Headsup: In “Talking To Strangers” Malcom Gladwell lied to his readers with an inaccurate and venomous attack on Italian justice that gives aid to the mafia. Below is the tenth of about a dozen posts providing the ACCURATE information Gladwell should have done. Series starts here.

Category: Media news

Thursday, March 11, 2010

CBS Producer of Most Biased Perugia-Case Reports Pleads Guilty To An Unrelated Crime

Posted by The Machine



CBS 48 Hours producer Joe Halderman plead not guilty just a few months ago to a blackmail attempt against a popular late-night comedian.

Yesterday, as the report above shows, Joe Halderman really changed his tune.

He now pleads guilty as charged - and he is apparently very relieved to be receiving only 4 to 6 months behind bars, a fine, and community service.

Slimy ethics at play. Not to mention criminal behavior, and a nasty intent to hurt others.

Unsurprising, really, that he worked for 48 Hours.

The CBS production team of Halderman, Longhini and Ely Hulse have tried very hard for two years to sell the American public on the fiction of an innocent Amercian girl being railroaded by corrupt and incompetent foreigners.

The CBS documentaries on Perugia have been exceptionally biased and xenophobic, worse even than those of ABC, highly one-sided, pandering to the Knox family, ignoring of Meredith as the real victim, and absolutely riddled with factual errors.

In particular the CBS team went to town on Prosecutor Mignini, having Doug Preston in his predictably shrill and cowardly manner rant on at great length about him.

This has all been documented here on TJMK.

CBS have never apologized for their anti-victim bias, or their sliming of Italy and the official participants, or their misrepresenting of even the most basic of facts. And now in an example of real poetic justice, one of their lead producers is a convicted criminal, and he has to spend 4 to 6 months behind bars.

We hope that Halderman reflects on his crimes against the trusting American public while inside, as well as his bizarre crime against a CBS colleague.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Oprah Gets Snowed: Why Was She Not Made Aware of The Race Card Being Played?

Posted by Peter Quennell





Previous posts on Oprah’s intervention here and here.

We will have a detailed takedown of the large number of disputable claims made today on Oprah Winfrey’s show posted here in a day or two. 

Meanwhile, we must say that it was a pretty weird experience to witness Oprah Winfrey, of all people, being taken in by the “of course the black guy did it” meme.

  • Is she aware that the poor black guy Rudy Guede has no prior convictions and that all three have had prior brushes with the police?

  • Is she aware that there is NO reliable evidence that the poor black guy Guede has ever done drug dealing or burglary in Perugia or for that matter wielded a knife?

  • Is she aware that there is no REMOTELY feasible scenario under which a lone wolf like the poor black guy Guede could have done this crime all alone?

  • Is she aware that there is EXTENSIVE evidence that Knox and Sollecito rearranged the crime scene and moved Meredith’s body - while the poor black guy Guede was reliably reported at a disco?

There seems to be a nasty race card deliberately being played here to deflect blame from Amanda (remember Patrick Lumumba?) which Oprah’s staff should have picked up on in a mere 15 minutes of research.

This was the REAL story here - that blaming it all on the black guy is a theory that just doesn’t fly - and Oprah should have been onto this one like a hungry dog onto a bone.

Hopefully next time she will be.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Oprah, Perhaps Your Guests On Today’s Show Could Explain This Very Tough One Away

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click here for Finn MacCools’ chilling analysis of Amanda Knox’s first call to her mom the day after.

Finn posted this incriminating piece of work on TJMK last July, and ever since, it has awkwardly lurked like an elephant in the room.

The prosecution never really required a smoking gun to prove the Knox-Sollecito case. To those in the courtroom who heard all the fine details, the totality of the evidence overwhelmingly pointed to guilt.

But for anyone for whom it hadn’t, this strange story of the call that suddenly wasn’t came as close as anything in the evidence to a smoking gun. One that Edda Mellas may have dropped to around two years ago, as Finn shows.

One that that in most courts around the world would almost by itself result in case closed.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 02/23 at 04:31 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The wider contextsMedia newsMore hoaxersComments here (7)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Oprah Winfrey, Please Discuss The Case With Jeanine Pirro, Anne Coulter, And Now Tina Brown

Posted by Peter Quennell





Next Tuesday [today] at 4:00 pm the influential American talk-show host Oprah Winfrey will weigh in at last on the case.

There is a growing history of high-profile American media personalities like Oprah being misled and thus misleading on the real strength of the evidence (and it is very strong.)

And then going publicly silent. Apparently more than once, behind the scenes, very angrily.

Unquestionably, Oprah Winfrey helped Barack Obama to get elected. She is very powerful. And the self-made billionaire is famous for getting very, very angry behind the scenes if given wrong facts or lied-to.

In fact Oprah is probably the last woman in America that anyone would want to lie to.

In the past few months both prominent American media personalities and entire American networks and publishing empires have got deeper into the hard evidence, and seen for themselves that justice in this case has been done.

These days, no media personality or media empire in the United States seems to want to be the last one standing in defense of a probable charming psychopath.

  • Larry King of CNN has not returned to the case since this fiasco.
  • Geraldo Rivera of Fox Cable has not returned to the case since this fiasco.
  • Jane Velez-Mitchell of CNN has not returned to the case since this fiasco.
  • The New York Times has reported very fairly since this fiasco.
  • CBS TV dropped its series of very biased reports after this fiasco.

Now Oprah is famous for being a voracious reader. And we know that her crack production team and possibly Oprah herself have been studying this website and our sister website the PMF forum.

There is a mountain of objective evidence on these two websites, and we will not be at all surprised if Oprah and her team get right on top of it and blow the faux defense right out of the studio.

Additionally, Oprah and her production team would do well to consider phoning Oprah’s fellow media stars Jeanine Pirro and Ann Coulter and now Tina Brown.  All three consider the case to be closed. And the verdict to be a perfectly fair one.

Knox killed Meredith quite horrifically. Knox was rightly found guilty. And without further ado, Knox should get on with serving her time.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 02/20 at 02:57 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The wider contextsMedia newsMore hoaxersComments here (10)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Formidable Tina Brown Speaks Out On Barbie Nadeau’s Forthcoming Book

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above and below: New York publisher and editor Tina Brown; click for larger images]

Someone you’d sure want to have in your corner if you have a good book to promote is New York’s colorful, driving Tina Brown.

A former editor first of Vanity Fair and then of the New Yorker, British-born Tina Brown launched the hustling Daily Beast news-site late last year. We get emails daily from the Beast on breaking news and, as a newspaper-blog hybrid, the Beast may have found the sweet spot that promises survival in this media day and age.

We believe that Tina personally sought out the Rome-based American journalist Barbie Nadeau to write a blog on Meredith’s case, and then Tina promoted the idea of a book - the Beast’s second book to be published, and one certain to be very high-profile. 

Here on MediaBistro’s Galleycat are Tina Brown’s first remarks about Barbie Nadeau’s book: Angel Face, The Real Story of Student Killer Amanda Knox

Q: What’s coming up next?

A: It’s called Angel Face by Barbie Nadeau. It’s about the true story of a student killer Amanda Knox. Nadeau was at every one of the sessions of the trial, so she covered it obsessively for the Daily Beast.

She gathered a huge following with us, and so we’ve given her the time and space to do a great 40,000 word narrative. She put the whole trial together into a really compelling narrative.

It’s terrific, I mean I couldn’t put it down; I was reading it this weekend.

Barbie Nadeau’s book on the student-killer Amanda Knox is due out early in April - the third book on Meredith’s case to hit the stores. The next three are expected to be Candace Dempsey’s polemic and then the cool factual studies by John Follain and Nina Burleigh.

Between now and the Knox-Sollecito appeal late this year, we expect to be posting first all of the judges’ sentencing report in English. The report is due out at the latest in a couple of weeks. And then many, many excerpts from the best of the books.

Those that see that, here, finally, true justice for Meredith really was done. 



Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Another Prominent US TV Commentator Sees The Evidence Pointing Pro-Guilt

Posted by Peter Quennell

Three highly influential women commentators in the US are now forcefully arguing pro-guilt on TV.

They are legal talk-show host Jeanine Pirro (video below), legal analyst Wendy Murphy, and now conservative political commentator Ann Coulter. All three proceed from a deep understanding of the hard evidence.

The bleach purchases mentioned here were never actually proven, though Knox was seen in the bleach area of the Conad supermarket early the day after (when she claimed to be asleep), and in both Knox’s and Sollecito’s apartments, bleach did appear to have been used. 

Otherwise, pretty good.

By the way, Ann Coulter’s new book “Guilty” that you see promoted on the video is not about Amanda Knox. It is actually about liberals being too soft on defendants. To ourselves the large and rapidly growing community of those pro-justice-for-Meredith and pro the verdict and sentence seems to cross all political boundaries.

We’d say the common factors here are strong logic, hard work in really getting into the evidence (a lazy Peter Van Sant obviously hasn’t), a reluctance to be snowed, and a deep humanity toward the real victim.

Meredith. In case the FOA campaign ever forget.


Wednesday, December 09, 2009

CNN’s Legal Analyst Lisa Bloom Nails Cantwell’s Ill-Informed Intervention

Posted by Peter Quennell

This is from Anderson Cooper’s nightly news show on CNN in the US.. Certainly it is one of the best.

Lisa Bloom appears at the 4 minute mark (and Barbie Nadeau after that) following Senator Cantwell’s various ill-informed charges. But in the space of less than a minute she really nails it.

Here Lisa Bloom stands up for truth, fairness to Italy, and compassion to the real victim. Meredith Kercher. .

 


Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Most Important Italian Paper Balks At The Attempts In US At Intimidation

Posted by Commissario Montalbano



[Above: The Corriere Della Sera building in Milan]

The Corriere Della Sera is the Italian equivalent of the New York Times and the London Times.

It wields huge influence throughout Italy and reflects the popular mood in its reporting. It does NOT like the campaign of vilification against the trial and its outcome. Here is a translation of today’s blast by Beppe Severgnini.

The do-it-yourself verdicts and that wrongful U.S.A. cheering

Many Americans criticize the ruling, but have never followed the case. Why do they do that?

Judicial nationalism and media justice, when put together, form a deadly cocktail. We also have Reader-patriots and journalist-judges ourselves, but what is happening in the United States after the conviction of Amanda Knox, is embarrassing. Therefore it is highly worth pondered upon.

American television, newspapers and websites are convinced that Amanda is innocent. Why? No one knows. Did they follow all of the trial? Did they evaluate the evidence? Did they hear the witnesses who, moreover, testified in Italian? Of course not! They just decided so: and that’s enough.

Like Lombroso’s*** proselytes: a girl that is so pretty, and what’s more, American, cannot possibly be guilty. No wonder Hillary Clinton is now interested in the case: she’s a politician, and cannot ignore the national mood.

There are, as I wrote at the beginning, two aspects of the issue. One is judicial nationalism, which is triggered when “a passport is more significant than an alibi” as noted in yesterday’s Corriere’s editorial by Guido Olimpio. The United States tend to always defend its citizens (Cermis tragedy, the killing of Calipari) and shows distrust of any foreign jurisdiction (hence the failure to ratify the International Criminal Court). In the case of Italy, at play are also the long almost biblical timespans of our justice, for which we’ve been repeatedly criticized at the European level.

But there is a second aspect, just as serious as the first: the media justice operation. Or better: a passion for the do-it-yourself trial. It’s not just in the United States that it happens, but these days it is precisely there that we must look, if we want to understand its methods and its consequences.

Timothy Egan - a New York Times columnist, based in Seattle, therefore from the same city of Amanda - writes that the ruling “has little to do with the evidence and a lot with the ancient Italian custom of saving face.” And then: “The verdict should have nothing to do with medieval superstitions, projections sexual fantasies, satanic fantasies or the honor of prosecuting magistrates. If you only apply the standard of law, the verdict would be obvious “. 

But obvious to whom? Egan ““ I’ll give it to him - knows the case. But he seems determined, like many fellow citizens, to find supporting evidence for a ruling that, in his head, has already been issued: Amanda is innocent. In June - the process was half-way - he had already written “An innocent abroad” (a title borrowed from Mark Twain, who perhaps would not have approved this use).

To be sure, among the 460 reader comments, many are full of reasonable doubt and dislike journalists who start from the conclusion and then try in every way to prove it.

I did not know if Amanda Knox was guilty. In fact, I did not know until Saturday, December 5, when a jury convicted her. I do have the habit of respecting court judgments, and then it does not take a law degree ““ which I happen to have, unlike Mr. Egan - to know how a Court of Assizes works.

It is inconceivable that the jurors in Perugia have decided to condemn a girl if they had any reasonable doubt. We accept the verdict, the American media does not. But turning a sentence into an opportunity to unleash dramatic nationalistic cheering and prejudice is not a good service to the cause of truth or to the understanding between peoples.

A public lynching, a witch hunt trial? I repeat: what do our American friends know? How much information do those who condemn Italy on the internet possess? How much have those who wrote to our Embassy in Washington, who accused the magistrates in Perugia, and who are ready to swear on Amanda’s innocence, studied this case for past two years?

Have they studied the evidence, assessed the experts’ testimony, or heard the witnesses of a trial that was much (too) long? No, I suppose. Why judge the judges, then?

They resent preventive detention? We don’t like it either, especially when prolonged (Amanda and Raffaele have spent two years in prison before the sentence). But it is part of our system: in special cases, the defendant must await trial while in jail.

What should we say, then, about the death penalty in America? We do not agree with it, but we accept that in the U.S. it is the law, supported by the majority of citizens. A criminal, no matter which passport he has in his pocket, if he commits a murder in Texas, knows what he risks.

Before closing, a final, obligatory point: I also did not like the anti-Amanda crusade in the British media, for the same reasons. The nationality of Meredith, the victim, does not justify such an attitude.

For once - can I say it? - We Italians have behaved the best. We waited for and now we respect the ruling, pending further appeal.

I wish we Italians behaved like that with all other high profile crimes in our country - from Garlasco’s case and on - instead of staging trials on television and spewing verdicts from our couch.

***Note: Cesare Lombroso, was a 19th century Italian criminologist who postulated that criminality was inherited, and that someone “born criminal”’ could be identified by physical defects.

[Below: the distinguished Italian columnist Beppe Severgnini of Corriere]


Sunday, December 06, 2009

The Amazing Person That Was Meredith Kercher #1: The Independent Focusses Nicely On Her

Posted by Peter Quennell





Not the American media, of course. At least, not yet.

For far too many of them this is still “the Amanda Knox Show”.  But two things are happing very fast now in the United States that look to be about to change all that

  • First, some very, very good lawyers are becoming emboldened to say that Amanda Knox was CORRECTLY convicted as a murderess.
  • Second, every media organization we know (they have been introducing themselves!) would give their eye-teeth for an hour just on Meredith.

In Italy they have already begun to bring Meredith into sharp and loving focus. And in London a really nice piece on Meredith appears today in The Independent

It is by David Randall and Victoria Richards.

Amid the madness of what will always be known as the Knox trial in Perugia, with its slow-motion melodramas, its posturings and the evidence that grew ever more contested and grotesque, there was always one thing that remained unchanged.

That face. Meredith’s ““ the joyful student captured in a split second on Facebook, her happiness one moment in October 2007, made all the more horribly innocent because we know what was to happen to her just a few days later.
Related articles

For us, those features will eventually fade from memory. But, for her family, that face ““ and the spirit and life of the girl who inhabited it ““ will never grow old as it should have done.

And yesterday, as her family gave a press conference in the basement of a city hotel, that pain was brought sickeningly home.

Father John, mother Arline, brothers John Jr and Lyle, and sister Stephanie sat in a line at a table and spoke, as they have always done ““ with restraint and a gracious dignity ““ of the loss they will ever bear.

There was no triumph in their reaction to the conviction late Friday night of Amanda Knox, 22, and Raffaele Sollecito, 25, for the murder of their daughter and sister. As Lyle said, it was not a time for a celebration.

Instead they showed a magnanimous sense of sadness that two young people would now be spending a quarter of a century or more behind bars.

Mrs Kercher quietly reminded her family that a third young person had also met the same fate ““ 22-year-old Rudy Guede, who was convicted of the murder and sexual violence last October and jailed for 30 years.

Lyle even referred to his sister’s killer [by] using the word “gentleman”.

Meredith’s brother John said: “Mez still leaves a big hole in our lives. Her presence is missed every time we meet up as a family. She is very much still a part our lives. People often associated Mez with a tragic event, but we would prefer not to remember her that way. We would like to concentrate on the 21 good years we had with her.”

And they were good years.

Brought up in Coulsdon, Surrey, on the edge of the North Downs, she was a bright, conscientious child who later attended the prestigious Old Palace School for Girls in Croydon.

Shahleena Raza, 25, a homeopathy student who went to school with Meredith and Stephanie, remembers the special bond the sisters had. “I used to ring Steph and they sounded identical,” she said.

“Mez would answer and she was always really sweet and chatty. I remember going to their house and her older brothers cooked us all lunch. They made a big deal out of it and it was really special. Mez and Steph shared everything ““ there was such warmth between them, no bickering like you usually get between sisters.”

She read, wrote poetry and stories, took ballet, gymnastics and karate classes, worked at Gatwick airport to save for her studies, ran the Race for Life to raise money for cancer research.

She was “always laughing”, and, according to her brother’s eulogy at her funeral, always 20 minutes late. “You could set your watch by her,” he said.

And friends could rely on her. One, identified only as “Yondie” from south London, thanked Meredith in an online tribute to her for letting her stay at her house when times were “difficult”.

She went to Leeds University, and, from there, in her third year, to Perugia for a year’s study, arriving in the autumn of 2007.

That late October, she went to a Halloween party, and one of her closest friends, Helen Power, 22, was with her. She said: “You only had to meet her once to be struck by her beauty, quick wit and her infectious smile.”

It was a time of year Meredith had always loved. Her father said: “As a youngster she would make a costume from bin liners, put candles in the pumpkins with faces, tie them to sticks and then we would visit neighbours.”

Close to both parents, Meredith called the day after the Halloween party to tell him she loved him. “I was in the bank and we spoke for two minutes,” he said. It was the last time they would.

Not long afterwards, he heard a British student had been murdered in Perugia. He rang Meredith a dozen or more times. There was no reply. After an hour, he called a newspaper. Two hours later, they called him back with the name of the victim.

It was Meredith. That was how he found out.

In June, her mother told the court: “Her death was unbelievable, unreal. In many ways it still is. I still look for her. It’s not just her death but it’s the nature of it, the brutality of it, the violence of it and the great sorrow it’s brought everyone. We will never, never get over it.”

Posted by Peter Quennell on 12/06 at 03:00 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Concerning MeredithHer memoryNews media & moviesMedia newsComments here (4)

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The Summations: Sollecito’s Defense As His Home Town Media Outlet Described It

Posted by Tiziano


Giovinazzo Live is a media outlet in Raffael Sollecito’s home town just to the north of Bari in the south-east of Italy.

Below here is a translation of their report on Ms Bongiorno’s remarks yesterday. Ms Bongiorno, Raffael Sollecito, his father, and his sister are seen in the images above and below.

A Probing Address by Raffaele Sollecito’s lawyer

By Gianluca Battista

There was a bit of everything in the defence address by Giulia Bongiorno, well-known criminologist, part of the defence team for Raffaele Sollecito, from Calmandrei to Socrates, and passing by Sergio Endrigo.

Yesterday before the court of the Assizes in Perugia, one of the most noted female lawyers in Italy took the stand in the first-stage trial which sees her client and Amanda Knox accused of the murder of the English student, Meredith Kercher.

“In this trial Raffaele Sollecito seems to be a silent “little attachment” of Amanda and one doesn’t really understand what use he is,” Bongiorno attacked. “In this trial nothing is made known about him.  His motive is not known.  Amanda is seen as the witch (sorceress), but Raffaele?”

“According to the lawyer for the information sciences engineer from Giovinazzo, who also quoted a song by Sergio Endrigo, the prosecution reconstruction is devoid of elements which are essential to support it.”

For the Sicilian lawyer, “(It is) a murder trial without a motive, a trial which leaves one stupefied.“The lawyer recalls that on the morning of November 2nd it was Rafaele Sollecito himself who alerted the Carabinieri.“It’s a surprising idea - Bongiorno said - that an assassin should call the Carabinieri and say: come and get me, I’m at the crime scene.  Raffaele called the Carabinieri and together with Amanda awaited their arrival sitting on the steps in front of the crime house.”

Then there were many references to the other co-accused of the crime, Amanda, depicted by many as a perverse spirit. But for Bongiorno “Amanda Knox is the “Amelie from Seattle, she looks at people with the eyes of a little girl, fizzing with energy and has a spontaneous and rash attitude to life.”

The defender of the young man from Giovinazzo thus recalled the protagonist of the film “The Fabulous World of Amelie” with whom her friends compared the American girl.  The same video which Knox and Sollecito claimed to have seen in the hours while Meredith Kercher was being killed.

Then an important reference to the statements made by Knox during the questioning at police headquarters, the same which led to the arrest of the innocent Patrick Lumumba.  “Amanda was denied the right of staying silent,” she stressed.

Bongiorno then recalled that Knox, at the time barely twenty, had just arrived in Italy, did not speak Italian and did not know the laws.“Does it seem so strange - she asked, referring to the police interrogations - that she fell into despair, put into statements things which were not true and then did not have the courage to change them?  You must decode Amanda.”

The lawyer then said that Knox has been described as a female “Jack the Ripper”.  “But to me - she commented - it is difficult to think of her in this way.  I see her in the way Amanda’s friends do, that is,  she looks at the world through Amelie’s eyes.”

As for the marking of Meredith’s bra with the prints of Raffaele, collected 46 days later by the investigators, Bongiorno has no doubts: “It should have been discarded from the outset,” she thundered.“Either the prosecution explains how it was moved - she added - or you must have the courage to consign it to the rubbish bin.  A just verdict could be contaminated by a fastener collected in this way.”





Germany’s Der Spiegel Posts An Analysis Of The Case

Posted by Peter Quennell


Please click above for Der Spiegel’s analysis in German

The case is being followed closely in Germany. Many Germans take vacations in Italy and they know the country well, and of course Rudy Guede was arrested there. Reporting is good, and TJMK see a number of hits daily from Germany.

With thanks to Has-Georg for the heads-up..

Posted by Peter Quennell on 12/01 at 03:49 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Appeals 2009-2015Hellmann 2011+News media & moviesMedia newsComments here (0)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Italians Have For A Long Time Known How Depraved And Cruel The Final Struggle Was

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters




An Exceptionally Vicious Attack

As you can see in the prosecutors’ scenario posted below, we did not translate and post quite everything.

Meredith’s final 15-minute death-struggle is not there.

Back in January of this year the Micheli Report described in great detail Meredith’s autopsy, the wounds on her body, and the horrific state of her room.

Click here for the rest


Monday, November 16, 2009

The Actual State Of Play: The Status Now And What Is Coming Up

Posted by Michael



[above: Meredith’s family gets briefed on the proceedings and prospects last June]

The excellent pro-Meredith LA7 documentary that Nicky reported on below would have moved many Italians.

But, apart from some of the claims from Seattle, it is unlikely to have given them many surprises.

Those in Italy have often been able to watch the court proceedings directly, Amanda Knox’s seemingly misconceived stint on the stand included, and the Italian newspapers and networks have done a pretty exemplary job of the reporting. Those there who follow the case will have a highly informed and very accurate understanding of what the evidence points to - that it pretty well overwhelmingly points to the notion that the right defendants have been tried and the case against them is strong.

For non-Italians, though, arriving at a good take on the case has been very much tougher. UK and US followers have had to rely on far fewer media sources, and the biased ones have often drowned out the few good. Be it due to inherent prejudice within certain national media, jingoism, financial opportunism, a simple desire to sensationalize or turn what should be hard news into entertainment, language and cultural barriers, or sheer laziness, the reporting on this case has fallen very far short of the “duty” of the media to inform.

To make matters worse, the media have been affected by third-party influences. Most notably, the ostensibly pro-Amanda-Knox campaign has tended to muddy the waters with aggressive anti-Italy, anti-prosecutor and anti-investigator propaganda, and some highly peculiar takes on the real facts. The US media in particular has gone out of its way to provide them with a willing platform, and it has too often relied on the campaign for main information on the case.

It seems a sad day for the media and for truth in general when the public is left to rely largely on the families and representatives of the accused for their information. As Commissario Montalbano points out below, the PR campaign and the slanted reporting will actually have zero influence on the court. And we hear from the inside that it is likely to have zero influence on the US government, and in particular the State Department (the foreign office). But it certainly has left in its wake a pool of angry and confused people who think Italy is up to something nefarious. 

So, what is realistically the state of play for the accused, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito? How strong is the case against them, what is the verdict in early December likely to be, and what are the prospects for appeal?

Bear in mind first that the elements of the case of the prosecution had jumped a large number of judicial hurdles on the way to trial for which there is no equivalent in the US and UK systems. Judge after judge after judge reviewed the emerging case, and Judge Micheli showed how formidable it was when he committed Knox and Sollecito to trial in October 2008

And the prosecution seems to have presented at trial a very robust case against the accused, within a very compelling overall framework, comprised of behavioral, witness, forensic, and circumstantial testimony, and self-incriminating testimony of the accused. The real strength of the case lies in the whole damning picture when all the elements are drawn together.

A defense explanation can be attempted for any one piece of evidence taken in isolation, and sometimes such pieces do seem weak. But when they are all brought together, the whole seems too much, too large a wall for any defense team to break down. A regular poster on the case summed it up with this metaphor. Imagine the case against the accused being a swimming pool. Now in that pool there are no sharks - but there are many dozens of piranha fish. They will strip you to the bone far faster and more effectively then any shark. This seems in essence what the response of the defenses now faces.

Convictions and sentences for both defendants early in December do seem to be more or less assured. 

So what does a well-informed and fair-minded native Italian who really understands the Italian legal system think of the chances of acquittal for the accused? Our frequent commenter Yummi, who writes from Italy, was asked about the prospects for a guilty verdict, and the likelihood of a prosecution appeal in the case of an acquittal. Yummi had this to say:

A trial in the Italian justice is an event in which the most important part is played by the written sentence (so called “sentence report”). The prosecution would give up the appeal only if the written motivations appear to them obviously unassailable, so to make it easy to predict a second failure. But in all other cases appeals by the prosecution are frequent, sometimes even on guilty verdicts. In this case an appeal by the prosecution would be real and almost certain in case of acquittal.

But it is extremely unlikely that AK and RS are found innocent in the first instance. Not because there is any proof 100% good, any single piece of evidence alone won’t be able to produce a guilty verdict, but even if the pieces of circumstantial evidence are not a decisive proof taken one by one, they are too many, and too systematic. There is practically no way to come out from such a web of physical indicators, the defendants are implicated.

Yummi is not alone in this view. Most tellingly, Amanda Knox and her family are said to have been warned by her Italian lawyers, Luciano Ghirga and Carlo Della Vedova,  to expect a guilty verdict. And Knox’s family are now more than ever talking about an eventual appeal in the US media. These are remarks by the mother of Amanda Knox. 

There’s been many people that have told us that’s not how it works. Just because you’re innocent, you’re not found innocent, at least…  at this first level, and that normally true justice doesn’t happen until the appeals process.

By ‘“first level” Edda Mellas means the current trial. In effect, she seems to believe that, in the Italian process, almost everyone is found guilty in the main trial, and the real business and the acquitting is done in the appeal. This happy talk about the appeal has been quite common from the Knox camp of late. This suggests that the supporters of Knox and Sollecito are expecting a guilty verdict and are now hanging all their hopes on that appeal.

Is it in fact correct that the appeals court is where the real business is done? In effect that it is almost automatic that Knox and Sollecito would be found guilty in the trial, and that then it’s almost a done deal that they will be freed on appeal?

First, it must be noted that we’ve heard similar happy talk before. Leading up to and during the early stages of the trial, the line was that Amanda will prove her innocence in the trial itself, most especially by getting up on the stand. That clearly hasn’t worked out that way, and as the trial is almost at an end, the supporters are turning their attention instead to characterizing the appeal process.

What is the reality of the appeal process? This is how our Italian watcher Yummi describes it:

Appeals are usually very similar to first degree trials in their overall figure. Basically it depends on what are the aims and strategies of parties in the appeal. If the outcome in the first degree is obvious, most likely it will be obvious in the appeal. Many appeals in Italy don’t take place just to overturn the first degree - i.e. the fact that a defendant is guilty often is not questioned - often they are made just to introduce minor corrections to the first sentence.

So what do the actual appeals statistics say? The statics on the success rates of appeals in Italy are in fact not good news for those convicted. 

  • 70% of appeal cases end with the confirmation of the original verdict: 25% of these with a confirmation of the sentence at the original trial, and 45% with a reduction in the penalty.
  • The other 30% of appeals cases end with 10% of them lapsing due to expiration, 8% for NDP procedural reasons and only 12% overturning the verdict.

So the reality is that only a mere 12% of all appeals result in the overturning of a guilty verdict. This seems very out of step with what Edda Mellas has been claiming. The facts of the matter in this case seem to be that (1) the returning of a guilty verdict at the end of the trial is very high, and that (2) there is a negligible chance of that guilty verdict being overturned on appeal.

The reality therefore is that things are not looking at all good for the defendants, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.

And even worse, because there are three appeals, one each, they may really tear apart from one another now and on appeal go their different ways - as, seemingly, will Rudy Guede.

We are now coming to the end of what has been a very long sad tough process indeed, most of all for the family and friends of Meredith Kercher. I can only hope, that whatever the outcome, they are given the truth and repentance they seek. And that they finally are able to find some closure and truly lay their daughter to rest in peace.

The Kercher family on the second sad anniversary of Meredith’s death a few days ago expressed their heartfelt desire that eventually, finally, soon, they and the world can stop remembering Meredith as a victim and news item, and instead as a whole person - the truly wonderful person that she was.

It is my reading here that we will reach that point early in December of this year, in that Perugia courtroom.

Posted by Michael on 11/16 at 03:41 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Trials 2008 & 2009News media & moviesGreat reportingMedia newsComments here (10)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Producer Of CBS Reports On The Case “Crazy, Desperate, Stupid, And/Or Unscrupulous” ?

Posted by The Machine



[click for larger image] 

Meet Joe Halderman. A CBS producer in New York. He now stands accused of blackmail.

None of the four US networks that have attempted coverage of Meredith’s case has a good record for impartial reporting, or anything remotely like a firm grasp of the prosecution evidence as actually presented.

Not one of them seems to be aware of the very careful pre-trial process or the very damning Micheli report. 

Nevertheless, the overall records of NBC, ABC and CNN seem to show some slight attempt at balance.

NBC produced two extremely good Dateline documentaries, which still represent the standard to beat. ABC has a reporter in the court in Perugia, Ann Wise, who we often quote on TJMK because her reporting is generally impartial and good.

And although CNN aired the one-sided Larry King Show last week, and the wild-eyed Jane Velez Mitchel panel discussion (now disappeared from YouTube) in which the lunatics appeared to be running the asylum, CNN did have some good reporting in the early days of the case, and we hear they will attempt to report better.

CBS undeniably is the worst of the worst.

CBS has repeatedly spread bias and misinformation and slimed Italian professionals and witnesses, and for that matter Italy itself, throughout the past two years.

Here is our post on one disaster of a CBS report. And here,  here,  here,  and here are our posts on another.

Joe Halderman of CBS (above) co-produced both of them.

Several weeks ago, Joe Halderman was arrested and charged with blackmail for apparently attempting to stiff CBS comedy host David Letterman for two million dollars.

Mr Halderman, a producer for the real-life crime show 48 Hours, entered his plea as he appeared in court in Manhattan on a charge of attempted grand larceny.

Speaking earlier, Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau said that the offence, if proven, was punishable by a prison term of five to 15 years. “Our concern here is extortion and that’s what we’re focusing on,” he said.

Mr Halderman was arrested following an undercover police “sting” operation at a New York hotel, during which he was allegedly recorded setting out his blackmail demands to Letterman’s lawyer.

Now it is being reported in New York that Joe Halderman’s story is taking a really bizarre turn.

One of the last 48 Hours stories that CBS Newsman and accused David Letterman blackmailer Joe Halderman worked on - airing just one month before he allegedly launched his plot to extort the late-night host - involved a ransom scheme…

It’s a run-of-the-mill true-crime tale of murder and deception, but it features one detail that seems strange in retrospect: The sister of one of the victims, who never got her brother’s remains from the Philippines after his murder, at one point received creepy anonymous e-mails from someone claiming to have her brother’s ashes, and offering to sell them to her….

The strange thing is, in the story Halderman reported, the ransom scheme goes haywire: The man behind the e-mail ends up attracting attention to himself and gets arrested for Rios’ murder….

We came across the weird synchronicity between Halderman’s day job and his after-hours scheming while going through his old 48 Hours segments and looking for signs that they may have been produced by someone crazy, desperate, stupid, and/or unscrupulous enough to engage in blackmail.

Hmmm. Apparently Joe Halderman is crazy, desperate, stupid, and/or unscrupulous enough to mislead a large segment of the American population about the real facts of Meredith’s murder.

Real crime seems a small step from there. 

Three others who Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau might also want to keep a close eye on are CBS junior producer Sara Ely Hulse, CBS reporter Peter Van Sant, and CBS consultant detective Paul Ciolino!

All have shown themselves extremely ignorant of the basic facts of the case.

Email exchanges with the obviously obsessively pro-Knox producer Sara Ely Hulse have suggested to us that, among many other key facts of the case, she was not aware of the following:

  • Amanda Knox had a criminal record in Seattle.
  • Amanda Knox had met Rudy Guede on a number of occasions.
  • Amanda Knox was not questioned for 14 hours without an interpreter.
  • A woman’s bloody shoeprint in Knox’s size was found on a pillow in Meredith’s room.

The seemingly extremely amateurish detective Paul Ciolino was responsible for conducting the farcical experiment in Perugia in the first CBS documentary linked-to above where he could not even get the STREET right before claiming this was a railroad job from hell.

And reporter Peter Van Sant channeled some of the worst libels about Prosecutor Mignini - baseless claims about satanic sects and so on - without even being able to spell Prosecutor Mignini’s name properly!

It seems to us very odd that both Sara Ely Hulse and Paul Ciolino appear to be members of the Free Amanda Knox Facebook group. Does CBS have any guidelines at all on ethical matters or standards of reporting?

On second thoughts…. Do we REALLY have to ask?



Above: CBS reporter Peter Van Sant who repeated online unfounded libelous smears about Prosecutor Mignini



Above: Junior CBS producer Sara Ely Hulse, an obsessed Knox fan who participated in CBS’s two fiascos.



Above: CBS consultant Paul Ciolino who ran a farcical test in Perugia and also slimed prosecutor and police



Above: Indecisive CBS producer Doug Longhini who with Joe Halderman produced CBS’s two fiascos


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Justice V Jingoism: UK’s Sky News Tells Us They Are Seeing Hypocrisy

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for the report.

Sky News (controlled from NYC when last we looked! by Rupert Murdoch, above, on Sixth Avenue) says what a lot of Europeans are thinking.

A lot of New Yorkers too. A mean-spirited and dishonest PR campaign and a lazy dishonest media have colluded for far too long on this case.  And on too many similar examples.

It is quite different in the US when it comes to foreign treatment of one of their own citizens.

Amanda “˜Foxy’ Knoxy, is the young American woman now on trial in Italy for the murder of the British student Meredith Kercher.

I was astonished to see her whole family, parents and children, invited on [ABC’s] Good Morning America and treated with cloying sympathy for all the world as if they were victims of a miscarriage of justice.

Sky News and the other Murdoch vehicles (the London Times, for example) have been among the MOST dispassionate about the case and among the MOST compassionate about Meredith.

Good on you, Rupert. For this, we salute you.


Friday, July 31, 2009

Prosecutor Mignini Describes What Actually Happened At The Session With Knox Ending 5:45 AM

Posted by Peter Quennell


Linda Byron is an investigative reporter for a TV station in Seattle.

Her investigative exclusives seem almost exclusively to consist of long and unchecked quotes from the FOA camp together with two or three spaniel-eyed questions.

Which then become yet another shrill report on Seattle TV about what those dastardly Italians are doing to poor Knox. A typical report of hers can be seen here (try later if they are still hiding it).

These are a few of the facts of the case that Linda Byron seems NOT to have mastered.

  • That the Italian process of justice is actually very fair and very cautious, is tilted much more to the defense than in the UK and US, and requires prosecutors to jump through a number of hoops before they ever get their case to trial.

  • That a judge in Perugia last January issued an impressive 106-page report which explains in great detail why he decided Guede was guilty and why a great deal of evidence suggests that Knox and Sollecito might be too.

  • That there are TWO senior and respected prosecutors on this case, not just one, that the victim’s family has expressed full confidence in them, and that neither prosecutor has ever made any claims about a satanic motive here.

  • That the prosecution has just presented a formidable case with the help of Italy’s equivalent of the FBI and Scotland Yard, and the defenses seem to be gaining little traction in bringing it down or offering alternatives

  • That almost every prosecutor in Italy runs into administrative charges at some time in their career, they are so easy to file, and the charges against Mr Mignini always did look politically motivated and frivolous and likely soon to evaporate.

  • That the sliming of Mr Mignini has not been a success, that the FOA campaign in Italy has not been a success, and that Amanda Knox on the stand doesn’t seem to have been much of a success either.

And that above all there is a REAL victim here at the heart of this sad crime, known by the name of Meredith Kercher. And that her poor family is suffering for real here -  though of course many miles away from Linda Byron.

So. Instead of good journalism at long last in her latest report, what does Linda Byron have to offer?

No surprises here. Yet more of the sliming of Mr Mignini (this is an acrobat version).

“There are many parallels between the Monster of Florence case and the Knox case, I mean there are shocking parallels,” said American crime writer Doug Preston.

Preston says Mignini believes the monster was no lone psychopath, but part of a satanic sect. He suggested an eerily similar motive for Kercher’s murder, which took place on November 1, 2007.

“Which is right before the Italian day of the dead, and that this was some kind of satanic ritualistic ceremony that they were engaged in. That they killed Meredith Kercher as part of this satanic ceremony,” said Preston….

“He decides right up front with almost no evidence based on his gut feeling or intuition that you’re guilty and then sets out to prove it,” said Preston.

Actually, there seem to be no parallels whatsoever between the Florence and Perugia cases. For example Amanda Knox was interrogated only for two rather short periods - and Mr Mignini was not even present at the first of them.

And Mr Mignini was quite tangential to the Monster of Florence case. He was actually investigating a drowning to the west of Perugia. And when Preston and his partner interfered in Mr Mignini’s case in a particularly harebrained manner, a sharp response was inevitable.

Linda Byron invited Mr Mignini to provide a response to the heated claims in her piece. Either the response was completely over her head, or she did understand it and tried to bury it - it is ONLY only available in Italian, via a link, with a second link to Yahoo’s awful cut-and-paste translator.

Here now is Mr Mignini’s entire response put into good English, not by Yahoo, but by two of our own excellent native-Italian speakers.


Dear Ms Byron,

I hope we will be able to meet and discuss sometime in person, since some of the issues you have examined, specifically the Florentine proceedings against myself and Dr Giuttari, are way too complex to be described in just a few words. I will try to give a short answer here.

To begin with, there is no relationship between the events that are the subject of Spezi’s and Preston’s book and the murder of young Ms Kercher beside the fact that I am the one person dealing with both the Narducci proceedings (connected to the Monster of Florence case) and the Meredith Kercher murder.

These two are totally different events, as well as wholly unrelated to each other, and I am not able to see any type of analogy.

Furthermore, while the precautionary custody order for Spezi has been voided by the Tribunale del Riesame of Perugia, exclusively on the grounds of insufficient elements of proof, the precautionary custody order for Knox was firmly confirmed not only by the Tribunal of Riesame in Perugia,, but above all by the Sixth Section of the Court of Cassazione, which has declared the matter decided and closed.

About the “sacrificial rite” issue, I have never stated that Meredith Kercher was the victim of a “sacrificial rite”.

It should be sufficient to read the charges to understand that the three defendants have been accused of having killed Ms Kercher in the course of activities of a sexual nature, which are notoriously very different from a “sacrificial rite”.

The Monster of Florence investigations have been led by the Florentine magistrates Adolfo Izzo, Silvia della Monica, Pierluigi Vigna, Paolo Canessa and some others.

I have never served in Florence. I have led investigations related to the case since October 2001, but only with regard to the death of Dr Francesco Narducci, and just a superficial knowledge of those proceedings [Dr Narducci drowned or was drowned] would suffice to realize that I never spoke of a “sacrificial rite” which in this case doesn’t make any good sense.

About the defense lawyer issue.  Mr. Preston was heard as a person claiming information about the facts (in effect a witness), but after indications of some circumstances against him surfaced, the interview was suspended, since at that point he should have been assisted by an attorney, and since according to the law the specific crime hypothesis required the proceedings to be suspended until a ruling on them was handed down.

All I did was to apply the Italian law to the proceedings. I really cannot understand any problem.

In the usual way, Knox was first heard by the police as a witness, but when some essential elements of her involvement with the murder surfaced, the police suspended the interview, according to Article 63 of the penal proceedings code.

But Knox then decided to render spontaneous declarations, that I took up without any further questioning, which is entirely lawful. According to Article 374 of the penal proceedings code, suspects must be assisted by a lawyer only during a formal interrogation, and when being notified of alleged crimes and questioned by a prosecutor or judge, not when they intend to render unsolicited declarations.

Since I didn’t do anything other than to apply the Italian law applicable to both matters, I am unable to understand the objections and reservations which you are talking about.

Secondly, I have told you that explaining the nature of the accusations against me is a complex job.

In short, it has been alleged that I have favored Dr Giuttari’s position, who was investigated together with two of his collaborators for a (non-existent) political forgery of a tape recording transcription of a conversation between Dr Giuttari and Dr Canessa.

The latter was giving vent to his feelings, telling Dr Giuttari that the head prosecutor in Florence (at the time) was not a free man in relation to his handling of the Monster investigations.

A technical advisor from the prosecutor’s office in Genoa had tried to attribute that sentence to Dr Giuttari, without having previously obtained a sound test from him, only from Dr Canessa.

I decided, rightly and properly, to perform another technical test on that tape for my trial (I have a copy of it, and the original transcripts of the recording).

I had the technical test performed by the Head of the Sound Task Force of the RIS Carabinieri in Rome, Captain Claudio Ciampini.

If Giuttari had lied, Captain Ciampini would have certainly said so. But his conclusions from the analysis were that that sentence had been pronounced by Dr Canessa. And by the way, this is clearly audible.

I then deemed it appropriate to interrogate the technical adviser from Genoa, in the sphere of the investigations led by me, since the people under investigation were thoroughly but inexplicably aware of the development of the investigation of Dr Giuttari.

The technical advisor from Genoa had made some absolutely non-credible declarations, and I had to investigate him.

The GUP from Genoa, Dr Roberto Fenizia, by means of a non-contested verdict on 9 November 2006, acquitted Dr Giuttari and his collaborators, because the alleged crimes had never occurred.

Therefore, I am accused for doing a proper and due investigation, without even the consideration that I have spared some innocent people from a sentence. I leave any further evaluation up to you.

As for the phone tappings, they had been fully authorized or validated by the GIP. [Those charges are now thrown out.] Explain to me how they can be considered wrongful. I haven’t been able to understand this yet.

This is the story of that case in short, and I am certain the truth will prevail.

None of us is guaranteed not to be subjected to unjust trials, especially when sensitive and “inconvenient” investigations have been conducted.

When accusations are serious and heavy in Italy, a magistrate that has been investigated or charged suffers heavy consequences.

There are appropriate bodies in charge to intervene according to the current laws, but the Florentine penal proceeding so far hasn’t affected me at all, perhaps because everybody ““ and specifically those professionally working on the matter - have realized that such penal proceedings have been anomalous, to use a euphemism.

As to my possibility to appeal any conviction, the Italian law provides for it, and I don’t need to say more.

I will make some closing remarks on the different jurisdictions.

Indeed there are differences between the [UK and US] common law jurisdictions and those of continental Europe, including the Italian one, which like any other jurisdiction has its flaws but also its merits, of which I “˜m becoming more aware as I carry on.

Furthermore, both jurisdictions are expressions of the juridical culture of the Western world, and this is something that shouldn’t be disregarded.

I don’t think I need to add anything else, except that these issues would need to be discussed in a personal conversation in order to delve further into the matter.

Sincerely

Giuliano Mignini

No wonder Linda Byron seemed to want to bury this letter. Does anybody now not think that the charges against Mr Mignini are quite ludicrous?  Preston’s and the Florence prosecutor’s both? 

Mr Mignini seems to be suggesting to Linda Byron to hop on a plane to Italy and to try getting her facts straight once and for all. Don’t hold your breath waiting for that one.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

National Public Radio Joins The Fair And Objective Wing Of The US Media Coverage

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for the report.

This audio report from Barbie Nadeau on PBS may have reached the widest US audience on the case ever.

The program that included it is listened-to by an audience that can be in the many millions. It is broadcast late in the afternoon, when people are either commuting in their cars or at home preparing the dinner.

Talk radio is pretty big in the US as so many people have to spend hours in their cars. Meredith’s case seems a natural for more radio commentary.

We hope that it is the fair and objective wing that predominates.

Main-media reporting on the trial on Saturdays consists of one report from each reporter present quite late in the day Perugia time. We will be posting the best of it then.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 06/20 at 12:21 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Trials 2008 & 2009News media & moviesMedia newsComments here (0)

Time Weekly Joins The Fair And Objective Wing Of The US Media Coverage

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for the report.

The reporter on this short but fair piece on the case is Nina Burleigh. She may also do a book on the case at the request of her publishers.

We mentioned Nina Burleigh and her book here.

And we’re pleased she is in the fair and objective wing.  For a crazy contrast, you might want to check out CBS.

Or, of course, maybe not….

Posted by Peter Quennell on 06/20 at 11:00 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Trials 2008 & 2009News media & moviesMedia newsComments here (2)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Prominent Political Commentator Takes Strong Exception To American Reporting

Posted by Peter Quennell


Clicka above for the report.

There is a political angle here. The fiery and controversial right-wing broadcaster and writer Ann Coulter regularly takes potshots at the more-liberal New York Times.

But her takes on the case and the problems the Knox PR campaign and the biased component of the media (which is most of it) are creating are definitely well-informed.

Her reference to the Duke lacrosse case is of course satirical. The New York Times took a notoriously wrong position on that case, and stuck with it to the end.

Friends in Italy, please note?

Ann Coulter is THE most prominent and influential American commentator so far on this case. She is much more prominent than CNN’s Jane Velez-Mitchell.

Her column is syndicated in about 500 American newspapers. And she is on TV here every night.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 06/18 at 03:16 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in News media & moviesMedia newsThe wider contextsComments here (10)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Website-Only Seattle PI May Be Going To Make It

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for media commentator Peter Kafka’s analysis.

The Seattle PI website still carries some of the best US reporting from Perugia on the case, by Rome-based Andrea Vogt. 

The home-based reporting, blogging and editorials have been rather more of a mixed bag.

Kafka thinks that the Seattle PI’s owner Hearst’s figures dont quite add up yet, but he would like to see things work out.

If the Seattle PI pulls it off, other US papers may follow this route.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/19 at 05:13 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in News media & moviesMedia newsThe wider contextsSeattle contextComments here (3)

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