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Category: Seattle context

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Emmy Nomination For CBS Producer For Xenophobic And Wildly Inaccurate Reports On Meredith’s Case

Posted by Peter Quennell



Former CBS producer Joe Halderman is now in prison (see above) for a failed blackmail attempt. We posted on this here  and here.

Perhaps a worse crime was the ill-researched, highly biased, and ludicrously inaccurate reports on Meredith’s case he produced for CBS TV. We posted on those CBS reports here,  here,  here, and here, and most especially here with Kermit’s Powerpoint disection of the vesy first report.

Now, unbelievably, Mr Halderman has been nominated for an Emmy award for “the best continuing coverage of a news story”.

Right now there are over 100 stories on Google News about this Emmy nomination. NOT ONE remarks that the reporting was flatout wrong.  The CBS reporting was of course contradicted by the guilty verdict last December, and HIGHLY contradicted by the Massei sentencing report.

Way to go, Emmy nomination committee. You sure didn’t get THIS one right.


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Judge Heavey’s Open Letter To Italy With False Accusations Might Be Seen As Obstruction Of Justice

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters





Our post of three weeks ago on how Michael Heavey is accused of breaking his oath of office.

Here now is Michael Heavey’s response.  Good luck with this one. One of our lawyers said it reads to him as if one of Amanda Knox’s sisters had actually written it.

In his open letter to Italy (included in this document) Michael Heavey appeared to disrespect the competence and motivations of a huge number of people in the justice system. As it was on official letterhead, he appeared to be writing officially. And he put out in the public arena many “facts” that were simply not accurate.

Our lawyers on the team indicate that the standard practice if a judge has something to say about a case that is not his own is to (1) write privately (2) on his own letterhead and (3) make quite certain to get NONE of the facts wrong.

Otherwise there is the possibility of serious interference in a case before the courts - of the obstruction of justice rather than its furthering. In this case, of justice for Meredith.

No American - not one, in the course of the past two and a half years - seems to have so mis-characterized the evidence TO ITALY. Or so impugned the motives and competence of the Italian police and Italian judicial authorities TO ITALY.

That post we just linked to was written back then of course. Subsequently, both the Micheli and Massei sentencing reports have been released. They show even more dramatically just how off-target the judge’s attempted interference really was.

Perhaps we might see him apologizing to Meredith’s family, for seeking to deny their justice. Nice if the discipline panel makes this a requirement.


Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Prominent Seattle Knox PR Puppet Michael Heavey Might Be About To Take A Fall

Posted by Peter Quennell




Michael Heavey was the Washington State judge who wrote several letters riddled with innuendo and wrong claims to judicial authorities in Italy in the second half of 2008.

These letters were ignored in Italy, and Michael Heavey soon piped down and disappeared. Then he wrote a further letter in August 2009 to the highest officials which was again riddled with innuendo and wrong claims.

Now he is back in the limelight for writing that second letter. In Seattle a complaint has been lodged, about the illegal use of his office to give a misleading aura to his letter.

1) This was our post at the end of 2008 when Judge Heavey first tried to interfere in the Italian judicial process on behalf of Amanda Knox. We pointed out just some of the things that Heavey had managed to get wrong.

2) This is the second open letter of August 2009 to the top officials in Italy (which was then ignored). .

3) This is the complaint lodged by the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct about his allegedly appearing to interfere “officially” which is a contravention of the oath of office, and so pretty serious.

4) This was the report on the complaint against Judge Heavey in the Seattle Times.

The Washington Commission on Judicial Conduct has filed a complaint against King County Superior Court Judge Michael Heavey, alleging he violated the state’s Code of Judicial Conduct for his support of Amanda Knox, who was convicted of killing her British roommate in Italy.

The alleged violations include writing letters on official court stationery to Italian judicial system officials on behalf of Knox, utilizing King County court staff to type the letters, and speaking publicly on the case “in an attempt to influence the proceeding,” according to the commission.

Judges may not, under the Code of Judicial Conduct, lend the prestige of judicial office to advance the private interests of others, the commission notes.

According to the commission, Heavey is required to file an answer with the commission within 21 days, unless the time is extended by the commission. Once the commission receives the judge’s response it will set up a public hearing on the allegations….

The 11-member commission is an independent agency created under the state Constitution to assure the integrity and independence of the judiciary. Members are appointed by the governor, judicial associations and the Washington State Bar Association.

This has to be rather chilling for other Knox PR puppets, if any, considering whether they too should interfere.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Seattle Parks Commissioner Who Angered Perugia Resigns - Amid Plenty Of Anger In Seattle

Posted by Peter Quennell


So the controversial Seattle parks commissioner Tim Gallagher bites the dust.

He seems to have shot himself in, well, three feet.

  • He espoused a clearcut-and-rebuild policy (video above) when Seattelites are increasingly seeing the natural beauty of their city as a resource

  • He made an expensive trip to Australia to look at some parks just when Seattle’s park system is financially tanking - very likely because of his style of management.

  • He was very quick to blink and put a heavy-handed stop to the naming of a small city park “Perugia Park” when Seattle’s (very small) anti-Perugia faction howled.

Mr Gallagher’s last action was widely noted in Perugia (Seatle’s twin city), the Mayor of Perugia made an angry statement, and a Facebook-based movement was created, to lobby to end the twin-city arrangement.

Comments about his short reign as parks commissioner on the West Seattle Blog (scroll down) seem almost uniformly negative.

The Mayor and many others he irritated in Perugia might be pleased to take note…

Posted by Peter Quennell on 04/29 at 03:30 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in The wider contextsSeattle contextN America contextComments here (0)

Thursday, March 04, 2010

La Repubblica’s Riccardo Stagliano Reports On The Seattle End of The Case (2)

Posted by The 411



This below is a translation of this excellent report by La Repubblica’s Riccardo Stagliano which was widely watched on Italian television.

Like the article below it also follows the typical mould of Italian reporting on Seattle - polite but seemingly doubting of the FOA claims about Amanda and the case.

AMANDA KNOX SPONTANEOUS STATEMENT: “In these days, I’ve reflected a lot about what I’ve wanted to say and what came into my mind. I wrote a question that maybe still puzzled a lot of people.”

ITALIAN ANNOUNCER VOICE-OVER: But it was the entire Meredith Kercher murder story that leaves many people puzzled in spite of the triple first-degree conviction of Rudy Guede, Raffaele Sollecito, and Amanda Knox.

We went to Seattle to try to see if we could enter into the world of the American 20-something girl - angel for her family, devil according to the judges.”

The obligatory first stop is the office of David Marriott, spin doctor these past two years, who has handled media relations for the family. You can’t enter into the inner circle of the girl without passing by him first.

The first interviews are with the mother and father, separated [i.e., divorced] for 20 years.

CURT: “Amanda is a person who’s always been extremely real. As her parents, it wasn’t always pleasant to hear what was said. But, she wasn’t able to hide the truth. She’s someone who takes care of others, honest, as a study habit she has an intellectual approach to things.”

“With Raff, they met for the first time at a classical music concert. They went out for about a week, before Meredith was found dead. In such a brief period, you don’t transform a beginning relationship in to [the type of] scenario made up by the judges. You don’t go from zero to an orgy. It doesn’t happen in nature…. It’s not started out in an orgy manner.”

EDDA: “Amanda and Meredith were friends. She only said good things about her. They spent their time together, going to bookstores, or hanging out around town, reading and discussing books. Everyone will say that Amanda is a type of person who couldn’t hurt a fly. She couldn’t even do aggressive sports, because she doesn’t like violence. She’s affectionate with the elderly and children. She’s a kind human being.”

“The only direct contact we have now is 10 minutes every Saturday morning, in which we all try to tell her we love her and we all say “hi” quickly because there’s such little time. And then there are the letters. She’s written a lot of them to us, and we try to do the same.”

VOICE OVER: An important turning point for Amanda’s life was high school - attended at Seattle Prep, a Jesuit school attended by all the offspring of the upper middle class, which, later, would mobilize for The Cause.

We met Kris Johnson, her Literature teacher for two years, who let us see in the classroom where she taught, a letter, in very childish handwriting, that she sent from prison.

KRIS JOHNSON: “Amanda was an enthusiastic student who loved to learn..It really affected her. She sent me a lot of emails after class. She was simply excited by learning. She was fascinated by characters and people because she wanted to become a writer….as if she wanted to train for it, continuously.  It is not at all possible that the person I knew in class could even THINK of the things that the media has portrayed.”

VOICE OVER: Before coming to Italy, Amanda studied at Washington University and she lived near campus. There she met and became friends with Madison Paxton, the official friend, the only one Marriot lets journalists come close to.

MADISON: “One of the reasons that we became such good friends is that we had opposite views of life and people. She’s a very trusting person, while I’m not. In the end, we balanced out each other.”

“As for her man-eater reputation, when she came to college, she had less romantic experience than the average student. In high school, she hardly went out with anyone, and in college, she had a total of two boyfriends.”

VOICE OVER: Not all of Seattle, however, is so united in their outraged defense of their famous fellow citizen. Among the despised critics of the family is Peggy Ganong, a doctoral student in French at the University, who moderates the forum “Perugia Murder File” where information is gathered about leading stories on the case.

PEGGY: “One of the things that aroused my suspicions was that the family issued a press release the day after the arrest. I found it strange- and interesting. And then I discovered that a Public Relations firm was recruited to manage the Amanda image - a firm known to use techniques, I don’t want to say unethical, but let’s say unconventional,  in order to reach their objective.”

“I think that the incredibly one-sided coverage of the case in the American media is the result of this massive PR activity that cost more than a million dollars. What Marriott and the family have done was to say from the moment that the tabloids demonized Amanda, we’ve painted her as an angel. That’s why they’ve constructed an image of a typical American girl, which is probably just as false as the demonized image of her, which the tabloids have perpetuated.”

VOICE OVER: Ms. Ganong is not the only one to think that way, and to say it publicly. Among the skeptics, there’s Charles Mudede who’s in charge of the cultural pages of “The Stranger,’ a popular weekly newspaper…. We meet him at the Quarter Lounge, near his workplace.

CHARLES: “She didn’t grow up as the classic American girl. She played soccer, which isn’t a national sport here. In fact, it’s fairly non-traditional. And then, yoga, which speaks of a Far Eastern influence, rather than of praying.”

“You might expect from a classic American girl that she’d be very focused on the Christian side [of things]  “”she on the other hand did a mixture of different things, typical of the liberal cosmopolitan girls of Seattle.”

PEGGY: “The reason why many of our well-known local people have mobilized in her defense, organizing fund-raising dinners, putting together groups of people on her behalf all goes back to Seattle Prep.”

“People who pay $13,000 a year to send their children to high school so they can prepare them to go to the best colleges do not want to see the value of that investment go down, as a result of that type of scandal. Seattle Prep was the school where Judge Mike Heavey’s daughter went, [a girl] who was quite friendly with Amanda. As were the children of Tom Wright.  I believe worrying about saving the good name of the school is a good part of the [motivation behind the] ‘Innocentisti Movement’ in Seattle.

“Although it’s important that these influential people on her side have made a big splash, they don’t really represent the entire city.”

VOICE OVER: Anne Bremner, former prosecutor and current TV legal commentator is the spokeswoman for the Friends of Amanda, a site where counter-information regarding trial facts is continually updated.

ANNE: “An injustice in any part of the world is an injustice in all of the world.  I personally felt it was important to lend a hand, to expose the absolute lack of evidence. In other words, someone who has absolutely nothing to do with this horrendous crime. What has happened since the verdict? Nothing, except to increase the passion, that much more. We will never, ever abandon Amanda.”

SUBTITLES OF STATE DEPARTMENT PRESS CONFERENCE - A REPORTER ASKS: “Today Senator Cantwell spoke of contaminated evidence”¦ of unsequestered jurors and a questionable prosecutor”¦ additionally, we’ve seen jurors wearing tri-colored sashes”¦ and there was anger in the Italian press and all this indicates that there hasn’t been a fair trial”¦and all of you in the State Department claim the opposite”¦”

VOICE OVER: In the meantime, they continue their tireless lobbying activity, recruiting the most varied of advocates. Senator Maria Cantwell has expressed such serious doubts about the judicial system, that Anti-Americanism contaminated the case, also making Hillary Clinton more aware of the case.

Fortunately, she [Hillary] was too busy dealing with Afghanistan and Iran to offer an opinion on the matter. [There are] even VIPs, like Donald Trump, who proposed a boycott of Italy, until the girl comes home.

SUBTITLE OF STATE DEPARTMENT PRESS CONFERENCE: “Italy has its own justice system, different than our own.”

VOICEOVER: No one remembers one detail—that at least Italy doesn’t have the Death Penalty.

Nor does anyone seem to remember the many cases when America made great efforts to collaborate with Italian judges, including such times as [after] the Disaster of Cermes, and the [after] the killing of Agent Nicola Calferi by [American] soldier Mario Lozano.


Tuesday, March 02, 2010

La Repubblica’s Riccardo Stagliano Reports On The Seattle End of The Case

Posted by Nicki



[click for larger image]

La Repubblica’s cool and objective reporter Riccardo Staglione visited Seattle recently to meet all the parties, and he filed this balanced and unequivocating report.

Seattle, In The World Of Amanda

By Riccardo Stagliano

Seattle. The fabulous world of Amanda Knox is a catalog of goodwill skits. Amanda, whose worst fault is to trust everyone. Amanda, so sincere as to become self-damaging. More about Amanda, comforting a lonely child and pampering her old zen master. All she wants to do is work and study more and more. She finds love at a classical music concert, not at a Black Sabbath rave.

Such a mirrored biography tends to become dazzling, to the point that it seems to have been rinsed in Photoshop. Only the end doesn’t add up. A retroactive, corny and sanctifying portrait to the point that one finds it natural to look for the scriptwriter’s signature. But the end doesn’t add up.

She has been convicted of murdering someone of her same age, stabbed in the house that they shared . A devilish tail springing out of her angelic body. As if the first part of the movie had been directed by Federico Moccia [an Italian writer and movie maker specialized in corny, sentimental plots] and the second part by Dario Argento [Italian horror movies director].

At the beginning of March, the first degree judges [judges for 2009 trial] will explain in the motivations of their sentence why they believe that this 20 year old from Seattle who went to Perugia for a student exchange is guilty. The Court of Appeal judgment will confirm or deny.

Here we ‘ll talk about the environment where the girl was born and grew up, and why in her city and starting from the same premises, some people have reached opposite conclusions about her, and how this event has put the US and Italy up against each other.

This low intensity war started in newspapers. With a scandalized Timothy Egan asking on the New York Times “In which century are we? Haven’t Jeanne d’Arc, the Inquisition and witch hunts taught a couple of things to civilized nations relatively to sexual hysteria with devilish nuances?”. Needless to say [according to Egan] we are the uncivilized hysterics.

Next it was the VIP’s turn, such as tycoon Donald Trump, who has recently proposed a boycott of Italy until the girl will be freed. And politicians such as Senator Marie Cantwell, who has expressed “serious doubts on the Italian judiciary system and the circumstance of anti-americanism that may have contaminated the process” and who has tried to involved Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, luckily too busy with Afghanistan and Iran to look into it.

This is the climate and it is the second thing to be noted upon arrival in this city after the scenographic skyscraper Space Needle: the direction of the reconstruction of this nasty story, very professional and entrusted to a proven spin doctor, whose fees according to local sources are about $ 100,000 a year. David Marriott is the journalists tamer that has been managing the family’s relations with the press for two years.

His first question is if one has spoken with anyone else and if so who they are. His black list has grown long with time. In order to finish up on this list, it’s enough not to go with the official tales, or to raise doubts or point out inconsistencies.

In his posh PR offices even the paintings speak eloquently. On a poster from the 40’s a soldier warns against the risks of espionage : “Someone has talked”. There, it’s important that only authorized people speak, and that they have been instructed about what to say.

The first to arrive in the meeting room is Kurt Knox, relaxed in his black leather jacket. After about 10 minutes Edda Mellas rushes in, breathless.

Mom and Dad, separated for 20 years, seem to only have in common the white plastic bracelets claiming “free Amanda”. And some key words that we’ll hear from the mouths of the other witnesses carefully selected by the PR people. “Amanda? Her main characteristic is to always say the truth, even when it is not convenient” they say, first the father and then the mother, his eyes dry, her eyes shedding tears. It’s the woman giving more details about how Amanda cannot simply restrain from commenting if she didn’t like a dress or a hair cut , how she is not capable to say those white lies that make life easier. A problem for a shrewd manipulator such as she has been described.

In the same way, how could she be a knife wielding murderer, she who is “incapable of violence?”. She didn’t even enroll in the kickboxing course that all her friends were attending, her mother recalls. ” If she found a spider in the house what would she do?” her father asks, with the expression of one who is holding a royal flush. “Well, Amanda would never squash one”.

The third quality of Amanda that is once again discussed is her being booksmart, more comfortable with books that with real life. Is such a girl capable of killing someone? Absolutely not.


Parents are clearly doing their job, a tough job nowdays, and that deserve respect. They meet only on Saturday mornings, just for the 10 minutes weekly call from the prison. Then, they stick to the defense line agreed upon with the communication strategist, and they are very careful and ready to bite their tongue when there’s something to say about Giuliano Mignini who has already sued them for some declarations believed to be slanderous

They are emotionally and financially devastated, says Kris Johnson, who taught Amanda English at Seattle Prep, the exclusive Jesuit high school which costs about $ 20,000 a year. She is number one on Marriot’s approved list. In the tiny cafe near the school where they serve cappuccino in cups as big as soup bowls she pulls out an envelope sent from the Capanne prison and sealed with a drawing of a laughing heart.

“Do you see the handwriting? How could do someone with such a handwriting harm anybody?” . In the two pages the ex student reasons with melancholy about the grey colors of winter she sees during her daily two hours outside her cell, with many more spelling errors than what one would expect from an honor student, as she has been depicted.

But the teacher tells me instead about the boldness of some Italian males when in 1972 in Florence they were proposing her to become their umpteenth lover. It’s not a casual memory and she explains: “Italian men have strange ideas about American females”. She is thinking about the jurors, the prosecutor, the public opinion that are all seeing a witch instead of the sensitive youngster that she knows. “She reads a lot of books, she thinks a lot. She could only attend one course but she was following two. She was writing me emails to comment on the classes. It was a pleasure to teach her”

The fourth word that she introduces is the adjective that Amanda university mates will use: “trusting”, even too much. Madison Paxton is the kosher friend, the one that the careful Marriot casting has approved. I met her at the Cafe on Ave, a couple of blocks from campus, very close to the dorms where she met Amanda in 2005.

“The main difference between us, what was really fascinating is I was very wary, she was the opposite.” An attitude that during the year and a half they were socializing was never a problem. This petite photography student, with honey colored hair and wearing dark shades, seem not to possess an ounce of malice. She would seem the ideal character witness, one everybody could believe. She tells of when Amanda was waiting outside the darkroom because she was afraid to return home alone at night. She is laughing thinking about Amanda as a man eater, she only dated a couple of boys when she was in college “actually a number below the average “.

And if the Italian public have remarked how she didn’t seem contrite during the trial, it’s only because they don’t know “the girls from the North West, they are raised not to cry in public and to behave like guys”. In a letter from jail, Amanda wrote to her not to despair: “even if I’ll be locked in here until I am 46, I’ll still have a big chunk of life ahead” .

If she’ll be freed earlier, one who is ready to hire her right away is Rick Kirsten. She worked for this art gallery owner for two months. but he’s betting on her qualities, as if he has known her forever. “I put an ad, I had 31 applications and I chose her. She used to finish her work in half the time and she would ask for more. And she knew how to deal with people”. His favorite episode-that Amanda’s parents recommended he tell me is about a 8-10 years old girl that seemed to be lost in the crowd at the gallery.

“I was getting ready to go to take care of her, but a client stopped me, and Amanda was there already and the child was happily laughing.” Not to speak of Amanda’s kindness to his father, a 90 years old painter and zen meditative that was often at the gallery

The beatification front is coherent and uniform. If the tabloids, especially the British ones. depicted during the first months after the murder the image of a heartless, shrewd and bad girl, the Foxy Knoxy from MySpace, then the American counteroffensive is aiming at an immaculate picture. Amanda Santa Subito (Amanda Saint Now).

One who definitely doesn’t tolerate it, breaking the city chain of solidarity is Peggy Ganong, a doctoral student in French at the university, a translator who has lived for 20 years in Paris, she is the spoiler who has taken up the task to dismantle the “consensus machine” on her internet forum perugiamurderfile.org.  “I don’t know if the girl is guilty I only know that this rabid activity of image management to bleach her reputation is not convincing, actually, it is suspicious”

[Amanda’s] family - that between airplanes, lawyers, press offices appears to have spent more than $ 1,000 000, and claims it is deep in debts - is only partially responsible for the operation, as several local potentates whose path have crossed Amanda’s in the classrooms of the Jesuit high school have taken action to defend the future possible convict. It seems that Amanda was very fond of the daughter of judge Michael Heavy. He was the first one to write an outraged letter to the Italian magistrates and to inspire the group Friends of Amanda, together with Tom Wright, a tycoon with interests in the movies industry whose children were at Seattle Prep.

“In order to defend the reputation of an institution that prepares the local ruling class” Ganong explains, “they have organized fund raisers to pay some of the costs necessary to sell the image of the typical naive American girl which, regardless of how things went, it’s totally false”.

“We are not in Wisconsin, Kansas, Georgia nor in any other puritan area of the US. The middle class here is liberal, open, cosmopolitan…. Amanda was practicing yoga, she played soccer and was studying abroad. Not really typically American, but rather a Seattle behavior”, Charles Mudede from the weekly magazine the Stranger explains: “But it was more convenient to present her like a standard girl because this would have triggered national solidarity and the suspicion derived from the ignorance that America nurtures towards everything situated outside its border”.

Thus also subduing diffidence toward that other foreign land, adolescence, that for the average American is the dungeon of evil. Mudede is not ideologically a colpevolista, he has been to Perugia, followed the case and objects to the patriotic critics against the Italian judiciary system: “They had Lumumba, a black from Congo and Amanda, a white American. If they wanted a murderer at any cost, which of the two was the easiest target?


The FOA don’t see it this way. Their spokeperson Anne Bremner, a sort of super-blond and sharpened Crudelia Demon that was a prosecutor and TV commentator, cites Martin Luther King: “An injustice in any place is a threat to justice everywhere else”. She claims that with such scarce evidence nobody would have been found guilty anywhere else in the world. She promises that they won’t stop, they will get to the White House.

Meanwhile, they keep recruiting witnesses that describe us [Italians] as the savages of jurisprudence. But have these people who are pointing their sharp little fingers ever heard of the Cermis deaths [details here], and of the US marine Lozano who killed Nicola Calipari [details here] just to name a couple of cases of “lack of judiciary collaboration between Washington and Rome”?

If there is something besides our national health service about which we do not feel inferiority complexes towards the USA it is our justice, slow, at times fallible, but at least without the death penalty. Amanda knows it and in fact she writes to her friend Madison that in the worst case she will be out by the time she is 40. Her lawyers know it too, and so do the spin doctors who hope to shake the fragile probatory evidence on appeal. For her the outcome is still to be determined.

The one for whom is definitely closed is Meredith Kercher, in this grim drama the least quoted protagonist by the Seattle guarantists.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Extreme Tastelessness Being Decried Of Knox Comedy Fundraiser In Seattle Tonight

Posted by Peter Quennell


Great to see Spokane lawyer Bill Edelblute speaking out for justice, taste and common sense once again.

Here Mr Edelblute comments in

today’s Examiner on tonight’s very widely-criticised laugh-in about Meredith’s death.

Murder a laughing matter for Seattle, comedy fundraiser for Amanda Knox January 27th

Apparently help is not on the way from Senator Maria Cantwell or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton fast enough.

Or, Amanda Knox’s fans would not be holding a comedy fundraiser at the “Comedy Underground” in her hometown of Seattle tomorrow night, January 27th.  Believe it or not, but that is what is reported by KING 5 News of Seattle.  And see the ad posted by Comedy Underground for the event “starring SUSAN JONES, GEOFF LOTT,BILLY WAYNE DAVIS plus Xung Lam, John Gardner & Renee Perrault.”  Lott publicly calls women four letter obscenities.

Renee Perrault is a comedienne who used to work with Curt Knox, the convicted murder’s father.  She helped with a baby shower when Mr. Knox and his wife, now Edda Mellas,  were expecting Amanda.  (And, now, a “murder shower?”)

At $50 a head, Perrault hopes to raise $10,000 for Amanda’s appeal fund.  Though Perrault says there will be no jokes about the murder, it seems a strange mix.  It would seem difficult to not visualize the demise of Meredith Kercher while attending a fundraiser for legal fees arising from charges for that incident.  If that doesn’t suppress the laugh reflex, something is wrong no matter what you think about the trial result so far.  Perrault’s sense of humor seems a little off, in parallel with Knox’s seemingly inappropriate smiling during the trial.

Featured “comedian” Geoff Lott calls women four letter obscenities

But wait, it gets worse.  Geoff Lott, another performer slated for the event, has a blogspot in which he responds to critics of the appropriateness of the performance.  He says maybe they should get “physical” instead of just “textual” and ” maybe your arguments begin to hold the amount of water your fat dumb asses do.”  And this classy, professional, Knox supporter says ” if you get in my face about doing what I choose to that in no way effects, disrespects, or discredits you, then you better stay off my shoes, c*nt.” 

While this last word, even in abbreviated form is extremely offensive, in order to report on the nature of the performers for this event, it was deemed necessary, as you probably would have never dreamed of it.  To anyone planning to take any impressionable young people, then it should serve as a warning.  He in “no way ... disrespects” you, just calls you a filthy name, degrading to females?

Please, America, and the world, do not judge all of Seattle or Washington by this.


Friday, January 08, 2010

A Month Has Passed And Senator Cantwell Still Hasn’t Answered Constituents’ Hard Questions

Posted by Highly-Concerned Washington-State Voters


On December 9, 2009 five well-informed constituents of US Senator Marie Cantwell sent her an Open Letter.

It asked some questions about the reasoning behind her December 4th press release on the verdict in Meredith’s case.

The public release of this letter to Maria Cantwell garnered international attention, and it was quoted-from in various stories and reports published in Europe..

On December 10, a Cantwell Senate-office staff member in Washington DC, John Diamond, provided the one and only direct response to inquiries about it.

Mr Diamond claimed “Our staff has checked every possible in-box and not turned up the letter. We get lots of mail and email sent through to us every day, so I don’t know what the problem was. We now have your letter so it’s a mute point. We will get back to you.”

Rather bizarrely, on December 11th, Mr. Diamond then forwarded to the authors of the Open Letter a Knox/Mellas Family Press Release. It was issued by the paid Seattle PR man David Marriott, and Ms Cantwell’s office seemed to be endorsing it.

The release stated among other things, “We would like to publicly thank Senator Maria Cantwell for her support of Amanda, support of the family, and her continued work on our behalf.” 

No other response has ever been received by the authors of that Open Letter, other than one auto-reply email from Mr. Diamond saying, “I will be out of the office through Labor Day.” (Labor Day is the first Monday in September, then a full nine months away.)

On December 15th the Seattle PI’s Andrea Vogt in her story “The debate continues over Knox’s guilt”  reported that instead of repeating the harsh complaints of her press release, Cantwell’s spokesperson Katharine Lister was now saying this:

“Senator Cantwell believes that Amanda Knox deserved a fair trial, and now deserves a fair appeal by an impartial tribunal; all in keeping with the Council of Europe and the European Union’s treaties to which Italy has long been a signatory. While she certainly understands that the legal system and practice in Italy is different than in the U.S., she believes it is the responsibility of the U.S. government to press for fair treatment for any U.S. citizen facing legal jeopardy overseas. She will continue to press to ensure that Amanda gets a fair appeal, by an impartial tribunal.”

On December 24, 2009 the following new inquiry was sent to Senator Cantwell, reiterating the concerns of the original letter and a desire for a response from Senator Cantwell, and repeating the request to meet with Senator Cantwell herself or a senior member of her staff. 

To this letter Senator Cantwell’s Seattle area constituents are still awaiting her reply more than two weeks later.

Dear Senator Cantwell:

Last December we submitted an Open Letter and had some contact with John Diamond regarding your press release concerning the Amanda Knox guilty verdict in Italy for the murder of Meredith Kercher.  We have yet to receive a response other than an email from Mr. Diamond simply forwarding a press release from the Knox/Mellas Family. Five of your Seattle area constituents authored that Open Letter to question the reasoning behind statements made in your press release.

We did not feel as though we were well represented by that press release and are still awaiting a response to the issues we raised, including a request to meet with your Chief of Staff.  Now that the holiday break is upon us I think it’s a great time to revisit these issues since we haven’t seen any additional press releases from your office and are left wondering if the situation has progressed or if you have adjusted your position on the issue of the Amanda Knox guilty verdict in light of ongoing events and news coverage.

As a recap, here are the key points from your press release and a few of our questions regarding the rationale behind your points:

1. “I have serious questions about the Italian justice system and whether anti-Americanism tainted this trial.”

If you are requesting a full briefing on the principles of Italian justice it seems that there are far better places to ask than in what might be construed as a xenophobic press release. To our eye, you seem to be suggesting that anti-Americanism in Italy is a serious ongoing problem and I am wondering what evidence you have to support this perception and, specifically, how it would apply to the Amanda Knox (American) and Raffaele Sollecito (Italian) murder trial.

2. “The prosecution did not present enough evidence for an impartial jury to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that Ms. Knox was guilty.”

How can you justify making such a statement?  You seem to be indicating here that you were following the case quite closely, but elsewhere you indicate that you weren’t.  Do you state this as an opinion or as a fact?  I am concerned because Curt Knox and Edda Mellas have been charged with defamation by the Italians for making similar unfounded accusations against the Italian justice system.

3.“Italian jurors were not sequestered and were allowed to view highly negative news coverage about Ms. Knox.”

What special knowledge do you have to make an informed critique of the Italian justice system? Our impression, having closely followed of the murder trial for Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, was that the jury behaved honorably and was somewhat restrained and lenient in issuing their ruling. We expect to find some justification for this impression in the lengthy and detailed summary of findings that the court will issue within 90 days of the ruling.

Regarding press coverage, our personal observation is that the media battle waged by the Knox family and David Marriott was, in fact, very effective in highlighting the concerns of the Knox family in outlets around the world, to the extreme point that whatever Curt Knox and Edda Mellas have to say about the murder case is reported verbatim, without question or verification.  We also believe that media coverage during the lengthy trial itself focused heavily on the prospect of an “innocent” Amanda Knox and the weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case.

4.“Other flaws in the Italian justice system on display in this case included the harsh treatment of Ms. Knox following her arrest; negligent handling of evidence by investigators; and pending charges of misconduct against one of the prosecutors stemming from another murder trial.”

What specific systemic flaws are you referring to here, and in comparison to what system?  We’re wondering what your specific recommendations would be to the Italian Foreign Minister and where you will find the time to research and author them. 

While we’ve seen the claims of harsh treatment and abuse in the media we are unable to verify any of these allegations.  We have noticed, however, that Amanda Knox has been charged with and investigated for making false allegations, and convicted in the instance of accusations made against her former employer Patrick Lumumba. Can you clearly detail any specific incident of harsh treatment Amanda Knox received, either before or following her arrest? 

Can you provide specific examples of the negligent handling of evidence that clearly compromised Amanda Knox’s right to a fair trial? We have followed this case closely from the beginning and while certain investigative elements could have been better handled we are not aware of anything suggesting that the Italians are fundamentally incapable of properly documenting and evaluating a crime scene, or conducting a fully “fair trial” for that matter.

In addition, we would appreciate a detailed description of your understanding of the alleged charges against prosecutor Giuliano Mignini and the relevant connection you are trying to make between that legal proceeding and the Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito murder trial.

In regards to Amanda Knox, Mignini was one of two prosecutors in a case that involved the coordination of a variety of completely separate entities in Italian law enforcement and legal systems.  According to our understanding of Italian legal processes, the charge against Mignini relating to the other murder trial case seems somewhat routine, rather insignificant, and could very well be dismissed later this month.

5.“I will be conveying my concerns to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.”

What was Secretary Clinton’s response to you?  It has been our understanding that the US State Department and US Embassy in Rome have been following this case from the beginning, have visited Amanda Knox in prison, and have attended court sessions.

We’re wondering what compelled you to insert yourself so publicly into an international situation when your press release gives the strong indication that you were not fully briefed before issuing it and appear to know very little about what has actually been going on with the case.

In the sole interest of providing you with our valid and informed perspective, we remain very interested in meeting with you and/or your Chief of Staff to discuss these issues in detail and share the facts as we understand them.  As your concerned constituents, please us know if this will soon be possible.

[signed by five constituents in the original]


Wednesday, December 09, 2009

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

Posted by Highly-Concerned Washington-State Voters


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

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

And for the rights of the true victim.

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

Dear Senator Cantwell

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

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

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

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

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

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

This should assuage some of your concerns.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tuesday, December 08, 2009

US Overreaction: State Department (Foreign Office) Rebuts Senator Cantwell’s Claims

Posted by Peter Quennell


If Senator Cantwell or her staff come by looking for something to convince them fast please read this.

The same people who set the hapless John Q Kelly up (he has never been heard from again since that post) seem to have set Senator Cantwell up too.

Now Agence France-Presse (AFP) reports that her precipitate involvement in the case seems to be hitting a brick wall.

WASHINGTON, USA - The US government said Monday it had no signs that a court in Italy failed to follow the country’s laws when it found American Amanda Knox guilty of the murder of her British housemate.

However, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will discuss the verdict with Senator Maria Cantwell, who said it raises ‘serious questions’ about the Italian justice system, Clinton’s spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters.

‘I don’t have any indications to the contrary,’ Kelly said when asked if Knox was treated fairly under Italian law. ‘We haven’t received any indications necessarily that Italian law was not followed.’

He added: ‘I do know that our embassy in Rome was very closely involved in this. They visited Amanda Knox. They have monitored the trial.’

Kelly said he preferred to limit comment as the legal process continues, recalling that Knox has the right to appeal in 45 days.


US Overreaction: Meredith’s Mother Regards Cantwell’s Grandstanding As Ill-Informed

Posted by Peter Quennell


This was just reported by Tom Wells in tomorrow’s The Sun

The mum of murdered Meredith Kercher yesterday blasted killer Amanda Knox’s supporters for enlisting Hillary Clinton in her appeal battle….

Ms Cantwell suggested the 22-year-old did not get a fair trial and expressed worries over possible “anti-American” bias in the Italian court. Mrs Clinton, wife of former US President Bill, has now vowed to meet with “anyone who has a concern”.

But Meredith’s mum Arline yesterday insisted Knox’s hearing WAS fair - and said she did not sense any anti-American feeling in the Perugia court.

Mrs Kercher, 64, said at her family’s home in Coulsdon, Surrey: “We are still getting over the sentencing. The whole thing has gone in a blur.

“Having them say they are looking to lodge an appeal was tough enough - and now this. I just do not know where they are going by getting people in high places involved.

“I was in no way aware of anti-American feeling. It was just a normal court. Everything seemed to be done fairly. It seems a bit desperate, but the Italian justice system should be the ones to answer whether it was fair or not.

“We were not exactly given special treatment. I can’t see there was this anti-American thing.”...


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

LA7 TV’s Documentary On Meredith’s Case #2 The American Segments

Posted by Nicki

Below: One of many good images of Seattle which included some specially taken from the air

Below: The home of the Knox family where Curt Knox and daughter Deanna were interviewed

Below: Curt Knox being interviewed and showing four childhood photographs of Amanda Knox

These are childhood images of Amanda. The FOAK is quite independent of our family. They concentrate on analysing the case and raising money for us. They are nothing to do with the family! The Kerchers lost their daughter, but we can still hope to get ours back.

Below: One of the childhood photographs shown of Amanda Knox, seen here playing a guitar

Below: Amanda Knox’s sister Deanna Knox being interviewed in the garden of her father’s home

Below: Segment with part of a YouTube video showing Amanda Knox aopparently a bit drunk

Below: A Seattle street with crowd; many lively crowd scenes here and in the UK were included

Below: First of four students at University of Washington; only one strongly believed Knox is innocent

Everything is possible. It’s always a possibility - you have to study her personalty in depth and the eventual psychological motivations which could have led her to commit the murder. It’s the only thing I can say. I don’t know whether she took part in the crime.

Below: Second of four students at University of Washington; only one strongly believed Knox is innocent

The story changed so many times that I think she is guilty.  She changed versions several times.  I’ve stopped following the story because the media try to take away attention from it and then go back to make the interest in it rise again. But I think that she is guilty.

Below: Third of four students at University of Washington; only one strongly believed Knox is innocent

I knew her, yes, we were at high school together at Seattle Prep. [Q: And you were in the same class?] Yes, in the same class. [Q: And what do you remember?] She was very nice - a nice person, I didn’t know her very well ...  I could never have imagined that she could be involved in such a thing.  It’s a tragedy because I believe she didn’t commit the murder. I follow the trial and it’s sad because for me, she seems innocent.  I don’t really believe that she committed the murder.

Below: Fourth of four students at University of Washington; only one strongly believed Knox is innocent

I don’t know - I haven’t any idea. I think that this case has been manipulated too much by the media.  It’s very difficult to discern between media sensationalism and the truth.  So it’s difficult to express an opinion.

Below: Dr Taso Lagos of UW spoke weirdly of cultural differences - and Knox somehow being the real victim

Below: Offices of Seattle magazine The Stranger where campaigner for truth Charles Mudede works

Below: Charles Mudede, perhaps first US journalists with an in-depth piece sympathetic to Meredith

Here we don’t talk enough about Meredith, and that is always because of the distance.  We don’t talk about who this wonderful English girl really was.  I don’t know whether you’ve noticed it, but in the American press, yes, Meredith is named as the person killed, but they talk very little about her and about what her parents are undergoing. You have to consult the English papers to read this; you don’t find it in the American ones.  This is the result of an attitude which is favorable towards Amanda, because you don’t have a connection with the victim as you would have, say in England.

Amanda was a bar attendant and also worked in an art gallery in the university area.  She was a student of European languages.  She practised yoga and played soccer: all characteristics of a normal American education. Amanda grew up in a middle class family in West Seattle, differently from how the British press described her as a rich girl.  She isn’t.  Amanda belongs to the middle class, typical of this city.  Here there aren’t many poor people, or rather there are, but not a whole lot as in other cities. While the rich tend to not make themselves very visible.

There seems a dark side to Amanda’s personality.  I think this dark side is the same as in many young people of her age.  She wanted to experiment, at times with drugs, at times with sex.  When I did research on her I found a police statement where it was written that Amanda had taken part in a party that ended up badly. She had to defend herself in court on charges of disturbing the peace, but it was nothing sensational.  I don’t believe that her dark side is something exceptional even. The idea that she was beaten up and maltreated by the Perugia police makes me laugh - it’s an exaggeration. I mean the police have to do certain things which may seem a bit nasty but this is not unusual - it happens here too.

Below: One of various shots of grounds of Seattle Prep where Amanda Knox went to school

Below: Two of Amanda Knox’s teachers describe experiences with her as seemingly normal

Below: Andrea Vogt, American reporter based in Italy, provides some excellent in-depth commentary

“She was a girl like so many others here in the Pacific north-west. She was sporty, she liked playing sport, going out. She spent so many of these beautiful days running or playing football. That’s what the girls here in this area do.”


Saturday, November 07, 2009

What Seattleites Are Thinking: A Sample Of Views On Meredith’s Case

Posted by Professor Snape





I am a Seattleite, and I feel very passionate about supporting the quest for justice for Meredith Kercher and her family. 

I usually never wander up and intrude upon people. But I have been tending to pick Europeans out of crowds and talk with them about the case. I have also inquired about how people feel about the case while waiting in long lines at Disneyworld in Orlando and at Disneyland in California and most recently at Whistler in British Columbia on the gondola. 

Recently I have found myself apologizing for my even being from Seattle. I have a real sense of community, and I am embarrassed by how low the Knox PR campaign actions have brought Seattle.  And I am sickened over the mischaracterizations of the lovely and spirited Meredith and of how she was brutally and excruciatingly murdered. 

Seventy-five percent of the people I have talked with elsewhere expressed zero knowledge of the case. The other twenty-five percent indicated they knew of the people in the case, found it shocking and were sympathetic to the murdered girl’s family and wondered, as we all do, how anyone could do such a horrible thing. Some expressed opinions as to guilt and others didn’t.

Ever since Edda Mellas first hung up the phone with Amanda very early on the morning of 2 November 2007 Seattleites have been the main subject of the aggression of the Knox campaign and its plot to spin webs around the media in a grand attempt to discredit anyone who speaks out against their (to me seemingly immensely disturbed) hero and, in too many cases, meal-ticket.

When the likes of the fatuous Linda Byron of Seattle’s KING 5 have propagated their ill-informed stories on the case, too many Seattleites have concluded at a very superficial level that they know everything there is to know about the case. And so they look and think no further. “Those meanie Italians… ”

I don’t believe most of the people I talk with in Seattle actually outright support Knox. It is a shallow thing, and most people claim to be reserving their judgment.

That was of course also the case with OJ Simpson. Many thought OJ was probably guilty and yet they wouldn’t say it, and then it was devastating when he got off. Then everyone proclaimed they just knew he was guilty, and what a joke about the decision. They blamed the injustice on a shoddy judicial system, not on their poor monitoring of the system and the case..

While I cannot reveal who the Seattleites were, to avoid their becoming targets of payback (names are changed), I would like to share the following comments. These were made by colleagues, service providers and friends around Seattle who fell into the same percentage of interest as the other citizens and non-residents I also spoke with, so this is something of a valid sample.

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

Seattle Editor Harry Perkins said, “My impression of the Amanda Knox trial is one of mystified amazement “” the willingness to give her the benefit of the doubt at an elevated level because of her youth, her background, and her physical attractiveness shouldn’t have taken me by surprise…but it has.”

Washington State Certified Public Accountant John Dutch had a strong opinion about the case and listened fairly to what I know about it.  He wanted me to keep him up on the case and he had this to say,

“A few weeks ago I read an article in a national newsmagazine that indicated that the Italian prosecutor in another case had issues around evidence and even accused a defense attorney of being guilty of withholding of evidence when, in fact, he wasn’t. My impression, based on the article, was that the Italian process around crime scene investigation was poor and that, based on their legal tradition of Napoleonic Law, that it would be hard for a defendant to get a trial that we, in the USA, would consider fair. So, how does that relate to the Amanda Knox case? Same prosecutor, same legal tradition, ergo Amanda Knox is probably not getting a fair trial.” 



[click for larger image]

Washington State Juvenile and Criminal Psychologist Calvin Richardson wrote, “I’m not sure how average I can be with regards to being a Seattleite. While I’ve lived in this state my whole life, I’ve never really considered myself a Seattleite - although I’ve worked in downtown Seattle.  I can recall the first moment I heard about the Amanda Knox case.  My memory of hearing about this incident is when it was reported that the foreign media was calling her Foxy Knoxy.”

“It made me think of how Michael Jackson was referred to as “Wacko Jacko”.  And, quite honestly, that turned me off to the entire matter.  The rest of the information I have unfortunately absorbed is that there was some sex-crazed, multi-partner-swapping party that ended with a girl being stabbed to death and American Amanda Knox is a bi-sexual, homicidal nympho.”
   
“At the point of the story reaching a sensational level where a catchy headline or title is used, the story becomes about entertainment.  My proof? Didn’t the story have a little spot on the TV. show “Entertainment Tonight”?  Help me out here: when did horrific murder scenes become entertainment (excluding Steven Segal breaking someone’s arm at the elbow - which, come to think of it, isn’t entertaining either)?”

“There can be no bigger disservice to Meredith Kercher’s family, the Knox family, or the Italian system of justice, than to turn a horrific crime into a sassy, Dr. Seuss catch-phrase so that papers can be sold.” 

“I don’t know what the “evidence” is that damns Ms. Knox; I don’t know the circumstances which profess her innocence.  And I certainly know nothing about the judicial procedures of the Italian court system.  But I do know that if Ms. Knox is found guilty, she will have to suffer the consequences of her actions.  It will be a verdict that I will probably not lose sleep over. If Amanda Knox killed Meredith Kercher, then she absolutely deserves whatever comes her way as a consequence.”

“Moreover, if Amanda Knox killed Meredith Kercher in some sex-play game gone wrong, then I am thankful that she’s being tried in Italy.  My perception of foreign judicial systems is that they keep their punishments punishing.  In my opinion,  American justice is like spending the weekend at your grandma’s house: it’s not your favorite place to be, it’s not really fun and exciting, it seems to last forever… but in the long run, it ain’t so bad.”

“I feel American Justice has lost sight of the importance of punishment.  “Justice” must maintain its punitive element of retribution, else it ceases to be just. If Amanda Knox didn’t kill Meredith Kercher, then a small part of me wants to say “That’s what you get for going to a foreign country!”  And yes, I admit, that’s not a fair statement.  But I have to be honest: I’m sick and tired of hearing about citizens from one country going to another country and then complaining about the treatment they receive.”

“Would I like to travel to Italy?  HELL YES!  It looks fantastic, I have distant family that originated from Italy, and the whole romantic aspect of Verona is very fetching.  Will I go to Italy?  Probably not: I don’t know the language, or the customs, and I would probably screw something up, get in trouble, and then I’d be just another crass American complaining that a foreign country is not more accommodating to my personal desires.  And I’m pretty sure the entire World is sick to death with hearing about it.”

“Which makes me think there might be another crime happening because of all of this.  I think that Americans are being presented as loud mouth, over-weight, egocentric, self-righteous Imperialists who feel that it is their birth-right to be entitled to Diplomatic Immunity the moment they step off their front porch.  Deserved or not, you have to know that our biggest calling card as of late is a government that manufactured evidence to gain approval to invade a foreign country and “liberate” the people with Democracy - whether they wanted it or not.”

” I can’t think of anything more offensively pretentious… unless you want to consider Benito Mussolini’s quote: “Let us have a dagger between our teeth, a bomb in our hands and an infinite scorn in our hearts”.  In which case, I appeal to the people of Italy: I forgive your Mussolini, if you forgive my Bush.”

“And I’m sure the press will find a way to make that as salacious as possible.”



[click for larger image]

Ian Kendrick, an aerospace compliance officer stated, “The difficult part in understanding the trial is the sensational and sound bite manner in which it is presented.  The limited information I have seen regarding the facts on TV is encapsulated into a 3 minute sound bite at best.  The focus is then on the lurid details, and as the trial progresses it is only the oddities (she smiled in court - gasp!) that are reported not as facts, not as information, but just sensationalism.”

“This gets to the deeper point of news is it truly news any longer?  I’d argue it is simply reality show entertainment now broken down to the most sensational bite sized stories possible.  You only focus for 2 minutes on any local horror, then off to the next.  The follow up is limited and becomes ever shorter as the story grows older.”

Twenty year law enforcement veteran, Jack Bishop, summarized, “Although my law enforcement experience is limited to here in the United States and I have little knowledge of the Italian processes for jurisprudence I do believe I can comment to some degree on the phenomenon of what I call narcissistic innocence.”

“Although I believe it to exist almost everywhere it seems to be quite prevalent here in the Seattle area. When the world rotates around your mere existence and others reinforce that belief how could you be guilty of a crime? Of course not everyone gets it that you are special so you only choose to be with those who worship or at least appear to worship you.”

“These days I have both the good fortune and misfortune of working with people much younger than me. Their energy level is something I willingly try and tap into when mine is low but their level of self absorption is unbelievable.”

“This just feeds into their justification for their inappropriate actions and although I am treated with respects our culture of overvaluing youth is quite apparent. Unlike many Asian cultures that value the older members of the family here we have turned our children loose with the keys to the castle and then spend much of our time justifying our failings by justifying theirs.”

“That the Knox family would try and raise the level of the conversation on a political premise should come as no shock. In fact I would almost be surprised that they wouldn’t, what else could they do? That a community of like-minded narcissists would fall in line behind them is also not a surprise, I have seen it before when someone of affluence or power is charged with a crime in this environment.”

“People of affluence are determined to get their way; they always have and believe they always will. Only in this case they won’t. I can all but guarantee that Amanda Knox will be found guilty of this crime. The sad part is that much of the world will once again be exposed to what we should be most ashamed of, our arrogance.”

“I say let the Italians handle their own affairs. If they can make a clothes processor that serves both functions of washing and drying in one then I’m confident they can sort through the Amanda Knox trial without our help.”

“So what do I think about the case? Nothing.  I do not have enough in depth information to make a reasoned statement about it.  Instead it only serves to illustrate how poorly what we call “news” informs us.”

Karen Reid, a veterinarian working for a rural animal hospital said, “What do I care about the trial? Nothing except for the way the girl died was so shocking. I would hope the Italians will lock up whoever had anything to do with it.  It’s as bad as all the kids being killed by their own families, sick.  I hope the Italian courts are better than ours.”

“I’ve only seen news reports about the girl from Seattle. Her father is like always looking like he’s going to cry, it seems pretty staged if you ask me.  And why is she always smiling?  Geez, who has a big grin on their face in court particularly when charged with murder?  That’s pretty spooky though I don’t think that alone makes her guilty.”

“And I heard there were no finger prints in the house.  Come on, that’s a no brainer how that most likely happened!  I think whatever the outcome Italy should not be bashed, it’s not like pro Italian and anti American.  It’s a horrific crime and someone did it.”

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

My own conclusions from all of this?

Most share a common thread of perceiving the Seattle media as being nothing short of a farce. So it is not surprising that few can form a true opinion of to the trial. 

If it is also the Seattle media who are on trial here, then they are seventy-five percent guilty of dishing out slander and uninvestigated PR spin, and only twenty-five percent reporting accurately and fairly. 

That is not a good ratio for a city that is meant to make a good living from its smarts.


Wednesday, October 07, 2009

And Now An Excellent Report By Andrea Vogt On America-Wide University Reforms

Posted by Peter Quennell


Andrea Vogt posts this important story on the Seattle PI website.

Ever since we posted this excellent analysis last February of Amanda Knox’s extremely unstructured and underfunded arrangements in Perugia (read also the comments), we have been waiting for the University of Washington and others to move to stop it ever happening again.

Finally, it seems, they have.

Mirroring a nationwide trend, the University of Washington is overhauling how its students and professors interface with foreign countries….

The UW study abroad experience today involves much more oversight than it did two years ago when Amanda Knox left on an unsupervised European adventure that quickly degenerated into a nightmare.

When Knox, who is on trial for murder in Italy, left her familiar U-district environs in late summer 2007, she embarked on her own independent study in Umbria with very few guidelines or institutional oversight.

She arrived in the tolerant student melange of Perugia, a vibrant college town with temptation at every turn and many paradoxes (drug deals and party plans are often made on the steps of the cathedral).

A month later, the honor student’s pub-crawling, pot-smoking college shenanigans had taken a very serious turn and she was being hauled off to the Capanne penitentiary, where she remains today, pleading her innocence as the trial and controversial accusations against her plod forward.

Once her troubles began, the university tried to offer support, but had very few official guidelines to follow for responding to the kind of complicated legal-judicial matter Knox faced.

It’s different now….

In the wake of several negative overseas episodes, officials are busy raising awareness about the positive impact the UW is having worldwide and taking steps to improve communications, regulation and emergency preparedness for its students abroad.

Compared with two years ago, international education officials are more closely tracking who, where and what study-abroad programs involve. The university has new rules:. The department chair has to sign off on the program. Insurance is required. So is a cell phone. No program money can be used to buy alcohol, just for starters.

“There’s a much more formal process now,” said Taso Lagos, a UW professor who teaches international communication and manages a study-abroad program in Greece. “With administrators that are very aware, with lines of communication open and policies in place if something happens.”...

The UW’s growing commitment to international education—- even in a budget crisis—is reflected in some developments. [UW Vice Provost for Global Affairs Stephen Hanson] was named a vice provost in January, and in the spring, the UW dedicated an entire wing of the Gerberding Hall administration building to growing an international mission and profile.

This year, a travel security and information officer is coming on board to oversee emergency response and preparedness, as is Peter Moran, a new director of international programs and exchanges who previously worked at the Fulbright Commission office in Katmandu, Nepal.

New guidelines are being put in place to streamline communications, ease financial transactions and institute mandatory training for faculty taking students abroad. The Global Support Project, a rapid-response team with one person from each branch of the central administration, takes on cross-disciplinary international challenges.

Such reforms aren’t unique to UW.

Universities across the country are examining how better to organize study abroad to meet blossoming demand from students (and prospective employers) for foreign experience. Many are turning to independent service providers whose business it is to contract housing, health care or niche risk management services dealing with legal, financial or public relations crises when things go haywire abroad…..

Though the university bore no responsibility for any of the events Knox became entangled in, media across the world continued to mention the University of Washington—whether it was because of character witnesses who were her college buddies, reports of wild off-campus parties Knox attended in Seattle or her studies while in prison.

They really should be given a name. The Meredith Kercher reforms.


Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Seattle: The University Of Washington Area - Where Amanda Knox Lived And Worked

Posted by Peter Quennell



[click for larger image]

Three scenes here that would have been much of the rest of what Amanda Knox saw daily in her second student year before heading for Europe.

The first four shots are of the small house that Knox lived in just north of the university campus and then there are two shots of the neighbors. It is here that an infamous party took place which ended with threats to the neighbors and some rock-throwing, and a summons and fine for Knox. She seemed to take the whole thing very lightly.

The next five shots are of the coffee shop (the World Cup) where Knox waitressed for money for Perugia. It went out of business last year, and is now Tango, a dance studio. This shop is quite near to her house, but the street and the block and the store are all pretty unprepossesing. There is little foot traffic nearby, and low wages and low tips might have contributed to Knox being under-funded in Perugia. .

The final two shots are of the street where, had she waitressed here, Knox could have made some real money. She would know this street for sure. It is just one block west of the main campus.

It is known as the U-Distrct Ave or just The Ave,  and it is full of bookstores and restaurants and clothes stores that cater to U-W students with a little money. The shots were taken late in the day and few students were around, but it is for most fo the year extremely lively.

Shots above and just below: Amanda Knox’s rental house in her second year just north of the university



Two shots below: the street and the neighbors of Knox’s house shown in the shots above


Five shots below: The black windows of a former coffee shop where Amanda Knox waitressed to make money for Perugia





Two shots below: the lively “U-Distrct Ave” which Knox presumably walked, shopped, and ate meals along



Monday, October 05, 2009

Seattle: The University Of Washington’s Surprisingly Pretty Main Campus

Posted by Peter Quennell



[click for larger image]

As we have been showing, this very sad tale is playing out in a number of beautiful locations.

We’ve had many photo spreads on Perugia and various other places in Italy, including where Sollecito came from, and spreads on Meredith’s exiting hometown of London and her spectacular university town of Leeds.

Now we turn to Seattle.

Amanda Knox came from West Seattle, a very large and surprisingly high plateau south-west of the downtown of Seattle, and she studied for two years at this university several miles north-east of the Seattle downtown.

The top shots here are the most significant from Knox’s perspective, for they are the libraries and lecture halls she would have frequented almost daily. The other shots show other departments and some of the attractive landscaping where she might have sat out with friends.

Why surprisingly pretty? Well, this is a publicly funded American university run by the State of Washington and the public universities, while often very good, can be mind-numbingly utilitarian.

This is not a private Ivy League institution like Harvard or Stanford or Princeton or Yale. But it sure looks like one of them.

As always, click for the larger images.
















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 27, 2009

Trial: Defense Testimony Today On Guede In Milan And Knox In Seattle

Posted by Peter Quennell




Another short day in court

The defenses continue to seem rather rudderless and despondent. Only Maria Del Prato from Milan and two Knox friends testified in court.

A statement to police by Christian Tramontano was introduced; he claimed Guede once broke in and threatened him. But he was not called for cross-examination, and Judge Micheli had not believed him.

This was all of the testimony for today, in yet another short day for the defense side.

1) First report

This is the translation from Italian media of testimony of Maria del Prato, a nursery-school principal from Milan.

The director of a nursery school in Milan surprised Rudy Guede in the school on 27 October 2007.The woman reported that she visited the classrooms in the morning, around 9.15, as she had an appointment with a blacksmith who was supposed to do some work in the garden. “When I entered I saw a guy who was later identified as Rudy Guede. He seemed quiet and relaxed. He told me he was from Perugia and he had arrived in Milan by train, and that at the train station a boy had told him he could sleep there”

She looked in the cupboard and opened the money box, which lacked a few coins. The principal testified that she then called the police, and they opened the knapsack of Guede. “Inside was one of our kitchen knives used to cut the meat.” She said that Guede also had a computer, later claimed to have been removed from an office in Perugia on the night of 13 October.

2) Second report

This is the translation of testimony by friends of Amanda Knox from back in Seattle.

One testified: “She was studious and ‘conscientious, and held three jobs for a while, to save to come to Perugia.  She liked to do yoga, learn languages and read.”

Another testified that Knox “was very studious, a good student, and had the highest grades. She often went out with her friends and she loved to write. She chose to come to Perugia because she wanted to immerse herself in the culture of this country and learn the language. She said she liked the house she found to live in in Perugia.”

(3) Third report

This is a much longer report by Ann Wise of ABC on the ABC News site

The owner of a Milan nursery school took the stand Saturday in the ongoing murder trial of U.S. college student Amanda Knox and former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito in Perugia, Italy, telling the court that Rudy Guede, convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering British student Meredith Kercher Nov. 1, 2007, had broken into her school and stolen a big kitchen knife.

Kercher, 21, was found dead in her bedroom, with a large knife wound to her throat.

Knox, 21, and Sollecito, 25, have been on trial in Perugia since January. Knox, Sollecito and Guede all say they are innocent, and Guede’s appeal trial is scheduled to start Nov. 18.

Nursery school owner Maria del Prato testified in court today, with Knox’s and Sollecito’s parents looking on, that she had stopped by her school Saturday Oct. 27, when it was closed, and came upon Guede in her office.

“I asked him who he was,” she told the court, “and he replied perfectly calmly, even though I had caught him red-handed.” Del Prato said he told her he was “a kid from Perugia” who had arrived the night before and had nowhere to sleep.

Stolen Kitchen Knife, Stolen Laptop, Fingerprints

Del Prato doubted his story, as her locker had been opened, and she said she believed Guede was looking for something to steal. Some small change was missing, and Del Prato noticed Guede had a laptop, but he told her it was his.

When police arrived at the school, they searched Guede’s backpack and found a large knife with a 16-inch blade that had been taken from the school kitchen.

Guede was later booked at a Milan police station and accused of theft, receiving stolen goods, and in possession of a weapon. He was also fingerprinted and then released.

It was those fingerprint records that eventually nailed Guede to the scene of Meredith Kercher’s murder. His bloody palm print was found on a pillow under Kercher’s dead body.

Stolen Knife Testimony Comes on Heels of Previous Testimony About Stolen Laptop

The episode that Maria Del Prato recounted in court Friday followed Friday’s testimony by Perugia lawyer Paolo Brocchi, who said a computer and cell phone had been stolen from his law offices in October 2007, weeks before Kercher’s murder. The computer from Brocchi’s office matched the one Guede had brought to Milan.

Luca Maori, the lawyer for Raffaele Sollecito, Knox’s former boyfriend also on trial for Kercher’s murder, told reporters in Perugia that more evidence had emerged that indicated Kercher might have been killed in the course of a theft gone wrong, a theft he believes Guede committed.

A statement that was admitted as evidence in the trial Friday seemed to offer more proof that Guede was a knife-carrying thief.

Perugia resident Christian Tramontano, who will not be testifying in person, made a statement to Perugia police Jan. 1, 2008, two months after Kercher’s murder, saying that he had recognized Guede from newspaper photographs as the person who had broken into his house and threatened him with a knife four months earlier.

In the statement to police, Tramontano said he and his girlfriend were awakened by noises in their apartment early on Sept. 1 or 2, 2007. When Tramontano looked down from his loft bed, he saw a young man going through his belongings. Tramontano chased the man downstairs as he tried to escape, but the front door was locked. The thief—who Tramontano later claimed as Guede—first used a chair to keep Tramontano at a distance, and then pulled out a switchblade knife. Guede, who escaped, had stolen a 5 euro bill and three credit cards.

Two friends of Amanda Knox were the only other witnesses to testify in Perugia Saturday.

Catsius Spyridon, a Greek student studying in Perugia, said he met Knox in October 2007 at the Internet shop where he worked as a supervisor.

Spyridon told the court that he and Amanda had gone out together a number of times; the last time was Oct. 31, 2007—Halloween. After hitting a couple of night spots together, Knox asked Spyridon to accompany her to the Fontana Maggiore—the fountain in the heart of old Perugia—where she was meeting Raffaele Sollecito, whom she had just started seeing.

Seattle Friend Testifies for Knox

Seattle student Madison Paxton, a close friend of Knox, was the final witness Saturday. Speaking in English with the help of an interpreter, Paxton said she had met Knox in college, and they had become friends in their sophmore year. She described Knox as “very conscientious,” and said she did yoga, liked to read and study languages and bicycle, and had come to Perugia to immerse herself in Italian culture.

In response to a question from Knox’s lawyer, Paxton said she had never seen Knox carry a knife in her bag. She said that Knox smoked marijuana occasionally, perhaps twice a month, and that she said she got along with her Perugia roommates.


Trial: Amanda Knox’s Mother Talks To The Media Of The Costs To The Family

Posted by Nicki



[courtesy AP; click for larger image]

Italian media are reporting upon the Knoxes’ financial strains:

Today’s Il Messaggero offers so far the most complete report in Italian. Here’s a translation of today’s article

AMANDA’S MOTHER: WE HAVE MORTGAGED THE HOUSE IN ORDER TO ATTEND THE TRIAL

She has used all her vacation time, she is currently not receiving a salary and she has also mortgaged her house, in order to stay close to Amanda. Edda Mellas has travelled at least ten times back and forth from the USA to Italy. “Our life is no longer a normal one”- she says, recalling the day of Amanda’s arrest on November 6th 2007. Mellas works as a schoolteacher in Seattle and she explains she has already used up all her vacation time in order to stay close to her daughter. She adds “now I’ve given up my salary in order to be here.. Every time I come, I stay from two to seven weeks . We have even mortgaged our house in order to be close to Amanda”.

When they are in Perugia, Mellas, her husband Chris and Curt, Amanda’s father, live in an apartment in the outskirts of town. It’s the place where Mellas spends most of her time, reading books and using her pc, waiting to go visit he daughter in jail. Chris is able to continue working using the Internet ““he’s a computer engineer-as Curt Knox used to do, but recently ““his ex -wife says-he lost his job since he hasn’t accepted to move from Seattle to San Francisco, as he had been asked to do by the department store chain he worked for .

Amanda has a sister in Seattle, Deanna. “She has been here two or three times” - Mellas explains “““for the rest of the time, she’s trying to concentrate on her biology studies at WWU”.  Mellas says that in Italy and Perugia “people are nice and friendly and ready to help”.  Now that we are hearing defense witnesses”- Mellas concludes with a little smile-“we are all starting to feel better”


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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