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

Category: Movies on case

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Knox Movie: Sollecito Reported Angry - Real Risk That His Defense Could Break Away From Knox’s

Posted by Peter Quennell


The Austrian Independent is reporting that Raffaele Sollecito has come out against the Lifetime movie.

Now Raffaele Sollecito ““ jailed for 25 years for his part in the crime which occurred in Perugia three years ago ““ announced concerns the film could harm legal appeals he and Knox, his ex- girlfriend are making against their convictions.

The Italian’s lawyer Luca Maori said today (Fri): “We don’t have the final verdict in this case yet. If the film is ready before the appeal is over, we will seek a court injunction to prevent it being aired.”

Sollecito’s lawyers Giulia Bongiorno and Luca Maori have already said they will go so far as to take Lifetime to court to prevent the making and release of The Amanda Knox Story movie during the appeals - which could go on for years.

Why are Raffaele Sollecito and his lawyers being so angry and so adamant about canning the movie?

Here are two suggestions.

1) The hurtful PR campaign, of which this movie must seem an extension

It has been obvious for a long time in Italy that the Sollecito camp (especially including Raffaele’s father) do NOT like being joined at the hip to what must look to them like a runaway train of a defense campaign.

Barbie Nadeau in Newsweek last week described how very badly the strident and misleading PR campaign is now going over in Italy.

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

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

Amazingly, even the deeply respected Massei Report is coming in for ridicule. Raffaele Sollecito and all of his family and team being of course Italian, this very strident anti-Italianism (actually much disliked by the State Department) is severely hurting Sollecito and his family in the public eye in Italy.

All of this is made worse by the fact that Sollecito’s lead lawyer, Giulia Bongiorno, is a prominent member of the Italian Parliament, and she has her own image and popularity to worry about.  Last year, halfway through the trial, it looked like she was getting ready to walk.

2) Possible separating legal strategies from the first appeal in November onward

The movie could paint Sollecito in a bad light or misrepresent him in some way that could really hurt his chances at appeal.
.
Remember Sollecito separated himself from Amanda Knox in all of his alibis after his first alibi. He STILL has it that she was out of the apartment on the night for four hours while he was on the computer and so on at home.

We believe Sollecito is pretty solidly tied to the crime in the Massei Sentencing Report.

But he had less motive than Knox - he barely knew Meredith - and he could now come to claim that he was only drawn in by Knox during the clean-up. The claim could be that only Guede and Knox killed Meredith, and he was not present in the house at that point.

This difference between Knox and Sollecito is a minefield for any film makers. Slander and libel suits might really fly if they seem to get it wrong - and not least of course from Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini if he is misrepresented.

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

In other developments and non-developments, there is still no word from Seattle - from the Knox family or her supporters or the Seattle media - on whether Amanda Knox’s family had a role in creating this movie. 

Even if the Seattle media sit on their hands on this one (so what’s new?!) Curt Knox and Edda Mellas will be heading for Perugia soon, for Amanda Knox’s slander trial and for their own, and will presumably be asked all about it.

Not least, of course, by Amanda’s own lawyers.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Entertainment Industry Buzz That Curt Knox And Edda Mellas Might Be Connected To Distasteful Movie

Posted by Peter Quennell



[joint images of Panetierre and Knox posted yesterday by Huffington Post]

We’ve heard buzz from a couple of sources in NYC that Amanda Knox’s parents might have had a hand in this Lifetime movie of Amanda Knox which is being raced into production.

One remarked that it was “informed speculation” and that some proof could be on its way to leaking out. Reports like this below in the Chicago Sun-Times that Hayden Panettiere has already visited Amanda Knox in Capanne Prison help to fuel the speculation. It seems very unlikely that she would have gained such access, if she did, without Knox’s parents assisting.

Former “Heroes’’ star Hayden Panettiere has visited Amanda Knox in prison in Italy - part of her preparation to play Knox in a TV movie.

Also fueling the speculation is the deafening silence of Amanda Knox’s family and friends in Seattle, in the face of the various Perugia lawyers’ very strong protests about the movie (see the post below) which we presume was genuine, and not simply blowing smoke in an orchestrated sort of way.

One problem with any movie that Curt Knox and Edda Mellas do not tightly control is the reports that are already out there (including in two of the books) of extreme family friction before and after the divorce - Amanda was not much more than a toddler at the time of the divorce.

Narcissistic sociopathy and narcissistic psychopathy, which psychologists have speculated Amanda might to some degree have (tests done on her in prison during the hearings were not released. but they helped sway a judge to not grant house arrest or bail), can apparently be triggered by early childhood trauma.

Another problem for Curt Knox and Edda Mellas if they do not control the film is the reports of Amanda’s quirky behavior over the years, which continued at the University of Washington and also in Perugia. It was most especially noticeable in the three days after Meredith’s murder, as her sentencing report points out, and again when she was on the witness stand in June 2009. And she has admitted to using drugs - in fact, she used that as a part of her defence.

And another problem is the sheer depraved cruelty of the crime, chillingly described in the Micheli and Massei Reports.

Filming is now said to start next month, although the point of that is not obvious if it is not to be aired before the second appeal, as the Perugia defence lawyers have said they will insist on. On how long that second appeal might take, our poster Cesare Beccaria points out that it could drag on for years.

Appeals should be faster, but not necessarily.  In Italy the problem would be in Cassazione (3rd instance on law) where they can send the trial back to appeal for even a small procedural error. The case could go back and forth from appeal to Cassazione for years. Only Cassazione can confirm the verdict.

Media reports on the movie have all seemed to us pretty cool toward it. They have included phrases such as “all 3 convicted for murder, sexual assault, and obstructing justice”, “killer”, “convicted murderer” and so on. Only one used the inaccurate term “accused”. 

Comments posted under online reports on the movie seem to have been very strongly pro-Meredith and her family, after the compelling outcry from her mother in London, and often strongly anti Amanda Knox, who seems to command almost no online sympathy or support any more.

None of Hayden Panettiere’s fans seem too thrilled. .In fact nobody who is a friend or fan of Hayden Panettiere seems to be speaking up to say this is a great career move for her, and at least some think she is being used - being duped - to misleadingly influence public opinion and maybe the court.

Finally, here is part of the description in Wikipedia of Lifetime Television which is certainly one of the most controversial cable TV channels in the United States for its incessant focus on one or other victim - which, in the case of the present film, may very well NOT be portrayed as poor Meredith.

Because of the obvious feminine slant to the network’s programming, Lifetime is often jokingly referred to as The Estrogen Channel, or “Wifetime” and many criticize the network’s over-reliance on formulaic made for TV movies, including the “women in jeopardy” or “woman scorned” theme common on films produced by the network, archived product which aired on the major networks in the 1980s and 1990s, and outside producers airing their work on the network.

Other comedy programs have satirized Lifetime’s sometimes sentimental programming. Family Guy once parodied their slogan, making it Lifetime: Television for Idiots, and in an episode had one of the main characters make a Lifetime-like film which oversimplified those themes, along with a film starring Valerie Bertinelli, called “Men are Terrible and Will Hurt You Because This is Lifetime”.

On August 27, 2009, A&E Television Networks, the owner of A&E Network, History and others, acquired Lifetime Entertainment Services. Though the channel is owned by another subsidiary company operated as a joint venture, Lifetime and its networks remain under the co-ownership of The Walt Disney Company and Hearst Corporation, though NBC Universal became partial owner of the Lifetime channels as well since NBCU already was a part owner of A&E Television Networks.

This movie REALLY should have been about the real victim Meredith, as her mother compellingly complained. THAT is normal Lifetime territory, not doing special pleading for her convicted killer. Hayden and writer Wendy Battles, please read up about Meredith, and see if you still feel the same way.

Read this post for example about what a super-high-achiever Meredith really was, and what a huge loss to the world her death is. And read the Massei Sentencing Report (link at top here) on how very, very cruel and depraved this crime against her really was.


[Below, second from left, is said to be Lifetime scriptwriter Wendy Battles]

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/23 at 02:29 PM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Crime hypothesesNews media & moviesMovies on caseKnox-Mellas teamComments here (11)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Could Movie Depicting The Real Knox And The Real Meredith Be A PR And Defense Disaster?

Posted by Peter Quennell


Already one movie is in the works. That one will be based on Barbie Nadeau’s excellent little book Angel Face: The True Story of Student Killer Amanda Knox

That British movie is likely to stay pretty close to the truth, Meredith as the real angel, and Amanda as at least in some degree the scary opposite. Barbie Nadeau seems to be in no doubt that Amanda was fairly convicted, but she also seems to think maybe there were factors going back to Amanda’s childhood (as did Paul Russell and Graham Johnson in Darkness Descending) that could have kinda set Amanda up, and could have been prevented by parents who cared.

Now we have this new made-for-TV movie (post below) by the Lifetime cable channel (with Oxygen, it has the largest ratio of women viewers) which for now at least is starring the popular actress Hayden Panettiere.

In 2003 the beautiful South African actress Charlize Theron (images above) who had previously played super-cool and super-sexy roles, played the Florida serial killer Aileen Wuomos in the movie Monster. If anything, Charlize Theron played Aileen Wuomos as more scary than she really was - and Charlize Theron won an Oscar for the portrayal.   

Kathy Bates, Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman also did very well playing roles strongly against type, along with quite a few others. An actor’s dream, to pull this one off.

Could Lifetime and Hayden Panettiere now have in mind a movie rather like Monster? Playing Amanda Knox as she really seems to be - only more-so?

This has already struck the Knox and Sollecito defense teams as not only possible but a real danger. One that could influence her first appeal late this November, and help to sink her second appeal late in 2011.

From today’s Italian Libero News website.

Lawyers for Amanda Knox and Rafael Sollecito announce a battle with the script of a film for television on the personal life and trial of the two young adults convicted in the first degree for the murder of Meredith Kercher.

Maria Del Grosso, a lawyer who works with the criminal lawyers Amanda Luciano Ghirga and Carlo Dalla Vedova, reached by telephone by Adnkronos, called the idea “at least inappropriate…. you can not think about making a film when the case is judicially still open…. when you remove all this tension, we can work better on the appeals.”

The same opinion was expressed by Luca Maori, Sollecito Raffaele’s defender with Ms Giulia Bongiorno, who said to AGI “I am absolutely opposed to a movie when the appeal process, expected to be long, has not yet even started.”

“It is unthinkable” added Giulia Bongiorno “to make a film when there is still an open case uncrystallized in truth. If the movie comes out before the end of the process of appeals, we will ask for its seizure,” said the lawyer.

Well, Amanda Knox’s parents and their PR manager David Marriott did want to push Amanda Knox out into the hard limelight, too sanitized to ever successfully pass the giggle test in the long run.

Now they and Knox’s (and Sollecito’s) long-suffering Perugia lawyers may be facing the first of a series of swings the other way.


Gullible, Callous, Or Simply Out For The Money? A Good Reporter Should Ask Her

Posted by The Editor


In fact, please ask actress Hayden Panettiere if she even knows the name of the victim? Does she even know that there WAS a victim?

Click above for the Daily Mail’s report. Meredith’s family are understandably deeply upset, and this decision to play an apparent charming psychopath convincingly convicted of a VERY cruel crime hardly bodes well for Panettiere’s career.

The family of murdered student Meredith Kercher yesterday criticised plans to turn her death into a Hollywood film. The movie will focus on Amanda Knox, the American student jailed for 26 years for the killing.

Actress Hayden Panettiere, best known as the cheerleader in the TV series Heroes, has been cast as “˜Foxy Knoxy’ in the film, called The Amanda Knox Story, which is due for release next year.

The Kerchers’ lawyer Francesco Maresca said the family was unhappy that a Hollywood version of the 2007 murder is being made.  He said: “˜It is inopportune as the trial is still on going with two further appeals.’

Miss Kercher’s mother Arline said it was insulting for the film to be named after her daughter’s killer. She said: “˜I don’t see how they can make a film called The Amanda Knox Story when the story is really all about my daughter. It’s all very odd.’ A spokesman for the Knox family said they had no knowledge of the film, which is being aimed at a U.S. audience.

It will focus on events leading up to Miss Kercher’s death in November 2007 and the subsequent lengthy trial of Knox….

Producers of the film,which is being made for TV, said the Foxy Knoxy story was perfect movie material as it featured an “˜all-American’ girl at the centre of a murder involving sex and drugs.

The script for the Lifetime channel in the U.S. is being written by Wendy Battles, who has penned episodes of CSI New York and the crime show Law and Order.

The 21-year-old is one of the most sought-after young actresses in Hollywood.

An all-American girl? How much do they really know about her? Drug habits and all?  Readers can discuss with fans and Hayden Panettiere’s managers on her forum on the popular and influential IMDB board.

At least one gushing fan there simply can’t wait for the movie.

Posted by The Editor on 09/21 at 02:11 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Crime hypothesesMovies on caseComments here (13)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Best Meredith-Case Documentary Ever - One Intensely Compassionate To Meredith

Posted by Nicki


As many here know, I am an Italian-American who lives and works in Milan in northern Italy and who follows the case closely in Italian.

On TJMK here I have posted repeatedly on the DNA dimension and on the public perceptions in Italy of Meredith, Amanda Knox, and the campaign.

A week ago today, those public perceptions sharpened very noticeably.

One of the three largest national TV networks here, LA7, broadcast a one-hour documentary on the case. This was months in the making, the most costly production to date, and compelling for the depth and objectivity of the reporting.

And absolutely compelling for its extreme compassion toward Meredith, a loved and revered figure in Italy, for whom the cruel and untimely nature of her passing has led to a lot of outrage and sadness. 

If there were any dry eyes among the very large Italian viewership of LA7 by the end of the broadcast, it would be quite surprising.

The production’s power to move comes from its placing of Meredith right at the beginning (her church and her chaplain), repeatedly in the middle (people in England who knew her, including one who was with her in Perugia) and right at the end, where there is a scene in the cemetery where Meredith was buried of almost transcendental beauty and sadness.

The documentary (so far) is only watchable online in Italian, with Italian voice-overs of the many interviews that were carried out in English in the UK and in Seattle. 

The arguments of the Knox supporters in Part One came across as tired, weak, clutching at straws, playing on emotions, and avoiding hard facts, and well-informed Italian viewers probably tuned out the droning and confused Ann Bremner. Sympathy shown for Meredith and her family was around zero.

In sharp contrast, the Croydon and Leeds segments on Meredith in both parts, especially the second with the deeply-hurting Samantha Rodenhurst, sounded new, fresh, authentic, interesting, and very moving, and would have had Italian viewers transfixed. And Charles Mudede in Seattle was extremely effective in puncturing FOA hype.

For those with no Italian, which seems to be the huge majority of our readership, we have posted below a large number of still images from the broadcast, to convey the ground that was covered in Italy, the United States, and England..

The producers were largely guided, we believe, by the Italy-based American journalist Andrea Vogt, who appears several times to give effective commentary and who is credited at the end.

There is nothing really new on Amanda Knox, who herself does not feature very prominently, and virtually nothing at all on Raffaele Sollecito or Rudy Guede.

New in the Italy segments is an interview with the prosecutor, Mr Mignini, who observes that the FOA’s claims about the true strength of the case are simply flat-out wrong. He notes that they are not based on a thorough knowledge of the evidence presented or of the Italian judicial system.

New in the America segments are interviews with four University of Washington students, only one of whom thinks Amanda Knox is innocent and then with no great conviction. Interviews with two of Amanda Knox’s teachers at Seattle Prep, who found her to be pretty normal at the time. And highly insightful commentary by the Seattle journalist Charles Mudede.

And new in the England segment are interviews with Meredith’s chaplain at her former school, who also conducted her funeral service, and with Kirsty Whalley, a reporter for the Croydon Guardian. Also with a Croydon caféteria owner who served Meredith many meals of cheeseburgers and chips, and with four students at the University of Leeds, who were keen to see the thing over and properly reported upon so the Kercher family could perhaps find some peace.

Perhaps most moving of all were the many short segments with Samantha Rodenhurst. Samantha and Meredith became very close friends in the few weeks they were together in Perugia, and Samantha was one of the girls Meredith shared a pizza with on a bed, watching the movie The Notebook, before Meredith headed home to her final cruel fate.

We will later add some translations to the three posts directly below. [Many are now added.] The overwhelming sentiment of the program seems to me this: May Meredith finally rest in peace now, and her family be given respite from the Knox hype of the cruel campaign.

I doubt that many Italians feel any differently. Amanda Knox herself and the campaign have ensured that.

Posted by Nicki on 11/11 at 04:44 AM • Permalink for this post • Archived in Crime hypothesesGreat reportingMovies on caseComments here (16)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Prison Movie Co-starring Knox Now In Slow-Motion Meltdown?!

Posted by Skeptical Bystander





For those already following the increasingly surrealistic run-up to the trial of the two remaining suspects indicted for alleged involvement in Meredith Kercher’s brutal murder, this will probably come as no surprise:

Amanda Knox, one of the two suspects, has participated (some would even say she has the starring role) in a movie featuring prison inmates incarcerated at Capanne, where Knox is being held. It was directed by Claudio Carini with grant money provided by the Umbrian regional council.

We saw this coming, in a way.

Last week, Frank Sfarzo (a stage name, real name Sforza), who has worked in the film industry, published an “exclusive interview” with Amanda Knox, in which she seems to show an incredible command of…  broken English!

But it still comes as quite a shock. Who can possibly, for one second, ever have thought that this was okay?

Controversy is building fast now in Italy. The film was supposed to have been publicly screened, at the Perugia Batik Independent Film Festival, but Knox’s lawyers, the elected members of the Umbrian council and the director of Capanne prison have asked that the film be yanked.

Incredibly though, whether the film will ever be made public is still “pending” according to the Batik Festival’s director, Alessandro Riccini Ricci.  Director Carini claims that Knox’s participation was “coincidental” because the idea was hatched in June 2007, before she joined the inmates at Capanne.

Is it also “coincidental” that the film is said to open and close with a shot of Knox’s blue eyes?

Can this really be true?!  It reminds me of one of the most recent witnesses to come forward. He said that he saw Knox at 7:45 am on the morning of November 2 (she claims she slept in until 10 am that morning), with her “blue eyes” peeking out from behind a scarf.

The media and blogosphere have reacted immediately and overwhelmingly negatively. Web posters are wondering aloud how the Kercher family will feel when they hear that one of the suspects in their daughter’s murder volunteered for this role, had a lot of fun doing it and, in the words of Ricci, is a “magnetic actress.”

A propos the “magnetic actress”  as people have already noted wryly, including Francesco Maresca, the Kerchers’ lawyer, actually, we already knew.

I wonder how Raffaele will react to the news? Recall that, according to one Italian source, Raffaele had this interesting conversation with his father and step-mother after his incarceration:

Mara: “It’s worth thinking about this. You must give this some thought because the Americans are a bit more advanced than we are, do you understand? They do lots of things for notoriety even if they become meteors”¦. tomorrow you don’t remember them anymore because someone else has taken their place.”

Raffaele: “But are you sure about this notoriety thing?”

Mara: “I’m very sure.”

Shout-out to Mara: So are we!

It will be interesting to see how the local Knox PR machine roves this latest gaffe into something not only acceptable but downright laudable. They were unavailable for comment ““ I guess they’re under the cone of silence, brainstorming as I write ““ but maybe someone could get this idea to them:

They might say that Amanda Knox has become passionate about inmate rights, and wanted to lend her brand name to this worthy cause…

We have media today that allow us to record the present. What we record not only reflects the present, but indeed can shape our perception of it and the way in which the future unfolds.

Did anyone remotely involved in this project stop once to consider the ramifications? Not the least of which for the Kercher family?  The Knox/Mellas family and supporters have complained loudly and consistently about the unfair media coverage of Amanda Knox.

Their complaints would have sharper teeth if they themselves did not seek the limelight at every opportunity.

I don’t usually agree with right-wingers, but I certainly think Italian People of Freedom party senator Laura Allegrini nailed it.She said that the film would only fuel the celebrity-style media coverage of the American ‘‘as if she were a star and not a young woman accused of a horrible crime”¦”

And “In all of this, the victim and her family are put in second place.’‘


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