Category: Media news

Monday, June 27, 2011

Today’s New York Times Headline: Why Much Of US Main Media Is Disbelieved And Ignored Now

Posted by Peter Quennell


But (1) this is an appeal, not a trial, and (2) the first session was back in November 2010. It stands uncorrected still. But (as Fly By Night observes in a comment) this weird correction appears down below.



Tuesday, May 31, 2011

In Europe Human Rights Especially Privacy Trumping Web Defamers And Damaging Journalism

Posted by Peter Quennell





The legal lie of the land seems to be increasingly in favor of those in Italy and the UK and even the US being serially defamed by “Bruce Fisher” and others on the cynical pro-Knox bandwagon.

The European Community’s Parliament and the European Court of Human Rights (image above) are both situated in Strasbourg in north-east France. The ECHR was established in 1998 by the Council of Europe, not the EC, and it has 47 member governments including Russia.

It receives its basic guidance from the European Convention on Human Rights.  Article 10 on freedom of expression and human rights reads as follows:

1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.

2. The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.

Note the real strength of that second paragraph. While free speech is generally favored, it will not be protected if it is unfairly damaging to individuals or anarchic to the functions of courts and the governments. 

With the pervasive spread of the internet, and the huge potential now for damage to be done globally, the ECHR generally mirrors national courts ruling in favor of those individuals who had been defamed and damaged by unfounded claims by journalists and internet posters.

Many member governments now have firmer human rights legislation either in place or in the pipeline, and the right to personal privacy and protection on matters that do not affect the public good is invariably a strong part of that new legislation.

Here is Julius Melnitzer of Canada’s National Post explaining, in the context of one case in which the ECHR did rule against a national court, that this is not the main trend being observed (emphasis added).

The European Court of Human Rights ruled on Tuesday that British reporters and journalists need not contact the subjects of potentially defamatory stories before publication to protect people’s privacy.

But the decision isn’t likely to quell the potential for litigation against individuals and businesses arising from online publication of statements that negatively impact reputations.

That’s partly because the law of defamation and the law of privacy are quietly blending, all to the advantage of victims, particularly celebrities, who have been defamed or have had their privacy invaded….

“There’s clearly an increasing overlap between the law of defamation and the law of privacy,” says Michael Smith, who practices defamation law at the Toronto office of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP. “Individual social media users should be concerned, but employers face even greater risk because each time an employee posts a negative comment online while at work, or from a work asset such as a laptop or smartphone, the employer is exposed to liability.”...

It’s not just negative comments, but unduly intrusive ones, that can attract liability. While the mere fact that something is true and not malicious may prove a defence to defamation, victims can base their case on an invasion of privacy so long as there is no public interest in reporting the subject matter of their claim.

It’s not that Canada has seen a host of such social media-related suits. “But Canadians spend more time online than any other nationality, which means it’s only a matter of time before we start seeing these types of cases,” Mr. Smith says. “People are thinking less about they’re writing, and they’re firing off knee-jerk reaction missives without a sober second thought.”

As well, high-profile cases like the one involving Mr. Mosley and the extensive publicity afforded rocker Courtney Love’s recent payment of US$430,000 to settle a suit over defamatory remarks she made on Twitter means that awareness of victims’ rights will grow.

“And that’s when we’re likely to see an influx of defamation cases related to social media,” Mr. Smith says.  Many, of course, will be small cases, of the mom and pop variety. But the upside on liability is huge.

“As the courts have noted, defamation or breach of privacy on the Internet can amount to permanent, worldwide damage to reputation,” Mr. Smith says.

Smart move of Knox’s and Sollecito’s parents to be far more restrained now in their public comments these days, especially as all of them will face their own day in court. Perhaps those driving the Knox bandwagon should do likewise.

Maybe first stop inventing approximately 100% of their “facts” and scrub their internet postings clean.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/31 at 03:45 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The wider contextsMedia newsComments here (13)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Open Letter To Joel Simon Of CPJ: Not Even One Anti-Mignini Accusation Withstands Careful Testing

Posted by Kermit





Mr. Joel Simon
Executive Director, Committee to Protect Journalists
330 7th Avenue, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10001

Dear Mr. Simon,

More on your potentially libelous open letter, sent unchecked to 21 world leaders, and your first attempt at a response.

As previously with Open Letter #1 of April 26, this will have to occupy several posts, because the evidence against your unsubstantiated or misleading accusations against Umbrian Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini is so voluminous. 

 

[Above:  Joel Simon of the Committee to Protect Journalists is stepping into the same slippery terrain of unsubstantiated accusations against Mr. Mignini as Friends of Amanda activists such as Judge Michael Heavey have done in the past, and which Amanda Knox’s lawyers have had to disassociate themselves from. Is this just a procedural slip-up by Mr. Simon which he will quickly seek to correct, or is he consciously introducing himself and his organisation as a proxy player in a potential attempt to pervert the course of justice?]

As a public notice, your own open letter definitely has a potential impact on his reputation and career in the professional realm, and on his good name and honour as a person. No demonstrative proof was offered for those accusations. My own skepticism concerning the soundness of your accusatory text was underlined by what seemed to be the only and entire basis for this splashy letter, an aggressive international PR campaign fraught with risk for the CPJ’s reputation:

  • Sfarzo told CPJ “¦
  • Preston told CPJ “¦ 
  • Cottonwood told CPJ “¦ 
  • Editor Ken Robinson said “¦

There was no apparent fact-finding, no contrasting of opinion, no double checking, no collecting of documents.  Not even evidence of the slightest, minimal effort to contact the subject of these grave accusations, Mr. Mignini (not even a “he didn’t reply to our email” or a “we tried to call his office at midnight but no one answered”).

This is shameful coming from a journalistic organisation, in an industry where every professional worth his salt checks a source before publishing to avoid credibility and legal problems further along.

My letter raised a number of questions about how and why your open letter to the world was prepared, and I made a number of requests or suggestions in order to understand better the basis for the accusations against Mignini.

Some of the red flags which result from my questions are:

  • Did the CPJ simply accept the accusation of certain persons against Mr. Mignini without even minimal, Google-based fact checking? 

    -> If so, then Red Flag

  • Having realized that basic fact checking was not carried out, has the CPJ proceeded to do so?

    -> If not, then Red Flag

  • Does the tipster who set you on this issue also stand to gain something by painting Mr. Mignini in a certain light?

    -> If so, then Red Flag

  • Is the tipster or one of the subjects of the letter a financial backer of your organisation?

    -> If so, then Red Flag

  • Could one or more of the subjects that the CPJ sought to protect in its missive be less a journalist seeking to report news freely, and more an element of a lobby group in an open criminal case?

    -> If so, then Red Flag

  • Do you know that the principal subject who you sought to “protect” in your Letter to the World is actually a screen name, used by the blogger?

    -> If so, then Red Flag

  • Having realized (thanks to our first reply to you here on TJMK) that you were seeking to protect a screen name, did you proceed to identify the real-life person behind the screen name, and check what provoked a police visit to his home and what he is actually charged with, and if said charges can be in any way linked to Mr. Mignini, who closed his investigation of the murder of Meredith Kercher almost three years ago? 

    -> If not, then Red Flag

  • Upon realizing that your accusations are neither substantiated nor relevant, is it possible that the CPJ could be used as a party to pervert the course of justice in two open criminal cases? 

    -> If so, then Red Flag

  • Have you included as justification for action in your letter to the world the supposed threat to persons who aren’t journalists or reporters?

    -> If so, then Red Flag

  • As a result of the CPJ Letter to 21 World Leaders, could the until now untarnished reputation of the Organization to Protect Journalists be put into question, favouring the abuse perpetrated against journalists by those in power around the world who actually do threaten the work of journalists?

    -> If so, then Red Flag

With the acknowledgement that just one of these red flags (any one of them) is raised, the CPJ should have taken a step back and thought through how and why it ended up issuing its Letter to the World of 19-04-2011, identified internal control issues and external damage caused (both to the organisation’s reputation and to third parties), and taken steps to correct the cause of the red flag and ensure that it doesn’t happen again in the future.

There is negative impact that has already occurred to the Committee to Protect Journalists. However, it will continue to grow as more as more journalists, public agencies and the public in general become aware of and concerned about what is fast becoming the CPJ’s Abusive Accusations Against the Perugian Prosecutor Affair.

Instead of stepping back and reflecting on how to resolve this problem elegantly, only two days after publishing our first reply to you the CPJ posted a note, not on its front page but revealingly hidden away on the institutional blog page on its site.

Frankly, I was astounded that the CPJ seemed to sweep the questions I raised in my first letter under the CPJ’s own carpet by stating that “we stand by” the first Letter to 21 World Leaders on 19-04-2011.

Instead of trying to de-construct what it has created, the CPJ seems to be making the monster grow.

I should say that we ““ the international followers of progress in the case concerning the murder of the English student Meredith Kercher in Perugia on 1 November 2007 - recognize and are thankful that at least the CPJ did give the reply to our letter, and that comments have been open on that page. We do thank you for that.

However, to some extent, both your reply and some of the comments posted on the CPJ site actually increase our concern surrounding the CPJ’s recent actions and the obvious lack of due diligence applied in the preparation and sending of your Letter to the World. Had it occurred because of a procedural slip up, the normal reaction of an organisation such as yours would be to suspend the Letter to the World and perform detailed (or even basic) fact checking.

But you haven’t.



[Click above for a larger image]

[Above: CPJ coordinator Nina Ognianova takes the heat on behalf of Joel Simon, admitting that the Letter to 21 World leaders was only written on the basis of accusatory statements offered or requested of “victims” of Mignini, with no fact checking whatsoever.]

The CPJ reply to our letter states: “CPJ has received a number of emails in reaction to our April 19 letter “¦ which details cases of harassment”.

What details? Your April 19 letter didn’t detail anything.

The CPJ reply to our letter states: “CPJ takes no position as to the alleged guilt or innocence of either of the defendants in the Kercher case”

This comment has nothing to do with either your original letter or our response, and I don’t know why you have included it in your reply. We all assume a priori that the CPJ has no position on the case of the murder of Meredith Kercher. What we are concerned about is that CPJ does not provide any detail or checking to its grave accusations against Mr. Mignini.

The CPJ reply to our letter states: “Those in positions of power must understand that scrutiny and criticism, including the harshest of kind, comes with the office.” 

We could not agree more with that no-brainer. What is missing in the framework of your open letter to world leaders about Mr. Mignini is what must be said in the next breath, the missing second half of that equation, which is that in addition, the Press (from individual reporters to the sectorial press associations which represent them such as yours) must act in a responsible manner, striving to publish and communicate truthful facts which have been thoroughly contrasted. To not achieve that level of responsibility means a drift towards the Press publishing news and “facts” à  la Janet Cooke and Jimmy’s World.



[Click above for a larger image]

[Above:  Let’s hope that the CPJ can help avoid a 21st century Jimmy’s World. Does the CPJ have an Ombudsman service when regular channels of complaints provide no adequate reply?]

In my opinion (and that of many persons who have written me, and I’m sure many persons who have written you), that is exactly how the Committee to Protect Journalists is appearing.

When you say that in spite of the extremely serious issues that we raise about your document accusing Mignini “We stand by it”, you are really saying two things:

1) you continue to support the highly doubtful veracity of the unsupported accusations against Mignini

2) you are not planning to do any further checking of the facts, as effortless as that may be. (Instead of “further” checking of the facts, it’s really a question of “initial, basic” checking of the facts)

If that is what you stand by, then the overall reputation of CPJ is called into question, and those who truly should respond for the abuse of real journalists in tough situations around the world know that they can ignore your calls of support for personal freedom and freedom of press, calling into question the integrity of your organisation.



[Click above for a larger image]

[Above: World leaders on all continents who are directly responsible for the abuse of journalists and the free press in general, or who are in a position to improve the conditions of journalists have their life made easier when organizations such as the CPJ are seen as frail or lacking in the very principles that they promote.]

I can understand that from the CPJ’s point of view, you are in a tight position. Your reputation is at stake. You have published a high-profile letter containing grave accusations, which as it actually gets examined beyond the words of the accusers starts to unravel very quickly and evaporate, and by no means justifies a letter of alert to world leaders.

At the same time, the most visible of the persons who supposedly has suffered at the hands of Mignini is on the list of the CPJ’s significant financial benefactors. “Preston “¦ suffered harassment by Mignini himself in 2006 ““ and eventually was forced to leave Italy for fear of imprisonment ““ told CPJ “¦.”

And Douglas Preston is now going his own way promoting and “improving” your letter and claiming that you have carried out an “independent investigation”, when that seems to not be the case. Preston has said in the last few days:

“the Committee to Protect Journalists “¦ has made public the results of their own, independent investigation into the actions of Mignini and the police, prosecutors, and judges in Perugia, Italy.

Their conclusions are shocking. The report details what appears to be an organized campaign to harass, intimidate, and physically threaten Italian and American journalists covering the case. CPJ discovered that in at least on case police in Perugia assaulted a journalist who had criticized Mignini, trumped up charges against him, and then tried to get him certified “insane”””all with Mignini’s knowledge and cooperation.

The CPJ investigation also detailed how Perugian authorities extended their harassment campaign into the United States, threatening American journalists, writers, and newspapers with criminal charges in a gross attempt to extend Italian criminal laws on to American soil and interfere with the freedoms we enjoy in our own country.

The Committee to Protect Journalists was so concerned with their findings that yesterday they sent a strong letter of protest to the President of the Italian Republic, asking for action to end this abuse and calling on him to take steps to protect journalists in Perugia.  The letter reads like a horror novel.”

(Source: Doug Preston promoting something he calls The Monster of Perugia)

Mr. Simon, I have highlighted certain expressions of Preston in bold. Is it of your opinion that this financial backer of the CPJ is using expressions and style that actually reflect the content of the CPJ letter which you signed, and how you prepared that letter? If not, what do you think explains the gap?

Could it be the close proximity of the genesis of the 19-04-2011 letter to Preston himself, to him promoting “my nonfiction book, The Monster of Florence, written with Italian journalist Mario Spezi, and currently being made into a movie” that Preston claims will star George Clooney?



[Click above for a larger image]

[Above: In the name of transparency, it would be appropriate for the CPJ to reveal the financial contributions that Douglas Preston has made to the organisation, as well as to detail the communications and attached documents that Preston has exchanged with the CPJ with regard to the Letter to the World of 19-04-2011. This is what honest Governance is all about.]

I have received a number of emails in the last few days, as I’m sure you have too, and the message people are telling me is that something has gone amiss with the CPJ letter to 21 World Leaders about a local Italian prosecutor in the hills of Umbria.

Let me help you out.

I want CPJ to work. I am not looking for it to be humiliated, as it is a very needed organisation which has done great work. However, respect must not just be earned but it must be maintained. In the case of the CPJ letter of 19-04-2011, I honestly believe that something went wrong in the internal control procedures of the CPJ. Those should be relatively easy to review, revise and use in the future to improve the quality of your activity.

However, in addition to correcting its internal procedures with regard to the future, a wrong committed must be righted. Journalism is not about sweeping things under the carpet.

As regards the latter, it is the CPJ who should decide the action it will take. I suppose that writing a new open letter copied to 21 world leaders, admitting that the CPJ got bamboozled (which is honestly what I think happened), is expecting too much.

However, why don’t you contact Mr. Mignini’s office and give him fair time to respond on your webpage? That would be just, fair and elegant, especially after the lack of elegance shown in your world letter.

Are you even aware if he knows about the supposed incident of 28-09-2010 suffered by the Perugia blogger? My bet is that he learned about it on 19-04-2011 upon reading your letter about what a bad guy he is, and that whatever reason that the police may have gone to the home of a guy who uses the screen-name “Frank Sfarzo” (real name Sforza) has more to do with that blogger’s real-life persona than his blog posts related to the Meredith Kercher case.

Did you even know that “Frank Sfarzo” is only a screen-name?  Please, please tell me that you didn’t first learn that fact only once the critical emails started to arrive after your 19-04-2011 post.

If so, that would be a serious pie-in-your-face: a letter to the world to protect a screen name against totally unsubstantiated accusations of physical abuse by police, which even if they occurred show no dotted line to a prosecutor whom some unrevealed OPJ tipster has decided to denounce (although we all have a pretty good idea of who that tipster is).

Let me help out by working to set things straight, and shed some contrasting and revealing light on the grave accusations poured on Mignini in the CPJ’s letter.

Thanks to Google, we are able to contrast the accusers’ words against .... their own words, photos and deeds as documented on Internet. These are mostly made available by themselves in their own posts and comments.

It is truly shocking that the CPJ didn’t exert the minimal effort which I present below in the Annex to this letter, and which allowed me to get a completely different understanding of how shallow the recent attack is against Mignini. To be honest, the CPJ should have seen the bamboozle coming a mile away.

If the CPJ won’t do a basic, minimal, obvious, fast, easy, needed-to-avoid-a-libel-accusation, beginner journalist’s exercise of checking the facts in a high-profile accusation with international repercussions, then I will.

Let’s do a fast “Balance” of facts as we are able to gather them. I’ve set up a Balance Sheet which we’ll use to perform some checking and tests on some of the accusations which appear in the CPJ letter. I would have performed these tests and included them in my first letter a week ago, however, I was hoping that the CPJ would have spent literally, just a few minutes to do the checking.

Here’s the format of our Balance Sheet for Testing CPJ’s Anti-Mignini Accusations. We’ll fill it out as we go along.



[Click above for a larger image]

Given the length of the indicative results that we have obtained, today we will post this letter, and shortly we will post the Annex with our findings with the complete Balance Sheet for Testing CPJ’s Anti-Mignini Accusations.

Please feel free to contact me if you require any further information or if I may be of assistance as you become more familiarized with the complex forces which are out to turn Mr. Mignini into an evil, rogue prosecutor.

However, what’s good for some people’s business is not good for yours.

I hope that with this second TJMK letter the CPJ will finally realize the delicate, weak state of your 19-04-2011 letter and will take the appropriate measures. 

In your own words to the 21 World Leaders, “thank you for your attention to this urgent matter. We await your response.”

Sincerely,

Kermit

A Main Poster on TJMK (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address))


Copied to:
His Excellency Giorgio Napolitano, President of the Italian Republic
Angelino Alfano, Ministro della Giustizia
José Manuel Barroso, Presidente della Commissione Europea
Herman Van Rompuy, Presidente del Consiglio Europeo
Baroness Catherine Ashton, Vice-Presidente della Commissione Europea e Alto Rappresentante dell’EU per gli
Affari Esteri e la Politica di Sicurezza
Viviane Reding, Vice-Presidente della Commissione Europea e Commissario per Giustizia, Diritti
Fondamentali e Cittadinanza
Neelie Kroes, Vice-Presidente della Commissione Europea e Commissario per la Digital Agenda
Jerzy Buzek, Presidente del Parlamento Europeo
Heidi Hautala, Presidenza del Sottocomitato sui Diritti Umani del Parlamento Europeo
Jean-Marie Cavada, Presidenza dell’Intergruppo per i Media del Parlamento Europeo
Thomas Hammarberg, Commissario del Consiglio d’Europa per i Diritti Umani
Ferdinando Nelli Feroci, Rappresentante Permanente dell’Italia presso l’EU
Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State
Michael Posner, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
Philip H. Gordon, U.S. Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
John Kerry, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Richard Lugar, Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Ranking Republican Member, U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs
Howard L. Berman, Ranking Democratic Member, U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs
Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata, Ambasciatore Italiano presso gli Stati Uniti
David Thorne, U.S. Ambassador to Italy


Sunday, May 08, 2011

Explaining Why CNN Is So Desperate For A Hit And Quaint Niceties Like “Truth” Be Damned

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above: Jeffrey Bewkes, the head of CNN’s owner Time Warner, with the actress Hayden Panetierre]


A top-rated night-time show on the American TV frontrunner network CBS will pull in over 10 million viewers.

Fast-tanking CNN is lucky if it pulls in over FIVE PERCENT of that audience on any average day. A typical audience is just over 1/2 a million. Here is the story from last September.

Jonathan Klein, president of CNN’s US network, leaves his post today after a sudden announcement that he has been replaced by Ken Jautz, the head of CNN’s downmarket but more popular sister channel HLN.

Klein’s departure comes after a disastrous year for CNN, as its daily ratings slumped by 36% to an average of 640,000 weekday viewers, putting it in third place behind Fox News and MSNBC among cable news channels.

Fox News averages 2.4m viewers while MSNBC has nearly 850,000. HLN averages around 550,000 on weekdays.

The American stock market knows of this CNN fiasco, and it values all three accordingly. You can see this in the 3-year chart just below - the period shown is about half that.

  • The red curve below is for the US stock market average (the Dow Jones Index and you can see that it GAINED about 10 percent.
  • The green curve below is for Viacom Corp, which is the owner of CBS, and you can see that it GAINED about 50 percent.
  • The blue curve below is for Time Warner, the owner of CNN, and you can see that it LOST about 30 per cent in the same period.

We have no beef with CNN overall. But to try to boost its viewer ratings and stockmarket price with appalling reports on the back of the very sad death of Meredith? That seems to us to be in very sick territory.

Ironically CBS’s owner, Viacom, has seen its impressive recent gains since the CBS network STOPPED airing biased and misleading reports on the case and reacquired some integrity

The Meredith Effect?



Friday, May 06, 2011

Drew Griffin Report This Sunday At 8:00 Seems Intent On Sustaining CNN’s Persistent Extreme Bias

Posted by Peter Quennell





CNN and CNN International have aired more biased reporting and inaccurate commentary on Meredith’s case than all other US networks - combined.

At bottom here is a video of a typically biased CNN panel.

Jingoism, defamation and xenophobia remain pervasive throughout, though the videos for the worst of the worst - an entire CNN panel baying for Italian blood - have been mysteriously disappeared.

Larry King, Elliott Spitzer, Nancy Grace, Jane Velez Mitchell, Jeffrey Toobin, and so on and on, have all helped to seriously mislead CNN viewers about the real evidence, and about the very strong case against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.

The Micheli Report and the Massei Report and the recent very hardline Supreme Court ruling on Rudy Guede stating that three people did it - all of those reports comprehensive, meticulous, and very damning - don’t even seem to have simply been MENTIONED yet on CNN.

CNN never seems to have had a competent legal reporter actually present in the courtroom. There is a very conspicuous lack on CNN of any Italian interviewees or legal analysts. CNN has seemingly never ever presented an accurate description of how cautious the Italian justice system really is, or how many hoops Italian prosecutors have to jump through.

No mention ever on CNN that the US State Department and Rome Embassy observed the trial and found absolutely nothing wrong. No mention ever on CNN that not one human rights and prisoners rights organization such as Amnesty International has ever shown interest in this case.

Here are about three dozen CNN headlines taken from CNN’s own website. Do you notice any suggestive pattern?

  • Amanda Knox’s family speaks out
  • Amanda Knox’s parents say their daughter is no killer
  • Knox innocent, parents say
  • Murder case brings ‘Foxy Knoxy’ infamy in Italy
  • Knox scared but insists on innocence, Italian lawmaker says
  • Sollecito: Amanda Knox ‘incapable of killing’
  • Knox aunt: Italians supportive
  • Is Amanda being railroaded?
  • Amanda Knox tells Italian jury she’s not an ‘assassin’
  • Lawyer: Vague theories and bias, but no evidence in Knox murder trial
  • U.S. student testifies Italian police pressured her
  • Amanda Knox’s parents hope acquittal is near in murder case
  • Disputed evidence in spotlight as Amanda Knox trial nears end
  • Amanda Knox lawyer makes emotional plea for acquittal
  • Amanda Knox sobs as guilty verdict read
  • Knox’s parents react to conviction
  • Knox’s parents blame media
  • Knox’s parents: ‘huge mistake’
  • Amanda Knox: Court has made ‘huge mistake’
  • Knox jury, prosecutor decried
  • Knox ‘ready to fight on,’ parents say
  • Knox family, friends react
  • Amanda Knox’s aunt says hearing verdict was ‘gut-wrenching’
  • Knox verdict leaves many questions unanswered
  • Judge allows appeal in Amanda Knox case [actually it’s automatic]
  • Jailed mobster claims he can prove Amanda Knox is innocent
  • Knox’s mother reacts to libel case
  • Knox’s mom: This feels personal
  • Toobin: Knox libel charge ‘very strange’

Notice any bias in that list? You think CNN took the same position on the convicted brutal murderer Scott Peterson now on Death Row for whom there was actually much LESS evidence?

This sunday at 8:00 US east coast time, on CNN and CNN International, the aimiable and lightweight CNN investigative reporter Drew Griffin (image at top) will seemingly present an hour more of the same.

CNN investigative correspondent Drew Griffin reveals new details that cast doubts upon controversial blood, knife, DNA, and other evidence presented in Knox’s original trial….

Griffin also has a rare television interview with the chief prosecutor in the case, Giuliano Mignini, and reveals a pattern of prosecutorial behavior that raises questions about the original conviction.

He debriefs viewers on Knox’s now-disputed confession ““ obtained after days of unrelenting questioning, and according to Knox, even physical abuse by police interrogators.

Pattern of prosecutorial misbehavior? Really? A confession obtained after days of unrelenting questioning? Really? Which days precisely? And exactly what confession was that?

No mention at all that both Amanda Knox and her parents Curt and Edda now face separate calunnia trials in Perugia for serious wrong charges that were pretty well exactly like these. 

Drew Griffin’s normal beat is aimiable, lightweight political muckraking. He apparently has not previously reported on crime or on court cases, or for that matter on Italy.

No matter. He simply gets told to follow the CNN party line - and like a robot, he does so.


Monday, April 18, 2011

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

Posted by Peter Quennell

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

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


____________________________________________________________________________________________



____________________________________________________________________________________________



 

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

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

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

Posted by Tom M and Skeptical Bystander


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Biography

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

Details and circumstances of the murder

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

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

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

The Convicted:

The three convicted at the first stage are:

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

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

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

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

The Sentences

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guede’s Supposed Confession

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

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


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Amanda Knox To Be In Court In Perugia Tomorrow In Hearing About Stopping The Lifetime TV Film

Posted by Peter Quennell



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

Past posts on this mixed bag of a TV movie can be found here.

Late February Amanda Knox’s lawyers filed suit in Perugia to stop the airing of the movie (so far aired maybe half a dozen times in the US) and Raffaele’s Sollecito’s lawyers filed suit in Perugia and (or so they say - we can find no court record) also in New York.

The Perugia judge at the first hearing took a pretty relaxed view of the urgency of the matter and so it is only now that legal teams for Lifetime and Amanda Knox will face one another in court. The suit claims that the movie “violates the reputation” of Amanda Knox.

Very substantial payment for damages has been requested. If the New York suit also proceeds (unlikely as US law is not exactly favorable) the total asked appears to amount, converted from Euros, to over two hundred million dollars to compensate for sullied reputations.

Today’s Italian media reports in ANSA and AGI dont say very much more than that, except that Amanda Knox would like to be present in court.

As this is not Sollecito’s team’s suit, this is about the first time that one appellant will appear in court without the other. No word at all yet on the constitution of Lifetime’s legal team.


Friday, March 18, 2011

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

Posted by Peter Quennell


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

Sunday Times Foreign Editor:

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

John Follain:

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

[Comment From James Ellington]

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

John Follain:

Hi James,

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

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

[Comment From Freddy: ]

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

John Follain:

Hi Freddy,

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

[Comment From Rebecca Ward]

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

John Follain:

Hi Rebecca,

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

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

[Comment From Suzanna, Gloucs]

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

John Follain:

Hi Suzanna,

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

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

[Comment From JJ ]

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

John Follain:

Hi JJ,

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

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

[Comment From Charles and Jane]

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

John Follain:

Hi Charles and Jane,

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

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

[Comment From james forrest]

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

John Follain:

Hi James,

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

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

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

[Comment From Peter Polites]

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

John Follain:

Hi Peter,

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

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

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

[Comment From Ivor Gibson]

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

John Follain:

Hi Ivor,

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


[Comment From Sammy]

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

John Follain:

Hi Sammy,

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

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

[Comment From Elise Crothers]

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

John Follain:

Hi Elise,

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

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

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

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

[Comment From jude]

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

John Follain:

Hi Jude,

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

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

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

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

[Comment From Mary]

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

John Follain:

Hi Mary,

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

[Comment From Simon Kennedy, Edinburgh]

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

John Follain:

Hi Simon,

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

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

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

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

[Comment From Gemima9]

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

John Follain:

Hi Gemima,

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

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

Sunday Times Foreign Editor

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

John Follain:

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Remarks Mocking Japan Win Disapproval In The American Media

Posted by Peter Quennell


Most Americans are eager global travelers (or would be if they could afford it) and large numbers live through choice in foreign countries.

But there are some for who certain foreign countries seem to give problems. Italy has been given a vey hard time over Meredith’s case, both by some journalists we previously thought reputable and by some anonymous commenters online.

Typically they depict an Italy that none of us here recognise, and as we periodically try to show through our videos, images and reports there is a reason why in the eyes of most of the rest of the world it is rightly seen as a gentle, cultured, beautiful country.

Japan is another country toward which a few media stars and a few online commenters have felt safe in presuming there’s an open season for unkind remarks. But not, it seems, any more.

Dozens of media sites are today reporting negatively on such remarks.  Best not to repost the unpleasant remarks right here. But click on the image above for some examples, and the reactions they are now engendering. 

The reader comments below that report are good. The decent broad middle steps in.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/16 at 06:23 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in News media & moviesMedia newsThe wider contextsN America contextComments here (12)

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

A Perugian Media Report (Neutral As Usual) In Italian On Knox’s Calunnia Hearing

Posted by Peter Quennell

Shown here is the more modern of Perugia’s courts not far from the questura (central police station) and the railway station. It was here that Judge Micheli tried and sentenced Rudy Guede in October 2008 and sent Sollecito and Knox off for trial.

This court is said to be more suited to closed sessions and to sessions where there is a large press. Indictees and perps enter the court via a ramp down to the basement in vans with darkened windows.

These inside shots of the ground-floor corridor are all we have posted so far on the court’s interior. It was a surprise they allowed a photographed perp walk here, there was none at the previous hearing. Maybe to show AK is okay?

That might be Chris Mellas that she gives a faint grin to, to the left. Perhaps he made sure the camera was there.


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Meredith’s England: How Italy’s LA7 TV Captured It One Year Ago

Posted by Peter Quennell

A repeat of Main Poster Nicki’s post one year ago on LA7’s kind caring pro-Meredith documentary, unfortunately aired only in Italian. No US or UK network has captured Meredith’s story in English yet in a documentary or a film, though we know several would now really like to try, if Meredith’s family choose to say yes.

Below: Very moving scene from Meredith’s funeral, as her coffin is brought to Croydon Parish Church

Below: Croydon Parish Church (St John the Baptist) where 400 attended Meredith’s funeral mid-Dec 2007

Below: Reverend Colin Boswell conducted Meredith’s funeral service, and tells of pain at its long delay

“It was a very sad day, sad because of her horrible death, for the pain her family were experiencing at that time - pain they are still feeling right now. The family had to wait for six weeks before they could bury her, she was only 21 years old. Her family showed great strength and courage. We gathered together here in the church. There were many friends from school, teachers, university companions, friends, neighbours. We tried to play down our sadness as much as we could, to reflect upon the goodness of her life, her beauty; trying thus to concentrate on the positive characteristics of Meredith and of her existence which we had shared.”

Below: One of several shots of the Kercher family in Perugia, their only direct presences here

Stephanie: “Mez was so important for so many people for her spontaneous, smiling and altruistic personality. We are trying to understand with great difficulty why she was taken away in such a cruel way.”

Below: Several images of Meredith appear late - documentary could have used fresh images in first part

Below: Image from a segment on Meredith’s starring in a music video, linked at top-right here

Below: One of many intensely moving segments on Meredith’s Perugia friend Samantha Rodenhurst

“I’d only known her for five weeks, but when you are in a foreign land, you become friends very quickly. You depend on each other for so many things, emotional support, language support, advice, information. We became close rather quickly, even though we didn’t ever have the opportunity to know more about each other’s pasts. I think at first she reminded me of the friends I used to have at home… In fact we became good friends at once.”

Below: Start of a long segment on University of Leeds where Meredith’s activities were described

Below: One of various scenes at the University tending to show women students Meredith’s age

Below: First of four university students unhappy at protracted process and poor media coverage

Yes especially in the beginning it was talked about a lot. But now it’s almost disappeared. I don’t think it was excessive; I think the media concentrated just on some aspects, just the ones they thought would make interesting news, like the war in Afghanistan, the news which create a sensation they keep showing. But probably they don’t report the whole story. I think that in the case of Meredith they concentrated on just a few things exaggerating them, leaving out others. And now, for the family, it’s been going on for too long. They’re going back over the same things.

Below: Second of four university students unhappy at protracted process and poor media coverage

She is remembered here. Services have been held and there is a memorial to her. There is much sadness.

Below: Third of four university students unhappy at protracted process and poor media coverage

It’s think that for the family it’s been going on for far too long. The media can’t just talk about it the same way they did in the beginning.

Below: Fourth of four university students unhappy at protracted process and poor media coverage

Our media pass very quickly from one thing to another. Sometimes they are very mistaken: perhaps they don’t give some things the attention and depth that they really deserve.

Below: Another intensely moving segment on Meredith’s Perugia friend Samantha Rodenhurst

“Horrible -  it was a horrible, terrifying moment.  I was in a complete state of shock I couldn’t feel anything - I think that when you are in such a state it’s almost impossible to feel anything. I didn’t cry much that evening; I was in too much shock.  I couldn’t do anything.”

“After the funeral service, we planted a tree at the school: a symbolic place where people can come to remember her and pray for her.”

Below: Storefront sign in Coulsdon, Croydon, in south London where Meredith lived till she was 18

Below: Wider shot of Coulsdon, Croydon, in south London where Meredith lived till she was 18

Below: A cafe in Coulsdon, Croydon, in south London where Meredith often ate out

Below: The owner of the cafe describes often serving Meredith cheeseburgers and chips

She was always a very striking girl - a very beautiful girl.  Now it’s a been quite a while, because she went off to college.  She used to come here once a week, sometimes with her family.  She would order a cheeseburger with chips and a milkshake.

Below: The newsroom of the Croydon Guardian which has provided the best coverage in the UK

Below: Croydon Guardian reporter Kirsty Whalley who we have praised here for her outstanding articles

“Meredith’s background is solid, very proper middle-upper class. She was a girl from a very good family. Meredith’s family is reserved and their friends are acting according to the family’s wishes: no publicity. The family was surprised by the number of people attending the funeral, friends, neighbors, and former classmates. They like to remember her happy smile, because she was a happy person. She went to Croydon Old Palace School, very exclusive, prestigious and very expensive, where she made many friends.  She loved to write and loved the media; and certainly she wanted to travel and to have experiences of new places. Her brother gave an address in her honour in which he said he wanted to always remember her so jovial, happy, always ready to make people laugh; that he wanted to remember her smile.”

Below: The entrance to the church, Croydon Parish (St John the Baptist) where Meredith’s funeral was held

Below: The floral arrangement at the funeral of Meredith (Mez) put together by her friends

Below: One of the several intensely moving images of the cemetery where Meredith hopefully lies in peace

Below: Another of several intensely moving images of the cemetery where Meredith hopefully lies in peace

Below: The final of many images of Meredith in the documentary which rises to linger in full-screen

Below: Three images of the conclusion of the dcumentary, for which a translation is provided above

Merdith Kercher was killed in Peruga on 1 November 2007. Amanda Knox e Raffaele Sollecito were arrested on November 6th 2007. They have been charged with voluntary murder and sexual violence.


The verdict of the Court of Cassazione is expected by December 2009. The Ivorian citizen Rudy Guede has already been sentenced to 30 years by the GUP of Perugia in a fast track trial.


Patrick Lumumba, accused by Amanda Knox, was cleared of all charges after two weeks of detention in the Perugia jail.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/31 at 06:14 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Concerning MeredithHer EnglandHer EuropeNews media & moviesMedia newsComments here (3)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Strange Tale Of Ex New York Times Reporter Who Christian Longo Impersonated On The Run

Posted by Peter Quennell

In follow-up to Lilly’s raw truth of a post on Christian Longo and the similarities with Amanda Knox.

Two things really stand out in this five-minute CBS interview - which sets things up nicely for a longer CBS 48 Hours report, by the way, it seems they don’t always get things wrong.

First, there is the fascination some people have for psychopathic narcissists who have killed. Especially those people who seem themselves not quite right and morally a bit untethered.

And second, there is the cold preening cynicism of the killer himself, who apparently even admitted to Finkel after the trial was all over that, yes, he did kill his wife and three little tots.

But he claims he did that to “save” them. Being bothered about it just isn’t his thing. In prison, Christian Longo’s highly attention-seeking antics, self-pity, and strong public denial continue.

Even Longo has his several white knights. “Such a nice guy.”  Yeah. Right.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Legal Analysts Abrams & Kelly Who Reported Badly On Meredith’s Case Turn “Expertise” To Peru

Posted by Peter Quennell


1) Dan Abrams

Above: NBC’s legal analyst Dan Abrams on recent developments in Peru. Immediately below: Dan Abrams after the Knoc-Sollecito verdict last December.

Last December, Dan Abrams exaggerated the Italian media depictions of Amanda Knox and their effects - has he ever watched the CNN and Fox crime shows at home in New York?!

But he essentially got it right on the hard evidence presented and on the legitimacy of the verdict. He did not slam the prosecution or Italy in general, and he displays at least some token understanding of how the Italian legal system works.

Missing only was any mention of the (then forthcoming) judges’ sentencing report, and the key fact that that report represents the point of departure for the appeals. A report that is strongly loaded against the flaky scenarios of “who REALLY did it”.

By the way, Dan Abrams here followed some minutes of appalling reporting by NBC’s Keith Miller, who has surely been the worst and most biased reporter in Perugia. Miller is apparently based in London, a freelance, and not Italy, and he speaks no Italian.

If you so wish you can see Paul Miller here fawning over the Knox family and Amanda Knox, and misrepresenting just about every “fact” he selects to mention.

2) John Q Kelly

Below: John Q Kelly, a New York lawyer who is often on the airwaves, generally with a heavily pro-victim slant, talking about the Lima and Aruba murder cases in which Joran Van Der Sloot is the one suspect in each. 

On Meredith’s case John Q Kelly got it very screechily very wrong.  That was probably the single worst lawyer’s commentary on Meredith’s case (leaving aside Anne Bremner’s absurd rants) that we have ever seen.

KELLY: “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.”

Not surprisingly, John Q Kelly has not since said another word on Meredith’s case.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

How Each of The Three Subtly But Surely Pushed The Other Two Closer to The Fire (Part 4 of 4)

Posted by Cesare Beccaria


My previous report appeared here. In January 2009 the trial of Knox and Sollecito sees its first session. In February 2009 the prosecutor calls Rudy Guede to testify in the trial of his presumed accomplices.

A year earlier, Guede had said, on several occasions, that he wanted to have a face-to-face confrontation with Sollecito. This time, on the contrary, he says that he will be “mute” until his appeal, although he could “say some heavy stuff regarding the two defendants, but first I have to defend myself.”

All the attorneys conveniently keep their client off the stand, except for Amanda, who does a fairly decent job. Guede is not put on the stand and no confrontation was allowed by his lawyers. Sollecito is conveniently kept on the sidelines throughout the trial except for a couple of interventions. All their words were filtered by their lawyers.

On 4 April 2009 Guede is again called to testify at the trial in Corte D’Assise, andt he exercises his right to silence. From February to December 2009 the three attorneys play their game in Court, both in the Guede appeal and in the Knox-Sollecito trial in the Corte D’Assise.

Everything they said is documented in the trial transcripts and their reciprocal accusations went on and off until the last days in the Corte D’Assise.

As we have already seen for Rudy’s trial, during the closing statements the explicit accusations re-emerges with great strength (“the only guilty person is Guede, while Raffaele must be acquitted”, says Mrs. Buongiorno) and then the ceasefire kicks right back in again, right after the trial.


In mid-December 2009 a fourth Porta a Porta program discusses the murder of Perugia.

The previous week Amanda Knox and Raffaele Solecito have been found guilty of the murder, and now Guede is waiting for his verdict on appeal.

On this program the attorneys continue with their veiled reciprocal accusations, but without being direct and too explicit. More than a ceasefire, it’s an armed truce.

Amanda Knox’s attorneys were not present on the program, but Amanda was represented by Mrs. Sabina Castelfranco, the correspondent for CBS. This time she timidly tries to venture into the usual American media propaganda and lies regarding this case, but she’s regularly contradicted, and on certain occasions even ridiculed.

Sollecito’s father is present in the studio. His father talks about the innocence of his son, and only of his son, without mentioning anything in defense of Amanda. “My son was not at that house….  Curatolo could not have seen my son because he was at his house”. He says that if Raffaele was present at the crime scene he would have helped Meredith, and so on.

The host Bruno Vespa asks Sollecito’s father why did Amanda accuse Patrick, an innocent man? Francesco Sollecito responds “You are giving me a hard task, that of being not only the defender of my son but also of Amanda Knox”.


Giuseppe Castellini, director of the Perugia newspaper Giornale dell’Umbria, says that this trial has a logic, and such logic emerged from the various judges in 2008 up to Judge Micheli (GUP) that charged them with the crime.

The judges had said that more than one person committed the crime.

“Clear elements prove than more people were involved”. There’s physical evidence at the crime scene of more than one person. Two witnesses heard the screaming and more than one person leaving the house. The GUP had asked “Who are these people?” and Castellini concludes that “all clues and all circumstantial evidence lead to only two people and to no one else”.

“This is the weird thing”, says Castellini. “Everything leads to Amanda and Raffaele. There is not a third person….  Defense then rightly tries to dismantle such pieces of evidence one by one, but this is in essence the story of this trial”.

The host Bruno Vespa asks Guede’s lawyer Biscotti “You claim that the killers are Amanda and Raffaele?” Biscotti responds: “No, actually it is the Court that has decided on first instance that Amanda and Raffaele are the killers”.


The discussion rotates around Rudy’s role and statements.

We know that Rudy Guede never took the stand at either trials and only gave a spontaneous declaration that doesn’t require any questioning on the part of the prosecutor. In court, Rudy said: “I heard the voice of both Meredith and Amanda and they were arguing over what Meredith had already told me: the money that Meredith was missing”.

Rudy says he heard Meredith saying to Amanda “We need to talk”, and Amanda responding: “What’s happening?” In his declarations in Court Guede does not mention Raffaele (as he had previously done out of trial) but merely states that he was assaulted by a young man, in a time span of few seconds, and couldn’t recognize him. (Note that in previous statements he had said that the struggle lasted few minutes and that the assailant was Raffaele).

Vincenzo Mastronardi, a criminologist hired by Guede’s defense, repeats what Rudy told him: “I heard the bell. I heard it was Amanda. I heard Meredith say “˜we need to talk’”. Bruno Vespa asks him: “Did he only hear Amanda?”, and he responds “Yes, he only heard Amanda”.

Then Mastronardi explains his discussion with Guede. He asks him “Did he have glasses? He responded “˜no’. Did he look like Raffaele Sollecito? He responded “˜I don’t know, he might look like him but I am not certain’. “˜All I am certain of, is that the voice was of Amanda’ “.


This is interesting: why does Guede confirm that Amanda was in the house, but does not confirm - in December 2009, just a few days before his verdict on appeal - that Raffaele was also in the house?

Why has he been accusing Raffaele since March 2008 and now, just before his verdict on appeal, he says (or rather, his consultants say) that he’s certain about Amanda but not of Raffaele?

Do Guede’s attorneys fear a wrong move by Sollecito’s attorneys, while being confident about Amanda’s attorneys?

At this point the host Bruno Vespa starts a heated argument with the criminologists, claiming that it is not possible that Guede could have not recognized the assailant. “Come on, you’re a criminologist” says Vespa, “you know that anyone could easily recognize the face of the person that is wielding a knife in front of you….  You have to agree that this is an element of objective fragility” he adds.

Paolo Crepet, a psychiatrist, notes that originally Rudy’s version was kind of different. “Rudy talked to his assailant. He was threatened”.

Rudy’s attorney intervenes “No, you remember wrong”. Bruno Vespa also intervenes and says to Biscotti “Wait, you must admit that there is plenty of incongruence. They didn’t give Guede 30 years for nothing”. Biscotti responds “They sentenced Guede just like they sentenced the other two”.


On the timing of the murder, Bruno Vespa asks if it is true that Guede talked about 9:00-9:30PM.

Here the attorney of Guede gives an inaccurate response that was not picked up by anyone in the studio. He says that Rudy said that the murder happened at a later time. “He didn’t have a watch, therefore he didn’t know the exact time [of the murder], but it was certainly very late”, says Biscotti.

This is incorrect. Guede has said, at the beginning and on a couple of occasions after, that he entered the house with Meredith at 21:00 and that he heard the screaming at 21:20-21:30. So why is his attorney now saying that Guede testified that the murder happened much later? Why did no-one in the studio intervene to contest his statement?

On the forensic tests, Bruno Vespa says that “Non-repetitive testing must be done, by law, with the presence of all parties, otherwise they are not valid”.

The lawyer for Meredith and her family, Maresca, responds “All tests are not disputable, since all attorneys and their consultants were notified on the time and date of these non-repetitive tests”.

And in fact no one from the defenses showed up. By law, if they are notified and don’t appear for the testing, the results are perfectly valid. Defense attorneys chose not to be present, although notified and invited, because that was seemingly part of their defense strategy.

Regardless of the outcome of those non-repetitive tests, it would have been strategically preferable to avoid being present, because if the results were favorable to their client, that would be fine. And if the tests went against their clients, they could always claimed contamination at a later time.


On 4 March 2010 Rudy Guede, following the public release of the Motivazione against Knox and Sollecito, said: “chi sa’ parli” (“those who know must speak”).

On 6 March 2010 Rudy Guede writes a letter to Mediaset following the appearance on the scene of Mario Alessi, a child murderer serving a life sentence, who was claiming Guede divulged that he was alone at the house with another accomplice. Guede ends his letter by saying that the “horrible assassination” of Meredith was done by Amanda and Raffaele.

The court reached their decisions based on testimony and evidence from the night presented at trial. Everything else, including diaries, phone calls from Germany, cartwheels and media gossips, was totally irrelevant to the judges.

Formally, Guede’s accusations of the two accomplices must be dated from March 2008, but we know very well that the reciprocal accusations started on November 2007 and they went on for the entire two trials.

Except for Amanda, the attorneys have strategically avoided their clients from taking the stand and responding to questions, confrontations and cross-examination. Raffaele never spoke one word, except for spontaneous declarations. Guede was kept silent throughout the two trials, despite various promises of “speaking out”.

The prosecutor asked to have Guede on the stand for questioning, but he always exercised his right to silence and, as the Massei Report states on page 389 “The defense of Knox and Sollecito did not give their consent to admitting Guede’s declarations”. This is very indicative of the trial strategy adopted: avoiding their clients to pronouncing one bad word and avoiding putting them face to face with each other.


Now for some conclusions.

There is a lot of “I don’t remember” in this horror story. Rudy doesn’t remember the face of the aggressor, but then slowly, but progressively, his mind begins to function and, at appropriate moments, he remembers his name and that of his friend by the door.

Amanda doesn’t remember if she went to Via della Pergola with Lumumba, nor if Raffaele was with her. She doesn’t remember what she did at Raffaele’s house for the entire evening and night, but then she meets a nun in jail that restores her memory.

Raffaele also has a hard time remembering what happened in those few hours. He doesn’t remember if he was home alone or if Amanda was with him. Then he changes his statement but still doesn’t remember if Amanda left and, if she did, at what time she returned.

Can cannabis give such effects in exactly the time frame in which a young woman is being brutally murdered? Why did only three people out of 84 interviewed have this incredible amnesia?


As the journalist of Corriere della Sera, Fiorenza Sarzanini, said: “the arrests happened when they were saying things like “˜I was there with Patrick but can’t remember if Raffaele was also there’.

And Raffaele saying things like “˜I was at my house all night, but I don’t remember if Amanda was with me the entire time’”.

All three have lied several times, lost their memory but then slowly regained it, and changed their stories in order to fit new information as it became progressively known.

But most importantly they all have accused each other from the very beginning.

Not only the appellate judges of Rudy Guede’s trial but even Judge Micheli in Guede’s trial of first instance said that “The defendants, more or less explicitly, have intended to defend themselves by accusing each others.”

And that Rudy Guede “was there and he knows very well what happened”

“We might think that he remains firm on his unsustainable positions in order to cover up for someone, but on the contrary” says Judge Micheli, “it was from the very beginning that he chose not to involve others, and then he changed his attitude when he understood that other people were abandoning him to his own destiny”.


It should also be considered that the defense of Amanda Knox and of Raffaele Sollecito have called to trial only those witnesses that would testify against Rudy Guede and have requested only that police carry out more investigations on Guede.

Also, the Massei Report states that the defenses of Knox and Sollecito have at the end of it all “explicitly indicated Rudy Guede as the sole perpetrator of the criminal acts against Meredith Kercher”.

Rudy’s original story of the events was so ridiculous that no one could have possibly believed him. And no one did.

Despite this, he avoided naming his presumed accomplices directly, but chose instead, from the very beginning, to imply their involvement through his writings and his threats, while waiting for the appropriate time to formally accuse them of the murder.

“Guede kept quiet for as long as he could” said the Court of Appeal “because, given the deep connection of the events, accusing Amanda and Raffaele would have exposed him to their very probable retaliation”.

The court said all three should have explained what had happened in that house on the night of the murder, “at least for a sense of human compassion toward the poor victim”.

Instead, they “preferred to cram their statements (made on several occasions) with lies, reticence, half-truth, allusions, improbable occurrences and by more or less veiled reciprocal accusations”.

This is my final report. Ciao from Rome, and thanks.



Sunday, May 16, 2010

How Each of The Three Subtly But Surely Pushed The Other Two Closer to The Fire (Part 3 of 4)

Posted by Cesare Beccaria


My previous report on this appeared here.

During the first two months of 2008, the attorneys of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito begin to elaborate their theory of the sole killer that entered the house through the window, and then raped and killed Meredith.

It is interesting that these attorneys at first didn’t mention the name of Rudy Guede though the accusation was more or less explicit.

During his chat conversations from Germany Guede had already mentioned Raffaele’s involvement. When Giacomo asked him if that was Raffaele he had replied several times “I think so”. But as the two previous posts below show, thereafter he began to pull back.

By the time of his three-hour interrogation with the prosecutor on 26 March 2008 Rudy Guede apparently has had enough, and he is done with pulling back any longer. He now formally accuses Knox and Sollecito (“I saw Amanda and Raffaele that night”).

He now shows no doubts about identifying Raffaele Sollecito as the aggressor (“that guy with the knife was Raffaele”).

When asked by the interrogators why he responded “no” to the question of Giacomo as to whether Amanda “did it”, Guede states first that he was mainly concentrated on the male figure with the knife, and second his response to Giacomo’s questions was given in a hurry.

But Rudy did mention Amanda’s name in those previous conversations from Germany, indirectly implying her involvement. Amanda Knox was also mentioned extensively in his diary written at the end of November 2007, and he described her there in harsh words.

During his interrogation by the prosecutor, Guede now adds that he heard Amanda’s voice by the door, and then he saw her silhouette from Filomena’s window (“As Raffaele walked out I heard someone waiting for him outside. Now I can say that it was Amanda Knox”).


Judge Micheli in his January 2009 sentencing report for the Guede trial points out that Guede constantly “adjusted the content of his statements to the parallel and progressive evolution of the investigations”. He conveniently adjusted the time of the murder and other claimed facts as the investigation proceeded.

Guede originally indicated the time of Meredith’s murder as having been around 9:20-9:30PM. This is what he told Giacomo during the Skype conversation. His attorneys would later push the time to 11:30PM, denying that Guede had ever talked about 9:30 and couldn’t have known the time anyway as he hadn’t had a watch on him. 

The Micheli Report states that Guede’s accusation of Amanda and Raffaele formally happened during the interrogation of 26 March 2008. The conversations from Germany were not admitted by the court, and nor was his diary. Only Giacomo’s testimony was considered.

Judge Micheli in his sentencing report considers none of Guede’s declarations as credible.

On December 7in his first interrogation on his arrival back in Italy, Rudy never made references to Amanda. He said that he looked out the window but didn’t see or recognized anyone.

Judge Micheli therefore says that the interrogation of March 26, 2008 cannot be considered a completion of his previous declaration (as his lawyers were asserting), but rather a “radical change of course”.

Why didn’t Guede accuse Amanda and Raffaele during, or right after, the interrogation of December 7?

After all, he had a great opportunity to claim to recognize a person that was arrested and accused of the murder whose name was well known to Rudy. And as Micheli states in the report, “Guede didn’t even have the natural qualms that a witness might have in cases of uncertainty, knowing that he might get an innocent person in trouble”.

So why did he reserve the right to indicate his alleged accomplices at a later time?

On 15 May 2008 Guede asks to make some new spontaneous declarations.

Among other claims, he claims to have seen Raffaele at the scene of the crime, and his new conviction about this derives from the fact that he had seen his pictures in the newspapers. He also confirms the presence of Amanda: “I heard various steps of people leaving. I went to the closest room, I looked outside and I saw the silhouette of Amanda”.


On 19 October 2008 the prosecutor at Guede’s trial in his closing statement observes that “at the beginning Amanda had intentionally covered up for Guede, sidetracking the investigators toward another black person. For his part, Rudy has tried to keep Amanda out while being more explicit in involving Raffaele”.

On 24 October 2008 Francesco Vinci, the forensic consultant for the Sollecito defense, hands over to the Court his analysis report for the DNA on Meredith’s bra hook (Evidence 165B).

He states that “the analysis clearly shows that there are profiles of three other individuals on the clasp”, adding that the genetic profiles of Amanda and Rudy are also on the clasp.

Although Vinci’s presumed intention is to try to remove from trial the evidence against his client (since too many DNA profiles are found on the clasp, making it hard to reach an “unequivocal interpretation”) in reality this intervention comes across like an attempt to involve Guede’ s other two unlucky friends.

Meo Ponte, correspondent of La Repubblica, puts it nicely: “One asks if this is an involuntary false step or if Sollecito’s defense has decided to return to their previous steps when, at the beginning of the investigations, they were looking at every possible way to separate the fate of Raffaele from that of Amanda, trying to reduce charges against Raffaele to those of a lesser crime”.

Interesting here is that four days before the verdict of the first instance against Rudy Guede (and the decision on the formal charging of Knox and Sollecito) all the attorneys for all three can be seen to be fighting a three-way war, trying to save their own clients at the expense of the others.

Mr Mignini couldn’t have asked for more. This tactic almost renders superfluous the presence and arguments of the prosecutor.

Knox’s and Sollecito’s attorneys are indirectly accusing Guede (without mentioning his name) by trying to prove the sole-killer theory. And Guede’s attorneys are definitely implicating Knox and Sollecito, and at the last day of trial explicitly accuse them of the murder.

On 28 October 2008 Rudy Guede receives a 30 years sentence, and Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are formally also charged for Meredith’s murder.


The day after on 29 October 2008 the top-rated national TV program Porta a Porta (in the second of the four shows so far) discusses the trial outcome of the previous day. All the lawyers are present except for those of Amanda Knox.

Whereas during the days before the trial all the attorneys were fighting for their own client, and accusing each other’s clients of murder, during this Porta a Porta program they look fairly friendly.

Mrs. Buongiorno (the lead lawyer for Raffaele Sollecito) says that she is not saying that it was Guede who killed Meredith, she is saying that “procedural elements” conclude that there is such responsibility. “All I want to say is that Raffaele was not in that house.”

Bruno Vespa, the host of the Porta a Porta program,  asks Mr. Biscotti (Rudy Guede’s attorney) if his defense claims that Amanda and Raffaele are the two people identified by Guede on the night of the murder. Biscotti replies that Guede “heard two people”, but he doesn’t confirm that it was Raffaele and Amanda.

Why does Guede’s defense all of a sudden avoid mentioning the names of those whom until the previous day they had accused of the murder?

The magistrate on the show, Simonetta Matone, intervenes and she says: “As part of your defense strategy I remember that you have said that Amanda and Raffaele are the two people responsible for this homicide”.

The attorneys of Guede responded: “well, this is a trial dialectic (dialettica processuale)”. The magistrate then asks them “what are you talking about, trial dialectic? You have claimed that Amanda and Sollecito committed the crime”.

Mr. Biscotti (Guede’s attorney) doesn’t respond, and Mrs. Buongiorno (Sollecito’s attorney) steps in and immediately changes the subject.

Further on in the program, Mr. Biscotti says that Rudy heard Amanda’s voice, but doesn’t say that Guede identified Raffaele.

The Porta a Porta host, Bruno Vespa, asks Biscotti how could it be that Rudy was not able to see the assailant? Biscotti explains that it was dark and the assault was quick.

Bruno Vespa continues to be incredulous and insists that it is impossible for him not to have recognized his attacker.


Why does Biscotti now hide the fact that Guede saw Sollecito, when up to just a few days before he was confirming his identity? In fact, why would both Guede’s attorneys and Sollecito’s attorneys avoid discussing the reciprocal accusations that had gone on for months until just a few days earlier?

Could it be that they are both now preparing for the next trial at the Corte d’Assise, both of them hoping for an acquittal that would be beneficial both to Raffaele and to Rudy?

Right after the first verdict the ceasefire is back in place, and everyone is back out of the gray area.

It’s also interesting that during the program Mrs. Buongiorno insists in defending only Raffaele. She contests the bra clasp but never says anything about the knife. Her only concern is Raffaele.

She says “My trial is as follows: you must prove that three people committed the crime, or you must prove the presence of Raffaele in the house”.

At a certain point in the Porta a Porta program, Alessandro Meluzzi, a well known psychiatrist hired by the Guede team, intervenes during a discussion and says: “”¦ but wasn’t there a footprint found of Raffaele?”.

Mr. Biscotti - Guede’s lawyer - blocks him immediately and says “no, no, no”. Mr Meluzzi looks around in despair and then realizes he has said something outside of the defense line and now keeps quiet instantly. Why was he stopped?

In the first session of the Knox-Sollecito trial in the Corte D’Assise of 16 January 2009 Luca Maori, Sollecito’s second attorney, begins by saying that “Raffaele’s life was destroyed on October 25, the day he met Amanda “¦ this changed his life because of the tragic consequences and at the end [meeting her] has destroyed him”.

In the opening statement Mr. Maori makes it clear and simple: “Justice is already done. Rudy Guede, the only person responsible for the murder, has received a 30 years sentence”.

Asked by journalists about his reaction to these accusations, Walter Biscotti responded as he had done on other occasions: “My client will speak at the appropriate time.”


On 19 January 2009 they are all back again, on the third Porta a Porta show, except (again) for Amanda Knox’s lawyers.

Guede had been sentenced in the first instance to 30 years. His lawyer Biscotti now adds a little more detail to Guede’s story. He explains that Rudy went to the bathroom and heard Amanda discussing with Meredith, put on his earphones and closed the door.

The TV host Bruno Vespa reminds Mr. Biscotti that the attorneys of Sollecito and Amanda have accused Guede, and have said that he was already convicted and therefore he must be the sole killer.

Mr. Biscotti doesn’t appear very happy: “In our opinion this has been a “cowardly procedural move (“vigliaccata processuale”)....  They took advantage of the absence of Rudy in that hearing” of 16 January, he replies.

And then he adds that their strategy would not work since the GUP has denied their clients’ release on house arrest and has issued a definite ruling on the matter.

Guede’s attorney is practically saying here that, even though Rudy was convicted in the first instance, the other two are also charged and will also have to stand trial. “We will be vigilant and we’ll observe every breath of that trial”.

(It’s funny how Biscotti refers to his accusation of the other two a few months earlier as “dialettica processuale” (dialectical) but now calls Maori’s accusation of Guede a “vigliaccata processuale” (cowardly).)

The prosecutors have announced that they will call Rudy Guede to testify at the trial of his presumed accomplices, and the Porta a Porta host Bruno Vespa asks Biscotti if Rudy will finally tell the complete truth in front of the Court of Assise.

Biscotti responds that Rudy has already told the truth and that he will next talk further in front of the judges of appeal, implying that his client will not testify at Knox’s and Sollecito’s trial.

He says that since Judge Micheli didn’t find him credible, just like as he didn’t find the other two credible (they were not even called as witnesses at Rudy’s trial), Guede could exercise his right to silence at Knox’s and Sollecito’s trial.


Giuseppe Castellini, director of the Perugia-based newspaper Giornale dell’Umbria, weighs in at length on this Porta a Porta show about Guede’s changing of his versions.

In the second version, Guede says that as he entered the bathroom he heard the bell ring and heard Amanda’s voice. He then was reassured because he knew it was Amanda. Guede also said in his second version that from Filomena’s room he sees Amanda and another person that he couldn’t identify, running away.

In the third version, Rudy hears the voice of Amanda (“We need to talk. What is the matter?”) and he asks Mignini to have a confrontation with Sollecito.

Mr Biscotti, Guede’s attorney, disputes Mr Castellini’s claim that the description changed and he says that Guede never changed his version, but rather “integrated it with details” and that Guede asked for a confrontation with both Raffaele and Amanda.

Mr. Gentile, the other lawyer for Guede, adds that Guede was interrogated in Germany without attorneys present (implying that what he said back then cannot be considered as a first version).

The Porta a Porta host. Bruno Vespa. notes that every one of the three accused is claiming their innocence and at the same time each accusing the other of the murder.

He then asks Luca Maori, one of Sollecito’s attorneys, if the situation of Raffaele is linked to that of Amanda or if there could be a different scenario (“she was there and he wasn’t”).

Mr. Maori responds that “Raffaele is Raffaele and Amanda is Amanda, although this does not mean that their positions could not be linked….  Raffaele was at his house and probably even Amanda, so both were at his house during the night”.

He adds that Raffaele never changed his version.


The newspaper director Giuseppe Castellini reacts strongly to this claim by Mr Maori.  He illustrates by reading Raffaele’s statements word by word that he did in fact change his version, three times.

On the first version, of November 5 (which is actually the second version if we exclude the statement in which he said he spoke “a lot of rubbish”) Raffaele said he went home alone, while Amanda went to meet her friends. He says he surfed the web all evening and Amanda returned at 1:00AM.

Days later, police hear from Jovana Popovic, who testified that she rang the bell at 8:40PM and Amanda answered the door, and therefore Amanda must have been home at that time.

Mr Castellini observes that now Raffaele changes his version again and notes how he had said “on November 5 I lied because I was under a lot of pressure”. Mr Castellini says that Raffaele had stated that Amanda was with him all that night, but now, in his latest version, he doesn’t remember if she went out that evening and for how long.

Bruno Vespa asks how can it be possible that a person cannot remember, after just a couple of days, if his girlfriend was with him or not, what time she left, and what time she returned?

“Everyone is able to remember where they were when the man landed on the moon. And that was forty years ago….  Raffaele should have been able to describe minute by minute what happened on that evening”.

The answer of Sollecito’s attorney Mr. Maori is as follow: “Someone must have killed poor Meredith. This someone is certainly not Raffaele Sollecito, because there are no evidences that put him inside the house of the murder. Everything else is details”.

It’s interesting to note that Mr. Maori hardly mentions Amanda Knox.

Even when asked if Amanda was with Raffaele he doesn’t give a straightforward answer, he just repeats that his client is not guilty. Throughout the two hours of the Porta a Porta program, he keeps saying that his client was not at the crime scene: “We will prove in court that he wasn’t there, and that he did not commit the crime.”

The CBS correspondent on the TV show, Mrs. Castelfranco, keeps trying to insert Amanda into the discussion (“Amanda wasn’t there either”) but Maori was not confirming this, he was not even listening.


The host Bruno Vespa tells Maori that there was more than one person reported by a witness as leaving the house and therefore “the killers must have been more than one”.

Mr. Maori’s answer is: “We are not alone in saying that the killer is only one. It’s the judge that has sentenced just one person”.

Guede’s attorney replies: “Oh, come on, Maori ! How can you say these things?.

A very important issue is now brought up by the host, Bruno Vespa.

Talking about Amanda, he says that it’s very strange that a person says “I was there” and then days later denies being there.

“Usually people say “˜I was not there, I know nothing, I have seen nothing’ and then eventually they admit that they were there”, says Vespa. “Instead Amanda [at first] says “˜I was there’ and the killer is Lumumba”.

No one in the Porta a Porta studio contests Mr Vespa’s claim that this is strange, including Maori and the CBS correspondent.

And the reason is very simple: while the U.S. media has justified Amanda’s behavior by claiming that she was forced to name Lumumba under brutal police pressure, the Italian media has never reported this because there is zero evidence that it ever happened.

The widely known and believed fact is that Amanda named Lumumba voluntarily, when the police asked her to verify her cell phone activities and was asked who that person was. This is a given and indisputable fact, confirmed by various witnesses.

Even Mrs. Castelfranco, the CBS correspondent, is very careful in not repeating the false claim of the U.S. media. She says instead that Knox was “young and confused”.  The CBS correspondent adds that after all none of them remember well what happened that night.

The host Bruno Vespa interrupts her: “One thing is remembering single details. Another is remembering if she was there or not. Being at the house [of the crime] or sleeping at the house of the boyfriend, are two enormously different things…. It is very striking that her first instinct was that of saying “˜I was at the house of the crime’”.

The CBS correspondent remains silent.


At this point, Mr. Biscotti, Guede’s attorney, says that while Rudy admits to being in the house, the other two each deny their presence although there is evidence that unequivocally confirms both of their presences.

Mr Vespa asks Biscotti if their trial strategy is that of proving Rudy’s innocence, or if it would be convenient to them to also demonstrate the culpability of Amanda and Raffaele.

Guede’s lawyer Biscotti responds: “We don’t want to prove their guiltiness. But since there is no other individual whose evidence in the house is proved, we must make a logical inference”.

The host reminds Biscotti that they have explicitly accused Raffaele and Amanda during Guede’s trial. Biscotti responds: “Well, the logical inference tells us that Amanda and Sollecito are the guilty ones”.

Mr Vespa asks “Therefore the person that ran into Rudy (whom he did not fully identify) would be Sollecito?”.

And Biscotti responds “In our opinion, since we were not there and could not have seen it, by linking all the circumstances that emerged from the investigation of the prosecutor and those that emerged from the preliminary hearing, this leads to the conclusion that whoever killed Meredith could not have been other than the other two defendants”.

Francesco Maresca, the attorney for the Kercher family, makes it plain that in his view all three defendants are without any doubt responsible for Meredith’s murder.

My next report appears here.



Friday, May 14, 2010

How Each of The Three Subtly But Surely Pushed The Other Two Closer to The Fire (Part 2 of 4)

Posted by Cesare Beccaria


My previous report on this appeared here. On 12 November 2007 Guede has a first chat conversation on MS Messenger, from Germany, with his friend Gabriele.

His friend asked him why he keeps running away, and Guede answers “I can’t”.  “You can’t what?” asks his friend. Guede replied “you know [why]”. “What should I know” asks his friend, but with no further reply.

Up to that moment the media knew nothing about Rudy Guede’s involvement, but he certainly felt that police were already investigating him. He knew that thus far Amanda and Raffaele had not mentioned his name.

On 15 November the investigators identify the finger print on the pillow as belonging to Rudy Guede.

On 16 November Giacomo, another friend of Rudy, was informed that Guede could have had something to do with the murder, and on the 18th he is interrogated by the prosecutor.

On 18 November Raffaele writes in his diary: “As I am thinking and rebuilding [my thoughts] I think that Amanda always remained with me. The only thing I don’t remember exactly is if she left during the evening for few minutes”.


At this point police know that Raffaele and Amanda were together at his house when Jovana Popovic arrived at 8:40PM. But they were also found together at Raffaele’s house when Jovana rang the bell in the afternoon between 5:45-6:00PM.

Why then would Raffaele say at first that he went home alone at 9:00PM, and then that “maybe it was 8:30” and Amanda was with him, and now he thinks that Amanda was with him the entire time, but he doesn’t remember if she left and, in the event that she did, at what time she returned?

Was he desperately attempting to dissociate himself from Amanda? Was he then being told to retract, but just not too much?

“I am certain that she cannot have killed Meredith and then returned home” says Raffaele. “I hope that truth emerges. None of us three [meaning also Patrick Lumumba] have anything to do with this”.

Here again we find this supposition regarding Amanda. A week before he said “It would be fabulous if Amanda hasn’t done anything” and the previous day he said: “I don’t think she’s capable of killing someone”.

What is the need of all these quasi affirmations? And why does Amanda make the exact same quasi affirmations in her own diaries?


On 19 November Guede has another chat conversation on MS Messenger, this time with Giacomo. He explains to Giacomo what had happened that evening, and that neither Amanda nor Patrick are involved.

Why does he explicitly deny Amanda’s involvement in the murder? Could he be covering up for her, since she also hasn’t ever mentioned his name up to this date?

On the same chat session, Rudy describes the aggressor as an Italian of young age. When Giacomo asks if that person was Raffaele, his reply was “I don’t know, but I think so”. He repeated “I think so” several times as Giacomo kept asking him if he was sure that person was Raffaele.

Soon after, Giacomo and Rudy started a conversation via Skype, the online video phone system. This conversation was recorded, and made public.

A couple of parts are very important. First of all, Rudy puts a lot of emphasis on the money stolen, and on Meredith being upset with Amanda. Why would he be so insisting on this matter?

Rudy adds that “Amanda never mentioned the money issue, nor did Raffaele” implying that he somehow knows this information first-hand, since it had not ever been reported in the media up to that day.

Rudy then tells Giacomo that he went to the bathroom, and heard the doorbell ring and Meredith opening the front door. Rudy adds that “It could have been anyone “¦ it could have been Amanda”.

So again he explicitly mentions Amanda. Why would he say “It could have been Amanda”?


On that same conversation Guede reads a paragraph to Giacomo from a media article mentioning the laundry, the break-in and the undressing of the victim, Meredith.

Guede says “If all this really happened, it must have been done by Amanda or Raffaele… they have done it”. Giacomo asks “Why would they have done this”? And Guede replies “Because when I left she [Meredith] was dressed”.

Giacomo says “So they killed her while she was dressed”. And Guede says: “Yes, here it says that they [clothes] were washed in the washing machine, but that’s not true. She was dressed”. And then he explains to Giacomo how she was dressed and adds: “That means that they have washed them [Meredith’s clothes]”.

Then Giacomo asks “But why did they wash her clothes if she [Amanda] has nothing to do with this”, and Guede replies “What the hell do I know”. And finally Guede adds: ” “¦ then after, from what I read, someone came back, because when I left the window was not broken. That means that someone broke it, and it wasn’t me”.

Again, here we have Rudy Guede mentioning Amanda and Raffaele. Why would he mention their names, and assume that they staged the break-in, undressed the victim, and did some laundry?

On 20 November Raffaele writes “Today they finally caught the real killer of this incredible story. They found him in Germany. But at the moment I am not 100% tranquil because I fear that he might make up strange things”.

Why would Raffaele fear that the killer might fabricate some strange things?

On 20 November Rudy is arrested in Germany. He is interrogated for the first time, in Koblenz, where he repeats the same version he had given to Giacomo on the phone, except that he does not mention Amanda or Raffaele.


During his detention he writes a memorandum in which he describes the events of the night of the murder.

This document is of extreme importance, since this time he does mention Amanda again, this time with serious threats.

First, he includes “kind words” for Meredith

To see these written in a memorandum while denying his own role in her death and failure to save her seem simply repulsive. They seem about the lowest thing that a man with a minimum of decency could ever write.

He was undeniably there when she was killed, and according to the judges he participated to the murder. His story of using an I-Pod when going to the bathroom and not hearing things and then hearing things seem simple stupidity.

Second, Guede indicates that Amanda’s story of being at the house with Patrick is not true.

He knows that Patrick has been recently released. Why then does he ask “How could Amanda have slept in that place full of blood”? Also, why is he blaming Amanda for not calling the ambulance?

Also, Rudy knew that Amanda stated that she heard Meredith screaming. Why would he tell Giacomo on Skype that he heard “a scream so loud that it could have been heard from the street”?

Third, in his writings, Rudy asks Amanda for the reason for her account of Meredith being raped. “Meredith and I just talked that night” Rudy writes. Then he adds “Say the truth, what are you hiding”.


We see here another important statement that Guede is making. Why would he be upset that Amanda said that Meredith was raped? Also, why would he want to clarify the fact that with Meredith they “just talked”?

Guede sounds as if he’s extremely upset about Amanda’s story of rape, and about the accusation of a black man. To him all this must appear as if Amanda was giving clues to the prosecutor to look further into Guede as the possibly killer.

We should note that Amanda did make a partial retraction when she states that her story could have been an imagination of her mind. But she never fully retracted her story, or her accusation against a black man.

Guede knows that Amanda’s story is not just partially but totally untrue. For this reason he writes a harsh criticism of Amanda and asks her, in a threatening way, to talk and speak the truth.

Guede is also angry about what he read regarding the staged break-in, the undressing of the victim, and the laundry, and quite probably about the evidence left intact in the toilet.

To him, the sum of these events and statements by Amanda probably looked like a direct attempt now to accuse him of the murder. “You already knew who to blame” he asks.

And then in turn he blames Amanda for the killing. “Did you hate your friend so much to the point of killing her or wishing her death?”.

All this was written as early-on as 20 November 2007.

Raffaele is also mentioned by Guede in his prison diary. He writes: “that AF, AF, could have been his name?”. Rudy adds: “what the hell happened that night. Talk and say the truth. What are you hiding. If it wasn’t Raffaele with you that night, who was it?”.

So we can clearly see that the reciprocal accusations began long before March 2008. Much less than one month after the murder of Meredith, they were already threatening one another and accusing each other.


And there’s more.

On 23 November 2007 three days after Guede is arrested in Germany, Raffaele requests an appointment with the prosecutor because he wants to clarify his position.

Mignini sets the appointment for 6 December 2007.

On 3 December 2007 Walter Biscotti, Guede’s attorney, announces on the Porta a Porta show (the most popular television program in Italy) that his client has important revelations to make, and that he “saw the killer and might be able to identify him “¦ Rudy didn’t tell me his name “¦ on his return I will show him the pictures and I imagine that he will be able to recognize him”.

But hadn’t Rudy already seen Raffaele’s pictures on the media while in Germany? Didn’t Giacomo ask him if it was Raffaele, to which he responded “I don’t know but I think so”?

On 5 December 2007 Guede meets his father in Mannheim.

According to “Il Messaggero” and “Il Mattino”, Rudy is quoted as saying: “I want to return to Italy as soon as possible and tell everything I know. I want to indicate the murderer of Meredith. I saw him and I could recognize him. Someone else was with him”.

When journalists ask Rudy’s attorney if he has seen the photos of Raffaele, he responds that all this is a matter for the prosecutor.


On 6 December 2007 Raffaele is questioned by Mr. Mignini - but he exercises his right to remain silent! Although it was he that asked to be interrogated in order to “clarify his position”.

On 7 December 2007 Guede arrives in Italy and is interrogated by the prosecutor.

Everyone is expecting Rudy to announce the name of Raffaele, but he doesn’t. He never even mentions Amanda. Rudy’s attorney tells the journalists that his client “did not give out the name of the killer because there is no name to give”.

So why did Guede announced from Germany some “important revelations” and that he saw the killer and could identify him - and then he doesn’t?

Why did Raffaele ask to be interrogated and then, after Rudy’s threat, and the day before Guede’s arrival, he exercises the right to remain silent once he sits down, face to face, at his own request, with the prosecutor?

Walter Biscotti tells the prosecutor that any “possible procedural action of recognition will be subject to subsequent interrogation” (“eventuali attivita’ processuali di riconoscimento saranno oggetto di successivo interrogatorio”).

Does this mean that Rudy is reserving the right to indicate the killer sometime in the future?

During the trial, Mr. Biscotti specifically noted that the name of Amanda Knox was not brought up by Guede only late in the day, since during the interrogation of 7 December 2007 by the GIP (the judge for the preliminary hearings) the attorney had stated that his client would be “available to provide further clarifications” right then.

Only the working schedule of the prosecutor made the interrogation slide to March 2008. 


On 7 December 2007 Rudy Guede was interrogated by the GIP for seven hours, and he claimed his innocence. He explains his byzantine version of the events on the night, and he never mentions Amanda or Raffaele.

Guede says “I don’t know who the killer is and I cannot give a precise description because I was concentrating on looking at the knife”. Guede says that he heard two people talking outside the house, but he couldn’t even tell if those voices were of a male or a female.

In response to many other questions, his recurrent phrase was “I don’t remember”. He also explained his knowledge of Meredith’s missing money, which Rudy knew way before it became of public knowledge as he revealed in the conversation with Giacomo from Germany.

Amanda had previously said she had been at the house on the night of the murder, and she had never mentioned the name of Rudy, accusing instead another black man.


On 14 December 2007 Guede is heard by the Tribunale del Riesame.

He repeats that he didn’t see the aggressor because it was dark but that he could create an identikit. He confirms that two people were present, but doesn’t name Amanda or Raffaele.

The judge warns him that he must reveal the truth by telling the names of the people involved, but he refuses, saying that he never met Raffaele, and that he didn’t know Amanda had a boyfriend. 

The Tribunale rejected his plea of house arrests because he was not coming clean.

A few days after his return to Italy, Guede receives a visit in prison from his friend Giacomo. During the conversation, Guede tells him that his memory was improving and that he saw Amanda at the house.

We can again see therefore that Amanda is mentioned, way before March 2008.

Guede also adds that Amanda accused Lumumba because, most likely, the assailant told her that a black man was in the house. Guede tells Giacomo that he had never met Sollecito before.

This discussion in prison took place on 7 December 2007 though it was brought out at trial only much later, through Giacomo’s testimony.

On 25 January 2008 Sollecito’s attorneys allow him or make him to say “I don’t know Rudy Guede but I am ready for a face to face confrontation with him”.

Obviously it was just a bluff.

Raffaele never talked, was never cross-examined, and was always kept off the stand. All we know about his statements was either through his lawyers or his father.

My next report appears here.



Wednesday, May 12, 2010

How Each of The Three Subtly But Surely Pushed The Other Two Closer to The Fire (Part 1 of 4)

Posted by Cesare Beccaria


Most people in Italy believe the two trials ended correctly because they have been exhaustively reported-to throughout.

Also they have been able to follow the machinations and the twists and turns of the three defendants and defenses in real time. And the court documents and transcripts are all issued in Italian, and some are officially posted on the Internet.

The media coverage in Italian in Italy exceeds the media coverage in English in the UK and USA by a factor of five or ten. And there have been a number of very highly rated and balanced TV talk-shows on the case, in the course of which the defenses were not able to muzzle or slant the discussions - even if they ever considered doing such a thing.

These TV talk-shows on the case have included the most prestigious of all such shows in Italy, Porta a Porta, which offered hours of discussion by all the legal players except for Amanda Knox’s team in December 2007, October 2008, February 2009, and December 2009.

The Porta a Porta discussions are at various points referred to here, and the images used here are from those shows.

This is a four-part analysis, based mostly on Italian-language sources, of the many twists and turns of each of the defendants (as they then were) and their defense teams when intent on giving themselves an edge while often slyly selling out the others.

This interplay has been evident almost as much between Knox and Sollecito and their teams as it has between either of them and Rudy Guede, though rather less hostile.

It is worth pointing out two things up-front. First, that this is still far from played-out, more twists and turns can be expected, and we still might see the complete flying-apart and separation of all three. And second, that public maneuvering like this by three people accused of a crime is REALLY unusual and there have been few real precedents. This behavior sure is not typical of innocent parties.


So to begin…

“Guede has kept quiet for as long as he could” said the Court of Appeal in its recent motivation report “because, given the deep connection of the events, accusing Amanda and Raffaele would have exposed him to their very probable retaliation”. (“Guede, finché ha potuto, ha taciuto, poiché, stante la profonda connessione degli eventi, accusare Amanda e Raffaele lo avrebbe esposto a più che probabili dichiarazioni ritorsive da parte di costoro”).

This phrase in boldface is extremely important in understanding the connection of the three actors to this horrible story.

Their attorneys have done an excellent job so far (the best they could) and will continue on appeal to try to convince the judges of their innocence, or at least for a substantial reduction of their sentence. Rudy Guede’s attorneys have already obtained what they needed. He will probably be out on parole in less than five years now.

The other defense have played a very delicate game in this trial. From the beginning, they could have asked for a finding of “preterintenzione” (a sort of non-intentional second-degree murder). But this would have forced their clients to admit the truth without the certainty of the judicial outcome. Hence they opted for the not-guilty plea.

Their first strategic action was in each case (RS and AK) to stop the damages that their clients were inflicting upon themselves with their statements.

The next strategic action was that of not appearing at the lab for the non-repetitive testing for the DNA, with the obvious intention (almost habitual in Italy) of refuting ex-post each and every forensic finding that could have been adverse to their client.


The third strategic action flowed from the major problem all the attorneys were facing in defending their own client: the risk of reciprocal retaliation. Like concentric circles, they all came to share a gray area that was tacitly considered off-limit for everyone else, like a haunted house that no one else dared to enter.

At first, this tacit accord was respected. But when various defense necessities emerged, the breaching of the accord began. The process was gradual but inexorable, leading to two brief but clear breaches: Guede’s explicit accusations against the other two in March 2008, and reiterated right after the disgraceful intrusion on the scene of Mario Alessi earlier this year.

This tactic was observed by the Appellate Court that heard Guede’s appeal. In their recent motivation report.

The judges reprehended all three offenders by stating that all three should have explained what had happened in that house on the night of the murder, “at least for a sense of human compassion toward the poor victim” and that instead they had “preferred to cram their statements (made on several occasions) with lies, reticence, half-truth, allusions, improbable occurrences and by more or less veiled reciprocal accusations”. (“Gli imputati hanno invece preferito infarcire le loro dichiarazioni, rese in diverse occasioni, di bugie, reticenze, retromarce, mezze verità , allusioni, prospettazioni inverosimili, accuse reciproche, più o meno velate”).

Rudy Guede was questioned in Koblenz, Germany, right after his arrest. He was also interrogated on December 7, 2007 and on March 26, 2008, and made spontaneous declarations on May 15, 2008.

At first he did not formally accuse anyone, and he remained very vague about his accomplices. He chose to go on trial first and so he had a slight advantage over the others.

Rudy Guede is undoubtedly a compulsive liar. He told his version of the events to perfectly fit his case, and adjusted his inconsistencies according to the changing development of events.

He first says Meredith was killed around 21:20 and then his attorneys made him change the time to 23:30. According to his absolutely improbable account, he met with Meredith at 21:00 and within TEN MINUTES they managed to talk about her mother’s health, go around the house looking for the missing money, had oral sex, and then suddenly had an urgent need to go to the bathroom. Then he puts his I-Pod on at high volume while doing his business in the bathroom of a girl he barely knew.


In this implausible story, Guede doesn’t explicitly name his accomplices. Amanda and Raffaele also told their fair share of lies, but at the beginning they didn’t directly accuse Guede either.

Things changed when the various attorneys started to slowly penetrate inside the off-limit zone.

Guede’s memory began to function as the lone-wolf theory was materializing. Apparently the volume of his I-Pod was not loud enough now to impede him from recognizing Amanda’s voice. His vision became clearer and he began to recognize her silhouette from the window and the identity of the aggressor.

The more Knox and Sollecito’s attorneys were elaborating their theory to reinforce their defensive strategy, the better Guede’s memory became. Every time allegations of the sole killer emerged, Guede’s attorneys were ready with their rounds of ammunitions, needed to keep the other attorneys at bay.

Now, if we take a closer look at the chronology of events, we can observe a possibility that has been largely overlooked but is of extreme importance. 

Maybe the staged break-in was not necessarily made with the intention specifically to frame Guede. (Judge Micheli actually advanced this notion, as Amanda and Raffaele most likely had no knowledge of Guede’s earlier break-in in Milan.).

And yet it is without doubt that some one person or several persons intentionally tried to mislead investigators and with a good degree of certainty these people took also part in the crime. And for obvious reasons Guede was not among them during the staging and the cleaning.


Let us now look more closely at the chronology of the events in order to understand why it is clear that Guede did not act alone. Also to see that he did mention Amanda and Raffaele way before the interrogation of March 2008. We can also observe how the three defendants have tried in various ways to accuse each other from the very beginning, through their voluntary statements and through their “prison diaries”.

It should be noted that it is highly unrealistic that lawyers let their clients write “prison diaries” without their consent, especially after all the lies and inconsistencies they have told to police and prosecutors until they took over. Those “prison diaries” sound anything but spontaneous.

Raffaele changed his versions of the events at least three times. At first he confirms Amanda’s original deposition. But then, under interrogation on 5 November he admits to having spoken rubbish in his previous statement, because, he claimed, Amanda convinced him of her version and he didn’t think of the inconsistencies. And that he went home alone around 9:00 PM, smoked a joint, ate and surfed the net, and finally Amanda returned at 1:00 AM.

Amanda then is told by police that Raffaele had just blown her alibi. But instead of refuting Raffaele’s statement, she immediately takes the opportunity to accuse Patrick Lumumba, adding that Raffaele was probably with her at the crime scene.


Let’s now look at Amanda’s statement given to police on 6 November 2007.

Amanda writes: “I know that Raffaele has placed evidence against me, saying I was not with him on the night of the murder “¦ there are things I remember and things that are confused “¦ what happened after I know does not match with what Raffaele was saying”. Amanda goes on to explain what happened at Raffaele’s house in a very confusing way and with many “perhaps”, I’m not sure” and “I don’t remember”.

She goes on to write: “my boyfriend has claimed that I have said things that I know are not true “¦ I never asked him to lie for me “¦ What I don’t understand is why Raffaele would lie about this. What does he have to hide? I don’t think he killed Meredith but I do think he is scared, like me. He walked into a situation that he has never had to be in, and perhaps he is trying to find a way out by disassociating himself with me”.

She adds: “I also know that the fact that I can’t fully recall the events that I claim took place at Raffaele’s home during the time Meredith was murdered in incriminating”. Raffaele as well states that he cannot recall precisely what he did at his own house that evening.

Amanda remembers that she noticed blood on Raffaele’s hand, “but I was under the impression that it was blood from the fish”. Amanda then asks: “is there any other evidence condemning Patrick or any other person. Who is the real murderer?”


A week later, when the knife was found, Amanda goes even further. She now wonders if Raffaele could have killed Meredith and then put the knife-handle in her hand while she was sleeping. “Was Meredith’s DNA on the knife?” Raffaele had asked “Maybe, because one time I accidently pricked her”.

“It’s impossible that Meredith’s DNA is on the knife”, says Amanda, “because she’s never been to Raffaele’s apartment. So unless Raffaele decided to get up after I fell asleep, grabbed said knife, went over to my house, used it to kill Meredith, came home, cleaned the blood off, rubbed my fingerprints all over it, put it away, tucked himself back into bed, and then pretended really well over the next few days, well, I just highly doubt all of that”.

Doesn’t all this sound like a reciprocal veiled accusation? Why would two people accused of murder, with exactly the same fate, write down their doubts about the innocence of their presumed accomplice? Why doesn’t Amanda mention Patrick or Rudy at all in her diary?

On 7 November 2007 Raffaele Sollecito begins writing his own diary. His most recurrent phrases are “I don’t remember”, “maybe I did this, maybe I did that”. The prosecutor has already reminded him that he has given three different versions of his story, in particular about Amanda. He is still not sure if Amanda left the house, and if she did he now doesn’t remember how long she was out for. “Why don’t they investigate on her”, he asks.

On 11 November 2007 Raffaele recalls that someone told him that on the morning of November 2 Amanda went home to take a shower and then went to a public laundry with some Argentinean guy and he put a pair of blue Nikes in the washing machine.

“All this makes me totally lose faith in Amanda, after she keeps on lying”, Raffaele writes. Adding that “I know little of her, but although I don’t think she’s capable of killing someone she could be capable of lying in order to hide the fact that she has relations with [hangs out with] disreputable people”.

We note here Raffaele saying: “I don’t think she’s capable of killing someone”, while a few days before Amanda wrote: “I don’t think he killed Meredith”. Why would they both have the need to make such conjectures? It is very unlikely (if not impossible) that lawyers would allow them to make any written statements, including diaries, without their consent.

Raffaele goes on to write: “I worry about two things: if Amanda that night remained with me all night, we might (although that is a very remote hypothesis) have made love all evening and all night, stopping only to eat. That would be a mess because there would be no server connections during those hours.” (How can a twenty-three years old boy not remember if he made love “all evening and night”?). Four days earlier Amanda wrote: “perhaps I made love to Raffaele. In fact, I think I did make love with him”.

Raffaele’s second worry is that “Amanda could have stolen my knife and gave it to the son of a bitch that killed Meredith, although even this hypothesis sounds like science fiction, but possible, therefore I am not at ease.”


Amanda writes in her diary that the encounter in prison with a nun made her memory function all of a sudden.

She says: “In my cell I was waiting for an answer to come to my head when a sister arrived at my door. She told me to be patient because God knows everything and would help me remember the answer “¦ and then it hit me. Everything came back to me like a flood one detail after the other “¦ I cried, I was so happy. I wrote everything I could remember and an explanation for my confusion previously “¦ Police think that I’m involved “¦ But now at least I know it’s not true. I remember what I did that night and there’s no way that they can prove that I was there, in Meredith’s room”.

“They really think I’m involved and its sad, because it means they still have no idea what happened. They really don’t know who killed my friend”. Then she continues to ask herself why Raffaele is lying, what is he afraid of.

This reciprocal accusation of lying is also repeated. We will see that in his diary Rudy also accuses Amanda of lying. Why do they constantly accuse each other of lying? And why do they also insist on the recurrent phrase: “what are you hiding”?

On 12 November 2007 Raffaele gets 90% of his memory back.

He says: “I am 90% sure that on my second declaration I said rubbish”, and that his first version (that Amanda was with him) is the right version. It should be noted that in his second police interview he said the exact contrary, stating that his claim that Amanda was with him was rubbish.

Now Raffaele changes his story again and adds: “the fact that Amanda induced me to tell her version is rubbish “¦ I’m realizing that probably Amanda was with me all night, without ever leaving. And I am certainly not the one that lies in order to help the investigations and put everyone in trouble. On the contrary, it would be fabulous if Amanda hasn’t done anything”.

The memory loss claim now surfaces. Raffaele adds: “I realize that if we all ended up in jail is also my fault regarding the facts of that evening and also because me and Amanda smoked many joints.” “I lived in weightlessness an event that I could not believe it could have been real”. Raffaele is basically saying that it’s also his fault if he cannot remember what happened that night. As we have seen, Amanda wrote something similar when she acknowledge that her lack of memory could be “incriminating”.

Not only Raffaele, but also Amanda and Rudy have this mysterious amnesia on the events of that evening. All three of them don’t remember well. All imagine that certain things happened “¦ but maybe not. No one is able to recall even the most impossible things to forget (was it Raffaele the aggressor with the knife? Was Amanda home with Raffaele? Was Amanda at the cottage with Lumumba? Was Raffaele with her? Did they really make love all night?).

My next report appears here.



Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The Transcript Of Today’s Online Chat Session With Barbie Nadeau Of The Daily Beast

Posted by Peter Quennell


Lucas Wittmann:
Hi, I’m the Books Editor at The Daily Beast and I’m delighted to welcome Barbie Latza Nadeau and our readers to discuss her new book, Angel Face…

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
I’m Barbie Latza Nadeau. Welcome.

[Comment From kcolorado: ]
how was your sense of who she is affected by seeing her in court everyday? Have you spoken with her directly?

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
Seeing Amanda Knox walk into the courtroom every day was very important in understanding how she interacted with her lawyers and her family, and in understanding how the jury perceived her. Amanda has not yet given any one-on-one interviews so no, I have not spoken to her directly.

Lucas Wittmann:
Just so you know we see your comments and will publish them live as Barbie is ready so please keep them coming…

[Comment From Kevad: ]
You have also stated in tv coverage that “we still do not really know what happened in that room”, is that how you still feel?

[Comment From stint: ]
Great job with book, Barbie. I really enjoyed it.

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
Yes, after over two years following this case, none of us know exactly what happened in Meredith’s bedroom that fateful night. No one has confessed to the crime, so until someone does, we will not have a clear understanding of the exact dynamic of the murder.

[Comment From Guest: ]
How do you think your journalism during the trial affected its outcome?

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
Thank you. I’m glad you liked the book. My hope is that it provides perspective of this complex case.

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
I don’t think that any of us who covered this trial as journalists had a direct impact on the jury’s decision. We were not in the deliberation room.

[Comment From Wade: ]
Why in your opinion did the seattle media frame the events as they did

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
I think that many of my colleagues in the Seattle market did the best job they could with the information they had. Their primary source was the Knox family, so their coverage was affected by that. When members of the Seattle press came to Perugia, they did not speak Italian and had a difficult time following the court sessions because there was no translator. Those of us who live and work here in Italy often helped the American press as best we could.

[Comment From stint: ]
Regarding earlier comment. Since Knox Family PR firm *very* closely controls any and all media contact with themselves, and they have reportedly blackballed any reporters even seen *near* you, do you really think you might interview Amanda in the future

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
I have hope that Amanda might want someone objective who understands Italian to conduct an interview with her at some point down the road. But because I have been skeptical, I am fairly sure I am not high on the list of interview candidates.

[Comment From mnh12121887:
But why did the American media take the Knox family version so much on face value without even trying to look deeper?

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
I think that the economic crisis has played a role. Many bureaus have been closed across Europe and it would have been a major expense to send a correspondent to Italy for such a long trial. I think that had there been a larger Italian based press corp it would have made a difference in coverage.

Lucas Wittmann:
Let’s explore now the facts of the case.

[Comment From Guest: ]
Do you believe Knox’s assertion that she was abused during her final interrogation?

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
I think it depends how you define “abused.” If you mean to ask if she was flicked on the back of the head (which is a cultural norm here in schools and in criminal investigations), then yes, that very likely happened. If you mean to ask if she was abused in the way the American police have been caught on CCTV abusing detainees, then no, I do not think she was abused.

[Comment From Guest: ]
You seem to have made some strange claims in your book - about AK and RS actually NOT remembering what happened. How on earth did you reach that conclusion?

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
I gave my hypothesis about the crime based on sitting through 11 months of a trial. I believe that if Amanda and Raf would have remembered exactly what happened, whether they were involved or not, their explanation of the evening of November 1 would have been more clear. A lie is often very black and white. Their confused responses seemed to me to be more consistent with a hazy memory or no memory at all.

[Comment From hattie: ]
I still believe that Amanda Knox is innocent, and I read your book to get another point of book. Thank you for that. My concern is that there is so much more DNA evidence against Rudy. How was Amanda able to clean up and not leave more DNA evidence in Meredith’s room?

Lucas Wittmann:
Don’t have Angel Face yet? Order it now as an e-book or paperback: http://bit.ly/chDjIX

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
I think it is important to remember that the same scientific police and laboratories tested the DNA for all three suspects. That is to say, if the DNA matches Rudy and is accepted, then the DNA that matches the other two should also be accepted. How she may have left so little DNA if she was actually in the room is very hard to square. Whether some of the 14 unidentified fingerprints belong to her is a big question in this case. There were very few fingerprints on any flat surfaces belonging to Rudy either. Is it possible to pick and choose how to clean up DNA? Maybe not, but it is possible to wipe up fingerprints and footprints that you know are your own.

[Comment From Guest: ]
If they didn’t remember then why did they do the clean up? They clearly knew they had ‘something’ to hide!

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
That is a very good question. Perhaps waking up in a house with a dead body makes one act irrationally. Perhaps because they might not have remembered what they did the night before, they panicked. We do not know, but that is one question I will ask Amanda if I ever get a chance.

[Comment From Guest: ]
After 11 months viewing the trial, do you believe that Amanda joined in any sort of sex game with Meredith? It seems that Amanda did, bt then went to her room BEFORE and DURING the murder.

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
There is no forensic evidence that Amanda had sexual relations with Meredith. I have a hard time accepting that it started as a sex game. I believe that if they were involved it was because they could not stop themselves from an aggravated escalation of violence. In essence, they could not tell agony from ecstasy and did not realize that Meredith needed their help. Instead, they may have helped Rudy and that is when things got out of control.

[Comment From Lisa: ]
I see that some folks her responded to the question “Who Killed Meredith Kercher” with “Amanda and Raffaele” only. No Rudy. How could that be? Do you think journalism had anything to do with that?

Lucas Wittmann:
We’re going to wrap this up in 10 minutes so please contribute any final questions now.

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
I think that the fact that Rudy’s trial was sewn up before Amanda and Raffaele’s began is the reason many people separate them in this crime. But Rudy was convicted for his role in the murder, not as a lone assailant. His judge’s reasoning clearly states that he felt Rudy acted in tandem with Amanda and Raffaele.

[Comment From mhm12121887: ]
What is happening now—in Italy?

[Comment From Noel: ]
How do you see the appeal going?

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
Right now lawyers for both Amanda and Raf are preparing their appeal briefs. Those will be filed within a few weeks and then the date will be set for the appeal hearing, likely in the fall.

[Comment From Kermit: ]
Hi Barbie. Your journalism has opened up transparency and debate from an Iron-Curtain situation of control in the American press. Where do you see each of the three convicted (pending appeal) murderers 10 and 20 years from now?

[Comment From stint: ]
Thanks so much for this opportunity, and again thanks for all your objective coverage in “Angel Face”.... great read.

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
I think that the appeal will result in a few years taken from the sentences of both Amanda and Raffaele.

[Comment From Guest: ]
hasn’t her real beauty complicated this hugely from day one?

[Comment From hattie: ]
Thank for an excellent book. I read it in one day, and it gave me a different side of the story. I hope that both pro- and anti-Amanda sides will take an opportunity to read this book.

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
I think that it is very likely that all three of the convicted murderers of Meredith Kercher will return home one day.

Lucas Wittmann:
Here is the link if you’d like to order the Angel Face e-book and paperback: http://bit.ly/chDjIX

[Comment From mhm12121887: ]
Thanks also for the book and for the “on the spot” reporting and objectivity

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
I think that Amanda’s beauty has increased the interest in this case, but I do not think that it dictated the outcome.

[Comment From Patty: ]
Thanks for answering questions Barbie.

Lucas Wittmann:
Down to our final question…

[Comment From somealibi: ]
(For the end) Compliments on the presentation and technology with the poll-type questions

[Comment From Patty: ]
Do you think any of them will ever confess?

[Comment From Guest: ]
You’ve been a real heroine in this case Barbie. Well done for your objective reporting.

Lucas Wittmann:
Thanks for answering the polls!

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
I think that one day we will have a confession, yes. But not while they are in prison.

Lucas Wittmann:
Wait…one more!

[Comment From Guest: ]
Can you give your reactions to the 2 op-ed pieces in the NYTimes (Seattle writere)?

[Comment From Guest Guest: ]
Can we have another session please????

Lucas Wittmann:
Re: another session. So many great comments and questions, we’ll keep it in mind.

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
I was in Perugia when those op-ed pieces came out and they were not helpful to Amanda. The prosecutor was angry, the jury members were insulted and Amanda’s own lawyers were not happy. Op-ed pieces are by nature controversial, but they should be weighed to see whether they will impact the topic. That sort of journalism likely had more impact on this case than what anyone wrote with a Perugia dateline.

Lucas Wittmann:
Thanks everyone for participating!
And thanks Barbie for answering all these great questions.

[Comment From ricardoricardo: ]
which ‘op-ed’ pieces > do you have a link ?

Lucas Wittmann:
Here is the link: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/10/an-innocent-abroad/

[Comment From Guest: ]
Cheers Barbie! Will raise a glass to you tonight…

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
Thank you. I want to also thank Andrea Vogt, of the Seattle P-I who was a voice of reason in Seattle during the trial based in Italy. The op-ed pieces are by Timothy Egan.

[Comment From Guest:]
Thank you. This is nice technology and nice pace. Could have been twice as long 😊

[Comment From somealibi: ]
Keep it going Barbie - thanks - we value an objective take

Lucas Wittmann:
Thanks again to everyone and we’ll definitely keep this in mind the next time.

[Comment From ricardo: ]
many thanks…

[Comment From Patty: ]
Thank you, and Andrea, for your coverage of the trial. Invaluable.

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
Thanks to everyone who sent question.

[Comment From Clander: ]
Ciao from Roma !! You ROCK Barbie !


The Daily Beast’s Online Poll: Clear Majority For All Three Having Been Involved

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger images]




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