Woffinden makes yet another false claim by stating that Guede made only one inconsistent statement.

“Guede’s solitary inconsistency was this. He did comment at the outset of the investigation that “˜Amanda doesn’t have anything to do with it’. But, at that stage, perhaps he couldn’t believe that she did have.”

Judge Micheli, who found Rudy Guede guilty of sexual assault and murder in October 2008, pointed out in his sentencing report of January 2009 that Guede’s accounts were unreliable and varied a lot.

“Analyzing the narratives of the accused”¦he is not credible, as I will explain, because his version is (1) unreliable, and (2) continuously varying, whether on basic points or in minor details and outline.”

Bob Woffinden also seems to be pushing the wrong notion that Rudy Guede didn’t implicate Amanda Knox until much later - which is another FOA PR myth.

Guede first implicated Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito whilst on the run in Germany on 19 November 2007 in an intercepted Skype conversation with his friend Giacomo Benedetti:

Giacomo: “So they [Knox and Sollecito] killed her while she was dressed.”

Guede: “Yes, here it says that they [clothes] were washed in the washing machine, but that’s not true. She was dressed.”

Bob Woffinden makes the erroneous and offensive claim that there’s no evidence that Meredith was sexually assaulted,

“In their investigation, prosecutors made a series of blunders. The first serious mistake was their assumption that Meredith was sexually assaulted. If one takes cognisance of Guede’s account, there is no evidence of this. The second mistake then ensued from the first. Needing to explain the presence of their three suspects in connection with the supposed sexual assault ““ and knowing there was absolutely no evidence to link Guede with Knox and Sollecito ““ they concocted the absurd scenario of a sex orgy gone wrong.”

Had Bob Woffinden actually bothered to read the key Massei trial report, he would have known that several medical experts - Dr Lalli, Professor Marchionni, Professor Bacci and Professor Gianaristide Norelli - testified that there were indications of sexual violence on Meredith.

Such conclusions were further explained [by Dr Lalli] at the hearing of April 3, 2009, in which it was highlighted that signs were present of sexual activity with characteristics of non cooperation by the young woman, which can be derived from the lesion pattern at the vulvo vaginal level (page 40 of transcripts).

[111] These signs were present in the purple ecchymotic type spots detected on the inner surface of the labia minora, the area where they are usually produced. It is the first point of contact for the sex organ or object including fingers penetrating the vagina and therefore the point at which an action ... performed without the full cooperation of both actors would produce purplish spots of this kind. (The Massei report, page 116).

He [Professor Marchionni] noted in this regard that, even without lubrication injuries of this nature are not the result of consensual sexual intercourse, and he argued that the cause of these lesions had originated from a “forcing” that could have been done by the penis or by hands (page 21, hearing on April 4, 2009). (The Massei report, page 117.)

With regard to sexual violence, he [Professor Bacci] referred to the inspection of the genital area conducted by Dr. Lalli at the morgue operating room. On the internal surface of the labia minora, attention was focused on areas of discolouration, which can be interpreted as small bruises, small abrasions associated with small haemorrhages indicative of “small lesions” (page 16, transcripts) consistent with a violent action of friction, pressure an typical of sexual violence and, while affirming the absence glaring signs of typical sexual violence (page 16, transcripts) he concluded compatibility with non-consensual sexual intercourse’ (page 16, hearing, hearing on April 18, 2009). (The Massei report, page 121.)

He [Gianaristide Norelli] further underlined the presence of a slight bilateral suffusion in the area of the iliac spines, i.e. in the areas corresponding to the anterior lateral part of the flank, which represent the end/terminal parts of the wings of the [pelvic] basin and the fact that “lesions in this area are fairly characteristic of seizure [grasping] and immobilisation”; [it is] an area which is “˜highly suggestive’ in the context of the investigation of sexual assault. (The Massei report, page 124).

It should be stressed that the the doctor who actually performed the autopsy - Dr Lalli - believed Meredith had been sexually assaulted.

“The prosecution focused on Lalli’s statements that he believed there had been non-consensual sex.” (Andrea Vogt, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 2 April 2009).

You need just an ounce of common sense to know that murder victims who were also raped or sexually assaulted didn’t consent. The Kerchers’ lawyer Dr Maresca made this very point:

“Sex that ends with someone dead is not consensual.”

Dr Maresca also highlighted the fact several medical experts said there were signs of sexual violence in court. Dr Maresca told the court that the expert witnesses

“sustained the prior results and valuations of the coroner who performed the autopsy and the forensic evidence specialists who already testified”. He added: “And for the first time today, we also heard that the bruises on the victim’s hips were consistent with a sexually violent approach.”

Unbelievably, Bob Woffinden regards Rudy Guede as a reliable and credible witness.

I’m surprised anyone would believe Guede’s ever-changing versions of events when they are so blatantly untrue. Guede gave two different accounts of arranging a date with Meredith and they’re both demonstrably false.

Meredith didn’t go to the Halloween party at the Spanish students’ house on 31 October 2007.

Guede then changed his story and claimed that he had met her at Domus, but Meredith was with her friends continuously and none of them saw her with him. None of Guede’s friends saw him with her either.

“He [Rudy Guede] stated that he met the girl on Oct. 31 in the house of some Spanish students and did not meet her later in the “Domus” pub, that the next day, shortly before going to the date with Meredith…

In the third interrogation, by the P.M. [public prosecutor] on March 26, 2008, he changed the place of his meeting with Kercher on Oct. 31 from the Spanish students’ house to the Domus pub” (Judge Giordano’s Supreme Court report, page 17).

“...and also because none of Meredith’s friends (Amy Frost, Robyn Butterworth and [10] Sophie Purton, with whom she had gone out on the evening of Halloween, Oct. 31, 2007) nor any of Guede’s friends (among others AC and PM) had ever seen them talk to each other.” (Judge Giordano’s sentencing report, page 10).

Meredith had NOT arranged a date with Guede at the cottage on Via della Pergola on 1 November 2007. She and Sophie Purton left their friends early that evening because they mistakenly believed they had lectures the next day.

“They [Meredith Kercher and Sophie Purton] were to meet on the morning of the second at around 10:00 am for a lecture at the university…:” (The Massei report, page 35).

“Meredith was tired from the day before when she had come home about five in the morning; the next day she supposed that she had a lesson at the University at 10 am and she needed to prepare for this and she had to also think about resting” (The Massei report, page 58).

Judge Massei explained at length in his report why Rudy Guede’s claims he had a date with Meredith were not credible.

“Speaking of Meredith, there has already been occasion to make mention of her personality (serious, not superficial, with a strong character), of her romantic situation [i.e. her love life] (she had not long beforehand begun a relationship with Giacomo Silenzi), of the plans she had for that evening (studying, preparing for the following day believing that there would be classes at the University, finishing a piece of homework, as her mother recalled during the hearing of 6 June 2009, and resting).

None of the people she frequented and in whom she confided (her relatives and her English girlfriends) testified that Meredith had made any mention to them at all of Rudy, for whom, therefore, she must not have felt any interest. With regard to the totality of these circumstances, it must be considered that Meredith could only have made an outright refusal to Rudy’s advances” (The Massei report, pages 365-366).

In rejecting Guede’s final appeal Judge Giordano succinctly summarised the reasons why he was found guilty of sexual assault and murder in his Supreme Court report. It had nothing to do with the colour of his skin.

“The judgement rationale thus proceeds through rigorous logical steps, quite consistently, with no possibility of misinterpreting evidence, distorting significant data, or disruption of the overall probative reasoning. Meredith Kercher, before being slaughtered with the deadly blow at her throat, was the victim of a series of wounds, of forced restraining of her limbs, especially the left hand and arm - and on the cuff of the left sleeve of the sweatshirt she wore clear traces of DNA of the defendant are found ““ aimed at overcoming her resistance to sexual violence, of which the traces of DNA of Guede of the vaginal swabs are evidence, which then led to the violent behaviour of the deadly slaughtering.

The version of the accused is totally unrealistic because, even apart from the obvious omissions and contradictions detectable in his many statements, his previous acquaintance of Meredith, shaped in his story by a meeting on the night before the murder at the Domus pub, by a kiss between the two and by a date for the evening of the following day, is clearly disproved by a whole articulated testimonial structure, [19] coming from several people and indicating that: the two did not meet at the Domus (indicated by the testimonies of all the friends who were accompanying Meredith), even less did they converse, even briefly, at the Shamrock pub during the match between England and South Africa broadcasted the day before (indicated by the testimonies of AC, PM and F), and Kercher never confided anything, as would have been natural, to her friends about a date with Guede, not even on the afternoon of Nov. 1, as she had done in other occasions about details of her personal and love life (indicated by the testimonies of Robin Carmel Butterworth, Sophie Purton).

This is consistent with the portrait of Meredith’s character; she avoided sexual relations with other men apart from Giacomo Silenzi with whom she had begun a relationship that she absolutely did not mean to betray, as stated by her friends, especially not for unimportant adventures.” (Judge Giordano’s Supreme Court report, pages 17-18).

Some conclusions

Bob Woffinden has made a name for himself by publicly championing the causes of convicted killers and sex offenders. Mainstream media organisations such as The Guardian, The Daily Mail and The New Statesman have given him a certain degree of credibilty and respectabilty by publishing his articles. Many people will trust him and assume that he’s a reliable and trustworthy journalist.

However, their trust is misplaced. His lack of due diligence with regard to his article about Rudy Guede and the Meredith Kercher case is disturbing and unacceptable. He doesn’t get the basics of journalism right - which is astonishing for someone who has worked as a journalist for decades. He gets basic facts wrong and he has made numerous demonstrably false claims.

A professional journalist should be able to substantiate every claim they make. Bob Woffinden is unable to do this because he has relied on some of the numerous factually inaccurate articles and the massive defense and PR spin about the case instead of the official court documents and court testimonies.

It defies belief that he accepts Rudy Guede’s fairy tale version of events. You don’t expect such childlike naivety from an adult let alone an investigative journalist. He’s obviously blissfully ignorant of the fact that Guede gave contradictory and confllcting accounts.

It seems he has a deep-rooted psychological need to believe in innocence and police malfeasance, which completely clouds his judgement to the point where he blindly supports and campaigns on behalf of people who are blatantly guilty of sexual assault and murder like James Hanratty and Rudy Guede.

If there’s a more sloppy and self-serving journalist in the world, I haven’t come across them yet.


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Problems With Fred Davies #2: His Claims On Knives, Wounds And Stains Also Highly Mislead

Posted by James Raper



Several of the numerous scientific witnesses; some evidence was behind closed doors

Overview Of This Post

Remember that Amanda Knox, a felon for life, served three years for framing Patrick for murder.

In my previous post I dismissed the claim which the British barrister FG (Fred) Davies pervasively made in Parts 1 to 20 of his mammoth series in Criminal Law and Justice Weekly that it was actually Guede and his team who had somehow framed Knox and Sollecito for a crime he alone committed and left all of Italian law enforcement bamboozled.

I now have Parts 21 to 26 as well, all of the series, and I wish to examine one more large area of cherrypicked facts and misinterpretations, along with Davies’s final conclusion.

First, Fred Davies’s Final Scenario

As anticipated,  Davies concludes that Knox and Sollecito should only have been convicted of the charge of simulating a burglary. He presents his own synopsis of what happened on the night of the murder which has both Knox and Guede present at the cottage for the murder, but not Sollecito.

Davies says it is Guede who sexually assaults and stabs Meredith. Knox, unaware of what was going to happen is horrified and scared out of her wits, retreating to her bedroom and locking herself in.

Davies says Guede flees, ignoring or unable to do anything about the fact there is/was a witness to his horrific crime. When it’s safe to do so Knox emerges and meets up with Sollecito.

Davies says that Knox, fearing that if she went to the police she would only end up being accused of involvement in the murder, persuades Sollecito to be her alibi, and to stage the scene to point to a burglar, and Sollecito, being the Honour Bound sort of chap he is, agrees to go along with this. Once they both embark on this course of action there us no turning back.

I trust that you are all duly intrigued with Davies’s scenario and panting to learn how and why he arrives at it. Unfortunately this will have to wait until another day if it is to be from me.

He has, after all, taken 26 Chapters in half a year to get to this point and I am not yet ready to deal with them comprehensively. Others here may contribute posts and discuss implications with the Criminal Law editor.

Fred Davies On Knife Or Knives

Whilst I guess most comments are going to be about the above synopsis, I am going to deal with his thoughts regarding the knives, these being quite central to his synopsis.

My argument below is supported by numerous previous posters none of whom differed markedly from Massei or Nencini. 

Davies in contrast is sharply critical of Massei. He simply excludes the Double DNA knife (Exhibit 36) as the murder weapon.

He is also critical”¦.nay, I would have to say that he is outraged”¦. at Massei holding that Sollecito was responsible for the lesser of the two wounds, that on the right side of Meredith’s neck. He is critical of Micheli for not finding, as a matter of fact, that Guede was the one responsible for the wounds, using his own knife which has yet to be recovered.

Without more ado I will proceed to Mr Davies’ evaluation:

“The finding against Sollecito that it was he who inflicted two of the three wounds to Meredith Kercher using a pocket knife which was in his possession at the material time is deeply flawed, offensive and wrong in law”

Well, I was unaware that Massei had found that Sollecito inflicted two of the three wounds. In fact I am not aware of three wounds (unless he includes what is effectively a nick) , but if there were then Massei only attempted to attribute two, the one to the right of the neck, 4 cms deep and with a width of 1.5 cms, being attributed to Sollecito’s “pocket knife”.

It did not cause any significant structural damage, unlike the wound to the left, 8 cms deep and 8 cms wide which had penetrated both Meredith’s larynx and the cartilage of the epiglottis, and had broken the hyoid bone. 

Is the rest “deeply flawed, offensive and wrong in law”?

“It could not have been part of the prosecution case that Sollecito used a pocket knife to subdue and stab Meredith Kercher. If it had why was Sollecito and/or Knox not charged with carrying the said pocket knife without justified reason? To recapitulate,, the charge alleged that the killing was achieved by means of”¦”¦”¦”¦.and deep lesions to the left anterior-lateral and right lateral regions of the neck, caused by a bladed weapon (Exhibit 36).

The Massei Court’s finding strikes against basic principles of fairness which applies to all criminal proceedings. Put another way, a criminal court is not generally entitled to bring in a verdict which differs markedly from the basis on which the prosecution puts it’s case. This is because the defence would not be able to adequately prepare and meet such an unexpected contingency. In plain English the defence would be ambushed or taken by surprise. In this case the defence was ambushed and the defendants’ rights (Knox and Sollecito) were fundamentally infringed.”

Oh come on! Ambushed? Really?

OK, so the charge did indeed indicate that that both the right and left sided wounds were caused by “a bladed weapon to which Chapter B applies” (Exhibit 36) but the reality is that the defence always knew that Exhibit 36 (because of it’s dimensions and in particular it’s width 4cms from the tip) could not have been the cause of the wound to the left anterior lateral. That’s a matter of simple logic and in any event every expert and all the lawyers in the case agreed on that.

So the way the charge was erroneously framed in fact misled no-one.

Indeed had the defence thought so then they could have raised the matter. Mr Davies does not claim that Massei did not have the power to amend the indictment. If the court was unable to, or the defence chose not to raise it, either way thinking it was a clever appeal point, then it did not become one.

Indeed, Mr Davies will know anyway that in English law, by virtue of The Indictments Act 1915, courts can (and frequently do) order an amendment to an indictment at any stage (which includes during a trial) provided the amendment does not result in an injustice to the accused.  This is a practical necessity as it would be an affront to the concept of justice if defendants were to be acquitted on the basis of a mere technicality.

One might consider what amendment might have been made.

A possibility is that reference to the right-sided wound might have been excluded. It was the left-sided wound that was fatal, after all, and caused, as the prosecution would endeavour to prove, by a weapon which, as it happened, belonged to Sollecito.

The prosecution did, of course, maintain that it was Knox who wielded the weapon, but might, as an alternative, have also asserted that it was Sollecito. Indeed the framing of the charge leaves it an open question as to which of them did. They were charged jointly with having caused Meredith’s death.

The evidence that it may have been either (AK or RS) is a common feature of cases to which the English legal doctrine of joint criminal enterprise applies.

The doctrine applies particularly to a case such as this in that no matter who actually wields the weapon the other participant in the common enterprise is deemed to possess the same level of criminal liability even if he did not know that there was a knife or that it would be so used. Being reckless as to that possibility is sufficient.

It is surprising how often how little is required to establish joint enterprise. Frequently the mere fact that the participants know each other and were there, and that the situation was a combustible one of the group’s making, is enough. The doctrine has come in for a great deal of justified criticism but despite this remains firm law.

My preference would have been to amend the indictment to refer to the right sided wound being caused by a bladed weapon, the blade being of indeterminate length but with a width of approximately 1.5 cms. It is the width of the wound that is salient because it is indicative of the width of the blade on the knife being used which, whilst also being indicative of the likely length of the blade, but without being sure, could be either a pocket knife (4 cms or more) or a flick knife (which could also be a pocket knife). 1.5 cms is about the width of the tip of one’s index finger, by the way.

Massei, and others, always refer to this knife as a pocket knife. However henceforth I am going to write “pocket knife” to refer to the options of a pocket knife with a blade of 4cms or more, or a flick knife.

As to Mr Davies other point as to why Sollecito was not specifically charged with carrying a “pocket knife” without justified reason, I do not know, but since the framing of charges is a matter for the prosecution, one might as well leave the matter there.

In any event the lack of a specific charge does not in any way preclude a court from inferring the nature of a weapon from the pathology of the wound nor from identifying the probable assailant (as distinct from having to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the culpability of a single perpetrator named in a specific charge of “carrying”).

Guede did not ever face a specific charge of carrying a weapon but that does not prevent Mr Davis from concluding that Guede had a knife and had stabbed Meredith. It seems that Mr Davies would have been quite happy for Guede to have been so charged and convicted on Professor Vinci’s (see later) dubious testimony.

In this last respect, however, Mr Davies could have more telling argument. Lets see.

“To infer that Sollecito had a pocket knife at Via della Pergola 7 on the fateful evening of November 1-2, based on the character evidence of four witnesses called for the defence, was to say the least highly unusual..”

I think the operative words here are “witnesses called for the defence”, amongst whom was Sollecito’s own father. Yes, highly unusual but then that is what happens when you do not vet your own character witnesses before cross-examination.

Sollecito’s proclivity for carrying a knife (usually a pocket knife) at all times (and indeed he had one on him at the time of his arrest in the Police Station) is highly relevant. These witnesses referred to a knife with a blade of about 4 cms, or perhaps 6 cms.

In addition Sollecito was something of a knife aficionado. The police found two specialist knives, a Spiderco and a 2004 model Brian Tighe. Neither of these can be connected to Meredith’s wounds but they are indicative of his affinity to weapons specifically designed to be used in a fight to maim or kill. Clearly a flick knife falls into the same category.

As to proclivity evidence against Guede one can refer to his brief possession of a kitchen knife acquired at and belonging to the Milan nursery (which he did not break into, he had been given a key).

There is, of course, Tramontano’s dubious claim (angrily dismissed by Micheli even though Guede was never given the chance to challenge this in court) that a black man broke into his property and, confronted by Tramontano, had pulled out a flick knife as he exited. Tramontano tried to claim the burglar was probably Guede based on a photo of him he had seen in a newspaper. If it really was Guede he was not carrying that knife with him at the Milan nursery 8 weeks later.

“Even if Sollecito was present at the scene of the crime (as distinct from being complicit), the court could not have been sure that any “pocket knife” in his possession, which incidentally was never recovered, had inflicted all or some of the injuries, the most cogent rationale being:

1. The prosecution could not prove the dimensions and the character of the knife were consistent with the injuries inflicted upon Meredith Kercher.

2. The Court paid scant regard to the totality of expert opinion as to the type of bladed weapon (or weapons) which had been used to stab the victim

3. The Court paid scant regard to the dimensions of a bloody outline of a knife found on Meredith’s pillow

4. Consequently the Court could not have been sure that any pocket knife and, a fortiori, exhibit 36 had been used to stab Meredith that fateful night.”

As to 1 above, we know that no suitable weapon was ever recovered but if the indictment had been amended in accordance with my preference then the prosecution would easily have proved that part of the indictment, relating as it does to the wound on the right side of the neck.

It is a reasonable inference on the balance of probabilities that the wound was caused by a “pocket knife” and if one accepts the presence of multiple attackers (which I understand is a judicial truth in the case even following the latest acquittal of Knox and Sollecito) then, again on the balance of probabilities, and taking into account all the other circumstantial evidence in the case, I submit that it is a reasonable inference that it was Sollecito’s “pocket knife”.

The bar of “beyond a reasonable doubt” applies to culpability re the specified charge and is not to be confused with the elements.

As to 2, this simply is not true. I shall look at the totality of the expert opinion in a moment but suffice it to say that Massei spent a considerable amount of time in his Motivation detailing with and discussing the defence experts’ opinions.

As to 3, (and it was not on the pillow but the bedsheet) it was Professor Vinci’s contention that the bloody outline (there was a dual outline, he said) was left by a knife with a blade 11.3 cms long or a knife with a blade 9.6 cms long with a congruent section of handle 1.7 cms long (9.6 + 1.7 = 11.3). Davies does not mention a blade width but in fact Professor Vinci actually says 1.3 to 1.4 cms wide.

Taking these measurements as read, Davies points out that they are incompatible with either a pocket knife (such as Sollecito had a proclivity to carry) and Exhibit 36. I have no argument with that observation. It follows, he then argues, that one has to infer the presence of a third knife in any hypothesis and if a pocket knife and Exhibit 36 are already accounted for by Knox and Sollecito then a reasonable inference is that the third knife would have to be Guede’s. Indeed (Davies does not say this, but I will) Professor Vinci’s blade is not incompatible a priori with either of the two wounds.

This is worth looking at seriously as so far it is the only worthwhile point Davies has made.

First of all I have to say that I have searched for but have not found any rebuttal evidence or comment from the prosecution amongst the documents on the Wiki.  I do not even see a question on the matter in the cross-examination of Professor Vinci.

Massei only briefly commented about the bloody outline on the bed sheet.  He opined that the blood stains were certainly “suggestive” but insufficient to establish any clear outlines from which reliable measurements could be established. Clearly then he did not accord any reliability to Professor Vinci’s measurements. But is Massei right? One does not have to be an expert to consider this.

First of all, here are images of the blood stains.






In the picture below the stained section of sheet is cut out for analysis the day after the discovery of the murder.

Did the prosecution overlook their own analysis of the stains? Did they deliberately do so after Exhibit 36 was found, 9 days later on the 12th November, to have Meredith’s DNA on it? Or did they always know that the stains established nothing?






The next question to be asked is whether we can see the outline of a knife, or rather a blade. I think the honest answer to that is, on balance, yes. We think we see the tip of a blade, do we not? Maybe two, maybe even three.

It is fairly clear that Professor Vinci takes the largest of the stains to be the hilt of the handle to the knife. Lining that up with what is perhaps the likely clearest possible perceived blade tip (being the middle out of a possible three I believe I see) then the distance to the perceived hilt is indeed something like the 9.6 cms which Professor Vinci has measured.

But there are problems. Here are two of Ergon’s photos from his posts here and here with Exhibit 36 superimposed on the stains in two different positions to reflect the supposed dual outlines.










The blob of blood in the bottom left of the pictures and it’s lesser moon at 1, or 2, o’clock are regarded as having come from the same position on the blade and so with that reference point the blade is positioned accordingly in each photo.

We can surely take it that Professor Vinci also sees the same duality. But if the bloody hilt is aligned to fit with “the moon” stain in order to get the 9.6 cms measurement, then what has happened to that large hilt stain when the knife is moved further to the left, and then dropped a bit, to align to the moon’s planet (the blob)?

It has either disappeared or become an edge. That doesn’t make sense if “the moon” is the lesser version of the blob. The blob has to come from the first positioning of the knife. Despite this, in the knife’s later position the volume of blood at the hilt has actually increased comparative to the knife’s first position. That doesn’t make sense either.

So maybe the largest stain pre-exists, even for perhaps a moment, the stains suggesting the blade outlines, but in that case we can throw Professor Vinci’s measurements out of the window.

Can we do without the blob and it’s moon? It’s all a lot less convincing without them. But in truth we cannot even be sure that they are related. Nor that the largest stain has anything to do with the hilt of a knife.

A further connected observation concerns Professor Vinci’s claim that the blade of the knife is 1.3/1.4 cms wide. Like the rest of his evidence I do not find this very convincing. I suspect that he has deduced this from the largest stain which has a length, he says, of 1.7 cms. It’s width could then be something like 1.3/1.4 cms.

If the width of the knife is represented by approximately 1.4 cms then, given the position of the bloody hilt relative to the tip of it’s blade, what are we to make of the two spots of blood in a horizontal line above? They look like the upper (or lower) edge of a knife but they can’t be without making the blade wider.

Why does it have to be the same knife anyway? The stains could be the result of two different knives collected and laid to rest in the same spot.

The blood stains are certainly bewitching - rather like seeing patterns in tea leaves at the bottom of one’s cup - but on the balance of probabilities I would not totally rely on anyone’s perception of them even, with all due respect, Ergon’s but his analysis is as good as anyone’s, and that for me is the point of it.

In short I think that Massei was probably right. These stains are suggestive but basically useless and the police/prosecution ignored them for that reason.

“Consistent with English law the Massei Court’s findings should be struck down as Wednesbury unreasonable. Where there is no evidence to support a finding of a court or the court has reached a conclusion which is irrational or perverse, in the light of the evidence adduced at trial, a conviction based on that part of the evidence cannot be sustained”¦”¦”¦.The Massei Court also appears to have violated Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the right to a fair trial),”

Yeah, right.  The case to which he refers, Associated Provincial Picture Houses v Wednesbury Corporation [1948] 1KB 223, is an odd and unnecessary one to pray in aid.  It was a civil case where the appellant sought judicial review in respect of a licencing decision. As a formulation of a first principle of natural justice it is, of course, unquestionable. However the claim that Massei reached a conclusion that was irrational or perverse is laughable.

It is at this point that one does begin to wonder whether Davies is indeed connected in some way with the daffy Nigel Scott (Sollecito”˜s ex Lib Dem Haringey Councillor groupie) who similarly emerges with bizarre arguments.

Next, in his evaluation, we come to a numbers game as to who was for and against the incompatibility of Exhibit 36 with the fatal wound on the left side, but before I enter into that game I want to make a point about incompatibility.

A knife blade is only incompatible with a wound if the depth of the wound is longer than the length of the blade or if the width of the wound is shorter than the width of the blade at the relevant depth.

We can therefore establish that Exhibit 36 was not incompatible, a priori, with the depth of the wound.  The blade on Exhibit 36 was 17. 5 cms long and the depth of the wound was 8 cms.

Yes, I know that other arguments as to incompatibility were advanced based, in the main, on these measurements. These Massei logically deconstructed. In fairness to Mr Davies he did not advance them in his evaluation and so neither shall I.

I would also have to concede that Sollecito’s “pocket knife” is not incompatible a priori with the wound on the left side nor, even if it”˜s length of blade was over 4 cms, with the wound on the right. Nor Professor Vinci’s knife either.

The same is true of the width of these knives.

It should however be recalled that the width of the right-sided wound was also 8 cms. That is over 5 times the width of the “pocket knife”. The width of the blade on Exhibit 36 - 8 cms from it’s tip - was twice the width of the blade on the “pocket knife”.

This fact, and the robustness of the larger weapon, particularly with regard to the observed butchering at the base of the right-sided cut, makes Exhibit 36 a far more likely candidate, in my submission, than a “pocket knife”, and that’s without taking into account Meredith’s DNA on the blade.

Returning to our numbers game, Mr Davies puts it slightly differently from Massei. He says -

“And if that were not enough, of the 8 experts who gave evidence on the point, two (Dr Liviero and Professor Bacci) opined that Exhibit 36 could have caused the fatal wound to Meredith’s left side. Professor Norelli could not rule out Exhibit 36. Professor Ronchi’s opinion is not clear due to the use of the “double negative” (non-incompatibility)  - it will be assumed that he supported the prosecution contention, but in any event al the remaining four experts, Professors Introna, Torre, Cingolani and Dr Patumi) opined that Exhibit 36 could be ruled out.”

In other words a draw but one of the prosecution experts is a bit “iffy”.

Massei tells us that Dr Liviero concluded “definite compatibility”, Dr Lalli and Professors Bacci and Norelli “compatibility” whilst “non- incompatibility” came from the 3 GIP experts nominated at a preliminary hearing. The latter were Professors Aprile, Cingolani and Ronchi.

“Non-incompatibility” is not hard to understand. It simply means not incompatible or rather, compatible.

Note that Mr Davies has Professor Cingolani lining up to exclude Exhibit 36. Massei disagrees and I agree with Massei. So, for what it is worth (and this is a bit childish I know) Mr Davies loses the game 7 - 3.

“And one final thought. If the defendants (Knox and Sollecito) were sufficiently compos mentis to dispose of the pocket knife “¦. Why did they not dispose of Exhibit 36?  By a process of deduction and logical synthesis the answer is plain for all to see: Exhibit 36 never left Corso Garibaldi and was not the murder weapon “

Because it was on his landlord’s inventory of kitchen items? Indeed we don’t know for sure that the “pocket knife “was actually disposed of. All we know is that it was not identified and recovered by the police.

And In Conclusion

This is the second of my posts involving Mr Davies. I may not be disposed to do any more. I have to say that although he certainly provided some food for thought on this one, I have not been impressed with his analysis in the topics I have covered so far.

Others here have been tabulating other factual errors and forced arguments and as I mentioned at the start we may see them carry this a bit further.


Sunday, July 26, 2015

Why The Count Of Discredited Prosecution Witnesses Even Now Remains Down Around Zero

Posted by James Raper



As with all images on TJMK this image above will expand if clicked on


Just sifting through the latest drivel on Injustice in Perugia today and I came across this statement from one of their main posters.

“It was physically impossible for Capezalli to have heard any sounds from Meredith’s residence”.

Note : not that she was mistaken or that her evidence was unreliable but the bald statement that it was physically impossible for her to have heard anything.

Was she profoundly deaf then? If not, then why this assertion? Without some basis for this assertion then it is simply a dismissive slur on the credibility of the witness.

This happens to be the same poster who wowed that board with his claim that the Prosecution suppressed exculpatory evidence that would have cleared Knox and Sollecito.

Not that he supplied any proof. How could he?

It is axiomatic, of course, that if there was suppressed evidence then what it was would not be known. Nevertheless it was a ready springboard for calls from mindless idiots to have the Prosecution fully investigated and charged with perverting the course of justice!

Anyway, to move on, the purpose of this post is just to revisit (with pictorial assistance) Capezalli’s testimony (I shall call her Nara from now on) and see if there is even a scintilla of justification for the claim.

Now to be fair, Nara did say in her evidence that she had double glazing and maybe that is what he is referring to although for the life of me I don’t see why that would make it impossible for her to hear a scream outside.

But it’s worth investigating because it’s the sort of thing that does get repeated without further analysis and I have read others taking that remark at face value and doubting whether she did hear a scream and, perhaps more credibly, whether she would have heard the sound of someone running on the gravel of the cottage forecourt and up the metal steps from the car park.

Here is what she said -

“What happens is that getting up I’m going past the window of the dining room, because the bathroom is on that side, and as I am there I heard a scream, but a scream that wasn’t a normal scream. [A terrifying and agonising long scream as she describes it elsewhere] I got goose bumps to be truthful. At that moment I no longer knew what was happening, and then I went on to the bathroom. There is a little window with no shutters, none at all.”

Mignini then asks -

Q—Well, you go by the window and you hear this cry?
Ans ““ Yes.
Q ““ Then you continue to go towards the bathroom, you told me?
Ans ““ Yes.
Q ““ Do you open the bathroom window?
Ans ““ No.
Q ““ Explain what happened for us.
Ans ““ I haven’t any shutters on that window, I only have double-glazing so I can look straight out
Q ““ So you looked out of the bathroom window?
Ans”“ I didn’t open up because I had all the little succulent plants there for the light.

A little late in her testimony Mignini seeks to clarify her evidence -

Q”“ So you hear the scream, go to the bathroom, look out the window and you don’t see anything?
Ans ““ No.
Q ““ Then you go back to the bedroom?
Ans ““ Yes.
Q ““ When is it that you hear the noises you described, and then we will see what they are?
Ans ““ I hear the noises I described when I was closing the bathroom door, then I heard running, because that steel there [the metal stairs] makes a tremendous noise at night, then when you don’t hear cars going by or such like, I looked out but there was nobody there.
Q ““ From which way?
Ans ““ To the left and the right, and there was nobody there.
Q ““ Then you heard the scuffling?
Ans ““ The same, in the meantime I heard running on the stairs, from the other direction they were running in the driveway.

Much later Nara is helpfully (perhaps) cross examined by Dalla Vedova on her remark that she has double glazing, as follows -

CDV - How are your windows made?
Ans -  My windows are made of wood. They have double glazing and they have a shutter.
CDV - When you say “they have double glazing” do you mean that every single window has two panes, or are there two windows, one in front of the other?
Ans -  No, two panes in each side and opening in the middle.

Confused? What is she really describing?

Many moons ago Kermit put together a very helpful Powerpoint lambasting the behaviour and claims of Paul Ciolino, the American PI who appeared on CBS rubbishing the suggestion that Nara would have been able to hear anything. It is obviously Ciolino’s disreputable work that is the basis for the claim.

I am going to lift some stills from Kermit’s excellent Powerpoint and add to them some more from a (somewhat infamous) Channel 5 documentary, from which it will be clear that

(a) Nara doesn’t have double glazing, nor shutters, at least not at the back of her property overlooking the cottage. However there are shutters at the front and, for all I know, double glazing there but that is not of concern to us.

(b)  There is little reason to doubt that she would have been able to hear sounds outside quite well.

Let’s start.

Here’s a picture of the back of Nara’s property immediately above the car park.






Here it is again in relation to the cottage






In the first picture Nara’s first floor flat is shown circled. In the second, it is obvious that only the roof of the cottage would be visible from the first floor, as indeed she said in her testimony.

There are two further floors above. The top floor is the one to which Ciolino (and Pater Van Sant) gained access, having tried but failed to interest Nara. Nara in her evidence said that there was an apartment above which she rented out and I suspect that this was the top floor. The top floor undoubtedly had double glazing or double casements.

Below is one of the top floor windows. (We can see Ciolino’s reflection in the glass)






And here he is, standing in front of the same window whilst conducting his experiment with a couple of kids running along the road outside -






As we shall see it really was quite pointless conducting off-the-cuff sound experiments from there with the double casement shut tight

Nara said that her daughter also lived in the building so either the second floor was a separate conversion for her daughter or first and second were shared and the second was where their bedrooms were. That’s actually immaterial as it is the first floor that really interests us.

Here is a close up of the first floor. We can be sure because we can see Nara and the co-presenters of the Channel 5 documentary standing on the balcony.






We can see how large the windows are on either side of the balcony. As to the window on the right it is also apparent that this has been blocked up save as to four panes in the middle so that now there is only that smaller window there.

Let us now look at that window from the inside.






“One went up, one went over there” is Nara explaining to the Italian TV reporter the sounds she heard.

Clearly then she is standing inside her bathroom and the bathroom window looks over the car park. Indeed we can see her succulent plants on the inside window ledge as she stated in her evidence. Also, if we look closely, we can see that her wall is tiled or wall-papered with a tile design befitting a bathroom. Probably that wall is also made of little more than plasterboard.

One thing is quite certain though and that is that the window, which opens in the middle, is not double glazed.

Nara’s understanding however seems to be rather different. To her “double glazing” is (as she said to Dalla Vedova) “two panes in each side and opening in the middle”.

We can also infer that the large window to the left of the balcony belongs to her dining room. What she said, in effect, was that she was traversing the first floor (from left to right) from her dining room to her bathroom (being both on the same side, as she says). She heard the scream in her dining room.

The window there does not appear to be blocked off as it is to the right. Indeed I think we can see full length drapes or net curtains but certainly one would expect a larger window there and again, clearly, it is not double glazed.

So again, why would it be physically impossible for her to have heard a sound, particularly a scream, coming from the cottage?

It couldn’t be because it was too far away. We can see that from the pictures but also here is a handy GoogleMap calculation of the distance from her place to the far side of the cottage.






So that’s, say, 45 metres. Or 49 yards. Not far at all. Thanks to Yummi for bringing that up on pmf.org.

We should also remember that it was the 1st November which is a religious holiday in Italy in remembrance of the dead and therefore background noise was quieter than usual. It was also probably sometime around 11pm and the back of Nara’s property looks out on what is a natural amphitheatre in which noise will echo.

Nara Capezalli in fact came across as a compelling witness to what she heard that night and there is no way at all that it was physically impossible for her not to have heard that scream. Nor the metal stairs (”..makes a tremendous noise at night””¦.) just off to the right of her property and immediately below it.

On a personal note I was recently driven nuts by a manhole cover that had come loose in the road outside my bedroom window. Cars constantly drove over it and the noise kept me awake. The top floor of the car park would probably also act like a sounding board and the noise made by the stairs may also have come up through the stairwell we see immediately in front of her property. I am not so sure about the sound of gravel on the cottage forecourt being crunched underneath but already I am more than prepared to believe Nara on that score as well. Why not?

Finally, as we await the Cassation Motivation (whenever!) I seem to remember that at least one appeal point was the failure of the lower courts to accede to a defence request for audio tests to be conducted from Nara’s property.

Bearing in mind that Judge Marasca reportedly has stated that the ground for overturning the Nencini convictions was insufficient and contradictory evidence one wonders whether Cassation will say that a test was required, in the absence of which Nara’s testimony can be thrown into a pot along with other evidence somehow deemed “insufficient”?

If they do then watch out for them getting the double glazing issue quite wrong as well.


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

So Is James Moninger The One Moonlighting As Anonymous Spokesman For Dept Of State?

Posted by Ergon

Above: the unfavorable context which persuades Sec of State John Kerry to stick most carefully to the rules

1. Overview

This is the second of two posts on the real source of an increasing flow of anonymous but seemingly official State Department claims that Knox’s extradition is not in the cards.

My first post noted an increasing flow of anonymous but seemingly official claims that Knox’s extradition is not in the cards.

Also there is a certain sameness in all of the news reports of secret State Department agreements and assurances alleged to save Amanda Knox from extradition. This is a very typical one.

Paul Thompson in The UK Express for Sunday 22 March 2015 2015

US officials: Amanda Knox will never go back to Italian jail

AMANDA KNOX will never be extradited from America, even if an Italian court this week upholds her conviction for the murder of British student Meredith Kercher, according to US sources.

“Lawyers for Knox, 28, are confident she will remain free even if Italy asks for her to be sent back to resume a 28-year jail sentence.

US State Department sources say the uncertainty of the case against Knox means they will not agree to any extradition request.

Knox also has a huge amount of public sympathy in the US where she is seen as a victim of a miscarriage of justice by a foreign court.

A source at the State Department said: “There is a feeling that the whole case is flawed and that a US citizen should not have to go to jail because of that. If there is an extradition request from Italy it will be denied.”


2. My Hunt For “Anonymous Source” Begins

The question of who is the State Department source (Burleigh calls him “˜American diplomat’) was highlighted in my previous post.

  • Former US Ambassador David Thorne?

  • Some low level employee at State or Justice?

  • Completely made up by Anne Bremner and co?

So I reached out to my sources and this is what they told me informally for general background.

They considered it extremely unlikely that Ambassador Thorne or any one in Rome would pass on such assurances to Anne Bremner or even the likes of Nina Burleigh. While they could not confirm whether high level talks had taken place they did point out that John Kerry, as Secretary of State would respond differently now than when he was in the Senate and pointed to his statement “he would do his duty”.

And Italy had a new government and foreign secretary, so the latest news reports seemed entirely made up. State and Justice had been following the case quite closely and they were not going to risk offense to Italy for this case. Not to say they hadn’t been nervous when Knox went back to the US and got such heavy hitters in the media go to bat for her, but, also duly noted that public support for her was really paper thin.

This left either a made up story or some low level civil servant speaking out of turn with personal opinions “¦ we know that The FOA lie, but also, they sometimes seize on a wisp of rumour, or some “˜source’ whose importance they tend to exaggerate.

We know about retired Justice Department lawyer J. Michael Scadron who’s been saying State and DOJ would never allow extradition. There’s even a photo of him at the Vashon Island gathering, in all his fan boy glory.

But then another person showed up on my radar. Take a look.






I’m so tired of debating with the kooks, but when some members asked me to help them out on a closed Facebook Page (275 members)  Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito Roundtable which was run and overrun by FOA I joined to help out.

It turned out one of the admins was a State Department employee called James Moninger who is indeed, a “˜diplomat’, working in some role for State in Hawaii. Consular, maybe.

His Facebook friends are the entirety of the FOA it would seem (see some below), and he is an active member and admin of several other pro Knox groups. Quite the fan boy too, it seems.

He hemmed and hawed about my inclusion but within the course of a few hours I was bounced out of the group twice.  He wrote to me:

Naseer,

“I am writing to confirm that I removed you from the Amanda Knox Roundtable group. This was my decision, and I have advised the other administrators accordingly.

Earlier in the day I received a plea from one of the group members who claimed that you have harassed her in the past and contacted her employer. I have no opinions on this issue, but as site owner I am unwilling to take on a potentially significant liability.

Please don’t feel that this action was in any way predicated on the opinions you expressed in the forum.”

James Moninger

Here is my reply:

Hi, James,

“It’s your group and you’re welcome to do as you wish. That you didn’t give a chance to respond to the (false) allegation is par for the course and no loss for me. As you know, I have far bigger platforms to present my views; it was YOUR group that invited me to participate in the first place.

I already know the source of that slander from other forums and will respond appropriately.

You should also know I’d contacted the State Department previously concerning the Daily Mail and Express articles that “sources in the State Department” have said “Amanda Knox will never be extradited to Italy”.

Imagine my surprise to see you are the owner of this pro-Knox debate site, and membership in several others, which you have every right to. However, since your bio says you are a State Dept. employee, and your rather lengthy list of friends and followers have been actively advocating that Knox would never be extradited, with all sorts of references to internal department sources it is my responsibility to ask for comment:

1. Have you in any way told them the State Department would deny an extradition request?

2. Have you advised the Amanda Knox campaign in any way how to lobby the State Department or how it would respond to an extradition request?

3. Please explain the following comment on the Amanda Knox blog on February 7, 2014 at 20:38.

“Concerns about this case would more appropriately be directed to the US Department of State; not to Congress. There is little or nothing the legislative branch of the government can do to affect treaties that are already in place. (Senate hearings, etc. are not the way the federal process works.) Using profanity with senior members of Congress can never be helpful.

I am hopeful that the State Department is watching this case carefully and is prepared to choose the correct path, whatever that may eventually entail, to protect a US citizen from any further violations of human and legal rights.”

Are you, as a State Department employee, stating that Amanda Knox’s human and legal rights were violated? In a G7 country? Would you like to retract it?

I will be writing my story in 48 hours or so. Please reply at your earliest”.

Naseer Ahmad

He never replied, and it’s been a while though he did agree with someone else who called us “haters” ?

Conclusion: I will end with this. PMF/TJMK member Odysseus wrote to UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, expressing his concerns. He got a reply from the North America Department of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office:

“If the Italian authorities were to make an extradition request to the US Government, we would expect that it would be considered in accordance with US laws.”

Funny sort of a coincidence, but. I sent a list of questions three days ago to the Kerchers through an intermediary. Q. 4 was “Will they call for extradition Amanda Knox if she’s convicted?”

I know they haven’t received it yet, but, in The Sunday Times the Kercher family say Knox must be extradited

Tom Kington Rome

March 23 2015

“Amanda Knox must be extradited from the US if her conviction for murdering Meredith Kercher is upheld by Italy’s supreme court this week, the family of the British student have urged.”

“Meredith’s family hope that the sentence is upheld and the law is carried out to its fullest extent,” said Francesco Maresca, a lawyer representing the family. “If that means extradition for Knox, that’s what they want.”

As always, we are with them on this. Knox needs to serve her time. Zero mistake has been proved - except for hers.


Below: some of the self-important James Moninger’s “friends” on Facebook


Monday, March 23, 2015

Did The State Department Offer Assurances To Knox She Never Would Be Extradited?

Posted by Ergon



US Sec of State Kerry (discussing Snowden) really needs extraditions to work

1. Overview

This is the first of two posts on the real source of an increasing flow of anonymous but seemingly official State Department claims that Knox’s extradition is not in the cards

2. The Current Italy/US Extradition Treaty

As repeatedly explained here by posting lawyers the Italy/US treaty is deliberately written to exclude any politics.

If either nation has arrived at a guilty verdict of someone currently in the other nation by following its own laws, then the other nation deliberately has no legal option but to extradite them to serve their term.

So far neither nation has ever refused to do what the treaty says and so far politics has never intervened. That helps both nations in pursuing other extradition cases around the world.

3. Claims By An Anonymous Source

“Will Amanda Knox Be Dragged Back to Italy in Murder Case?” This was by Nina Burleigh in a cover story in Newsweek on March 19, 2015 quoting an anonymous source.

A State Department source tells Newsweek that diplomats in both Italy and the U.S. expect an extradition request to be denied: “I don’t think either Italy or the U.S. wants a major burr under our saddle in terms of relationships between our countries, and this would be that, if the Italians pushed it.” If they do, the source adds, there “is not any way” the U.S. will arrest Knox, nor will it have her declared a fugitive.

The elected Italian government in Rome is separate from the judiciary, and traditionally the two branches do not have warm relations. “I know the Italian government was rolling its eyes” over the prospect of the case reaching this phase, the State Department source says, adding that Rome faces “a real political problem” if the judiciary requests extradition. The American diplomat predicts the Italian court won’t ask to extradite.

It seems that ever since Amanda Knox was wrongfully acquitted by the Hellmann appeals court of Perugia in 2011 we have been inundated with unsourced reports that “the United States would never extradite Amanda Knox.

Going back several years to the Daily Mail, Guardian, The Express and various American media, they all seemed to be reading from the same script:

  • She hadn’t received a fair trial.

  • American public opinion would “˜never allow her to be sent back”.

  • The Secretary of State would quietly prevail upon his counterpart in Italy to not request extradition.

And, as the final appeal of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito came up to the last stretch it seemed that these same hacks were repeating the same talking points, even though much has changed since 2011.

These were the basic points, reported over and over in the main stream media till it almost seemed like a guarantee. So I have been looking for the last three years to verify the truth of that. And, who made that promise, if any were made? These were the basic parameters of my search, and I had to tune out the background noise of “˜double jeopardy” and “˜dueling extradition experts”.

Then I had to look for the “˜unnamed source” quoted in all the news reports.

These possibilities came up: 

  • WA US Senator Maria Cantwell spoke to her colleague Sen. John Kerry of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who spoke to his brother in law David Thorne, the former US Ambassador to Rome, who passed on a quiet message to the Italian Foreign minister. But would they ever speak on or off the record to reporters or like it very much if it was going to be bruited about?

  • Mid-level Friends Of Amanda Knox like Anne Bremner and Judge Heavey had received vague assurances from Senator Cantwell; somehow extrapolated as iron clad guarantee that Knox would never be extradited, never mind there has not been any precedent I can find that would apply to a similar case like this.

  • Someone in the Department of Justice and/ or State is feeding them shite.

  • The FOA are making it all up. That last was my favourite, given that they are led around by people like Steve Moore, Bruce Fischer, and J. Michael Scadron.


4. My Search For The Truth

This has been an interesting journey, and as always, things seem to just come together at the last moment. It has helped that I have been watching diplomatic activity up-close all my life.

My father was in the Pakistani Foreign Service stationed in London, so, shortly after I was born, lived in the UK from age 0-3, then with the Pakistan Embassy in Tokyo from age 3-8. We were a cosmopolitan group of embassy brats going to St. Mary’s International School.

My friends were American, Iranian, Turk, Indian, East German, Canadian, New Zealand, points all over. Their parents were all diplomats and I made lifelong friends. My father could have received a posting as assistant to the ambassador to Washington D.C. after that but fate prevailed as he’d been stationed out 8 years and had to be rotated back to Pakistan.

Since that time I kept in touch with my friends and also developed this passion for International Relations and Geopolitics. Traveling to the US and other countries but also meeting over the internet, made many more friends at various levels of the State Department. Saw the changes there as respected career diplomats got replaced by interest groups and major donors to political parties. Such only went to choice postings, of course, but not second or third world countries, so I had many interesting discussions with them over the years.

The Wikileaks cables were a revelation as Embassy intercepts showed the thousand different ways diplomacy led to but also tried to prevent, war. I’d been reading them ever since they first came out so started searching for links to secret discussions with Amb. Thorne. Couldn’t find anything except what already was reported, so reporter Andrea Vogt’s FOI request find was a goldmine:

NEWLY RELEASED EMBASSY CABLES SHED LIGHT ON STATE DEPT HANDLING OF AMANDA KNOX CASE

By Andrea Vogt

FEBRUARY 13 “Newly released state department documents show the U.S. Embassy in Rome declared the Amanda Knox matter “Case Closed” in a cable to Washington just days after the American’s clamorous 2011 acquittal.  The memo reveals wishful thinking on the part of some U.S. diplomats, who were only too eager to see the thorny case come to a clean close.”

In Update March 23, 2015 posted today, Andrea Vogt says this:

In a 2011 Italian embassy cable released as part of several Freedom of Information Act requests I’ve filed on this case (first published Oct 11, 2011) [US] diplomats in Italy mistakenly thought Knox’s acquittal in 2011 would bring to a close this complex and divisive international case. Italy’s Court of Cassation would prove them wrong, overturning her Perugia acquittal and ordering a second appeal in a different venue (Florence) which ended last year with a guilty verdict.

So is a political fix being attempted or already in? See my Part Two Conclusion to be posted next.


Friday, March 06, 2015

The Sollecito Trial For “Honor Bound” #8: Passages For Which Gumbel & Sollecito Are Charged

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters




1. Outcome Of Thursday Session In Court

That image above is of Sollecito arriving from his cell in Capanne Prison back in 2008.

The next session of the trial of Sollecito and Gumbel will be in open court for the first time. All Italy will finally KNOW some of what the pair claimed. Finally they will be able to judge the heated claims - seemingly intended to illegally inflame American public opinion to lean on the Italian court.

And as the next court session will fall after Cassation rules finally on his appeal against his lost Florence appeal for the murder of Meredith, we could see Sollecito once again arrive in court from behind bars.

This slight delay in the book trial beyond the Supreme Court ruling due late March (25th or thereafter) was the only real outcome from the final closed session yesterday of the Florence court.

Sollecito’s lawyer Alfredo Brizioli and Gumbel’s lawyer Francesca Bacecci, in creating a pretty meaningless fuss over the translation of passages where the malicious intent to inflame American public opinion is almost impossible to miss, even with Google Translate, simply bought Sollecito time beyond Cassation’s cold gaze on 25th March. The new translation is due on 10 April, and 30 April will be the pair’s next day in court. 

2. Selection Of Passages The State Disputes

Picking passages in the book against which to lodge diffamazione and villipendio charges is like shooting fish in a barrel, as we showed in this post in April last year. That was twenty inflammatory charges in a mere half a dozen pages.

Targeted for the moment are the seven passages quoted in Part 3 below. They might be the first of several waves of passages against which diffamazione and villipendio charges are brought, as only one complainant (Dr Mignini) has so far asked the court to act, as he was required to do.

Many other people are talked about highly disparagingly in the Sollecito and Gumbel book too. See these examples, out of dozens, which are not yet the subject of a charge:

Our interrogators resorted to time-honored pressure techniques practiced by less-than-scrupulous law enforcement and intelligence agencies around the world. They brought us in at night, presented us with threats and promises, scared us half senseless, then offered us a way out with a few quick strokes of a pen.

Napoleoni was in the room for this part of the conversation. Without warning, she turned on me with venom in her voice. “What did you do?” she demanded. “You need to tell us. You don’t know what that cow, that whore, got up to!”

“Don’t I have the right to a lawyer?” I asked.  They said no. “Can’t I at least call my father?” “You can’t call anyone.” They ordered me to put my cell phone on the desk.

At one point, I found myself alone with just one of the policemen. He leaned into me and hissed, “If you try to get up and leave, I’ll beat you into a pulp and kill you. I’ll leave you in a pool of blood.”

The rounds of questioning began all over again: “Tell us what happened! Did Amanda go out on the night of the murder? Why are you holding out on us? You’ve lost your head per una vacca””for a cow!”

As Amanda’s questioning continued, Prosecutor Mignini himself decided to take charge. He arrived at the Questura in the dead of night, apparently after being informed that Amanda had “broken,” and pressed her for a full confession. Again, Amanda was in floods of tears. Again, she was gesticulating with her hands and bringing them to her head””a detail that seemed particularly fascinating to Mignini, perhaps because hitting oneself in the head is sometimes associated with Masonic initiation rites.

Regarding that last claim Dr Mignini was not even there.

3 The Current Targets Of The Florence Court

Phrases of Sollecito and Gumbel (probably all or mostly of Gumbel) that look especially inflammatory and dishonest and very unlikely to be true are highlighted here.

Passage 1: Page 75

The main evidence Mignini had to take into the preliminary hearing was my Nikes, and he did everything he could to make them as incriminating as possible. Hours after my interrogators ordered me to take the shoes off, they were examined by a forensic team from Foligno. But the Foligno police were relatively cautious: in the official report they produced that same day, they said they could make no more than a partial comparison with the clearest of the prints left in blood in Meredith’s room and could comment only on the rough size and shape of the shoe, nothing more. Still, they concluded that my shoes “could have”Â created the footprints found at the crime scene.

Mignini was not satisfied, no doubt because the finding was couched in all sorts of caveats; the Foligno police stressed that the match was a theoretical possibility only. So the next day Mignini went to the Polizia Scientifica in Rome for a second opinion. They had even less information to go on than the Foligno team because they had only photographs of my shoes, not the shoes themselves. Somehow, though, they came to the much more definitive conclusion that my Nikes were the same make, model, and shoe size as the print on Meredith’s floor. No question about it.

Dr Mignini had no vested interest in the outcome of the shoe. There was a ton of other evidence which was accepted by the Matteini and Ricciarelli courts and Cassation to keep Sollecito locked up.

Passage 2: Pages 101-102

The prosecution’s tactics grew nastier, never more so than when Amanda was taken to the prison infirmary the day after Patrick’s release and told she had tested positive for HIV.

She was devastated. She wrote in her diary, “I don’t want to die. I want to get married and have children. I want to create something good. I want to get old. I want my time. I want my life. Why why why? I can’t believe this.”Â

For a week she was tormented with the idea that she would contract AIDS in prison, serving time for a crime she did not commit. But the whole thing was a ruse, designed to frighten her into admitting how many men she had slept with. When asked, she provided a list of her sexual partners, and the contraceptive method she had used with each. Only then was she told the test was a false positive.

To the prosecution, the information must have been a disappointment: seven partners in all, of whom four were boyfriends she had never made a secret of, and three she qualified as one-night stands. Rudy Guede was not on the list, and neither was anyone else who might prove useful in the case. She hadn’t been handing herself around like candy at Le Chic, as Patrick now alleged. She’d fooled around with two guys soon after arriving in Italy, neither of them at Patrick’s bar, and then she had been with me. Okay, so she was no Mother Teresa. But neither was she the whore of Babylon.

To compound the nastiness, the list was eventually leaked to the media, with the erroneous twist that the seven partners on the list were just the men she’d had since arriving in Perugia. Whatever one thought of Amanda and her free-spirited American attitude toward sex, this callous disregard for her privacy and her feelings was the behavior of savages.

It was in fact Knox’s idea to write the list of partners, and her own team’s idea to do the malicious leak. Police and prosecution had zero role.

Passage 3. Page 146-147

When my defense team examined the official paperwork, they noticed that the analysis of the footprints - including extensive inquiry into the length and shape of the foot likely to have produced them - had been conducted by two members of the Polizia Scientifica in Rome, working not in their official capacity but as private consultants charging thousands of euros to Mignini’s office. One of the analysts, Lorenzo Rinaldi, was a physicist, not a specialist in anatomy, and the other, Pietro Boemia, was a fingerprint technician with no further scientific credentials. That begged the question: if Mignini’s office felt it needed to contract the job out to private consultants, why wouldn’t it go to people with more pertinent qualifications? The whole thing stank.

We were stunned, too, to discover that some of the most important parts of the evidence were not handed over at all. We were given a document detailing the Polizia Scientifica’s conclusions about the DNA evidence on the knife and the bra clasp, but we had none of the raw data, nothing that would enable us to make our own independent evaluation. We put in a request for the data and, when it was rejected, filed another. The DNA evidence was now the bedrock of the case against me. What possible motivation could there be to withhold it?

The defenses had witnesses present at every single test. They made no complaints. And the Hellmann court record showed that all DNA data was in fact handed over, as the consultants C&V had to conceed.

Passage 4: Page 176-177

One of the reasons our hearings were so spread out was that Mignini was fighting his own, separate legal battle to fend off criminal charges of prosecutorial misconduct. He and a police inspector working on the Monster of Florence case stood accused of intimidating public officials and journalists by opening legal proceedings against them and tapping their phones without proper justification.

To Mignini, the case smacked of professional jealousy because the prosecutors in Florence resented his intrusion on a murder mystery they had struggled for so long to resolve. But Mignini’s behavior had already attracted international condemnation, never more so than when he threw the journalist most indefatigably devoted to following the Monster case, Mario Spezi, into jail for three weeks. Spezi had ridiculed Mignini’s theories about Francesco Narducci, the Perugian doctor whom Mignini suspected of being part of a satanic cult connected to the killings.

In response, Mignini accused Spezi himself of involvement in Narducci’s murder - even though the death had been ruled a suicide. It was a staggering power play, and the international Committee to Protect Journalists was soon on the case. Spezi was not initially told why he was being arrested and, like me, was denied access to a lawyer for days. Even Mignini, though, could not press murder charges without proving first that a murder had taken place, and Spezi was eventually let out.

I firmly believe that our trial was, among other things, a grand diversion intended to keep media attention away from Mignini’s legal battle in Florence and to provide him with the high-profile court victory he desperately needed to restore his reputation. Already in the pretrial hearing, Mignini had shown signs of hypersensitivity about his critics, in particular the handful of English-speaking investigators and reporters who had questioned his case against us early on. He issued an explicit warning that anyone hoping he would back off the Meredith Kercher case or resign should think again. “Nobody has left their post, and nobody will,”Â he said. “Let that be clear, in Perugia and beyond.”Â

Just as he had in the Monster of Florence case, Mignini used every tool at his disposal against his critics and adversaries. He spied on my family and tapped their phones. He went after Amanda not just for murder, but also for defaming Patrick Lumumba - whom she had implicated under duress and at the police’s suggestion. He opened or threatened about a dozen other legal cases against his critics in Italy and beyond. He charged Amanda’s parents with criminal defamation for repeating the accusation that she had been hit in the head while in custody. And he sued or threatened to sue an assortment of reporters, writers, and newspapers, either because they said negative things about him or the police directly or because they quoted others saying such things.

Mignini’s volley of lawsuits had an unmistakable chilling effect, especially on the Italian press, and played a clear role in tipping public opinion against us. We weren’t the only ones mounting the fight of our lives in court, and it was difficult not to interpret this legal onslaught as part of Mignini’s campaign to beat back the abuse-of-office charges. His approach seemed singularly vindictive. Not only did we have to sit in prison while the murder trial dragged on; it seemed he wanted to throw our friends and supporters - anyone who voiced a sympathetic opinion in public - into prison right alongside us.

Dr Mignini was facing mild charges for what in fact judges had okayed and for which prison or a career fall were never in the cards. Over a year before the book was written, Dr Mignini’s total rebound and promotion after Cassation sharply repudiated a rogue prosecutor and judge in Florence had been widely reported upon. It is also widely known now that Spezi and Preston were mounting a malicious self-serving hoax.

Passage 5: Page 185

One other strange thing: Amanda and I were on trial for sexual assault, yet Stefanoni confirmed that a stain on Meredith’s pillowcase that looked a lot like semen was never tested in her lab. She made all sorts of excuses about how testing it might compromise the lab’s ability to use the pillowcase for other things. The semen might well be old, she added, the result of Meredith’s consensual sexual relations with Giacomo Silenzi.

This seemed extraordinary to my defense team, so much so that we asked for - and obtained - permission to inspect the pillowcase ourselves and soon discovered signs of semen on one of Guede’s shoe prints. How could the prosecution have missed this? If the semen was fresh when Guede stepped on it, that meant it must have been produced on the night of the murder. We thought long and hard about demanding a full analysis, but we did not trust the Polizia Scientifica as far as we could spit and were deathly afraid they might choose to construe that the semen was mine. So we held back.

The is hardly what the Scientific Police - a much-trusted collaborator of the FBI - are known for. All tests are done with defense witnesses there.

Passage 6: Page 216-217

As it turned out, Massei may not have been entirely correct to say there was no evidence that DNA results were used to fit a predetermined story line. Giuliano Mignini, of all people, had given a television interview a couple of months earlier in which he stated quite openly that he was looking for a certain result from the kitchen-knife analysis.

Mignini was asked by a special correspondent for the show L’altra metà   del crimine (The Other Half of the Crime) how he could be so sure my knife was the murder weapon when the DNA readings had come back “too low”Â and did not appear to conform to international standards. Mignini stuttered and danced around the question before replying in gloriously convoluted Italian, “Ho ottenuto di farlo risultare.”Â I managed to get it to come out right.

Never happened. As Cassation noted these so-called “international standards” which the consultants C&V misled the court about are simply a myth. The C&V laboratory and methods were disparaged by the Carabinieri lab in 2013.

Passage 7: Page 219-222

My family was not beating up on Amanda entirely without cause. What I did not know at the time, because they preferred not to fill me in, was that they were exploring what it would take for the prosecution to soften or drop the case against me. The advice they received was almost unanimous: the more I distanced myself from Amanda, the better. The legal community in Perugia was full of holes and leaks, and my family learned all sorts of things about the opinions being bandied about behind the scenes, including discussions within the prosecutor’s office. The bottom line: Mignini, they were told, was not all that interested in me except as a gateway to Amanda. He might indeed be willing to acknowledge I was innocent, but only if I gave him something in exchange, either by incriminating Amanda directly or by no longer vouching for her.

I’m glad my family did not include me in these discussions because I would have lost it completely. First, my uncle Giuseppe approached a lawyer in private practice in Perugia - with half an idea in his head that this new attorney could replace Maori - and asked what I could do to mitigate my dauntingly long sentence. The lawyer said I should accept a plea deal and confess to some of the lesser charges. I could, for instance, agree that I had helped clean up the murder scene but otherwise played no part in it. “He’d get a sentence of six to twelve years,”Â the lawyer said, “but because he has no priors the sentence would be suspended and he’d serve no more jail time.”Â

To their credit, my family knew I would never go for this. It made even them uncomfortable to contemplate me pleading guilty to something I had not done. It was, as my sister, Vanessa, put it, “not morally possible.”

The next line of inquiry was through a different lawyer, who was on close terms with Mignini and was even invited to the baptism of Mignini’s youngest child that summer. (Among the other guests at the baptism was Francesco Maresca, the Kerchers’ lawyer, who had long since aligned himself with Mignini in court.) This lawyer said he believed I was innocent, but he was also convinced that Amanda was guilty. He gave my family the strong impression that Mignini felt the same way. If true - and there was no way to confirm that - it was a clamorous revelation. How could a prosecutor believe in the innocence of a defendant and at the same time ask the courts to sentence him to life imprisonment? The lawyer offered to intercede with Mignini, but made no firm promises. He wasn’t willing to plead my cause, he said, but he would listen to anything the prosecutor had to offer.

Over the late spring and summer of 2010, my father used this lawyer as a back channel and maneuvered negotiations to a point where they believed Mignini and Comodi would be willing to meet with Giulia Bongiorno and hear what she had to say. When Papà   presented this to Bongiorno, however, she was horrified and said she might have to drop the case altogether because the back channel was a serious violation of the rules of procedure. A private lawyer has no business talking to a prosecutor about a case, she explained, unless he is acting with the express permission of the defendant. It would be bad enough if the lawyer doing this was on my defense team; for an outside party to undertake such discussions not only risked landing me in deeper legal trouble, it also warranted disciplinary action from the Ordine degli Avvocati, the Italian equivalent of the Bar Association.

My father was mortified. He had no idea how dangerous a game he had been playing and wrote a letter to Bongiorno begging her to forgive him and stay on the case. He was at fault, he said, and it would be wrong to punish her client by withdrawing her services when I didn’t even know about the back channel, much less approve it. To his relief, Bongiorno relented.

My family, though, did not. Whenever they came to visit they would suggest some form of compromise with the truth. Mostly they asked why I couldn’t say I was asleep on the night of the murder and had no idea what Amanda got up to.

Sollecito himself had for years kept Knox at extreme arms length, mirroring his family, implying Knox was more guilty than he, though irrevocable evidence ties him to the scene of the crime too.  He was never ever seen to stand up for her like this. Mignini and Comodi had NOT ONE CONVERSATION on these lines.  Apart from the case against Sollecto being strong, no prosecutor in Italy has any power to “do a deal” or allow a perp to “cop a plea”. To prosecutors’ own great relief, for protection these powers reside ONLY in the hands of a judge.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Sollecito Trial For “Honor Bound” #6: Examining Gumbel’s Role In Biasing The Book

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



Andrew Gumbel seen in a shrill 2014 CNN report, perhaps the least balanced so far 

1. Bringing The News Up To Date

On 5 March the Florence court will replace the prosecution’s translation of the target claims in the book with its own translation.

And Sollecito and Gumbel will probably be ordered to stand public trial then.

Both the prosecution and the guiding magistrate have as usual in Italy played immensely fair in this case. Each gave Sollecito and Gumbel numerous opportunities over more than a year to try to explain and justify certain target passages in a way that gets them off the hook. In further fairness the hearings have all been closed.

What leaked out after the last hearing in Florence a couple of weeks ago suggested that Sollecito has yet to come up with any justification at all. He was said to look dazed and depressed.

Gumbel was not in court. But his lawyer apparently claimed that Gumbel was merely a sort of well-meaning sheep: Sollecito’s ghost writer, nothing more, who faithfully took down only what he heard from his client.

This has apparently not gone down at all well in the Sollecito camp.

The Sollecito family and legal team has long hinted rather publicly that Gumbel did a number on them, an end-run. Francesco Sollecito and the family and Sollecito’s lawyers Giula Bongiorno and Luca Maori had all claimed within several weeks of the book coming out that numerous passages in the book were malicious and untrue. Sollecito himself denied that he put them in.

The Sollecito family and legal team have also hinted ever since that Gumbel and some American Knox cronies with self-serving agendas (suggested on pro-Knox websites to have been Steve and Michele Moore, Frank Sforza, Bruce Fischer, maybe some more) had recklessly put dangerous unfounded claims in the final draft of the book.

Those claims (now the main subjects of the Florence trial) were seemingly never put into Italian and run carefully by them. No proper due diligence was done, and as a result they have been left holding the can. And all this under the cold eyes of the Supreme Court, which must rule in six weeks whether Sollecito makes things up. 

2. Smart Rules For Ghost Writers To Avoid Trouble

This is hardly the first time a ghost writer and their client have fallen out. It is a touchy trouble-prone profession not governed by formalised training or an established code of ethics, where getting sued or not getting paid is quite a frequent thing.

Some of those who do it full-time and have had their share of trouble and want no more of it and want to alert others have posted their own suggested groundrules online.

For example, both client and ghost writer are well served by spending a few days checking out each other. Then they make a contract where literally everything needs to be spelled out.

Ghost writers need to take extreme care with clients in legal trouble who might drag them in or who they might drag in further. They need to be clear whether they are to research on their own, and to whom they are permitted to talk.

They need to know whether their name will be on the cover or anywhere inside the book. They need to know whether they have a licence from the client to do related TV and print articles, especially if those pay a separate fee, and what they are allowed to say.

They need to try to capture honestly the client’s voice and not turn them into someone they are not. They need to know what facts to put in and to be clear what facts are consciously left out. They need to do due diligence on the drafts with the agent and publisher and lawyers, and if allowed check out dynamite claims with “the other side”.

And if any accusations of crimes are to be made they REALLY need to check those legal hot potatoes with the client and the lawyers and the publishers, line by line. 

Gumbel seems to have ignored pretty well all of these groundrules, and dug Sollecito in much deeper.

Knox’s ghost writer Linda Kulman (more experienced than Gumbel at this and with no axe to grind) seems to have followed some but not all of these guidelines. Her name is only in the Knox book once, in a short thankyou note by Knox at the back, and she remained low-key and made no separate statements.

Nevertheless, Linda Kulman had the Sollecito book as a (then) largely unchallenged model. She included in the book a number of false accusation of crimes and malicious ridicules of others, none of them properly checked out, which will have Knox in court for sure before too long. (Oggi is already in court for repeating some of her claims.)

Linda Kulman also included an entire chapter about Knox’s “interrogation” where every detail is made up. She included a lengthy claim that Mignini did an illegal interrogation of Knox, when in fact he wasn’t even there. And she left out numerous key facts, such as that Knox was having sex with a major drug dealer almost to the day of her arrest, and most of the evidence.

Linda Kulman certainly dd not capture Knox’s real voice or mode of behavior, which are notoriously brash and possibly the root cause of Meredith’s murder.

3. Flashing Warning Lights In Italy In 2012

If the Sollecito family and team did not know all of the above, it would seem to be Sharlene Martin’s fiduciary duty as book agent for Sollecito to make sure both they and any ghost writer they hired did know.

For their part, the Sollecito team should have done their own due diligence in Italy, and perhaps looked around for an experienced ghost writer in Italy who could converse with all of them and show them in Italian what would be in the book. And in particular known about and been respectful of this which was in our first post.

On 3 October 2011 Judge Hellmann told RS and AK they were free to go, despite the fact that no legal process for murder and some other crimes is considered final in Italy until no party pursues any further appeals or the Supreme Court signs off. Most still accused of serious crimes (as in the UK and US) remain locked up. Hellmann, pathetically trying to justify this fiasco ever since, was firmly edged out and still the target of a possible charge.

Other flashing warnings should have made Sollecito’s family and legal team and book writers very wary. They included the immediate strong warning of a tough prosecution appeal to the Supreme Court. They also included the pending calunnia trials of Knox and her parents, the pending trial of the Sollecitos for attempting to use politics to subvert justice, the pending trials of Spezi, Aviello, and Sforza, and so on. 

A major flashing warning was right there in Italian law. Trials are meant to be conducted in the courtroom and attempts to poison public opinion are illegal. They can be illegal in the US and UK too but, for historical reasons to do with the mafias and crooked politicians, Italian laws in this area are among the world’s toughest. So mid-process, normally no books are ever published


4. Warning Lights About A Hasty Gumbel Contract

Many of the problems in the book are associated with a strident anti-Italy tone.  Well over half the false claims taken apart in this May 2014 post are FACTUALLY wrong in areas where Sollecito has no known knowledge or point of view.

For example, it was claimed that the Italian justice institutions are both very unpopular and corrupt. Neither is true, and almost no Italians believe that.

Sharlene Martin was first mentioned as Sollecito’s agent in the NY Times on 5 December 2011 when Sollecito had been swanning around the US west coast in an apparent attempt to, well, get her back in the sack. He was in a weak mode.

On 10 January 2012 Francesco Sollecito was reported in the Journal of Umbria as saying this about the purpose of the book 

“I have not done the math [the lawyers etc costs]. For good luck. I will do it after the ruling of the Supreme Court. It will be painful because the figure of one million euro of which one speaks is not far from reality.” This was stated to the weekly Today, on newsstands tomorrow, by Francesco Sollecito, father of Raffaele.

According to [Francesco] Sollecito, in case of confirmation of absolution, then there will be 250-300,000 euro compensation provided for the unjust detention of his son, this money will be enough only to pay the fees of the 12 consultants “that we had to appoint to succeed to refute the allegations.”

In the interview with the weekly, Francesco Sollecito denies that Raffaele has a girlfriend, as reported after the publishing of photos while kissing a girl: “Annie, the girl who appears with him in photos on Facebook is just a friend, in fact a sorta of cousin… “The priorities of my son right now are otherise.” What? “Raffaele has signed a contract with the American literary manager Sharlene Martin for a book, it is a definite undertaking “.

Apparently at this point Sharlene Martin had not been to Italy or spoken face-to-face with Francesco or the legal team. Whether she had briefed herself on the warning lights described above so that she could properly warn the US team of writer, editors, publishers and publicists is not known. 

5. Gumbel’s Shrill Record Of Sliming Italy

On 12 February 2012 Andrew Gumbel is reported in the NY Times as having got the co-writer job. During that period due diligence (if any) on his background would have been done, seemingly mainly by Sharlene Martin (if any) as a complaint of Sollecito’s team is that they could not look him over before he came on board.

Andrew Gumbel is not a lawyer, and in fact our own lawyers have repeatedly found silly his pretentious and inaccurate legal claims. Nor as far as we know does he have a track record as a ghost writer. His main claim to the job seems to have been based on his having been based in Italy with the UK Independent for nearly five years in the 1990s.

The 1990s were a pretty good time in Italy.

There was okay growth and jobs availability, record tourism, relative political calm before Berlusconi grabbed political and media power, many successful farms and firms, and a really push against the mafias - for which many brave judges and prosecutors had died.  The Italian food and wine were great, the cars and luxury goods were great, and Italy was home to about half of the finest medieval art in the world.

We checked it out: foreign reporters in Italy at the time did a fair and balanced job reflecting all of this. With seemingly only one notorious exception: the British reporter Andrew Gumbel for the UK Independent.

Apparently Gumbel could find almost nothing to like about Italy. In 5 years almost nothing to write a positive report on.

Brits relying only on his shrill reporting in the Independent may have thought Italy to be a very corrupt, lawless, politically and economically dysfunctional place, with nothing about it to like and no reason to visit. If they were bigoted, this could have made them more-so. Nasty stuff, and for foreign reporters in any country anywhere very unusual.

Below are the headers for most or all of Andrew Gumbel’s shrill reports from Italy.

Fair and balanced? The right guy for a delicate project with his client in a delicate legal bind? You decide.  We have highlighted in yellow all the reports with a negative bias, maybe true, maybe not. Of the total of 62 reports only 4 seem to us neutral or nice. Were the Sollecitos or their Italian lawyers or HarperCollins made aware by Gumbel or Sharlene Martin of Gumbel’s emotional negative bias?

    1. Gumbel Articles On Italy’s Government + History (25)
  • A sick economy shakes out the fake invalids. (growing economic problems in Italy make corruption less acceptable)
  • Bickering while Venice sinks.
  • Can Italy survive Dini’s fall? (prime minister Lamberto Dini)
  • Chirac consigns Italy to Europe’s second division. (French president Jacques Chirac)
  • Corruption on an Olympian scale.(Rome, Italy, seeks to host Olympic Games)
  • Facing up to Italy’s crisis. (Italy’s economic problems)
  • Glitz takes a back seat on road to Rome. (Romano Prodi begins electoral campaign in Italy) (Interview)
  • How the kidnap and rape of Dario Fo’s wife was ordered by Italy’s right-wing rulers.
  • Illegal migrants reach EU havens via Italy.
  • Italy waits for the gravy train to be derailed. (problems facing Italian railway system)
  • Italy ready for mission impossible: intervention in Albania could bring instability to Rome.
  • Italy heads back into a political void.
  • Italy struggles to shake off the legacy of Mussolini.
  • Italy’s Olive Tree fails to bear fruit.
  • Italy’s rich city prays for fall of nation state. (citizens of Bologna, Italy, strongly in favour of European Union)
  • New wave of state corruption stuns the Italians.
  • Past demons threaten Italy’s bid for change. (Italy fails to move towards a SEcond Republic)
  • Prodi’s dilemma: let the left win or surrender Italy’s drive towards Emu. (Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi)
  • Rome’s magic circle. (deterioration of the Colosseum in Rome, Italy)
  • Scholars in a spin over Churchill link to the death of Mussolini. (claims that Mussolini was shot by British secret services)
  • Shouting could drown out Italian democracy. (serious political clashes damage reputation of Italian parliament)
  • So, were there offers he should have refused? (trial of Giulio Andreotti)
  • The Nazi and the protection racket. (controversy over trial of former Nazi Erich Priebke in Italy)
  • Venice’s grand opera descends to farce. (dispute hampers rebuilding of La Fenice opera house)
  • Why Italy cannot bring war criminals to justice.
  • 2. Gumbel Articles On Italy’s Scenery, Art, Music, Fashion, Culture (2)
  • Il Papa brings on Dylan for a taste of the devil’s rhythms. (Bob Dylan to perform for Pope)
  • Inside the Assisi basilica, a sight to make saints weep. (challenges involved in restoration of art treasures from Basilica of St Francis in Assisi, Italy)
  • 3. Gumbel Articles On Italy’s Economy + Business (8)
  • A nation that brings its style to the track. (many changes to Italian rail network)
  • All is not bene among the united colours. (problems facing Benetton)
  • Berlusconi consolidates his rule over the Italian air waves. (former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi)
  • Ciao Gianni, but now what? (Gianni Agnelli resigns as chairman of Fiat)
  • Climax of Italy’s TV war. (referendum on whether Silvio Berlusconi should sell his television channels)
  • Italy’s new crop stifled in the shadow of a paradise lost.(problems affecting the Italian motion picture industry)
  • Murdoch pursues Italian television. (News Corp seeks stake in Silvio Berlusconi’s media empire).
  • The dark world behind Versace’s life of glamour. (murder of fashion designer Gianni Versace)
  • 4. Gumbel Articles On Italy’s Justice, Crime, Corruption,  Mafias (24)
  • Accidental death of an anarchist comes back to scandalise Italy. (three men convicted of murder of police commissioner Luigi Calabresi in 1972)
  • A fashion label that really is to die for .... (murder of fashion designer Maurizio Gucci may have been instigated by his former wife)(Column)
  • After the suicide, a wall of silence. (new type of Mafia activity in Sicily)
  • Amnesty offers Italy chance to forget its years of terror. (Italian government pardons six people involved in Red Brigades terrorist group in 1970s)
  • Andreotti to face trial on Mob links. (former Italian prime minister Giulio Andreotti to stand trial for consorting with the Mafia)
  • Another black mark against Italy’s judges. (Italy’s anti-corruption magistrates lose their credibility)
  • Arrest us, but we’ll be back next week. (three Italians with Aids use legal loophole to rob banks)
  • Backlash threatens to silence informers. (controversy in Italy over Mafia informers)
  • Bloody end of a fashionable affair. (murder of Maurizio Gucci)
  • Fake invalids at heart of Italy’s postal scandal. (postal service employs many invalids, but some are fakes)
  • Fear and loathing in the Alto Adige. (serial killer murders six people in Merano, Italy)
  • Godfather’ village baffled by murders. (Sicilian town of Corleone)
  • God’s Banker: ‘He was given Mafia money and he made poor use of it.’ (investigation into death of Italian banker Roberto Calvi in 1982 may soon be concluded)
  • Gucci: hell for leather. (Patrizia Gucci convicted for contract killing of former husband Maurizio Gucci)
  • How Cosa Nostra’s cunning outfoxed the Italian state. (Mafia’s criminal network still operating in Italy)
  • How Italy failed to trap its Monster. (failure to bring serial killer in Florence, Italy, to justice)
  • Italy’s men of violence throw off the state’s chains. (revival of the Mafia in Italy)(includes details of murder of magistrate Giovanni Falcone)
  • Mafia trawls Venice’s dark lagoon. (organised crime in Venice, Italy)
  • Mysteries unravel as mafiosi spill secrets. (Italian gangsters make confessions)
  • One woman’s dangerous and lonely battle to break the Cosa Nostra. (challenges facing Maria Maniscalco, mayor of San Giuseppe Jato, Italy)
  • Rome turns a blind eye to Mafia’s killing spree.
  • Secret of why the Mafia has never shot a soul. (code of silence about Mafia in Sicily)
  • Street wars in Italy’s wild south. (high crime levels in Naples, Italy)
  • Who killed Pasolini? (new film about the murder of Pier Paolo Pasolini)
  • 5. Gumbel Articles On Italy’s Physical Disasters (3)
  • After the deluge (eruption of Mount Vesuvius in Italy will create chaos)
  • Assisi in mourning as quake shatters Basilica of St Francis.
  • Umbria shows the civilised way to cope with calamity. (effects of series of earthquakes in Italy)


6. Conclusion And Next Posts

This list was checked out with half a dozen posters resident in Italy at the time. All of their reactions were to the effect that, in lying by omission, Gumbel did not play fair with Italy back then. A trivial mind. One which should have been fought off with a stick.

The next posts seek to identify what Gumbel and the Knox misrepresenters (said to be primarily the Moores, Sforza and Fischer) were responsible for putting in the Sollecito book, and to describe Andrew Gumbel’s vigorous public media campaign. Whether authorized or not authorized, he made around 20 shrill damaging interventions.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Sollecito Trial For “Honor Bound” #5: Gumbel Simply A Cowardly Defamatory Shill?

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



Above: “Neutral ghostwriter” Andrew Gumbel tweets…

1, Today In The Florence Court

Lately many of the chest-thumping PR shills have whined a lot more about themselves as victims than done anything to boost Sollecito and Knox.

Think of Preston, Burleigh, Dempsey, Sforza, Fisher, Moore, and a whole lot of other serial complainers. Now chest-thumper Andrew Gumbel seems to want to join their ranks. That is if the claim that he was ONLY a ghostwriter was made by his lawyer with his consent to the Florence judge.

2. Signs Gumbel Really Is A Shill

Note that Sollecito gave many signs during his US book promotion tour late in 2012 that he really didn’t know much about what was in his own book.

So did Gumbel really only hang on Sollecito’s every word? Or did he talk to a lot more people than that, and get very invested in nasty, dishonest propaganda to deny justice for Meredith via the courts?

Here’s Andrew Gumbel on 1 May 2014, providing the first media opinion in the UK on Judge Nencini’s appeal report. The nasty false claims highlighted suggest Gumbel has a very strong investment in Sollecito and Knox and not a little contempt for the Italian courts.

One truth in Gumbel’s article which he must really regret? That sentence in the thitrd paragraph: “Disclosure: I am the co-author with Sollecito on his memoir about the case.”

The longer the Italian courts consider the Meredith Kercher case ““ and we have now had three trials, six presiding judges, two hearings before the Italian high court and a third on the way ““ the more the country’s institutions of justice have covered themselves in shame.

Judge after judge has twisted the available evidence into extraordinary contortions of logic to assert, at different times, that Kercher ““ a British exchange student stabbed to death in her room in Perugia in 2007 ““ was the victim of a premeditated attack; that her murder happened spontaneously; that the motive was sexual; that the motive was a dispute over housework with Amanda Knox, the star defendant; that the trigger for the murder was the unseemly appetite Knox and her boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, had for sex and drugs; that the trigger for the murder was Rudy Guede, the Ivorian-born drifter everyone agrees was involved, knocking on the door to use the toilet.

By now, Knox and Sollecito have been convicted, acquitted and convicted again, and the underlying forensic evidence has been both exposed as a sham and, mystifyingly, reinstated. (Disclosure: I am the co-author, with Sollecito, on his memoir about the case.)

Still, the latest judicial document in the ongoing battle, a 337-page justification of the most recent convictions made public on Tuesday, marks a new low. Not only has Alessandro Nencini, the presiding judge of the Florence appeals court, apparently resorted to the same tortured logic as his predecessors; he has also stated things as fact that are manifestly and provably wrong.

That may be more than even the Italian justice system can stomach; judges, after all, aren’t supposed to do things like that. And it may provide Knox and Sollecito with unexpected ““ if still slim ““ grounds for hope at the very moment when Kercher’s death had seemed settled, at last, according to the law.

To read the new conviction report in detail is to enter a kind of alternate reality, where concrete facts appear ignored and alternate facts are seemingly plucked from the air. Kercher’s murder is reduced to a parlor game and all roads lead to the inevitable, if not also foregone, conclusion that Knox and Sollecito are guilty. For instance:

  • On page 63, Judge Nencini claims that a partial shoeprint found at the murder scene comes from a size 37 women’s shoe and must therefore belong to Amanda Knox. But this is not based on the available evidence. In the early days of the case, the prosecution sought to show that the shoeprint was from Sollecito’s Nikes; the pattern of concentric circles on the sole was later proven to come from a different pair of Nikes belonging to Guede.

  • On page 81, Nencini grapples with the question of how Knox and Sollecito could have participated in the murder but left no more than a single, hotly disputed trace of themselves at the scene. Extraordinarily, Nencini argues that Knox and Sollecito must have wiped the place clean of their DNA (but left an abundance of Guede’s) because no traces of Knox’s DNA were found anywhere in the apartment that she shared with the victim. But multiple samples of Knox’s DNA were found and presented at trial; they just weren’t found in the room where the murder took place.

  • Then, on page 321, Nencini writes that the blade of the purported murder weapon ““ a large kitchen knife found in Sollecito’s apartment ““ bore traces of both Kercher’s and Sollecito’s DNA. Again, this is at variance with the evidence. The most the prosecution ever asserted was that Kercher’s DNA was on the tip of the blade. Sollecito’s DNA has never been found.

The defense teams have reacted with consternation: Knox issued a formal statement decrying the lack of “credible evidence or logic” in this latest document, which arrived just ahead of the three-month deadline following her latest conviction; Sollecito’s lead lawyer, Giulia Bongiorno, denounced what she said were “at least ten clamorous mistakes per page”. (A Kercher family lawyer called the document “a version that we have always in some ways sustained”.)

This being Italy, however, the judicial errors are not necessarily a bad thing for Knox and Sollecito, because they give the Italian high court an opening ““ should the justices choose to take it ““ to overturn the latest conviction, and either dismiss the case, send it back to get the mistakes fixed, or order yet another trial in another court.

The high court justices will be aware, of course, that the longer the case drags on, the more suspect the process will look in the eyes of world opinion. Another trial would test the patience of even the most ardent believers in Knox and Sollecito’s guilt, and certainly of the Kercher family. But the process is starting to curdle ““ even without the spectacle of lawyers arguing, yet again, over the same controversies before a barrage of international TV cameras. That leaves the high court, which always has one eye on the integrity of the system, with a genuine dilemma.

Much has been written about Italian justice’s desire to save face in this much written-about case. To admit a miscarriage of justice, the argument runs, has become too difficult, because it would expose the mistakes of too many people, from the primary investigators to the Rome forensic lab to the prosecutors and judges.

However, as the case trudges toward the seven-year mark, one has to wonder how much appetite the institutions of justice still have to stand by what they have done. Will the high court really want to endorse Nencini’s report with all these evident flaws? Or will this finally be the moment when the justice system calls a halt to a travesty committed in its name and exonerates Knox and Sollecito, as it should have done years ago?


3. How Gumbel Got It Wrong

We responded by rebutting 20 of Gumbel’s malicious claims in just the first 7 pages of Honor Bound. And Pataz1, a TJMK main poster who also runs his own blog posted this rebuttal of Gumbel below

This letter was sent to the Guardian’s Reader Editor on 4 May 2014, and again on 3 June, 2014. The Reader’s Editor did not respond to either of the email submissions.

Gumbel’s May 1st, 2014 article in the Guardian is a thinly veiled advocacy piece for Sollecito and Knox. He left out a significant phrase from a Nencini passage he cites; this phrase he omitted undermines one of his main claims.

To the Guardian:

I’m writing to you about Andrew Gumbel’s “comment” on developments in the murder of Meredith Kercher case. Gumbel writes about the recently released Nencini court motivations document, which outlines the court’s reasoning for affirming Knox and Sollecito’s conviction for the murder of Meredith Kercher.

Gumbel waits until the end of the third paragraph in his article to provide his disclaimer: that he is a co-author of the book by one of the defendants. Its hard to understand why Gumbel waited so long to disclose his vested financial interest in the innocence of one of the defendants on trial. By this time, Gumbel has already levied allegations of impropriety upon the Italian courts and judges. For example, he alleges “the country’s institutions of justice have covered themselves in shame.” He continues specific allegations that “judge after judge has twisted the available evidence [”¦]”.  If Gumbel had provided his disclaimer appropriately at the beginning of his letter, readers would have had a more appropriate understanding of Gumbel’s perspective and motivations for writing his letter.

Despite being a co-author of a book by one of the two still on trial for Meredith’s murder, Gumbel’s statements on the court process are wrong. Gumbel pushes the perspective that Knox’s reps have pushed in the US; that Knox and Sollecito have been “convicted again” after an acquittal. Gumbel leaves out any mention of the Italian Supreme Court ruling that overturned Knox and Sollecito’s acquittal and sent the case back to the appellate level. After the acquittal was annulled, the original 2009 conviction remained in place. Gumbel is no doubt aware that the Florence court is an appellate court.  (Curiously, Sollecito’s co-defendant Knox also wrongly claims on her website that the Italian Supreme Court “annulled all previous verdicts”; ref: http://www.amandaknox.com/about-contact/?).

Gumbel’s omission of the Italian Supreme Court ruling is odd, because the entire point of his article is the integrity of the judicial decisions. Gumbel left out that the Italian Supreme Court has already made one ruling regarding the integrity of a judicial decision in this case. The Supreme Court’s ruling wasn’t in favor of Gumbel’s co-author and defendant Raffaele Sollecito;  perhaps this is the reason that Gumbel failed to mention the actual outcome of the acquittal.

Or perhaps Gumbel left out this information so he could present the evidence the way it is framed by supporters of Knox and Sollecito. Later in the the same paragraph, Gumbel expresses confusion about why evidence remains in the case. He states “the underlying forensic evidence has been both exposed as a sham and, mystifyingly, reinstated.” As the co-author of the book with Sollecito, Gumbel is again no doubt aware that after the appellate-level acquittal was thrown out, the original conviction (with all of the evidence) remained as a part of the case. Any decision made by Hellmann on the evidence was also thrown out of the case, including Hellmann’s conclusions on the knife DNA evidence and the Sollecito’s DNA on the bra clasp. Further, if Gumbel had indeed read the Nencini decision, he would have read the passage where Nencini takes to task the “independent experts” in the Hellmann trial (detailed here:http://thefreelancedesk.com/amanda-knox-trials-meredith-kercher-case/). Gumbel should be well aware after his reading of Nencini why the evidence still contributed to the Florence court upholding his co-author’s conviction.

In his second point on the Nencini decision, Gumbel leaves out a key phrase that completely undermines his claim. By this time in his article, one is forced to wonder if this omission is deliberate. Gumbel’s claim is that Nencini contradicted himself by writing that Knox and Sollecito only left a “single, hotly disputed trace of themselves” despite the other evidence that Nencini also talks about. But the start of the passage Gumbel cites is:

“Una peculiarità  è, ad esempio, il rilievo che all’interno della villetta di via della Pergola quasi non sono state rinvenute tracce di Amanda Marie Knox ““ se non quelle di cui si dirà  e riferibili all’omicidio ““ né di Raffaele Sollecito.”

The phrase Gumbel deliberately left out is this: “se non quelle di cui si dirà  e riferibili all’omicidio”, which, roughly translated, is “except those which will be discussed and related to the murder.”  The Nencini Motivations document explicitly contains a clause that accommodates the other traces related to the murder. Gumbel’s point is provably false. As someone who arguably puts himself forth as an expert on the case, this omission is highly concerning.

In Gumbel’s third point he highlights what is a minor error in the Nencini report. Calling out one word in a longer passage, Gumbel points out the report states that Sollecito’s DNA was found on the knife that is alleged as a murder weapon. If Gumbel truly read the report, as he claimed in a twitter exchange with me, he would be aware that the rest of the section that is contained in makes it clear that the finding is Knox’s DNA on the knife, not Sollecito’s. This minor error is hardly cause to overturn the full conviction.

I could continue, but the rest of Gumbel’s article is largely a diatribe against the length of the trial and the Italian justice system. Gumbel cites an article written by Douglas Preston, another author who has financially benefited by being openly critical of the prosecutor in Knox’s case. Knox and Sollecito’s case has gone through three levels of the Italian court system, and back to appeals. Cases in the US that follow a similar path have not happened any faster than the one in Italy. For example, in the Scott Peterson case in the US his defense still filed appeals eight years after his first-level conviction.

That the Guardian has allowed itself to be used as a platform to push the defense’s perspective is not only a disservice to the family of the murder victim who lives in the UK, but is also a disservice to the victim of a violent, brutal murder.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Sollecito Trial For “Honor Bound” #4: Chimera Examines The Most Inflammatory Angles

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[A far from joyful dad once again tries to knock sense into his loose-cannon offspring]

1. Overview Of This Series And Post

Tomorrow is the day when the wraps come off the prosecutions’ targets in the book.

This is also when Sollecito & Gumbel might try to justify themselves though they have a tough task ahead of them. For Sollecito and Gumbel (and also Knox and Kulman) their books actually constitute four kinds of problems;

(1) their defamations of the Italian courts and justice system;
(2) their defamations of many police, investigators and prosecutors who work within it,
(3) their numerous lies by omission, the pesky facts they never mention; and
(4) the unwitting truths and half-truths pointing to guilt, which the court may especially zero in on.

As mentioned in the previous post, a separate new TJMK pasge will soon take the book apart definitively. To this many posters have contributed.

Also we will have a new TJMK page on all of the lies of omission and who tends to avoid what area of evidence. .

2. Examination By Chimera Of Sollecito Book

In Part 1 Chimera addrresses problem (4) the truths and half-truths.

In Part 2 Chimera comes up with an alternative synopsis of the book.

In Part 3 Chimera Suggests why there could have been pre-meditation.

1. Examination Of RS’s Truthfulness

[page xv] ‘’....Often, they are more interested in constructing compelling narratives than in building up the evidence piece by piece, a task considered too prosaic and painstaking to be really interesting….’‘

A main criticism by the Supreme Court of Judge Hellmann was that he looked at the evidence piece by piece, rather than trying to make a story of all the evidence as a whole.

[page xvi] ‘’....She was Amanda the heartless when she didn’t cry over Meredith’s death and Amanda the hysterical manipulator when she did. Whatever she did””practice yoga, play Beatles songs, buy underwear””it was held against her.

Well, when someone does not seem upset that their ‘friend’ is murdered, and then behaves in this fashion, would police not at least have their curiosity piqued?

[page 20] ‘’... First, Guede could reasonably assume that the occupants of the house were either out for the night or away for the long weekend. Second, he had previously stayed over in the boys’ apartment downstairs””he fell asleep on the toilet one night in early October and ended up sprawled on the couch””so he knew the lay of the land. He had even met Meredith and Amanda briefly. And, third, since it was the first of the month, chances were good that the accumulated rent money for November was sitting in a pile somewhere in the house.

In the upstairs apartment, Filomena took responsibility for gathering everyone’s cash and handing it over to the landlady. And it was Filomena’s bedroom window that would soon be smashed with a large rock…’‘

This only makes sense if and only if:

(a) Rudy knew the schedules of all 8 people in the house
(b) Rudy may have slept downstairs, but implies he must have been upstairs at some point
(c) Rudy knew that Filomena had all the money (that she took charge of it)
(d) That rent would be paid in cash, not a cheque or bank automatic withdrawl. Which suggests…

A failure on those parameters points to an inside job.

[page 22] ‘’... My father took her advice, but because my cell phone was turned off, I didn’t receive the message until six the next morning.

It was a desperately unlucky combination of circumstances. If my father had tried my cell and then called me on the home line””which he would have done, because he’s persistent that way””I would have had incontrovertible proof from the phone records that I was home that night. And the nightmare that was about to engulf me might never have begun.’‘

First, it is an admission that the cell phone was turned off

Second, it is an admission that had Francesco called him, he would have an alibi, suggesting he did not…

[page 24] ‘’ ... Many Italians, including most of my family, could not fathom how she could go ahead with her shower after finding blood on the tap, much less put her wet feet on the bath mat, which was also stained, and drag it across the floor.’‘

So, Amanda showered, even with blood on the tap and on the bathmat, and no one, not even Raffaele, can make sense of it. Perhaps it is just an odd way of being quirky.

[page 26] ‘’... Then I pushed open Filomena’s door, which had been left slightly ajar, and saw that the place was trashed. Clothes and belongings were strewn everywhere. The window had a large, roundish hole, and broken glass was spread all over the floor.

Okay, we thought, so there’s been a break-in. What we couldn’t understand was why Filomena’s laptop was still propped upright in its case on the floor, or why her digital camera was still sitting out in the kitchen. As far as we could tell, nothing of value was missing anywhere….’‘

And this would be found to be suspicious by the police. An apparent break in, but nothing seems to be missing. And we haven’t even gotten to the spiderman climb yet.

[page 27] ‘’... Amanda went into the Italian women’s bathroom alone, only to run back out and grab on to me as though she had seen a ghost. “The shit’s not in the toilet anymore!” she said. “What if the intruder’s still here and he’s locked himself in Meredith’s room?”

Interesting. Perhaps Raffaele instinctively leaves poop in the toilet as well. Why would he not flush to make sure?

[page 27 contains the following lines:]

‘’ ....Don’t do anything stupid.’‘
‘’ ....Now what do we do?’‘
‘’ ....My sister is in the Carabinieri.’‘

These were supposedly in reference to the frantic attempts to see in Meredith’s room. Does anyone think there is some innuendo/hidden meaning?

[page 29] ‘’... “No, nothing’s been taken.” I didn’t know that for sure, of course, and I should have been more careful about my choice of words. At the time, though, I thought I was just performing my civic duty by passing the information along. The only reason I was on the line was because Amanda’s Italian was not good enough for her to make the call herself.’‘

This sounds innocuous enough, with the qualifiers, but without them:  ‘‘No, nothing’s been taken… I should have been more careful about my choice of words.”

[page 33] ‘’.... As things spiraled out of control over the next several days, a senior investigator with the carabinieri in Perugia took it upon himself to call my sister and apologize, colleague to colleague. “If we had arrived ten minutes earlier,” he told Vanessa, “the case would have been ours. And things would have gone very differently.”

This sounds eerily like an admission that things could have been tampered with, or ‘saved’, if only the ‘right’ people had been there in time.

[page 35] ‘’... Amanda didn’t understand the question, so I answered for her, explaining that she’d taken a shower and then come back to my house. “Really, you took a shower?” Paola said. She was incredulous…’‘

However, the book does not clarify why Paola was incredulous. Take your pick.

(a) Amanda didn’t look or smell like she had a shower
(b) Amanda showered in a blood soaked bathroom
(c) Both ‘a’ and ‘b’

[page 39] ‘’... In the moment, I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to make Amanda feel worse. The whole purpose of my being there was to comfort her. So I defended her, even beyond the point where I felt comfortable or could be said to be looking out for my own interests.’‘

This is arguably the most true part of the book. He does have to comfort her, so she doesn’t talk. And it probably was uncomfortable.

And ‘‘beyond the point where ... I could be said to be looking out for my own interests.’’ Notice that Raffaele does not say ‘‘beyond that point where I WAS looking out for my own interests. It only ‘looks’ like it, because it is very much in his interest - at that time - to pacify Amanda.

[page 40] ‘’.... Italian newspapers reporting ‘Amanda could kill for a pizza’.’‘

To most people, Raffaele could mean this signifies that killing and death did not affect her greatly, or that she is simply immature.

It could also be an admission: Meredith’s death was over something extremely trivial, and Raffaele knew it.

[page 40] ‘’...Why focus on her, and not on Meredith’s other friends? I wondered. She and Amanda were new acquaintances…’‘

Exactly. Compared to what has been portrayed, they were not close friends, or even friends

[page 41] ‘’... Amanda noticed the police’s sex obsession right away; they couldn’t stop asking her about the Vaseline pot and a vibrator they had found in the bathroom. The vibrator was a joke item, a little rubber bunny rabbit shaped to look like a vibrator and fashioned into a pendant, but the police seemed to find this difficult to accept. What about Meredith’s sex life? Amanda knew only that Meredith had left a boyfriend in England and was now involved with one of the men who lived downstairs, a twenty-two-year-old telecommunications student with a carefully sculpted beard and outsize earrings named Giacomo Silenzi. Amanda had helped Meredith out a couple times by giving her a condom from her supply. But Amanda had no idea how, or how often, Meredith had sex and didn’t feel comfortable fielding questions about it.’‘

This is creepily ‘Knoxian’ in that Raffaele is deliberately leaking extremely personal details about Meredith. Is this a desire they share: to humiliate her deeper, in the public domain, far beyond what they already have done.

[page 42] ‘’... A few days later, this episode would be distorted in the newspapers to make it seem as if the first thing we did after the murder was to buy sexy lingerie””specifically, a G-string””and tell each other how we couldn’t wait to try it out. The store owner, who did not speak English, corroborated the story in pursuit of his own brief moment in the spotlight. True, the surveillance video in the store showed us touching and kissing, but that was hardly a crime. I wasn’t making out with her in some vulgar or inappropriate way, just comforting her and letting her know I was there for her. Besides, there was nothing remotely sexy about Bubble. A much sexier underwear store was next door, and we didn’t set foot in…’‘

Interesting. Raffaele says that this was blown out of proportion, yet his defense is that we didn’t do anything sexual, but if we did, it is not a crime, and besides, there was a better place next door.

[page 43] ‘’... I realized I had not properly acknowledged my own discomfort with Amanda. I was not scandalized by her, in the way that so many others later said they were, but I shouldn’t have allowed her to climb all over me in the Questura, and I should have counseled her quietly not to complain so much. I understood the gallant side of being her boyfriend, but I could have given her better advice and protected myself in the process.’‘

Translation: Amanda, quit whining so much. And while boning you in the police station may be fun, it is seriously jeopardizing my interests.

[page 44] ‘’... She told them, quite openly, about a guy from Rome she went to bed with a few days before meeting me. She had no problem being open about her sex life, and that made her interrogators suspicious. How many men, they wondered, did she plan on getting through during her year in Perugia?

Probably true, except for the conclusion. More likely they wondered: Why does she have to bring this up now?

[page 46]’‘... My sister, Vanessa, made her own separate inquiries and felt much less reassured. The first time she called the Questura, they left her waiting on the line, even though she announced herself as a lieutenant in the carabinieri, and never took her call.
The second time, she had herself put through from the carabinieri’s regional switchboard, to make it more official. This time she got through, but only to a junior policeman clearly her inferior. (In Italian law enforcement, protocol on such matters is followed scrupulously.) “Listen,” the man told her impatiently, “everything is fine.”

“Is there someone I can talk to who is in charge of this case?” Vanessa insisted.

This sounds like a very detailed (if true) attempt at subverting justice. Way to drop Vanessa in it, Raffy.

[page 47] ‘’... The truth, though, was that the authorities were still clueless.’‘

Don’t worry, they will get a clue soon enough.

[page 48] ‘’... What did they have on us? Nothing of substance. But they did find our behavior odd, and we had no real alibi for the night of November 1 except each other, and we did not have lawyers to protect us, and we seemed to have a propensity for saying things without thinking them through. In other words, we were the lowest-hanging fruit, and the police simply reached out and grabbed us.’‘

So, what does Sollecito list in just this paragraph?

(a) Odd behaviour
(b) No real alibi except each other
(c) Saying things without thinking them through

Can’t see why this would attract police attention…

[page 49] ‘’... Not only did they have no physical evidence, they saw no need for any.’‘

Well, odd behaviour, no real alibi,conflicting stories, and saying things through without thinking them through… oh, right, and that very detailed account of Patrik murdering Meredith, Sollecito ‘might’ be there, and Raffaele telling a pack of lies.

I guess physical evidence would be overkill (pardon the pun). Sounds very Knoxian in the ‘there is no evidence’ denials.

[page 50] ‘’... Carrying a small knife had been a habit of mine since I was a teenager””not for self-defense, mind you, just as an ornamental thing. I’d use one occasionally to peel apples or carve my name on tree trunks, but mostly I carried them around for the sake of it. Having a knife on me had become automatic, like carrying my wallet or my keys.’‘

So the rumours of having a knife fetish are true? Thanks for confirming it.

[page 50] ‘’... Besides, what kind of idiot killer would bring the murder weapon to the police station?’‘

Wow - how to begin with this one…  Although, on a more manipulative level, was it not the other knife that actually delivered the fatal blow?

[page 51] ‘’... My words in Italian””stai tranquillo””were the last my father would hear from me as a free man.’‘

It could mean physically free. Could also mean not free as in forced to confront his actions.

[page 51]  “You need to tell us what happened that night,” they began.

“Which night?” I asked wearily. I was getting tired of the endless questioning. I don’t think they appreciated my attitude.

“The night of November first.”

I don’t think this is a drug haze. More just being arrogant and callous.

[page 56] ‘’... I had been brought up to think the police were honest defenders of public safety. My sister was a member of the carabinieri, no less! Now it seemed to me they were behaving more like gangsters.’‘

Another sign of entitlement showing. Surely, the little brother of a carabinieri officer should not have to be subjected to this nonsense.

[page 56] ‘’... Something was exciting the police more than my pocketknife, and that was the pattern they had detected on the bottom of my shoes. By sheer bad luck, I was wearing Nikes that night, and the pattern of concentric circles on the soles instantly reminded my interrogators of the bloody shoe prints at the scene of the crime, which were made by Nikes too.

I had no idea of any of this. All I knew was, the rest of the interrogation team piled back into the room and told me to take off my shoes.’‘

Shoeprints placing a person at a crime scene? Why would that possibly be considered evidence?

[page 59] ‘’... Then, at some point after midnight, an interpreter arrived. Amanda’s mood only worsened. She hadn’t remembered texting Patrick at all, so she was in no position to parse over the contents of her message. When it was suggested to her she had not only written to him but arranged a meeting, her composure crumbled; she burst into uncontrollable tears, and held her hands up to her ears as if to say, I don’t want to hear any more of this.’‘

Depending on whether or not you believe Amanda’s ‘version’ of events, this could either be corroboration of her events, or corroboration she faked her fit.

Minor detail: Sollecito was in a totally different part of the Questera, but hey, it’s just semantics.

[page 61] ‘’...When I first found out what Amanda had signed her name to, I was furious. Okay, she was under a lot of pressure, as I had been, but how could she just invent stuff out of nowhere? Why would she drag me into something I had no part of? It soon transpired, of course, that she felt similarly about me. “What I don’t understand,” she wrote, as soon as she began to retract her statements, “is why Raffaele, who has always been so caring and gentle with me, would lie. . . . What does he have to hide?”

It took us both a long time to understand how we had been manipulated and played against each other. It took me even longer to appreciate that the circumstances of our interrogations were designed expressly to extract statements we would otherwise never have made, and that I shouldn’t blame Amanda for going crazy and spouting dangerous nonsense…’‘

-If Amanda got me locked up, I would be mad too
-Yes, she did make stuff (about Patrik) out of nowhere
-I was angry when Amanda asked ‘what I have to hide’
-Yes, police tend to play suspects off each other
-Yes, suspects try to avoid implicating each other
-Yes, Amanda only spouted dangerous nonsense after you took her alibi

This section is almost 100% true

[page 62] ‘’... Even before dawn broke on November 6, the authorities had us where they wanted us. True, neither of us had confessed to murder. But what they had””a web of contradictions, witnesses pitted against each other, and a third suspect on whom to pin the crime””was an acceptable second best.’‘

Also true, and great police work.

[page 63] ‘’... I asked to talk to my family again. I said I needed at least to inform my thesis director where I was. “Where you’re going, a degree’s not going to do you any good,” came the answer.’‘

Curious, he has just been arrested for murder and sexual assault, and among his first thoughts is his thesis. And didn’t he end up doing his Master’s thesis ... on himself?

[page 64] ‘’... As soon as we walked into my apartment, a policeman named Armando Finzi said loudly that the place stank of bleach. That wasn’t correct. My cleaning lady had been through the day before and cleaned the tile floor with Lysoform, not bleach. Still, he insisted on mentioning the bleach a couple more times””the clear implication being that I’d needed something powerful to clean up a compromising mess.’‘

Perhaps overanalysing this, but could Raffaele be flippantly thinking to himself: Nope, the cleaning lady used lysoform to clean up the mess. Wasn’t bleach, dudes.

[page 77] ‘’... Even before Judge Matteini had finished reading the complaint against me, I blurted out that I didn’t know Patrick Lumumba and that any prints from my shoes found at Via della Pergola could only have been made before November 1. Immediately I ran into trouble because I had in fact met Patrick at his bar, on the night Amanda and I first got together. And I had no idea that the shoe prints in question were made in blood. In no time, I was flailing and suggesting, in response to the judge’s pointed questions, that maybe I picked up some of the blood on the floor when I walked around the house on November 2, the day the body was discovered. Even more unwisely, I speculated that someone might have stolen my shoes and committed the murder in them. It just did not occur to me that the shoe print evidence was wrong.

At Raffaele’s first hearing:

-He claims not to have met Patrick, (his co-accused), but admits later, that he has
-He suggests that he may have picked up blood on the floor
-He claims the shoes were stolen

Why would Judge Matteini have reason to doubt his story?

[page 78] ‘’... I felt like a fool describing my extensive knife collection and even described myself as a testa di cazzo, a dickhead, for having so many. My judgment and my self-confidence were sinking fast.

“Perhaps the worst moment came when I was asked, for the umpteenth time, if Amanda had gone out on the night of the murder. I still had no clarity on this and could not answer the judge’s repeated questions without sounding evasive.”

[page 80] ‘’... Matteini swallowed the prosecution’s story whole. The break-in was staged after the fact, she asserted””just as Mignini had. The murderer or murderers must therefore have got into the house with a set of keys, and Amanda was the only keyholder without a solid alibi for the night in question. Patrick Lumumba had the hots for.

Meredith, Matteini theorized, and Amanda and I tagged along to experience something new and different. From my testimony at the hearing, Matteini concluded I was “bored by the same old evenings” and wanted to experience some “strong emotions.” (She moved my blog entry from October 2006, the date marked on the document, to October 2007, just weeks before the murder, which bolstered the argument.) She didn’t ascribe a specific motive to Amanda, assuming only that she must have felt the same way I did. The bloody footprints “proved” I was present at the scene of the murder, and my three-inch flick knife was “compatible with the possible murder weapon.” The house, she wrote, was “smeared with blood everywhere.”

Substitute in Rudy Guede for Patrick, and this sounds somewhat plausible.

[page 83] ‘’... Amanda recovered her lucidity faster than I did. The day we were arrested, she wrote a statement in English that all but retracted what she had signed the night before. “In regards to this “˜confession,’ “ she wrote, “I want to make clear that I’m very doubtful of the verity of my statements because they were made under the pressures of stress, shock and extreme exhaustion.” She was still conjuring up images of Patrick as the murderer, but she added, “These things seem unreal to me, like a dream, and I am unsure if they are real things that happened or just dreams in my head.”

The next day, she wrote a second, more confident statement: “I DID NOT KILL MY FRIEND . . . But I’m very confused, because the police tell me that they know I was at my house when she was murdered, which I don’t remember. They tell me a lot of things I don’t remember.” Then she gave a substantially more accurate account of the night of November 1 than I was coming up with at the time.’‘

All this does is confirm that much of the confusing, manipulative statements from Amanda exist. Gee thanks Raffaele.

[page 86] ‘’... short story about date rape that Amanda had submitted to a University of Washington creative-writing class was held up as evidence of her warped criminal mind. A Myspace video of her boasting about the number of shots she had downed at a party became an excuse to depict her as an alcohol-fueled harpy. I was described as “crazy,” based on a line I’d written in a blog entry, and held up to ridicule for a photograph, taken during a high-spirited moment of fun in my first year in Perugia, in which I was wrapped from head to foot in toilet paper, brandishing a machete in one hand and a bottle of pink alcohol in the other.’‘

“Amanda does lots of alcohol, write rape stories, and I dress in toilet paper, wielding a machete. Nothing to see here, people.”

[page 87] ‘’... I knew a lot of the coverage of the case itself was flawed. It was reported, for example, that the police had found bleach receipts at my house, strongly suggesting I had purchased materials to clean up the crime scene. But my cleaning lady didn’t use bleach, and the only receipts the police found from November 1 onward were for pizza. I wouldn’t have needed to buy bleach, anyway, because I had some left over from my previous cleaning lady. It had sat untouched for months.’‘

“Nope, I didn’t need to buy bleach for the cleanup, I already had it.”

[page 88] ‘’... Then came Maori. He told me that he too carried pocketknives from time to time. But he didn’t seem too interested in connecting with me beyond such superficial niceties. I felt he didn’t entirely trust me. His game plan, which became clear over a series of meetings, was to dissociate me as much as possible from Amanda. And that was it. He did not have a clear strategy to undermine the prosecution’s evidence on the knife and the shoe print, because””as he indicated to me””he believed there might be something to it. ‘’

Which means: “I don’t really believe you are innocent, the evidence seems too strong. But for your sake, separate yourself from this mentally unstable woman.”

Sounds very likely.

[page 90] ‘’... I even allowed myself a little optimism: my computer, I decided, would show if I was connected to the Internet that night and, if so, when, and how often. Unless Amanda and I had somehow made love all night long, pausing only to make ourselves dinner and nod off to sleep, the full proof of our innocence would soon be out in the open.

According to the police, it showed no activity from the time we finished watching Amélie at 9:10 p.m. until 5:30 the next morning.

That sounded all wrong to me, and my defense team’s technical experts would later find reasons to doubt the reliability of this finding. But there would be no easy way out of the mess Amanda and I were now in.’‘

Wishful thinking to form a coherent alibi or defense. Indeed, if only it was that simple.

[page 91] ‘’...Still, there was something I could not fathom. How did Meredith’s DNA end up on my knife when she’d never visited my house? I was feeling so panicky I imagined for a moment that I had used the knife to cook lunch at Via della Pergola and accidentally jabbed Meredith in the hand. Something like that had in fact happened in the week before the murder. My hand slipped and the knife I was using made contact with her skin for the briefest of moments. Meredith was not hurt, I apologized, and that was that. But of course I wasn’t using my own knife at the time. There was no possible connection.’

I imagined this happened? Is amnesia or hallucinating contagious? I’m surprised he did not have a vision that he saw Patrik attacking Meredith.

On another note: giving a blatantly false account of how a victim’s DNA ended up on your knife seems a bit suspicious.

[page 93] ‘’... The nuts and bolts of the investigation, the hard evidence, kept yielding good things for us. We were told that my Nikes had tested negative for blood and for Meredith’s DNA. So had my car, and everything else I had touched around the time of the murder. Even the mop Amanda and I carried back and forth on the morning of November 2, an object of particular suspicion, was reported to be clean.

Well, I have no doubt that the AMERICAN media reported this to be the case….

And ‘the mop Amanda and I carried back and forth…?’

[page 94] ‘’... During a conversation with her mother in prison, they reported, Amanda had blurted out, “I was there, I cannot lie about that.” She seemed not to realize the conversation was being recorded, and the police picked up on it right away.’‘

Amanda again places herself at the scene, but again, there is a simple explanation. Amanda being Amanda?

[page 94] ‘’... his time the papers quoted what they said was an extract fromher diary. “I don’t remember anything,” the passage read, “but maybe Raffaele went to Meredith’s house, raped and killed her, and then put my fingerprints on the knife back at his house while I was asleep.”

Of course, Amanda writes that someone planted her fingerprints. Odd, as I think that no one ever claimed her prints were on the knife. Why would she think they were?

This needs to be said: What the hell is U of W teaching in their ‘creative writing’ program?

[page 97] ‘’... I remember watching the news of Guede’s arrest on the small-screen TV in my cell and seeing the Perugia police all puffed up with pride about catching him. If anything, I felt happier than they did, because Guede was a complete stranger to me. The relief was palpable. All along I had worried the murderer would turn out to be someone I knew and that I’d be dragged into the plot by association. Now I had one less thing to worry about. Not that I wasn’t still wary: so much invented nonsense had been laid at my door I was still half-expecting the authorities to produce more.’

The ‘real’ killer is caught, and you are worried more things may be invented? Interesting.

[page 98] ‘’...Lumumba had every right to be angry; he had spent two weeks in lockup for no reason. He had been able to prove that Le Chic stayed open throughout the evening of November 1, producing an eyewitness, a Swiss university professor, who vouched for his presence that night. One would expect his anger to be directed as much toward Mignini, who threw him in prison without checking the facts, as it was toward Amanda. But Lumumba and his strikingly aggressive lawyer, Carlo Pacelli, could find only vicious things to say about Amanda from the moment he got out of jail””even though he had not, in fact, fired her and remained friendly with her for several days after the murder.’‘

True, except why be mad at Mignini? It is Amanda who falsely accused him, not Mignini. But again, minor details.

[page 107] ‘’... Papà  was spinning like a dervish to clear my name, but not everyone he hired was as helpful as he hoped. One consultant whom he asked to monitor the Polizia Scientifica demanded eight thousand euros up front, only to prove reluctant to make overt criticisms of the police’s work, the very thing for which he’d been hired. A forensic expert who also seemed a little too close to the police charged four thousand euros for his retainer with the boast, “I’m expensive, but I’m good.” He wasn’t. A computer expert recommended by Luca Maori didn’t know anything about Macs, only PC’s.’‘

That first line is a bit disturbing. ‘Not everyone he hired was as helpful as he hoped.’ This can be easily interpretted as shopping around for an expert of ‘hired gun’.

[page 110] ‘’... Amanda and I came in for what was by now a familiar drubbing. The judges said my account of events was “unpardonably implausible.” Indeed, I had a “rather complex and worrying personality” prone to all sorts of impulses. Amanda, for her part, was not shy about having “multiple sex partners” and had a “multifaceted personality, detached from reality.” Over and above the flight risk if we were released from prison, the judges foresaw a significant danger that we would make up new fantastical scenarios to throw off the investigation. In Amanda’s case, they said she might take advantage of her liberty to kill again.’‘

Most rational people would come to the same conclusions.

[page 112] ‘’... Since I had no such testimony to offer, I did the Italian equivalent of taking the Fifth: I availed myself, as we say, of the right not to respond.

I found some satisfaction in that, but also frustration, because I had at last worked out why Amanda did not leave””could not have left””my house on the night of the murder. She didn’t have her own key, so if she’d gone out alone, she would have had to ring the doorbell and ask me to buzz her back in. Even if I’d been stoned or asleep when she rang, I would have remembered that. And it didn’t happen.’‘

Hmm… I swear I am innocent, but plead the fifth ammendment. And I am not positive Amanda did not leave, but ad hoc have worked out that she must not have.

[page 112] ‘’...Obviously, I wanted to shout the news to the world. But I also understood that telling Mignini now would have been a gift to him; it would only have bought him time to figure out a way around it.’‘

“I could tell a certain version of events to the prosecutor, but if I did that now, he would only have time to discover the holes in that story.”

[page 113] ‘’... I knew the Kerchers had hired an Italian lawyer, Francesco Maresca, whom they picked off a short list provided by the British embassy. I addressed my letter to him, saying how sorry I was for everything that had happened and expressing a wish that the full truth would soon come out.

I was naive enough to believe that Maresca would be sympathetic.’‘

Knox was criticised for fake attempts to reach out to the victim’s family, and had been told to act more like a defendant. Interesting that it started so much earlier.

[page 115] ‘’... Regrettably, Guede’s shoes were not available, presumably because he ditched them; they were not at his apartment and they were not among his possessions when he was arrested in Germany.’‘

Very interesting. Raffaele believes that the ‘murderer’s shoes’ were not available, and may have been ditched. This seems to be more than just speculation on his part.

[page 117] ‘’... Mignini questioned Amanda again on December 17, and she, unlike me, agreed to answer his questions in the presence of her lawyers. She was more composed now and gave him nothing new to work with. She couldn’t have been present at the murder, she insisted, because she’d spent all night with me.’‘

How does this not sound incredibly incriminating? I refused to talk, though Amanda agreed to, but only with lawyers. And does this not sound like Amanda was better able to stonewall the investigation?

[page 121] ‘’... Instead, he tried to control the damage and talked to every reporter who called him. “The most plausible explanation,” he said to most of them, “is that the bra had been worn by Amanda as well, and Raffaele touched it when she was wearing it.”

There were two problems with this statement. First, it was so speculative and far-fetched it did nothing to diminish the perception that I was guilty. And, second, it showed that my father””my dear, straight-arrow, ever-optimistic, overtrusting father””still couldn’t stop assuming that if the police or the prosecutor’s office was saying something, it must be so.

There are 3 possibilities here, all bad.

(a) This entire scenario was made up, and like the ‘my shoes were stolen’, only leaves everyone shaking their heads in disbelief.

(b) Amanda actually had worn the bra BEFORE and returned it without washing it. Remember what this woman tends to think when she sees blood. Ew.

(c) Amanda wore the bra AFTER Meredith was murdered, and that she and Raffaele fooled around after. Not too farfetched when you remember that Raffaele kept the murder weapon as a souvenir.

[page 122] ‘’... Along with the Albanian, we had to contend with a seventy-six-year-old woman by the name of Nara Capezzali, who claimed she had heard a bloodcurdling scream coming from Meredith’s house at about 11:00 p.m. on the night of the murder, followed by sounds of people running through the streets.’‘

Yes, this confirms at least part of Amanda’s account that night. Yes, she seemed to vaguely remember Patrik killing Meredith, and wasn’t sure if Raffaele was there, but the scream detail is corroborated.

[page 125] ‘’... As my time alone stretched out into weeks and then months, I had to let go of everything that was happening and hold on to other, more permanent, more consoling thoughts: my family and friends, the memory of my mother, the simple pleasures I’d enjoyed with Amanda, the peace that came from knowing that neither of us had done anything wrong.

If they want to kill me this way, I remember thinking, let them go ahead. I’m happy to have lived life as I did, and to have made the choices I made.’‘

Hmm… so he finds peace being locked away for things he did not do?

More likely, Raffaele is coming to terms with the inevitable consequences of life in prison.

[page 129] ‘’... The one victory we eked out was a finding that we should have been told we were under criminal investigation before our long night of interrogations in the Questura. The statements we produced would not be admissible at trial.’‘

Do I really need to explain this one?

[page 150] ‘’... I talked about Amanda with Filippo, my cellmate, and he listened, just as I had listened to his problems. One day, though, he told me he was bisexual, and his eyes started to brighten visibly when he looked at me. Then he burst into tears and tried to caress my face.’‘

Given the overlap between Waiting to be Heard and Honor Bound, did the ‘authors’ collaborate?

[page 151] ‘’... My father hired a telecommunications expert to help resolve a few other mysteries from the night of the murder. The prosecution had given no adequate explanation for a series of calls registered on Meredith’s English cell phone after she’d returned from her friends’ house around 9:00 p.m., and many of them seemed baffling, assuming they were made””as the prosecution argued””by Meredith herself. We believed Meredith was dead by the time of the last two calls, and our expert Bruno Pellero intended to help us prove that.’‘

This sounds disturbingly like another attempt to subvert justice.

[page 154] ‘’... She also acknowledged that a contaminated or improperly analyzed DNA sample could, in theory, lead to an incorrect identification.’‘

Wait, weren’t those same people involved in the finding the evidence against Guede? Right, that evidence is clean.

[page 156] ‘’... Judge Micheli issued his ruling at the end of October. On the plus side, he found Guede guilty of murder and sentenced him to thirty years behind bars in an accelerated trial requested by Guede himself. Judge Micheli also accepted our evidence that it wouldn’t have been that difficult to throw a rock through Filomena’s window and climb the wall.

But, Spider-Man or no Spider-Man, he still didn’t believe Guede got into the house that way. He argued that Filomena’s window was too exposed and that any intruder would have run too great a risk of discovery by climbing through it. Therefore, he concluded, Amanda and I must have let him in. There seemed to be no shaking the authorities out of their conviction that the break-in was staged.’‘

So, Judge Micheli is a fine judge who saw Rudy Guede for who he is and convicted him, yet he is so poor a judge he ruled that Amanda and I had to be involved?

Didn’t Knox say very similar things in her December 2013 email to Appeal Court Judge Nencini?

[page 160] ‘’... Still, the prosecution jumped all over [Quintavalle] and later put him on the stand to bolster the argument that Amanda and I had spent that morning wiping the murder scene clean of our traces””but not, curiously, Guede’s. It was one of their more dishonest, not to mention absurd, arguments, because any forensics expert could have told them such a thing was physically impossible. Still, it was all they had, and they single-mindedly stuck to it.’‘

Depending on how you view this, it could be an ad hoc admission that yes, selectively cleaning up wasn’t really possible, as the evidence was all intermingled.

[page 167] ‘’... I was pushing for another sort of change, a single trial team to defend Amanda and me together. I was told right away that this was out of the question, but I don’t think my logic was wrong. The only way either of us would get out of this situation, I reasoned, was if we stuck together. If the prosecution drove a wedge between us, we would more than likely both be doomed.’‘

This seems to justify Guede’s suspicions that his co-defendants would team up on him.

[page 169] ‘’... Stefanoni and Mignini were holding out on that information, and we needed to pry it from them quickly before more damage was done. The shots would ultimately be called by the judge, and we hadn’t had a lot of luck with judges so far.’‘

Why would you need ‘luck’ from a judge?

[page 173] ‘’... No matter how much we demanded to be heard, no matter how much we sought to refute the grotesque cartoon images of ourselves and give calm, reasoned presentations of the truth, we never escaped the feeling that our words were tolerated rather than listened to; that the court was fundamentally uninterested in what we had to say.’‘

That is probably true. No one cares why Amanda’s vibrator is on full display.

And yes, you did demand to be heard. Perhaps, if you had agreed to full cross examination, you would know what the judges and prosecutors would be interested in hearing.

[page 173] ‘’... A week later, Meredith’s English friends took the stand and testified with such uniform consistency it was hard to think of them as distinct individuals. Robyn Butterworth, Amy Frost, and Sophie Purton all said that Meredith had been unhappy with Amanda’s standards of hygiene, particularly her forgetfulness about flushing the toilet. It sounded almost as if they were reading from a prepared script. Meredith, they agreed, had found Amanda a little too forward for keeping her condoms and what looked like a vibrator in their shared bathroom. And, they said, Amanda had acted weirdly in the Questura.

That was it. They mentioned nothing positive about the relationship. No word on Meredith and Amanda’s socializing together, or attending Perugia’s annual chocolate festival, or going to the concert on the night Amanda and I met.’‘

Yes, the prosecution case does seem stronger when their witnesses are consistent. Absolutely right.

Strangely, Meredith’s English friends also did not talk about how compassionate Amanda was at the memorial. Wait a minute….

[page 174] ‘’... Amanda arrived in court wearing a T-shirt with the words ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE emblazoned in huge pink letters, to mark Valentine’s Day. It seemed she wanted to find a way to defuse the English girls’ ill will toward her, but it didn’t work.’‘

No kidding.

[page 186] ‘’... Meanwhile, we had to worry about Amanda taking the stand. Her lawyers decided that the best way to refute the stories about her wayward personality was to have the court take a good, hard look at her up close. But my lawyers were deeply concerned she would put her foot in her mouth, in ways that might prove enduringly harmful to both of us. If she deviated even one iota from the version of events we now broadly agreed on, it could mean a life sentence for both of us.’‘

Amanda puts her foot in her mouth? Yup.

“The truth we agreed on”?? Come on, you actually put this in the book?

[page 193] ‘’... My father was all over the place. He knew exactly how bad the news was, but he wanted to shield me as best he could. “Whatever happens, don’t worry,” he told me. “There’s always the appeal. The work we’ve done won’t go to waste.”

And indeed, the first (now annulled) appeal did ‘save’ them.

[page 195] ‘’... Mignini had to scrabble around to explain how Amanda, Guede, and I could have formulated a murder plan together without any obvious indication that we knew each other. Guede, he postulated, could have offered himself as our drug pusher.’‘

“I can explain that. Amanda and I are admitted drug users. We smeared Guede as a drug dealer. Reasonable people might believe that there is some connection to drugs.”

[page 204] ‘’... The next piece of bad news came down within three weeks of our being found guilty. Rudy Guede’s sentence, we learned, had been cut down on appeal from thirty years to sixteen. The thinking of the appeals court was that if Amanda and I were guilty, then Guede couldn’t serve a sentence greater than ours. If I had supplied the knife and Amanda had wielded it, as Mignini and Comodi postulated and Judge Massei and his colleagues apparently accepted, we needed to receive the stiffer punishment.’‘

Yes, the thinking of the courts, and those pesky short-form trial sentence deductions that are mandatory.

‘’[page 204] ...I didn’t think I could feel any worse, but this was an extra slap in the face and it knocked me flat. Not only were Amanda and I the victims of a grotesque miscarriage of justice, but Meredith’s real killer, the person everybody should have been afraid of, was inching closer to freedom. It wasn’t just outrageous; it was a menace to public safety.’‘

Yes, it was a miscarriage in that Amanda and I didn’t get the life sentences Mignini called for, and that Meredith’s real killer, Amanda, would soon get her freedom via Hellmann.

[page 219] ‘’... My family was not beating up on Amanda entirely without cause. What I did not know at the time, because they preferred not to fill me in, was that they were exploring what it would take for the prosecution to soften or drop the case against me. The advice they received was almost unanimous:’‘

Although the deal itself is illegal, I have no doubt that the Sollecito family at least explored the option.

[page 258] ‘’... Judge Hellmann’s sentencing report was magnificent: 143 pages of close argument that knocked down every piece of evidence against us and sided with our experts on just about every technical issue.’‘

That is true, with one huge omission: the defense only cherry picked a few small pieces of evidence. Yes, it ‘knocked down every piece of evidence we chose to contest.’

2. Synopsis Of “Honor Bound”

(20) The robbery that night was perfect, assuming the perp had the inside info.

(22) My cellphone was turned off.

(22) If my father called the land line I would have an alibi.

(24) I cannot make sense of showering in a bloody bathroom.

(26) Despite the break in, nothing had been taken.

(27) Someone did not flush the toilet, and I won’t either.

(27) The following dialogue:

‘’ ....Don’t do anything stupid.’‘

‘’ ....Now what do we do?’‘

‘’ ....My sister is in the Carabinieri.’‘

(29) I should have been more careful about my choice of words when I said

‘’ .... Nothing has been taken.’‘

(35) The police were shocked/disbelieving Amanda just took a shower.

(39) Things would be okay if my Carabinieri sister had helped.

(40) I defended Amanda, beyond the point of looking after my own interests.

(40) Amanda could kill for something minimal, even a pizza.

(40) Amanda and Meredith were not friends, despite living together.

(41) Amanda and I share embarrassing sexual information about the victim.

(42) We weren’t misbehaving in the lingerie shop, but if we were, it was taken out of context.

(43) Amanda whined, and we fooled around in the police station. Maybe not a good idea.

(44) Amanda does not shut up about her sex life.

(46) Vanessa made inquiries on my behalf.

(47) Prior to our arrest, the authorities were clueless.

(48) We behaved oddly, had no real alibi, and said things without thinking.

(49) We are not guilty only because there is no physical evidence.

(50) I like to carry knives.

(51) I had trouble remembering the date Meredith was killed.

(56) My sister works for the carabinieri. Why am I even here?

(56) My shoes are similar to ones found at the crime scene

(59/60) Amanda gave the false statement regarding Patrik.

(61) The police got Amanda and I to say things against each other.

(62) Amanda and I spun a web of contradictions.

(63) This is going to mess up my graduation.

(64) The smell wasn’t bleach, it was lysoform

(77) I never met Patrik, my co-accused (or did I)? 

The shoes might have dragged blood, or might have been stolen.

(78) I collect a lot of knives, and don’t remember if Amanda left.

(83) Amanda made admissions she tried to retract.

(86) Amanda and I engage in alarming behaviour, such as writing rape stories, and taking photos with weapons

(87) I had access to bleach, receipts or not.

(88) My lawyer thinks the evidence is strong, and wants me away from Amanda.

(90) I hope there is evidence on my computer that clears me.

(91) I imagined that the DNA on the knife came from a cooking accident.

(93) Amanda and I carried a mop back and forth for some reason.

(94) Amanda, in a jail recorded call, places herself at the scene.

(94) Amanda writes that I may have planted her fingerprints on the knife.

(97) Rudy Guede is caught, but I fear I may get named in other things.

(98) Lumumba is released, angry at Amanda for false accusation.

(107) Dad tried to cherrypick experts who would get me out.

(110) The courts saw us as unstable and potential flight risks.

(112) I decline to answer.

(112) I don’t want the prosecutor checking my story

(113) I creepily tried to reach out to the Kerchers, despite being accused, just like Amanda.

(115) Rudy should have kept his shoes in order to exonerate Amanda and I.

(117) I still refused to talk.  Amanda did, with lawyers.

(121) Amanda has been wearing Meredith’s underwear and without washing it.

(122) A witness heard Meredith scream, just as Amanda described.

(125) I am at peace with everything.

(129) The courts threw out our statements at the police station.

(150) I had a memorable encounter with a bisexual inmate (same as Amanda)

(151) My dad tried to find an alternate explanation for the phone evidence.

(154) The evidence against Rudy Guede is rock solid. The evidence against me is contaminated.

(156) Micheli is a great judge. He convicted Guede.

(156) Micheli is an idiot judge.  He believes Amanda and I were involved.

(160) It was foolish to think we could selectively clean the crime scene.

(167) In order to save ourselves, Amanda and I teamed up against Rudy.

(169) We weren’t getting the judges we wanted.

(173) We did not shut up, but had nothing helpful to say.

(173) Meredith’s English friends gave consistent testimony that did not help us.

(174) the ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE t-shirt was a bad idea.

(186) I worried about Amanda testifying, saying dumb things, and deviating from our ‘version’

(193) We knew the trial was doomed, but there was the appeal. (Hellmann)?

(195) For all the ‘drug dealer’ and ‘drug user’ name calling, prosecutors seemed to think this might be about drugs.

(204) Guede’s sentence was cut from 30 years to 16.  What an injustice for us… I mean Meredith.

(219) Legally speaking, it would be better to split from Amanda.

(258) Hellmann’s report knocked down the evidence we chose to present.

3. Premeditation And Why RS Goes No Further

The real reason Sollecito goes no further could be in as in the title ‘‘Honor Bound’‘.  Many altruistic people may interpret this as behaving, or conducting themselves honourably. 

But take a more shallow and selfish view.  It could just refer to being SEEN as honourable.  I think everyone here would agree that RS and AK are quite narcissistic and arrogrant.  And how manly to be protecting the women in your life.

The truth does set you free - except only when the truth is much worse than what the assumptions are. I repeat, the truth sets you free, except when it is actually worse.

What could be worse? Premeditation. Far beyond what has been suggested.

1) Raffaele himself suggests that doing a robbery at the house at that time would be ideal.

This makes sense if:

(a) Rudy knew that Filomena had all the money (that she took charge of it)
(b) That rent would be paid in cash, not a cheque or bank automatic withdrawl.

So, by this reasoning, there would be over 1000 Euros in cash at that time. Of course, the average household does not carry that much, and normally, there would be no reason to think so. The date had to be planned. It also lends credence to the theory that this really was about money, and he had help.

2) The fact that Laura and Filomena were gone, as were the men downstairs. Really, how often does it happen, and how would an outsider know?

3) The trip to Gubbio. Does anyone know if either AK or RS were heavily into travel, or was this a one time thing? My point being that it could have been to establish an alibi, they just didn’t expect to still be there when the police showed up.

4) The fact that Rudy Guede was brought in, when he had no legitimate reason to be upstairs. RS could explain away DNA or prints, but not RG. Even if it really was just about stealing money, would there not be some trace of him left when the theft was reported.

And if murder was the plan all along, there would still be some trace of him.

5) Purchasing bleach. Everyone had assumed that it was done after the fact to clean up, but there is another thought. What if there already was bleach available in the home, and this purchase was merely a replacement as an afterthought?

6) The knife in Raffaele’s home. What if Amanda chose to bring a knife that Raffaele would not be able to ditch, simply so that should suspicion fall on them, there would be a knife to implicate Raffy? Remember, Amanda already made statements that point to him. Maybe those weren’t her first attempts.

Of course, I did make the suggestion that they were keeping the knives for trophies.

7) The ‘alibi’ email home. Sure, it could have been written on the spot. However, it seems too long and detailed for that. Yes, some details would need to be added (like the poop), but who is to say she didn’t start working on it BEFORE the murder?

8) Keeping the text to Patrik to say ‘see you later’. Amanda says she doesn’t keep messages on her phone, but she had this one, and several days after the murder. Could this have been saved as a ‘backup plan’ in case naming Rudy does not work for some reason. Besides, don’t all black guys look the same? (sarcasm).

9) Yes, there was a bloody shoeprint (believed to be AK), but I don’t recall anyone saying her shoes were missing, or any other clothes she had. And she supposedly did not have many clothes. So, did she have ‘extras’ for that night?

10) Wiping down the home (even if it was botched), would take time, and ‘supplies’. A chronic slob just happens to have all these cleaning supplies on hand, or were they acquired before?

So, I suspect the real refusal to talk is that the full truth is a lot worse than any game or drugged up prank. The time and location is chosen, no clothes are ‘noticed’ missing, and Amanda has at least 3 potential patzies: Rudy, Raffaele, and Patrik. Remember, Guede and Lumumba are on ‘the list’ Knox ended up writing for Rita Ficarra. And AK and RS are scheduled to go on a trip that would take them away with a plausible alibi. Cleaning supplies may already be there.

Call me cynical: but I see all the signs of staging, and premeditation. Yes, the act itself was messy, but there are very obvious marks of forethought.

So. What will the judges of Cassation be seeing?


Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Sollecito Trial For “Honor Bound” #3: Targeted Claims On Which Sollecito & Gumbel May Fold

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



Dr Giuliano Bartolomei of the chief prosecutor’s office of the Florence court brings the case

1. The Court Contenders

Judge Dolores Limongi will preside over Sollecito’s new trial in Florence this thursday and Dr Giuliano Bartolomei will prosecute.

No word about whether the hapless bungler Andrew Gumbel will attend, but Sollecito has said he will be there.  Sollecito’s defense team seems rather weak. After Sollecito’s own lawyers for his murder trial publicly renounced the most damaging claims in his book (see below) his family turned to Alfredo Brizioli for help.

Brizioli is a Perugia lawyer who was accused of being one of those trying to disguise the murdered Narducci’s involvement in the Monster of Florence killings. That shadowy group has just taken another hit in Italian eyes - a Milan court has ruled that Narducci, the probable murderer in the Monster of Florence crimes, was indeed himself murdered and there exists powerful evidence for this.

2. The Specific Charges

Charges against Sollecito are of two kinds: criminal defamation of both the justice system itself and of some of those who work within it. In US and UK terms criminal contempt of court comes close.

Criminal contempt charges become separate charges from the underlying case. Unlike civil contempt sanctions, criminal contempt charges may live on after resolution of the underlying case.

One charged with criminal contempt generally gets the constitutional rights guaranteed to criminal defendants, including the right to counsel, right to put on a defense, and the right to a jury trial in certain cases. Charges of criminal contempt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

However, incarceration for contempt may begin immediately, before the contempt charge is adjudicated and the sentence decided. Depending on the jurisdiction and the case, the same judge who decided to charge a person with contempt may end up presiding over the contempt proceedings.

Criminal contempt can bring punishment including jail time and/or a fine.

 

In this case a guilty verdict can open the tidal gates to criminal prosecutions and civil suits against Sharlene Martin and the Simon & Schuster team and all those many who repeated ANY of Sollecito’s and Gumbel’s false claims as gospel in their own books and online in the US and UK.

3. Nature Of The Claims

Typically the modus operandi of Knox and Sollecito and their factions in their US campaign (this falls flat in Italy) is to make some very damaging core claims, while leaving hundreds of pesky truths ignored.

Pesky truths helpfully ignored by most of the US and UK media too who apart from freelance Andrea Vogt have still done almost zero translation of their own. The previous post below shows a good example of this. Sollecito makes 20 false claims in a few pages. Dozens of facts that would belie those claims are simply left out.

The false claims continue (with considerable duplication for emphasis) throughout the 250-plus pages of the book.

Sollecito’s claims were published only in English. That was in the apparent hope that things would be reversed by political pressure from the US. Perhaps the US would let Sollecito come and live and stiff the Italian courts.

The Italian flagship crime show Porta a Porta wrecked that unusual and in-itself damaging strategy only 10 days out - with Francesco Sollecito’s and Luca Maori’s help.

The three worst-case examples quoted here and some others became public when Andrea Vogt and Italian reporters pointed to them after an October hearing. Page numbers are for the hard-cover book. 



Raffaele Sollecito retained Alfredo Brizioli after he burned his trial lawyers in his book

4. Example Claim One

Our brief response to this for now is that this felony attempt to frame the prosecutor for a serious crime was entirely made up. His own father and both his trial lawyers publicly said so. There was never a police or prosecution bias against Knox or toward Sollecito. As was very obvious at trial in 2009 the case against both was equally strong (an example of a key fact left out). Knox herself would seem to have a reason to get mad with Sollecito for this shafting - and in fact she did.

[ Page 219-222] My family was not beating up on Amanda entirely without cause. What I did not know at the time, because they preferred not to fill me in, was that they were exploring what it would take for the prosecution to soften or drop the case against me. The advice they received was almost unanimous: the more I distanced myself from Amanda, the better. The legal community in Perugia was full of holes and leaks, and my family learned all sorts of things about the opinions being bandied about behind the scenes, including discussions within the prosecutor’s office. The bottom line: Mignini, they were told, was not all that interested in me except as a gateway to Amanda. He might indeed be willing to acknowledge I was innocent, but only if I gave him something in exchange, either by incriminating Amanda directly or by no longer vouching for her.

I’m glad my family did not include me in these discussions because I would have lost it completely. First, my uncle Giuseppe approached a lawyer in private practice in Perugia - with half an idea in his head that this new attorney could replace Maori - and asked what I could do to mitigate my dauntingly long sentence. The lawyer said I should accept a plea deal and confess to some of the lesser charges. I could, for instance, agree that I had helped clean up the murder scene but otherwise played no part in it. “He’d get a sentence of six to twelve years,”Â the lawyer said, “but because he has no priors the sentence would be suspended and he’d serve no more jail time.”Â

To their credit, my family knew I would never go for this. It made even them uncomfortable to contemplate me pleading guilty to something I had not done. It was, as my sister, Vanessa, put it, “not morally possible.”

The next line of inquiry was through a different lawyer, who was on close terms with Mignini and was even invited to the baptism of Mignini’s youngest child that summer. (Among the other guests at the baptism was Francesco Maresca, the Kerchers’ lawyer, who had long since aligned himself with Mignini in court.) This lawyer said he believed I was innocent, but he was also convinced that Amanda was guilty. He gave my family the strong impression that Mignini felt the same way. If true - and there was no way to confirm that - it was a clamorous revelation. How could a prosecutor believe in the innocence of a defendant and at the same time ask the courts to sentence him to life imprisonment? The lawyer offered to intercede with Mignini, but made no firm promises. He wasn’t willing to plead my cause, he said, but he would listen to anything the prosecutor had to offer.

Over the late spring and summer of 2010, my father used this lawyer as a back channel and maneuvered negotiations to a point where they believed Mignini and Comodi would be willing to meet with Giulia Bongiorno and hear what she had to say. When Papà   presented this to Bongiorno, however, she was horrified and said she might have to drop the case altogether because the back channel was a serious violation of the rules of procedure. A private lawyer has no business talking to a prosecutor about a case, she explained, unless he is acting with the express permission of the defendant. It would be bad enough if the lawyer doing this was on my defense team; for an outside party to undertake such discussions not only risked landing me in deeper legal trouble, it also warranted disciplinary action from the Ordine degli Avvocati, the Italian equivalent of the Bar Association.

My father was mortified. He had no idea how dangerous a game he had been playing and wrote a letter to Bongiorno begging her to forgive him and stay on the case. He was at fault, he said, and it would be wrong to punish her client by withdrawing her services when I didn’t even know about the back channel, much less approve it. To his relief, Bongiorno relented.

My family, though, did not. Whenever they came to visit they would suggest some form of compromise with the truth. Mostly they asked why I couldn’t say I was asleep on the night of the murder and had no idea what Amanda got up to.


5. Example Claim 2

Our brief response to this for now is that the case against Sollecito was being driven by Judge Matteini and Judge Ricciarelli and Judge Micheli, not Dr Mignini (an example of a key fact left out) and they got their information directly from the police. More than a year prior to Sollecito’s book coming out, a Florence appeal court had totally annulled a vengeance conviction against Dr Mignini [“there is no evidence”] and the Supreme Court had endorsed the result (an example of a key fact left out).

[2. Page 176-177] One of the reasons our hearings were so spread out was that Mignini was fighting his own, separate legal battle to fend off criminal charges of prosecutorial misconduct. He and a police inspector working on the Monster of Florence case stood accused of intimidating public officials and journalists by opening legal proceedings against them and tapping their phones without proper justification.

To Mignini, the case smacked of professional jealousy because the prosecutors in Florence resented his intrusion on a murder mystery they had struggled for so long to resolve. But Mignini’s behavior had already attracted international condemnation, never more so than when he threw the journalist most indefatigably devoted to following the Monster case, Mario Spezi, into jail for three weeks.

Spezi had ridiculed Mignini’s theories about Francesco Narducci, the Perugian doctor whom Mignini suspected of being part of a satanic cult connected to the killings. In response, Mignini accused Spezi himself of involvement in Narducci’s murder - even though the death had been ruled a suicide. It was a staggering power play, and the international Committee to Protect Journalists was soon on the case. Spezi was not initially told why he was being arrested and, like me, was denied access to a lawyer for days. Even Mignini, though, could not press murder charges without proving first that a murder had taken place, and Spezi was eventually let out.

I firmly believe that our trial was, among other things, a grand diversion intended to keep media attention away from Mignini’s legal battle in Florence and to provide him with the high-profile court victory he desperately needed to restore his reputation. Already in the pretrial hearing, Mignini had shown signs of hypersensitivity about his critics, in particular the handful of English-speaking investigators and reporters who had questioned his case against us early on. He issued an explicit warning that anyone hoping he would back off the Meredith Kercher case or resign should think again. “Nobody has left their post, and nobody will,”Â he said. “Let that be clear, in Perugia and beyond.”Â

Just as he had in the Monster of Florence case, Mignini used every tool at his disposal against his critics and adversaries. He spied on my family and tapped their phones. He went after Amanda not just for murder, but also for defaming Patrick Lumumba - whom she had implicated under duress and at the police’s suggestion. He opened or threatened about a dozen other legal cases against his critics in Italy and beyond. He charged Amanda’s parents with criminal defamation for repeating the accusation that she had been hit in the head while in custody. And he sued or threatened to sue an assortment of reporters, writers, and newspapers, either because they said negative things about him or the police directly or because they quoted others saying such things.

Mignini’s volley of lawsuits had an unmistakable chilling effect, especially on the Italian press, and played a clear role in tipping public opinion against us. We weren’t the only ones mounting the fight of our lives in court, and it was difficult not to interpret this legal onslaught as part of Mignini’s campaign to beat back the abuse-of-office charges. His approach seemed singularly vindictive. Not only did we have to sit in prison while the murder trial dragged on; it seemed he wanted to throw our friends and supporters - anyone who voiced a sympathetic opinion in public - into prison right alongside us.


6. Example Claim 3

Our brief response to this for now is that this was long ago revealed to be a hoax (an example of a key fact left out). Neither the police nor the prosecution were in any way involved. A fake positive for HIV turned up, Knox was warned not to be concerned, and she was soon told that a new test showed her fine. Her list of recent sex partners was her idea, and its leaking to the media was demonstrably a family and defense-team thing (an example of a key fact left out).

[Page 101-102] The prosecution’s tactics grew nastier, never more so than when Amanda was taken to the prison infirmary the day after Patrick’s release and told she had tested positive for HIV.

She was devastated. She wrote in her diary, “I don’t want to die. I want to get married and have children. I want to create something good. I want to get old. I want my time. I want my life. Why why why? I can’t believe this.”Â

For a week she was tormented with the idea that she would contract AIDS in prison, serving time for a crime she did not commit. But the whole thing was a ruse, designed to frighten her into admitting how many men she had slept with. When asked, she provided a list of her sexual partners, and the contraceptive method she had used with each. Only then was she told the test was a false positive

To the prosecution, the information must have been a disappointment: seven partners in all, of whom four were boyfriends she had never made a secret of, and three she qualified as one-night stands. Rudy Guede was not on the list, and neither was anyone else who might prove useful in the case. She hadn’t been handing herself around like candy at Le Chic, as Patrick now alleged. She’d fooled around with two guys soon after arriving in Italy, neither of them at Patrick’s bar, and then she had been with me. Okay, so she was no Mother Teresa. But neither was she the whore of Babylon.

To compound the nastiness, the list was eventually leaked to the media, with the erroneous twist that the seven partners on the list were just the men she’d had since arriving in Perugia. Whatever one thought of Amanda and her free-spirited American attitude toward sex, this callous disregard for her privacy and her feelings was the behavior of savages.


7. Looking Forward

More posts to come.  We are going to open the floodgates on our own analysis of the book if the court on thursday takes a significant step forward.

Note that Sollecito has to contend with negative Italian public opinion as his claims bitterly disparaging to Italy itself (see the post below) are finally repeated in translation by the media and so become better known - at a disastrous time for him and Knox, two months before Cassation decides on their failed appeal.

In late 2012 after the book came out the TV crime show Porta a Porta gave Dr Sollecito quite a roasting on the first claim here and anger continued for some days more. He and Sollecito’s sister may be in court but no surprises if they are not. Knox could also react - the second and third claims above also appear in her book.


Friday, January 16, 2015

The Sollecito Trial For “Honor Bound” #2: False Accusations From The First Few Pages

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



Suggested cover for a followup book due to multiple attempted malicious framings in first books

Examples: 20 False Claims In Seven Pages

We count several hundred malicious claims throughout that can easily be proved wrong. These twenty examples all appear in the book’s preface, which is only seven pages long.

Such claims continue throughout the book at approximately the same rate. Many sharp eyes here set about identifying them and are credited in the TJMK Liewatch page for Sollecito which will be switched on again when the secrecy requirement described in Part #12 below is relaxed by the court next week. 

1. That Italian justice authorities took the easy way out

This is the story of two ordinary people who stumbled upon an extraordinary circumstance, the brutal murder of a British student in Italy. Neither Amanda Knox nor I had anything to do with the crime, but we came perilously close to spending the rest of our lives in prison because the authorities found it easier, and more convenient, to take advantage of our youth and inexperience than to mount a proper investigation.  It’s that simple. And that absurd.

No advantage was taken of them. The two stood themselves out very sharply from all the others of similar age, and of similar inexperience (whatever that means). They did and said dozens of things in the early days that set them sharply apart.

They were questioned quite fairly, the Italian media was not especially hard, Dr Mignini never ever leaked, and they had lawyers and family handy at every turn after they were arrested. They each gave the authorities less than zero help - they tried to lead them off on wild goose chases, for example the false claim AK made against Patrick and dozens of other false claims, and apparently tried to finger yet another north African, Hicham Khiri, in a conversation they clearly knew was being recorded.

A “proper” investigation was indeed done. Simply read through all the posts on the trial here in the first half of 2009, and the prosecutor’s excellent summations, and you will see what a smooth comprehensive job was done. And the Supreme Court concluded that THREE had to have been involved, from the recreation of the attack and all the wounds on Meredith’s body. Subsequent to Patrick, AK and RS and their lawyers never came within light-years of throwing real suspicion on anyone else.

2. That the preventive custody was very harsh

On November 1, 2007, Amanda and I were carefree students at the beginning of a cross-cultural love affair in a beautiful Umbrian hill town. Within days, we were thrown into solitary confinement in a filthy prison, without access to lawyers or loved ones, accused of acts so heinous and disturbing we may never be able to banish them from our thoughts, or our nightmares.

Raffaele was sent to preventative prison on Tuesday November 6. Capanne Prison was almost brand-new then, and far from crowded. Cells contain TVs and private bathrooms.

All questioning had been stopped early on 6 November until Sollecito could have a lawyer present. He himself wrote to his father in his “prison diary” on November 7:  “I may see you tomorrow, at least that is what I was told by Tiziano [Tiziano Tedeschi, his lawyer at the time], who I saw today and who defended me before the judge.”

Mr Tedeschi made no complaint about any delay in the first meeting with his new client. In Italy, a judge must determine within 48 hours whether to hold or release detained suspects. Judge Matteini did so meticulously with Tedeschi present and refused Sollecito’s release.

3. That the prosecution and Italian media demonized the pair

In the newspapers and on the nightly news, we were turned into monsters, grotesque distortions of our true selves. It did not matter how thin the evidence was, or how quickly it became apparent that the culprit was someone else entirely. Our guilt was presumed, and everything the prosecution did and fed to the media stemmed from that false premise.

In the real world, the prosecution fed nothing at all secretly to the media and publicly very little, none of it self-servingly biased. Italian reporting was sporadic and very mild compared to anything one can see said daily about possible perps in the US and UK newspapers and on US TV. Besides, any coverage, which was in part deliberate in the situation as dozens of students were fleeing Perugia, had no influence on anything, neither on the investigation nor the trial.

The Italian system is set up so media can have less influence than almost any other media on any other justice system in the world. The Micheli and Massei sentencing reports show the judges were not unduly influenced even by the lawyers right in front of them, let alone by mild media reports 1 or 2 years before that.

4. That four years were wasted showing where the prosecution went wrong.

By the time we had dismantled the case and demonstrated its breathtaking absurdity [in the bent and annulled Hellmann appeal] we had spent four of what should have been the best years of our lives behind bars.

“We” meaning the defense lawyers did very little in the bent and annulled Hellmann appeal that they hadn’t flailed uselessly against in the trial. Except of course shopping for an inexperienced and pliable business judge, and for DNA consultants who they could then spoon-feed.

The list of lies by omission is extremely long. Much of the hard evidence they simply kept well away from, both in the trial and annulled appeal. Such as the extensive evidence in the corridor and bathroom and Filomena’s room, which were all considered parts of the crime scene.

On the other hand, RS’s claim could well apply to what Dr Galati and Cassation did for the Hellman sentencing report. Dismantled the appeal verdict, and demonstrated its breathtaking absurdity.

5. That Knox was made a target because timid Italy was scared of her.

Amanda and I certainly made our share of mistakes. At the beginning we were too trusting, spoke too frivolously and too soon, and remained oblivious to the danger we were courting even after the judicial noose began to tighten. Amanda behaved in ways that were culturally baffling to many Italians and attracted a torrent of gossip and criticism.

An inaccurate and xenophobic remark originated by the American Nina Burleigh, who was having severe culture shock of her own and surrounded only by other foreigners with similar mindsets.

What EXACTLY was so baffling about Knox to the very hip Italians? That Knox was pushy, obnoxious, humorless, rather lazy, rather grubby, and not especially funny or pretty or bright?  That she slept with a drug wholesaler up to the day of her arrest and cost him a stint in prison? That she put off Patrick, Meredith, her other flatmates, the boys downstairs, the customers in the bar, and just about everybody else except for the distasteful druggie loner Sollecito?

Read this post by the Italian-American Nicki in Milan. To quote from it “As many of us were expecting, Amanda’s testimony has backfired. She came across not as confident but arrogant, not as sweet but testy, not as true but a fake who has memorized a script, an actress who is playing a part but not well enough to fool the public….. Amanda Knox is not on trial because she is American and therefore too “emancipated”....Italians don’t much like Amanda primarily because they perceive her as a manipulative liar, who is suspected of having committed a heinous crime for which there is a whole stack of evidence.”

6. That Knox and Meredith were really great, great friends.

We were young and naive, unthinking and a little reckless. Of that much we were guilty.  But what we did not do””and could not have done, as the evidence clearly showed””was murder Meredith Kercher.

Meredith was Amanda’s friend, a fellow English speaker in the house they shared with two Italian women just outside Perugia’s ancient city walls. She was twenty-one years old, intelligent, and beautiful. She and Amanda knew each other for a little over three weeks, long enough to feel their way into their new surroundings and appreciate each other’s interests and temperaments. I never heard about a single tense moment between them.

Plenty of other people did know of tensions. Meredith’s family and friends all knew Meredith was finding the noisy dirty lazy loud unfocused Knox and her one-night-stands hard to take.  Her other flatmates found her hard to take. Her employer Patrick found her hard to take. His customers in the bar found her hard to take.  The Lifetime movie got this strident angle of Knox pretty straight.

Remember, Meredith had enrolled for a full academic load at the main university. Knox in sharp contrast took only one undemanding language course - which anyone could walk into - requiring maybe 10 hours of study a week.  They increasingly did less together. In fact after several weeks, nobody was lining up to have anything to do with Amanda Knox.

Seemingly unable to reverse herself, Knox was headed to being among the least popular of students (or part-time students) in Perugia.  It should be recalled that the callous remarks by Amanda Knox about the death of her so-called friend Meredith included “Shit happens”, “She fucking bled to death”, and “‘I want to get on with the rest of my life”.

7. That an intruder knew about the rent money and so murder ensued.

Meredith, of course, suffered infinitely worse luck than we did: she came home, alone, on an ordinary Thursday night and had her throat slit by an intruder hoping to steal the household rent money.

There is zero evidence that this was the case. Knox herself ended up with a similar amount of cash that she has never been able to explain. There is zero possibility that Guede would know that any money was lying around - or not lying around, as it was concealed in Meredith’s drawer.

And take a look at the many images of the brightly lit house at night around 8:00 pm. There are several dozen other houses behind it in the dark which any smart burglar would have chosen first and entered hours later.  In 2008 two real break-ins occurred at the house - both were in the dark behind the house, which is by far the easiest place to break in.

So much for the spurious lone-wolf theory, which Judge Micheli first ruled out even before trial.

8. That the media got hysterical and portrayed heartless killers.

But the roles could easily have been reversed. If Meredith’s Italian boyfriend had not gone away for the weekend and if Amanda had not started sleeping over at my house, she””not Meredith””might have been the one found in a pool of blood on her bedroom floor. That reality was quickly lost amid the hysteria of the media coverage. But it continued to hover over both of us””Amanda especially””as we sank into the legal quagmire and struggled in vain to overcome the public image of us as heartless killers.

There was zero media hysteria. This silly claim was addressed above. Watch the Porta a Porta YouTubes and dozens of other Italian reports and try to find ONE that is not fair and cautious and mature.

How precisely did the two struggle in vain to overcome their public image? By coming up repeatedly with stories which didnt even tally with others of their own, let alone with one another’s? They never between them made even one helpful statement which actually helped the police.  And even their respective parents strongly suspected or knew of their guilt and were all caught incriminatingly on tape.

9. That Rudy Guede did it alone; ignore vast evidence that proves not.

This should not have been a complicated case. The intruder was quickly identified as Rudy Guede, an African immigrant living in Perugia with a history of break-ins and petty crimes. His DNA was found all over Meredith’s room, and footprints made in her blood were found to match his shoes. Everything at the crime scene pointed to a lone assailant, and a single weapon. Guede repeatedly broke into houses by throwing a rock through a window, as happened here, and he had been caught by the authorities in the past with a knife similar to the one that inflicted Meredith’s fatal wounds.

This is laughable. The room itself could not be checked for DNA as the choice was to fingerprint-check it instead. Sollecito’s footprint on the bathroom mat is a smoking gun all by itself. Crack national investigators demonstrated in numerous ways that the attack involved multiple assailants and this was endorsed by the Supreme Court.

Sollecito’s own lawyers never forcefully argued this. They produced two non-credible witnesses in the appeal trial (Alessi and Aviello) to actually prove that Guede had some other accomplices or that several others did it. Amanda Knox if anything diverted attention AWAY from Guede as he did in turn from her. He wasn’t quickly identified precisely because Knox had extremely credibly again and again on 5-6 Nov fingered Patrick.

There is no proof Guede intruded anywhere. The trial court concluded Knox invited him in. Guede had zero proven history of break-ins or petty crimes or drug-dealing, and late in 2008 at his trial Judge Micheli became angry at such claims. Guede had no prior criminal record at all. He had only been back in Perugia for a few weeks, after an extended stay up north.  His DNA was not found “all over” Meredith’s room. A major surprise, in fact, was how few traces of him were found.

The recreation of the crime scene and the autopsy both pointed AWAY FROM a lone assailant, not toward.  From Meredith’s wounds, it was quite evident that two and perhaps three knives had been used, and not a single weapon. What lone intruder carries or uses two or three knives?  And footprints in blood outside the door matched the feet of both RS and AK. This is why the Supreme Court confirmed Guede’s guilt only “in concorso” (with others).

10. That the cops could have caught Guede fast, despite Knox’s frame

Guede did not call the police, as Amanda and I did, or volunteer information, or agree to hours of questioning whenever asked. Rather, he fled to Germany as soon as the investigation began and stayed there until his arrest two and a half weeks later.

Guede’s apprehension and eventual conviction on murder charges should have been the end of the story. But by the time Guede was identified, the police and the public prosecutor’s office had convinced themselves that the murder was, incredibly, the result of a sexual orgy gone wrong, in which Amanda and I had played leading roles. Their speculations ignited a media firestorm, inspiring sensationalist headlines across the world about the evil lurking behind our seemingly innocent faces.

The authorities had no shred of evidence to substantiate this story line, only erroneous suppositions and wild imaginings. We had an alibi for the most likely time of death, and none of the initial forensic evidence tied us to the scene of the crime. Nothing in our backgrounds gave any hint of a propensity for violence or criminality. We were both accomplished, hardworking students known to our friends and families for our gentleness and even tempers.

Four more untrue claims. All three were convicted of a murder with a sex-crime element, and nobody was wrongly “convinced”. Which alibi is Sollecito talking about now? He himself admits in chapter 1 (Love and Death) that they had no “real alibi”. They still have no alibis at all for the second half of the evening, neither of them, when Meredith’s murder indisputably occurred.

Extensive forensic evidence within days tied them both to the scene. Not a single element of it has been discredited in the eyes of the Massei trial and Nencini appeal court. Not even one. Nothing was proven falsified, no item at all.

Neither of their backgrounds was squeaky clean. Both had long been into illegal drugs, the loner Sollecito had to be watched by his father and teachers, the increasingly disliked Knox had a history of doing and saying crass off-putting things. Both were lagging behind their brighter peers in their studies and Knox was in reality taking a year off.

11. That the prosecution fed the media a huge number of false claims.

Yet the authorities stuck to their guns. They fed the media a steady diet of sensationalist stories of how Amanda, the promiscuous American she-devil, and I, her sex-and-drug-addled Italian helpmeet, had tried without success to drag Meredith into our depravity and punished her by plunging an outsize kitchen knife into her neck.

Complete fiction. Again, in the real world, as the media reporters all confirm, the prosecution fed nothing at all secretly to the media, and publicly very little, none of it self-servingly biased.  Italian reporting was sporadic and very mild compared to anything one can see daily on possible perps in the US and UK newspapers and on US TV crime shows. There is zero sign this mild coverage mattered to the courts. As the media reporters all confirm, they were fed next to nothing by the police or prosecution on the case,

But whereas Mr Mignini famously never leaks, the defenses are widely claimed to have leaked throughout like sieves. So did Sollecito’s own family - they leaked an evidence video to Telenorba TV, for which they were considered for trial. Even we at TJMK and PMF received several offers of juicy leaks. Here is one example of where the Knox forces leaked - wrongly in fact - and then nastily slimed the prosecution and defenseless prison staff.

12. That the authorities had lots and lots and lots of scenarios.

It might have been funny if the consequences had not been so devastating. Listening to the tortured language of the prosecution””“one can hypothesize that . . . ,” “it is possible that . . . ,” “one can imagine that . . . ,” “this scenario is not incompatible with . . .”””it became clear that the authorities, like the media, were treating our case with the bizarre levity of an after-dinner game of Clue, or an Agatha Christie mystery. Everyone, even the judges in their black robes, had theories they were itching to air.

Have Sollecito and Gumbel ever before been in any other court in Italy or the UK or the US?  Every judge and/or jury seeks to zero in on a viable scenario on lines not unlike this. That is the whole POINT of having courts - to weight the probabilities in what happened in the crime.  The only difference in Italy is that the judges have to think their verdict through for weeks, and then write it all out, and then see it scrutinized by a higher court. Hardly a requirement to be sneered at.

Gumbel and Sollecito should have studied how US and UK juries arrive at their own scenarios. Very few US and UK lawyers think they do a better job. Ask those who watched the OJ Simpson and Casey Anthony trials and bitterly criticised the outcomes of those. And Italy has a vastly lower rate of false imprisonment than the US does, less than 1/6 of the US rate.

13. That Italy is a medieval country with a primitive justice system.

It could have been Colonel Mustard in the drawing room with the revolver; instead it was Amanda and Raffaele in the bedroom with the kitchen knife. How was it conceivable that a democratic country known for its style and beauty and effortless charm””the Italy of the Renaissance and la dolce vita””could allow two young people to be catapulted to international notoriety and convicted of a horrific crime on the basis of nothing at all?

This is not remotely what happened. There was very far from nothing at all. Convictions in the US and UK regularly result based on evidence 1/10 or 1/100 of that here - sometimes from one single evidence point. Any one or several of maybe 100 evidence points here could have convicted them in a US or UK court.

Italy gives defendants every possible break, and the justice system has become seriously loaded against victims and their families. Read here and here.

14. That the prosecutors office and media were in a grim embrace.

The answer has something to do with the grim embrace that developed between the prosecutor’s office and the sensationalist media. Like addicts constantly looking for the next fix, each fed the other’s insatiable appetite for titillation and attention. The casual cruelty of “Foxy Knoxy” and her Italian lover became too good a story line to abandon, even when it became apparent it was overheated and unsustainable. Our suffering was the price to be paid for the world’s continuing entertainment.

WHAT grim embrace? WHAT addicts? WHAT fix? WHAT insatiable appetite? WHAT titillation and attention? This is clearly defamatory if it can’t be proven, and we can turn up no evidence that any of it is true. It has to be one of the most foolish lies in the entire book, it is so easy to disprove. These who are being accused of crimes here are career police and prosecutors secure in their jobs, and perhaps some in the media, and none have the slightest gain to make from convictions arrived at through a hoax.

15. That in the justice system speculation and hearsay run rampant

The meandering complexities of the Italian legal system, where speculation and hearsay are allowed to run rampant and time invariably slows to a maddening trickle, did little to help our cause.

Total mischaracterization. First note that by comparison with any country in the world THERE IS NOT MUCH CRIME IN ITALY.  There is some minor corruption and still some minor mafia action, but thefts and burglaries and assaults are few and murders even fewer. The main crime if you can call it such is citizens not lining up to pay taxes.  Italy’s murder rate is 1/6 that of the United States and its prison system size is 1/30 that of the United States, so where IS all this crime about which the claimed speculation and hearsay are running rampant?

The legal process would have been fully over by the end of 2009 if (1) there was not the entitlement to two automatic appeals; in UK and US terms there was very little to appeal about;  and (2) the Hellmann appeal court had not been fixed to produce a corrupt outcome, as the displaced judge Sergio Matteini Chiari and Cassation and the Council of Magistrates have all made plain.

And compared to American police and prosecutors, their Italian counterparts are famously taciturn under their unusually firm rules. There is media interest, for sure, as there should be when there are crimes, but that also is comparatively restrained. Watch the various Porta a Porta shows on YouTube and you will see how sedate crime discussion tends to be.

The Constitution and the judicial code set out to achieve the exact opposite of speculation and hearsay affecting justice, and they do so.  Creating this restraint is a primary reason for the judges’ sentencing reports, and for all the magistrates’ checks of investigations along the way.

This whole series of dishonest claims about the the Italian system in the preface of the book and a later chapter have clearly not been read through or okayed by even one Italian lawyer. They would all know it is wrong.

16. That in Italy proof beyond a reasonable doubt scarcely exists

For reasons deeply embedded in the country’s history, the concept of proof beyond a reasonable doubt scarcely exists in Italy, and the very notion of undisputed fact is viewed with suspicion, if not outright aversion.

So Gumbel and Sollecito are historians and legal experts now? It would be nice, wouldn’t it, if either were able to explain the remark. This may be an ignorant swipe at the Napoleonic Code on which the law of a lot of continental Europe is based. Ignored is that Italy carried out its own reforms to the Code in 1990 and more subsequently. Much of that reform, it should be pointed out, was procedural or structural rather than substantive law.

There are two things wrong with “..the concept of reasonable doubt scarcely exists in Italy.”

    1. It is factually wrong. Italian jurists, the courts, and so on, are well acquainted with the concept as it has been a fundamental aspect of criminal proceedings in Italy as elsewhere for many decades if not centuries.

    2. It suggests that Italians are not intelligent enough to understand the concept anyway. That of course is an insult to Italians.  Actually they are no less intelligent than the rest of us elsewhere who strive to understand it.

Until the 1990 Reforms the relationship between criminal and civil proceedings in Italy were governed by the principles of unity of jurisdiction and the prevailing status of criminal proceedings. Hence, if the facts were the same then criminal proceedings (to punish the guilty) and civil proceedings (to render liable the guilty for damages) were heard at the same time and still sometimes are, as in the Meredith Kercher case.

What has changed (relevant to the above quote) is that civil cases can be and are more likely to be heard independently from the related criminal cases and, where not, the standard of proof in civil cases (the preponderance of evidence or, as we usually refer to it, the balance of probabilities) is to be applied to the civil case, and the civil case only, rather than be confused with or overriden by the criminal standard of proof (beyond reasonable doubt).

Not an easy task, admittedly, to apply different standards to different tasks, based on the same facts, in the same proceedings, but Italian judges are trained to do this because that is their system. No judge would EVER confuse “beyond reasonable doubt” with “the balance of probabilities” when the issue at stake is depriving an individual of his freedom.

17. That the Italian judiciary has vast, unfettered powers

Few in Italian society wield as much unfettered power as the robed members of the judiciary, whose independence makes them answerable to nobody but themselves.

Radically the opposite of the truth. The paranoid claim reads like it came from ex PM Berlusconi fearful of his own conviction or one of his parliamentary lackeys such as Girlanda.

The checks and balances on judges in the Italian system are enormous, perhaps the toughest checks and balances in the world. Read here and here about them.

All of the best judges in the world are independent and they all follow a demanding career path, not elected (as ex-Judge Heavey was) under zero criteria, or appointed under the political sway of politicians. We wonder if Gumbel and Sollecito have ever heard of the US Supreme Court? Do those judges answer to anybody? No? How unfettered. 

18. That the courts are the most reviled institution in Italy.

Many Italians retain a healthy skepticism about the reliability of their procedures and rulings. The courts””tainted by politics, clubbishness, pomposity, and excruciating delays””are the most reviled institution in the country.


As our Sollecito Book pages make clear again and again and again, the Italian system is remarkably NOT tainted by politics, as even the most surperficial watcher of the trials of ex Prime Minister Sylvio Berlusconi would know.

And on the issue of popularity we have previously posted this and this and also this.

Our Italian poster Machiavelli (Yummi), who posted our deep analysis of the appeal to the Supreme Court by Dr Galati, has provided these hard facts:

For comparison, in 2011 the percentage of Italians who declared they trust the justice system “a lot” or “enough” was 53.3%. By comparison, the percentage of Italians who declared they trust the government “a lot” or “enough”  were 14.7%, and those who trust the parliament were only 15%.

In 2012, the percentage of Italians who trust the parliament is now only 9.5%, and those who trust the Mario Monti administration are only 21.1%.

Over the eight years from 2004 to 2012 the percentage of Italians who trust the justice system was always bigger than those who trust parliament or government by at least ten points, and in some years we can see a spread of 20, 30, even 39 percentage points achieved by the judiciary over the parliament and government.

However, some cases of corruption (such as our Hellmann-Zanetti case, but also several others indicated by the Rapporto Italia 2012) do hamper trust.

The most trusted institutions in Italy above all are the Carabinieri (74% of Italians trust them) and the Polizia di Stato (71%).

Which means the most trusted institutions are precisely those law enforcement instruments which are deployed to enforce the orders of prosecutors.

19. That prosecutors can spin their cases into any shape they please.

Because the Italian legal system is almost completely blind to precedent and relies on a tangle of impenetrable codes and procedures, prosecutors and judges have almost boundless freedom to spin their cases into any shape they please and create legal justifications on the fly. Often, they are more interested in constructing compelling narratives than in building up the evidence piece by piece, a task considered too prosaic and painstaking to be really interesting.

Whoever wrote this either wasnt an Italian or a lawyer, and either way didnt have much of a clue. The entire Italian system under the post WWII constitution was designed to PREVENT what Sollecito & Gumbel claim it allows here.

There are checks and balances and reviews every step of the way. Magistrates (initially Matteini here) determine what a prosecutor may do in developing and presenting a case. Parties may appeal to the Supreme Court AT ANY TIME as Knox’s lawyers did over her second written confession - which she herself had demanded to make in front of Dr Mignini after he finished warning her of her rights.

Hard for Sollecito & Gumbel to believe, perhaps, but the defense is actually present in the same courtroom. They can raise points of order at any time. So can the defendants themselves, at any time, something maybe unique in the world.

And judges actually have minds of their own. And then there are the unique written sentencing reports, and the two automatic appeals if any parties want to pursue them.

Sollecito & Gumbel should have read the 2012 Galati appeal more closely. The Prosecution’s Appeal To The Supreme Court is available in English here.  Precedent has a section to itself - “The non-observance of the principles of law dictated by the Cassation Court in the matter of circumstantial cases (Article 606(b)) in relation to Article 192 paragraph 2 Criminal Procedure Code.”

Well, that’s precedent, via the Court of Cassation no less! How surprising from Gumbel/Sollecito that they should make that claim about ignoring precedent when in fact there it is, going right to the heart of the flawed Hellmann/Zanetti judgement on circumstantial evidence!  What else is a Code but in effect a codification, a gathering together, a rationalisation, of best law - and precedent? 

There is an absurd irony here, were they aware of it. Perhaps they are. Surely it is Hellmann and Zanetti who have displayed “a boundless freedom” in spinning the case “into any shape they please”, and who have “created legal justifications on the fly”?  As for prosecutors doing this, at least Dr Mignini followed the evidence, and American readers may recall the infamous Jim Garrison, the DA hero of Oliver Stone’s movie “JFK” but who in reality, unlike Dr Mignini, was a total and utter crackpot.

And what issue exploded the Porta a Porta TV show in Italy in September 2012? It was Sollecito’s false claim that the prosecution had secretly tried to offer him a deal if he would roll over on Knox.  NOBODY including his own father and his own lawyers confirmed him. Evidence against both was overwhelming. Nobody needed such a deal, and Italian prosecutors are highly rules-bound against ever offering such deals.

Sollecito was in effect accusing Dr Mignini of a felony with this much-repeated false claim in his book. (In her book Knox also accused Dr Mignini of a felony.)

20. That the prosecutors and judges in Italy are far too close.

Prosecutors and judges are not independent of each other, as they are in Britain or the United States, but belong to the same professional body of magistrates. So a certain coziness between them is inevitable, especially in smaller jurisdictions like Perugia.

Yes, prosecutors and judges in Italy belong to the same professional body of magistrates. But then so does the defense lawyer Ms Bongiorno. The claim that there is no independence between prosecutors and judges in Italy, in fact a coziness between them, is a bit rich.

Consider, say, the UK. It is true cases are prosecuted by the Crown Prosecution Service, a government body, but in serious cases the CPS will employ barristers from the Inns of Court. There is scarcely a judge in the UK, even up to the highest level, who was not and who is not still a member of one of the Inns of Court from whence barristers, for the prosecution or for the defence, ply their trade.

You can’t walk past an Inn without seeing the names of judges on the roll call on the plaques outside. A judge is still a barrister, just fulfilling a different function, although, of course, now paid by the State.  The old school boy tie? Corruption? No, the fulfilling of different roles by members of the same body is called professionalism. 

Judges and lawyers all belong to the American Bar Association in the US and attend the same conferences. No sign that this lack of “independence” ever affects trials.  This claimed excess of coziness is often ranted about online by the Knoxophile David Anderson who lives near Perugia. Nobody who pays him any attention can get where he derives this from. Maybe he heard it from Hellman?

Perugia prosecutors and magistrates are all known to do a fine job, and the national Olympics & earthquake relief cases involving powerful Rome politicians were assigned for competent handling to where? To Perugia… Defense lawyer Ghirga and Prosecutor Mignini have the reputation of being good friends. And Mignini and Massei would both draw their salaries from the State. But so what? Do not judges and DAs in the the USA do likewise? Are Gumbel and Sollecito impugning the professionalism of the counterparts of Mignini and Massei all over the world? It sure reads like it.


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Calling Planet Knox: Maybe Chris Mellas And Bruce Fischer Need To Rein In Their Crackpot Brigade

Posted by Peter Quennell





Above is Chris Mellas with Curt Knox, who we are told maybe thinks the way-too-rabid Mellases now damage the prospects of Knox. 

Here is some chest-thumping babble on the reliably dishonest website GroundReport by one of Chris Mellas’s crackpot gang, the singularly foolish crackpot Jay.

Today I examine the role of the Italian judiciary in the framing of Amanda Knox and Raffaelle Sollecito for the murder of Meredith Kercher, the skillful way Giuliano Mignini used the Italian media to hold the entire judiciary hostage to his career ambitions, and why I believe the Italian judiciary may finally be ready to fully exonerate Amanda and Raffaelle of any involvement in the murder of Ms Kercher.

This case has been out of the hands of Dr Mignini for over five years - if it ever was fully in his hands. He initially took a decidedly mild stance against Knox, who he thought, through drugs and mental problems, had got in over her head and Meredith’s death was not planned.

In fact from the day after Knox’s arrest the no-nonsense Judge Matteini and Judge Ricciarelli led the case all the way to trial. They got all their information directly from THE POLICE. In light of hard evidence and a psychological report they insisted a potentially dangerous Knox be kept locked up. In April 2008 Cassation very strongly agreed.

Pretty bizarre to see a Mignini witchunt in this, or a judiciary about to reverse itself on years of meticulous work.

At the time of the Meredith Kercher murder on November 1, 2007, the Italian judiciary was was locked in a struggle with the Perugian prosecutor Giuliano Mignini. Mignini was facing charges for abuse of office, relating to his “˜Narducci Trail’ investigations.

This is more chest-thumping babble by the crackpot Jay. Dr Mignini rarely even talks to the media and he is regarded by good reporters as especially careful with the truth. The Italian justice system is not only one of the world’s most careful and most pro-victim-rights, it is very popular and trusted in Italy second only to the President who is also the Justice System’s top dog.

Dr Mignini’s past caseload as a prosecutor was quite mundane as Kermit’s meticulous and powerful Powerpoint showed. Perugia and its region of Umbria are among the most prosperous and least crime-ridden in Italy toward which the very popular Dr Mignini contributed a great deal over the years.

Dr Mignini rose to his present seniority of Deputy Prosecutor-General in Umbria because on his merits he consistently excelled. He is often on national TV (among other things ridiculing conspiracy theories and the too-ready blaming of crimes on satanism) and has high-level professional friends and supporters throughout Italy, not least in Florence where he has known senior colleagues since law-school.   

Mignini and his colleague Michele Giutarri had both been indicted after Mignini had Mario Spezi arrested and briefly imprisoned, in connection with the Monster of Florence crimes. Spezi was released just three weeks later, after an intense media campaign by his writing partner the American author Douglas Preston.

But rather than back off of his satanic sect Narducci trail investigations, Mignini instead plowed ahead with still more satanic sect cases. At the time of the Kercher murder, Mignini had a case unravelling in Florence against a pharmacist and friend of Spezi’s named Francesco Calamandrei.

When the Calamandrei case was dismissed in 2008, Mignini pressed his next “˜satanic sect’ case against the 20 innocent people in Florence, including Spezi and members of the Narducci family. Mignini had also tried at first to link the Kercher murder to “rites related to Halloween”.... It is these two convictions, these two false convictions, which the Italian judiciary is in my view trying so desperately to protect.

More chest-thumping babble by the crackpot Jay. The vast majority of Italians believe the truth of the Monster of Florence case is as set out in the exceptional book Il Mostro by Michele Giuttari in which there really was and is a shadowy group. It was for proving this that a desperate Florence prosecutor took Mignini and Giuttari to court.

We have shown repeatedly that the fading fiction-writer Preston often does not tell the truth. After his near-arrest for falsifying evidence to seek to make Spezi and himself world-famous for “solving” the MOF case,  Preston took off out of Italy like a terrified rabbit and has tried to prove he actually has a backbone ever since.

Italians know that in his one brief formal interview with Dr Mignini Preston melted down. He blubbered and wailed while he lied and lied, and was considered so incompetent and naive he might as well be given a break.

Here from a public document arguing for custody of Mario Spezi (the “brains” of the two, if that is not a stretch) is a conversation between the publicity-hungry Inspector Clouseaus (through public sources we have also obtained the tapes) thinking here that they have made the cops look like foolish dupes:

[The word “passeggiata” (leisure walk) in the context of these statements makes little sense literally; in fact, it is a code word by which both Spezi and Preston mean the police visit to Villa Bibbiani that Spezi and Zaccaria are plotting to trigger by way of a letter they wrote reporting false incriminating testimony, and by way of which they expect the police to find the false pieces of evidence contained in six boxes that they are going to place in the villa. Preston is aware of this intended fraud, and he is happy about it, because he presumably expects that from such an operation their “Sardinian track” theory would gain visibility as a media scoop and he and Spezi would become world-famous from it, sell a lot of books, and make a lot of money out of it. So “passeggiata” is really the police eating their bait, going there, and finding their forged false evidence in the house.]

In conversation n. 17077 of Feb. 18. 2006, PRESTON calls Mr. SPEZI, who informs him, expressing satisfaction:

“We have done everything.. I mean”¦ we went and we did it”¦  you know my telephone is ugly [sic]”¦”

and Mr. PRESTON, still in a chummy and allusive tone:

“Oh yes, I understand perfectly, yes, hey”¦ the”¦ the”¦ the “˜passeggiata’ isn’t that”¦ isn’t that”¦ we have “¦  someone has done the “˜passeggiata’?”

and the journalist pointed out, interspersing that with chuckles of satisfaction: “No, no, no, but”¦ they are going to do it!!”

and Mr. PRESTON: “Yes, yes”¦ but”¦ isn’t that interesting wow”¦.”

and Mr. SPEZI: “”¦. We told them to do it !”

At PRESTON’s question about when they would be going to do the “˜passeggiata’, SPEZI answers: “Well”¦ I don’t know but I hope soon” and at a further question by PRESTON, he says: “In.. within.. within the 24th”

SPEZI again answers: “I hope yes”, laughing.

Then, Mr. Preston adds: “It’s fantastic!... Oh the end maybe, I don’t know but”¦”

and Mr. SPEZI: “That would be beautiful!” still sniggering, and Mr. PRESTON agrees enthusiastically.

After his charging, in conversation n. 17231, Mr. PRESTON calls SPEZI and tells him that they need to speak about it in person.

The criminal operation stands out even more egregiously in conversation n. 16950 of February 13. 2006, between Mr. SPEZI, the deviser of the plot, and his right hand man Nando Zaccaria; and when RUOCCO gives Mr. SPEZI “information” about the name of the person who allegedly attended the villa, Mr. SPEZI himself calls Mr. ZACCARIA, and, while making him understand that Mr. Gianfranco Bernabei had already been contacted and the report-complaint had been given to him, he adds: “So he called me.. not him Gianfranco”¦ the other guy, we have an appointment at 2:30pm, because he knew about the name”; and ZACCARIA cries out: “Beautifullllll!” with satisfaction.

In conversation n. 17095 of February 19. 2006, Mr. SPEZI calls Mr. ZACCARIA again and urges him to explain him (to the Flying Squad chief) thoroughly about the “six small boxes”, that is to convince him that the objects are related to the murders. Mr. ZACCARIA tells him that he already explained it to the other guy and says: “If they go there they must look very well.. at everything”¦”, and Mr. SPEZI: “What I mean to say”¦ if he finds a hairpin this doesn’t mean anything to him”¦”, making him understand that he will need to “work” him out.

Mr. ZACCARIA adds in the end: “Then I told him, well while we go”¦ when it’s”¦ when you are going”¦ he says anyway he advises us”. Mr. SPEZI says he agrees and Mr. ZACCARIA reassures him saying he [Bernabei] doesn’t know anything about the case and never dealt with it, then he complains about that the nowadays officers are incapable of doing their job. Thus the chief of the Flying Squad, Dr. Fillippo Ferri, will need to be led by “malicious” Mr. ZACCARIA. Then Mr. SPEZI asks Mr. ZACCARIA to advise him when he goes there (to the Villa). Anyway we remand to the unequivocal content of the conversation, at pages 6, 7 and 8 of request n. 114/06 G.I.De.S.

Back to analysing more from the crackpot Jay.

And Mignini, by continuing to file “˜Narducci trail’ cases, and invoking the same “˜satanic sect’ conspiracy theory, was holding the judiciary hostage to his unprincipled career ambitions.  The challenge Mignini presented to the Italian judiciary, was how to stop Mignini’s witch hunt of innocent citizens, without also discrediting the “˜satanic sect’ convictions of Vanni and Lotti in the Monster of Florence cases.

The task of acting as a kind of judicial baby-sitter to Mignini, fell to Judge Paolo Micheli [who] presided over Rudy Guede’s fast track trial in 2008 ““ which was also the pre-trial hearing against Amanda Knox and Raffaelle Sollecito, to certify the case against them as warranting a full trial. The challenge for Judge Micheli, was to walk Mignini back from the edge, but without so completely devastating Mignini’s reputation, that the public might begin to question the validity of the satanic sect theory which had been used in the convictions in the Monster of Florence murders.

This is 180 degrees wrong. Judge Micheli is believed to have been leaned on but ultimately the courts at all levels came round to confirming that Dr Mignini had no choice but to act and he acted quite right. The notion of a satanic sect goes way back and Dr Mignini was more doubtful about it than most.

Judge Micheli’s ruling was scathingly overturned by Cassation, and some of the cases against malicious meddlers were resumed. Spezi has been in court after court - just a couple of weeks ago, he lost yet another defamation case brought by Michele Giuttari.

But Judge Micheli allowed Mignini’s case against Knox and Sollecito to go forward to trial. Had Judge Micheli simply done his job, properly heard and investigated Mignini’s case, the only fair outcome would be full dismissal. What Mignini has pulled off is a kind of blackmail. Mignini wanted his promotion at all costs, and was willing to convict and imprison dozens of innocent people to get his way. Amanda and Raffaele are only two of Mignini’s more recent victims, but there are scores of damaged lives left behind in the wake of Mignini’s lust for career advancement.

The crackpot Jay has defamed American prosecutors too? Probably not. Typical of the cowardly Mellas-Fischer gang he writes in English in the United States in a language and from a distance which makes him feel safe. Dr Mignini has zero record of overzealous or wrongful prosecution, and very, very few cases reversed on appeal, and nobody at all in Italy would buy this defamatory crap.

After Michelli dismissed the case against the Florence 20 in 2010, Judge Hellman’s appeal court fully acquitted Amanda Knox and Raffaelle Sollecito for any involvement if the murder of Meredith Kercher in October of 2011.

Hello?! Hellman’s verdict was ANNULED for terrible law, and for illegally trying to repeat the complete trial (absent the witnesses, who he ridiculed) instead of sticking to the few points that had been appealed. Cassation annuls very, very few cases, and reversing this corrupted overstretch was universally seen in Italian law circles as right.

Extraordinarily, Judge Micheli waited over one year to release his motivation report, only doing so about two months after the Hellman court released its motivation report in favor of acquittal. Motivation reports in Italy, are normally due in 90 days. I believe Judge Micheli’s delay in releasing his motivation report, was to allow him the opportunity to conform his report to that of Judge Hellman.

Good grief. What is the crackpot Jay on about here? Judge Micheli was leaned on, and he knew he had got the law wrong, and he presumably expected to be overturned - which Cassation very scathingly did. No wonder his homework was not handed in on time; he feared losing his job and serving time.

The Narducci trail case of the Florence 20, was sent back down absent the element of criminal conspiracy among the defendants. In essence, the case was rigged for dismissal, a fact confirmed by Michele Giutarri in a magazine interview earlier this year. Whereas the case against Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito was rigged for conviction.

A previous cassation ruling against Rudy Guede in his fast track process where Guede’s defense waived the right to challenge the evidence, determined that Guede had killed Meredith along with others. Cassation ruled that Knox and Sollecito’s trials should be bound by that finding, which is grossly and patently unfair.

There was nothing unfair. This is a foolish meme. Cassation simply ruled that two others had been involved and that had been proved. It was proved in the 1/4 of the trial that was held behind closed doors where two recreations connected all the dots of the vicious 15-minute taunting attack on Meredith. Both defenses without argument accepted this.

As irrational as the cassation ruling overturning the Hellman acquittal may seem, there may be a deeper reason behind it. In an article from CBS news earlier this year, Doug Longhini writes: “Following the verdict, judge Hellmann didn’t pull punches.  He declared: “the evidence was nonsense.”  Suddenly, several prosecutors and judges became the targets of criticism claiming they had mishandled the case from the beginning.” ...

For his part, Berlusconi and his party were at war with Italy’s prosecutors and judges.  The Prime Minister was trying to reign in their investigative powers.  Prosecutors, for their part, were trying to put Berlusconi in jail.”  Seen in this light, the court of cassation reversing the acquittal of judge Hellman is not an act of judicial wisdom, but one of self preservation. To avert a political investigation among their own members, Italy’s court of cassation had to reverse Judge Hellman’s acquittal.

The addled Doug Longhini is consistently out to lunch both on the excellent Italian system and the Perugia case as have been the entire CBS team - no wonder they have said very little for several years.

The courts at all points have simply done the right thing and public opinion has been very solidly behind them. Almost every Italian knows that RS and AK carried out the attack. The courts are not in self-preservation and charges against the toothless Berlusconi still stand.

One can sense the political pendulum swinging first in favor of conviction, then back towards acquittal, then back again towards conviction. And events that unfolded just this year, cause me to believe that the Italian judicial-political pendulum is once again swinging back in favor of acquittal. Giuliano Mignini has received his promotion. In his new role, he will never again prosecute a case or lead an investigation, he is only allowed to sit with other judges on appeals courts. So the judiciary can be confidant there will be no more Mignini led witch hunts.

Only recently in the past few weeks, the last of the criminal charges against Mignini have been allowed to languish, due to statute of limitations. So Mignini is out of legal jeopardy.  Despite the fact that the only trial on the merits resulted in a conviction and jail sentences for both Mignini and Giutarri, neither will be going to jail, or being held accountable for the crimes they were found to have committed at their first level trial. In the end, it may be said that the Italian judiciary found it easier to promote Mignini, then to jail him

More babble. Dr Mignini was NEVER in legal jeopardy as everyone in Perugia knew - a judge had signed the wiretap of the prosecutor who unwittingly confirmed a Florence cabal and Dr Mignini and his boss and all his colleagues KNEW he would overturn the spurious conviction on appeal.

Dr Mignini did overturn the verdict in Florence on appeal - the appeal judge’s ruling was the hardest-line “there is no case” - and as with ex-Judge Hellmann, both the rogue prosecutor and the rogue trial judge are now out.

Dr Mignini commendably kept pushing back and he won and won and won against the malicious meddlers in the MOF case. On 3 December the great reporter Andrea Vogt posted this:

Those following the side trials that have spun off or become entangled in the Amanda Knox trial might be interested to know that the now infamous and often-cited abuse of office investigation against Perugia prosecutor Giuliano Mignini, which once made such big headlines in the U.S. and UK media, has officially resulted in no charges, and the investigation has been closed.

An initial conviction stemming from 2006 wiretaps and the Monster of Florence investigation was overturned and annulled in Florence on appeal [in 2011]. The court ordered that the case be transferred to Turin for any future investigation. Earlier this year he was acquitted of nearly all the accusations.  The Turin court on Tuesday chose to shelve the last remaining question regarding the wiretapping of a La Stampa journalist earlier this week, ruling it was time barred.

The court’s ruling finally settles the long debated question of Mignini’s record: He has no abuse of office conviction, and there is no longer any active investigation into such allegations.

The other protagonist, Mario Spezi, on the other hand, still has quite a few problems on his hands. His 2006 arrest eventually resulted in the high court (cassation) ruling No. 865/2013 deeming that the following crimes occurred: aggravated interfering with public investigation from Febuary 2004 to summer 2006, aggravated attempted judicial fraud between February and May 2004 and aggravated slander and defamation for naming Antonio Vinci as linked to the Monster of Florence homicides in 2006.

For this last charge, Spezi could be held liable in civil court. But he will never be sentenced for any of these crimes, because after the cassation sent it back down for trial at the appeal level, the appeals court in Perugia shelved the case, ruling that the statute of limitations had passed for any further prosecution. And once again, true justice grinds to a halt, caught up in the gears of Italy’s slow and messy system.

In the meantime, Spezi’s faulty thesis on the Monster of Florence case has landed him in court in several other jurisdictions, where ex-Florence homicide cop Michele Giuttari has been pressing forward with slander and defamation charges related to accusations made about him in his now discredited Monster of Florence yarn that Spezi and his American co-author, Douglas Preston made into a bestseller, pinning the blame on an innocent man in the process. [Bold added here]

And so the plot thickens.  Giuliano Mignini was made into a convenient media villain when a high-profile American was being tried across the courtroom from him . . . on trumped up allegations that have since fallen unceremoniously to the wayside. Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, who Mignini initially prosecuted, await the decision of their final appeal before the court of cassation in March 2015.

Back to analysing more from the crackpot Jay.

In short and to sum things up: Mignini has gotten his promotion which he valued above the liberty of the innocent; Mignini’s Narducci Trail investigations are over for good; the Monster of Florence convictions against Vanni and Lotti claiming their participation in a non-existent satanic sect are safely in the past; and the war between the Italian judiciary and Burlesconi is in a state of a truce.

For all of these reasons, I believe the pendulum of Italian politics has again swung in the direction of acquittal, and the Italian judiciary is once again in a position to finally recognize, and exonerate, Amanda Knox and Raffaelle Sollecito.

It may be a good idea for the crackpot Jay to not hold his breath on this. Cassation and the Florence appeal court have been the most hardline on this. And it was Judge Matteini with the police not Dr Mignini who drove the case forward in 2007 and 2008. As explained above, Dr Mignini had almost no guiding hand, and on 17 December 2007 gave Knox a real break. A shot to get herself off - which she herself tanked.

Prior to that long conversation with Knox on 17 December at her request, where Dr Mignini played eminently fair and she had to be stopped as she was incriminating herself, they had barely spoken any words. Once briefly at the house on the day of the crime, once briefly when Knox was shown the knives, and once briefly when Dr Mignini presided over the reading of her rights on 6 Nov. That was it. From the post directly below, see also this:

In a move serially misinterpreted by the dimwits of the Knox brigade, the prosecution, suspecting she was both mixed up and high on hard drugs, in effect offered Knox and her team a way to a lesser count, when they said that the murder could have been a taunting attack which spun out of control.

As explained near the top here, from 7 November it was Judge Matteini and Judge Ricciarelli, not Dr Mignini, in the saddle, and they got all of their information directly from the police. Prior to the Guede and Knox/Sollecito trials Dr Mignini did not guide the process, impossible though that seems for the Mellas/Fischer crackpots to believe.

These facts, and in conjunction with the ECHR soon to take up the conviction of Ms. Knox for Calumnia in the European Court of Human Rights, provides the Italian Court of Cassation, in March of 2015 when they hear the appeal from conviction of Knox and Sollecito, with the opportunity and incentive to quietly discharge the case, and reinstate the verdict of Judge Hellman, finding that Knox and Sollecito are innocent of any involvement in the murder of Meredith Kercher, and innocent of the crime of “˜staging a crime scene’ because the crime does not exist.

Reinstate Judge Hellmann?! He is being investigated for his suspect role in bending the 2011 appeal right now! Again, it may be a good idea for the crackpot Jay to not hold his breath on this.

The appeal to the ECHR in Strasbourg is dead in the water because Knox herself made up all the claims of the supposed violations of her human rights. She has ZERO case. Read this series here.

By the way, for his wild defamations and his contempt of court, Crackpot Jay opens himself to the exact-same charges Knox and Sollecito and Knox’s parents and Sforza all still face.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Are The Rank-Amateurs With Their Hooks In Knox Dividing Into Two Flocks Of Sheep?

Posted by Peter Quennell




Confusion Increasingly On Display

Publicly berating the Sollecitos, Kerchers, Italy and Europe has had a detrimental effect on Knox’s public persona?

So says Sophie in the forum text above. Smart take. But Clive Wismayer himself has posted some pretty wild accusations against Italian officials which absolutely dont help Knox at all. People like him should go.

Click here for more of those postings by those supposedly helping Knox. (Guede did it alone? Really?) The postings are a month old, but we hear the internal disputes are now way worse. Three obvious problems stand out.

1. The Sollecito Headache

They dont know as a group whether to try to hug Raffaele Sollecito and his family closer, or to nuke them, in the FOA’s usual mode. Some now incline one way, some the other, and it is splitting them apart.

The Sollecito backlash almost certainly isnt done yet. They dont like Knox at all, and further talk of resisting extradition and further demonizing of Italy and justice officials hardly helps them, and will see them back in front of the press.

In no circumstances will Bongiorno ever again let Sollecito get attracted back to the people who have their hooks in Knox - Bongiorno took the harder line at the press conference, and burying the very damaging claims stuffed by the Knox people into Sollecito’s book is sure on her radar now.

2. The Bloodmoney Headache

There’s rarely much money to be made legally out of trashing murder victims and their families and justice officials as the Bruce Fischers have set out to do. Amanda Knox did get a windfall payment out of her hapless book - but is THAT turning into a two-edged sword…

There’s nothing like a huge pot of money unfairly distributed to make people who feel used and unrewarded walk off. So says Clive Wismayer in the text. Knox is clearly acting cheap, maybe because she sees no career ahead, and may have squirreled much of her bloodmoney away for the reasons given here.

Some like Ted Simon seem to have had a very big payday, the lawyers and experts and Marriott and travel and hotels have all had to be paid-for. Media sources tell us that none of their reporters get within miles of Sollecito or Knox without a greedy hand coming out.

And Knox still has to pay the damages awarded to Patrick for maliciously wrecking his life, or risk more time inside.

Knox is to be charged for the false claims in her book on the same lines as Sollecito and the damages awarded could be huge. Knox’s publishers have their own liability, but may have been misled, and if they are made to pay damages, they could set their lawyers on Knox.

3. The False-Labels Headache

That “guilters” smear used freely in the text above is an albatross around their necks. It stops them seeing straight and being fully informed and (especially) trying to convince in reasonable terms.

Competent American lawyers and PR would have stopped Knox supporters painting themselves into such a corner long ago on the grounds that it just doesnt work. They dont know their enemy as a result.

What they are really up against is not only people posting translations and analyses on websites (people much more qualified than themselves) but also all the forces of justice in Italy and 90 percent of the population who clearly can see guilt.

The pro-Knox conspiracists are in fact a very small faction. The in-group at the core is a dozen or two at most. Perhaps a few hundred now who might lift a finger for Knox.

In contrast, those who see a case for guilt - and who revere the victim and Italy and its officials and system - are not a mere faction at all.  Between them, they are huge. Good smart reasonable people who are very well informed and are certainly not driven by hate.

A lot of what websites like this do, in a media-created vacuum of hard facts, is to simply pass on reliable information from Italy in competent translations of key documents and timely and comprehensive reports.

This “guilters” smear has blinded them to that, and so “garbage-in-garbage-out” and paranoid suspicions and ranting language have become their plagues.

And with no real help, Knox faces 28-plus years.


Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Knox Interrogation Hoax #1: Overview Of The Series - Multiple Knox Versions v One Stark Truth

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[Amanda Knox at trial on 28 February, the day Inspector Rita Ficarra testified]

1. A Guide To Posts In The Series

The Interrogation Hoax Series currently includes these 21 posts and there are several trial posts to come.

Click for Post: #1: Overview Of The Series - The Two Version of the 5-6 Nov 2007 Events

Click for Post: #2: Trial Testimony From Rita Ficcara On Realities 5-6 Nov

Click for Post: #3: More Defense Pussyfooting Toward Rita Ficcara, Key Witness

Click for Post: #4: More Hard Realities Fron Rita Ficcara, More Nervousness From Defense

Click for Post: #5: Key Witness Monica Napoleoni Confirms Knox Self-Imploded 5-6 Nov

Click for Post: #6: Sollecito Transcript & Actions Further Damage Knox Version

Click for Post: #7: Testimony Of Witness Lorena Zugarini On The Knox Conniption 5-6 Nov

Click for Post: #8: Testimony Of Interpreter Donnino On Events Night Of 5 November

Click for Post: #9: Officer Moscatelli’s Recap/Summary Session With Sollecito 5-6 Nov

Click for Post: #10: Why Prosecution And Defenses Never Believed Knox’s Version #1

Click for Post: #11: Why Prosecution And Defenses Never Believed Knox’s Version #2

Click for Post: #12: Proof Released That In 5-6 Nov Session Knox Worked On Names List

Click for Post: #13: The First Two Pre-Trial Opportunities Which Knox Flunked

Click for Post: #14: The Third Pre-Trial Opportunitty Which Knox Flunked

Click for Post: #15: Dr Mignini’s Knowledge Of Knox “Interrogation” Explained To Media

Click for Post: #16: The Fourth Pre-Trial Opportunity Which Knox Flunked

Click for Post: #17: Sollecito April 2008 Before Supreme Court Again Coldsholders Knox

Click for Post:#18: The Final Pre-Trial Opportunities Which Knox Flunked

Click for Post: #19: ALL Knox Q&A Sessions 2-6 November 2007 WERE Recorded #1

Click for Post: #20: ALL Knox Q&A Sessions 2-6 November 2007 WERE Recorded #2

Click for Post: #21: Illustrating How Batshit Crazy The Interrogation Hoax Has Become

It includes a lot of new translation of case transcripts only recently acquired. So one can say with a lot of confidence that this is The Real Thing and any other version is fake.

Remember Knox and Sollecito sat through all of the investigators’ pre-arrest testimony at trial, downhearted and apprehensive, and there were no smiles and few interruptions. Sollecito refused to get on the stand, so from his team there really was never a rebuttal. Knox HAD to get on the stand, for two days, because she had no other way to defend herself against the crime of falsely framing Patrick for murder.

Read the State’s scenario in Part 2 and Knox’s scenario in Part 3 below. Knox’s version inevitably weakened a lot under challenge, and it contradicted in many places what you can read here. So… She ended up serving three years. While on the stand she confirmed that she had been treated well, stiffing thousands of supporters duped into believing she was not.

2. Court-Accepted Events Of 5-6 November 2007

This is an overview of Knox’s so-called “interrogation” at Perugia’s central police station, the subject of the first ten posts.

It led to her arrest and three years served. To make this picture really firm we will quote a lot of the testimony at trial. The Case Wiki carries all of these transcripts, many in English translation, and more. 

Senior Inspector Rita Ficarra testified that she arrived back at the police station late on 5 November, and finds her way blocked by a cartwheeling Knox.

She rebukes Knox, who testily responds that she is tired of the investigation. Rita Ficarra tells Knox to go home and get some sleep. Knox testily refuses, and remains there.

Shortly after, Ficarra suggests to Knox that if she really wants to help, she could add to the list of possible perps - men who Meredith knew and who might have visited the house.

This was a recap/summary, a simple checking of facts with someone who might or might not be of help. This could have been done on a street corner or in a house by a single officer. It was not a witness or suspect interrogation. From the transcript:

Ghirga: “While this interrogation - let’s call it thus - was in progress, some colleagues arrive…”  Ficarra: “It was not an interrogation, Attorney.” Ghirga: “They are called recaps/summaries.

Knox eagerly agrees. So they begin on the list.

This goes slowly because of language problems, until an interpreter, Anna Donnino, arrives. In total only Knox and four others (three of them women) are present.

Knox builds a list of seven people and adds maps and phone numbers (placed in evidence) in a calm proceeding. These were the names: Peter Svizzero, Patrick, Ardak, Juve, Spiros, Shaki and “a South African [Guede]” who played basketball near the house.

At several points in the evening Knox is provided with refreshments. No voices are ever raised, no bathroom breaks are refused.

In a separate wing Inspector Napoleoni and a couple of colleagues are seeking facts from Sollecito. Shown conflicts between what he has said and what his phone records show, Sollecito backtracks, and declares that Knox went out alone on the night, and made him lie.

Napoleoni moves through the questura to share this with Ficarra and suggests to discuss the night of the attack with Knox in more detail and clarify all those who were present. Knox is not informed of Sollecito’s backtrack. She is asked for names on her phone and shares them. There is an outgoing to Patrick but no prior incoming. Knox is asked who Patrick is.

Suddenly, to the considerable surprise of others present, Knox has a yelling, head-clutching conniption (the first of several that night) and says “It’s him, it’s him, it was him, he killed her”. The session is halted.

Despite warnings she should not do so without a lawyer, Knox insists on a recorded statement which says she headed out to meet Patrick that night after he texted her. She accuses Patrick of killing Meredith. 

Efforts are made throughout the next several hours to try to help Knox to calm down. Knox is put on hold, given more refreshments, and made comfortable on some chairs so she might try to get some sleep.

A second session ending at 5:45 is intended as merely a formal reading of Knox’s legal status and her right to a lawyer, with Dr Mignini presiding. She is to be held as a material witness and for her own protection.

Again warned that she should not speak without a lawyer, and no questions can be asked, Knox still insists on a second spontaneous accusation culminating in a second recorded statement.

This also says she went out to meet Patrick that night, also accuses Patrick of killing Meredith, and now also hints that Sollecito may have been there. 

Just before noon, now under arrest and about to be taken to Capanne Prison, Knox insists on writing out at length a third statement this time in English.

She gleefully hands it to Rita Ficcara who cannot read it as she as no English. In the statement, Knox included this damning remark, without any mention of having been coerced: “The questions that need answering, at least for how I’m thinking are… 2. Why did I think of Patrik?”

Knox’s lawyers never ever substantially challenge this version. At trial they accept that there was no interrogation, leave standing that Knox insisted on all three statements, and dont ever pursue Knox’s claims that she was coerced.

Courts all noted that there is no mention in that third note of Knox having been coerced, although this note was her idea and she could put in it anything she liked. From this there never was any going back.

In July 2009 at trial, in face of days and days of prior investigator testimony, Knox brashly tried to substitute this scenario above with the one below. Of course she was disbelieved.

For the calunnia framing of Patrick Lumumba Judge Massei in 2009 sentenced her to a year more than Sollecito, amended by Judge Hellmann in 2011 to three years served.

The Supreme Court definitively overruled her calunnia appeal so for her false framing of Patrick she is a felon for life.

3. The Knox-Promoted Alternative Version

This will be the subject of many later posts. Though her precise claims vary and often contradict one another, Knox herself has on and off since November 2007 tried to blame the police for causing her conniption and her false accusation of Patrick for the death of Meredith.

Knox and her team failed to convince Supervising Magistrate Matteini, and the Ricciarelli review panel, in November 2007. Failed to convince Prosecutor Mignini in December 2007. Failed to convince the Supreme Court in April 2008. Failed to convince the Micheli court in late 2008. Failed to convince at trial 2009 and at appeal 2011. Failed to convince the Supreme Court in 2013.

As Knox’s team did not believe her, they may not have given this their hardest shot. Nevertheless the huge and very nasty Knox PR effort went full-bore ahead.

Read this post of 11 February 2009 which was about two weeks before the Knox “interrogators” were cross-examined at trial, and several months before Knox herself took the stand. Dozens of media reports repeated the Knox claims as if true.

Knox repeated them in her April 2013 book, and her December 2013 email to Judge Nencini, and her appeal to EHCR Strasbourg, and in some TV and newspaper interviews, including one with the Italian weekly Oggi which caused that paper legal harm.

This version has been blown up by Knox PR shills in internet posts, articles, TV interviews, and books. Among others propagating it have been Raffaele Sollecito (in his book), Doug Preston, Saul Kassin, Steve Moore (especially), John Douglas, Jim Clemente, Paul Ciolino, Michael Heavey, Greg Hampikian, Chris Halkidis, Mark Waterbury, Doug Bremner, Candace Dempsey, Nina Burleigh, Bruce Fischer, and many posters on the Knox sites and Fischer sites and on Ground Report.

Main claims included 50-plus hours of “interrogation”, numerous officers in teams, no food or drink, no sleep, no bathroom breaks, no lawyer, no recording, and much abuse and yelling and suggestions and threats. Way beyond anything even Knox herself and notably her own lawyers ever claimed. 

  • Here is Steve Moore claiming that around a dozen cops in rotating tag teams of two assaulted a starving and sleepless Knox over 20/30/40 hours, threatened her, and refused her a lawyer throughout.

  • Here is Saul Kassin claiming that Knox was interrogated over the entire night of 5-6 November, until she was finally broken and a coerced “confession” emerged - even though the “false confession” actually framed Patrick and was in reality a false accusation. That Kassin ignores.

  • Here are several former FBI profilers blatantly embellishing the same claims in a book, with (today) 60 five-star reviews.

And yet Knox’s own Italian lawyers specifically denied her accusations! No complaint against the police was ever lodged. All courts disbelieved her. Knox served her three years. But still the PR-driven hoax keeps resounding.

4. The Intended Course Of Our Series

Hopefully we will get this done in about 20 posts. Starting in the next post is trial testimony, the first from Inspector Ficarra, newly translated by the professional translator ZiaK.

Rita Ficarra presided over the first recap/summary with Knox (again, a recap/summary is not an interrogation) on 5-6 November and was later present when Knox was read her rights.

We’ll then post more newly-translated trial testimony of other police present at the central police station on the night, and what the magistrates in 2008 and 2008 and trial and appeal judges from 2009 to 2014 made of this.

Then we enter the alternative universe of the numerous conspiracy claims, extending to Sollecito’s 2012 book and Knox’s 2013 book, her lengthy email to Judge Nencini in 2014, and so to her appeal to Cassation, pending as of this date.


Saturday, February 01, 2014

Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz And Philly Lawyer Ted Simon Both Claim The Devil’s In The Details

Posted by Peter Quennell



Alan Dershowitz sees plenty of evidence against Knox. He really has absorbed the key details, and in this case, the devil is in the details.

Alan Dershowitz has spoken out quite accurately a number of times on the case previously, and he shows great respect for the carefulness of the Italian system.

Philadelphia lawyer and Knox advisor Ted Simon also thinks there is a devil in the details. Or rather, he did back in 2008 (below) before he got on the Knox payroll and his foolish mantra became “There is no evidence”.

Wrong. There is stacks of evidence that Knox was in that room - and it wasnt even tested for DNA.

  • Why was her lamp in the room? Why cannot she explain that? Why are there zero fingerprints? Who wiped them? Who moved Meredith’s body? How did Knox’s and Meredith’s blood get co-mingled? In half a dozen different locations? Outside a locked bedroom door?

  • Why are there footprints in blood outside the locked bedroom door of both Knox and Sollecito? Why do Guede’s shoeprints head straight out the front door? And if Knox didnt start to rearrange the crime scene, who staged the break-in, and why?

  • And why do the various presentations in closed court in 2009 (all-day testimony by crime-scene and autopsy experts and a 15-minute video recreating the attack)  which proved THREE attackers still remain unchallenged?

Those pesky details…


Thursday, January 02, 2014

“Popular Forensic Crime Writer Says AK Is Innocent” But Misconstrues Evidence Pointing To Guilt

Posted by FinnMacCool



That headline above is from a KOMONews report on Patricia Cornwell’s take on the case about seven weeks ago.

On her promotional tour for her latest novel (see the video above) Patricia Cornwell made the following comments about the pursuit of truth: “If you stumble upon a truth, I don’t know what case it is, maybe this is the old journalist in me, I feel I am obligated to say something about it…”

Many of us can sympathize with those words, particularly readers of a website devoted to securing justice for a young woman who was brutally murdered in 2007. Cornwell went on to make reference to this very case, bringing some of her own experience to bear as regards time of death:

One of the things that has frustrated me about [the Meredith Kercher case], they’ve made a great big deal about the victim’s stomach contents and how they placed the death at a certain time because her food had not really digested all that much.

It’s like, ‘Hello, when you go into flight or fight mode, your digestion either shuts down completely or at least it slows, because all the blood is going to your extremities so you can defend yourself or run.’ And if somebody is being assaulted, their digestion quits.

I’ve seen it in the morgue where somebody who ate 8-10 hours earlier - their food is exactly as they swallowed it.

Cornwell may be a talented writer, but she shows herself here to be a less than careful reader, because the point she makes here supports the prosecution case, and it undermines that of the defense.

It was of course the Knox/Sollecito defense teams who claimed that the victim’s stomach contents placed her death at an earlier time (to a point close to when their clients still had an alibi), while the prosecution successfully argued along the same lines as Patricia Cornwell, that stomach contents cannot be used to establish time of death with such precision.

Here is the way Knox herself describes the defense position in her memoir Waiting To Be Heard:

Meredith had been murdered by 10 P.M., based on her stomach contents, but the prosecutors invented a scenario in which Meredith was home alone between 9:30 P.M. and 11:30 P.M. According to their argument, the sphincter between the stomach and the small intestine tightens at the moment of trauma, and digestion temporarily stops. (WTBH: 222)

In other words, Patricia Cornwell’s expertise in this area leads her to agree with the prosecution’s argument, and undermines the case of the defense. Nevertheless, Cornwell claims to have followed the case closely, and to be of the opinion that Knox and Sollecito are innocent, with Rudy Guede the lone sexual predator.

The PR firm hired by Amanda Knox’s family (Gogarty-Marriott) will be pleased that such a high profile commentator has reached that conclusion, but they will also be hoping that people just read the headline quoted above, without looking too closely at the contradictory substance of Cornwell’s remarks.

Courts of law look at evidence; courts of public opinion listen to soundbites.

In the Meredith Kercher case, a succession of courts (with one annulled exception to date) have found, just as Patricia Cornwell’s experience suggests, that the bulk of the evidence in this case supports a guilty verdict for all three defendants.
 
Patricia Cornwell claims to care about truth and justice, and to support the rights of victims to have their stories told. It would be an honorable move on her part, then, to correct the impression given by her recent interview that her expertise supports the defense case rather than that of the prosecution. As Cornwell herself puts it:

The truth should never be hidden, particularly in heinous crimes. It’s never too late for it to come out even if we can’t prosecute anybody for it any more. We owe it to those who were brutalized, or assassinated, to tell the true story about what really happened.

She is of course far from the first expert to be misled by cherrypicked “facts”. See for example here.


Friday, December 06, 2013

After 6 Years Heavey Is Still Heedless Of His Errors Pointed Out Again & Again & Again

Posted by pat az




1. Overview of this post

Michael Heavey has a considerable record of interventions that seriously mislead.

He makes false claim after false claim after false claim. Often corrected, he heedlessly gravitates no closer to the truth.

This post corrects a misleading and dishonest letter from Heavey to President Obama copied to Congress of 16 May 2011.

1 Misleading interventions in 2008

During this year Heavey (then still a judge, though one who was merely elected - nothing compared to the rigorous process Italian judges must go through) sent three erroneous open letters (posted on the web and widely copied) to senior justice officials in Italy about the case.

TJMK posted on the errors in December 2008.

2 Misleading interventions in 2009

By way of interviews in the media, Heavey continued his campaign. He has claimed that his motives really are noble: in effect, Knox could have been his own daughter, though his daughter has distanced herself from this campaign.

3 Misleading interventions in 2010

One of the 2008 letters to Italy was sent on official judicial letterhead, as if he was speaking for the State of Washington. In 2010 the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct disciplined Heavey although it was only for an illegal use of the official letterhead, not for wrong claims.

The initial announcement was posted on here. The details of the charges were posted on here. The disciplinary penalty was posted on here.

4 Misleading interventions in 2011

In April 2011, one month prior to his misleading letter,  Heavey was a droning presence on a panel before an audience of 35 at Seattle University. His familiar talking points were again repeated.

It is cross-posted from my own website here.  Links to previous posts about Heavey on TJMK for the period 2008 to 2011 appear at the bottom of this post.

2. The 16 May 2011 letter to President & Congress

On May 16, 2011, Judge Heavey (now retired) apparently sent US President Barack Obama a letter regarding the Amanda Knox case. 

This document was retrieved from the King5.com news site under a search result for “Amanda Knox.” The subject of Judge Heavey’s letter was “Re: Failure of Rome Consular Officials to protect the rights of U.S. Citizen Amanda Knox.”

The new Heavey letter was written on letterhead “From the chambers of Judge Michael Heavey.” The address given is his house address.






The Judge charged that the State Department absolutely failed to look out for the rights of Amanda Knox. Nowhere in the letter does Judge Heavey actually address any of the evidence in the case.

Ten times in his letter, he charges consular officials failed to take action when they should have.

However, many of his points are false or misstate the events. In many instances, Judge Heavey is proven wrong by statements from Amanda Knox herself.

This letter, full of errors, was carbon copied to Members of Congress AND the Secretary of State (at the time, Hillary Clinton).

These mistakes would have known at the time Judge Heavey wrote his letter by using the interviews and documents available at that time.  This did not stop Judge Heavey from writing an error-laden letter to the President and Congress. These errors are detailed below.

Additional signatories to the letter (on letterhead from “from the chambers of Judge Michael Heavey”) include Friends of Amanda representative Thomas L. Wright, and author of “The Framing of Amanda Knox” Dr. Mark C. Waterrbury.






Judge Heavey had been admonished for using court resources and stationary as a part of his advocacy in the Amanda Knox case, as well as his public speeches while he was a sitting judge. 

The admonishment only covered the letters written to Italian court officials and prosecutors, using court stationary and court staff. The letter he apparently sent to Obama and congress was not included in the admonishment.

The following is a point by point review and rebuttal of the by-now admonished Judge Heavey’s Letter to President Obama and Congress

1. False brutal interrogation claims

The letter opens up with a summary of the argument- that this case was a prosecutor’s vendetta against Amanda Knox, and that her rights were violated, and Consular officials did nothing. The letter is arranged as a series of points, which are discussed below.

Judge Heavey writes: “Amanda Knox was arrested for the murder of her roommate after an all-night interrogation [...]. The Perugian Police denied her food and water, cuffed her on the back of the head, and, most importantly, prevented her from sleeping.”

However, Amanda Knox was not the one called into the station. Raffaele was; and they went right after having dinner!

A UK based paper had published the day before an article with quotes from Raffaele. Raffaele said he and Amanda went to a party on the night of the murder. Police were likely calling in Raffaele due to the conflicting stories.

Amanda’s “interrogation” didn’t start until at least 11pm. Police have testified she was offered food and water. She went to sleep after signing her second statement, at 5:45 am. There was a break between signing her first statement at 1:45 am and signing her second statement (after being warned by Dr Mignini to say nothing further without a lawyer) at 5:45 am.

Here is Amanda Knox:

“Around 10:30pm or 11pm Raffaele and I arrived at the police station after eating dinner at the apartment of one of Raffaele’s friends. It was Raffaele who the police called, not me, but I came with him to the Questura anyway while he was to be questioned for support, as he had done for me many times.” -Amanda Knox, letter to lawyers, 9 Nov 2007

“I signed my second “spontaneous declaration” at 5:45 AM [...]. I asked permissions to push two metal folding chairs together, balled myself into the fetal position, and passed out, spent. I probably didn’t sleep longer than an hour before doubt pricked me awake”¦ “  -Amanda Knox, Waiting to be Heard

To this day, Raffaele Sollecito has not corroborated Amanda Knox’s alibi in court.

2. False no-lawyer claim

Judge Heavey writes: “When a witness becomes a suspect, the police are obligated to appoint a lawyer”

Knox was not a suspect and the interview was merely a recap/summary session with someone who might have information as the defenses themselves agreed. Knox herself twice declined a lawyer before insisting on writing three statements out.

Prosecutor Mignini was interviewed by CNN ten days before Judge Heavey wrote his letter. In the interview, Mignini describes the questioning of Amanda:

“And thus her interrogation as a person informed of the facts was suspended by the police in compliance with Article 63 of the Italian Code of Criminal Procedure [c.p.p. - Codice di Procedura Penale], because if evidence appears that incriminates the person, the person being questioned as a person informed of the facts can no longer be heard, and we must stop. “Everyone stop! There must be a defense attorney [present]”. And thus the police stopped and informed Amanda” -

Prosecutor Mignini, CNN interview, May 6 2011 (Ten days prior to Judge Heavey’s letter)

Thus, it was known on national television in the US what the sequence of events was. This did not stop Judge Heavey from writing an error-laden letter to congress.

3. False no-recording claim

Judge Heavey writes: “Article 141 of the CCP requires that every interrogation of a person in custody (for any reason) must be fully recorded by audio or audiovisual means”

However, Amanda Knox was not in custody during her questioning on Nov 5th & 6th. She was not a suspect, and this was not a suspect interview. She merely eagerly listed seven names. She was only at the station because Raffaele was called:

“It was Raffaele who the police called, not me, but I came with him to the Questura anyway while he was to be questioned for support, as he had done for me many times. “

-Amanda Knox, Letter to Lawyers, 8 Nov 2007

4. False no-interpreter claim

Judge Heavey writes: “Amanda spoke little Italian, yet was not allowed to have an interpreter to assist her with understanding the questions put to her, the charges against her, or anything else.”

Two sources refute Judge Heavey’s point- official court records of the questioning, and Amanda Knox’s own statement on trial and in her book:

From Court documents

“...assisted by the English-speaking interpreter Anna Donnino” -Signed 1:45 AM statement.

“....assisted by the English-speaking interpreter Anna Donnino” -Signed 5:45 AM statement.

And from Amanda Knox:

November 2nd: “”¦they brought in an english-speaking detective for hours two through six.”  -Waiting to be Heard

November 4th: “AK: So, it seems to me that Laura and Filomena were there, but they had arrived with other people, while I was in the car with the police and an interpreter, that’s it.” -Trial Testimony

November 5th/6th: “The interpreter, a woman in her forties, arrived at about 12:30 A.M.” -Waiting to be heard

5. False vengeful prosecutor claim

Judge Heavey simply engages in a character assassination of Prosecutor Mignini:

“[...] Mignini was well known in Italy for a bizarre theory [...] under investigation for abuse of office [...] previously driven American journalist, Douglas Preston out of Italy[...]”

Judge Heavey, Dr. Waterbury, and FOA representative Thomas Wright conclude point five with:

“Consular officials knew Mr. Mignini was prosecuting Amanda Knox. They knew he had been charged with abusing his office. They knew of the bizarre theory that he pursued, from which the charges arose. They also knew he was under tremendous pressure to achieve some vindication to save face. Why did consular officials do nothing?”

The trumped-up charges against Prosecutor Mignini pursued by a rogue prosecutor ad rogue judge in Florence were overturned by the Florence appeal court and sacthingly roasted by the Supreme Court. Dr Mignini (now Deputy Attorney General for Umbria) was under no pressure at all. See this post here.

6. False satanic myth claim

Heavey and others raise the satanic ritual myth quoting Prosecutor Mignini as stating at the October preliminary hearing, “the crime was a sexual and sacrificial ritual in accordance with the rites of Halloween.”

The ONLY source for this quote is a defense lawyer for Sollecito who made it up. Judge Heavey then turns around and uses this metaphor himself:

“these and other statements should have shouted to consular officials that Amanda was a defendant in what had become a witch trial, being prosecuted by a delusional prosecutor. Why did consular officials do nothing?”

7. False US Embassy claim

Despite Heavey’s claims, US consular officials WERE monitoring the case, as revealed in FOI-released documents requested by journalist Andrea Vogt. She released these documents in a May 2013 post on her website.

This is clear: consular officials regularly visited Knox and tracked case developments. The following diplomats’ names appear on the cables: Ambassador Ronald Spogli, Deputy Chief   Elizabeth Dibble and Ambassador David Thorne, U.S. Embassy Rome.







The US Embassy cables that were released were dated: Nov, 07; Dec 08; Feb 09; May 09; Aug 09; Nov 09; Dec 09. No other documents were released.

Consular staff visited Amanda Knox on November 12 2007, and noted her lawyers had already visited with Knox.  The charges against Amanda Knox as stated by the US Embassy were:

  * Participation in Voluntary Manslaughter with aggravating circumstances of cruelty
  * Participation in sexual assault
  * Simulated robbery
  * Slander
  * Possession of weapons
  * Aggravated theft.

Over four years from late 2007 to late 2011 we estimate that the US taxpayer paid $400,000 for the Embassy’s monitoring of Knox.


The Rise And Fall Of “Frank Sfarzo” And How “Sfarzogate” Ripples On And On

Posted by Ergon



[Image is from Francesco Sforza’s early days in Seattle last year when he felt he was riding very high]


December 06, 2013. Francesco Sforza also known as Frank Sfarzo is due to appear today in a Florence criminal court.

He is charged with aggravated defamation (art. 595 of the Italian Criminal Code) against the Deputy Prosecutor General for Umbria (Perugia’s region)  Dr Giuliano Mignini, because he is a very senior officer of the court, with the alleged intention of obstructing justice on Knox’s behalf.

The charges refer to multiple accusations of criminality Sforza made online on his now hidden or defunct blog “Perugia Shock”. A prison term is unlikely if found guilty at this one trial, but the problem is that he faces a trial for violence against police in Perugia as well.

Who is Frank Sfarzo? Is he “a Perugian blogger and investigative journalist” and “personable black haired man with intense brown eyes”? (Candace Dempsey, who relied extensively on his personal contacts and blog for her book “Murder In Italy”)

Or as journalist Andrea Vogt wrote in a May 27, 2009 Seattle PI article,

Dempsey was one of the first U.S. bloggers to post key court documents. (Sourced from Sfarzo) She is now writing a book on the case. The other defense site is Perugia Shock, the first blog about the case, which started Nov. 2, 2007. Perugia Shock’s comment threads are home to some of the most heated Knox-related exchanges online.

Perugia Shock is hosted on a California server and financed by an American firm, according to the Perugia-based blogger who covers the case and operates the site under the alias “Frank Sfarzo.

“Also known as Frank Sfarzo, this home-spun blogger set up his blog “Perugia Shock” the day after (sic) Meredith’s body was found. The Knox family initially relied on his local intelligence, and he exchanged videos and information with pro-Amanda Seattle blogger Candace Dempsey”. Source: Darkness Descending page 324.

The journalist Barbie Nadeau has this to say about Sforza in “Angel Face” pages-89-91:

The first blog dedicated to the crime, Perugia Shock, was set up on November 02, 2007, the day Meredith’s body was discovered. The blogger, Frank Sfarzo, a skeletal man with a waxed crew cut, ran a student flophouse in town and believes that he missed a call from Meredith while she was looking for lodging.

When I later asked him in an e-mail why he started the blog, he explained the connection and described how Meredith had looked at the coroners: “Seriously, she was so beautiful and sweet, she seemed to be alive, with the mascara on her eylashes (sic), just like ready to go out.

“Sfarzo hid behind the handle, “Frank the blogger,” and he would never confirm whether he actually saw Meredith on the autopsy table or simply saw the coroner’s photos. (He saw the photos, and obtained copies) He ingratiated himself with several clerks and cops around town and, curiously, often had a document no one else could get or a scoop that beat out the rest of the press.

He started out as an objective observer, slightly sympathetic to Meredith, but became a rabid proponent of Amanda’s innocence. He was the quintessential blogger—a smart, cryptic, insomniac. Even the chief prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini, read his posts.

Mignini always believed that Frank’s blog was intellectually inspired and financially subsidized by Mario Spezi, the Italian journalist who covered the Monster of Florence serial killer for La Nazione. During the 1970’s and 80’s, several couples were murdered as they made love in their cars in the foothills around Florence. Spezi followed the investigation for years and pinned his reputation on a theory of the case that Mignini disputed. Eventually, Mignini had Spezi jailed for obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence.

Note: this is how the American fiction writer Douglas Preston got involved with Spezi, and latched on to the Meredith Kercher murder case as a way of getting back against Mignini, also supporting Frank Sfarzo behind the scenes.

Why is Frank Sfarzo so important to this case? It is about public perception about the guilt, or innocence of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, and how he was the source of many of the myths about the case and prosecutor Giuliani Mignini that have made it into the mainstream media. Yes, he had many police files, improperly obtained, and insecurely kept.

This article is the first of a series of posts about his activities in that regard, the true story of his so called “˜persecution’ by Dr Mignini, and the financial and other support he received from the supporters of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, and their families. He even hid his relationship with OGGI magazine.

It reveals why he really fled Italy to America, attempting to get a green card in the process, and the many cases of assault that are still outstanding against him. It details the story of his arrests for assault in Perugia, Hawaii, and Seattle, and the circumstances of his expulsion from Canada.

It will tell how he received tens of thousands of dollars in “˜donations’ from prominent supporters of Knox and Sollecito funneled through Bruce Fischer’s organizations “Injustice in Perugia” and “Injustice Anywhere” as well as his and other people’s PayPal accounts (I have the details) And it will detail the behind the scenes efforts to influence the case using Frank Sfarzo as a source for the allegations against Mignini through websites like IIP and Ground Report, which then made its way into the media.

This series will also reveal much about Frank Sfarzo, the man. Someone who believed primarily in Knox’s guilt (with Sollecito as the roped in sex-slave) it shows a flawed being willing to compromise himself to make money, and also, fulfill his long held dream to have “˜books written and movies made’.

In the course of this investigation, I met with and interviewed many previous supporters who now wish they had never met him, and some, who even, conclude that his reporting on the case was based on self-serving lies. The behavior of those that enabled him also comes under scrutiny, and, their attempts to intimidate people into not speaking up about his actions. 

They indeed, had much to hide.

This report is based on the hundreds of posts I made on him at PMF dot Net, with much help from the posters and editors there and at PMF dot Org. It was heartening to see the cooperation between the two sites and thanks are due to them, and also to Peter Quennell, who first invited me to join the Meredith Kercher community three years back (I’d been posting on the case at Huffington Post previously)

What will happen to Frank in court? I do not know, but it does appear, that the falsehoods he spread are beginning to unravel. I see he has surfaced again, after hiding from the authorities for so long. Reporting on Bruce Fischer’s blog, he writes “they attack me for speaking up”. No, I’m sorry. In this, as it always has been, the blogger Francesco Sforza, also known as Frank Sfarzo, is the author of his own misfortune.

Part II of the series, “The Sfarzo~Gate Papers”, will be published here next week. ~Ergon


[Below: This picture has a story behind it. Frank Sfarzo stayed almost two months at the Mellas household, and was later shunted off to various supporters when he made a sexual move on Amanda Knox.]


Monday, October 28, 2013

Some Hard Truths Sollecito PR Shill Sharlene Martin Omits In Her Misleading Invite To The Congress

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters





Dear Sharlene Martin:

Please dont say we didnt warn you before. In this notice of a Congressional “briefing” (read: paid highly misleading PR) you once again gloss over a number of hard truths.

You might well be advised to head to higher ground. The US Congress and the Administration will soon be left in no doubt about the correct facts of the case against Sollecito and Knox, as Italian law enforcement start to reach out to their counterparts in the FBI, and as they charge mischief-makers with obstruction of justice in the case, and as more and more reporters in the US and UK media wisen up.

Against your client, this was always a very strong case. And this alone has your client cooked. Here are some other corrections and correct background to the false claims you have just made.

    1) Senator Cantwell was already burned by associating too closely with your radioactive group. She spoke out daffily for Amanda Knox several years ago - and then, duly warned, she went quiet again. Ask her congressional staff for the story to that. And read our past heads-ups for Senator Maria Cantwell here and here.

    2) Your client Raffaele Sollecito wrote the most defamatory and misleading book about an Italian case in many years. Key claims have been repudiated by his own father on Italian TV. As his case is ongoing Sollecito is meant to fight it in the (very fair) Italian courts, not poison public opinion to lean on those courts. Sollecito is being considered for charges of obstruction of justice for the book and much else in the media, and you and the publishers may be charged too.

    3) This is NOT a third trial. It is a re-run of a first appeal. If the very well-run and highly decisive Massei trial of 2009 had been run in the US or UK it is hard to see what grounds if any, any appeal judge would accept for appeal. Your client would be near the end of his sixth year in prison. And it is known that the Hellmann Appeal and the DNA consultancy were both bent by Sollecito’s and Knox’s own teams (corrective measures have been taken with more to come) so the 6-year process is essentially your own team’s fault.

    4) John Douglas’s highly self-serving chapters on the case are among the silliest ever written in a crowded field. The very vain Douglas starts with the totally false premise that Knox was forced to confess after many many hours, and from there on out it is all downhill. He takes a faux position essentially identical to that of Saul Kassin. Read about Kassin’s own spurious and highly self-serving take on Knox’s “forced confession” here and here and here.

    5) Steve Moore lacks the correct expertise to analyse this case and he was never the ace crime scene investigator you claim. A dozen or more posts here show how unreliable and rambling he is. Among other things he appeared on a disastrous panel (with a team almost identical to yours - and an audience that peaked at 35) at Seattle University a couple of years ago. Read what two very astute lawyers thought of his man-in-a-bubble performance here and here.

    6) The hapless Michael Heavey was officially reprimanded for his bizarre intervention in the case. He was also on the disaster of a panel at Seattle University. He has got the basic facts wrong again and again and again. Here he is getting the facts wrong five years ago.  Here is his association with Frank Sforza, a key mis-stater of the key facts of the case and serial defamer of the Italian officials involved, who he was financially supporting - and who now faces three separate trials of his own.

    7) And the hapless John Q Kelly? This is a tough field in which to come out ahead but John Q was perhaps the silliest talking head for Knox and Sollecito on TV. He babbled on in the media about a railroading that never took place. Read how even his own colleagues considered him to have been duped here and here.

A Congressional briefing panel that is not made in heaven, that is for sure. Stay tuned. There is more to come.




Thursday, October 17, 2013

When You Get In A Deeeep Hole, Best To Stop Digging: Did Anyone Think To Tell Knox?

Posted by James Higham



[Florence courts in winter; how they might look when the appeal verdict comes down]


Not sure the Knox machine quite understands what trouble their charge is in.

She’s already done three years for calumny and is at it again.  Her recent slurs on Italian courts and the police have brought further litigation down on her head.

Then there is the little matter of the court award to Patrick Lumumba for false accusation of murder, which she has not paid to this day, despite earning huge amounts from her fiction work published in America.  Every one of us knows what happens when we default.

See how this stands up as her reason not to pay up:

I have already appealed to him to tell him that I didn’t go to the Police Headquarters with the aim of accusing him of a murder he did not commit. What was dragged out of me was dragged out from me without my wanting to harm him.

I only wanted to help and I was completely confused so that I didn’t know what was true and what was not true at that point. Therefore I didn’t want to harm him. I “¦ (MAXI-SIGH) “¦ His.. His name came out only because my mobile phone was there and we exchanged some SMS.

She says: “Vorrei che lui [Patrick]può capire in che situazione io mio trovavo.”  I’d like him to understand the situation I’m in.  Pardon?  A man wrongfully banged-up in prison and owed $80 000 by her should understand the situation she is in?

She was asked what happened and answered, “My best truth is “¦”  My best truth?  She invented an entire situation with Mignini which simply did not happen according to eyewitnesses, including her translator.  Simply did not occur that way.  She volunteered a statement but in the light of subsequent events weeks later, changes that, upon advice, to her being browbeaten.

Hence the calumny charges.

Main poster Stilicho adds:

Knox can’t even be honest about her time in prison. She was not in prison because she was wrongly convicted for murder but because of the calunnia she committed against Patrick and as a precaution against her fleeing the country or killing someone else before her trial was completed. She sang and danced and was frequently visited by politicians and other dignitaries. By all accounts, it was the most productive time in her life.

When confronted with her lies, she says, “I was confused.”  Sorry ““ courts don’t buy such things.  They deal in truth or non-truth.  None of this “it seemed to me”.  She interprets this real-world reaction as hurtful, hateful to Amanda.

In short, she appears to be emotionally or socially retarded, not fully understanding what she has got herself into.  Should she be released on a technicality, as Casey Anthony was, she still faces years inside because of the libel and slander which is piling up.  Her own people are also being litigated.  Peter Quennell:

We don’t see any sign that David Marriott or Robert Barnett or Ted Simon have the slightest clue about Italian law. They are all liable too for the felonies in the book and all of them could be charged too by the Bergamo judge.

Her advisors need to shut her up before she makes it any worse for herself.  In that accusation of Lumumba, she said she was there, in the next room with her hands over her ears because she couldn’t bear Meredith’s screams.  It was a clear description, clear enough for the police to arrest Lumumba and put him in prison.  The screams coincided with those the neighbours reported.

If one was to substitute Guede and Sollecito, whose bloodied footprint was on the bathmat, for Lumumba, that might be close to the truth of what happened, it would explain no DNA found of hers in the actual room..

Except that there are multiple mixed blood traces and her DNA twice now on the murder weapon, along with her panicked reaction when the cutlery drawer was opened, plus her words to her mother that they’d found a knife and that she was very worried about it.  Why would she need to worry if she wasn’t there?

She might be able to explain away the pattern of where her DNA was found on the knife ““ a stabbing grip near the blade ““ as a weird way of cutting vegetables.  Then there was Sollecito’s admission over Meredith’s DNA in the scratch as an accident when he pricked Meredith in the hand whilst cooking at his place.

Except Meredith had never been to his place.  And he still maintains that Knox was not with him that evening at his own home.

So, despite the sweeping statements by her minders of “no evidence”, which are then syndicated all over the world by their media entourage, inc the Wail, there’s actually copious evidence.  After you get past the conflicting stories, the cellphone activity and the witness identifications, there is still the matter of the mixed blood traces.

There was no blood the night before, by Knox’s own admission.  Meredith was out that early evening, the two had not been together.  These are the sorts of minor anomalies she can only explain with “it seemed to me” or “I imagined”.

Then there is the little matter of the hand marks on the neck, too small for the men although there were other marks too.

The horror for Amanda Knox, in her infantilized state ““ look at her handwriting ““ is that she cannot see consequences, not unlike a child.  She doesn’t understand that you can’t go killing someone and get away with it.  She’s constantly on about being seen as a good person, as every child and every adult would like and so many of us do not see it that way.

Like a child, she just wants it all to go away and that childlike appearance is what strongly drags in most people’s sympathy ““ here is a State and nasty people worldwide being cruel and mean to a young innocent.  Yet she’s getting on for 30 now and is no child.  And she still spreads the libel with no thought of consequences, just as she saw no consequences on that night, just the there and then.

The role of drugs cannot be downplayed in this effect on her mind.  She’s almost a poster girl for today’s youth and the early sex and drugs, with the dumbing-down at school at the same time.

She’s a mess and it’s hard not to sympathize with that and want help for her “¦ except for one pesky problem.  She’s a convicted murderess.

The reaction to these posts will be sympathy for her and anger at the bully who is writing it.  It should actually be disgust at what she did and neutrality towards the reporter writing the post.  How does it shift from one to the other?

Natural chivalry.  Yet in this sympathy for her, there is still the question of her victim choking on her blood once the screams had stopped.  And that is what maintains our interest in the case ““ it is unresolved as yet, it is close to the end.

She might get off on a technicality if her lawyers are good enough.  She’ll then go into that limbo state of Casey Anthony and all the other broken children of today, the blame for which many of us lay at the door of Them and their narrative.

For sure there is a sadness to it, which a new commenter, David Berlin mentions:

Knox is a hamster on a wheel, in a cage, endlessly condemned to repeating the same nonsense. In an earlier post I saw her as a character in Beckett’s “˜Play’ and the more she opines the more apt that seems. Endlessly repeating a story, fixed in her lines, unable to find an exit.

Commenter Goodlife writes:

Her life now does not seem all that different from her days in prison in that most aspects of her life seem to be under the control of someone else. But does anyone believe that she is any happier or more content now? She is now nothing more than a performing monkey, dishing out the script given to her by her supposed nearest and dearest.

An Italian commented:  “Young Italian actors should learn from Amanda Knox. She is a great actress.”

She’d stare at that comment in horror.  She uses the term bambina for herself, rather than ragazza, sheltering within this childlike status.  At 20.  At nearer 30 she is still doing it.  She said in an interview that she was la più piccola [the littlest] instead of la più giovane [the youngest].  Littlest evokes more sympathy.

She’s in a prison of her mother’s and her estranged father’s making.

She’s caught up in an international horror story and she’s the leading player.  This will always garner sympathy.

She asks why everyone hates her.  They don’t hate her ““ that’s child talk.  They are appalled by the machine she has behind her and their antics and believe she should take responsibility and start paying off the debt to the dead girl.

Meredith by name.


Monday, August 19, 2013

Knox-Mellases And Candace Dempsey Display Extreme Contempt Of Court On CNN

Posted by Hopeful



[Candace Dempsey and Frank Sforza who in court soon may disavow her numerous false accusations]


Horrible horrible CNN story tonight on “Crimes of the Century”, in which they featured the Knox case. CNN shredded the case with dozens and dozens of half-truths and outright errors.

They did show some sympathy to Meredith using decent photos of her and some complimentary verbiage from various speakers, but CNN aimed to convince viewers that poor Amanda was persecuted by evil tyrants bound to medieval mindsets. They actually delighted in casting aspersions on Mignini for being an honest and devout Catholic as if that is some horrid slur.

The miserable program which aired at 8:00 pm Central Standard Time her on Sunday night in the U.S. showcased the malevolent faces of Candace Dempsey, Anne Bremner, Nina Burleigh and Dr. Mark Waterbury spewing out garbage and error, and they gave them so much face time on camera, it was awful.

The video footage of Mignini was trash photography with angles and poses meant to make him look bad, but it was an utter fail. His dignity was intact despite the worst they could throw at him. Yet it wasn’t hard to make the pro-Knox forces look ignorant on the show. Dempsey almost sounded mentally afflicted and looked very odd while Anne Bremner couldn’t say much with a straight face nor stop nervously batting her eyelids.

Everyone on the Knox bandwagon looked positively shifty. Thankfully Curt and Edda did not star in this production much, we were spared their serial nonsense. They were shown more as background figures.

Even Amanda was treated rather poorly despite the theme of “poor girl, she’s innocent and has been railroaded”, because they took bits and pieces from her recent TV interview in her sleeveless blue dress and they pulled out her most irrelevant and salacious remarks loosed from any context. They shredded her comments, using such junk as her remark that she was sexually active but not sexually deviant and thet she wasn’t dressed in leather and cracking a whip.

Tawdry stuff, and nothing in context. They used, “I wish I’d stood up to them more” and never showed her squirming and looking discomfited at many questions. No, the truth wasn’t well presented.

They only showed Mr. John Kercher once early in the show in a fleeting shot. Later they used footage of Arline Kercher alone, and had her saying, “We need to know what happened.” It was an absolute debacle of a news program if truth were the aim, and a total assault on Mignini from start to finish. They attacked all the DNA evidence. Attorney Ghirgha was shown briefly and so was Dalla Vedova surrounded by the press pack with microphones at his mouth.

Rudy Guede was again made to take the brunt of the entire murder, and CNN planted the false idea that he had his sentence shortened due to rolling over on Knox or cutting some deal with the prosecution. Courtroom scenes of the first trial in Perugia were abundant, with Sollecito being paraded in with his long hair and white jacket in the early days. Bongiorno was shown hugging him after the acquittal, and Amanda’s crying jag as she was acquitted.

The cameras were fixed on Mignini making him look like a sinister plotter of retribution, it was all so predictably malicious and unfair toward him. A complete abomination instead of accuracy in reporting.

I was appalled at the audacity and insolence of Candace Dempsey when she said Mignini is the kind of man who after finding a lovely British girl on the floor in blood could make up an entire scenario of a sex crime out of his own fantasies. She deviously left out the glaring fact that Meredith’s body was found with physical signs of sexual assault and half-nude. What a con artist she is.

The only piece of truth in the entire episode was a trite one when the male speaker (forgot his name, Darren? Kolinky?) he said Knox was extremely stupid. STUPID. As if we didn’t know that already. This grinning fellow seemed a silly adjunct to the other silly billy goats gruff namely Bremner, Dempsey, Waterbury, Burleigh. I give it a zero. It was a pathetic attempt to cover the Kercher case as one of the “Crimes of the Century”. An epic fail, and nobody fooled but the self-deceived cast of the show.

The program was nauseating to anyone who knows the facts. Nina Burleigh lamented the celebrations in the street at midnight when Knox’s guilty sentence was announced, as they yelled in Italian “American assassin!” Burleigh claimed it was as close as she’d ever get to seeing a mass mob use a scapegoat, this time the dear sweet Amanda, shudder.

Nina Burleigh and the other two women were set up as some kind of ludicrous experts. The more contained yet equally in the wrong Dr. Waterbury said that Meredith’s DNA was not on the knife. It was just one outlandish falsehood after another.


Friday, August 09, 2013

How Greg Hampikian Abuses Two Positions of Trust In Serially Misrepresenting The Hard Evidence

Posted by The Machine




Overview

Greg Hampikian holds two positions of trust: he is a teacher of biology at Boise State University in Idaho (population 1.6 million) and he is the local representative for Idaho of the Innocence Project,

His use or misuse of his Innocence Project mantle via a case way outside his official area in Italy to leverage his prominence is particularly questionable. Few Italians know who he is or can read him and so challenge him, and Italy’s justice system probably allows less false convictions than any other, though he never makes that fact clear.

This post explains how the investigations of local Innocence Project representatives are not always reliable - and how Hampikian for his own benefit serially misrepresents the evidence in Meredith’s case. 

Michael Naughton

The Innocence Project is mostly professionally staffed by cool-headed, competent law and genetics professors who are more interested in promoting truth and justice than their own place in world history. But as another case in the news also shows, it doesn’t always work out that way.

Yesterday’s breaking news shocked many in England. Convicted killer Simon Hall finally admitted that he was indeed guilty of the murder in 2001 of Joan Albert, a pensioner who was savagely stabbed five times.

Simon Hall had been vehemently protesting his innocence for 12 years.  There are some striking similarities between this case and the Meredith Kercher case.

  • The perp’s mother convinced that her child is innocent of murder? Yes.

  • Politicians, legal experts, journalists and members of the public convinced that person convicted of murder is innocent? Yes.

  • Television documentary casting doubt on the conviction? Yes.

  • Criticisms of police investigation and claims there is no DNA evidence and no motive? Yes.

  • Website set up in order to convince the public that the person convicted of murder is actually innocent? Yes.

  • An academic staff member of the Innocence Project leaps on board and starts pontificating before closely looking? Yes.

Simon Hall’s confession has made his most adamant defender Dr. Michael Naughton, the local director of the Innocence Project at Bristol University (image below). look like a real dupe, and may have destroyed his credibility as an expert and a campaigner on wrongful convictions.

Dr. Naughton long campaigned hard for the release of Simon Hall, and called repeatedly for his conviction to be quashed. Simon Hall’s public reversal will set back both the Innocence Project and his own career.



[Above: the hapless Dr. Michael Naughton, made to look a fool by a manipulative murderer]

Greg Hampikian

Greg Hampikian has been widely observed on TV and in print, and in front of his own students and other assemblies, proclaiming that he solved the DNA part of the case and was key to the defenses achieving Knox’s part-acquittal and Sollecito’s acquittal in 2011 (annulled last March).

Hampikian holds two positions of trust: he is a teacher of biology at Boise State University in Idaho (population 1.6 million) and he is the local representative for Idaho of the Innocence Project, which New York law teachers Barry Sheck and Peter Neufeld co-founded to ensure correct outcomes in American DNA-based cases.

Whenever Greg Hampikian speaks about the Meredith Kercher case, his university and his Innocence Project credentials are invariably emphasized. This is presumably to convince a generally ill-informed or wrongly informed public that he is the most credible expert, whose opinion that Amanda Knox is innocent can be trusted completely.

But can Greg Hampikian really be trusted when it comes to the Meredith Kercher case?

The simple answer to this question is no. When you listen to or read Greg Hampikian’s comments about the case in the interviews, it becomes abundantly clear that:

  • He is ignorant of most of the basic facts of the case.

  • He hasn’t read the official court documents in their entirety, but has instead relied on Amanda Knox’s family and supporters for his information without bothering to do any fact-checking.

  • He incessantly downplays or misrepresents the hard evidence against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito and overstates that against Rudy Guede.

  • He doesn’t limit himself to his own narrow area of expertise, but speaks about other aspect of the case and gets basic facts wrong.

  • Like so many in the seedy defense operation he ridicules his counterparts in Italy, most of whom are much better qualified in criminal-case DNA than he is.

Hampikian and Knox

In ignoring most of the evidence against Amanda Knox, he repeatedly pretends there was only ONE hard piece of evidence against her. He claimed in an interview with John Curly on Kiro FM that the ONLY evidence that implicates Amanda Knox is the DNA on the large knife.

You only have to read the Massei report to know that this is not true. For sake of brevity, I’ll summarise just some of the multitude of evidence that Hampikian doesn’t even mention in his media interviews, let alone refute.

1. Amanda Knox’s DNA was found mixed with Meredith’s blood in three places in the bathroom: on the ledge of the basin, on the bidet, and on a box of Q Tips cotton swabs (192).

2. Knox’s DNA and Meredith’s DNA was also found mingled together in a bare bloody footprint revealed by Luminol in the hallway and a mixture of Knox’s DNA and Meredith’s blood was also found in Filomena’s room (380).

3. Three bare bloody footprints were revealed by Luminol in the hallway and one in Amanda Knox’s room were attributed to Knox (247).

4. Hampikian doesn’t say anything about Amanda Knox’s false and malicious accusation against Diya Lumumba which Massei concluded was done to lead investigators down the wrong track (389).

5. Hampikian ignores the evidence that shows that the break-in at the cottage was staged such as the corroborative eyewitness testimony that stated there were shards of glass on top of clothes and objects on Filomena’s room (53) and the fact that Rudy Guede’s bloody shoeprints led straight out of Meredith’s room and out of the cottage (44) which indicates that he didn’t stage the break-in in Filomena’s room or go into the blood-spattered bathroom after Meredith had been stabbed.

6. Hampikian doesn’t address Amanda Knox’s numerous lies never mind provide a plausible innocent explanation for them.

Judge Massei outlined numerous examples of these lies in his report: she falsely claimed she received a text message from Diya Lumumba when she was at Sollecito’s apartment (322); there are various discrepancies in her statements about the time she and Sollecito ate dinner (78); her claim that she and Sollecito had a peaceful night of continuous and prolonged sleep is contradicted by Sollecito’s activity on his computer, the turning on of his cell phone and the testimony of Marc Quintavalle (85). Hampikian doesn’t explain why Amanda Knox gave multiple conflicting alibis.

7. Hampikian has said nothing about the Umbria Procurator General Galati’s observation that Knox knew specific details of the crime that she could have only known if he had been present when Meredith was killed. I suspect Greg Hampikian is blissfully ignorant of Galati’s appeal.

  • According to multiple witnesses at the police station, Knox said she was the one who had found Meredith’s body, that she was in the wardrobe, that she was covered by the quilt, that a foot was sticking out, that they had cut her throat and that there was blood everywhere. Knox wasn’t in a position to have seen anything when the door was kicked in.

  • Dr Galati pointed out in his appeal that Knox described the spot where Meredith was murdered and described the state of the body, the room and the injury to Meredith’s throat. He concluded that Knox knew everything because she was in the room at the time of the murder and when Meredith was left in the condition in which she was discovered. The judges at the Italian Supreme Court who annulled the acquittals also noted that Knox had known these details and that Judge Hellmann had ignored these clues.



[Above: Barry Sheck and Peter Neufeld, who co-founded and manage the Innocence Project]

Hampikian and Sollecito

Greg Hampikian also ignores the other key pieces of evidence against Raffaele Sollecito.  In an interview that was posted on the KPLU 88 website Hampikian made the astonishing claim that none of the evidence collected from the crime scene belonged to either Knox or Sollecito:

All of the evidence taken from the crime scene belonged to either Meredith Kercher or this guy Rudy Guide (sic). There’s no reason to invoke (sic) these other two people,” Hampikian said.

Really?! This bizarre claim was made even though Hampikian essentially conceded that Sollecito’s DNA was on Meredith’s bra clasp in an open letter he signed along with a number of other scientists:

DNA testing of this item using the Identifiler kit showed a mixture of DNA, with the majority of DNA consistent with that of the victim. Raffaele Sollecito could not be excluded as a source of a minor component of DNA with peaks of approximately 200 rfu. Y-STR testing confirmed that the male haplotype detected was consistent with the DNA of Raffaele Sollecito.

Hampikian goes on to claim that the bra clasp was contaminated, without offering any scenario or proof of this. He ignores all the other evidence against Sollecito. Again for the sake of brevity, I will briefly outline some of the key pieces of this evidence.

1. Two bloody footprints were attributed to Raffaele Sollecito. One of them was revealed by Luminol in the hallway and the other was on the blue bathmat in the bathroom. Andrea Vogt explained how detailed the analysis of the footprint was in a report for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

All the elements are compatible with Mr. Sollecito’s foot,” Rinaldi said, pointing with a red laser to a millimeter-by-millimeter analysis of Sollecito’s footprint projected onto a big-screen in the courtroom. He used similar methods to exclude that the footprint on the bath mat could possibly be Guede’s or Knox’s.

“Those bare footprints cannot be mine,” said Sollecito in a spontaneous statement”¦. But the next witness, another print expert, again confirmed Rinaldi’s testimony, that the print, which only shows the top half of the foot, matches the precise characteristics of Sollecito’s foot.

2. Computer and telephone records provide irrefutable proof that Sollecito lied repeatedly to the police about what he was doing on 1 and 2 November 2007: he didn’t speak to his father at 11.00pm; he wasn’t surfing the Internet from 11.00am to 1.00am and he didn’t sleep until around 10.00am because he played music on his computer from approximately 5.30am for half an hour and he used his mobile at about 6.00am.

3. Sollecito gave at least three completely different alibis which all turned out to be false. He even admitted in his witness statement that he had lied to the police. Hampikian has never addressed Sollecito’s multiple false alibis and numerous lies.

Hampikian and Guede

Greg Hampikian exaggerates the evidence against Rudy Guede

1. Greg Hampikian told an audience of about 200 at Boise State University that Rudy Guede’s DNA was all over the victim:  “You had one guy whose DNA was all over the victim.”

This is a common FOA myth which has been repeated by journalists in the media ad nauseam. If Greg Hampikian had bothered to read the official court reports such as the Micheli report and the Massei report, he would have known that there was only one sample of Guede’s DNA on Meredith’s body.

You would expect a scientist to be give precise factual statements, not vague, untrue comments. Listen to him closely and he resembles a dishonest second-hand car salesman who relies on hyperbole and rhetoric with these comments rather than an objective scientist. Hampikian’s intention in this instance was clearly to persuade and not inform.

2. Greg Hampikian makes unsubstantiated claims about Rudy Guede’s criminal history

In his interview with Joey Ortega Greg Hampikian claimed that Rudy Guede “had committed crimes before”. He didn’t specify what these crimes were let alone support his opinion that Guede had committed any crimes before with any proof i.e. specifically refer to any criminal convictions.

The reason why he didn’t refer to any specific criminal convictions is that Rudy Guede didn’t even have any convictions at the time of the murder. It would have been more accurate for him to have said that some people suspect Guede has committed crimes before and give some specific examples.

3. Hampikian seems intent on portraying Guede as a hardened criminal. He falsely claimed in a number of interviews (see here and here) that Guede was already in the criminal DNA database at the time of the murder.

According to Barbie Nadeau, Rudy Guede was identified by fingerprints found in Meredith’s room. The police had to go to his apartment to take DNA samples from a hairbrush. Within a few days, that DNA was matched to the DNA found at the cottage (Angel Face, page105, Kindle Edition).



[Above: Greg Hampikian with Knox-Mellas family member and enabler - shown getting his marching orders?]

Hampikian and Italian experts

Hampikian incessantly tries to discredit the police investigation. In this he doesn’t limit himself to his own area of expertise - biology - but speaks out about other aspects about the case and gets basic facts wrong.

1. For example, he falsely claimed in an interview with CNN that the authorities didn’t like the way Amanda Knox behaved and that’s why they wanted to investigate her, Sollecito and Lumumba:

They didn’t like the way Amanda behaved, whatever that means, and so they wanted to investigate her and Raffaele and her boss.

The real reasons why Knox and Sollecito officially became suspects and were arrested actually had nothing to do with Amanda Knox’s odd behaviour. On 5 November 2007, Sollecito admitted in his witness statement that he had lied to the police, and he stated that Amanda Knox wasn’t at his apartment on the night of the murder. He was arrested and taken into custody.

After Knox was informed that Sollecito was no longer providing her with an alibi, she repeatedly stated in her witness statements that she was at the cottage when Meredith was killed. She too became a suspect and was arrested. Hampikian has completely ignored these crucial details.

2. Hampikian regurgitates another common FOA myth with his claim that the authorities weren’t able to say why they took Sollecito’s kitchen knife from his apartment. In Boise Weekly: “They aren’t able to say why they took that (knife).”

The usual FOA claim is that the knife was randomly selected. Hampikian has clearly relied on Amanda Knox’s supporters for this misinformation and not on the testimony of the person who actually selected the knife - Armando Finzi.

Mr Finzi testified in court that he chose the knife because it was the only one compatible with the wound as it had been described to him.

“It was the first knife I saw,” he said. When pressed on cross-examination, said his “investigative intuition” led him to believe it was the murder weapon because it was compatible with the wound as it had been described to him

3. Hampikian has never proved that there was any contamination.

As I’ve already pointed out in my previous post, the Italian Supreme Court has explained how DNA evidence should be assessed in court i.e. contamination must be proven with certainty not supposition.

Greg Hampikian has never described the specific place and time where contamination could have plausibly occurred. It’s not good enough to claim that it was possible or probable. 

Dr Galati made the following common sense observation in his appeal:

“It is evident that the “non-exclusion” of the occurrence of a certain phenomenon is not equivalent to affirming its occurrence, nor even that the probability that it did occur.” (57).

He goes on to explain that unless there is proof of contamination of the knife and bra clasp, you can’t simply claim there was in order to nullify this evidence:

...if one is not able to [67] affirm where, how and when they would have happened, they cannot enter into a logical-juridical reasoning aimed at nullifying elements already acquired, above all if scientific in nature.” (57).

It doesn’t seem to have ever crossed Greg Hampikian’s mind that the bra clasp and knife really might not have been contaminated.

Final Thoughts

Greg Hampikian is in a privileged position of trust because he is often interviewed about the case in the media and gives presentations about the case at academic institutions. His impressive credentials mean that he is trusted by many members of the general public and by people in the media. However, he has abused this trust by not bothering to get acquainted with the details of the case, getting basics facts wrong and completely misrepresenting the evidence against Knox, Sollecito and Guede.

I hope Simon Hall’s confession will make Hampikian realise that sometimes the truth isn’t always what you want it to be and Innocence Project experts on wrongful convictions can be duped and get it wrong.

Perhaps the next time Hampikian is interviewed about the case he’ll avoid hyperbole and rhetoric and just stick to the facts and his own area of expertise. But I wouldn’t count on it.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Very Appropriate Casting Of Doug Preston As The Fredo Corleone Wannabe

Posted by Kermit




Preston as Fredo

In the image above, from the first Godfather movie, Michael’s brother Fredo watches his father Don Corleone get into a Mafioso tussle.

Fredo, after fumbling, juggling, and dropping his revolver without firing a single shot, proves himself useless and incapable of achieving the basic objective of taking care of his kindred souls.

In the same manner, as Douglas Preston fumbles about protecting the interests of his “Family” (and taking care of his own income), he shows the public that the sci-fi writer can’t load his own pen with Truth - or even Believable Lies.

Whenever I see an article published by the sci-fi thriller novelist and pro-Amanda Knox “point-of-view journalist” (his own words) concerning either the murder of Meredith Kercher or the Monster of Florence case, I can’t avoid being reminded of “Fredo” the bumbling brother who lets his family down.

Whoever set Douglas Preston up for his histrionic defense of Amanda Knox, or his attacks against the personal and professional integrity of Deputy Prosecutor General Giuliano Mignini, or his defense of his hapless friend Mario Spezi’s curious “investigative” techniques in uncovering “dirt” on the decades old “Monster of Florence” case should have found a much better soldado than Preston.

Preston’s histrionic pamphlet

Douglas Preston has recently posted an article on The Slate website, promoting a pamphlet that in the end he had to self-publish through Kindle since no one else would publish it (he had told me at the end of last year in an unsolicited email that he was hoping The New Yorker or The Atlantic would print it as an article).

I seriously thought of writing this TJMK post as a self-published Kindle article that could be downloaded for 99 cents, but I refrained from doing so for two reasons:

    1) I wanted it to get more exposure than Preston’s nickel-and-diming effort has

    2) I will never want to earn any blood money off the backs of crime victims, even if it’s only the grand total of 99 cents from the Kindle copy my mother buys

Preston’s The Slate article and Pamphlet are basically an attempt to undermine the PMF and TJMK websites which have taken a pro-victim posture in the online discussion concerning the murder of Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy, in November 2007.

As such he stumbles and fumbles with the Truth in promoting his “Family” causes, with as much dexterity and morality as the low-grade Mafioso “Fredo” from The Godfather, unable to load his writer’s gun properly, in a comic show of futility.

Preston’s Weird “Truths” and Fumbling Propaganda ““ Technique #1: Tell Favorable, Out-of-Date news from the Past

Novelist Preston starts telling his unconvincing twisted half-truths before he even finishes the title and subtitle of The Slate promotional article:

Burn Her at the Stake - Amanda Knox was acquitted of murder. Why do so many people still hate her so much? (Source: The Slate)

That title has as much truth as Preston writing another self-promotional article today announcing to the world “I turned 21 years old” “¦ it may be true that years ago in the past he was 21 years old, but that is hardly a current truth for readers.

While it may be the case that accused murderer Amanda Knox was acquitted of that charge in 2011, it is now an old truth, after the Supreme Court of Italy in March chastised the appeals verdict of Judge Hellman (now forcibly retired from the judiciary) and annulled that acquittal, putting her status back to the conclusion of her initial murder trial.

(Later in the article Preston makes a brief mention that she will be retried, barely associated with the headline message he sends to the world in the title to his article. Knox’s current situation is the polar opposite of being acquitted; rather, she is still fully charged with murdering Meredith.)

Preston, the public wants you to start broadcasting the truth, the current, real truth, in messages that are for once free of highly misleading insinuations.

Preston’s Weird “Truths” and Fumbling Propaganda ““ Technique #2: Use Weak Statistics To Support Insinuations

Preston does a number of Google searches and becomes shocked, shocked that he gets hundreds of thousands of hits with combinations like “Amanda Knox” and “pervert”, or “Amanda Knox” and “slut”.

Preston knows full well, as do the readers of The Slate (and the handful of persons who have read the long version of The Slate article, paying 99 cents for the 10 minute read), that you always get hundreds of thousands or millions of Google hits for just about any Google search, however shocking the search terms may be.

Preston says “The extreme viciousness of the anti-Amanda commentariage is startling”.

Let’s do a fast test, and do the same Google searches that Preston did, replacing “Amanda Knox” with “Hillary Clinton”. Here are the results:


Here are two public figures: Knox on the left has been in the news for 6 years “¦ she would probably be a forgotten figure, just another semi-anonymous American abroad with problems if it hadn’t been thanks to the expensive corporate PR campaign that her own family has waged. That PR campaign has propelled the number of overall appearances of her name, and has pushed Internet commenters of all types to opine on her.

Hillary Clinton on the right has been in the news for 3 decades or so, as reflected in the proportionally higher number of Google hits on her name. In spite of not being accused of sexual assault and murder, she still receives a relatively high number of sexual/sexist descriptors.

Knox is not in the news because she has worked on public health reform, or because she has been a Secretary of State, or because she lived in the White House with her husband. Knox is accused of sexual assault and murder. She is also a convicted felon, having served 3 years in an Italian prison (no further appeals) for falsely accusing her boss of murdering Meredith, in Knox’s presence.

Knox outdoes Hillary in percentage of hits for “bitch” and “slut”, but Hillary betters her for “pervert”. Who cares? In Internet, any public person can get Google hits for just about any descriptor, especially if you are accused of a sexual crime.

Let’s extend our test a moment, and do an additional Google search: “Douglas Preston” “slut” “““Knox”  . By eliminating references to “Knox” we eliminate any testing contamination from Amanda’s Perugia murder charges and the ensuing online discussion and reporting. Preston shouldn’t be surprised to learn that compared to Amanda Knox’s 380,000 “slut” hits, Preston has 73,400 of his own “slut” hits. Not bad. Of course, all of these results require analysis, which is exactly what Preston doesn’t provide in his pamphlet.

Here’s one of Preston’s “slut” Google returns, his own sci-fi novel texts:

“The town slut. She was in this cell just last month, wasn’t she, on a drunk and disorderly. Like mother, like daughter. Guess the apple never falls far from the tree. Or in your case, the shit never falls far from the asshole “¦ the murderer might be local. Maybe a devil worshiper. You fit the bill, with that fucked-up purple hair and black eye makeup. Is that what you do at night? Go out and do mumbo-jumbo? “¦ Bitch,’ Brad muttered “¦ ‘no man would ever want to screw you, you freak.’” “¦  (Poor tormented Preston; that’s from his book Still Life with Crows that he curiously dedicated to Mario Spezi.)


Preston’s Weird “Truths” and Fumbling Propaganda ““ Technique #3:  Tell Contrasting Stories About Personal Suffering at the Hands of An Abusive Prosecutor

In an interview in The Atlantic in 2006, well before Meredith’s murder, Douglas Preston was asked about Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini:

Question: “Judge Giuliano Mignini, the public prosecutor who interrogated you, is another important player in the case. Was Mignini just doing his job? How much weight do you give to the idea that Mignini had it in for Spezi and you?”

Preston: “”¦. As for Mignini himself, I think he’s a sincere man and an honest and incorruptible judge. I don’t think that he’s a bad man “¦. I think he was doing his job the best he could. I think in many ways he was badly misled by Giuttari, the police officer who was running the investigation.”

Source: The Atlantic

At that point in time, the Bad Guy for Spezi and Preston had been and still was Police super-inspector Michele Giuttari. But that didn’t seem to sell. They needed something to spice up their tales about the Monster of Florence, which weren’t achieving whatever objective they may have set themselves. The breakthrough for Preston and Spezi came with Meredith’s murder. Preston today with his Pamphlet admits to being recruited early on by the pro-Amanda Knox movement just after Meredith’s murder:

A few days after Amanda Knox was arrested for murder, I got a call from a man named Tom Wright “¦ a well-known filmmaker “¦ (who) knew her family “¦ (he) begged (Spezi and me) for help “¦. I felt like I had to become involved.” (Source: Preston’s Pamphlet on Kindle)



[Image above: Thomas Wright’s “famous” screenplay skills seem to rival only Preston’s writing skills that we’ve seen.]

Preston has never admitted this early recruitment contact before. In his Afterword to the English-language version of their tale The Monster of Florence, Preston writes about a different call that he got just after Meredith’s murder:

A few days after the crime, I got a call from Niccolò Capponi “¦ ‘My dear Douglas “¦ I bet you a bottle of ‘97 Chianti Classico that before the week is out someone will connect this poor girl’s murder with Monster of Florence’”.

Capponi, whose relation with Spezi and Preston deserves its own tome, couldn’t have been more astute. The Friends of Amanda movement didn’t need anyone other than Douglas Preston to crow out to the world that Mignini wasn’t actually a benign, “sincere”, “honest” and “incorruptible judge”  (Preston’s own prior words up until then). Instead, Preston rewrote his own storyboard and retroactively turned the Mignini of early 2006 into one really nasty guy:

The police then picked me up on the streets of Florence and hauled me in before Mignini, where he interrogated me for hours, with no attorney or interpreter present. He demanded I confess to a string of crimes, including being an accessory to murder, and when I refused, he indicted me for perjury and obstruction of justice and suggested I leave the country.”  (Source: Preston’s Pamphlet, on Kindle)

Preston has changed his tune about how his Perugian questioning in 2006 was arranged. In his earlier book from five years ago he described a different ambience that pleasant day on his way to Perugia, with a notable absence of jackboots “hauling him in”, originally stating that it was actually a family-outing:

“¦. “The next day I drove to Perugia with Christine and our two children, passing the shores of Lake Trasimeno on the way. Perugia, a beautiful and ancient city, occupies an irregular rocky hill in the upper Tiber valley ... Christine planned to sightsee with the kids and have lunch while I was interrogated”. (Source: Preston and Spezi, The Monster of Florence)

Driving down to Perugia with your wife and family contrasts with being “hauled in” after being picked up in the streets of Florence, yet Preston, it seems, adapts the truth and insinuations to the required needs and circumstances.

By the way, Mr. Preston, what murder did Prosecutor Mignini accuse you of being an accessory to?  You keep repeating it, and we’re still waiting to hear. What murder?

Preston’s Weird “Truths” and Fumbling Propaganda ““ Technique #4:  Use illogical deduction and dodgy Internet sources for your facts

Preston makes some amazing logic relationships in his pseudo-scholarly study of pro-victim Internet voices. When describing a book that the pro-Knox forces seem to find against their interests, Preston says:

“While the book included no footnotes or bibliography, it appears to have used information sourced from anonymous bloggers “” identifiable as such because it was incorrect.”  (Source: Preston’s 99 cent pamphlet)

I don’t think that the reasonable public out there requires any analysis of this fatally flawed “if-then” logic. Preston-Fredo needs to go back to school, either to grade school to do basic maths, or to the Daisy Hill School of Influencing People and Spreading Convincing Propaganda.

This is an important lesson for Preston, who often relies on the daisy-chaining, circular, internal feeding of “facts” amongst pro-Knox promoters. Preston himself, like a post-modern journalistic alchemist, turns wishful opinion into “fact”, using as raw material the opinion posts of “Friends of Amanda” anonymous bloggers who use various identities.

Let’s take a look at three of the most active and factually flawed pro-Knox bloggers who people like Preston have helped turn into Knox-Urban-Legends, dragging along their pro-Knox fictions.

The photo below comes from a FOA-Fest last summer on Vashon Island where Amanda could thank all her limited number of close supporters for their help in springing her from prison. On the left is Bruce Fisher, or Bruce Fischer (depending on the day). One of his most hilarious affirmations which he vehemently defended until it was impossible to continue to do so, was that a box of Dixan detergent that he spotted in a photo of Sollecito’s sink would explain why Sollecito’s cutlery may have smelled of bleach “¦ except that Dixan is clothes washing detergent!


The hilariousness of Fisher/Fischer’s Internet postings can also take on sinister results when passed on to the hands of either an inexperienced or ethically challenged journalist or a “point-of-view” journalist. Preston refers to a post by Fischer as if it were fact when he publishes in his 99 cent Kindle pamphlet that a prominent pro-victim blogger “had a restraining order placed against him” for a non-existent harassment of a ballet dancer.

Why doesn’t Preston also say that the web-site where this post was placed by Fisher/Fischer quickly removed it when it received the corresponding complaint? Why didn’t Preston ask Fisher for any proof of the “restraining order”? Why didn’t he cross check his facts/falsehoods?

Why should a best-selling sci-fi novelist stoop so low? Money? Anger? Envy?

Another of Preston’s anonymous or multi-alias bloggers whom he has quoted or protected is Francesco (“Frank”) Sfarzo / Sforca / Sforza. Take your pick of the last name as he has used them all in public documents.

“Frank’s” supposed beating at the hands of a squad of goon cops beholden to Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini was curiously covered by the Committee to Protect Journalists in prominent website posts and a public letter to the President of Italy, with no effort whatsoever to investigate the claims or speak with the local Italian authorities.

CPJ’s reputation remains tarnished as they refuse to this day to recognize their massive screw up. Shame on Joel Simon, director of the CPJ! Is there no governance in that organization?

Should a financial contributor to CPJ such as Preston also be permitted to be a figure in the anti-Italian judicial lobbying that CPJ has consciously or unconsciously ended up participating in?

Preston’s role in this laughable attempt to frame Mignini is only made all the more tragic by the fact that “Frank’s” arrest in Italy (which Mignini had nothing to do with) was related to a complaint of domestic violence.

He left Italy, and ““ staying at Amanda’s family home in Seattle for a couple of months, then travelling to Canada, Hawaii, then back to a shared residence in Seattle - racked up an impressive set of arrests and police interviews related to further domestic violence complaints during his travels.

He currently has an arrest warrant issued, and Preston has suddenly stopped talking about his and Spezi’s prized asset who was supposed to be the living demonstration of the Bad Mignini.


[Image above: Preston’s pet blogger “Frank” is not at all a victim of violence, but rather to the contrary, has an arrest warrant out to face charges for instigating it]

Amongst “Frank’s” contribution to the “point-of-view” journalism supporting Amanda Knox has been his visit to Piazza Grimana, the square near the cottage crime-scene, where “Frank” took a photo that supposedly demonstrated that Knox and Sollecito could not have monitored the entrance to the cottage from there on the night of the crime, since you can’t see the cottage gate according to “Frank”.


Any person who goes to Piazza Grimana in Perugia knows perfectly well that if you step just a couple of metres to the left, you have a perfect view of the cottage gate, barely hidden in “Frank’s” photo behind the corner of the house on the right.

Yet another case of the danger of Preston using pro-Knox bloggers and friends as sources of unreliable information is that of the G-Man, ex-FBI agent and ex-college security guy, Steve Moore.

In the sake of honesty, of the three pro-Knox bloggers referred to in this post (we could go on forever about the menagerie of Knox Internet personalities), Moore is the least anonymous, although it should be said that his “G-Man” aura he promotes is perhaps self-deprecating humour (think of an adult guy using a nickname like “GI Joe”).

G-Man has developed an elaborate tale of how he became interested in the case and began to study detailed documentation and images to come to the forensic conclusion in his living room that the Italian investigation into Meredith Kercher’s murder was flawed and that Amanda Knox was innocent. (Moore’s experience before he left the FBI as far as I’m aware is escorting suspects to court, sniper training, and flying helicopters “¦ I don’t believe he has worked as a forensic specialist.)

Like in the case of Bruce Fisher/Fischer, there are semi-comical aspects to G-Man’s appearances on the Internet supporting Amanda Knox. This happens when you get someone who is not a forensics specialist looking at photos and making conclusions:


Unfortunately, Steve Moore was analyzing an image that was not “Amanda and Meredith’s sink”! This example of errors in G-Man’s contributions to FOA finding Amanda innocent is far from being the only one.

In Preston’s Pamphlet, he presents the anecdote of a pro-victim Internet commenter who made what Preston claims is a “threatening” comment concerning the quality of G-Man Steve Moore’s daughter’s song lyrics. In the light of honesty and telling all the truth, Preston should have stated that after Mom and Dad Moore, the next most prolific pro-Knox poster of the Moore family is their daughter, who has made posts on both pro-Knox and pro-victim sites, on Twitter and on Facebook, including posts with coarse language.

She seems to be an adult, but if she isn’t, then Mom and Dad Moore should start acting like better parents, being aware of their offspring’s internet activity, putting a filter on their home router and telling her to not make posts on sites that deal with a sexual assault and murder case. Nor should they allow their daughter to leave her own pages open for comments and or to post videos about the murder. And if their daughter is an adult, then Preston shouldn’t insinuate to his few readers otherwise.

By the way, the “threatening” post was a return of a phrase used by a pro-Knox poster that “Steve Moore plays for keeps” after a playful criticism of the quality of lyrics written by Miss Moore.

This is a lesson to Douglas Preston: any journalist, even that special lobbyist category of “point-of-view journalist” such as himself, is only as credible as his sources.

Preston’s Weird “Truths” and Fumbling Propaganda ““ Technique #5:  Claim That You Have Already Made Any Needed Explanations

Preston says in his Slate article: “Like a fool I waded into the (Internet) fray, defending Amanda and myself. I attacked my attackers and countered their criticisms.”

(Why does Preston have to “defend” Amanda? I thought he was now presenting himself as a journalist. Oh, I forgot, he wrote that he now considers himself a “point-of-view journalist” ““ his terminology - which sounds a lot like “lobbyist”.)

Actually, Preston has never countered any serious criticism. I ask readers to take a fast look at the Committee to Protect Journalists’ comment page concerning the CPJ’s fiasco accusing Prosecutor Mignini of directing a vicious, violent attack on “Frank” the blogger by a squad of rogue police beholden to the prosecutor.

Preston went wacko when he saw the Internet world laughing out loud at the CPJ’s allegations, and when he saw that the Internet provided different proofs to show that the now fugitive blogger was at best making up his story, or had other persons close to the action making it up for him.

Take a look at Preston’s emotional replies to CPJ readers’ comments.


[Image above: on the left we see CPJ’s director Joel Simon, who accused Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini of sending a police squad to beat up “Frank” the blogger (second from left). “Frank” is a family friend of the Knox-Mellas families, taking care of much of their logistics in Perugia, setting up photo shoots, etc. “Frank” stayed at the Mellas home (Chris Mellas, second from right) for a couple of months during his arrest-ridden trip out of Italy, when his domestic violence trial started up there. On the right, Preston, the glue that links “Frank” to the CPJ.]

On the web pages of CPJ, we see that not only does Preston not reply to the contradictions and lies that the Internet world points out in his words and actions, but he also puts conditions on doing so.

The best “countering” of criticism that Preston provides online is pretty pathetic. He says that the demonstrated errors in his and the CPJ’s texts “are distortions, falsehoods, and crackpot opinion presented as settled fact.”  Period. No explanations of why he says one thing in one place and something completely different in another. No transparency concerning his documented relationship with the CPJ. No honesty concerning the real, sad domestic violence case that “Frank” has had before him, brought on by his own family in Italy (in addition to his U.S.A. problems).

We’re still waiting for any real clarifications of Preston’s serious problems with the truth, the whole truth, the current truth and nothing but the truth.

I personally don’t need to see more verbiage from Preston, but I would have thought that he would be concerned about the public’s view of his credibility. It will probably help future “True Story” book sales if he were to clear up the confusion he causes about both the Monster of Florence case and aspects of the investigation and trials related to the murder of Meredith Kercher.

Preston’s Weird “Truths” and Fumbling Propaganda ““ Technique #6:  Write Any Incorrect Gibberish That Doesn’t Get Error-Checked If You Think that Unknowledgeable People Will Swallow Your Errors

Preston once crowed concerning the quality of his texts:

Before publication, it was minutely vetted by no less than five attorneys in two languages in Italy, the U.K., and the United States. Since publication, it has been read by millions of people in many European languages. In all that time, and with all the millions who have read the book, not one significant error of fact came to light. Mario Spezi and I stand by every single assertion of fact in that book today just as strongly as we did when it was first published three years ago.”  (Source: Preston on CPJ)

I once suggested to Preston that he ask his five error-checking lawyers for his money back, after the multiple mistakes and falsehoods of The Monster of Florence came to light and it became apparent that it should be reclassified to “Fiction”.

It seems that both Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox used the same error-checking lawyers in their memoirs, and that once again Preston and Spezi have employed them for their underwhelming, unknown tome in German Der Engel Mit Den Eisaugen (The Angel With Icy Eyes). No other market seems to have wanted to hear more from the Dynamic Duo of murder “point-of-view journalism”. As you can expect, their book about the murder of Meredith Kercher is not about the victim, but about the star, from their point of view, Amanda Knox.

I believe that never in the history of “True Story” lobbying, has a book taken so little time to rack up so many factual errors.


[Image above: Preston and Spezi are sure bets for winning The Novelists’ Error Marathon, especially given the finish line they’ve set for themselves. (By the way, I will state the obvious here, that this satirical image is the only photo that has been “photoshopped” in this TJMK post)]

In the Forward to their limited market book, Preston kicks off the marathon, asserting first of all that Perugia is surrounded by “¦ the hills of Tuscany (“In der schoenen alten Stadt Perugia, umgeben von del Huegeln der Toskana”). Where’s a smiley when you need one? To all readers of this post, I ask you that we keep the secret, and let Preston and Spezi figure out by themselves what’s wrong with their statement. I guess the Duo were in a hurry to get the book to market.

Slightly further down the same first page, Preston falsely asserts that the Prosecutor Office (“Staatanwaltschaft”), understood to be Mignini, called a triumphant press conference where “case closed” was victoriously declared to the microphones of the Press.

Of course, neither Mignini nor any other prosecutor held such a press conference, nor was he present at any other press conferences at that time. My only explanation for this error by Preston is that he is so obsessed to assign just any supposed bad behavior to Mignini that he sees visions of the prosecutor doing wrong and turns those visions into “True Story” words.

The problem with that explanation of “visions” is that it is how Amanda Knox justified her false accusation against Patrick Lumumba for murdering Meredith, and that false accusation got her three years in the Capanne Prison Spa.

Just another 4 lines below that, Preston claims that within those immediate days after the arrests, Prosecutor Mignini put forward a scenario of Satanic sexual rites for describing the human dynamics on the night of the crime (“das eine amerikanische Studentin namens Amanda Knox mit zwei anderen Personen in den Mord verwickelt sei, den die Staatsanwalt als eine Art sexuelles-satanisches Ritual unter Drogeneinfluss bezeichnete”).

Again, Preston got confused. Or, maybe he wrote exactly what he was wanting to write, even if it was wrong.

Let’s not leave Mario Spezi out of the Novelists’ Error Marathon. Spezi tries to keep up with Preston in the home stretch, in Chapter 1: when emphasizing how isolated he feels that Perugia is from the outside world, he describes Umbria as “the only Italian region that does not border with the sea”. Spezi must have had a football scholarship at school, because it seems that he forgot about Lombardia, Piemonte, Val d’Aosta and Trentino & South Tirol. These regions account for about a quarter of Italy’s population and include large cities such as Milan and Turin.

We’ve barely started looking at their Icy Eyes book, but we’ll leave a more exhaustive review for the future.

Maybe Preston and Spezi hope that the few German readers of the book (who may have received their copies as free review copies) won’t know or care. It’s possible that they won’t even finish the book.

Preston’s Weird “Truths” and Fumbling Propaganda ““ Technique #7:  Apply Your Own Words to Others in Order to Distract from the Central Issue

Preston claims in The Slate article about pro-victim Internet posters: “Almost all the nasty comments about (Knox) follow a pattern. Even though she did nothing to them, they are all demanding her punishment.”

Personally, I don’t “demand Knox’s punishment”. Preston and the rest of FOA know that by now. What the pro-victim Internet posters want is for the Italian Justice system to be left to do its job, without any outside interference by a corporate, multimillion dollar public relations campaign, or ““ if we get to the point where Italy asks for Knox’s extradition ““ non-juridical or non-treaty political interventions to interrupt this normal administrative procedure.

Of course, those persons who are found guilty of sexually attacking and murdering Meredith should get the punishment that the Italian legal system foresees in such cases.

The pro-Knox camp has been outraged that Rudy Guede may be released from prison as early as 2014, insinuating that he has struck a deal to frame Knox. Any honest and informed opiner on this case would know that Rudy has only followed the well established legal and penitentiary procedures in Italy that apply to all convicts, and had Knox followed the fasttrack trial as he did, she also could have been looking at early freedom.

If the pro-Knox camp is so outraged that Guede may get free in 2014, I would suggest that they lobby that sentence reduction procedures be changed so that murder convicts serve their whole prison sentence. Somehow, I don’t think that the pro-Knox camp will undertake such lobbying.

Preston’s Weird “Truths” and Fumbling Propaganda ““ Technique #8:  Don’t be transparent or precise

Preston describes in his Pamphlet how in 2000 he moved to Italy with his family and soon after became fascinated with the Monster of Florence serial killings case and teamed up with journalist Mario Spezi to investigate the case and write a book.

“Giuliano Mignini did not like our investigation”, he states as the start of a series of supposed abuses they suffered at the hands of the prosecutor.

Maybe Preston should state that after moving to Italy in 2000, he didn’t meet Spezi until 2001, and up until 2004, over the course of three years, it seems he drank a lot of coffee with Spezi, drove to a couple of the decades old Monster crime sites in the country roads around Florence, spoke to the mother of one of the victims, kept a scrap book of what the real, active reporters on the case were doing “¦ and not much more.

Only after almost four years following his arrival in Italy, does it seem that Preston’s active “investigation” suddenly started and kicked into high gear in January of 2004 when Spezi’s friend Francesco Calamandrei, the pharmacist of San Casciano, was drawn into the Monster of Florence investigation. Spezi woke up on the Monster case, did an interview with Calamandrei, and got it published in La Nazione within 24 hours on 23 January 2013. Without mentioning that he was a friend of Calamandrei.


It should be noted that the prosecutor who ordered this “wake-up call” for Spezi wasn’t Prosecutor Mignini from Perugia, but rather Prosecutor Paolo Canessa from Florence, the central prosecutor for the Monster of Florence case.


Preston’s rewriting of history and intertwining fiction and half-truths related to the Monster of Florence case and fiction and half-truths related to Meredith Kercher’s murder in Perugia has brought him time and time again to present Mignini as the key figure in the Monster of Florence case:

Mignini theorised that this satanic cult consisted of powerful people ““ noblemen, pharmacists, journalists and freemasons ““ who ordered the Monster killings because they needed female body parts to use as the blasphemous wafer in their black masses. Putting himself in charge of the investigation, Mignini became so obsessed that he crossed the line of legality, wiretapping journalists and conducting illegal investigations of newspapers. (Source: The Guardian)

(It should be said that Preston really should clean up his old message, and tell readers that any and all abuse of office accusations against Mignini were thrown out: he has neither been found, nor now even been accused of any wrongdoing in relation to the Monster of Florence case - quite the opposite, the rogue Florentine prosecutor who initiated the cancelled proceedings against Mignini may have some questions to answer).

Again, Preston’s own words belie his transformation of Prosecutor Mignini. Remember that before Meredith’s murder, Preston’s Bad Guy with satanic theories wasn’t Mignini, but Police Inspector Michele Giuttari.

You can imagine that had Mignini not been the prosecutor of Meredith’s murder case, but Giuttari had been involved in the police investigation into Meredith’s murder, that Preston and Spezi could have saved their whole effort in demonizing Mignini, because they were already halfway there with Giuttari.


Why did Spezi and Preston suddenly get on the case and start sculpting their Monster of Florence tale in early 2004 following Calamandrei getting caught up in the police investigation? I would love to know.

Why did they apply a pre-existing Monster of Florence theory developed by English fiction writer Magdalen Nabb many years before?

Nabb was referred to as “Ethel”, a Belgian writer, in the Italian version of Spezi and Preston’s tale, while Nabb was still alive.  Preston simply eliminated Nabb completely by the time they translated and published the tale in English, after Nabb’s death. In an eerie and weird manner, some of the years-old Nabb-Spezi, Master-Apprentice conversations in the Italian version of MoF seem to be transformed into current Spezi-Preston Master-Apprentice conversations in the English version of their “True Story” tale, almost as if they took on her personality.

I guess they weren’t too worried about presenting as their own, current “investigation”, ideas and theories (correct or not) that had been floating around for a decade and developed by other ““ now unacknowledged - much better writers.


[Image above: In Preston’s and Spezi’s English language book The Monster of Perugia they morphed English author Magdalen Nabb’s Carabinieri contacts, as well as Nabb’s theories and conversations concerning the MoF into their own, with neither direct nor indirect recognition of Nabb’s existence, nor her work done nearly 10 years earlier. Maybe they felt that since she had passed away, the world wouldn’t notice their intellectual theft.]

Preston’s Weird “Truths” and Fumbling Propaganda ““ Technique #9:  Use corporate media as a means to legitimize false claims

The CPJ’s false and unverified accusation against Mignini for supposedly sending a goon squad to beat up the Perugian blogger is exactly the sort of feed that the Friends of Amanda and the Gogerty&Marriott corporate PR campaigns needed. These groups repeated the invented injustice wherever they could within the ongoing campaign.

That’s where we find a link between the PR campaign and the “mainstream” American media and showmen. If you Google “Doug Longhini” and go to the CBS News site associated with him, you’re not quite sure at first glance if he’s an ethical traditional journalist, a “point-of-view” journalist, a CBS producer, or an external businessman. What is clear is that it seems that most of whatever it is that he does at CBS is dedicated to Amanda Knox and, in second place, in general the crime in Perugia.

However, when you start reading some of his articles or news reports, like the one below, you realize that he’s not a traditional journalist who checks his facts and tries to get all angles on a news story.


I used to be impressed with the effort that went into the 48 Hours type of investigative programs. Not any more. Describing “Frank” Sforca/Sforza/Sfarzo as an “independent journalist” when this pro-Knox blogger acted as the logistics manager for the Knox-Mellas clan in Perugia, including organizing photo shoots for the daughters, stayed with the Knox-Mellas family a couple of months in Seattle, and was the beneficiary of ongoing funding from pro-Knox circles even after he was a no-show for his latest court session last December in Seattle, is stretching the definition of “independent”.

This Longhini article almost reads as if Douglas Preston had written it “¦  I would have hoped that Longhini might have made some reference to his sources for his description of “Frank” being handcuffed and beaten, or that Longhini would have looked into the true reports of “Frank” being arrested, not on orders of Mignini, but simply because he bit a police officer who was responding to a domestic violence complaint.

Doug Preston is no stranger to Longhini’s CBS 48 Hours pro-Knox shows, having appeared together with another shared acquaintance, a certain Paul Ciolino. Paul’s role in the Knox CBS shows was supposed to be the implacable investigator who knows the truth that the Italian authorities want to hide.

However, Ciolino’s on-screen antics for many viewers are in detriment to the argument he tries to make.

For example, what serious television detective in the world, not speaking the local language, would go calling at the door of unsuspecting murder witnesses at nighttime, vehemently exhorting them to reply to questions? Paul did:


Where does this leave the state of modern megamedia journalism in America? It has been transformed into entertainment, into a vaudeville show. The confirmation comes in Paul Ciolino’s own self-advertising:


The only thing missing is Liza Minnelli singing “Cabaret” in her black stockings.

Back in America, Preston’s friend Ciolino smears the good name of Signora Nara Capezzali, the elderly lady who he tried to interview under the cloak of darkness (if he really needed to interview her, couldn’t he have arranged to meet her through prior arrangement, during the daytime?):


After describing Prosecutor Mignini as a “convicted felon”, Paul Ciolino speaks of Signora Capezzali at the 1h42’47” mark of a Seattle University pro-Knox forum on 4 April 2011:  “The crazy woman (Capezzali) who had ... I don’t think she ... did she ever testify? They never did bring her in because she is crazy.”  (Source: Seattle University FOA panel video.)  Ciolino’s speech was notable if only for the almost complete absence of any truths.

In fact, yes, Signora Capezzali did testify in court in Knox’s and Sollecito’s murder trial, two years earlier in March 2009 (Source ABC News ).  It’s not necessary to add that in spite of Ciolino’s vaudeville show affirmations, witness Signora Capezzali is not crazy.

My Concluding Suggestions

1. To Joel Simon, the director of the Committee to Protect Journalists:

Rather than doing false posts that are never retracted or corrected about benign regional Italian prosecutors in Italy, the CPJ should realize that there is a much, much greater, real and true threat to journalists and journalism due to the transformation of the profession in America into a concentration of commercial enterprises with links to lobbying groups, who use vaudeville-style “entertainers” to wake up murder witnesses in the dark of night and then publicly call them “crazy”.

Mr. Simon, really, it’s time for you to implement some governance in your organization. Here are some common sense suggestions that I humbly submit:

    1) Don’t allow your financial benefactors to be part of the cases that you take special interest in, except with independent review of your analysis and claims.

    2) If you’re a journalism organization, follow basic journalistic ethics by checking your facts and contrasting allegations, especially when you are making claims that seriously affect the reputations of persons.

    3) When you realize that you have made a terrible mistake and have falsely accused someone of sending a goon squad to beat up someone else, then be man enough to admit it and correct your false accusation. Start now and apologise to Prosecutor Mignini for the slanderous gift you made to Amanda Knox PR campaign.

    4) Take some time as a collective representative organization, to consider and reconsider whom you represent and why “¦ are self-described “point-of-view journalists” (lobbyists) part of the body of professionals you wish to represent? Will they cause you a conflict of professional or moral interest at any point? Do you want these people giving money to your organization?


2. To Douglas Preston, an amateur crime fighter obviously out of his league.

My impression from what we’ve seen is that your attempts at playing in the big lobbying leagues have all ended up with pie in your face, or a “kick-me, I’m stupid” yellow Post-It on your back:

    1) As we have seen in this post, ethical, traditional journalism gives way in your recent The Slate post and Kindle 99 cent pamphlet, to obvious and ineffective pro-Knox lobbying. In my opinion, the propagandistic shots you’ve fired have neither been convincing nor contain real, true facts unfettered from insinuation and half-truths and falsehoods.I

    2) In prior TJMK posts, we’ve seen how you have told two completely different beginnings to your Monster of Florence tale, complete with quoting different persons at different times in different places. You have ended the story with a confusion of errors and falsehoods. See my posts on this here and here.

    3) It seems you’re famous in Italian judiciary circles for having lost control of your sphincter in your questioning in Perugia years ago. Is that one of the reasons you’re so mad at Prosecutor Mignini and say just about anything about him, regardless if the message to your readers is true?

    4) Like Fredo, you were always the last member of the gang to find out what was going on. Your supposed “5 year” investigation with Spezi into the Monster of Florence seems more like a rehash of old theories developed by others, done in a short period of time by Spezi only from 2004 onward (notwithstanding your scrapbook of other reporters’ work), who would inform you at the last minute of his larvae studies, his TV appearances, or of his “A-Team” investigative squad comprising an ex-con and an ex-cop, who you realized existed only when their months of work had finished.


Fumbling Fredo’s handlers in The Godfather realized the terrible damage he was doing to the Corleone Family’s interests. Is Preston damaging the true, long-term interests of Amanda Knox? 

What about his other interests, in the Monster of Florence case “¦ is he truly aware of all of the interests in that case, beyond his own ““ repeatedly voiced ““ hope of seeing George Clooney play Preston?



Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Hellmann-Zanetti Appeal Court’s DNA Consultancy Looks Even Worse In Face Of The Latest Science

Posted by Fly By Night



[Above: images of typical modern analysis DNA facilities similar to Dr Stefanoni’s in Rome]


The Galati appeal to Cassation comes down very strongly against the work and conclusions of the appeal court’s DNA consultants Vecchiotti and Conti.

Dr. Galati argues that the consultancy should never have happened at appeal level, that its methods were slipshod and out of date, that its conclusions were mainly innuendo that left the prosecution case untouched, and that the consultants should not have refused to test a remaining sample from the large knife collected at Sollecito’s place.

In July 2011, about the midpoint of the appeal trial, I took strong issue with the C&V science and essentially mirrored in advance what Dr. Galati would argue to Cassation nearly a year later. Many other TJMK posters including our legal posters James Raper and Cardiol took issue with legal and other aspects.

With a Supreme Court ruling on the 2nd level (first appeal level) outcome scheduled for early next week, it’s the perfect time to re-examine the role of DNA in that outcome against the latest science. I want to include some excellent observations from our contributing poster “Thoughtful” as expressed in her recently published book Math on Trial.

I’ll start off with an overview of the science of DNA analysis and describe recent developments in analysis approaches, techniques and capabilities.  Incidentally, one of my resources for this information is a chapter in “DNA Electrophoresis Protocols for Forensic Genetics” published shortly after the Hellmann verdict for the first appeal (circa early 2012); a chapter in which Carla Vecchiotti is cited as providing technical assistance.

Given Vecchiotti’s involvement in recent academic publications we can be certain that at the time of the Hellmann verdict Vecchiotti was well aware of the rapidly evolving and improving nature of DNA testing procedures and capabilities.  And in contrast to her courtroom allegations that Dr. Stefanoni had not followed “internationally established forensic science standards” in her DNA analysis techniques, Vecchiotti has recently contributed to sources claiming that today’s critical challenge is to develop general guidelines for DNA evaluation and promulgate clear and universal laboratory practices while recognizing that a multitude of labs exist, each with its own specific protocols and personnel.

We will return to the Conti-Vecchiotti report shortly, but first let’s have a quick look at the history and state-of-the-art of DNA analysis.


Brief History of DNA Testing

The literature reveals that the USA has never been at the forefront of forensic DNA analysis.  The first court cases to successfully employ DNA “fingerprinting” techniques occurred in England during the mid 1980s.  A case involving a double rape/homicide of teenage girls in 1986 turned out to be prophetic in that it involved the first use of DNA to exonerate an innocent suspect and also was the first to apply DNA “databases”, issues which still give rise to disputes nearly 30 years later.

Over time, a variety of procedures were developed to extract DNA from biological samples but all worked on the same basic principle of breaching individual cell walls, removing the protein surrounding the DNA, isolating the DNA, and finishing with the purification and quantification of the DNA.

An important milestone in DNA fingerprinting was the development of the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) in 1985.  The PCR quickly became an important analytical method for forensic samples because of its sensitivity, specificity, rapid analysis, and ease of automation.  PCR amplification technology permitted the analysis of forensic samples with low quantities (less than 1 ng) of extracted DNA, unlike earlier methods that required at least 50 ng.

While PCR was far more sensitive than earlier procedures, problems with mixed DNA samples and DNA degradation led to the use of genetic markers known as Short Tandem Repeats (STR). STR analyses were fast and reactions could be multiplexed permitting multiple loci to be amplified in a single run.

In 1997 the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Laboratory in the USA launched an effort to establish a set of 13 core STR loci for use within a national DNA database known as CODIS (Combined DNA Index System).  Similar sets of STR markers had already been selected by the European Union and elsewhere but, in general, a DNA profile obtained using 12 or more STR loci was found to yield a composite genotype frequency of less than 1 in a quadrillion.  This high degree of accuracy results from the hereditary nature of STR distribution and enables a very powerful method for biological identifications.

STR typing of extracted DNA has traditionally been very sensitive to the quantity of input DNA with ideal levels ranging from 0.5 to 2 ng.  Either too little or too much DNA could produce imbalanced amplification results resulting in incomprehensible outcomes.  The STR process is further complicated by “stutter” in the interpretation of multiple contributor DNA samples.  Stutter is an artifact of the PCR process that produces “false alleles” one repeat shorter than a primary allele.

In recent years DNA analysis techniques have evolved rapidly as equipment manufacturers upgrade STR systems to tolerate even the smallest of samples and samples that have been highly degraded.  The improved sensitivity of today’s STR kits along with the development of new strategies for the amplification of low levels of DNA now allows samples which previously could not be analyzed to produce viable results.

Low-level DNA samples often contain mixtures of DNA, which has complicated the detection and interpretation process due to stochastic sampling effects that include peak imbalance, enhanced stutter, allele loss (allele drop-out), and un-attributable alleles (allele drop-in).  With this in mind, strict guidelines have been developed including a careful determination of analytical thresholds and the use of replicate analyses in a profile to properly interpret low-level mixed-DNA samples.  More importantly, new analytical techniques such as laser micro-dissection and fluorescence in-situ hybridization have been developed enabling the identification, capture, and amplification of DNA from individual cells prior to “electrophoresis”, eliminating the problem of mixed profiles altogether.

In addition to today’s far more precise DNA analysis machines and methods there are also compelling arguments for the use of statistical or probabilistic models within the DNA analysis process to augment traditional “consensus allele” electropherogram evaluation approaches.  In short, the efforts of both scientists and statisticians are now creating powerful next generation approaches to DNA analyses as we progress through a second decade of highly successful STR typing methodologies.


Logic and Science on Trial

In my 2011 report I challenged Carla Vecchiotti’s contention that Dr. Stefanoni had not followed “internationally established forensic science standards” in her DNA analysis techniques.  Vecchiotti herself has conceded to the challenge through her contributions to publications that clearly describe a need to develop generally accepted guidelines for DNA evaluation and to create clear and universal laboratory practices that can be accepted by the diverse population of analytical labs currently operating under divergent operational protocols, all under the direction of professional and expert personnel.

In her excellent and recently published Math on Trial book, contributing poster “Thoughtful” accurately describes how DNA analysis expert Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni proceeded in her laboratory analysis of a small DNA sample found on the blade of a knife confiscated from Raffaele Sollecito’s apartment.  Not having what she felt was a sufficient sample to divide for replication of her analysis Dr. Stefanoni took the chance of running her entire sample in a single run.

As is typical of all DNA analyses, Stefanoni proceeded to amplify the results to a point where an electropherogram would reveal meaningful “peaks” and found that a resultant 13 pairs of peaks corresponded precisely to peaks derived from a known sample of Meredith Kercher’s DNA!

In this case it is pointless to attempt to argue that Stefanoni somehow exceeded the amplification limits of her equipment.  As outlined in the DNA discussion above, the typical problems associated with an amplification of low levels of DNA are related to peak imbalances, enhanced stutter, allele drop-outs, or allele drop-ins.  In this case there was nothing but a perfect match for Meredith that even Carla Vecchiotti and Stefano Conti could not deny in court.

Stefanoni had clearly identified an identical match for Meredith’s DNA on the blade of Sollecito’s kitchen knife, leaving Vecchiotti and Conti no other option than to argue for “contamination” in court.  However, it was convincingly demonstrated by Stefanoni and all evidence handlers that from knife collection through laboratory analysis no reasonable opportunity for contamination with Meredith’s DNA existed.

In the first appeal trial, Judge Hellmann was thus presented with exceptionally compelling evidence that Meredith’s DNA was in fact found on the alleged murder weapon that had been confiscated from Raffaele Sollecito’s apartment.  Astonishingly, Hellmann rejected this evidence on an expressed assumption of non-compliance with testing techniques established by international scientific community standards; compliance standards that Vecchioti herself admits do not exist via recent academic and scientific publications as discussed above.

As “Thoughtful” carefully explains in Math on Trial, Hellmann’s faulty reasoning in excluding the knife evidence did not end there.  Hellmann provided Vecchiotti and Conti with an opportunity to retest any remaining DNA on the knife if they felt it was warranted.  Vecchiotti and Conti declined to perform any retests on the basis that that only a few cells might still exist on the knife, thus invalidating any potential results according to a false assumption that “international testing standards” somehow prohibited such low-level DNA tests even though, as outlined in the DNA discussion above, single-cell DNA analysis had at that time already become an acceptable possibility and Vecchiotti knew it.

Hellmann, however, accepted Vecchiotti and Conti’s reasoning by essentially stating that repeating an “invalid” DNA analysis procedure twice can do nothing towards resolving a DNA identification problem because two wrongs do not make a right.  In Math on Trial, “Thoughtful” artfully explains the complete failure of logic of Hellmann’s line of reasoning.  Hellmann claims that running an experiment independently two separate times and obtaining the same result each time can do absolutely nothing towards increasing the assurance of reliability for an event.

However, “Thoughtful” describes how successfully repeating Stefanoni’s low-level DNA analysis technique could easily carry a probabilistic result from a “not beyond a reasonable doubt” percentage range to a highly convincing 98.5% or higher probability.  “Thoughtful’s” arguments in Math on Trial are completely in line with today’s efforts to embed statistical and probabilistic models within the DNA analysis process for a much higher precision and accuracy standard.


Conclusions

In 2011 I concluded that Vecchiotti and Conti’s expert report findings actually boiled down to two primary debates: (1) Issues surrounding the small sample (Low Copy Number ““ LCN) DNA analysis techniques employed by Dr. Stefanoni, and (2) Issues surrounding the probability of excluding all possible sources of contamination from the evidence.

In 2013, on the eve of the Court of Cassation ruling on the first appeal outcomes of the Meredith Kercher murder trial, it appears to me that all issues related to DNA analysis and contamination have been powerfully addressed by both the prosecution and “best available science” considerations. 

The errors in Judge Hellmann’s logic and reasoning that set Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito free have been shown to be plentiful and astounding, as evidenced by the few DNA related examples that have been examined in this report.  In light of all of the above and the powerful legal arguments raised by the Galati appeal to Cassation, it seems that there can be no other option than to send this appeal outcome back for a thorough lower court re-evaluation.


Saturday, January 05, 2013

We Mean You No Harm. Please Take Us To Your Leaders…  Oh Yes, But Of Course…

Posted by Kermit





Yes but of course. The self-appointed FOA leaders are now all physically or mentally AWOL. No sane credible adult is at the helm.

  • Scammer Number One is physically absent without officlal leave. He may be hiding out in or near Perugia, probably broke and without a good lawyer as his lawyer walked off the job, facing court dates starting later this month and possible imprisonment in two countries and now also a further defamation suit - he in effect already lost one defamation suit last year when a court ordered Google to take down a site it hosted for him for all the defamation it had contained.
  • Scammer Number Two is also physically absent without official leave, and may be hiding out in or near Verona, attempting on Facebook to make out that he is free and relaxed as a bird after nipping across to Manhattan for the New Year. Also that he is and always was loyal as hell to Amanda (give us a break) and that the devastating prosecution appeal and the devastating row of defamation suits about to hit him and his publisher and team sparked by his overheated book dont bother him or his dad a bit.
  • Scammer Number Three is mentally absent without official leave. He is to be found squealing and blubbering these days in the stock-room of a fur-store on the north-west outskirts of Chicago, running low on new people to blame, his money-grubbing scams now publicly revealed for the toxic dishonesties on which they were based, his obergruppenführer presence on his internet boards despised now by many who had once gone along with his act, with the biggest defamation target of all on his own back as his vitriolic personal rants still populate the web, and with no Curt Knox or other deep-pockets any longer on his side.

First, here is an understanding word or two for the FOA sheep.

Dear sheep. Of course we dont mean to be unkind or unsympathetic in implying that the broad body of your movement which was elevating these three to gods in their own minds were simply sheep. Many FOA seem to us to be very nice and very well-meaning, if maybe a tad naive. The jaw-dropping revelations of the sums of money that you have been shelling out suggests that the myths you had been made to swallow had stirred your kind hearts to the core.

As a way of disengaging from the flock, and to fill the deliberate vacuum of hard facts, we would highly recommend that you now read all these posts and especially all of these posts here.  Our strongest advice to any ex-sheep would definitely be this.

Don’t shell our any more of your hard-earned cash to those three imposters listed here at the top.  They all face suits now for going way too far. Dont get mixed up in that. 

Okay. Back to Number One.

We are told that Frank may not even have made it to the viza section of the American Embassy in Rome. But let’s say it were true that Frank actually made it across the Atlantic and he showed up at the international arrivals zone of an American airport hours before his date with American justice last December 31.

Then any honest attempt to justify Frank’s non-appearance in court would take into account that Frank knew he wasn’t coming as a tourist, and that as someone with an arrest record (and seemingly having way overstayed a prior visa waiver for a visit limited to 90 days), he would have lots of paperwork to request a visa.

Yet, going back to the end of November when he was being released on bail from the Seattle jail , Frank and his pro-Knox handlers were in a huge hurry to hustle him out of the country following his latest arrest and questioning by police for domestic violence incidents, probably knowing that this might affect whether he could return.

The world waits for some coherent and direct explanations from this cornerstone of the public image defence of Amanda Knox.

Meanwhile, there’s absolute silence from Knox’s corporate PR firm Gogerty Marriott who continue to use the Knox contract as a showcase example of how successfully they work (they are joking, right?).

Many public figures and sheeples have been photographing themselves with Frank over the months presuming that he was in the US on a tourist visa for goodwill. Meanwhile, he was carrying on what the Committee to Protect Journalists has insisted is his money-making and therefore taxable profession,  and also earning at the same time “donated” income and gifts maybe up into the tens of thousands of dollars.

Mr Taxman please note.

Meanwhile, the vacuum left by Frank, a god in his own mind in the woven fabric of the Knox PR image, is turning that fabric into tatters. Someone will have to tie up the loose ends, and in particular give an explanation on where Frank’s absence leaves the very serious accusations of improper and abusive treatment by Prosecutor Mignini and the Flying Squad (neither were involved in his arrest).

Those false accusations all stem from Frank and Doug Preston and similar accusations of abuse are the main components of just about every explanations for Knox’s many conflicting alibis and her bizarre reactions to Italian investigators following the murder of Knox’s roommate Meredith Kercher.

As you may know, Frank claimed to have been beaten up by officers of the Flying Squad beholden to the “rogue” Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini because Mr Mignini was allegedly sufficiently upset by “Frank’s” many blog posts in favour of Knox to have sent his henchmen over to Frank’s house.

After promoting this fiction for months and now years, even many pro-Knox commenters are admitting bashfully that in fact the person who complained to Italian police about abuse by “Frank” was actually a female family member in his own home.

Mr Mignini was NOT involved, the Flying Squad was NOT involved, Frank was NOT beaten up (the wounds in evidence were on the cops) and he was NOT taken to a hospital to have him certified as mad. One big body of lies.

This line of physical abuse and malicious fabrications after the fact certainly fit with Frank’s more recent episodes of being arrested and/or questioned for complaints of domestic violence in Canada, Hawaii, and, now, Seattle.  Looks like, by his own hand, Frank is finally cooked.

More news in future posts about Scammers Two and Three.


Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Might Frank Sforza Already De Facto Be Banned From Ever Reentering The United States?

Posted by Kermit




If the disastrous last few hours of 2012 are any indication, 2013 will be a nightmare year for the Amanda Knox PR campaign and their associated income streams.

As regards the latter, with Knox’s memoirs book set for going on sale next April, there will have to be some serious rewriting or respinning if any mention is made of her family’s stalwart friend and logistics handler in Perugia. The man of many aliases, amongst which is his blogging name of “Frank Sfarzo”.

“Sfarzo” (real name Sforza) did not show up yesterday ““ New Year’s Eve 2012 - in court in Seattle for his preliminary hearing for a double charge of Assault 4-Domestic Violence related to his latest arrest associated with violence (domestic violence or against law enforcement officers) in different countries and continents.

Already the few remaining “Friends of Amanda” spinners on Bruce Fischer’s TrashForCashVictimsAnywhere forum not yet chilled by his escalating legal comeuppance are desperately justifying “Frank’s” bouts with domestic violence arrests as being the fault of the alleged victims.

One of the victims, Peter H in Canada, who had trustingly contributed to Sforza a very large sum, has now said “enough is enough” and bit the bullet in terms of personal embarrassment and posted a highly abusive and dishonest email from Sforza which passes for truth in his pathological world.

This is reposted with thanks from PerugiaMurderFile.net and deep appreciation to Peter H.

Yes, unlike you, abandoned and avoided like pest by everyone, I’m having fun. And anyway it’s not your business if I’m having fun or not, since the idea of you making my business makes me puke, as everyone who looks at you can only be disgusted by your scary appearances and, if they know you, even more by your person.
You are a zero, in BC nobody knows you, you never produced anything in your life, you just live out of a disability check, you have no money, you save on the electricity, you calculate how much water your victims, who accept to reach you in that barn, consume.
Your “friend” Bill Gates doesn’t have any idea who you are as well as your other “friend” Steve Jobs didn’t.
It’s only your imagination of mythomanic, paranoid, perverted, drunkard, old fool, as you rightly define yourself.
You are a disturbance for every one who has the bad luck to come across you, or who falls in the traps in which you attract them. You harassed Betttina, you harassed me, you are violent, dangerous, you have hallucinations because you are crazy, you are a snitch and a slanderer at once, you called the police at 4am while I was in bed telling them that I had stolen your wallet and cellphone. And that’s in the records of the police of BC. You were so clever to call the police after having made crimes against me, exactly as the other drunkard did. That’s the proof that you are stupid. You are so stupid you are not even able to make up an accusations against your victims. How can someone who has to stay in your house steal your cellphone and wallet, what does he do with your cellphone and your wallet if he’s staying in your house out of the world?
Uh? What? You don’t understand? If you were able to understand you would have produced something in your life, you would have someone close to you instead of having to pay people to get there.
Old disgusting drunkard and fool, remove immediately all my contact information from your email and cellphones. Remove within 48 hours the emails to me or from me you have been publishing online (because you are a nobody mythomaniac who wanted to show to the world that you were my friend). I never authorize you to publish my emails,I told you that you could post them only on the private discussion of IIP, where there are my friends, not on the public one. Remove those emails withing 48 hours or I’m gonna sue you. Never contact me again. You can’t answer this email, you can’t talk about me or say anything about my person with anyone. Next email or any attempt of communication in any form from you towards me will be evidence of your further disturbance to me, I’ll pass the border and I’ll report you to the police, who luckily know you very well.

We checked and Sforza’s malicious description of Peter H is not remotely akin to the truth. Many others can testify that, in terms of Sforza’s endless stream of threatening and abusive emails, that one is very much par for the course. Could Michael Heavey be next?

No wonder more and more one-time supporters of “Frank” and the Bruce Fischer forum TrashForCashVictimsAnywhere and in general the Amanda Knox cause are becoming more and more revolted with an immoral and borderline illegal campaign.

On New Year’s Eve, “Frank’s” Seattle court appointed lawyer initially tried ““ do give her credit ““ to arrange a week’s delay in the hearing, alleging “customs” problems that “Frank” was said to be suffering. However, Judge Ed Mckenna probably believed that with a month to prepare for any such problems, the blogger known as “Frank” should have foreseen them and been in court on schedule.

In reality, Frank likely had no problems with the American Customs. There are only three or four grounds. See the form below.





It is doubtful that even he would fly to the US for a domestic violence preliminary hearing and at the same time tried to introduce those prohibited or restricted goods into the country. Given “Frank’s” dependence on other peoples’ earnings, it is unlikely he introduced excessive levels of cash into the US. It is unlikely he tried to introduce livestock, vegetables, or disease agents.

Instead of being allowed a week for Sforza to make it through Customs, the judge gave Sforza’s lawyer only three and a half hours delay in starting the proceedings against him on New Year’s Eve. However, by 1:30 p.m., she had to concede that she couldn’t ensure that Frank could be anywhere in particular at any particular time. She did not even know where he was.

As a result, Judge McKenna had no other option than as prosecution requested to issue a bench warrant for “Frank’s” arrest.





Click for a larger image. That shows that the Amanda Knox PR asset known as “Frank” is now officially wanted under an arrest warrant covering any jurisdiction in the United States. If spotted any police can arrest him on sight. Anyone with any information concerning his whereabouts may inform the nearest law enforcement agency.

However! He may still be in Italy, or he made already be in some other country, indeed even under cover in the United States. In fact, his personal Facebook page currently lists a visited location in the New York area, although given his track record of deception that may or may not be where he really is.



[“Frank” could be in NYC if his Facebook page shows his true location.]


A number of questions remain to be answered.

One is the basis on which “Frank”, a foreigner with a recent record of domestic violence arrests, could be released on bail last November following his arrest for attacking two housemates in Seattle.





As the above image indicates, it appears that typically Assault IV”“DV suspects are held in prison, especially if there is a likelihood of flight.

Just as Amanda Knox was held in preventive prison in Italy to avoid her entourage of fulfilling their promise to get her out of prison and Italy in whatever possible way, why was “Frank” ““ a foreigner with arrest and legal issues growing around the world ““ allowed out on only $2,000 bail when it was very likely that what could happen has actually happened: he left the country and hasn’t returned on time for his court preliminary hearing in Seattle. Who facilitated this questionable decision to offer him bail in November?

Having left the country, both the judge who freed “Frank” on bail in November and “Frank” himself should have been more than aware that should “Frank” leave the country ““ exactly as he seems to have done hours after getting his bailed freedom in November - that he could have serious and lengthy paperwork to prepare should he want to return and face the American justice system?

A justice system that Fischer’s TrashForCashVictimsAnywhere and the Amanda Knox PR campaign has so often favourably compared to what they paint as a corrupt, abusive Italian justice system.





Entering the US if you have an arrest record ““ as is definitely the case of “Frank” ““ is difficult and requires much more extensive paperwork than simply filling out the ESTA VWP forms online like an average tourist. Anyone in “Frank’s” situation should have been responsible enough to identify potential problems in returning to the US to face his Domestic Violence charges “¦

Unless!

    ...unless the entourage around him (I’m not referring to his court appointed lawyer) felt that in fact the best option of those available is to not have “Frank” go through a difficult trial that could further damage the Knox PR campaign and have a negative impact on upcoming sales of Knox’s memoir “tell all” book and her odds on appeal.

    or unless the US Rome Embassy or Immigration decided (not at all for the first time) that it would be way cheaper and safer for everybody concerned to simply keep him out.

The final question is: where actually is “Frank”?

He has an upcoming trial in Italy for biting a police officer who responded to a domestic violence complaint phoned in by a female member of “Frank’s” own family. A prison term is a real possibility. He has an American arrest warrant issued against him. A prison term is a real possibility. He’s certainly not wanted back in Canada.

His attempted point of entry into the USA if there was one is not publicly know. He has not been seen publicly in Perugia for some weeks.

Maybe he’s already disappeared into some far-off hills for a few years. Cross-section of his new lodgings below?




Judge Ed McKenna Issues A Bench Warrant For The Arrest of Court No-Show Frank Sforza

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above and below Municipal Judge Ed McKenna and some images of Seattle Justice Center]


Our main poster Fly By Night reports from the Seattle court.

Before the afternoon session began, Frank’s court appointed lawyer and the court bailiff informed interested parties that he would not be making an appearance.  The KING5 cameraman decided to leave before hearing the adjudication. With court in session, the lawyer apologized to the judge for wasting the court’s time on her no-show client by requesting the half-day delay.

In the morning session the lawyer initially requested a one week delay due to Frank having “customs” problems, but could provide no further information for the court regarding Frank’s absence in the afternoon session.  The judge was aware of Frank’s legal issues in Hawaii, but could find nothing in Frank’s record that would have prevented him from making it to court and therefore disregarded the claims of “customs issues”.

The judge was willing to entertain any additional excuses or suggestions on Frank’s behalf, but unfortunately there were no supporters to be found, leaving his lawyer to state, “I have no further suggestions, your honor.”

The judge then asked the prosecution for a recommended course of action.  The response was, “issue a bench warrant for Mr. Sforca’s arrest”, and the judge agreed, issuing a bench warrant for Frank’s arrest on New Year’s Eve 2012.

Hmmm. Unfortunate that there was not even one supporter to be found…

Frank Sforza has apparently not been seen in Perugia either since his flight out of Seattle a month ago. He also failed to attend a court hearing in Perugia on his (more serious) resisting-arrest charge there.

If he fails to appear in court on the new date next month a Perugia judge is expected to issue a warrant for his arrest. Its is possible that he could be declared an international fugitive if there are more no-shows. 

Oddly, Frank Sforza is apparently still sending out his trademark abusive emails to his former fans and financial helpers. Will that come to include Judge Heavey and Curt Knox? 

Not such a good idea to fight justice all these years. Kermit will post again next on the full implications of Frank’s meteoric career - downward.

 










































Wednesday, December 19, 2012

False Allegations Against Italian Officialdom Sparking Increasingly Tough Legal Reaction

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters





David Marriott? Chirs Mellas? Doug Preston? Curt Knox?

Maybe none of the above. But whoever came up with the hairbrained idea that a pedal-to-the-floor assault on the officlals handling the case would lead to a tranquil outcome for the accused was maybe not thinking very well on that day.

The Italian System

We have gone over the impressive characteristics of the Italian justice system again and again. It is THE most popular and trusted institution in Italy - and by a wide margin.

It is a very fair, carefiul and painstaking system, staffed by well-trained professionals all the way up from cops through investigators through prosecutors through judges through the Supreme Court to the President of the Italian Republic himself.

The Italian system may be the least likely justice system IN THE WORLD for rogue police or rogue prosecutors or rogue judges to hijack it and bend things their way. Even ex-PM Berlusconi tried but his charges still plague him.

Prosecutors again and again see their cases tested in front of administrative magistrates, and those magistrates make all of the decisions. Everything is very public, and judges explain how they decided (ask a typical US or UK jury to do that!) and how they arrived at their theory of the crime.

In the Perugia case the judge for Guede developed one theory of the crime, the judges for Knox and Sollecito at trial a second, and the the judges for knox and Sollecito at first appeal a third. In fact none of them swallowed the tentative prosecution theory wholesale, though many of our lawyers found it quite sound.

Those Who Attack

Now we have three Italians either already facing charges or soon to face charges - Mario Spezi, Frank Sforza and Raffaele Sollecito, each in several suits. These are in addition to the three Americans who have already been charged - Amanda Knox, Edda Mellas, and Curt Knox.

So the present total is six.

Mario Spezi

Spezi is the Italian sleuthing partner of the American fictionalist Doug Preston who for his uninvited interference in what was an ongoing police investigation of the Monster of Florence case has faced legal woe after legal woe in recent years.

Spezi has already lost one defamation suit to the former MOF investigator and prominent novelist Michele Giuttari, he must in February face another, and he may have to face up to another half dozen more after that. We don’t expect Spezi’s losing streak to end any time soon.

Frank Sforza

Sforza hides behind the name Frank Sfarzo as an intemperate and rarely accurate blogger on the case. He brings no known professionals skills to the task. He is reported to be the target of criminal charges relating to alleged abuse of the sister and mother with whom he lives. His unsavory reputation and desperate finances mushroomed openly the other day, when he was reported in personal confrontations while visiting Canada and Hawaii.

Sforza now faces a defamation suit as well, for claiming to the whole world via Doug Preston and Joel Simon of the Committee to Protect Journalists in New York that he was being persecuted by a prosecutor back in Perugia. The prosecutor was not even involved. Seems to us an open and shut case.

Raffaele Sollecito

Sollecito still stands accused in Meredith’s death unless and until the Supreme Couirt signs off. It may not do that any time soon.

Flowing from his new book, Sollecito will apparently face a ton of defamation woes in the next few weeks. These may come to ensnare his defense team (who are credited with helping put together the book) and his shadow writer, his Seattle supporters, and his publishers Simon & Schuster of New York.

Our emerging book corrections page shows how riddled with wrong claims we find Sollecito’s book. We estimate up to 300 wrong claims.  If and when Sollecito sees all the defamation charges filed, we will know from court filings who among Italian officialdom claims passages in the book defame them.

What Next?

Maybe the cases against these six could eventually all dry up and then there will be no more. But we sure wouldn’t lay any bets. Do an Internet search and you’ll instantly turn up plenty more defamatory idiocy. Many media sites may be very vulnerable and may be sued to retract and pay up.

Italian anger is riding high - and it sure ain’t against the prosecutors or cops.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Fervent Knox Supporter Tom Wright Seemingly Strongarms Knox High School Into “Honoring” Her

Posted by brmull





One thing is for sure. Not many schools - maybe none, ever - have accepted the creation of a scholarship to honor a convicted felon who, until the Supreme Court signs off, still stands accused of a very cruel crime.

Seattle Preparatory School is a fee-paying Jesuit Catholic school about a mile north of Seattle downtown, on the south side of Portage Bay from the main campus of the University of Washington. See Google Earth image at bottom. The school’s student role is estimated at around 650.

This announcement of a new scholarship in the name of Amanda Knox was recently published: “The fund, established by past parent [and co-founder of the advocacy group Friends of Amanda Knox] Tom Wright, will provide tuition assistance to students in need.”

Early in 2011 Tom Wright [seen reading a statement in a black shirt below] presided over a seriously loopy panel presentation at Seattle University, attended by a sparse crowd of about 35, which garbled all the hard evidence in the case and accused Italian officialdom of a number of crimes. See for example our reports here and here.





Tom Wright apparently had to kick in at least $50,000 for initial fund of the endowment, and he hopes that others will feel impelled to contribute as well.

For him this is certainly a labor of passion, since Knox with her book advance has more than enough resources of her own to set up an endowment if she wished, though to date we have seen no indication that Knox has made any charitable donations. Tom Wright seeks to make it look noble.

Sara [his daughter] and Amanda were good friends at Prep… With this fund our family wants to honor the courage of Amanda and her family. They displayed great dignity and fortitude enduring a wrongful prosecution on foreign soil. During years of unjust incarceration, the school supported Amanda through prayers and letters of support. Prep acted in the Jesuit spirit by seeking social justice and helped to win a fight worth remembering.

According to the announcement applicants should demonstrate the same “moral courage, strength of character under duress and a sincere desire to help others in need” that was supposedly exhibited by Amanda Knox.





Let’s pause right there.

Claims of “wrongful prosecution” and “years of unjust incarceration” are way premature, and contradicted by all these posts here.

“Moral courage” means taking a risk in order to do what one believes is right. Put aside for a moment the overwhelming evidence that Knox did murder Meredith Kercher. To what instance of moral courage could the school possibly have been referring? We don’t have a clue.

“Strength of character under duress” is pretty much expected of any upstanding member of society. But if there’s one person to which it surely doesn’t apply, it’s someone who was convicted of falsely accusing her kind boss of murder and wrecking his business. Billions of people have a “sincere desire to help others in need.” What makes Knox notable here?

Why else might Knox have been deserving of a scholarship in her name? It’s often said that she was an “honor student” but we wonder why she wasn’t wearing any honor cords at her graduation while other students had them. Author and Knox innocence proponent Nina Burleigh wrote that she “almost flunked” a religion class and was made to take summer school.

Knox has also been described as a “star soccer player.” The team she played for, however, endured “four bleak, losing seasons” according to Nina Burleigh’s book.

A few teachers and students spoke up rather listlessly and doubtfully for Knox after she was arrested and put on trial. Several are believed to have said that they were really not too surprised to hear of the mess she was in.



;Above: school president Dr Kent Hickey]


Is there ANY solid reason in the public record why Knox is deserving of this singular honor?

Tom Wright seems to have been motivated above all by his desire to memorialize “a fight worth remembering.” As much as anything else, that fight consisted of himself and a small group of like-minded diehard parents appropriating the school’s good name and resources for the purpose of a nasty, bigoted, defamatory, strong-arming campaign which played fast and loose with the facts.

Dr Kent Hickey [image directly above] became president of Seattle Prep two years after Knox graduated. He didn’t know her at all, and he may not even have met her face to face before the school accepted a scholarship in her name. Nonetheless, he described her to the media as “a good and thoughtful girl”.

He defended the school’s decision to raise funds for her by saying “We can’t pick and choose the graduates we help.”  Yet Seattle Prep DOES indeed pick and choose, all the time. The school routinely punishes and expels students for everything from minor insolence to felonies. We can’t find any other instance in which it has held fundraisers for any alum—let alone a convicted felon—despite 8,000 alums living in the Seattle area.

And so Seattle Prep parents and onlookers might be forgiven for thinking that Dr Hickey is grasping at straws to justify his school’s very strange action.



[Above: scholarship creator Tom Wright]


One angered parent commented on the PR campaign as follows in an excellent investigative report by James Ross Gardner in the local magazine Seattle Met late in 2010:

It is true some of the Seattle Prep families have allowed their students to support Amanda Knox. I do not believe that it is a 100%. A number of families have felt their students were pressured into supporting Knox without having a choice. That is not the Seattle Prep I knew from my years there as a student, nor is it what my husband experienced.

In our years as Prep students we were allowed choice rather than pressure. Because of the pressure, a number of family are not making their annual donations to Seattle Prep. I, for one, will be glad when the verdict in the appeal is handed down so perhaps we can all move past this event. Yes, event.

Seattle Prep has made it into an event and it takes away from the students discussing other news and issues. I do not wish Knox ill but my children did not go to school with her and do not know her. They have no idea if she is guilty. They are more worried about their close friend that is fighting cancer. It is time to un-focus on Knox. That’s just my opinion.





An angered alum of Seattle Prep offered this opinion to the reporter from Seattle Met:

I went to Seattle Prep, and did a full year in Italy. I learned Italian and the culture and saw a lot of Americans and Italians from the South that studied in Central and Northern university towns go a little nuts with all the freedom away from home.

Since I started following this trial, I could totally see how immoral behavior could lead to Amanda doing what she was accused of doing. Drug use, jealous roommates, and illicit sex are not a good mix, especially when people need money to support such habits. Amanda seems to have a lobby of easily-swayed-by-propaganda lab rats who bought in to the PR agency story and don’t bother following the case in its entirety.

I do not know the background of the Seattle Prep Principal, but I think he is getting in way over his head by getting into this case, and as a prior poster mentioned, he is putting a lot of pressure on people to get on the pro-Amanda bandwagon. So sick to sway young students’ minds on what to think.

This sounds like our post-modern decaying American mentality of choosing sides and voicing misdirected-emotions in forming opinions. The Principal does not sound like a well educated, worldly individual to put the Academic Institution and its students, employees and graduates in the middle of this fiasco. It reeks of “We Support Our Troops,” military campaigns to coerce and intimidate people into believing in a “popular” movement.

It’s a cruel joke that needy students who are not in a position to turn down financial aid will be forced to associate themselves with Amanda Knox and an ignominious campaign of bigotry, defamation and intimidation.

It is to them and the real victims, Meredith and her family, that Seattle hearts should go out.







Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Amazingly, Wrong Facts And Defamations Of Italian Officialdom Show NO Sign Of Being Reigned In

Posted by devorah





It is very hard in the Perugia case for us to figure out who is driving the defense and PR bus.

The assumption made in standard cases is that the defendants are the clients, as it is their necks on the line, while the lawyers and any PR effort work at their command. In effect RS and AK would exercise all control, and courts would hold them responsible for what they did or should have controlled. 

In unusual contrast, here we have a situation where it seems like a bunch of clowns is driving the bus.

The hard facts of the forthcoming Supreme Court appeal and the legal strength of the prosecution team seem to be absolutely damning, while the two defendants and/or their surrogates are out there in high profile playing a childish “catch me if you can” game.

Read first TJMK’s recent posts (scroll down) on how formidable the Supreme Court appeal really is, and especially this one and this one.

Then read TJMK’s recent posts (scroll down) on Sollecito and the frenetic promotion of his bizarre book. And TJMK’s dissection (not yet complete) of its several hundred faults and 20-plus serious defamations.

Then Google the recent confused and nasty utterings on Knox’s and Sollecito’s behalf (very unwisely tacitly endorsed or unconstrained by either AK or RS) by Saul Kassin, Seth Chandler, Michael Heavey, Doug Preston, Michele Moore, David Anderson, Nigel Scott, and on and on.

Fortunately the media websites allowing anonymous drive-by hatchet jobs under their reporting seems to have dwindled sharply, and are now more or less confined to the hapless low-traffic Ground Report and occasionally the Huffington Post.

Perhaps in consequence, the nasty wildly inaccurate drive-by hatchet jobs in the book reviews on the Amazon website and their reader comments continue to mount up more than ever.

I want to use as an example of this trend the furious comments below this one-star book review of Raffaele Sollecito’s book on Amazon.

The many passages I have put in bold highlight the claims that we here and officialdom in Perugia have long KNOWN to be inaccurate and often defamatory.

This series of comments displays perfectly the nasty and bullying strategy, circular arguments, and wrong facts that the anonymous supporters of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito still deploy, to ensure that their PR points get across and drown out alternative viewpoints.

The strategy of the Solllecito-Knox hit team here at work seems to be as follows:

    1. Numerous people register anonymously and review ONLY Sollecito’s book or ONLY books about the Meredith Kercher case. These people have no other online presence on Amazon and are obviously deeply immersed in the case as they review books only about it (a more sinister explanation is that these are mostly fake reviewers posting shill reviews under different aliases).

    2. They post numerous positive reviews about the slanted pro-defense books.

    3. They post numerous negative reviews about the objective pro-prosecution books. For example, John Kercher’s book about his murdered daughter has numerous 1- and 2-star reviews. They were written by individuals who reviewed ONLY books on this case and who gave 5-star reviews to pro-defense books.

    4. They respond to opposing viewpoints with hostile and intimidating taunts, threats, ridicule and name calling (in the Amazon thread I linked to above, you can see that those who deviate from the story that Knox and Sollecito are innocent and post alternative viewpoints have actually been called lunatics, idiots and perverts).

    5. They repeat known lies and mistruths as though they are facts, using the Knox team’s PR talking points. For example, “there is ZERO evidence in this case” and “there was absolutely NO DNA evidence linking Knox or Sollecito to the crime.”

    6. When someone responds with facts to the contrary and links to the evidence, they are bullied, called names, or derisively dismissed.

    7. Eventually, when trying to win the argument by logic alone fails, they may finally report their opposers to Amazon so that un unknowing Amazon blocks them from making further comments in the book reviews.

Is this working? I think not. Especlally in Italy but also in the US and UK, there is a growing pool out there that is no longer fooled.

On media sites below stories, the level of skepticism is generally very high these days. After all, the truth “got” to Katie Couric and the guests on Jane Velez Mitchell’s show, so Sollecito’s book at least got poor promotion.

Legal commenters and professional reporters like Wendy Murphy, Nancy Grace, Barbie Nadeau and John Follain have all hinted or outright stated that Knox and Sollecito just might have blood on their hands.

Could that be why the campaign has turned to Amazon.com book reviews penned only by people with brand new screen names?

Knox and Sollecito’s supporters must be worried about the extremely strong appeal case the prosecution is moving forward with. Currently, the defense has NO lawyers publicly saying they were framed and NO good experts going public any more.

While their hotheaded surrogates are still out there (see above!) Knox is out of sight and Sollecito probably is too now. Also the Sollecito book is proving a considerable millstone around their own necks as it is so riddled with wrong facts and obvious calunnia.

Two of Sollecito’s key claims have already been denounced on Italian national TV by Sollecito’s own father and his lawyers. Objectively it looks like they are in a heap of trouble.

Please read the review linked to above to see some of Knox and Sollecito’s most strident supporters in action. Want to fight back? Respond back if you wish, write your own book reviews, and direct people to TJMK and PMF, and to the Massei Report and other factual sources of information. Tweeting would be especially helpful.

And do make sure that people remember that Meredith Kercher was the real victim in this case.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sollecito’s Book Honor Bound Hits Italy And Already Scathing Reactions And Legal Trouble

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above: Sollecito’s father Francesco on Italian national TV being made to admit the book lied]

The Sollecito/Gumbel book is an “own goal”

In Italy the extremely inaccurate and hyper-aggressive book has already set themselves up for two kinds of trouble

The Gumbel and Sollecito book was released in English on 18 September 2012 and within ten days all of Italy knew that the book was a crock.

Sollecito’s own father and own lawyers Bongiorno and Maori have already been forced to admit the book contains serious lies.

Already the prosecution has indicated that they are weighing whether there might be new charges lodged against Sollecito.

Analysis Of 3 Claims Of Criminal Conduct

We focus on three claims by Sollecito and Gumbel of criminal behavior which have already been widely repudiated by the Italian press.

1. A deal was sought by prosecution to frame Knox

Sollecito’s own father Francesco was made to concede by the host and all other guests on the popular Porta a Porta TV show last week that Sollecito lied in claiming that the prosecution had sought a deal under which Sollecito would frame Amanda.

Such a deal would be illegal so Sollecito was falsely accusing prosecutors of a very serious crime. Francesco Sollecito backed down even more in some interviews later. One of Sollecito’s own lawyers, Luca Maori, immediately denied in obvious frustration that the offer of any deal either way ever happened, and Giulia Bongiorno soon publicly agreed. .

2. A long brutal interrogation on 5-6 November 2007

Sollecito has suddenly claimed in the book, nearly five years after he said it happened, in face of vast evidence including his own writings to the contrary, that police interrogated him over 10 hours, and abused and threatened him.

But he was demonstrably not ever interrogated over 10 hours, and he folded fast when they showed him his phone records, which contradicted his earlier alibis, and so he promptly laid the blame on Amanda.

The English translations of the lengthy court transcripts of those many who were present at the central police station on the night all coincide, and damn the version cooked up by Sollecito and Gumbel..

3. Deliberately wrong reasoning in the Galati appeal

All this trouble flows from half a dozen pages of Sollecito’s book made public in Italy!  Here now are several more pages not yet known about there (we will have many more) which our poster ZiaK has translated into Italian to help everybody to read. Sollecito ridicules both Dr Galati and his appeal. Let’s see:

  • Dr Galati is recognised as one of the most brilliant lawyers in Italy, and he is a former Deputy Chief Prosecutor at the Supreme Court, specially assigned to Perugia because cases involving the central government are handled there when they are too hot to handle in Rome.
  • Solllecito is of course a 28-year old student with a cocaine record and a long history of parental supervision who has never held a job in his life. He failed the entrance exam in virtual reality for the University of Verona but still has delusions of a career in computer games.

And surely Gumbel would never have got the job if Bongiorno and Maori had the opportunity to size up how wildly incompetent about the law and the case and and twisted in his mind about Italy he seems to be.

These ill-advised pages below show Sollecito’s and Gumbel’s profound ignorance of Italian jurisprudence, a total incomprehension of the wide scope of the appeal, and their contempt toward the advice from his lawyers.

Passages highlighted are wrong on the hard facts as shown in part 2 below.

1. What The Sollecito/Gumbel book claims

Judge Hellmann’s sentencing report was magnificent: 143 pages of close argument that knocked down every piece of evidence against us and sided with our experts on just about every technical issue. It lambasted both the prosecution and the lower court for relying on conjecture and subjective notions of probability instead of solid evidence. And it launched a particularly harsh attack on Mignini for casting aspersions on the very concept of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

Mignini had dismissed it in one of his court presentations as a self-defining piece of linguistic trickery. Hellmann pointed out that reasonable doubt was now””belatedly””part of the Italian criminal code. A case built on probability alone, he said, was not sufficient and must necessarily lead to the acquittal of the defendant or defendants.

The prosecution’s rebuttal of the sentencing report, filed a couple of months later, was little short of astonishing.

It accused Hellmann of indulging in circular arguments, the old rhetorical fallacy known to the ancients as petitio principii””essentially, starting with the desired conclusion and working backward. The criticism applied much more accurately to what the prosecution and Judge Massei had done themselves; everything, even the absence of evidence, had been a pretext for them to argue for our guilt. But the author of the prosecution document, Giovanni Galati, chose not to dwell on such ironies. Instead, he attacked Hellmann””I wish I were joking about this””for resorting to deductive reasoning. Making yet more allusions to grand rhetorical principles, Galati said he had a problem with the appeals court taking the available evidence and seeking to make each piece follow on logically from the last. I take it he is not a fan of Sherlock Holmes.

Galati seemed incensed that Hellmann had found the “superwitnesses” unreliable. He argued that Hellmann’s problem with Antonio Curatolo, the heroin addict in Piazza Grimana, was not his failure to be consistent about the details of when and where he had supposedly seen us but rather Hellmann’s own “unwarranted prejudice against the witness’s lifestyle.” Galati even dared to embrace Curatolo’s argument that heroin is not a hallucinogen to insist he must have been telling the truth.

These arguments, to me, made a mockery of civilized discourse. I don’t honestly know how else to characterize them.

From my experience, I also know they are the bread and butter of the Italian legal system, the peculiar language in which arguments and counterarguments are formed every day. Not only do innocents go to prison with shocking regularity, while guilty people, equally often, win reprieve or acquittal; magistrates and judges who make the most howling errors rarely pay for their mistakes.

See Part 3 below for an Italian translation of the above, kindly supplied by main poster ZiaK.

2. Correctly explaining Cassation’s reasoning

Read all the posts here. Also read all the posts linked to here.

Italy’s excellent justice system is in fact exceptionally pro defendant, and prosecutors have to jump through more hoops than any other system in the world. Major errors and framings of innocent parties never make it through to a final guilty verdict.

Correctly understood in light of that system, there was nothing magnificent about the Hellman-Zanetti outcome. The Hellmann court is KNOWN to have been hijacked.

And these posts by Cardiol and James Raper show the report was written by two biased and wrongly qualified judges way out of their depth on both the evidence and the law.

Here is main poster Machiavelli’s explanation of what Sollecito.doesn’t get. The required logic Sollecito is ridiculing is intrinsic to Italian jursprudence (and US and UK jurisprudence) and is REQUIRED by the Supreme Court. 

In plain English, Dr Galati is saying that Hellmann-Zanetti ignored that requirement.

Instead, they illegally went cherrypicking, with an extreme pro-defendant bias up-front. Bold text here is to emphasize that.

2.  The failure to apply the inferential-inductive method to assess circumstantial evidence. This is a key point based on jurisprudence and is in fact a devastating general argument against Hellmann-Zanetti:

The appeal to Cassation’s jurisprudence on the circumstantial case originates from the fact that the Assize Appeal Court did not deploy a unified appreciation of the circumstantial evidence and did not examine the various circumstantial items in a global and unified way.

With its judgment it has, instead, fragmented the circumstantial evidence; it has weighed each item in isolation with an erroneous logico-judicial method of proceeding, with the aim of criticizing the individual qualitative status of each of them ..


Dr Galati accuses the appeal court of focusing on the quality of some pieces of circumstantial evidence, instead of their correlation to each other as the Supreme Court always requires. .

The appeal judges, in actual fact, deny that the probative reasoning and the decisive and cognitive proceeding of the court is to be found in the circumstantial evidence paradigm of the hypothetico-probabilistic kind, in which the maxims of experience, statistical probability and logical probability have a significant weight.

The court must reach a decision by means of the “inductive-inferential” method: it proceeds, by inference, from individual and certain items of data, through a series of progressive causalities, to further and fuller information, so arriving at a unification of them in the context of [13] the reconstructed hypothesis of the fact.

This means that the data, informed and justified by the conclusions, are not contained in their entirety in the premises of the reasoning, as would have happened if the reasoning were of the deductive type “¦ (..) A single element, therefore, concerning a segment of the facts, has a meaning that is not necessarily unambiguous.

Dr Galati cites and explains further:

The Perugia Court of Appeal has opted, instead, precisely for the parceled-out evaluation of individual probative elements, as if each [14] one of them must have an absolutely unambiguous meaning, and as if the reasoning to be followed were of the deductive type.

This error emerges from the text of the judgment itself, but the gravity of the error committed by the Court in its decision derives from the fact that even the individual elements had been acquired by the cognitive-decisioning process in a totally partial manner, isolating the sole aspect that allowed the recognizing of doubts and uncertainties in the element itself..

So Galati-Costagliola concludes ““ and this by now is obvious ““ that the Hellmann-Zanetti court followed a “deductive only” paradigm on pieces in isolation, instead of the “inferential-inductive” paradigm prescribed by Supreme Court requirements (1995).

Moreover, Hellmann-Zanetti applied a deductive paradigm of assessment only to some cherry picked aspects of the single isolated pieces of evidence, overlooking other qualities of the single piece (an example ““ my own ““ is the possible “contamination” of the bra clasp found on the floor in the murder room.) Ordering an assessment of the quality of any element as if it was a proof in isolation from the rest of the evidence is itself unlawful.

But Hellmann”“Zanetti also picked out of the evidence one aspect alone, for example it points to the theoretical possibility of contamination by touching from gloves, but does not consider the negative check results from the possible contamination sources. The interpretation of X-DNA from the bra-clasp by Vecchiotti in the conclusion is worded as if to ignore the results on the Y-haplotype, and so on.

So even single aspects/qualities of isolated items are further isolated from other aspects by Hellmann-Zanetti, and are assessed without looking for a relationship to the context. This is a core violation of the basics of jurisprudence in cases based on circumstantial evidence.

3. Italian Version of the passage on the Cassation appeal from Sollecito’s book

This translation is kindly provided by main poster ZiaK.

Il rapporto di motivazioni del giudice Hellmann fu magnifico: 143 pagine di ragionamenti serrati che demolirono ogni singolo pezzo di prova contro di noi, e che con riferimento a quasi ogni questione tecnica presero le parti dei nostri esperti. Il rapporto strigliò sia la pubblica accusa, sia la corte di prima istanza per il loro affidamento ai congetture e ai nozioni soggettivi di probabilità  invece di dipendere su prove solide. Perdipiù, il rapporto sferrò un attaco particolarmente severo su Mignini per aver denigrato il concetto stesso di prova oltre ogni ragionevole dubbio. Mignini aveva già  scartato questo concetto come un inganno linguistico auto-determinante nel corso di uno delle suoi presentazioni alla corte. Hellmann fece notare che il dubbio ragionevole fa ormai - tardivamente - parte del codice penale italiano. Una causa stabilita unicament su probabilità , disse Hellmann, non é sufficiente e deve necessariamente condurre all’assoluzione del imputato o degli imputati.

La confutazione del rapporto della parte dell’accusa, presentato in appello un paio di mese dopo, fu quasi una cosa sbalorditiva.

Accusò Hellmann di abbandonarsi a argomentazioni viziosi, in quella vecchia falsità  retorica conosciuta dagli antichi come petitio principii - cioè,sostanzialmente, partire dalla conclusione desiderata per poi andare a ritroso. Questa critica potrebbe essere applicata con molto più precisione a ciò che fecero l’accusa e il giudice Massei stessi: tutto - compresa anche la mancanza di prove - gli é servito di pretesto per dare appiglio agli loro argumenti sostenendo la nostra colpevolezza. Ma l’autore di quel rapporto della pubblica accusa, Giovanni Galati, scelse di non soffermarsi su queste ironie. Al contrario, preferii attacare Hellmann - io desideri davvero fossi solo scherzando su questo punto - per il suo aver ricorso al ragionamento deduttivo. Perdipiù, facendo ancora altre allusioni a grandi principi retorici, Galati si dichiarò insoddisfatto del fatto che la Corte d’appello avesse preso prove disponibili e avesse cercato di far seguire in modo logico un pezzo dopo l’altro. Devo supporre che Galati non sia un tifoso di Sherlock Holmes.

Galati sembrò furibondo che Hellmann avesse trovato inaffidabili gli “supertestimoni”. Sostenne che la difficoltà  che Hellman terrò a proposito di Antonio Curatolo, il tossicomane della Piazza Grimana, non fu la sua incapacità  di ricordarsi con coerenza i dettagli su quando e dove fossimo presumibilmente visti, ma piuttosto il “pregiudizio ingiustificato contro il modo di vivere del testimone” mantenuto del stesso Hellmann. Galati osò persino cogliere l’argomento di Curatolo, secondo il quale l’eroina non é un allucinogeno, per sostenere che Curatolo avesse dovuto dire la verità .

Tali argomentazioni, al mio parere, svuotino il discorso progredìto di tutte le sue valori. In onestà , non saprei descriverli in modo diverso. Nella mia esperienza, so anche che sono il fondamento del sistema giuridico italiano, e della la lingua particolare nella quale gli argumenti e controargumentazioni sono formulati ogni giorno. Non solo gli innocenti vengono incarcerati con preoccupante frequenza, mentre le persone colpevoli con altrettanto frequenza ottengono sospensione o assoluzione, ma anche i magistrati ed i giudici che fanno gli più strepitosi errori pagano raramente per i loro sbagli.

[Below: Sollecito’s lead lawyer Bongiorno. Still in shock? She has made no statement yet on his book]


Monday, September 24, 2012

Strong Trend: Increasingly The Good Lawyers Are On One Planet And The PR Shills Are On Another

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Prominent lawyer Wendy Murphy reflects many in saying the evidence is very strong] 


In the post below Jane Velez Mitchell of CNN can be watched staking her legal reputation on Sollecito.

This may surprise you. Jane Velez Mitchell is not herself a lawyer. In fact, she has only a possible journalism degree awarded by New York University.

She claims she was hooked after she “read his book until 2:30” and encountered him in some elevator - we have been puzzling over which elevator and when, for if it was an elevator in the Time Warner building in New York why was he not right there in the studio?

Of the three lawyers she had on the show, the two who did know the case (Wendy Murphy and the crime blogger Levi Page) came down very decisively against Sollecito. The third (Joey Jackson) knew nothing about the case, though even he thought the book was terribly timed.

In effect, Jane Velez Mitchell was carrying on like another PR shill. She really wasn’t any less amateurishly invested than Saul Kassin. Another non-lawyer - Saul Kassin is actually a psychologist.

Where ARE the lawyers for Knox-Sollecito?

All of them seem to have gone awol. Our main poster James Raper, himself a lawyer, sent out this invitation to speak up. In the five months since he posted that, not ONE lawyer has come forward.

Well, except for one strange burble from Anne Bremner, about RS and AK watching Amelie and that being their alibi - though the watching of Amelie took place three to four hours earlier. Even RS and AK didnt claim that.

Knox family legal advisor Ted Simon sounds rattled every time he talks, which he hasnt done since late in 2011. And poor lost Michael Heavey still can’t get to grips with the facts.

In contrast, we now have two of the foremost legal talking heads in the US - Wendy Murphy (a former prosecutor) and Nancy Grace (a former prosecutor) - saying the evidence is overwhelming.

In Italy the Sollecito lawyer Giulia Borngiorno, in face of the Galati appeal and possible legal trouble of her own over Aviello and judge-shopping, has become seriously silent. And Sollecito lawyer Luca Maori just had to distance himself from Sollecito, in conceding that Sollecito in his book had been lying.

Where are the PR shills for Knox-Sollecito?

Though they seem to have shadow-written much of the Sollecito book ostensibly shadow written by the real shadow writer, Andrew Gumbel, Curt Knox’s hatchet men have become so nasty and so distanced from the real facts that they now repel classy media company.

To her great credit, a week ago Katie Couric was repelled - and she showed it. 

However there are still a few out there shilling for Knox and Sollecito. We would include in the active shill group Andrew Gumbel, Sollecito book agent Sharlene Martin, and maybe the publisher’s own promoters (if any).

Also Jane Velez Mitchel of course now. Saul Kassin (a flagship shill who may have gone silent). And the shrillest of all the shills, David Anderson, Bruce Fischer, Frank Sforza, Nina Burleigh, and Candace Dempsey.

They all seem to have big chips on their shoulders, and of course financial stakes. Maybe that is what it takes to be a shill here? Sort of the opposite of a degree in law?


[Below Two Sollecito shills: ghost writer Andrew Gumbel and literary agent Sharlene Martin]


Friday, July 27, 2012

Heads-Up To The Amanda Knox Forces: A Case Showing How Closely The US and Italian FBIs Co-operate

Posted by Peter Quennell



Meet Doctor Mark Weinberger.

That report about his arrest in Italy was broadcast in 2009. We last posted on him here.

Weinberger was apparently a wildly successful doctor who ran a sinus clinic in Indiana and lived a wildly affluent lifestyle a few milers north outside Chicago. In 2004 he disappeared off his large yacht which was then anchored at a Greek marina, and for six years his (very impressive) wife Michelle presumed he was dead.

In the meantime she had found out that he had actually been running a huge fraud, scamming health insurance and the US government via false billing and unnecessary surgery (often botched) for many millions. And that far from being left comfortably off, she was financially wiped out.

In 2006 in absentia she divorced Weinberger and started over.

In 2009 Weinberger was captured in the Alps by the Italian equivalent of the FBI and returned to the United States as soon as his extradition was requested. In perhaps 99 percent of all US-Italian extradition cases, the fugitives are handed over by both governments very promptly. This sure wasn’t any exception. 

Weinberger began to lose the first of numerous civil suits a year ago, and on wednesday he pleaded guilty to 22 criminal charges in federal court.

His prison term is set at ten years.

One moral of the tale apparently still not learned by Steve Moore and Bruce Fischer and their hapless ship of fools, so desperate for approbation, is this: much or most of the time it is the fine Italian equivalent of the FBI that they are misrepresenting and defaming.

In the past two weeks alone, we have seen new ramblings by Saul Kassin and Nigel Scott (engineered by Bruce Fischer) that to any informed lawyer are quite crazy. Kassin and Scott clearly didnt have the slightest idea WHO they were defaming or accusing of crimes.

Or how much more determined thier defaming makes the Italian FBI and other law enforcement agencies and the courts to give Amanda Knox (or Curt Knox or Edda Mellas) no special breaks.

The daffy Steve Moore first introduced this confusion way back here.  And of course Bruce Fischer, Curt Knox’s hotheaded chief hatchet man, sustains it up to this day.

Eighteen months ago, Chris Mellas (whose business in Seattle is doing well) sensibly recommended from Perugia that the Knox campaign should finally acquire some cool heads and some REAL experts, and toss the trouble-making grand-standers they had acquired over the side.

Perhaps predictably, Curt Knox (whose business in Seattle is doing badly) reacted red-faced and steaming, and shot this seemingly quite smart idea down. So the abrasive, misleading, very amateur campaign goes on.

***

Added. We are now told that Frank Sforza and David Anderson are in Seattle, and Sollecito will be there soon, to actually jack up the level of defaming in the RS and AK “we were the victims” books being written.

Wow. THAT is Curt Knox’s end-game?l He ran that one past Chris Mellas?  It seems universally believed in officialdom in Rome and Perugia that Curt Knox KNEW all along that Amanda did it. Apparently with good evidence.

What will he do if they charge him?
 


Wednesday, May 09, 2012

An Associate Of Knox PR Heavy David Marriot Has Been Bullying Meredith’s Father Online

Posted by Glinda The Good





Yet another example of Curt Knox’s abusive public relations campaign at work.

We have long heard that the PR run for Curt Knox by David Marriott in Seattle controls all the pro-Knox anti-Italy message everywhere. David Marriott unwisely claimed this, in fact, right after Amanda Knox returned to Seattle. See here.

The PR is said to abuse reporters who dont go along, reward those that do, and fan out nasty commenters around the web to post selling points under various false names. It presumably does that to make the movement look spontaneous and big. An expanding but questionable technique which goes by the name astroturfing.

Every month more evidence piles up, suggesting that online comment threads and forums are being hijacked by people who aren’t what they seem.

The anonymity of the web gives companies and governments golden opportunities to run astroturf operations: fake grassroots campaigns that create the impression that large numbers of people are demanding or opposing particular policies. This deception is most likely to occur where the interests of companies or governments come into conflict with the interests of the public. For example, there’s a long history of tobacco companies creating astroturf groups to fight attempts to regulate them.

After I wrote about online astroturfing in December, I was contacted by a whistleblower. He was part of a commercial team employed to infest internet forums and comment threads on behalf of corporate clients, promoting their causes and arguing with anyone who opposed them.

Like the other members of the team, he posed as a disinterested member of the public. Or, to be more accurate, as a crowd of disinterested members of the public: he used 70 personas, both to avoid detection and to create the impression there was widespread support for his pro-corporate arguments. I’ll reveal more about what he told me when I’ve finished the investigation I’m working on.

The Knox PR astroturfing operation now has Meredith’s father John Kercher and his fine new book in its crosshairs, and for some days it has been raining contemptuous abuse. .

Officialdom in Perugia and Rome and the Italian Supreme Court all seem to know that the Knox-Mellases KNEW Amanda Knox was involved in the crime against Meredith almost as soon as they arrived in Perugia, and that they have been trying to cover that up ever since.

The PR scheme had already swung into operation by then, but the Knox-Mellases made the fateful choice to stick with it regardless, instead of maybe more wisely switching off the PR and turning to a good American lawyer to spread the word instead. Curt Knox recently claimed, before Amanda’s “innocent” persona started to implode, that using PR was one of the best choices he ever made. 

This image above is of Seth Chandler, the managing director of Axolotl AB, a public relations firm linked to David Marriott’s which does the usual advertising, copy doctoring, social media campaigning, and so on. The image was captured online before it was hurriedly disappeared.

Seth appears to be the same chap caught red-handed the other day propagating the all-too-familiar FOA selling points while sliming the family of Meredith, who is the real victim here. Under an article on Worldcrunch which reported the imminent release of John Kercher’s book “Meredith” Seth Chandler was observed repeatedly posting that John Kercher (and others there trying to explain the truth) should simply STFU..

With only a couple of exceptions, real names of identifiable people are not used by the PR.  We’ve seen them, we’ve read them, but this appears to be only the second time (after “Bruce Fisher of New York”) that one of the anonymous PR operatives/contractors has been exposed for what and where he is. Perhaps we might expect a few more.

For four years in the US and the UK, with big money at stake, the operatives have bashed Italy, the Italian justice system, Italian culture, and the Italian law enforcement agencies involved in the case. The operatives have slimed the Scientific Police, the prosecutor Mr Mignini, the prosecutor Ms Comodi, the British press, the Italian press, the Kerchers’ lawyer Mr Maresca, and all the prosecution witnesses.  In various postings they have accused many of these people of crimes, an imprisonable felony in the US.

They have bashed the lay judges in the court because they wear their tricolour sashes routinely as a badge of office. They have claimed that this is an anti-American display. They have decried the Italian courtroom because behind the lead judge a crucifix hangs there.

The operatives have thrown mud at anyone they perceive as dangerously surfacing any hard truth about the case. Respected journalists have received exceptional abuse. Any perceived enemy not so much of Amanda Knox herself as the defense narrative of the murder and the legal processes can expect to get roughed up.

So it’s quite a game-changer when Seth Chandler, or “Seth C” as he now wants to be known, the managing director of Axolotl PR, is apparently caught red-handed telling John Kercher to STFU.  Seth Chandler has claimed as he tried to wriggle off the hook that “no one paid” him to say STFU, and that anyway PRs would never say such a thing. Really? But the abuse was right there in his name.

Seth Chandler also works for Electrolux. Its competitors are are Dyson, and LG. I wouldn’t imagine that he employs the same tactics for firms, though I haven’t yet checked his Amazon customer reviews.

Shame on Seth Chandler - and on Curt Knox, whose vile temper reverberates throughout this case and some increasingly believe sent Amanda Knox over the top.


Friday, May 04, 2012

A Mischievous Defense-Inspired Global Hoax - To Deflect From Some Bad News?

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[Left, editor Chris Blackhurst of the Independent, right, editor Tony Gallagher of the Daily Telegraph]


1. Examine first some key happenings at the Knox/Sollecito trial

Throughout the trial which began back in January 2009 the defense teams often seemed down or depressed or distracted or floundering.

Reports surfaced in Italy that one or two of them might even have considered walking. Knox defense counsel Luciano Ghirga was reported as nodding off or distracted. Sollecito defense counsel Giulia Bongiorno was photographed seemingly showing some exasperation with Sollecito and at zero notice she missed several days in court.

Amanda Knox’s testimony over two days on the stand in June 2009 was widely seen in Italy as a disaster. From then on many in the court and throughout Italy believed this seemingly callous, evasive, forgetful girl had to have had a role in Meredith’s death.

Having failed to attend to observe any of the key forensic tests at the Scientific Police labs in Rome, the defenses were able to introduce some forensic witnesses who testified that there might, possibly, somehow, be contamination in the collection and tests which they chose not to witness, but they never came close to showing how.

By the summations in November 2009 both defenses seemed to be seriously floundering. 


2. Fast forward to Friday 20 November 2009

What happened on 20 November might well have made it the defenses’ very worst day.

On that day during their summation the prosecution BEHIND CLOSED DOORS devoted an entire day to reconstructing how Meredith died and the events in the few hours before and since.

The presentation was closed because Judge Massei had ruled in favor of Meredith’s family to close the court to the media when any upsetting material was being presented. For example the results of the autopsy had been presented in closed court.

This resulted in the Massei judges and jury receiving a much more disturbing picture than the Italian public and especially the foreign publics ever did.

The Italian media pieced together what had been presented behind the closed doors on 20 November and Il Messagero and several other Italian newspapers published it several days later. You can read a combined summary in this post here.

To our knowledge none of that summary of events ever appeared in the US or UK media, so the full impact of the reconstruction felt by the jury and to a lesser extent by the Italian public was never felt at all by the US or UK publics.

This excerpt is from that post:

We have left out the depiction of the final struggle with Meredith, which is extremely sad and disturbing. In the evidence phase this was testified-to behind closed doors at her family’s request and we have never posted anything from those sessions….

23:21 - Amanda and Raffaele go into Meredith’s bedroom, while Rudy goes into the bathroom.

23:25 - A scuffle begins between Amanda, helped by Raffaele, and Meredith. The English girl is taken by the neck, then banged against a cupboard. Rudy Guede enters and joins in.

23:30 - 23:45 Depiction in the timeline and computer simulation of a horrific struggle with Meredith

23:50 - Amanda and Raffaele take Meredith’s mobile phones and they leave the apartment. Guede goes into the bathroom to get several towels to staunch the blood, then puts a cushion under Meredith’s head.

That simulation video was a second-by-second depiction of what the crime-scene specialists from the Scientific Police in Rome had concluded, from the position of Meredith’s body in the room, evidence traces and the placing of various objects, and the many wounds described in the autopsy.

It was extremely difficult and laborious to get just right, and every tiny movement of the four that it depicts in three-dimensional space had to be able to stand up unchallenged - as they did.

The fight with Meredith took a horrific fifteen minutes. It only ended when she was lying bleeding on the floor, her hands grasping her neck. She was locked in her room to die, with her keys and phones removed to make sure she could not save her own life.

This was not a minute or two of hazing and a slipped knife. The evident intention was to see her dead - and in the reconstruction it required THREE ATTACKERS to explain all the evidence points.

The prosecution never entered the video into evidence so it could not be leaked to the public (the Sollecito family already stood accused of leaking one video)  but the effect on the jury seems to have been profound and the defenses could do nothing to blunt it.

The lone wolf theory was well and truly dead in that courtroom and a perception of three attackers was well and truly alive. The defenses did what they could in their summations but they were unable to shake the perception of a depraved three-against-one attack.

A few days later a verdict was announced. By a UNANIMOUS verdict Sollecito and Knox were found guilty.


3. Fast forward to the first-level appeal before Judge Hellman in 20011

Judge Sergio Matteini Chiari, the most senior judge in the criminal division, was appointed to preside over the appeal.

He was very experienced at presiding over murder trials and appeals. What happened next surprised many among the judges and prosecutors and Italian reporters and the Italian public generally. From the Italian Wikipedia:

Although the Assize Court of Appeal was to be chaired by Dr. Sergio Matteini Chiari, Chairman of the Criminal Division of the Court of Appeal in Perugia, in circumstances not well understood Dr. Claudio Pratillo Hellmann, who chairs the Labor Chamber of the Court, has been called on to preside over the appeal court,

The judge to the side of the main judge, Dr. Massimo Zanetti, came from the Civil Section, and both had had limited experience with criminal trials both rather remote in time (only the cases of Spoleto and Orvieto).

Judge Hellman readily consented to the defense requests. First to re-examine several witnesses previously heard on the stand during trial (primarily Mr Curatolo) and two new ones (Alessi and Aviello) intended to show that Guede or Aviello’s missing brother could have attacked Meredith with unknown others.

And second to appoint two independent experts who would re-examine the DNA on the large knife found in Sollecito’s apartment and the DNA for which traces were collected in Meredith’s room and the methods used for processing them.

The examination of the witnesses seemed to end indecisively, but the vague suggestions of the independent consultants that there COULD have been DNA contamination - never proven - was accepted readily by Judge Hellman.

The reconstruction and the showing of the simulation which the trial jury sat through in later 2009 was not repeated by the prosecution at the first appeal in late 2011. Judge Hellman showed no inclination to sit through the full depiction of the day or the horrific 15-minute attack on Meredith.

So the explanation of all the evidence points in the room and on Meredith’s body was never solidly brought home solidly to Judge Hellman or his jury. In his verdict he overturned the outcome of the first trial, provisionally pending any Supreme Court ratification, and he handed Amanda Knox a three-year sentence for framing Patrick Lumumba.

Having refused to see the reconstruction, he could very torturously argue that the attack on Meredith could have been carried out by a single person. If he and his jury had actually watched the video, they could never have argued that.


4. Fast-forward to the grounds of Dr Galati’s appeal to the Supreme Court

The Umbria Chief Prosecutor’s grounds for appeal were spelt out by him at a new conference in Perugia on Monday 13 February 2012. The PMF translation team will soon have the full document ready in English.

The summary of the grounds for appeal below is translated from the Umbria24 report and to our knowledge NO English-language website except this one and PMF has ever reported what are the full grounds.

Meredith case: the prosecution appeals to Cassation: the acquittal verdict should be “nullified”.

For the Chief Magistrates of the [Umbria] Prosecution, “it was almost exclusively the defence arguments which were taken heed of”

By Francesca Marruco

The first-level conviction verdict was “complete and thorough” while the verdict of the second-level is “contradictory and illogical”.  For this reason, the General Prosecution of Perugia asks the Cassation to revoke or invalidate it.

“We are still extremely convinced that Amanda and Raffaele are co-perpetrators of the murder of Meredith Kercher” said the Chief Prosecutor of Perugia, Giovanni Galati and the Deputy Chief Prosecutor, Giancarlo Costagliola.

Verdict that should be revoked “The second-level verdict should be annulled/revoked….  There are precise reasons for revoking it”, Mr Galati went on to say. In the Hellman reasoning report on the verdict with which the second-level judges acquitted the ex-boyfriend and girlfriend “there are so many errors, and many omissions. There is inconsistency in the grounds for judgement, which brings us to nothing.”

“It is as if they had ruled ex novo [anew] on Meredith’s murder” added the Deputy Prosecutor, Giancarlo Costagliola, “basing their decision solely on the arguments of the defence.”

“Normally the appeal judge evaluates the reasoning procedure of the first-instance judge and compares it to new elements. But this one missed that out altogether: there is no comparison between the checks carried out in the first and second instances. Only what was carried out during the appeal was evaluated.”

Only defence arguments were taken heed of For the magistrates, in fact, the second-level judges “took heed, almost exclusively, of the arguments of the defence consultants or the reconstruction hypotheses that were largely to the benefit of the defense theses”.

The prosecutors who authored the appeal [to Cassation] also criticized the “method used”. “The first-instance verdict”, they wrote, “was summarized in just a few lines”,

“The verdict [which we] challenge completely ignored all the other aspects which corresponded with the accusation’s hypothesis, all the aspects which, on the contrary - as was seen in the reasoning report of the first-instance verdict - had been rigorously pointed out and considered by the Assizes Court [trial court] in its decision.”

“In examining the individual [items of] evidence, the challenged sentence has fallen into consistent procedural error in the weaknesses and evident illogicality of the grounds for its decision.”

Prejudice For the General Prosecution magistrates, the second-level [first appeal] judges appear to have shown “a sort of prejudice” with the “infelicitous preamble of the judge [the author], who is supposed to be impartial”, when he declared that “nothing is certain except the death of Meredith Kercher”, which to the others [Mr Galati and Mr Costagliola] is nothing more than “a resounding preview/forecast of the judgement” and a “disconcerting” affirmation.
 
The ten points The reasons for the appeal to Cassation which Perugia’s General Prosecution presented today against the acquittal verdict of Amanda and Raffaele are based on ten points of the second-level verdict.

The first is the lack of grounds for the decision, in the decree of 18 December 2010, to allow the forensic testimony/expert witness in the appeal judgement.

The second, in contrast, concerns a contrary decision: the decision to not allow a new forensic investigation requested by the prosecution at the end of the ruling discussion. In the appeal to Cassation it is written that the Appeal Court’s rejection reveals “contradictoriness/contrariness and demonstrates manifest illogicality in the grounds for the judgement/reasoning report”.

The other points deal with the decision by the Appeal court of Assizes of Perugia to not hear the witness Aviello, also the definition of “unreliable” [in the Hellman Report] with reference to the witnesses Roberto Quintavalle and Antonio Curatolo, also the time of death of Meredith Kercher, also on the genetic investigations.

As well as the analyses of the prints and other traces, also the presence of Amanda and Sollecito in via della Pergola, also the simulation of a crime [the staged break-in], and also the exclusion of the aggravating circumstance of the crime of “calumny”.

Missing assumption/acceptance of decisive evidence In the appeal to Cassation there is also mention of the “missing assumption/acceptance of a decisive proof”

In other words, of that proof [presented at trial court] which consisted of “the carrying out of the genetic analysis on the sample taken from the knife by the experts appointed by the Court during the appeal judgement, who did not carry out the analyses of that sample, thus violating a specific request contained in the [orders given to them] when they were assigned to the expert-witness post”

“In the second-level [Hellman] verdict”, the magistrates said, “the judges sought to refer to this in their own way, by speaking of an “experimental method” by which these tests/checks could be carried out.

But this is not the case”, said Deputy Chief Prosecutor Giancarlo Costagliola: “Dr Novelli [the prosecution’s DNA consultant at appeal] spoke of cutting-edge technology, not of experimental methods”.

So Dr Galati, himself formerly a deputy chief prosecutor at the Supreme Court who for years handled nothing but Supreme Court cases and knows what constitutes a sound appeal argument, argued that Judge Hellman had made ten serious mistakes. (Aviello claimed in court that he had been bribed; instead of investigating, Judge Hellman very quickly move on.)

But even worse, that Judge Hellman had illegally vastly expanded the scope of the appeal. And he had illegally appointed the independent DNA experts.

Because of Hellman’s alleged sloppiness and overreach, the defenses now stood to lose EVERYTHING they thought they had gained - and had been so noisily jubilant about, especially to the media in the US. An arrogance not taken kindly to in Italy at all.


5. Fast forward to English language press reports of the past few days.

Nick Squires may have been the first to carry the report quoting unnamed sources in the Daily Telegraph.

Two prosecutors in Perugia, where Miss Kercher was murdered, face accusations of wasting 182,000 euros (£150,000) of public money by commissioning a controversial 3D video which purported to show how the murder unfolded.

The contentious video, which defence lawyers said was based on circumstantial evidence, showed Miss Kercher being held down and stabbed to death by Miss Knox and her two co-accused.

The Leeds University student and her alleged murderers were represented in the 20 minute film by animated ‘avatars’. It was played on a big screen to the judge and jury in the original trial in 2009.

The National Audit Office is now investigating the prosecutors, Giuliano Mignini and his deputy, Manuela Comodi, on whether the video was a necessary part of their case.

If found culpable they could have to pay the money back to the prosecutors’ office.

Really? Accusations? Wasting? Controversial? Purported? Contentious? Now investigating?

Note that Nick Squires didnt name his sources. He didnt explain why he claimed the video simulation was controversial. (It wasn’t at all controversial at trial in 2009.) He didnt seem to know who had made the accusations or how or when they had been made or to who. 

He failed to mention that the video was played behind closed doors, and that the defenses had no comeback to it. He said it depicted Knox, though in fact it deliberately didn’t. He didn’t explain that the depiction of the fight lasted 15 minutes. He didn’t explain that the depiction of three attackers was overwhelmingly convincing to Judge Massei and his jury.

Nick Squires’s report was nevertheless comparatively brief and restrained in contrast to that of Michael Day which came next. His very much embroidered version was published in the UK Independent.  The accusatory tone and serious charges in Nick Squires’s and Michael Day’s reports were then picked up without checking by a large number of American and European media outlets.

See the reports here and here and here and here and here and here and here .

Note that not one of these reports was checked out in Italy, and that all these reports slam Mr Mignini (yet again) and indicate that this was an OFFICIAL accusation of “wasting public funds”.  Many US reports wrongly state that the British audit office is investigating.

Michael Day claimed that “Agostino Chiappiniello has said he suspects the two of inappropriately spending €182,000 (£148,000) on a crude and cartoonish 20-minute video,” 

Really? Agostino Chiappiniello, did you tell Michael Day precisely that?

Michael Day then states that “In both trials [Mr Mignini’s ] interventions were notable for the outlandish motivations and personality traits he attributed to the defendants. He promoted the idea that the murder was the result of a sex-game that got out of control, despite having little or no evidence to support the theory.”

Really? Actually Guede and Knox and Sollecito were all CONVICTED of a sex crime at trial, because to their judges and juries that is what the evidence inescapably pointed to.

And Michael Day concludes with yet another misleading statement (see above on Dr Galati’s appeal for the correct facts which he seriously garbles here.):

Judges at the Cassation court may only overturn the first-appeal verdict on technical grounds. Thus, no new evidence may be introduced and the prosecution’s room for manoeuvre is limited. The pair could not be retried for the same crimes.

Really? But nobody is talking about the pair being retried for the same crimes. This does not arise. Under Italian law they STILL stand accused of the same crimes as they were before trial back in 2009 until the Supreme Court signs off on their case.


6. Fast-forward to the ITALIAN reports of the past two days

Translation by our main poster Jools from an Umbria24 report, posted on Wednesday, which tells a very different story. 

[There was several months ago]”¦ a complaint from “a group of private citizens” who did not sign their names and surnames about an alleged misuse of public money….

No comment from the two prosecutors of Perugia, no comment on this news.

As we have learned the prosecutors have not received any legal papers regarding the investigation and they heard of the news from the press.

Who will pay? To decide if the expense was adequate for the State coffers will be the task of the prosecutor at the Court of Audits of Umbria.

Meanwhile if the Supreme Court were to overturn the judgment of the Perugia appellate court, the costs would be paid by the two accused [Knox and Sollecito].

If instead the Supreme Court were to confirm the acquittal, the bill for 182 thousand euros would be borne by the Italian State.



7. In summation

Quite a fizzle. The prosecutors are NOT quaking in their boots. They didnt even know about it.  And the full force of Italian justice does NOT have them under the microscope. 

  • The anonymous complaint was filed over two months ago.  Nick Squires and Michael Day sure did not make that clear.
  • If the enquiry is actually pursued (not at all certain)  then it is Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito who could in fact be stuck for the costs (plus VAT) of producing the video. Nick Squires and Michael Day sure did not make that clear.
  • The Corte dei Conti is not the equivalent of a criminal or civic court, it is essentially an investigating tribunal. Nick Squires and Michael Day sure did not make that clear.
  • The Corte dei Conti has so far not accused anyone of anything, and it may never do so. It sure doesn’t seem to regard the matter as urgent. Nick Squires and Michael Day sure did not make that clear.
  • In fact it has taken over two months to, well… not even assemble the evidence or bother to get in touch with Mr Mignini or Ms Comodi. Nick Squires and Michael Day sure did not make that clear.

On the same basis Judge Hellman could in theory be accused of incurring TWO huge cost over-runs.

  • One for running his appeal court only on saturdays to suit just one defense lawyer, when the overtime costs to Italy became huge - substantially more than the cost of the video. Nick Squires and Michael Day sure did not make that clear.
  • And one for (according to Dr Galati) illegally appointing the two DNA consultants - the costs of that investigation to Italy became much more than the cost of the video. Nick Squires and Michael Day sure did not make that clear.

The reconstruction video is so powerful and accurate that it could,  if it is watched by the Supreme Court in Rome or a new appeal court in Perugia, be quite devastating to the defense of the two accused. This is because it depicts the full cruelty of the attack on Meredith - and it shows that THREE people had to have attacked her.

So who filed the anonymous complaint against Mr Mignini and Ms Comodi? And who used Nick Squires and Michael Day as puppets to make a private claim look official, and make that hoax go viral?  We are sure Dr Galati will have all the answers before many days go past. Calunnia charges might apply.

Someone must REALLY fear that Sollecito and Knox will be cooked if that video reconstruction ever gets shown again. Case closed? At one stroke.


[Below: Knox and Sollecito, who could be billed over $300,000 for the reconstruction video]


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