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

Category: Francesco Sforza

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Human Rights Group “Human Rights Watch” Gives An Approving Nod To Italy

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above: Armando Spataro, the chief prosecutor in the 2009 trial in Milan; CIA operatives all absent]


Human rights groups like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International keep an eye on the Italian courts, as they do the courts of most countries.

When it comes to Italy, they rarely have anything to complain about. Italy has a firm high-profile police presence but when the playing field is level the Italian courts are known to be very fair and prison rates are among the world’s lowest.

Nothing is seen to be broken..

The same applies to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg which receives mind-numbing numbers of spurious appeals from Italy (an unfortunate circumstance for Knox) which repeatedly jump the gun (as Knox’s appeal did) before the Italian legal process is over.  But the ECHR only very rarely finds that Italian courts did anything wrong.

In an excellent report by the AP’s Colleen Barry (not our favorite reporter in Florence, but now we have hopes for her) the New York-based Human Rights Watch has just praised Italy for persevering against the CIA operatives who executed an example of extraordinary rendition - kidnapping for torture in a third country of suspected terrorists.

Cassation had just confirmed three of the guilty sentences among the 26 for American operatives earlier handed down:

“It is really a seminal case. It set a very important precedent that unfortunately has not been followed yet by any other countries,” said Judith Sunderland, senior Western Europe researcher for Human Rights Watch. “We certainly hold it as an example how a national judiciary can in fact get to the bottom of an unlawful rendition.”

The Obama administration renounced the Bush administration’s practice of extraordinary rendition, and neither the CIA or State Department seems to have done very much to help the CIA officers who were being prosecuted.

Alessia Sorgato, who was one of four court-appointed defense lawyers, complained the U.S. government had not responded to requests for help to defend their clients.

None of the court-appointed lawyers had any contact with their clients. U.S. officials only granted two of the defendants permission to seek their own counsel, toward the end of the trial…

Leader Robert Seldon Lady did possibly get some minor official help to disappear recently within the United States, but has since spoken out against the CIA and State Department bitterly. So did other CIA operatives.

At the same time, the Italian government (think Ministry of Justice) has been fairly passive, and allowed the courts to increasingly confirm the convictions, except for several Italian ones (they were declared military as was one American).

These outcomes from Cassation may not result in former CIA operatives ending up in Italian prisons. But life for perps on the run can be made hell worldwide under an Interpol Red Notice. So civil rights groups are not unhappy.

Amanda Knox, learn something.


[Below: human rights groups in Italy kept up pressure]


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

How Claims By Perpetrators & Their PR That THEY Are Victims Get Equal Pushback

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Florence prosecutor Giambartolomei will soon confront many false claims ]


To the considerable pain of victims and their loved ones, Italy’s has become one of the most pro-defendant justice and penal systems in the world.

That doesn’t mean that it has become a complete pussycat. Push it, and it usually pushes back harder in its search for the truth. And the quality Italian media goes along. 

Time and again the ill-conceived short-term PR and legal tactics for Knox and Sollecito based on a hurricane of lies have left them in terms of the ultimate end-game worse off than they were before.

Judge Matteini and Judge Micheli (the judges in 2008) both took firm lines with the copious evidence and the psychological tests of AK and RS in front of them.

Both judges took a line as firm as the prosecution (as firm as the “evil Mignini”) in concluding that there was a drug-fueled hazing escalating to murder with sexual aspects (however short the timescale of the intent).

[Ed note: See comment by Yummi below which explains the above a little differently. PQ.]

Though his panel of judges voted unanimously for guilt, Judge Massei in 2009 did take a somewhat less firm line in the sentences, after observing one daffy defendant and one very nervous defendant sitting in front of him for nearly a year. Judge Massei for no especially convincing reason

(1) pinned the initiating of the attack on Rudy Guede (really?!) and

(2) handed Knox and Sollecito (and thus Guede) quite a break with his supposed “mitigating circumstances” (the duvet over Meredith’s body) resulting in 20 years lopped off their combined sentences.

Both the defenses and the PR were weak and largely futile in that year. But come 2010 the dirty tricks moved into overdrive.

Cassation reverted to the firmer line in January 2011 when it ruled on Guede’s final appeal: Guede was a party to the murder, but copious evidence proved he did not act alone. 

The Hellmann appeal court and DNA consultancy and verdict of 2011 were corrupted (counter-measures are still quietly playing out) which fully explains its startling soft line.

Thereafter the Italian courts observed the illegal blood-money binge with the essentially fictional books of Sollecito and Knox, and two years of them each claiming to ill-prepared interviewers “we’re the real victims” on TV.

Cassation observed all of this, annulled the corrupted Hellmann court verdict, and issued instructions in June 2013 to the Florence appeal court to ensure that the firm line should be maintained. Unsurprisingly, we have seen a firm line from the chief prosecutor (Crini) and a seeming firm line from the lead judge (Nencini) in recent weeks.

In the rest of this year Italy will see at minimum these events where the court’s firm line will go on and the babbling and unhelpful legal and PR tactics may finally dry up.

    1) RS and AK continuing to babble for a while on TV as they each dig the other one deeper. Sollecito has just said that his saliva or sneezing may explain why his DNA was on the clasp of the bra.

    2) The sentencing report of Judge Nencini is due at the latest on 30 April and he seems likely to give space to rebuttals of any bizarre new claims made by Knox and Sollecito before 30 April like the one just above. 

    3)  The obstruction of justice trials of witness Luciano Aviello and incessant meddlers Mario Spezi and Frank Sforza will continue, probably though into 2015. Each of those trials could result in others (like Spezi ally Doug Preston and Sforza allies Bruce Fischer and Steve Moore) being declared at minimum persons of interest if not actually charged.

    4) Florence prosecutor Giambartolomei Firenze (image above) may soon be announcing which passages in Sollecito’s book Honor Bound criminally defame Italian officials or deliberately miscontrue hard facts in evidence in an illegal attempt to to poison public opinion against the court.

    5) Similarly soon after on Amanda Knox’s book with the surreal title Waiting To Be Heard (and on Knox articles and interviews in Oggi) by the chief prosecutor in Bergamo. 

    6) Cassation’s First Chambers should be the one to handle Knox’s and Sollecito’s final appeal. They handle murder cases and they issued the guidance to Florence in 2010.

    7) If so, they should take note of such revelations by way of Judge Nencini’s and Prosecutor Crini’s reports; and this next autumn or winter may finally declare a firm “confirmed guilty” final-appeal outcome and invite Knox to come back.

And when prosecutor Giambartolomei Firenze announces which claims are radiocative, hopefully a major hush will come over Heavey, Fischer, Bremner and Moore.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Rise And Fall Of “Frank Sfarzo” And How Knox-Mellas PR Eagerly Propagated His False Claims

Posted by Ergon



[Frank Sfarzo, thinking of better days past…]

My previous posts

Parts One and Two of this series on the increasingly erratic Francesco Sforza (called here Frank Sfarzo, his pseudonym) are here and here.

Summary of conclusions of investigation

1) The Knox/Mellas PR campaign, the Friends Of Amanda, and the activities of online commenters like Bruce Fischer and Frank Sfarzo are one and the same, coordinated to subvert the course of justice in the trial of Amanda Knox.

There is evidence of coordination of stories planted in various media, manipulation of Wikipedia, moneys paid to Frank Sfarzo; they post on his forums, he posts on theirs, and attempts to profit from the murder of Meredith Kercher.

2) The mercenary trickster Frank, who has other agendas and is flexible on the idea of guilt or innocence of the accused, inflames her gullible supporters with stories of ‘rotten’ Italian justice, and, by demonizing the prosecutor Giuliano Mignini, makes them unlikely to ever reasonably look at the concrete evidence of guilt presented in court and confirmed in several trials so far. 

3) A series of lies sourced by him and the campaign then makes it into Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito’s books, and from there into the media, which, thinking they have been confirmed by various sources, repeat them endlessly in an attempt to sway public opinion, without doing any fact checking of their own.



(Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi, co-authors, The Monster Of Florence, first set attack on legal system in process.]

Introduction to Part Three

As someone who has long been fascinated by politics and the use of PR in political campaigns, it was interesting to see similar tactics used by the campaign that sprung up around the group known as the Friends Of Amanda Knox, or, FOA.

The group, formed to battle inflammatory descriptions of Knox and counter the negative media reports about “˜Foxy Knoxy’ ” was soon indulging in pretty inflammatory rhetoric themselves, mostly through the internet.

Many trial watchers, who were used to the normal progression of murder cases, were shocked to see the virulent online campaign become the story, and translate into a wholesale attack on a foreign country’s judicial system, and an attack on one prosecutor, Dr Giuliano Mignini, and the police force of the city in which the murder took place, Perugia, Italy.

These attacks soon got picked up and repeated by a hostile media, often without the simplest fact checking, but more to do with feeding the public with an endless titillation effect of sex and violence.

Analyzing this wall of noise became an interesting pursuit for many of us. Was there truth to the allegation that these were two “˜innocent kids’ railroaded by a rogue prosecutor with an obsession with Satanism and sex, and was there widespread public support for them, or, just the semblance of it?



[Edda and Chris Mellas. Only picture of them at an FOA event, which Frank Sfarzo claims “they have no connection with”.]


And how and when did Frank Sfarzo become such a big part of the picture? Make no mistake, he was central to the PR effort, as “the only Italian reporter to attend every trial date for the two accused” and apparently a victim of “a prosecutor with an enemies list” who sent police goons to kill him (Frank Sfarzo) which only served as back story for quasi-journalists, to play out their own prejudices and excuse two people already convicted of murder.

This series of articles on the activities of Frank Sfarzo and the FOA was based on the simple philosophical equation: if some should set themselves up as watchers and experts of a murder trial conducted in a foreign language, in a country thousands of miles away, and create reams of “˜expert’ opinion that never was to be tested in court, well, who would watch the watchers?

And how important was Frank Sfarzo, as the only Italian in the mix, to give them credibility by simple parroting and agreeing with their conclusions? Who was Frank Sfarzo, anyway? (For that, see parts One and Two)

Who are the “Friends Of Amanda”?

And how did they come across Frank Sfarzo?

The FOA was originally a “group of parents whose children went to Seattle Prep School with Amanda Knox” included Tom Wright, a filmmaker, Jim Lovering, a marketing specialist, David Marriott, of the PR firm, Gogerty Marriott, and King County Superior Court Judge Michael Heavey, with attorney and CNN legal specialist Anne Bremner as their spokesman.

Seattle Resident and New York Times columnist Tim Egan fired off a series of xenophobic posts, which portrayed the 1st instance trial as an exercise in anti-Americanism. A sentiment regrettably echoed by Washington Senator Maria Cantwell.



[Many well known FOA members are seen here with Frank Sfarzo]


Here is Frank Sfarzo, fully converted to Amandaism by January 19, 2009, and on board on his blog Perugia-Shock: “Friends for Amanda…. A different kind of marines”

Hate and contempt, people judging, people lynching, profiteers, and jackals. But there are as well a few nice stories around the Meredith Kercher case.

There’s Meredith’s family who have not had a word of hate for who ever stolen their daughter’s life. There’s a guy like Rudy—guilty of having killed Meredith or of just not having called the 118? never mind—who lives today in repentance, and had thoughts of sorrow for the angel that we lost.

There are Rudy’s lawyers, Walter Biscotti and Nicodemo Gentile, able to fight with all their strength and not exactly for a fortune. There’s Rudy’s elementary teacher and her son who run to the court to testify for this unlucky guy.

There are people who go work into the jails, keeping inmates busy with any sort of activities. There are Amanda’s guards, first rough but who treat her now like a queen.



[Professor Chris Halkides, “the DNA Guy” who writes many misleading pieces on DNA evidence, with Amanda Knox and her friend Madison Paxton]


Frank Sfarzo, continuing:

There were already people in Seattle helping Amanda’s family. Now we have Anne Bremner and Amanda’s friends. They didn’t stay there just watching and complaining. They chosen to show to the world that the girl they know, the gentle and creative young woman who loves music, the outdoors and children can’t be a killer and today friendsofamanda.org, the website they built for the purpose, is ready.

“Amanda should never have been arrested,” said Anne Bremner, a Seattle attorney and TV legal analyst:

“She’s on trial because Italian officials made a series of serious investigative mistakes and didn’t realize it until they had already leveled false charges. They got themselves in so deep that they refuse to get out.

Private criminal investigator Paul Ciolino used stronger words in a CBS 48 Hours interview last year: “It’s a railroad job from hell.”

The Friends of Amanda is not associated in any way with Knox’s family or her legal defense team. It includes members from the U.S. legal and judicial systems, an internationally renowned criminal investigator, a best-selling author, and other professionals and friends who believe unequivocally in Knox’s innocence.

“Many of us are parents who would be grateful for the support of a similar group if our own child was locked up 6,000 miles away in a stranger-than-fiction nightmare,” Bremner said. “Our mission is to present the international public and the Italian justice system with the solid facts and evidence that irrefutably prove Amanda’s innocence, and bring her home.”

“The killer is serving his time,” said Bremner. “He acted alone. Neither Amanda nor Raffaele was at the scene at the time. Zero evidence connects them to this homicide. We are absolutely certain that neither of them had anything to do with Kercher’s tragic death.”

“Italian authorities and the international media have presented a lurid and utterly false image of Amanda, accompanied by fantastical references to sex games and occult rituals,” Bremner added. “Everyone who knows Amanda says these stories are beyond ludicrous.”

Not really “the marines” Amanda’s lawyer was joking about but a nice story of friendship and solidarity. “America as I like it.”



[There’s a picture of Meredith to the back here, along with her accused killers’. FOA and Knox revel in phony ‘tributes’ and ‘honor’ to Meredith, knowing it will pain the Kerchers]


Of course, as we now know, Sfarzo already had been receiving moneys from OGGI, from American networks, and, very likely, the Sollecito family.

I do not agree that he changed his mind about guilt at some point along the way.

It is my opinion, that, having known Mario Spezi from his time in Florence, he returned to Perugia to find ways to attack PM Mignini, and his primary goal was to attack his credibility and affect his Monster Of Perugia investigation through a full bore attack on his handling of the Meredith Kercher Murder case.

My opinion, as I say, but there simply is too much evidence of collusion with Mario Spezi and Douglas Preston, and financial inducements via Bruce Fischer’s gullible membership, as reported earlier.

The rest of his story, and the main point made, that the FOA had no connection with Amanda Knox’s family, (or Frank to the FOA) we know to be an outright lie, as FOA>Chris Mellas>Bruce Fischer. Note Sfarzo’s nearly two month stay with the Mellases.

Judge Heavey and others making regular donations amounting to tens of thousands of dollars to Frank Sfarzo and his never ending demands to them for more.



[Bruce Fischer, center, long chained to Sfarzo, now the toothless ‘attack dog’ of the FOA campaign]


The stories sourced from Frank about “˜Mignini’s Goons’ found its way into the CPJ, Committee to Protect Journalists, who never retracted their claim after finding out that Sfarzo lied to them, that he had assaulted police who were called by his sister when he attacked them for trying to take her away from his clutches. Maybe this had something to do with it: 

CPJ 2009 Donors

Douglas & Christine Preston

Julia Preston

Even his stories about not receiving any commissions from newspapers turned out to be a lie, he directed the RCS Group to send royalties for all the previous photos and stories to Seattle, and his pleas to send donations to another PayPal account (controlled by his aunt) were not because PayPal was creating problems for him, but because he was trying to avoid taxes. (I saw copies of his e-mails, and he was traveling with copies of his aunt’s ID).



[Frank with Judge Michael Heavey, shortly after his arrival in Seattle.]

Judge Michael Heavey

He is an interesting subject in himself, as one of the most fervid FOA.. Not having been very successful in his political ambitions, and admonished by the Judicial Ethics Council for his advocacy for Amanda Knox, he seemed to have some sort of emotional connection to the case, and maybe, like Bruce Fischer, wanted a springboard for his next venture, which now, grandly, is called Judges 4 Justice.

Here is our full investigation of him along with a video and transcript of his pro-Knox presentation repeated at numerous Rotary Club venues. He even took Frank Sfarzo and Dr. David Anderson to one in Yakima, WA on July 25, 2012.

At one of them (transcript) he repeats the claims of “˜corrupt and dishonest police’, “˜they planted evidence’, “˜kangaroo court’, “˜14 hour all night long interrogation’ canards. He also says elsewhere: “I used to think he (Mignini) was evil incarnate” and, shockingly, says:

The criminals are those who perpetuated a false accusation against two good young people. These police and prosecutors lied, cheated, and stole the innocence of two good young people. They are the criminals.

Why did the Supreme Court of Italy send this case back? Here is the answer

. In an effort to save face, the Italian Supreme Court joined the prosecution and the police of Perugia, and perpetuated these false accusations. The Italian Supreme Court has become criminals themselves. They continue the abuse of two good young people.

My prediction, this goes back for a third trial, there won’t be too much fanfare, and the verdict will be not guilty, insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. The Supreme Court, the Court of Cassation, does this to save face, but in reality, in my opinion, they have disgraced themselves as jurists, they continue to disgrace their country. Is this justice? I think not.

Is Judge Heavey unhinged? You can decide here..



[Frank, the loony Dr. David Anderson, and Judge Heavey at the Yakima Rotary. Anderson still attacks the victim’s family]

Bruce Fischer

Now we all have Bruce Fischer’s M.O. of intimidation and bullying behavior down pat. He is not simply an advocate for Amanda Knox, he is Chris Mellas’s surrogate in the online wars.

His enemies list, his attempts to “out” any anonymous individual who got in his way of building an Innocence-Anywhere-for-hire advocacy group. He promised to apply for charitable status, but became for profit.

His ballistic threats to expose the leakers who came forward on Frank Sfarzo’s behavior showed how important Frank Sfarzo was to their cause, there was no level he would not sink to, this has all been reported previously, in Parts I and II. The relevance, also, of the SfarzoGate Papers is that it sank Bruce Fischer.

But it was in his using of a very few volunteers to create the impression of widespread support that he undid himself. He even patently allowed the use of sock puppet accounts to out people, and to attack PM Giuliano Mignini.

And it was in his use of sock puppets to write articles for Wikipedia, and control the Meredith Kercher, Giuliano Mignini, and Candace Dempsey entries, that he exposed himself, and even, inadvertently, showed collusion with FBI agent Steve Moore.

Here is our investigation, in part on his methods.

But where Bruce really out-did himself was where FOA friends wrote numerous articles on the poorly editorially controlled (plus active collusion with the editors) Ground Report to write numerous libels about their favorite target, Dr Giuliano Mignini. (I also once got the “˜special treatment’. No biggie, I knew when I got involved this would happen, and this cause is worth it.)

Here is one comment written by an anonymous commenter “JLS1950” to another, “Heisenberg”:

JLS1950 > Heisenberg −

Sounds to me like Mignini seeks to protect the real traffickers from “competition”. I wonder if that might help shed some light on his connections to Guede…”

And who do you think was the source for this? Frank Sfarzo.

Note: “JLS 1950” is Joe Starr, a Seattle resident who was identified as being Chris Mellas’s best friend, and whose syntax, repeated libels and foul language for the last six years in various forums marks him as being one single awful person, regardless of how many ID’s he appropriates.



[Joel Simon of the now discredited CPJ, which did not fact check Frank’s allegations, then refused to retract after it turned out he lied.]

Example of major false Sfarzo allegation

this is Frank Sfarzo on Perugia Shock:

“MIGNINI WAS THERE AND THE INTERROGATION WAS VIDEO RECORDED” January 31, 2012

“I gave the order, to bring them both in together” ““Giobbi revealed at the trial. “So, as soon as the room was ready, with the camera set up and everything, she was called in”

“I was in a room together with the prosecutor Mignini” ““Giobbi adds”“ “We were watching the interrogation, so to study her reactions”.

“So, Giobbi reveals that Mignini was present! He is responsible, then, for everything that happened that night.”

But in the court transcript Dr Giobbi says nothing of the kind. The only other observer was Dr Profazio, the head of the Flying Squad. Dr Mignini was at home in bed.

And in his testimony there was zero mention of any camera. There was no recording. They were merely puzzling over Sollecito’s and Knox’s behavior.

So here’s a legal quiz.

After an investigation into a certain Perugian Blogger’s Blog is concluded, and someone wades through three years of slanderous shite, they find posts that accuse an officer of the court of consorting with drug traffickers, and protecting them, and lying about whether Amanda Knox’s interrogation was recorded, amongst many other false allegations.

In short, if he accuses said officer of the court of committing crimes.

Is that worthy of being sued for defamation, or is it not?

Steve Moore

Shortly after ex-FBI agent became convinced by his wife to look at the case in 2010, he started running illegal background checks on prominent commenters for guilt, as he admitted on his blog. His presentations on the case were uniformly, laughably, unprofessional.

There are more than a dozen posts on TJMK debunking him.

Chris and Edda Mellas

Not only do they organize and coordinate the FOA and Bruce Fischer wings of the Amandic Party, they have made it very clear that they approve and support their activities 100%.

And then they threw a party for the troops, but hid when the infamous group photo was taken, to hide their involvement. Luckily (see image of them above) we do have a picture of them there.

I blame them for their lack of respect and thinly disguised hostility towards the Kercher family, and for allowing their surrogates to attack the Kerchers as being motivated by “greed” when it was the Massei court that awarded the damages! The people who made such comments on their behalf were at that party, and they know that! The Kerchers, with their grace and perseverance, are the polar opposites of the classless Mellases.



(David Marriott, of the Marriott PR firm, who quickly lost control of the campaign as the FOA got into attack mode.)

Frank Sfarzo, again

This is before he realized it might be better to keep his mouth shut and disappear for a while:

“Damn, I’ve heard that pmfrs are slandering me seriously through one of their members, a certain “Tamale”, a certain “Ergon and various other anonimous (sic, I am not anonymous) slanderers (people so ashamed of themselves that they don’t even have the courage of appearing with their own name and face).  Good for my lawsuit. Hey, I didn’t know I was in jail”¦ Thank you “Michael”, hope you got valuable properties”¦”

No, I’m not “˜anonimous’. My photo and name’s been published on IIP since 2011, and when Sfarzo ran in to me at Cassazione in Rome on the afternoon of March 25, he couldn’t even make eye contact. He spent the whole day texting away (maybe he took a picture of me with his Blackberry? 😊. Then the last I saw of him was on the Porto Umberto I bridge that night at 10:00 PM, driving away in his little Smart Car, hunched down and still texting at the stop light.

On December 16, the lawyers for the Kercher family presented their arguments, in the Appeals court of Florence. They were there, as they had been since the beginning of the trial in Perugia, to speak for the real victim, Meredith Kercher, above all.

Then on December 17, the lawyers for Amanda Knox presented their case, which amounted to more than a rehash of false arguments. It was livened only by an e-mail from Knox, to which as the judge said, if she wants to defend herself, she can present herself in court.

Raffaele Sollecito’s lawyers will present their arguments January 09, and then the prosecution rebuttal January 10. From now on, nothing the few remaining FOA does will make any difference to the verdict, due January 15 approx.

The end

Who knew when I first commented on the case in 2010 where it would lead me? Yes, the case brought together all sorts of people, but in the end, it was the nastiest PR campaign I have ever observed. Amanda Knox, Chris Mellas, Frank Sfarzo, Douglas Preston, Michael Heavey, Bruce Fischer and Steve Moore all seemed to revel in this dirty fight.

One day, they may look back and ask “Was it worth it? Did it help the cases at all? The Monster Of Florence, Knox/Sollecito, against Mignini?” But somehow, I feel they are, and always will be, singularly unaware.



(Outside Cassazione, Aula No. 1, Rome, waiting for the court to return. 8:30 PM, Mar. 25, 2013. This is when the wheels fell off the PR bus.)

Acknowledgement

Much of the background is based on research on the principals conducted and reported in the pages of the PMF dot net forum,, the PMF dot org forum,, and TJMK here..

I want to mention Nell and guermantes, Kermit and James Raper, The Machine, jools, Mr. and Mrs. Fly By Night, Yummi, Peter Quennell, and brmull (who sadly is no longer commenting on the case), and many more. The rest, too many to list here, but gratefully acknowledged.

And also I was fortunate to be entrusted with information from many confidential sources about Frank Sfarzo, and to obtain more when I went to Rome to attend the hearing at Cassazione March 25-26, when the Italian Supreme Court accepted the appeal of the Umbrian prosecutor general Dr. Galati and annulled the acquittal of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.

This was a collaborative effort, and my thanks to all of you.


Monday, December 09, 2013

The Rise And Fall Of “Frank Sfarzo” And His Disastrous Trip To The US And Canada

Posted by Ergon



[Frank Sforza riding high in his first days in the US]


Part II on Frank

My Part 1 post in this series is just below this post, and others will follow. Much of this first emerged on PMF dot Net. TJMK has posted about Frank in early days, and about the Seattle court.


Who is the real Frank Sfarzo?

Born July 04, 1963, in Rome, his real name is Francesco Sforza. This is confirmed by his passport data which I saw. He tried for years to hide it, and it is of public interest since, when arrested for assault, he again, deliberately misspelled his name. Like Bruce Fis(c)her, he tried to hide his many slanderous and libelous accusations on his blog behind the handle ‘Frank Sfarzo’.

The son of a doctor (like Raffaele Sollecito) he got a degree in philosophy from the University of Perugia (Candace Dempsey, Murder In Italy). Then his peripatetic lifestyle took him from Florence to Naples, a stint in the US, and work as a director of production in the troubled 2006 movie And Quiet Flows The Don.

When the Meredith Kercher case broke late in 2007, he was the first blogger, on his new site Perugia Shock, to write about the case. Moving back from Florence to Perugia, he managed a student flophouse, then he lived with his mother in a flat paid for through her pension check - his pattern for some time had been to live off the patronage of women.

These articles are based on a series of posts I wrote on PMF dot Net  - the SfarzoGate Papers. They are also based on interviews of many people who knew him personally - one common theme was how financially insecure he was, often to the point of stealing from their wallets/purses, and getting caught shoplifting from a local Coop store (September 06, 2010)



[Perugia Shock in 2008 stiil supportive of Meredith, sarcastic of Knox]


Insertion into the case

Despite receiving lots of moneys from US supporter networks for his local intelligence (I saw evidence that pointed to a leak from inside the Questura, for which the prosecutors began an investigation against him in January 2009) his big dream was a) to own property and b) write a book/movie about the case.

It was this that drove him into the arms of the Friends Of Amanda (see forthcoming Part III about their support for him and his blog Perugia Shock coming shortly) and to literally “˜turn on a dime’ in 2008 from being convinced of Amanda Knox’s guilt (he has always maintained Raffaele Sollecito’s relative innocence) to becoming, not just a pro-Amanda Knox blogger, but allying himself with the anti-Mignini forces in Perugia who wanted to impede his Monster Of Florence murder investigation.


The war upon Dr Mignini

The MOF series of ritualistic sex based murders took place in the Florence area in the 70’s, and it fell to the prosecutor Dr Giuliano Mignini, with ace criminal investigator Michele Giuttari, to carry on the work of earlier prosecutors. Much of the misreporting on the MOF case was sourced to Mario Spezi, who, allied with American writer Doug Preston, started a campaign of slander against Mignini from 2006 on that continues to this day.

My sources tell me that Frank knows Spezi quite well, and as well he is allied with the Berlusconi forces who wanted to carry out their attack on the Italian judiciary. But, seeing how Doug Preston supposedly got a movie deal with Tom Cruise’s company, then after that with George Clooney, to film The Monster Of Florence, he hoped to have a similar movie made about the Amanda Knox case, with him working on it of course.

Neither movie looks to be made now, which adds to much bitterness in some quarters.



[Knox in Seattle with Frank; she came to mistrust him]


The Perugia domestic dispute

Then, as tends to happen, the wheels came off the PR bus. Frank’s sisters, concerned about how he was taking advantage of his mother, tried to intervene, he became abusive, the police were called for the domestic dispute September 10, 2010; he went ballistic, and attacked them.

It was this incident, with the resulting assault charge he has managed to avoid so far, that he has spun into a web of lies about “˜Mignini’s persecution’ with the assistance of his muse, Candace Dempsey, author of Murder In Italy, the Friends Of Amanda Knox and Bruce Fischer, the co-owner with Sarah Snyder of the for profit Innocence-Anywhere (formerly Injustice In Perugia) website.



[The initial accomodation the Mellases hoped Frank would accept]


His begging for money

His sisters having whisked his mother off to their own home, he was without funds and about to lose his apartment. From a begging e-mail of Frank’s, Feb. 23, 2012: “They knew my sister was against me, the women in my family are unfortunately bad, you guys are saving me, I will always be grateful, I will be filing the complaint to have “˜Piggy’ and his gang tried, I will write the movie about this case, we will do great things together”.

He also claimed it was his sisters who were stealing the family funds, and that Mignini’s actions in the Meredith Kercher case were “˜criminal’ (which is the reason for the criminal defamation lawsuit he must now appear for in Florence).

Pleas for financial assistance ensued, along with hints he might be closing down his rejigged website and moving to the United States for “other journalistic projects”. He actually asked for 10,000 Euros through Bruce Fischer’s website!


His attempt to move to US

The reality was, Italy beginning to pall, and with the outstanding assault charge, he hoped to make a permanent move to the US, with the help (he thought) of his prominent American supporters.

Funds began to flow, and by my estimation he has received “˜donations’ in the tens of thousands of dollars. Which never, sadly, was enough. Just one Canadian supporter, who was abused by Frank after arrival, sent him 7000 dollars (confirmation posted by him on dot NET) in the form of 500 Euro monthly payments, plus his return air ticket.



[The Vashon Sportsmens Club where Frank & the FOA met]


Frank arrives in Seattle

The supporter gave the date of his arrival at Seattle Air Port July 20, 2012, along with fellow Knox supporter Dr. David Anderson, with whom he’d been staying in Perugia.

Frank managed to invite himself to the Mellas household, promising to reveal all about the investigation that would blow it wide open. He also claimed to have copies of the Amanda Knox “˜interrogation’ by the police and PM Mignini, which also, turned out to be a lie.



[The FOA publicity planning meeting inside the bar]

His first accomodation

Offered a bunk in Chris Mellas’s boat parked in his driveway, he threw a fit, and demanded to be housed in their home.

Where he ended up, staying with them for two months beginning July and including the Canadian interlude. Judge Michael Heavey who also had been sending regular monthly contributions (I am told around 300 Euros) escorted him around Washington State, then took him and Dr. Anderson to another of his pro-Knox anti-Mignini Rotary Club Club meetings on July 25, 2012.

The problem was that the Mellas clan and Bruce Fischer had already planned the big Vashon Island get together at the Vashon Sportsman’s Inn, Saturday July 28, 2012, to plan and coordinate the PR push for the shortly to be released books, and thank her supporters.

Therefore, not wanting to risk a blowup, they tried to placate him, while complaining to themselves about his behavior.

Knox stepdad Chris Mellas even told the Canadian supporter that Frank was a “˜difficult house guest’, this a week after he’d arrived (!) while Candace Dempsey, sitting next to them, nodded agreement.



[The FOA publicity group photo inside the bar. Some in hiding, we have other photos]


Frank Sforza and Amanda

Frank sat all day next to Amanda, who seems in her pictures to have a horrified fascination with Frank, who posed front and center for many group photos, and grandiosely boasted how he was going to “˜reveal all about the gang of criminals’.

The supporters, who numbered over 60, including Judge Heavey, Steve Moore, Tom Rochelle, Joe Bishop, and Bruce Fischer, all lapped it up. Later, when the infamous finger salute Group Photo was taken, it was with the instruction to “send a message to Mignini”. Shouts of “Pignini” rang out.

Frank was working very hard after that to find a way to stay in the US. He looked into obtaining a Green Card, but most of the female supporters were already married/not interested. Photos taken of him with them at the time show an adoring, rapturous group, though that changed after the stories came out.



[Frank points to Screech Rum bottle from “Bill Williams” in kind host’s house. He looks very angry]


Frank’s Canadian interludes:

His first visit over the border for a week, went well. His Canadian supporters, one of whom, “Bill Williams” (a Canadian reverend) posts thousands of Groupie posts, met him with a bottle of “Screech Rum”.

The second visit, though, was when it all began to unravel.

A Canadian border service agent intercepted Frank, and, not believing his story why he was visiting Canada, seized his passport, and ordered him to report back to the agency the next day, August 25, with his Canadian sureties, “Bill”, and “Peter”. He was allowed to stay over, but things began to unravel after that. (I saw the passport seizure document)

Frank became increasingly erratic. Not satisfied with the money already received from his host, “Peter”, he requested a “˜business loan’ of $25,000 to set up a beach bar. “Peter”, a successful retired businessman, was struck by Frank’s lack of business acumen, said the plan was unfeasible, and declined.

Frank Sfarzo, who had never held a long term job or owned property in his life, began to insult him, calling his $750,000 home a “˜barn’ and other personal insults. Yet all he did in the nearly a month he was there was watch soap operas all day long, plus work on his blog, which his supporters helped him edit.

In the end, when one of Frank’s tirades became too unbearable, his host, concerned for his safety, called the RCMP at 4:00 AM in the morning, who then escorted Frank, uttering threats of “suing” everybody,  to the border, and expelled him from Canada. He is now barred from entering the country. In turn, Frank accused his 71 yr. old host of sexually molesting him! The police didn’t believe him, of course.


Frank is back in Seattle

Frank returned to Seattle, where he was asked to leave the Mellas home after making a pass at Amanda Knox. Chris Mellas famously called him a “mooch” and an “exploiter”, and asked the Hawaiian supporter to delete Amanda’s personal information from Frank’s telephone, but everyone was too scared of him to do much else.

Frank then stayed a few days Edda Mellas’s sister, Janet Huff’s home (he calls her and her daughter a “˜bitch’) then various homes until he ended up in a rooming house owned by another supporter, at 2283 Viewmont Way W. Seattle, on a three month lease beginning October 01, 2012 at $525 a month (paid for by the FOA, Frank’s funds were running low)



[The hotel where Franks kind host paid his bill]


Frank’s Hawaiian adventure

Frank’s visitor’s permit running out, he accepted an invitation from another American supporter, then a long standing member of Bruce Fischer’s forum. He thought she was rich, she thought he was a misunderstood soul who corresponded with her regularly (she paid for a month’s rent, sent a ticket as well to Kona airport).

Frank arrived November 08, 2012, on a seven day ticket. He was due to return November 14, but his plans were to get married, and obtain a Green card.

Surprise. She wasn’t rich, wasn’t interested in marriage, and lived off the land in a little mountain community. He started the usual pattern of verbal abuse. They were peasants, she was a “˜loser’, etc. The people there were going to beat him up, she saved him from that. Even the dogs hated him.

Trying to salvage the trip, she took him to a hotel room (which she paid for) for the last day on the island. Frank started with the abuse again, struck her, she fled to the desk and called the police. She just wanted him removed and to catch his flight, he threatened to sue the police, they arrested him for assault. He claimed she threw luggage at him, but it was she who had the bruises to show to the police. She fled the room right after.

He was held overnight, released the next day and told to appear in court the next week on assault charges. Which he did, and she, just wanting to have him leave the island, declined to press charges, which can still be reinstated, should she chose to do so. Copies of all his arrest warrants and charges have already been published on PMF dot NET and PMF dot ORG.



[Seattle Municipal courthouse where Frank was supposed to attend trial December 31, 2012]


Denouement:

When the news of his arrest broke, there was shock all around at PR central and Bruce Fischer’s ORG. Bruce tried to cover it up, deleted his forum member’s allegations (I found and saved it in the hour it was up)

I expressed sympathy on PMF dot Net, she read it, contacted me, and the rest, as they say is history. Bruce tried to intimidate her by revealing her past sexual history, which Frank passed to him (so she posted it herself, she’s a victim of sexual assault, and decided she didn’t ever want to be a victim again)

Then when Peter, the Canadian host spoke up on her behalf, Bruce tried to pass it off as “˜just too much to drink on both sides’ and this caused an uproar in his own forum, as members, appalled, quit in droves. And some of them, contacted me.

Of course, Bruce, who likes to intimidate and abuse, (as former friend Steve Shay found out) allowed Knox “˜family friend’ Karen Pruett to reveal the accuser’s identity, even though we had obscured her name in our reporting.

Frank got into an argument with two men at the rooming house who called him out on his behavior, he sucker punched one from behind and bit another, a disabled person. He was arrested and charged with assault, held overnight, arraigned the next day, probable cause found, and he was told to appear in court December 31, 2012. Which he didn’t, having fled back to Italy.

Just like in Hawaii, he provided false ID and was charged as “Francesco Sforca” though we were able to locate the court records anyway. His supporters say he was stopped at the border from returning, but that is a lie. He was in Italy throughout that time, my sources tell me. Someone is out $2,500 bail money.



[Seattle airport where Frank took off from after arrest, never to return]


Postscript

Francesco Sforza, also known as Frank Sfarzo, who travelled with and left behind files, photos and videos of a murdered girl in three different cities, should know that all his “˜property’ has been forwarded to the authorities to return to their rightful owner, whoever that might be. I do not know whether that forms or is part of an investigation into his activities, nor do I care.

(To be continued in Part III, Frank Sfarzo and the FOA, due sometime this weekend)


Friday, December 06, 2013

The Rise And Fall Of “Frank Sfarzo” And How “Sfarzogate” Ripples On And On

Posted by Ergon



[Image is from Francesco Sforza’s early days in Seattle last year when he felt he was riding very high]


December 06, 2013. Francesco Sforza also known as Frank Sfarzo is due to appear today in a Florence criminal court.

He is charged with aggravated defamation (art. 595 of the Italian Criminal Code) against the Deputy Prosecutor General for Umbria (Perugia’s region)  Dr Giuliano Mignini, because he is a very senior officer of the court, with the alleged intention of obstructing justice on Knox’s behalf.

The charges refer to multiple accusations of criminality Sforza made online on his now hidden or defunct blog “Perugia Shock”. A prison term is unlikely if found guilty at this one trial, but the problem is that he faces a trial for violence against police in Perugia as well.

Who is Frank Sfarzo? Is he “a Perugian blogger and investigative journalist” and “personable black haired man with intense brown eyes”? (Candace Dempsey, who relied extensively on his personal contacts and blog for her book “Murder In Italy”)

Or as journalist Andrea Vogt wrote in a May 27, 2009 Seattle PI article,

Dempsey was one of the first U.S. bloggers to post key court documents. (Sourced from Sfarzo) She is now writing a book on the case. The other defense site is Perugia Shock, the first blog about the case, which started Nov. 2, 2007. Perugia Shock’s comment threads are home to some of the most heated Knox-related exchanges online.

Perugia Shock is hosted on a California server and financed by an American firm, according to the Perugia-based blogger who covers the case and operates the site under the alias “Frank Sfarzo.

“Also known as Frank Sfarzo, this home-spun blogger set up his blog “Perugia Shock” the day after (sic) Meredith’s body was found. The Knox family initially relied on his local intelligence, and he exchanged videos and information with pro-Amanda Seattle blogger Candace Dempsey”. Source: Darkness Descending page 324.

The journalist Barbie Nadeau has this to say about Sforza in “Angel Face” pages-89-91:

The first blog dedicated to the crime, Perugia Shock, was set up on November 02, 2007, the day Meredith’s body was discovered. The blogger, Frank Sfarzo, a skeletal man with a waxed crew cut, ran a student flophouse in town and believes that he missed a call from Meredith while she was looking for lodging.

When I later asked him in an e-mail why he started the blog, he explained the connection and described how Meredith had looked at the coroners: “Seriously, she was so beautiful and sweet, she seemed to be alive, with the mascara on her eylashes (sic), just like ready to go out.

“Sfarzo hid behind the handle, “Frank the blogger,” and he would never confirm whether he actually saw Meredith on the autopsy table or simply saw the coroner’s photos. (He saw the photos, and obtained copies) He ingratiated himself with several clerks and cops around town and, curiously, often had a document no one else could get or a scoop that beat out the rest of the press.

He started out as an objective observer, slightly sympathetic to Meredith, but became a rabid proponent of Amanda’s innocence. He was the quintessential blogger—a smart, cryptic, insomniac. Even the chief prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini, read his posts.

Mignini always believed that Frank’s blog was intellectually inspired and financially subsidized by Mario Spezi, the Italian journalist who covered the Monster of Florence serial killer for La Nazione. During the 1970’s and 80’s, several couples were murdered as they made love in their cars in the foothills around Florence. Spezi followed the investigation for years and pinned his reputation on a theory of the case that Mignini disputed. Eventually, Mignini had Spezi jailed for obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence.

Note: this is how the American fiction writer Douglas Preston got involved with Spezi, and latched on to the Meredith Kercher murder case as a way of getting back against Mignini, also supporting Frank Sfarzo behind the scenes.

Why is Frank Sfarzo so important to this case? It is about public perception about the guilt, or innocence of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, and how he was the source of many of the myths about the case and prosecutor Giuliani Mignini that have made it into the mainstream media. Yes, he had many police files, improperly obtained, and insecurely kept.

This article is the first of a series of posts about his activities in that regard, the true story of his so called “˜persecution’ by Dr Mignini, and the financial and other support he received from the supporters of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, and their families. He even hid his relationship with OGGI magazine.

It reveals why he really fled Italy to America, attempting to get a green card in the process, and the many cases of assault that are still outstanding against him. It details the story of his arrests for assault in Perugia, Hawaii, and Seattle, and the circumstances of his expulsion from Canada.

It will tell how he received tens of thousands of dollars in “˜donations’ from prominent supporters of Knox and Sollecito funneled through Bruce Fischer’s organizations “Injustice in Perugia” and “Injustice Anywhere” as well as his and other people’s PayPal accounts (I have the details) And it will detail the behind the scenes efforts to influence the case using Frank Sfarzo as a source for the allegations against Mignini through websites like IIP and Ground Report, which then made its way into the media.

This series will also reveal much about Frank Sfarzo, the man. Someone who believed primarily in Knox’s guilt (with Sollecito as the roped in sex-slave) it shows a flawed being willing to compromise himself to make money, and also, fulfill his long held dream to have “˜books written and movies made’.

In the course of this investigation, I met with and interviewed many previous supporters who now wish they had never met him, and some, who even, conclude that his reporting on the case was based on self-serving lies. The behavior of those that enabled him also comes under scrutiny, and, their attempts to intimidate people into not speaking up about his actions. 

They indeed, had much to hide.

This report is based on the hundreds of posts I made on him at PMF dot Net, with much help from the posters and editors there and at PMF dot Org. It was heartening to see the cooperation between the two sites and thanks are due to them, and also to Peter Quennell, who first invited me to join the Meredith Kercher community three years back (I’d been posting on the case at Huffington Post previously)

What will happen to Frank in court? I do not know, but it does appear, that the falsehoods he spread are beginning to unravel. I see he has surfaced again, after hiding from the authorities for so long. Reporting on Bruce Fischer’s blog, he writes “they attack me for speaking up”. No, I’m sorry. In this, as it always has been, the blogger Francesco Sforza, also known as Frank Sfarzo, is the author of his own misfortune.

Part II of the series, “The Sfarzo~Gate Papers”, will be published here next week. ~Ergon


[Below: This picture has a story behind it. Frank Sfarzo stayed almost two months at the Mellas household, and was later shunted off to various supporters when he made a sexual move on Amanda Knox.]


Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Appeal Session #3: The Carabinieri Labs Report On The DNA On The Knife

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[Above: an image of similar testing in the same Carabinieri laboratory in north Rome]

Final Update

So the court session does not even extend beyond the lunch hour. Good morning Seattle! At this moment it is still only 3:30 in the morning there. Only night owls will know what happened.

Yummi and Mason2 may have more for us, which will appear either here below this final update on in Comments.  Also Andrea Vogt and hopefully Barbie Nadeau will be filing longer reports in English. We will also check out all the Italian reporting.

Hard to see any game changers in today’s strong but undramatic testimony. The Carabinieri RIS DNA experts could not be shaken. All momentum remains with the prosecution and with the Supreme Court’s “givens” on the evidence, such as the presence of three attackers in Meredith’s room. 

The defenses seem to be giving up. They could have phoned it in. Sollecito lawyer Bongiorno didnt make any new fuss. And Amanda Knox lawyer Dalla Vedova was cut off by the lead judge several times, for trickily going off the point. He really is out of his depth in a criminal trial; at the same time often condescending.

And a seeming big slap in the face for the American defense stooge Greg Hampikian who seems to have illegally colluded with the disgraced Hellmann consultants Conti and Vecchiotti (who were not even mentioned today) when Judge Nencini asked Dr Barni “Would you be able to provide reliable standards without using suggestions from Americans?” Dr Barni responded “Of course”.

And Sollecito “wasted” his statement by whining about his life, showing no compassion for Meredith (despite his claimed visit to her grave), and not answering any of the dozens of open questions. Sollecito really needed to show he is both strong and compassionate and NOT a weakling under the thumb of Amanda - but he seems to have done quite the opposite. The family lawyer must not be too pleased.

Fifth Update

The opening of Frank Sforza’s trial in the same courthouse is postponed, apparently because new information on his campaign to poison opinion against the judiciary and his unsavory connections has been coming in.

Information will be exchanged that is gathered at this trial on mafiosos Luciano Aviello and at Aviello’s own trial for obstruction of justice which is now proceeding in the same Florence courthouse in parallel.

The findings and possible charges on the defamatory and dishonest books by Knox and Sollecito are due about now from the Florence and Bergamo prosecutors. Information gathered in those investigations could also be fed in to this process, or put aside for separate trials.

As both the AK and RS books are bulging with the standard PR talking points (some of which flowed from Frank Sforza and Doug Preston) in a sense it will be Curt Knox, the Mellases, Marriott, Sforza, Fischer and Moore who will be put under the microscope.

Fourth Update

A more detailed report on the DNA phase today from the Andrea Vogt website.

The RIS Wednesday deposited their forensic report on trace 36i, a spot of DNA identified (but not earlier tested) on the kitchen knife alleged to be the murder weapon. “Cento Percento” (100 percent) said Major Berti, discussing compatibility. The RIS found that the DNA was compatible with Amanda Knox, and excluded that it was that of Sollecito, Guede or Kercher. 

The RIS expert was asked only a few questions from attorneys and the judge. The judge asked why the RIS had done two amplications of the DNA and not 3 or 4. Major Berti described that two is considered the minimum number of amplifications necessary, according to today’s forensic standards, doing less (or more) might have diminished the reliability of the results. The judge also asked about the age of the equipment used. Berti responded that the forensic kit used this time has been commercialized since 2010 and available for use since 2011. 

At one point the judge stopped a line of questioning by Knox’s Rome attorney Carlo Dalla Vedova, who was asking why the RIS described Knox’s DNA as “fluids” when a prior expert had said the trace did not come from blood.  Nencini said: That question was not put to the RIS by this court, it was not their job to determine that. The other experts’ reports are in the case files for everyone to read, he noted, adding: “We cannot put words in the mouth of this expert that were said by another expert.”


Third Update

Tweets from our main poster Yummi (Machiavelli)

32. Judge Nencini’s comments were always addressed at Dalla Vedova’s arguments, who was in fact a bit silly

31. The Judge declared the evidence phase closed. Next court dates are 25 November for prosecution argument and 26 for the defences with 16 and 17 December.

30. Judge Nencini asked Dr Barni “would you be able to provide reliable standards without using suggestions from Americans?” Dr Barni: “of course”

29. Dalla Vedova said Tagliabracci was the only Italian source in the RIS report, all others are foreigners, emphasized the American labs…

28. Sollecito said his family absolutely never had issues with justice. And he is a proud ‘member’ of that family

27. He also played the ‘national’ card, as he remphasized ‘I am Italian’ twice and then addressed the court ‘I am an Italian, as you are’

26. Sollecito mentioned the defens’s arguments (he has an orthopedical issue with his foot etc.).

25. The questions of all parties to the experts were intended to elicit information to be used in arguing the unrelated previous finding

24. He mentioned Meredith’s name only once, to say he barely knew her.

23. Sollecito talked with a faint voice, a long speech in which he described himself as a victim.

22. The Carabinieri say that there are only a few governmental laboratories which have the 17025 certificate (the Carabinieri and the Police)

21. Nencini stops Dalla Vedova, points out that scientific community is international

20. Dalla Vedova tries to elicit that the good standards are not the Italian ones.

19. The RIS obtained the ISO9001 certificate in 2008, and a more specific certificate in 2012.

18. Bongiorno asks RIS to explain why two amplifications are recommended.

17. Prosecutor Crini asks if there are criteria to distinguish which labs or which experts are more competent.

16. Speaking about their software which allows to weight probabilities of attribution.

15. They note that three alleles which are ‘alien’ were drop off in one duplicate.

14. The biologic method has a ‘consensus’ interpretation and a ‘composite’ interpretation, two ways to interpret the double result.

13. They describe the methods employed, the ‘biologic’ method and the ‘statistic’ method.

12. Absence of any male trace stands out as a feature of the sample (all contributors are females)

11. They extracted two profiles in a duplicate in agreement with experts of all parties

10. Dr Berti says the sample was a low template. They have a strategy to obtain reliable results.

9. Points out that documentation says sample 36i comes from insertion of blade in the handle.

8. Dr. Berti summarizes the recovery of sample in Vecchiotti’s lab.

7. Bongiorno says Sollecito intends to release a spontaneous declaration. He will do that after the experts testimony.

6. Berti and Barni enter the court.

5. Many law students from the Florence school for Magistrates are in court to follow the hearing.

4. Sollecito had managed to enter the courtroom from side entrance eluding photographers. Carlo Torre arrives in court.

3. Giulia Bongiorno & Raff kiss each other. Giulia, Raff & Father have a worried discussion

2. I wonder… will the court withdraw his passport?

1. Raffaele Sollecito is in courtroom. Walking in empty room, few people waiting. Hearing will start 1/2h probably


Second Update

Tweets from Patricia Thomas (AP) and Sabina Castelfranco (AP)

Patricia Thomas “@MozzarellaMamma:  RaffaeleSollecito - Amanda Knox and I were very carefree and isolated in our love nest.

Sabina Castelfranco “@SCastelfranco:  Sollecito says he is not the assassin he has been described as. Says Amanda was his first love

Patricia Thomas “@MozzarellaMamma:  RaffaeleSollecito - I have been described as an assassin. Amanda Knox was my first real love in life

Patricia Thomas “@MozzarellaMamma:  RaffaeleSollecito takes stand to make statement, starts complaining about media descriptions of himself


First Update

Tweets from Barbie Nadeau

35. Nov 25 - prosecution; 26 - civil; Dec 16 - Sollectio; 17 - Knox; Jan 9 - rebuttals, 10 deliberation and verdict

34. Dec. 16, 17 closing arguments for Knox and Sollecito

33. Judge closes hearing for day, says closing arguments begin Nov 25, 26, must find December dates to conclude

32. Sollecito finishes by thanking judges for their time, judge tells him he can intervene any time during rest of appeal until they deliberate

31. Sollecito says he hates the fame, how it has hurt him, how it isn’t fair

20. Sollecito says he has a difficult time looking for work, people associate him with the murder of meredith kercher

29. Sollecito says that even on his vacation in Dominican Republic, he had to defend himself like a public figure, his life is judged by all

28. Sollecito repeats twice that he never met Rudy Guede, how nothing in original trial was based on reality.

27. Sollecito takes trip down memory lane, highlights worst parts of trial and incarceration for him, has not mentioned meredith kercher yet

26. RaffaeleSollecito - I feel a persecution. It is a nightmare, beyond all imagination.

25. RaffaeleSollecito—close to tears as he testifies to court “I am fighting every day to bring out the truth” 

24. Jury totally transfixed by sollecito declaration, can’t take their eyes off him

23. Sollecito thanks and defends his family, calls amand knox his first love

22. Judge asks for Sollecito declaration now

21. Judge asks about relevance of kit they used, how old technology was, etc.

20. Judge asks what minimum testing is for validation of DNA, RIS says “at least two”

19. Judge tells Dallavedova he cannot put words in mouth of new expert that were said by previous experts, this is fresh analysis

18. Judge clarifies that RIS was not asked to reanalyze work that has been done, but to test a sample that has not been tested.

17. Dallavedova essentially kicks goal into own net, not doing amanda knox any favors by making RIS defend methods used in original conviction

16. Dallavedova manages to get RIS expert to defend Italian methods, says they are in line with global standards, this was crux of 1st appeal

15. DallaVedova asks about international protocol, backfires slightly b/c RIS expert says he doesn’t want to dis italian methods, are valid too

14. Bongiorno hammers point that international standards in DNA must be followed ([claims]they were not for meredithkercher sample on tip of knife)

13. Jury in new appeal trial for amanda knox; sollecito look totally lost, lots of daydreaming during DNA testimony, nail biting, looking around

12. Bongiorno asks RIS expert specifics of amplification of sample with an eye to trace with meredith kercher DNA that was amplified many times

11. Prosecutor asking for clarification on how samples are tested, how RIS experts are qualified, etc.

10. RIS: DNA testing as important to exclude suspects as to confirm them, in this case no question that amandaknox DNA is on knife, others’ not

9. RIS: testifying about international standards necessary to validate DNA, how they used in their examination of this particular spot on knife

8. Sollecito listening attentively and jotting notes as RIS expert testifies about the knife

7. RIS: the spot they tested on the knife (near handle) matched definitively the DNA of amandaknox in double tests

6. RIS: the spot they tested on the knife did not match meredith kercher or rudy guede or sollecito after double testing

5. RIS: Experts tested spot “H” [?] on the knife (the spot near the handle) for both the victim meredith kercher and suspect

4. RIS: DNA analysis showed no x chromosome, i.e.: no male chromosome in sample they tested on knife

3. RIS: essential in DNA testing to double test samples to validate results

2. RIS expert: explains technical details of testing DNA, how much is needed, how it is tested

1. Judge says he wants to hear from RIS experts first and then sollecito can give his declaration


Initial Post

Well, that first shot from the court at the top sure is a surprise, and maybe bad news for Amanda Knox. Where are Sollecito’s other lawyers, Bongiorno and Maori? Presumably they are off to the side talking. .

In tweets Andrea Vogt has mentioned that she is reporting for the BBC and the Associated Press TV; reporters cannot have bigger clients or more global reach than with those two. This is from Andrea Vogt’s website.

Court is now in session. Day will begin with RIS forensic debates. Raffaele Sollecito will make a statement later in the day.

Sollecito arrived in the Florence court of appeals looking relaxed and ready to make his case before the court later in the day. His father, Francesco Sollecito, also appeared visibly happy to have his son back in arms reach, after an extended stay in the Caribbean. A large number of his friends were in the audience.

Forensic experts for the defense Walter Patumi, Carlo Torre and Sarah Gino were also in attendance in preparation for debate on the new DNA evidence tested by the RIS in Rome, specifically, trace 36i on the kitchen knife alleged to be the murder weapon. RIS say the DNA profile is that of Amanda Knox. Arguments today will mostly about how it might have gotten there, with prosecutors attempting to place it in the context of the murder and defense attorneys arguing it could have been transferred during normal domestic use of the utensil.

Next hearings are Nov. 25-26, with a verdict expected in mid-December.


Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Appeal Court Sessions This Wednesday And Thursday Dont Look Very Promising For The Defenses

Posted by Peter Quennell




Expected proceedings and backdrop

The Carabinieri DNA report will be the main item and after an interruption from Sollecito we could see the final summations begin.

It is hard to believe that Doug Preston and other deniers of the plain facts have exulted in recent months that the Florence prosecution and court could be a big plus for the perps in their appeal. Presumably their joy was based on highly out-of-date takes on the 2010 move against Dr Mignini by a rogue Florence prosecutor in front of a rogue Florence judge.

Well, guess what? Both have been edged aside (like Hellmann and Zanetti), and the Florence Appeal Court and the Supreme Court have scathingly reversed Dr Mignini’s (and Dr Giuttari’s) faux conviction. And despite some ill-advised smearing still emanating from the Fischers, Moores, and other Knox parasites, Dr Mignini and his colleagues are seeing their careers and popularity (and 2009 success) riding very high. 

Judge Nencini and Prosecutor Crini are both hardened anti-Mafia battlers, and the not-so-hidden hand of the mafia in the Italian media campaign to poison public opinion against the court will not have escaped their attention for sure.

At least half a dozen of the parties on the defense bandwagon are known fellow-travelers of the mafia, and at least two are already headed for court - Luciano Aviello is already there for obstruction of justice, and Mario Spezi is headed there soon for a false and very elaborate framing of murder, a charge which could put him (and maybe Preston) away for a long while. The editor of Amanda Knox’s favorite mouthpiece, Oggi, is another we may see.

The same Florence prosecutors and courts will also be putting Frank Sforza on trial starting this wednesday with a preliminary hearing at which the details of the charges against him will enter the public domain. We will post then at more length. Our past commentary on Sforrza can be read here.

Frank Sforza has been a very close ally of some of the more hotheaded and misleading Amanda Knox supporters (both the Mellases, Steve Moore, Bruce Fischer, Michael Heavey, among others) and if he squeals to keep himself safe and out of jail, their own legal fortunes could take a big fall.

Frank Sforza is also required to appear for trial both in Perugia and Seattle, in both jurisdictions for physical abuse. If he fails to show in Florence (his Rome address is quite well known) we expect to see him nabbed by the police and sent on his way in handcuffs to all three trials. 

The same Florence prosecutors and courts are also contemplating new charges against Raffaele Sollecito and his publishing and PR bandwagon for the wild claims in his book, which were designed to poison public opinion agains the court and make him a ton of money. Those claims are a real minefield for Sollecito when he gets up and talks as they conflict both with what his team has said in court and what Knox said in her book.

Knox’s book, which was also designed to poison public opinion against the court and make her a ton of money, is being investigated by the chief prosecutor in Bergamo up north. At a minimum, the Florence prosecutors and judges will already know of this attack on the chief prosecutor which seems enough for a guilty verdict all by itself.

Contexting the DNA report

The main findings of the Carabinieri labs were summarised in the post directly below.

This further take on the context, and on who is up and who is down, was kindly contributed by one of our Italian court-watchers, who has many connections in Florence and Rome, and who sees the prosecution DNA teams as riding high now, and the defense forces and Vecchiotti and Conti as left with with no place to hide.

Dr. Barni and Dr. Berti, the two court-appointed Carabinieri RIS experts, are the authors of various internationally-circulated articles about presumptive blood tests, where they prove the opposite of some of the things the Sollecito—Knox sycophants deny. For example that bleach does decompose quickly when exposed to air and does not react to luminol after some 1-2 days.

Patrizia Stefanoni also has respected publications as a scientific author. In fact, in 2011 she was in the top 25 hits of forensic science with her publications, she has been even in first place  with this report.

The Carabinieri RIS note that the refrigerator has no temperature log; from this detail, albeit small within the overall report, we can deduce that Vecchiotti’s laboratory cannot have had ISO 9001 certification or any other international certification, given that the standards would require a temperature log.  Apparently the refrigerator doesn’t have an accurate thermometer either,  since the Carabinieri measured the temperature using one of their own.

Another detail noted at the beginning is this: the Carabinieri RIS expected the sample volume to be 24 microliters, since this was the remaining volume declared by Conti and Vecchiotti,  while Barni and Berti found it to be only between 16 and 17 microliters.  They infer that Vecchiotti and Conti might have been inaccurate on the estimation of the remaining amount after quantization, or hypothesize that the content might have evaporated over the last two years because the samples were not wrapped inside a protective film.

Vecchiotti and Conti had been already discredited, and have no credibility in the present appeal trial. However, the RIS finding might deliver a further blow to whatever might be their residual credibility. They had already previously been completely discredited because: 

    1. They were appointed by judges who are now completely discredited, whose conduct was found illegitimate for reasons of unprecedented gravity, and who received a devastating bashing from the Supreme Court;

    2. Vecchiotti and Conti were also discredited by Prosecutor Manuela Comodi in her court cross-eamaination in 2011, as the speciousness and falsehood of their arguments was exposed (this was the famous hearing where they claimed contamination on the ground that “everything is possible” and where Vecchiotti admitted she didn’t request negative controls)

    3. Vecchiotti and Conti were discredited scientifically by Novelli’s argument, as he explained that they should have tested the 36-I sample, and as he also explained that that he found no trace of contamination in the Scientific Police laboratory’s work, or any reason to suspect contamination of Meredith Kercher’s DNA, and he explained that attribution could be done accurately based on bio-statistical calculation without requiring a second confirmatory test.

    4. Finally, Vecchiotti and Conti were egregiously discredited by the Supreme Court which addressed a manifest issue in their “intellectual honesty”. Here is the Supreme Court ruling, page 65:  ” ... a member of the panel of experts could not assume any responsibility for unilaterally narrowing the scope of the mission, which was to be carried out without hesitation or reservation, in full intellectual honesty, giving a complete account of the possible insufficiency of the material or unreliability of the result. (...) “

The court mentions sardonically the judge-appointed expert’s “intellectual honesty”, and that is a very striking comment when found in a Supreme Court ruling: since the Cassazione is not a fact-finding panel, they don’t write about factual conclusions unless they appear prima facie as manifest and undisputable.

So the Supreme Court considers there are problems of intellectual honesty in the work of Vecchiotti and Conti, something manifest and obvious; the Court acknowledges they are obvious, something that anyone can see, which does not require a fact-finding by a judiciary organ to be pointed out.

Now the Carabinieri RIS report may bring further discredit upon Vecchiotti and Conti, if they have any credibility left. There are at least two reasons for this:

    1) Because the finding of a reliable DNA profile belies the assessment that was given by Vecchiotti and Conti that extraction of a profile would be impossible, and demonstrates that in fact it was possible to extract a reliable profile; incidentally the fact that a Carabinieri RIS test was ordered itself implicitly denies Hellmann-Zanetti’s assessment that any result from 36-I would anyway be useless because contamination could have occurred outside the laboratory; but also it credits Novelli while it discredits Veccchiotti and Conti on a scientific level,  because it explicitly denies the idea that small (Low Template) DNA amounts are unreliable.

    2) Because the Carabinieri RIS test employs the method proposed by Novelli, that is to couple Stefanoni’s “˜biologic’ analysis method with the statistical probability assessment method, in order to come to a certain attribution. Moreover, the Carabinieri RIS also point out that they can do this by assessing only 11 loci from a complex trace which also has foreign alleles (whereas trace 36-B analysed by Stefanoni was a “˜clean’, non-mixed profile matching a 17-loci sequence).

The Carabinieri RIS ran the test in “˜duplicate’ while Stefanoni made a single profile extraction. The Carabinieri point out that they can do this ““ divide even a smaller and more complex trace, and test it for comparison even on a smaller number of loci - because they now have “a system with extremely higher analytical performance which is able to provide result quantitatively and qualitatively better compared to previous systems”.


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Amanda Knox Dithering Over Court Appearance For Appeal Going Over Very Negatively In Italy

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above: the outspoken political leader of the region of Umbria Lignani Marchesani warns Amanda Knox]


Amanda Knox has her name on a book that maliciously slimes everybody she ever encountered in Italy. Then she repeatedly goes on TV whining about how people dont like or trust her.

Guess what? Italians are seeing those same wild accusations as being one self-created reason why Knox seems to lack the guts to head for the appeal court. She would be put face-to-face with many of those that she slimed. How embarrasing.

The other reason of course has applied since 2009: Italians believe she really did lead a very cruel murder pack, killed someone vastly more gifted and worthwhile than herself, and now is lying to the American public in the hope that they will insist their government ignores any arrest warrant for Knox from Italy.

She sure has a real knack of making things worse for herself. No-shows are very rare in Italy and they are seen as not only very cowardly but a sure sign of the person’s guilt. Our main poster Jools translated this tart threat from the leader of Umbria’s regional government which is posted on the regional assembly website.

MEREDITH KERCHER MURDER: “IF AMANDA KNOX DOES NOT COME BACK TO FACE THE NEW TRIAL, PERUGIA SHOULD REVOKE THE SISTER CITIES-TWINNING- WITH SEATTLE”.

The chief regional councillor Andrea Lignani Marchesani (Fd’I) seeks to revoke the twinning of Perugia with Seattle, if Amanda Knox does not return to Italy to stand trial for the murder of the British student Meredith Kercher.

“Headlines were not needed nor a crystal ball to forcast that Miss Amanda Knox would carefully refrain from returning to Italy to face the new appeal process. The annulment of the judgment at the Supreme Court shows how the references to international pressures were not unfounded and a clear abdication of our sovereignty for the sake of interests that have nothing to do with justice.

“No need to emphasize once more how the city of Perugia, the Umbria [region] and the University have damage to their image and finances from this tragic event, without forgetting the human aspects and family of the victim.”

Andrea Lignani Marchesani calls to revoke the twinning between the cities of Perugia and Seattle, birthplace of the American woman on trial in Italy.  According to Lignani, “The city of Seattle, linked in a sister cities twinning for twenty years with Perugia, lost no time during the time Amanda was in custody to criticize our capital city, either by revoking of the naming of a park [in honor] of the city of the Griffon or by petitions tending to the withdrawal of the twinning itself.

“Perugia has no need for undesirable relationships and should, in this situation where a wound of its recent history is being reopened, should proceed to counter offensive.

If Amanda, as is almost certain, does not show up at the trial and does not face the verdict of the Italian justice system, Perugia must withdraw it’s twinning with Seattle. Court judgments are meant to be respected and must be executed, this is what is repeated every day, and this must also apply to the Seattle citizen Amanda Knox.”

As explained in the post below, the Italian court has many ways of applying its own powerful pressure. It could for example put Knox’s entire defaming entourage on trial, including her own dad, and see them all labeled as felons worldwide.

More on this in our next post, about Frank Sforza, which explains all the grief his own meltdown in court could rain down.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Trashing Of Italian Justice To Bend Trial Outcomes And How The Republic Pushes Back

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



A big mob trial in Italy

1. Those Who See To Trash Italian Justice

Based on murder and incarceration rates there are not so many bad guys in Italy. But those who are bad can be very very bad.

Those with a vested interest in taking Italian prosecutors and police down a peg to affect trial outcomes can be bunched into seven groups. 

  • The three regional mafias;
  • A few defense lawyers and well-funded defendants;
  • Politicians shielding corruption;
  • In some instances the freemasons.
  • Those wanting investigations like MOF/Narducci to drop dead;
  • Muckraking magazines like Oggi;
  • Some anti-Italy foreigners.

None of them are simply pro-Amanda or pro-Raffele. All of them have hidden agendas, and all are under the constant eye of law enforcement.

Any of the above can join forces. Fighting institutions that make the public safe can make for strange bedfellows. Those attempting to trash justice can use any or all of three prongs in their attacks.

1) Assassinate the prosecutors and judges assigned to mafia cases. Over 100 in recent years have been assassinated.

2) Bend the laws in parliament. Bent laws excessively favoring defendants have greatly affected this case.

3) Flame the justice system and those who work for it. The pro-Knox pro-Sollecito campaign has definite mafia fingerprints.

Italian justice has adopted powerful if usually latent ways for law enforcers to push back and try to arrive at just outcomes.

If officers of the Italian courts are publicly accused of crimes in the media while a legal process is playing out, and the claims are malicious and untrue, this is not a civil matter (defamation, slander or libel).

It is a criminal matter (in the UK and US too) for which sentences can include long prison terms.

If the officers of the Italian court who are attacked are very senior and have an anti-mafia role they are REQUIRED BY LAW to request a criminal investigation by a chief prosecutor to take place.

They essentially have no further role themselves after that, except to provide true testimony in court.

A range of measures is then available to investigating chief prosecutors, up to and including invoking the powers of the Council of Magistrates and even the President of the Italian republic. 

2. Trashing Of Justice In Perugia Case

If we look closely - a lot closer than all the UK and US media look, and most of the Italian media - we can spot attempts to further the interests of all seven of these groups in the campaigns against justice for Meredith and especially against justice for the Monster of Florence victims.

  • The three mafias have their toe in the door in various ways including but not only the mafioso witness Luciano Aviello (on which more below), and the Narducci 22 including Spezi, and the editors of newspapers like Oggi who have long done their handiwork for them.

  • The defense forces and the well-funded, sneering, money-grubbing defendants Knox and Sollecito are very well-known to us here; their myriad dirty tricks go as far back as early 2008 and the list has not yet stopped growing.

  • The Berlusconi loyalist and fervid Knoxaholic Rocco Girlanda wrote to the President, asking that he order that the Perugia prosecutors be investigated; Girlanda also tried to cut the national police budget before he was voted out of office..

  • Both the judges in the annuled appeal were freemasons and our main poster Yummi described the furtive freemason fingers in the pie (some freemasons ally with mafias and feud strongly with catholics, which Perugia police and prosecutors are) in his well-researched posts here and here.

  • Those who wanted the MOF/Narducci investigations to drop dead used the ever-willing “useful idiot” Doug Preston to ridicule the investigations in a strident book and numerous media appearances; also they tried hard to take down Dr Mignini, their most recent nemesis though the Supreme Court has totally reversed that for reasons explained here.

  • The notorious editor of Oggi has a long history of sneering and essentially fact-free reporting, aimed at undermining the courts and the police; playing to his advantage, there is a smallish but terminally paranoid readership for such conspiracy myths in Italy.

  • And as for anti-Italy foreigners with their fingers in the pie, well, where to begin? Doug Preston? Michael Heavey? Nina Burleigh? Candace Dempsey? Greg Hampikian? Paul Ciolino? Judy Bachrach? David Anderson? Joel Simon?  Bruce Fischer, and his vast operation?

All seven groups were happily on a roll up to around the end of 2011, when Knox and Sollecito were released, and many (including Curt Knox’s PR guru David Marriott, Hampikian, and Fischer) prematurely declared that they had won total victory.

But it is astounding how much matters have reversed in the past year and a half. Take a look at the state of play for them as it is now.

3. Pushback In Meredith’s Case:

The Italian Supreme Court is nothing if not remorseless in its mandated pursuit of justice and the truth. We saw this the other day when a prison sentence was allowed to stand against the former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi who had long thumbed his nose at the courts.

We also saw it in the convictions allowed to stand against the many CIA operatives and their Italian counterparts who kidnapped Abu Omar and flew him for torture to Egypt.  Though most of their sentences were permitted to be reduced, most are still left with a felony record for life - and the lead CIA operative is now a world-wide fugitive.

We can now see this same strong reaction against contempt of the courts in the Meredith Kercher case and the Monster of Florence case and the hairbrained “defense” campaigns nominally run for the perps in those two parallel cases.

Italian officials have various reasons to believe not only that Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox are surely guilty, just as Judge Massei described, but also that they and their American supporters are foolish pawns in some much bigger and even nastier games, and deeply in over their heads.

In its annullment of the Hellmann/Zanetti appeal and its instructions to the Florence Palace of Justice, Cassation reveals its own suspicion that some very unsavory elements may be attempting to take the Italian justice system down a peg and it wants fast decisive action to stop this. A high-stakes new trial described at bottom here is a first huge warning shot.

Knox has served three years, will be labeled a felon for life, faces an enormously tough new appeal against an excellent prosecutor, and has her name on a book which commits against Italian officials THE EXACT SAME CRIME she served three years for: false accusations of crimes. She is expected to be charged soon by Bergamo prosectors.

Sollecito in his own book committed some of the same crimes as Knox did in hers (did we mention criminal enterprise?!) plus another one (accusing the prosecution of wanting him to roll over on Amanda) which his own father has renounced on national TV. He is expected to be charged soon by Florence prosecutors.

Everybody involved in the writing and publishing of the two criminally defamatory and very self-serving blood-money books (illegal in Italy) could soon be about to take a fall, both in the Italian criminal courts and in the US civil courts. The foolish publishers and deal-makers included, of which Curt Knox himself is one.

If neither RS nor AK turn up for the new appeal in Florence later in September, they risk warrants being issued for their re-arrest. If they DO turn up they could well turn on one another, and their books will help the prosecution and hamper the defenses no-end - with those mad claims, how can they possibly take the witness stand?

Criminal defamation charges are still pending against Amanda Knox and against both of her two biological parents. Corruption charges are pending against Francesco Sollecito and Raffaele’s sister Vanessa for attempting to use political means to up-end the Perugia prosecutors.

Judge Hellmann has been eased out ignominiously, and Judge Zanetti demoted. Conceivably both may face charges, along with Conti & Vecchiotti and maybe Hampikian. And all the defense lawyers are in a ton of trouble for helping AK and RS to write their books, Giulia Bongiorno especially. The former MP Rocco Girlanda is of course long gone. 

Many of the Knox defense forces have exited or ended up as being of no consequence: Frank Sfarzo (now on the run from the law in the US and Italy); Halkidis and Hampikian (see the Machine’‘s posts below), the hapless two Moores, the proven phoney Bruce Fischer, and so on and on. 

And US officialdom, not least the State Department and the US Embassy in Rome, still show not the slightest interest in intervening. Any judge is expected to approve extradition of Knox if her refusal to face trial and prison is sustained in face of a final guilty verdict. 

4. Pushback In Monster of Florence Case

Yummi mentioned some pushback in the post linked to above, including the trouble rained down on the heads of the prosecutor and judge who put on trial Giuttari and Mignin, whose convictions were scathingly reversed by a very angry Supreme Court. 

The Narducci case was put back on track by the Supreme Court and a prison sentence seems a sure thing for Mario Spezi and up to 2 dozen others. A prison sentence might be incurred by the delusional weakling and serial defamer Doug Preston.

The “theory” of the MOF case Dr Mignini has good reason to hold is that the murders were not those of one single serial killer. This perception of a shadowy self-protecting group is absolutely mainstream in Italy, and is reflected in the excellent Guittari book on the case (Il Mostro) which could soon with good reason (it tells the truth) push the silly Preston MOF book off the US and UK bookshelves.

That theory is espoused by all the current prosecutors in Florence.

The one media outlet which never fails to take an anti-prosecution stance, Oggi, Is being investigated and could be put on trial for publishing Knox’s false charges against the Perugia and national police and prosecutors and may have problems hanging in there.

Dr Mignini looks set to be promoted to becoming the next attorney general of Umbria, the region of which Perugia is the capital. And the hold of the freemasons and the mafias over Italian justice is not getting any stronger, just as most Italians prefer.

5. Pushback In Related Cases

Former Sollecito witness Luciano Aviello could be the direct cause of a lot of people ending up in jail.

His trial for perjury and contempt of court is happening now in Florence. His trial has been fast-forwarded as a direct result of the Supreme Court declaring that getting to the bottom of his erratic day in court in 2011 with too-familiar mafia-type allegations must be a top priority.  His forthcoming defense is expected to be explosive.

We have posted extensively on Aviello since he first surfaced. A mafioso since his teens in Naples, now aged about 40, he has spent most of his adult years in prison. (He is back there again right now - for killing a dog and extortion.)

As police and prosecutors all know, Aviello has a very long record of making things up to try to give himself some breaks and to keep in with the mafia. He has been repeatedly convicted for perjury.

He was the witness summoned by a hapless Giulia Bongiorno to try to arrive at an explanation that fits with the prevailing conclusion of the Supreme Court that THREE people had attacked Meredith on the night.

What Aviello came up with on the stand was that his own missing brother and one other habitual criminal had unintentionally committed the murder. They were trying to steal some artworks, but they got the address of the house wrong.

Raffaele Sollecito was so thrilled at this (palpably false) testimony by Aviello that he says in his book that he sent Aviello an embroidered handkerchief, perhaps because Aviello has urges toward a sex change operation.

On the witness stand in mid 2011 Aviello really roasted the police and prosecution in mafia-type terms for failing to come down on his side and follow up on his allegations (actually they had already followed up, but found nothing).

Then two fellow inmates at his prison near Genoa testified for the prosecution that he had told them that the Sollecitos had offered or paid large bribes for any false testimony helpful to their boy getting sprung.

Extraordinarily, Judge Hellmann brushed all of this under the rug, and hurried on to other matters less embarrassing to the Sollecitos and Bongiorno.  This REALLY caught Cassation’s attention as there have been strong suspicions in Perugia and Rome that Hellmann and/or Zanetti were in the pocket of one of the families.

Why did the unqualified Judge Hellmann replace the excellent Judge Chiari, suddenly and inexplicably decided upon by Chief Judge Di Nunzio? Why are seemingly all of the lead players bending things to the Knox-Sollecito side freemasons?

Were Hellmann and Zanetti and Aviello and Aviello’s fellow inmates among those who received some sort of inducement to bend RS’s way? What was Giulia Bongiorno’s precise role in all this?

Directly, Aviello could be in a position to bring down both families, both defense teams, and both appeal judges. He could even make a guilty verdict for RS and AK a sure thing.

Criminal enterprise indeed. We will continue reporting. Oh and make sure to watch your back, Luciano.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Very Appropriate Casting Of Doug Preston As The Fredo Corleone Wannabe

Posted by Kermit




Preston as Fredo

In the image above, from the first Godfather movie, Michael’s brother Fredo watches his father Don Corleone get into a Mafioso tussle.

Fredo, after fumbling, juggling, and dropping his revolver without firing a single shot, proves himself useless and incapable of achieving the basic objective of taking care of his kindred souls.

In the same manner, as Douglas Preston fumbles about protecting the interests of his “Family” (and taking care of his own income), he shows the public that the sci-fi writer can’t load his own pen with Truth - or even Believable Lies.

Whenever I see an article published by the sci-fi thriller novelist and pro-Amanda Knox “point-of-view journalist” (his own words) concerning either the murder of Meredith Kercher or the Monster of Florence case, I can’t avoid being reminded of “Fredo” the bumbling brother who lets his family down.

Whoever set Douglas Preston up for his histrionic defense of Amanda Knox, or his attacks against the personal and professional integrity of Deputy Prosecutor General Giuliano Mignini, or his defense of his hapless friend Mario Spezi’s curious “investigative” techniques in uncovering “dirt” on the decades old “Monster of Florence” case should have found a much better soldado than Preston.

Preston’s histrionic pamphlet

Douglas Preston has recently posted an article on The Slate website, promoting a pamphlet that in the end he had to self-publish through Kindle since no one else would publish it (he had told me at the end of last year in an unsolicited email that he was hoping The New Yorker or The Atlantic would print it as an article).

I seriously thought of writing this TJMK post as a self-published Kindle article that could be downloaded for 99 cents, but I refrained from doing so for two reasons:

    1) I wanted it to get more exposure than Preston’s nickel-and-diming effort has

    2) I will never want to earn any blood money off the backs of crime victims, even if it’s only the grand total of 99 cents from the Kindle copy my mother buys

Preston’s The Slate article and Pamphlet are basically an attempt to undermine the PMF and TJMK websites which have taken a pro-victim posture in the online discussion concerning the murder of Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy, in November 2007.

As such he stumbles and fumbles with the Truth in promoting his “Family” causes, with as much dexterity and morality as the low-grade Mafioso “Fredo” from The Godfather, unable to load his writer’s gun properly, in a comic show of futility.

Preston’s Weird “Truths” and Fumbling Propaganda ““ Technique #1: Tell Favorable, Out-of-Date news from the Past

Novelist Preston starts telling his unconvincing twisted half-truths before he even finishes the title and subtitle of The Slate promotional article:

Burn Her at the Stake - Amanda Knox was acquitted of murder. Why do so many people still hate her so much? (Source: The Slate)

That title has as much truth as Preston writing another self-promotional article today announcing to the world “I turned 21 years old” “¦ it may be true that years ago in the past he was 21 years old, but that is hardly a current truth for readers.

While it may be the case that accused murderer Amanda Knox was acquitted of that charge in 2011, it is now an old truth, after the Supreme Court of Italy in March chastised the appeals verdict of Judge Hellman (now forcibly retired from the judiciary) and annulled that acquittal, putting her status back to the conclusion of her initial murder trial.

(Later in the article Preston makes a brief mention that she will be retried, barely associated with the headline message he sends to the world in the title to his article. Knox’s current situation is the polar opposite of being acquitted; rather, she is still fully charged with murdering Meredith.)

Preston, the public wants you to start broadcasting the truth, the current, real truth, in messages that are for once free of highly misleading insinuations.

Preston’s Weird “Truths” and Fumbling Propaganda ““ Technique #2: Use Weak Statistics To Support Insinuations

Preston does a number of Google searches and becomes shocked, shocked that he gets hundreds of thousands of hits with combinations like “Amanda Knox” and “pervert”, or “Amanda Knox” and “slut”.

Preston knows full well, as do the readers of The Slate (and the handful of persons who have read the long version of The Slate article, paying 99 cents for the 10 minute read), that you always get hundreds of thousands or millions of Google hits for just about any Google search, however shocking the search terms may be.

Preston says “The extreme viciousness of the anti-Amanda commentariage is startling”.

Let’s do a fast test, and do the same Google searches that Preston did, replacing “Amanda Knox” with “Hillary Clinton”. Here are the results:


Here are two public figures: Knox on the left has been in the news for 6 years “¦ she would probably be a forgotten figure, just another semi-anonymous American abroad with problems if it hadn’t been thanks to the expensive corporate PR campaign that her own family has waged. That PR campaign has propelled the number of overall appearances of her name, and has pushed Internet commenters of all types to opine on her.

Hillary Clinton on the right has been in the news for 3 decades or so, as reflected in the proportionally higher number of Google hits on her name. In spite of not being accused of sexual assault and murder, she still receives a relatively high number of sexual/sexist descriptors.

Knox is not in the news because she has worked on public health reform, or because she has been a Secretary of State, or because she lived in the White House with her husband. Knox is accused of sexual assault and murder. She is also a convicted felon, having served 3 years in an Italian prison (no further appeals) for falsely accusing her boss of murdering Meredith, in Knox’s presence.

Knox outdoes Hillary in percentage of hits for “bitch” and “slut”, but Hillary betters her for “pervert”. Who cares? In Internet, any public person can get Google hits for just about any descriptor, especially if you are accused of a sexual crime.

Let’s extend our test a moment, and do an additional Google search: “Douglas Preston” “slut” “““Knox”  . By eliminating references to “Knox” we eliminate any testing contamination from Amanda’s Perugia murder charges and the ensuing online discussion and reporting. Preston shouldn’t be surprised to learn that compared to Amanda Knox’s 380,000 “slut” hits, Preston has 73,400 of his own “slut” hits. Not bad. Of course, all of these results require analysis, which is exactly what Preston doesn’t provide in his pamphlet.

Here’s one of Preston’s “slut” Google returns, his own sci-fi novel texts:

“The town slut. She was in this cell just last month, wasn’t she, on a drunk and disorderly. Like mother, like daughter. Guess the apple never falls far from the tree. Or in your case, the shit never falls far from the asshole “¦ the murderer might be local. Maybe a devil worshiper. You fit the bill, with that fucked-up purple hair and black eye makeup. Is that what you do at night? Go out and do mumbo-jumbo? “¦ Bitch,’ Brad muttered “¦ ‘no man would ever want to screw you, you freak.’” “¦  (Poor tormented Preston; that’s from his book Still Life with Crows that he curiously dedicated to Mario Spezi.)


Preston’s Weird “Truths” and Fumbling Propaganda ““ Technique #3:  Tell Contrasting Stories About Personal Suffering at the Hands of An Abusive Prosecutor

In an interview in The Atlantic in 2006, well before Meredith’s murder, Douglas Preston was asked about Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini:

Question: “Judge Giuliano Mignini, the public prosecutor who interrogated you, is another important player in the case. Was Mignini just doing his job? How much weight do you give to the idea that Mignini had it in for Spezi and you?”

Preston: “”¦. As for Mignini himself, I think he’s a sincere man and an honest and incorruptible judge. I don’t think that he’s a bad man “¦. I think he was doing his job the best he could. I think in many ways he was badly misled by Giuttari, the police officer who was running the investigation.”

Source: The Atlantic

At that point in time, the Bad Guy for Spezi and Preston had been and still was Police super-inspector Michele Giuttari. But that didn’t seem to sell. They needed something to spice up their tales about the Monster of Florence, which weren’t achieving whatever objective they may have set themselves. The breakthrough for Preston and Spezi came with Meredith’s murder. Preston today with his Pamphlet admits to being recruited early on by the pro-Amanda Knox movement just after Meredith’s murder:

A few days after Amanda Knox was arrested for murder, I got a call from a man named Tom Wright “¦ a well-known filmmaker “¦ (who) knew her family “¦ (he) begged (Spezi and me) for help “¦. I felt like I had to become involved.” (Source: Preston’s Pamphlet on Kindle)



[Image above: Thomas Wright’s “famous” screenplay skills seem to rival only Preston’s writing skills that we’ve seen.]

Preston has never admitted this early recruitment contact before. In his Afterword to the English-language version of their tale The Monster of Florence, Preston writes about a different call that he got just after Meredith’s murder:

A few days after the crime, I got a call from Niccolò Capponi “¦ ‘My dear Douglas “¦ I bet you a bottle of ‘97 Chianti Classico that before the week is out someone will connect this poor girl’s murder with Monster of Florence’”.

Capponi, whose relation with Spezi and Preston deserves its own tome, couldn’t have been more astute. The Friends of Amanda movement didn’t need anyone other than Douglas Preston to crow out to the world that Mignini wasn’t actually a benign, “sincere”, “honest” and “incorruptible judge”  (Preston’s own prior words up until then). Instead, Preston rewrote his own storyboard and retroactively turned the Mignini of early 2006 into one really nasty guy:

The police then picked me up on the streets of Florence and hauled me in before Mignini, where he interrogated me for hours, with no attorney or interpreter present. He demanded I confess to a string of crimes, including being an accessory to murder, and when I refused, he indicted me for perjury and obstruction of justice and suggested I leave the country.”  (Source: Preston’s Pamphlet, on Kindle)

Preston has changed his tune about how his Perugian questioning in 2006 was arranged. In his earlier book from five years ago he described a different ambience that pleasant day on his way to Perugia, with a notable absence of jackboots “hauling him in”, originally stating that it was actually a family-outing:

“¦. “The next day I drove to Perugia with Christine and our two children, passing the shores of Lake Trasimeno on the way. Perugia, a beautiful and ancient city, occupies an irregular rocky hill in the upper Tiber valley ... Christine planned to sightsee with the kids and have lunch while I was interrogated”. (Source: Preston and Spezi, The Monster of Florence)

Driving down to Perugia with your wife and family contrasts with being “hauled in” after being picked up in the streets of Florence, yet Preston, it seems, adapts the truth and insinuations to the required needs and circumstances.

By the way, Mr. Preston, what murder did Prosecutor Mignini accuse you of being an accessory to?  You keep repeating it, and we’re still waiting to hear. What murder?

Preston’s Weird “Truths” and Fumbling Propaganda ““ Technique #4:  Use illogical deduction and dodgy Internet sources for your facts

Preston makes some amazing logic relationships in his pseudo-scholarly study of pro-victim Internet voices. When describing a book that the pro-Knox forces seem to find against their interests, Preston says:

“While the book included no footnotes or bibliography, it appears to have used information sourced from anonymous bloggers “” identifiable as such because it was incorrect.”  (Source: Preston’s 99 cent pamphlet)

I don’t think that the reasonable public out there requires any analysis of this fatally flawed “if-then” logic. Preston-Fredo needs to go back to school, either to grade school to do basic maths, or to the Daisy Hill School of Influencing People and Spreading Convincing Propaganda.

This is an important lesson for Preston, who often relies on the daisy-chaining, circular, internal feeding of “facts” amongst pro-Knox promoters. Preston himself, like a post-modern journalistic alchemist, turns wishful opinion into “fact”, using as raw material the opinion posts of “Friends of Amanda” anonymous bloggers who use various identities.

Let’s take a look at three of the most active and factually flawed pro-Knox bloggers who people like Preston have helped turn into Knox-Urban-Legends, dragging along their pro-Knox fictions.

The photo below comes from a FOA-Fest last summer on Vashon Island where Amanda could thank all her limited number of close supporters for their help in springing her from prison. On the left is Bruce Fisher, or Bruce Fischer (depending on the day). One of his most hilarious affirmations which he vehemently defended until it was impossible to continue to do so, was that a box of Dixan detergent that he spotted in a photo of Sollecito’s sink would explain why Sollecito’s cutlery may have smelled of bleach “¦ except that Dixan is clothes washing detergent!


The hilariousness of Fisher/Fischer’s Internet postings can also take on sinister results when passed on to the hands of either an inexperienced or ethically challenged journalist or a “point-of-view” journalist. Preston refers to a post by Fischer as if it were fact when he publishes in his 99 cent Kindle pamphlet that a prominent pro-victim blogger “had a restraining order placed against him” for a non-existent harassment of a ballet dancer.

Why doesn’t Preston also say that the web-site where this post was placed by Fisher/Fischer quickly removed it when it received the corresponding complaint? Why didn’t Preston ask Fisher for any proof of the “restraining order”? Why didn’t he cross check his facts/falsehoods?

Why should a best-selling sci-fi novelist stoop so low? Money? Anger? Envy?

Another of Preston’s anonymous or multi-alias bloggers whom he has quoted or protected is Francesco (“Frank”) Sfarzo / Sforca / Sforza. Take your pick of the last name as he has used them all in public documents.

“Frank’s” supposed beating at the hands of a squad of goon cops beholden to Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini was curiously covered by the Committee to Protect Journalists in prominent website posts and a public letter to the President of Italy, with no effort whatsoever to investigate the claims or speak with the local Italian authorities.

CPJ’s reputation remains tarnished as they refuse to this day to recognize their massive screw up. Shame on Joel Simon, director of the CPJ! Is there no governance in that organization?

Should a financial contributor to CPJ such as Preston also be permitted to be a figure in the anti-Italian judicial lobbying that CPJ has consciously or unconsciously ended up participating in?

Preston’s role in this laughable attempt to frame Mignini is only made all the more tragic by the fact that “Frank’s” arrest in Italy (which Mignini had nothing to do with) was related to a complaint of domestic violence.

He left Italy, and ““ staying at Amanda’s family home in Seattle for a couple of months, then travelling to Canada, Hawaii, then back to a shared residence in Seattle - racked up an impressive set of arrests and police interviews related to further domestic violence complaints during his travels.

He currently has an arrest warrant issued, and Preston has suddenly stopped talking about his and Spezi’s prized asset who was supposed to be the living demonstration of the Bad Mignini.


[Image above: Preston’s pet blogger “Frank” is not at all a victim of violence, but rather to the contrary, has an arrest warrant out to face charges for instigating it]

Amongst “Frank’s” contribution to the “point-of-view” journalism supporting Amanda Knox has been his visit to Piazza Grimana, the square near the cottage crime-scene, where “Frank” took a photo that supposedly demonstrated that Knox and Sollecito could not have monitored the entrance to the cottage from there on the night of the crime, since you can’t see the cottage gate according to “Frank”.


Any person who goes to Piazza Grimana in Perugia knows perfectly well that if you step just a couple of metres to the left, you have a perfect view of the cottage gate, barely hidden in “Frank’s” photo behind the corner of the house on the right.

Yet another case of the danger of Preston using pro-Knox bloggers and friends as sources of unreliable information is that of the G-Man, ex-FBI agent and ex-college security guy, Steve Moore.

In the sake of honesty, of the three pro-Knox bloggers referred to in this post (we could go on forever about the menagerie of Knox Internet personalities), Moore is the least anonymous, although it should be said that his “G-Man” aura he promotes is perhaps self-deprecating humour (think of an adult guy using a nickname like “GI Joe”).

G-Man has developed an elaborate tale of how he became interested in the case and began to study detailed documentation and images to come to the forensic conclusion in his living room that the Italian investigation into Meredith Kercher’s murder was flawed and that Amanda Knox was innocent. (Moore’s experience before he left the FBI as far as I’m aware is escorting suspects to court, sniper training, and flying helicopters “¦ I don’t believe he has worked as a forensic specialist.)

Like in the case of Bruce Fisher/Fischer, there are semi-comical aspects to G-Man’s appearances on the Internet supporting Amanda Knox. This happens when you get someone who is not a forensics specialist looking at photos and making conclusions:


Unfortunately, Steve Moore was analyzing an image that was not “Amanda and Meredith’s sink”! This example of errors in G-Man’s contributions to FOA finding Amanda innocent is far from being the only one.

In Preston’s Pamphlet, he presents the anecdote of a pro-victim Internet commenter who made what Preston claims is a “threatening” comment concerning the quality of G-Man Steve Moore’s daughter’s song lyrics. In the light of honesty and telling all the truth, Preston should have stated that after Mom and Dad Moore, the next most prolific pro-Knox poster of the Moore family is their daughter, who has made posts on both pro-Knox and pro-victim sites, on Twitter and on Facebook, including posts with coarse language.

She seems to be an adult, but if she isn’t, then Mom and Dad Moore should start acting like better parents, being aware of their offspring’s internet activity, putting a filter on their home router and telling her to not make posts on sites that deal with a sexual assault and murder case. Nor should they allow their daughter to leave her own pages open for comments and or to post videos about the murder. And if their daughter is an adult, then Preston shouldn’t insinuate to his few readers otherwise.

By the way, the “threatening” post was a return of a phrase used by a pro-Knox poster that “Steve Moore plays for keeps” after a playful criticism of the quality of lyrics written by Miss Moore.

This is a lesson to Douglas Preston: any journalist, even that special lobbyist category of “point-of-view journalist” such as himself, is only as credible as his sources.

Preston’s Weird “Truths” and Fumbling Propaganda ““ Technique #5:  Claim That You Have Already Made Any Needed Explanations

Preston says in his Slate article: “Like a fool I waded into the (Internet) fray, defending Amanda and myself. I attacked my attackers and countered their criticisms.”

(Why does Preston have to “defend” Amanda? I thought he was now presenting himself as a journalist. Oh, I forgot, he wrote that he now considers himself a “point-of-view journalist” ““ his terminology - which sounds a lot like “lobbyist”.)

Actually, Preston has never countered any serious criticism. I ask readers to take a fast look at the Committee to Protect Journalists’ comment page concerning the CPJ’s fiasco accusing Prosecutor Mignini of directing a vicious, violent attack on “Frank” the blogger by a squad of rogue police beholden to the prosecutor.

Preston went wacko when he saw the Internet world laughing out loud at the CPJ’s allegations, and when he saw that the Internet provided different proofs to show that the now fugitive blogger was at best making up his story, or had other persons close to the action making it up for him.

Take a look at Preston’s emotional replies to CPJ readers’ comments.


[Image above: on the left we see CPJ’s director Joel Simon, who accused Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini of sending a police squad to beat up “Frank” the blogger (second from left). “Frank” is a family friend of the Knox-Mellas families, taking care of much of their logistics in Perugia, setting up photo shoots, etc. “Frank” stayed at the Mellas home (Chris Mellas, second from right) for a couple of months during his arrest-ridden trip out of Italy, when his domestic violence trial started up there. On the right, Preston, the glue that links “Frank” to the CPJ.]

On the web pages of CPJ, we see that not only does Preston not reply to the contradictions and lies that the Internet world points out in his words and actions, but he also puts conditions on doing so.

The best “countering” of criticism that Preston provides online is pretty pathetic. He says that the demonstrated errors in his and the CPJ’s texts “are distortions, falsehoods, and crackpot opinion presented as settled fact.”  Period. No explanations of why he says one thing in one place and something completely different in another. No transparency concerning his documented relationship with the CPJ. No honesty concerning the real, sad domestic violence case that “Frank” has had before him, brought on by his own family in Italy (in addition to his U.S.A. problems).

We’re still waiting for any real clarifications of Preston’s serious problems with the truth, the whole truth, the current truth and nothing but the truth.

I personally don’t need to see more verbiage from Preston, but I would have thought that he would be concerned about the public’s view of his credibility. It will probably help future “True Story” book sales if he were to clear up the confusion he causes about both the Monster of Florence case and aspects of the investigation and trials related to the murder of Meredith Kercher.

Preston’s Weird “Truths” and Fumbling Propaganda ““ Technique #6:  Write Any Incorrect Gibberish That Doesn’t Get Error-Checked If You Think that Unknowledgeable People Will Swallow Your Errors

Preston once crowed concerning the quality of his texts:

Before publication, it was minutely vetted by no less than five attorneys in two languages in Italy, the U.K., and the United States. Since publication, it has been read by millions of people in many European languages. In all that time, and with all the millions who have read the book, not one significant error of fact came to light. Mario Spezi and I stand by every single assertion of fact in that book today just as strongly as we did when it was first published three years ago.”  (Source: Preston on CPJ)

I once suggested to Preston that he ask his five error-checking lawyers for his money back, after the multiple mistakes and falsehoods of The Monster of Florence came to light and it became apparent that it should be reclassified to “Fiction”.

It seems that both Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox used the same error-checking lawyers in their memoirs, and that once again Preston and Spezi have employed them for their underwhelming, unknown tome in German Der Engel Mit Den Eisaugen (The Angel With Icy Eyes). No other market seems to have wanted to hear more from the Dynamic Duo of murder “point-of-view journalism”. As you can expect, their book about the murder of Meredith Kercher is not about the victim, but about the star, from their point of view, Amanda Knox.

I believe that never in the history of “True Story” lobbying, has a book taken so little time to rack up so many factual errors.


[Image above: Preston and Spezi are sure bets for winning The Novelists’ Error Marathon, especially given the finish line they’ve set for themselves. (By the way, I will state the obvious here, that this satirical image is the only photo that has been “photoshopped” in this TJMK post)]

In the Forward to their limited market book, Preston kicks off the marathon, asserting first of all that Perugia is surrounded by “¦ the hills of Tuscany (“In der schoenen alten Stadt Perugia, umgeben von del Huegeln der Toskana”). Where’s a smiley when you need one? To all readers of this post, I ask you that we keep the secret, and let Preston and Spezi figure out by themselves what’s wrong with their statement. I guess the Duo were in a hurry to get the book to market.

Slightly further down the same first page, Preston falsely asserts that the Prosecutor Office (“Staatanwaltschaft”), understood to be Mignini, called a triumphant press conference where “case closed” was victoriously declared to the microphones of the Press.

Of course, neither Mignini nor any other prosecutor held such a press conference, nor was he present at any other press conferences at that time. My only explanation for this error by Preston is that he is so obsessed to assign just any supposed bad behavior to Mignini that he sees visions of the prosecutor doing wrong and turns those visions into “True Story” words.

The problem with that explanation of “visions” is that it is how Amanda Knox justified her false accusation against Patrick Lumumba for murdering Meredith, and that false accusation got her three years in the Capanne Prison Spa.

Just another 4 lines below that, Preston claims that within those immediate days after the arrests, Prosecutor Mignini put forward a scenario of Satanic sexual rites for describing the human dynamics on the night of the crime (“das eine amerikanische Studentin namens Amanda Knox mit zwei anderen Personen in den Mord verwickelt sei, den die Staatsanwalt als eine Art sexuelles-satanisches Ritual unter Drogeneinfluss bezeichnete”).

Again, Preston got confused. Or, maybe he wrote exactly what he was wanting to write, even if it was wrong.

Let’s not leave Mario Spezi out of the Novelists’ Error Marathon. Spezi tries to keep up with Preston in the home stretch, in Chapter 1: when emphasizing how isolated he feels that Perugia is from the outside world, he describes Umbria as “the only Italian region that does not border with the sea”. Spezi must have had a football scholarship at school, because it seems that he forgot about Lombardia, Piemonte, Val d’Aosta and Trentino & South Tirol. These regions account for about a quarter of Italy’s population and include large cities such as Milan and Turin.

We’ve barely started looking at their Icy Eyes book, but we’ll leave a more exhaustive review for the future.

Maybe Preston and Spezi hope that the few German readers of the book (who may have received their copies as free review copies) won’t know or care. It’s possible that they won’t even finish the book.

Preston’s Weird “Truths” and Fumbling Propaganda ““ Technique #7:  Apply Your Own Words to Others in Order to Distract from the Central Issue

Preston claims in The Slate article about pro-victim Internet posters: “Almost all the nasty comments about (Knox) follow a pattern. Even though she did nothing to them, they are all demanding her punishment.”

Personally, I don’t “demand Knox’s punishment”. Preston and the rest of FOA know that by now. What the pro-victim Internet posters want is for the Italian Justice system to be left to do its job, without any outside interference by a corporate, multimillion dollar public relations campaign, or ““ if we get to the point where Italy asks for Knox’s extradition ““ non-juridical or non-treaty political interventions to interrupt this normal administrative procedure.

Of course, those persons who are found guilty of sexually attacking and murdering Meredith should get the punishment that the Italian legal system foresees in such cases.

The pro-Knox camp has been outraged that Rudy Guede may be released from prison as early as 2014, insinuating that he has struck a deal to frame Knox. Any honest and informed opiner on this case would know that Rudy has only followed the well established legal and penitentiary procedures in Italy that apply to all convicts, and had Knox followed the fasttrack trial as he did, she also could have been looking at early freedom.

If the pro-Knox camp is so outraged that Guede may get free in 2014, I would suggest that they lobby that sentence reduction procedures be changed so that murder convicts serve their whole prison sentence. Somehow, I don’t think that the pro-Knox camp will undertake such lobbying.

Preston’s Weird “Truths” and Fumbling Propaganda ““ Technique #8:  Don’t be transparent or precise

Preston describes in his Pamphlet how in 2000 he moved to Italy with his family and soon after became fascinated with the Monster of Florence serial killings case and teamed up with journalist Mario Spezi to investigate the case and write a book.

“Giuliano Mignini did not like our investigation”, he states as the start of a series of supposed abuses they suffered at the hands of the prosecutor.

Maybe Preston should state that after moving to Italy in 2000, he didn’t meet Spezi until 2001, and up until 2004, over the course of three years, it seems he drank a lot of coffee with Spezi, drove to a couple of the decades old Monster crime sites in the country roads around Florence, spoke to the mother of one of the victims, kept a scrap book of what the real, active reporters on the case were doing “¦ and not much more.

Only after almost four years following his arrival in Italy, does it seem that Preston’s active “investigation” suddenly started and kicked into high gear in January of 2004 when Spezi’s friend Francesco Calamandrei, the pharmacist of San Casciano, was drawn into the Monster of Florence investigation. Spezi woke up on the Monster case, did an interview with Calamandrei, and got it published in La Nazione within 24 hours on 23 January 2013. Without mentioning that he was a friend of Calamandrei.


It should be noted that the prosecutor who ordered this “wake-up call” for Spezi wasn’t Prosecutor Mignini from Perugia, but rather Prosecutor Paolo Canessa from Florence, the central prosecutor for the Monster of Florence case.


Preston’s rewriting of history and intertwining fiction and half-truths related to the Monster of Florence case and fiction and half-truths related to Meredith Kercher’s murder in Perugia has brought him time and time again to present Mignini as the key figure in the Monster of Florence case:

Mignini theorised that this satanic cult consisted of powerful people ““ noblemen, pharmacists, journalists and freemasons ““ who ordered the Monster killings because they needed female body parts to use as the blasphemous wafer in their black masses. Putting himself in charge of the investigation, Mignini became so obsessed that he crossed the line of legality, wiretapping journalists and conducting illegal investigations of newspapers. (Source: The Guardian)

(It should be said that Preston really should clean up his old message, and tell readers that any and all abuse of office accusations against Mignini were thrown out: he has neither been found, nor now even been accused of any wrongdoing in relation to the Monster of Florence case - quite the opposite, the rogue Florentine prosecutor who initiated the cancelled proceedings against Mignini may have some questions to answer).

Again, Preston’s own words belie his transformation of Prosecutor Mignini. Remember that before Meredith’s murder, Preston’s Bad Guy with satanic theories wasn’t Mignini, but Police Inspector Michele Giuttari.

You can imagine that had Mignini not been the prosecutor of Meredith’s murder case, but Giuttari had been involved in the police investigation into Meredith’s murder, that Preston and Spezi could have saved their whole effort in demonizing Mignini, because they were already halfway there with Giuttari.


Why did Spezi and Preston suddenly get on the case and start sculpting their Monster of Florence tale in early 2004 following Calamandrei getting caught up in the police investigation? I would love to know.

Why did they apply a pre-existing Monster of Florence theory developed by English fiction writer Magdalen Nabb many years before?

Nabb was referred to as “Ethel”, a Belgian writer, in the Italian version of Spezi and Preston’s tale, while Nabb was still alive.  Preston simply eliminated Nabb completely by the time they translated and published the tale in English, after Nabb’s death. In an eerie and weird manner, some of the years-old Nabb-Spezi, Master-Apprentice conversations in the Italian version of MoF seem to be transformed into current Spezi-Preston Master-Apprentice conversations in the English version of their “True Story” tale, almost as if they took on her personality.

I guess they weren’t too worried about presenting as their own, current “investigation”, ideas and theories (correct or not) that had been floating around for a decade and developed by other ““ now unacknowledged - much better writers.


[Image above: In Preston’s and Spezi’s English language book The Monster of Perugia they morphed English author Magdalen Nabb’s Carabinieri contacts, as well as Nabb’s theories and conversations concerning the MoF into their own, with neither direct nor indirect recognition of Nabb’s existence, nor her work done nearly 10 years earlier. Maybe they felt that since she had passed away, the world wouldn’t notice their intellectual theft.]

Preston’s Weird “Truths” and Fumbling Propaganda ““ Technique #9:  Use corporate media as a means to legitimize false claims

The CPJ’s false and unverified accusation against Mignini for supposedly sending a goon squad to beat up the Perugian blogger is exactly the sort of feed that the Friends of Amanda and the Gogerty&Marriott corporate PR campaigns needed. These groups repeated the invented injustice wherever they could within the ongoing campaign.

That’s where we find a link between the PR campaign and the “mainstream” American media and showmen. If you Google “Doug Longhini” and go to the CBS News site associated with him, you’re not quite sure at first glance if he’s an ethical traditional journalist, a “point-of-view” journalist, a CBS producer, or an external businessman. What is clear is that it seems that most of whatever it is that he does at CBS is dedicated to Amanda Knox and, in second place, in general the crime in Perugia.

However, when you start reading some of his articles or news reports, like the one below, you realize that he’s not a traditional journalist who checks his facts and tries to get all angles on a news story.


I used to be impressed with the effort that went into the 48 Hours type of investigative programs. Not any more. Describing “Frank” Sforca/Sforza/Sfarzo as an “independent journalist” when this pro-Knox blogger acted as the logistics manager for the Knox-Mellas clan in Perugia, including organizing photo shoots for the daughters, stayed with the Knox-Mellas family a couple of months in Seattle, and was the beneficiary of ongoing funding from pro-Knox circles even after he was a no-show for his latest court session last December in Seattle, is stretching the definition of “independent”.

This Longhini article almost reads as if Douglas Preston had written it “¦  I would have hoped that Longhini might have made some reference to his sources for his description of “Frank” being handcuffed and beaten, or that Longhini would have looked into the true reports of “Frank” being arrested, not on orders of Mignini, but simply because he bit a police officer who was responding to a domestic violence complaint.

Doug Preston is no stranger to Longhini’s CBS 48 Hours pro-Knox shows, having appeared together with another shared acquaintance, a certain Paul Ciolino. Paul’s role in the Knox CBS shows was supposed to be the implacable investigator who knows the truth that the Italian authorities want to hide.

However, Ciolino’s on-screen antics for many viewers are in detriment to the argument he tries to make.

For example, what serious television detective in the world, not speaking the local language, would go calling at the door of unsuspecting murder witnesses at nighttime, vehemently exhorting them to reply to questions? Paul did:


Where does this leave the state of modern megamedia journalism in America? It has been transformed into entertainment, into a vaudeville show. The confirmation comes in Paul Ciolino’s own self-advertising:


The only thing missing is Liza Minnelli singing “Cabaret” in her black stockings.

Back in America, Preston’s friend Ciolino smears the good name of Signora Nara Capezzali, the elderly lady who he tried to interview under the cloak of darkness (if he really needed to interview her, couldn’t he have arranged to meet her through prior arrangement, during the daytime?):


After describing Prosecutor Mignini as a “convicted felon”, Paul Ciolino speaks of Signora Capezzali at the 1h42’47” mark of a Seattle University pro-Knox forum on 4 April 2011:  “The crazy woman (Capezzali) who had ... I don’t think she ... did she ever testify? They never did bring her in because she is crazy.”  (Source: Seattle University FOA panel video.)  Ciolino’s speech was notable if only for the almost complete absence of any truths.

In fact, yes, Signora Capezzali did testify in court in Knox’s and Sollecito’s murder trial, two years earlier in March 2009 (Source ABC News ).  It’s not necessary to add that in spite of Ciolino’s vaudeville show affirmations, witness Signora Capezzali is not crazy.

My Concluding Suggestions

1. To Joel Simon, the director of the Committee to Protect Journalists:

Rather than doing false posts that are never retracted or corrected about benign regional Italian prosecutors in Italy, the CPJ should realize that there is a much, much greater, real and true threat to journalists and journalism due to the transformation of the profession in America into a concentration of commercial enterprises with links to lobbying groups, who use vaudeville-style “entertainers” to wake up murder witnesses in the dark of night and then publicly call them “crazy”.

Mr. Simon, really, it’s time for you to implement some governance in your organization. Here are some common sense suggestions that I humbly submit:

    1) Don’t allow your financial benefactors to be part of the cases that you take special interest in, except with independent review of your analysis and claims.

    2) If you’re a journalism organization, follow basic journalistic ethics by checking your facts and contrasting allegations, especially when you are making claims that seriously affect the reputations of persons.

    3) When you realize that you have made a terrible mistake and have falsely accused someone of sending a goon squad to beat up someone else, then be man enough to admit it and correct your false accusation. Start now and apologise to Prosecutor Mignini for the slanderous gift you made to Amanda Knox PR campaign.

    4) Take some time as a collective representative organization, to consider and reconsider whom you represent and why “¦ are self-described “point-of-view journalists” (lobbyists) part of the body of professionals you wish to represent? Will they cause you a conflict of professional or moral interest at any point? Do you want these people giving money to your organization?


2. To Douglas Preston, an amateur crime fighter obviously out of his league.

My impression from what we’ve seen is that your attempts at playing in the big lobbying leagues have all ended up with pie in your face, or a “kick-me, I’m stupid” yellow Post-It on your back:

    1) As we have seen in this post, ethical, traditional journalism gives way in your recent The Slate post and Kindle 99 cent pamphlet, to obvious and ineffective pro-Knox lobbying. In my opinion, the propagandistic shots you’ve fired have neither been convincing nor contain real, true facts unfettered from insinuation and half-truths and falsehoods.I

    2) In prior TJMK posts, we’ve seen how you have told two completely different beginnings to your Monster of Florence tale, complete with quoting different persons at different times in different places. You have ended the story with a confusion of errors and falsehoods. See my posts on this here and here.

    3) It seems you’re famous in Italian judiciary circles for having lost control of your sphincter in your questioning in Perugia years ago. Is that one of the reasons you’re so mad at Prosecutor Mignini and say just about anything about him, regardless if the message to your readers is true?

    4) Like Fredo, you were always the last member of the gang to find out what was going on. Your supposed “5 year” investigation with Spezi into the Monster of Florence seems more like a rehash of old theories developed by others, done in a short period of time by Spezi only from 2004 onward (notwithstanding your scrapbook of other reporters’ work), who would inform you at the last minute of his larvae studies, his TV appearances, or of his “A-Team” investigative squad comprising an ex-con and an ex-cop, who you realized existed only when their months of work had finished.


Fumbling Fredo’s handlers in The Godfather realized the terrible damage he was doing to the Corleone Family’s interests. Is Preston damaging the true, long-term interests of Amanda Knox? 

What about his other interests, in the Monster of Florence case “¦ is he truly aware of all of the interests in that case, beyond his own ““ repeatedly voiced ““ hope of seeing George Clooney play Preston?



Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Disarray And Decay In The Pro-Knox Parade: #2 Key Knox-Mellas Flunkie Now AWOL On 2 Continents

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Click the image above for Frank Sforza’s first posts in November 2007 - scroll down for English]


Foolish False Allegations Against Italian Officialdom Sparking Increasingly Tough Legal Reaction

That was the header of our post of 19 December. This is the excerpt on Perugia Shock blogger “Frank Sfarzo” who like Bruce Fischer is unwillingly outed under his real name (Frank Sforza) and found to be exceedingly mundane. 

Sforza hides behind the name Frank Sfarzo as an intemperate and rarely accurate blogger on the case. He brings no known professionals skills to the task. He is reported to be the target of criminal charges relating to alleged abuse of the sister and mother with whom he lives. His unsavory reputation and desperate finances mushroomed openly the other day, when he was reported in personal confrontations while visiting Canada and Hawaii.

Sforza now faces a defamation suit as well, for claiming to the whole world via Doug Preston and Joel Simon of the Committee to Protect Journalists in New York that he was being persecuted by a prosecutor back in Perugia. The prosecutor was not even involved. Seems to us an open and shut case.

While on the west coast of the United States and Canada and Hawaii late last year, Sforza attracted the attention of the police in three cities.

Charges in two were dropped but he was a no-show for the court case Kermit elegantly described here. The judge issued a warrant for his arrest.

Meanwhile his legal trouble in Perugia escalated. He failed to show for court hearings in Perugia in December and January and his lawyer walked. He was to face charges of violence against the police when they were called to quell a rampage. They were called by his mother and sister.

Now Frank Sforrza has again failed to show up in court, this time in Florence, and police will be actively looking for him. This case concerns one of his craziest “scoops” which was that Mignini was in cahoots with drug dealers, whereas exactly the opposite is true, Perugia drug dealers fear Mignini and he has taken a number of them down.   

Sfrorza was initially cocksure (like Sollecito) on his return to Italy late 2012 and made taunting posts on Facebook and Fischer’s Misinformation Forum (like Sollecito) early 2013 but he has since gone very quiet and fled the internet (like Sollecito) as the deep legal trouble he is in slowly seeps in.

Back in 2007 and 2008 those of us who were here then followed Frank’s Perugia Shock postings and it was only late in 2008 that for murky reasons he jumped the shark and switched his sweaty attentions over to Amanda Knox.  Read his first posts here. Scroll down for English.

They were actually at times accurate - and he clearly did think Sollecito and Knox were up to their ears in it.  Read his headline on the last image below. On 10 November 2007 he even penned this satire.

A: Shit, my roommate is dead, do you mind if I sleep at your place?
R: Sure, so we can have another couple of joints. The guy just supplied me.
A: Greaat!
R: Hey what are those cellpones?
A: Oh, it’s her cellphones. Do you think I should hide them?
R: Give them to me… Uuuuhuuuh! (he throws the cellphones away).
A: Oh my goood, what have you done? You’ve thrown them in that garden! They gonna find them!
R: Naaa, don’t worry. My sister is Carabiniere, I know how to handle such things.
A: Hey, you should throw away your knife too.
R: What? Throw my knives away? I’m from Puglia, you know? I always have a knife with me.
I can’t believe you just said that. You know what? You better sleep at your place.
A: Oh no, please, don’t make me sleep at my place. There’s blood in the bathroom. I’ve already got my sweater dirty. I had to throw it away, can you believe it? I don’t’ wanna loose another sweater.
R: Oh right, good, ok, sorry, you can sleep at my place. By the way what happened to your roommate?
A :She made everything dirty with her blood, and then she stopped moaning about one hour ago.
R :Hey I was there with you at that time.
A: Are you sure?
R:Yes, don’t remember? We were… you know?
A: What?
R: We were having sex. Did you already forget?
A: I’m not sure.
R: Actually I’m also not sure too, now, I’m too smoked.
A: We should do something than. They’ll come to take us.
R: Naaa. Are you kidding? I’m from Puglia. There’s mafia in Puglia, you know? My sister is Carabiniere! And My father is a doctor, you know? DOCTOR! He makes a call and I’m not gonna have any problem.
A: What about me? Well, if you save me too I’m gonna give you anything you want. You can have me anytime, no problem.
R: Actually I’d prefer some joints. By the way, no problem. Now we break the window and they’ll think was some thieves.
A: What if they don’t buy it?
R: Don’t worry, I know how this things go.
A: Yes, your sister is Carabinieri. Well, anyways, I’ve sent a message to Patrick so they can still think was Patrick.
R: Fine. He’s such a perfect suspect. Now let’s go to sleep. I’ll set the alarm so tomorrow I’m calling my sister.
A: Are you gonna remember that?
R: I’ll put a note on the fridge.
A: However… Are you sure that wasn’t us to hurt her with your knife?
R: To hurt who?













Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Disarray And Decay In The Pro-Knox Parade: Bruce Fischer’s Epidemic Of Malicious Claims

Posted by The Machine




The Knox supporters’ leader-of-the-parade spirals up

Back in October 2008, in our first long post ever on Meredith’s case, Skeptical Bystander highlighted the crazed pro-Knox attack sharks that were starting to appear on Candace Dempsey’s blog.

Psychologists warned us that a competitive leader-of-the-parade spiral was wittingly or unwittingly being encouraged by the Curt Knox/David Mariott/Anne Bremner campaign, and that this could be far from the worst we’d see.

Sure enough, late in 2008, Frank Sforza (timidly posting anonymously as “Frank Sfarzo”) did a u-turn on his blog Perugia Shock from nicely supporting Meredith and the prosecution to angrily supporting Amanda Knox and vilifying the prosecution and pro-Meredith sympathizers. (A u-turn for which he now pays dear.)

At a West Seattle Knox fundraiser in January 2009 a really angry Paul Ciolino wowed the crowd with red meat. He attempted to leapfrog all the other pro-Knox hotheads with a vicious personal attack on the prosecution. Ciolino sounded so crazed that even Amanda Knox’s defense lawyers had to distance themselves from him.

Soon after, Doug Preston, long a timid sniper safe on the other side of the Atlantic from Italy, published his angry, error-ridden Monster of Florence with its surreal Afterword on Meredith’s case.

From that point on, slamming the Italian police and police experts and prosecution without any restraint (for which there has been zero parallel in US or UK legal history) became a cowardly passion across the Atlantic which any ill-informed hothead could play. The Italian MP Rocco Girlanda next leaped to the head of the parade with easy access to Knox in prison, and some of his slobberings were so bizarre that even the Knox-Mellases for once thought to check that supporter out.

Fischer attempts to elbow his way to the front

First mention of “Bruce Fisher of New York” on Perugia Murder File was in a comment by myself on 7 March 2010. Even back then, Fischer had a whole handful of basic facts about the case wrong but heeded no advice.

Fischer arrived after the 2009 Massei trial was done, and from that time on he tried to absolutely dominate the pro-Knox parade. His fundamental effort is to muddy the water on the hard evidence and inflame American public against Italy and its cops, court, and ustice officials.

Such inflammatory actions are in fact illegal under Italian law and especially so when very senior justice officials are falsely accused of crimes.

Fischer wrote a joke of a book, the very worst on the case. He has posted endless badly-written posts on his own websites and forums, with no correction when they proved wrong.

He also posted endless badly-written posts on other blogs and group blogs like Technorati (evicted), Gather (evicted) and Ground Report, with no correction when they proved wrong. And he posted dozens of videos on Youtubes with no correction when they proved wrong.

Fischer set out to hijack the Amanda Knox Wikipedia page, which to knowledgeable Italians now looks absolutely bizarre. He recruited a raft-full of confused and uncurious nitwits like Steve Moore, Nigel Scott, Ron Hendry, David Anderson, Saul Kassin, and Michael Wiesner.

All of them are now lesser people than they once were.

Fischer is clearly a clinically deeply angry man (he has in his past little education, a disaster of a career, several bankruptcies, and a house repossession) so not unexpectedly most of Fischer’s prolific output has been in the form of vicious personal rants.

Revealed 18 months ago to be merely Bruce Fischer, a shop assistant in a mall store on the far outskirts of Chicago, with not a single honorable accomplishment to his name, he chilled somewhat. But his personal rants all still remain online, and so does his epidemic of wrong claims.

Lately he has been trying frenetically to shore up the edifice of the seemingly unstable Frank Sforza. Sforza is now on the run from the American law and facing several trials in Italy; Sforza’s own site has fled behind the scenes.

This first post in the series nails 20 of Fischer’s malicious claims intended to inflame public opinion against the police and prosecution which he has long pushed hard on his websites and other websites and forums.

Bruce Fischer on Amanda Knox’s interrogation

On his website under the heading The Illegal Interrogation of Amanda Knox, Bruce Fisher gives what appears to be a very detailed eyewitness account of what happened to Amanda Knox when she was questioned at the police station on 5 November 2007.

The problem is Bruce Fischer wasn’t actually present when Knox was questioned and he doesn’t know what happened. His account is repeatedly contradicted by numerous witnesses who were actually present. These witnesses include Amanda Knox’s interpreter, Anna Donnino, numerous police officers from different units from Perugia and Rome and Amanda Knox.


Malicious Claim 1: Amanda Knox repeatedly told the truth

Bruce Fischer’s claim that Amanda Knox repeatedly told the truth is complete and utter nonsense. Even a simpleton could understand that Amanda Knox’s repeated claims that Diya Lumumba killed Meredith are not true and that it’s not possible for her to be in two different places - Sollecito’s apartment and the cottage on Via della Pergola - at the same time.

Judge Micheli, who presided over Rudy Guede’s fast-track trial and sent Knox and Sollecito to trial, noted that they had given multiple alibis and had lied in attempt to cover for each other.  The mobile phone records, the data recovered from Sollecito’s computer and the corroborative eyewitness testimony provide irrefutable proof that she lied repeatedly.

Judge Massei outlined numerous examples of these lies in his report: she falsely claimed she received a text message from Diya Lumumba when she was at Sollecito’s apartment (322); there are various discrepancies in her statements about the time she and Sollecito ate dinner (78); her claim that she and Sollecito had a peaceful night of continuous and prolonged sleep is contradicted by Sollecito’s activity on his computer, the turning on of his cell phone and the testimony of Marc Quintavalle (85).

Even Amanda Knox’s lawyer, Luciano Ghirga, conceded that she had given conflicting accounts to the police:

All of the lawyers have imposed on Amanda the gravity of her situation, and the gravity of accusing other people. They have all told her that she needs to tell the truth because there have been differences in the statements.

According to Anna Donnino, her interpreter, she denied responding to a text message from Lumumba.

She had denied responding to an SMS message from Mr Lumumba telling her there was no need to come to work because there were few customers, leaving her free for the evening. But she broke down when police said phone records showed that she had done so, Ms Donnino said.


Malicious Claim 2: The interrogation of Amanda Knox was illegal

No court in Italy has ever ruled that any of Amanda Knox’s questioning on 5 and 6 November 2007 was illegal. This explains why Bruce Fischer is unable to support his claim with any reference to a court ruling.


Malicious Claim 3: Amanda Knox was told Diya Lumumba killed Meredith and she did not give Patrick’s name to the police. His name was suggested to her.

According to the corroborative testimony of multiple witnesses, including her interpreter Anna Donnino, Amanda Knox voluntarily and spontaneously accused Patrick Lumumba of murdering Meredith.

After hearing and weighing up the testimony of these witnesses and Amanda Knox, Judge Massei stated that it couldn’t be claimed that “Amanda Knox was persuaded by the investigators to accuse Diya Lumumba aka Patrick, by means of various pressing requests which she could not resist.” (The Massei report, page 388.)

He noted that there had been “no corroboration of the pressing requests which Amanda was seemingly subjected to in order to accuse Diya Lumumba of the crime committed to the detriment of Meredith.” (389).

Judge Massei concluded that Knox had freely accused Diya Lumumba of Meredith’s murder.


Malicious Claim 4: Amanda Knox was slapped on the back of the head.

All the witnesses who were present when Knox was questioned, including her interpreter, testified under oath at the trial that she wasn’t hit. Even Amanda Knox’s lawyer, Luciano Ghirga, distanced himself from these allegations:

There were pressures from the police, but we never said she was hit.


Malicious Claim 5: This abuse went on for hours until Amanda was finally broken.

Leaving aside Fischer’s unsubstantiated claim that Amanda Knox was abused for hours, she was questioned for approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes on 5 November 2007. According to Barbie Nadeau Amanda Knox’s questioning started at about 11.00pm:

Since Knox was at the police station, the head of the murder squad decided to ask her a few questions. Her interrogation started at about 11 p.m.

Knox questioning was stopped at 1.45am when she became a suspect and made her first witness statement. She wasn’t actively questioned again that night. Mignini later witnessed another statement but no questions were asked.


Malicious Claim 6: Amanda Knox was suffering from extreme exhaustion with no food or water.

A number of witnesses who were present when Knox was questioned, testified that Knox was given something to eat and drink. Even Amanda Knox admitted this was the case in court.

Ms Napoleoni told the court that while she was at the police station Ms Knox had been ‘treated very well. She was given water, camomile tea and breakfast. She was given cakes from a vending machine and then taken to the canteen at the police station for something to eat.’ (Richard Owen in The Times, 1 March 2009).

Also from Richard Owens in The Times.

Ms Donnino said that Ms Knox had been “comforted” by police, given food and drink, and had at no stage been hit or threatened.

John Follain in his meticulous book Death in Perugia also reports that Knox was given food and drink during her questioning:

During the questioning, detectives repeatedly went to fetch her a snack, water, and hot drinks including camomile tea. (Death in Perugia, Kindle edition, page 134).



Malicious Claim 7: The Italian Supreme Court stated that the interrogation was illegal because Amanda did not have an attorney present.

The Italian Supreme Court has never stated that Amanda Knox’s questioning on 5 November 2007 was illegal. Bruce Fischer eventually admitted this was not true on PMF.net

When it comes to the admissibility of the written statements, you are technically correct. The interrogation itself was never ruled illegal.

However, he still hasn’t corrected this Malicious Claim on his website.


Malicious Claim 8: Sollecito couldn’t support Knox’s alibi because he was sleeping.

Bruce Fisher’s claim that Sollecito was only speaking about when he was sleeping is completely contradicted by Sollecito’s witness statement:

Amanda and I went into town at around 6pm, but I don’t remember what we did. We stayed there until around 8.30 or 9pm.

At 9pm I went home alone and Amanda said that she was going to Le Chic because she wanted to meet some friends. We said goodbye. I went home, I rolled myself a spliff and made some dinner. (Aislinn Simpson, The Daily Telegraph, 7 November 2007).

Police said Raffaele Sollecito had continued to claim he was not present on the evening of the murder. He said: “I went home, smoked a joint, and had dinner, but I don’t remember what I ate. At around eleven my father phoned me on the house phone. I remember Amanda wasn’t back yet. I surfed on the Internet for a couple of hours after my father’s phone call and I stopped only when Amanda came back, about one in the morning I think. (The Times, 7 November 2007).

At the trial, Sollecito refused to corroborate Knox’s alibi that she was at his apartment.

Knox maintains that she spent the night of Nov. 1, 2007, at Sollecito’s house. Sollecito did not take the stand during this trial, and his lawyer told NEWSWEEK that it was, at least in part, because he could not corroborate Knox’s alibi. (Barbie Nadeau, Newsweek).


Malicious Claim 9: Amanda Knox gave in to the interrogators demands by describing an imaginary dream or vision.

Contrary to Bruce Fisher’s claims that Knox described an imaginary dream or vision, Amanda Knox makes no mention of an imaginary dream or vision in her two witness statements. She categorically states that she met Diya Lumumba at Piazza Grimana and that they went to the cottage on Via della Pergola. In her first witness statement, she claims that Lumumba killed Meredith.

Bruce Fischer on the double DNA knife


Malicious Claim 10: No other knives were taken from Raffaele’s apartment.

Fischer makes yet another demonstrably Malicious Claim. He clearly hasn’t read the Massei report in its entirety because Judge Massei discusses a jack-knife that was 18cm long with an 8cm blade at some length and the results of the DNA tests that were carried out on it:

He (Armando Finzi) recalled they found another knife whose total length was 18cm, with an 8cm. blade… (106).

On the jack”‘knife, 4 samples were taken, with negative results where blood-derived substances had been looked for; on the fourth sample, which involved the handle, the genetic profile was found to be of Sollecito plus Knox…

Four samples were taken from the jack-knife and only one yielded a positive genetic result: the sample taken from the belt clip. The trace did not turn out to be blood and it yielded a mixed genetic result: Sollecito plus Knox. To confirm the presence of result the Y profile of Sollecito. (194).

Andrea Vogt reported that another knife was taken into evidence in article for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

A small knife was taken into evidence from Sollecito’s bedroom, along with other items.  (Andrea Vogt, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 28 February 2009).


Malicious Claim 11: The knife was chosen from the drawer because it looked clean.

Fischer is desperately trying to discredit the police investigation by dismissively and falsely claiming that the knife was chosen because it simply looked clean. Armando Finzi was the police officer who bagged the knife. He testified that he thought it was the murder weapon because it was compatible with the wound on Meredith’s neck. Andrea Vogt explained this in the same article:

Armando Finzi, an assistant in the Perugia police department’s organized crimes unit, first discovered the knife in Sollecito’s kitchen drawer. He said the first thing he noticed upon entering the place was a “strong smell of bleach.” He opened the drawer and saw “very shiny and clean” knife lying on top of the silverware tray.

“It was the first knife I saw,” he said. When pressed on cross-examination, said his “investigative intuition” led him to believe it was the murder weapon because it was compatible with the wound as it had been described to him. With gloved hands, he placed the knife in a new police envelope, taped it shut with Scotch tape, then placed it inside a folder, he said. There were smaller and bigger knives in the drawer, but no others were taken into evidence from the kitchen, he said.

(Andrea Vogt, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 28 February 2009).


Malicious Claim 12: No DNA was on the blade.

Bruce Fischer’s bizarre claim that there was no DNA on the blade is contradicted by numerous DNA experts. Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni, Dr. Renato Biondo, the head of the DNA Unit of the Scientific Police, Professor Francesca Torricelli, former Caribinieri General Luciano Garofano and Professor Novelli have all confirmed that Meredith’s DNA was on the blade of the knife.

Even Greg Hampikian and Elizabeth Johnson’s letter confirm that the DNA on the blade of the knife was consistent with Meredith’s DNA. Carla Vecchiotti also acknowledged that there was a complete DNA profile on the knife, but claimed it was unreliable because it should have been tested two or three times.

After categorically stating that there was no DNA on the blade, Fischer goes on to claim that the DNA on the blade came from the laboratory. However, Dr Stefanoni analyzed the traces on the knife six days after last handling Meredith’s DNA. This means that contamination couldn’t have occurred in the laboratory. In court, Carla Vecchiotti accepted that six days was sufficient to avoid contamination.


Malicious Claim 13: No additional testing will ever be available.

Professor Novelli testified that there are a number of laboratories with cutting-edge technology that could have carried out a test on the remaining DNA on the knife. (Galati-Costaglio Appeal, UK Version, page 26).


Malicious Claim 14: No control tests were done

John Follain points out in Death in Perugia that the control tests had been filed with another judge:

The tests had been filed with an earlier test, and Judge Pratillo Hellmann later admitted them as evidence. (Death in Perugia, Kindle Edition, page 409).

Forensic scientists Professor Novelli and Emiliano Giardina specifically who were consultants for the prosecution stated in an article in an Italian newspaper il Fatto Quotiano that the negative control were performed and these tests excluded the possibility that Meredith’s bra clasp was contaminated in the laboratory.

Bruce Fischer on the bra clasp


Malicious Claim 15: They (the Scientific Police officers) pass it (the bra clasp) around with contaminated gloves.

How could Bruce Fischer possibly know that these gloves were contaminated? He is not a forensic scientist. He didn’t quote any DNA tests on the gloves. There is no evidence that these gloves were contaminated and predictably Fischer provides no scientific findings to support his assertion.

Bruce Fischer on the Luminol footprints


Malicious Claim 16: None of the bare footprints detected with luminol tested positive for Meredith’s DNA.

Bruce Fischer gets his facts wrong for the umpteenth time and proves that he’s ignorant of the facts concerning the DNA evidence. The Luminol footprint in the corridor contained Meredith’s DNA. This information is contained in the Massei report:

Amanda (with her feet stained with Meredith’s blood for having been present in her room when she was killed) had gone into Romanelli’s room and into her [own] room leaving traces [which were highlighted] by Luminol, some of which (one in the corridor, the L8, and one, the L2, in Romanelli’s room) were mixed, that is, constituted of a biological trace attributable to [both] Meredith and Amanda”¦ (380).


Malicious Claim 17: “Yet the court concluded Amanda purchased bleach anyway.”

Judge Massei made no such claim. On the contrary, he argued that the fluorescence given off by Luminol was due to the presence of blood, not bleach (284).

To support his argument that bleach had not been used to clean the cottage, he pointed out no-one entering the house had not noticed any smell of bleach (283) and noted that if bleach had been used to clean the house, many traces would have been highlighted by the Luminol (284).


Malicious Claim 18: Quintavalle states that he only saw the side of Amanda’s face.

This claim is completely untrue. Galati pointed out in his appeal that Quintavalle’s own witness statement contradicts this claim:

A further observation on which the CAA bases its assessment of unreliability (thus, of low reliability) appears completely arbitrary, because contradicted by the statements of the witness. Quintavalle would have seen the young woman out of the corner of the eye and never from the front.

From the examination of the statements made by Quintavalle in the first instance trial completely different facts emerge because Quintavalle affirms what was referred to by the Court of Assizes on p. 71, when the young woman was still outside the store (cf. transcripts of the hearing 21 March 2009, p. 72) adding: “this young woman when she came inside, I looked at her to greet her; I mean I saw her at a distance of one metre, 70-80 cm”.  (Galati-Costaglio Appeal, UK Version, page 39).


Malicious Claim 19: “He (Curatolo) said Amanda and Raffaele were chattering from about 9:30 pm to right before midnight on the basketball court near the cottage.”

Antonio Curatolo clarified in court that he didn’t watch Knox and Sollecito the whole time in Piazza on the night of the murder. Barbie Nadeau reported that he saw them on a couple of occasions:

...he (Curatolo) placed Amanda and Raffaele there, testifying that the two stood at the gate and watched the house around 9:30pm and again at around 10:30pm on November 1.  (Barbie Nadeau, Angel Face, Kindle edition, page 116).


Malicious Claim 20: “During closing arguments, after all of his different theories had fallen apart, Mignini told the jury: “There is no motive.”

Mignini never told the jury that “there is no motive”. Barbie Nadeau pointed out that the prosecutors had changed their theory, but only rather slightly:

The prosecution lawyers began their case in January 2009 by arguing that Kercher was killed during a sex game gone awry. When it came time for closing arguments, they had changed the theory slightly, trying to make the case that Knox resented her prissy British roommate and killed her in hatred” A sex attack was still involved.


The Knox supporters’ leader-of-the-parade spirals down

Only 20 Malicious Claims are taken apart above but there are at least several hundred more. When you consider the sheer number of Malicious Claims that Fischer has made and how much these claims differ from the actual hard truths, you cannot trust anything he says.

And yet many of Fischer’s Malicious Claims have been unquestioningly widely accepted as fact, and have been repeated by many in the media. For example, Journalist Nathaniel Rich stated that Sollecito claimed that Knox could not have left his apartment for several hours while he was sleeping. A key Fischer claim.

More of Nathaniel Rich’s paroting of Fischer’s claims is dismembered here.  Steve Moore’s paroting of Fischer’s claims is dismembered here.  Saul Kassin’s paroting of Fischer’s claims is dismembered here.  Michael Wiesner’s parotting of Fischer’s claims is dismembered here. 

The credibility of Bruce Fischer and his disastrous leadership of the Knox parade have been completely shot to pieces. Any journalists who use Bruce Fischer as a source in the future should hang their heads in shame.


Saturday, February 23, 2013

An Overview From Italy #3 Dr Michel Giuttari Speaks Out About The Trumped Up Florence Case

Posted by Machiavelli (Yummi)



[Dr Michele Giuttari, former head of the Mobile Squad in Florenece and prominet authoer]


Dr Giuttari and Dr Mignini are connected because they both investigated the Monster of Florence case - and because a nasty case trumped up in Florence in retaliation has just been killed by the Supreme Court. .

The erratic Mario Spezi and his timid colleague the sniper from afar Doug Preston have blown up that case to gigantic proportions, as have the Knox and Sollecito forces, and most recently (very foolishly and ill-timed, as his claims may constitute contempt of court) Raffaele Sollecito himself.

Some important background can be found in Overview #2 and Comments here.

Michele Giuttari started his police career in the 1970s’ as a mobile squad detective in Calabria; after 15 years of “Calabrian ” experience he was appointed to the Anti-Mafia Division of Naples, and subsequently became the head of the Mobile Squad in Florence.  During his Florentine service time, following investigation guidelines under the direction of prosecutor Piero Luigi Vigna, he produced a solution to the “˜Monster of Florence’ case, but also brought the investigation to an unexpected turning point.



[Former Florence chief prosecutor Piero Luigi Vigna created the “monster of Florence” term]


As Vigna deduced, the MoF was not really one serial killer, but rather the manifestation of the killing activity carried on by a small group of people, at least three.  In fact three people were found guilty for taking part to the murders;  but both prosecutor and judges were not entirely satisfied: because there was evidence ““ so the court concluded ““ that someone else was involved too, who remained unknown.

The investigation into the death of Dr Francesco Narducci was opened in Perugia in 2005 as a routine cold case, because of Narducci’s wife’s and relatives’  doubts about the “official” version of his “accidental” death in Lake Trasimeno. 



[Former Perugia doctor Francesco Narducci found drowned in Lake Trasimeno]


Points of contact between Narducci and the MoF emerged independently from two directions, from the Perugia investigation, and from Giuttari’s findings from the previous Florence investigation.

Crossed analysis with the data bank collected by Michele Giuttari showed that several people were common witnesses both in the Narducci and the MoF case, while many things in the Narducci case were not adding up (for example, the unburied body was found to have died by strangulation, not by drowning, his trachea and hyoid bone were crushed). 

Something even more unexpected was that the investigation into the Narducci case revealed - and partly itself triggered - a network or other collateral crimes. A number of people were caught engaged in criminal activities with the purpose of plotting cover-ups and obstruction of justice on this cold case.  Among them were law enforcement officers and lawyers. 

But most surprising and peculiar, there was a fierce reaction from some magistrates among the Florence judiciary, in an attempt to stop the Perugia investigation. 

The first wild accusations launched by a Florentine prosecutor against Perugia offices were proven false, so the most serious charges were dropped by a preliminary judge as obviously unfounded. 

But a second wave of legal action followed, alleging that Giuttari and Mignini’s wiretapping recordings were false;  this accusation was also proven false in a trial, as expert technicians demonstrated the authenticity of all material.

But after ignoring the objection about territorial competence the judge managed to let one accusation stand ““ that of abuse of office, a charge less serious than the previous ones, which was not formulated on points of facts but only on points of law ““ at the first degree trial.

After some years,  this charge was canceled, as the courts finally declared the whole investigation illegitimate, and they nullified both the first degree trial, and the investigation and indictment itself.

A last attempt by the Florentine prosecution to further delay closure was ended by the recent, final Supreme Court verdict.  Meanwhile, a couple of Florentine magistrates were successful in stopping the investigation into the Narducci case, for a total of seven years.   

Unfortunately these happenings are not entirely new to the Italian judiciary. This one resembles other happenings ““ possibly more serious ““ that affected the system in recent Italian history (the most famous examples are the Elisa Claps, or the plots known as “Toghe Lucane” targeting known magistrates such as Luigi De Magistris and Henry John Woodcock). 

The system shows symptoms of stress from the whole extreme political instability of the country, but so far it still manages to fiercely resist those drifts.

Michele Giuttari is also an author.  Albeit he is not the top crime fiction novelist for sales in Italy (the Italian market has top-class masters in the genre), yet he is the top-selling Italian crime writer in the English speaking world. Curiously, the best-seller among all his titles published in Italy ““ the non-fiction book about the history of the true MoF investigation ““ is the only one in his books which has so far been rejected by American publishing houses.   



[The top-selling Michele Giuttari book, the non-fiction Il Mostro]


His last book bears the title “The Evil Dreams of Florence” [image of cover at bottom] and he might have chosen it as a metaphor of what he was drawn into by some people within the Florentine authorities and some in high positions.

After the final Supreme Court verdict on Feb 8., he posted a long comment about it in Italian on his Facebook page, in which he addresses his criticism mainly toward the head of police Antonio Manganelli . 



[Chief of Italy’s civil police Antonio Manganelli]


I agree with Giuttari about the shame police chief Antonio Manganelli brought on his administration through the terrible handling of the case of the Genoa G8 violence.  In 2001 some police corps attacked and tortured peaceful demonstrators in Genoa, following political inclinations, in what was called by Amnesty International “the most serious violation of civil rights committed by police forces in Western Europe” after WW2.

The leader of the Democrats (the main opposition party) at the time called it “state violence with a fascist mark”. Recently Cassation definitively called the event a “shame”, and prominent journalist Marco Travaglio wrote an open letter to Antonio Manganelli, saying “I beg you to kick out from your police force the authors of such henious crimes” . 



[Police violence against peaceful protestors at Group of 8 meeting Genoa 2001]


Yet Manganelli (ironically his name means “batons” in Italian, and the Diaz School night assault is now remembered as “la notte dei manganelli”) ““  a man who apparently has the quality of being friends with many high-profile politics ““ had chosen to “help” them, to defend and protect from prosecution the proven authors of political violence, while at the same time, apparently he didn’t care about what was going on in Florence and quietly pulled a curtain of silence on a “politically uncomfortable” issue. 

I add that Manganelli was recently found to be the most paid public employee of the Italian State (with a wage of 621,000 euros per year).

Dr Giuttari expressed his outrage against Manganelli in a comment on his Facebook page which I translate below.

He makes this statement on behalf of Dr Mignini as well. 

Seven years of deafening silence by the head of State Police Manganelli

On February 8. 2013 the Supreme Court of Cassation, by declaring them inadmissible, put the final seal on the investigations that the Florentine prosecution had “illegitimately” carried on against myself, on the basis of mere accusatory theories about absurdly formulized charges of abuse of office which, allegedly, I committed concurring together with Perugia Public Minister Giuliano Mignini in the course of official activity, during my enactment of the written orders of a PM [supervising magistrate] at the time when I was responsible for a special team which had been created by the head of the police through a Ministry decree. 

And this [Supreme Court] decision confirms, in a certain and incontrovertible way, on the one hand the “instrumental” nature of the judicial events, and on the other hand the fact that we should not ever have been investigated; and, what’s worse, that we should not ever have been tried in Florence by magistrates who weren’t impartial at all: and this is exactly what Cassation has asserted, addressing the investigators with a clear message, even if they did it by using the available legal formula of territorial incompetence (functional rectius)! 
     
So ended a case of Italian miscarriage of justice, which, besides causing damages to we the defendants, it also caused ““ and this is even more serious and absolutely unforgivable ““ the stopping in 2006 of the ongoing investigation into the death of the medical doctor Francesco Narducci in Lake Trasimeno, which was believed to be connected to the serial murders of couples around Florence (the so-called monster of Florence). 

It was seven long years of bitterness.  Seven long years of blocked investigation.  Seven long years of denial of justice to the victims’ relatives.

Seven long years during which the head of State Police held to deontologically [ethically] reprehensible behavior, which was especially serious since we are talking about a man [Manganelli] supposed to be an institutional point of reference for many people who put their lives at risk on a daily basis ““ who was appointed to occupy a top post (by the way, as we recently learned, a financially very, very well paid post), and he simply abandoned to his fate one police officer [myself] who had a professional history not inferior to his own, though not to his predecessor who held the same post before him.

This officer ““ leaving aside the solving of the monster of Florence case ““ was

(1) honored in the fight against the “˜ndrangheta [the Calabrian mafia] (on July 10. 2009 the Chief Prosecutor of Reggio Calabria declared publicly that Giuttari as a detective “created a turning point in the history of fight against “˜ndrangheta”);

(2) honored in the fight against the camorra (when responsible for the judiciary police department of the Anti-Mafia Division of Naples, I was appointed on request of the national Anti-mafia prosecutor Bruno Siclari for travel to South America for an important and dangerous investigation about an international drug traffic and an impressive series of murders);

(3) honored in the fight against the Cosa Nostra, and in particular the investigation of the 1993 mafia massacres of Florence, Rome and Milan (chief prosecutor Vigna, as he concluded the preliminary investigation, sent a letter to the head of the Anti-mafia Division ““ letter #8/95, sent on 2.2.1995 ““ where he stressed the officer’s important contribution);     

I could go on.

They were all “pure” investigation , with no contribution from mafia turncoats or cooperators!

And what about the head of the state police?

He didn’t do what he was supposed to in his function as the police chief:

(1) protect his officer, from risks including those deriving from the important police activities accomplished; answer ““ or make someone answer for his office ““ the explanatory letters that were sent to him, very detailed letters which had a judicial corroboration today (letters were sent directly to him on 2.20.2010 and 5.20. 2010);

(2) protect him from professional and economical damage (for example by paying in advance, as was his duty, the legal expenses)  since he knew very well that the officer operated in an institutional role, in the name of and on behalf of his administration.

He remained deaf to the various requests which were forwarded by the Minister of Interior himself at that time, he didn’t do anything. Inexplicably, he ignored everything. 

And further, I cannot keep quiet about the punishments against the cooperators in my working team.

None of them was allowed to go back to the Mobile Squad, they were all appointed to totally unrewarding duties such as guard work.  All these humiliations were offenses to the personal dignity of hard working people, as humble servants of the state let alone being police officers. And moreover it was true professional competences that were lost. 

A deafening silence.

I might go on but I want to recall instead what Manganelli did ““ even at the cost of his own public exposure ““ in favor of those colleagues who were involved in the Genoa G8 events, the saddest page in the history of Italian police to my memory!

They were actually promoted in their rank and functions! I think about what he did for them, even paying thousands and thousands of euros in advance for their legal expenses and for the provisional damage payments, as reported in newspapers (Il Secolo XIX of 5. 22. 2010, p.6).

A deafening silence.

These of the head of police are conducts reasonably leading anyone to conclude that he used a double standard, he considered his employees, involved in different cases, as divided between “sons and stepsons” (the Genoa case ended with definitive convictions of all on all charges, the case where I was involved was shown to be a judicial flop). 

Or even better put (it is incorrect to call his behavior a “double standard” or a different treatment for “sons and stepsons”)  it was actually two opposite policies, on situations that were opposites to each other.

No, that’s really not good at all. That’s not how it should be. 

And you should not ignore your own employees while you listen to those who are criminally indicted, you have your personal secretary call to fix a hearing at the Ministry with them, and you listen to them while they complain against others who were investigating them by written orders of the Public Minister ! (in the trial papers ““ no longer officially secret ““ there are phone call recordings with unequivocal meaning).

the head of police Manganelli was utterly disappointing to me, since he revealed himself to be light-years distant from the man and the officer I happened to know at the beginning of the eighties, before his drift into pernicious “political” things.

Hopefully, soon or later, a parliament inquiry on the Perugia and Florence judicial events will be appointed, to search into the behavior of some institutional personalities. I’ll be ready to offer my contribution to that.

And I’m sure Dr. Mignini will do the same too.

I conclude with a twofold question:  Will the head of police now feel some guil, at least morally as a person? Doesn’t he think he should respond ““ if not to an ordinary court ““ to the most severe tribunal of his own conscience, within his internal judgment?

Michele Giuttari,  ex-head of the Florence Mobile Squad

 



[Cover of Michele Gittari’s book “The Evil Dreams of Florence “]


Monday, February 18, 2013

Raffaele Sollecito Now Under Formal Investigation For New Crimes Apparently Unprecedented

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters




Breaking news. The Chief Prosecutor for Tuscany Dr Quattrocchi (above and below) has taken this investigation of Sollecito behind the scenes. Dr Quattrocchi is actually under no compulsion to make any of the Perugia and Rome complaints public before his investigation is complete. He has ordered all documents removed from the public domain. This is specifically to give the defense and their PR no advantage, and to make sure those others in Perugia who are going to complain about being defamed do so without harm.

Overview

This is a contempt of court case as court officials have been impugned. This is Wikipedia’s definition of “contempt of court” under US and UK common law.

Contempt of court is a court order which in the context of a court trial or hearing, declares a person or organization to have disobeyed or been disrespectful of the court’s authority.

Often referred to simply as “contempt,” such as a person “held in contempt,” it is the judge’s strongest power to impose sanctions for acts which disrupt the court’s normal process.

A finding of contempt of court may result from a failure to obey a lawful order of a court, showing disrespect for the judge, disruption of the proceedings through poor behaviour, or publication of material deemed likely to jeopardize a fair trial.

A judge may impose sanctions such as a fine or jail for someone found guilty of contempt of court.

We may now find out much more about the equivalent under Italian law.

When Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox were released at the end of 2011, the prosecution filed a Supreme Court appeal within the allotted period. This automatically meant that Sollecito and Knox still stood accused of crimes until the Supreme Court finally signs off.

Typically Italian defendants in such a legal status get good legal advice, on the lines of “Shut up and keep your heads down. We need to be the only ones doing the talking here.” 

Here such advice may or may not have been forthcoming, but the public record strongly suggests it was not. In fact Sollecios entire legal team is credited by both himelf and his shadow writer Andrew Gumbel with helping. This is what Gumbel wrote in his Acknowledgments:

Donatella Donati in Luca Maori’s office gave up many hours to make the official documentation available and to present it all in a cogent order. She’s a largely unsung hero in this story and deserves recognition for her extraordinary efforts on Raffaele’s behalf. Giulia Bongiorno, Luca Maori, and Tiziano Tedeschi answered questions and made comments on parts of the manuscript.

In the same Acknowledgments Sollecito credits the following.

I was lucky to have a crack legal team who showed their devotion to the truth and, in some cases, did not even request payment. The team of lawyers and consultants included Adriano Tagliabracci, Francesco Vinci, Bruno Pellero, Francesco Introna, Giulia Bongiorno, Maurizio Parisi, Daniela Rocchi, Luca Maori, Donatella Donati, Marco Brusco, Aldo Poggioni, Delfo Berretti, Tiziano Tedeschi, and Antonio D’Ambrosio.

Interestingly, Luca Maori has already left Sollecio’s legal team, and all eyes are now on Giulia Bongiorno. Buy plenty of popcorn. Lawsuits could fly between lawyers and family. 

Since the end of 2011 Curt Knox’s forces seem to have have gone full steam ahead with their own vilifications of the Italian prosecutors, police, judges, and witnesses - in fact almost anyone who had any role in 2009 in finding them guilty, or came to believe that was a fair finding. Ourselves included.

In late 2012 Curt Knox apparently invited all the most fervent of these attackers to Seattle, including Frank Sforza and Bruce Fischer, as some sort of reward for their legally very ill-advised campaign. Buy plenty more popcorn. Lawsuits could fly here as well. 

Raffele Sollecito’s forces in Italy had been a lot more restrained.

But at a stroke, the shrillness of Raffaele Sollecito leapfrogged that of Amanda Knox’s forces, with the publication of his book Honor Bound by Simon and Schuster in English in the UK and US last September,

INSTANTLY the book became notorious in Italy, because excerpts were read out by an Italian reporter in New York on the national television show Porta a Porta. Raffele Sollecito’s father Francesco was on that show, and he was increasingly forced to admit a key claim in the book was invented. It simply never happened. His son made it up.

The false claim by his son that Francesco was made to repudiate - it reappears over many pages - concerned a claimed deal engineered by his family and offered by the prosecution to Sollecito.

The deal he claimed was to roll over on Amanda Knox, and if Sollecito did so, he would be home free.

Following the Porta a Porta show, the book (obtainable on UK Amazon, where many false claims are repeated in the reviews) began to make its rounds in Italy. It took some time before many official parties accused of crimes by Sollecito obtained copies and started to explore their own legal possibilities. They are apparently still far from finished.

At the end of last week, the Chief Prosecutor for Tuscany Giuseppe Quattrocchi received the first official request from Perugia, which is to investigate 12 very serious claims in the book against the prosecution and the legal institutions of Italy. The complaint nominates a number of witnesses.

The Prosecution office of Florence now has a maximum of six months to investigate whether there is a case against Sollecito and other named parties. If so, they will steer it through the hoops of the Italian process.

The potential ripple effects of this appear to us to stretch on and on. They could come to engulf both legal teams (credited in the book with helping) and all of the PR for both defendants. Sollecito’s publisher and shadow writer are specifically named in the complaint

If Amanda Knox is not let off the hook by the Italian Supreme Court late in March (the outcome we consider most likely, given the great strength of the appeal) the smart way for Knox to go in light of this could be to junk all her websites, her book, and her interviews, and throw her supporters under the bus. Plus maybe get smarter lawyers - the aggressive and inexperienced Dalla Vedova does her no favors.

Keeping Amanda Knox’s head out of this deadly new line of fire may be very late - but maybe better late than never.




Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Should The Amanda Knox Defense Maybe Point The Finger At An Angry Daddy?

Posted by Peter Quennell





Given a level playing field Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are almost certainly going down for the final count.

There is not the slightest sign that their defenses know how to contend with the Supreme Court appeal filed by Umbria’s chief prosecutor Dr Galati. One has already walked (Maori) and the fact that the others don’t respond publicly to Galati speaks volumes to Italian lawyers.

If the first appeal (called in Italy the second level) is rerun in whole or in part, Sollecito and Knox could see Judge Massei’s “mitigating factors” annulled and find themselves each facing 30 years inside or even life.

The whole thrust of Sollecito’s ill-timed book (subtitle “how to shoot oneself in both feet”) is that he deserves to serve less time than Amanda Knox (who he “nobly saved”) and preferably to serve no time at all.

The sliding scales of all discussion of the case

Many bright people follow the case. We have many lawyers and crime experts and even judges read here. Many took a long time to settle on a “guilt” point of view and approached it very professionally (reflected in many of the posts written by professionals here). This is contrary to the klutzy, amateurish FOA campaign and their inaccurate rants about “haters”.

There are various great sliding scales or continuums in considering all aspects of this case. A lot of what we talk about on PMF and TJMK is where, precisely, we should all come down on each of these various scales at the end of the day. Especially of course how the judges in Rome and Perugia should calibrate them.

Via Dr Galati’s appeal and especially Sollecito’s book, we now have a new one. If reconvicted, should Sollecito and Knox serve equal time? Or should one or other serve more? Let us approach this by considering first some of the most-discussed of the sliding scales.

1) Was Knox a good friend of Meredith or increasingly a pariah?

Many here incline strongly to pariah.

Knox has an obvious tin ear and sharp elbows, was doing little study in Perugia, was making life hell for all her flatmates, was bringing noisy threatening lowlife men home (the other three virtually never brought men home), was disturbing Meredith’s studies, was hitting on patrons in Patrick’s bar, and was definitely into drugs to the extent that she might already have become an addict.

2) Pre-meditated murder or a hazing or spontaneous spiral initiated by Guede?

At least some here incline to the view espoused by some psychologists that Knox and Sollecito were probably both at minimum fantasizing violence, Knox against Meredith, and Sollecito long-term generically.

Knox had become threatened by Meredith in several different ways: Meredith was prettier, was much funnier, had won the best available boy, was brighter, had a tougher study regime, was more directed and ambitious, and had left Knox in the dust on all fronts. Hints that Meredith was about to get Knox’s job at Patrick’s bar could have been the last straw.

To most here, Knox has always seemed the initiator and the leader in the rage against Meredith, and the other two were possibly drawn in by group dynamics.

Judge Micheli certainly believed this. Judge Massei might have done, and his pointing at Guede (espoused in spades by Hellmann and Zanetti) and Massei’s “mitigating factors” both seemed “humane” stretches to give them a few years off - stretches which Chief Prosecutor Galati in his appeal and the Supreme Court in their finding on Guede have already both rejected.

3) Isolated crime/unique family or does American society incline this way?

Statistics show that society here in the US is separated out between super-rich and the other 99% more than at any time in the past 80 years and although productivity has been going up amazingly, all fruits of growth have gone to those super-rich. Many of them have a mindset that basically tells them they made it on their own, and government roles in their success and that of their creative hard-working employees dont matter a damn.

The situation and the anger in the US has been worsening, and absence of true growth for most people also have European and Japanese societies in disarray

In the US one can see heightened levels of anger in the losers of the Superbowl, in the renewed buying of guns, in conspiracy theories on the Internet, in the success of the very thought-provoking Hunger Games books and movie (small people against rich and a captured, cruel over-militarized government), in politics (of course!), and in the vitriolic flames on the IMDB movie forums now against the front-runner movies and actors for the Oscars.

We may not see this at major play here in the crime against Meredith, though, except in the over-competition sense, and the sense that Knox grew up in slight poverty (see below) and was burning through her savings with all the cocaine use (Perugia cops think it was cocaine)

4) Mental ill health in the perps and/or families or original evil?

Sollecito’s dad has long admitted that Raffaele is not normal, and he has struggled to keep him off drugs and focussed hard on his studies. His dad also admitted to all Italy that Sollecito included defamatory lies in his book.

An open and shut case? Seems so. Raffaele now looks “uncomplicatedly” psychopathic and the myriad wrong and nasty claims in his chest-beating book really hammer this take on him home.

That book seems to be his equivalent of Knox’s abrasive, uncaring two days on the stand in 2009 which so damaged her with the Massei jury.

Knox’s mental health seems more complicated. She was widely known to be “quirky” as a kid and then she became pretty wild in Seattle after she moved to live near the university. That certainly wouldn’t have helped.

Most recently, Knox seems to be sliding away into a bubble world without any possibility of admitting she needs treatment, which seems to explain her being kept well out of sight for a year now and not working or studying.

Generally the PROSECUTION in Perugia has been the side to suggest she is not mentally fully well (after the psychological tests in Capanne Prison in 2008) and the DEFENSE and FAMILY has been the side that shrugs this off and hasn’t made it any part of her defence.

Knox seems to have given off plenty of signs in the days after Meredith died that she was alternating between glee and horror. So she seemingly did know what she was doing on the night, and our guess is that it was she who pushed the knife in. In these circumstances the original verdict and sentence seem appropriate.

However!

5) Knox made herself what she was or did her family contribute?

Curt Knox’s seeming blind rage at Edda during their marriage and for years after are an open secret among some in Seattle. He apparently had one of the worst records in the entire US in not paying child support to Edda for Amanda and Deanna, and had again and again to be taken to Superior Court by Edda to be forced to make his monthly payments.

Here are two public records showing two instances of him being taken to Superior Court by Edda.

And we are told that Curt Knox was counseled by one or more judges to get himself some anger management therapy. Apparently he wasn’t formally required to take anger management therapy. He may have done so, though there seems no record that he ever did.

Okay. Not all kids growing up in such toxic family situations suffer, but some do, and a few end up with their hard wiring seriously messed up. Some even end up as drug-takers and murderers.

The classic example recently was the mass killer Anders Breivek in Norway, whose early childhood in a toxic family situation was not entirely unlike Knox’s. (In that case also, the prosecution thought maybe he was nuts, and the defense, successfully, argued otherwise.)

Italian lawyers tell us that it would be for the DEFENSE to bring this up in Perugia if it is a possible mitigating factor, and that it doesnt impinge on the prosecution’s case.

But how could they?

Curt Knox was apparently the one who shushed Amanda Knox at their first meeting in Capanne Prison, Curt Knox was apparently the one who misled her about the world-wide skepticisim against her (she didnt know about that until she came out of prison), and Curt Knox was apparently the one who drove the nasty PR bus - and most recently hosted all of the worst of the rabid PR nuts (including Sforza and Fischer) in Seattle.

Curt Knox has apparently consistently instructed the defense lawyers and PR honchos to keep the pedal to the floor, even though Chris Mellas once openly argued against that. Amanda Knox may have pushed the knife in, but Curt Knox for five years has not come clean about his own possible role in any mental condition.

Our present conclusion

Without a lot more information on Amanda Knox’s early days in her broken home in Seattle, and her current mental condition and condition back in 2007, it is pretty hard to calibrate this. It is not really possible to be precise about where she should be on any sliding scale of time deserved in prison if she is finally convicted.

It is really incumbent upon the defense counsel in Italy (their lawyers’ code of ethics requires this) to push hard for this information, and if they think it relevant to present it to court at any rerun of the appeal trial.

Amanda Knox herself should want this.


Saturday, January 05, 2013

We Mean You No Harm. Please Take Us To Your Leaders…  Oh Yes, But Of Course…

Posted by Kermit





Yes but of course. The self-appointed FOA leaders are now all physically or mentally AWOL. No sane credible adult is at the helm.

  • Scammer Number One is physically absent without officlal leave. He may be hiding out in or near Perugia, probably broke and without a good lawyer as his lawyer walked off the job, facing court dates starting later this month and possible imprisonment in two countries and now also a further defamation suit - he in effect already lost one defamation suit last year when a court ordered Google to take down a site it hosted for him for all the defamation it had contained.
  • Scammer Number Two is also physically absent without official leave, and may be hiding out in or near Verona, attempting on Facebook to make out that he is free and relaxed as a bird after nipping across to Manhattan for the New Year. Also that he is and always was loyal as hell to Amanda (give us a break) and that the devastating prosecution appeal and the devastating row of defamation suits about to hit him and his publisher and team sparked by his overheated book dont bother him or his dad a bit.
  • Scammer Number Three is mentally absent without official leave. He is to be found squealing and blubbering these days in the stock-room of a fur-store on the north-west outskirts of Chicago, running low on new people to blame, his money-grubbing scams now publicly revealed for the toxic dishonesties on which they were based, his obergruppenführer presence on his internet boards despised now by many who had once gone along with his act, with the biggest defamation target of all on his own back as his vitriolic personal rants still populate the web, and with no Curt Knox or other deep-pockets any longer on his side.

First, here is an understanding word or two for the FOA sheep.

Dear sheep. Of course we dont mean to be unkind or unsympathetic in implying that the broad body of your movement which was elevating these three to gods in their own minds were simply sheep. Many FOA seem to us to be very nice and very well-meaning, if maybe a tad naive. The jaw-dropping revelations of the sums of money that you have been shelling out suggests that the myths you had been made to swallow had stirred your kind hearts to the core.

As a way of disengaging from the flock, and to fill the deliberate vacuum of hard facts, we would highly recommend that you now read all these posts and especially all of these posts here.  Our strongest advice to any ex-sheep would definitely be this.

Don’t shell our any more of your hard-earned cash to those three imposters listed here at the top.  They all face suits now for going way too far. Dont get mixed up in that. 

Okay. Back to Number One.

We are told that Frank may not even have made it to the viza section of the American Embassy in Rome. But let’s say it were true that Frank actually made it across the Atlantic and he showed up at the international arrivals zone of an American airport hours before his date with American justice last December 31.

Then any honest attempt to justify Frank’s non-appearance in court would take into account that Frank knew he wasn’t coming as a tourist, and that as someone with an arrest record (and seemingly having way overstayed a prior visa waiver for a visit limited to 90 days), he would have lots of paperwork to request a visa.

Yet, going back to the end of November when he was being released on bail from the Seattle jail , Frank and his pro-Knox handlers were in a huge hurry to hustle him out of the country following his latest arrest and questioning by police for domestic violence incidents, probably knowing that this might affect whether he could return.

The world waits for some coherent and direct explanations from this cornerstone of the public image defence of Amanda Knox.

Meanwhile, there’s absolute silence from Knox’s corporate PR firm Gogerty Marriott who continue to use the Knox contract as a showcase example of how successfully they work (they are joking, right?).

Many public figures and sheeples have been photographing themselves with Frank over the months presuming that he was in the US on a tourist visa for goodwill. Meanwhile, he was carrying on what the Committee to Protect Journalists has insisted is his money-making and therefore taxable profession,  and also earning at the same time “donated” income and gifts maybe up into the tens of thousands of dollars.

Mr Taxman please note.

Meanwhile, the vacuum left by Frank, a god in his own mind in the woven fabric of the Knox PR image, is turning that fabric into tatters. Someone will have to tie up the loose ends, and in particular give an explanation on where Frank’s absence leaves the very serious accusations of improper and abusive treatment by Prosecutor Mignini and the Flying Squad (neither were involved in his arrest).

Those false accusations all stem from Frank and Doug Preston and similar accusations of abuse are the main components of just about every explanations for Knox’s many conflicting alibis and her bizarre reactions to Italian investigators following the murder of Knox’s roommate Meredith Kercher.

As you may know, Frank claimed to have been beaten up by officers of the Flying Squad beholden to the “rogue” Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini because Mr Mignini was allegedly sufficiently upset by “Frank’s” many blog posts in favour of Knox to have sent his henchmen over to Frank’s house.

After promoting this fiction for months and now years, even many pro-Knox commenters are admitting bashfully that in fact the person who complained to Italian police about abuse by “Frank” was actually a female family member in his own home.

Mr Mignini was NOT involved, the Flying Squad was NOT involved, Frank was NOT beaten up (the wounds in evidence were on the cops) and he was NOT taken to a hospital to have him certified as mad. One big body of lies.

This line of physical abuse and malicious fabrications after the fact certainly fit with Frank’s more recent episodes of being arrested and/or questioned for complaints of domestic violence in Canada, Hawaii, and, now, Seattle.  Looks like, by his own hand, Frank is finally cooked.

More news in future posts about Scammers Two and Three.


Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Might Frank Sforza Already De Facto Be Banned From Ever Reentering The United States?

Posted by Kermit




If the disastrous last few hours of 2012 are any indication, 2013 will be a nightmare year for the Amanda Knox PR campaign and their associated income streams.

As regards the latter, with Knox’s memoirs book set for going on sale next April, there will have to be some serious rewriting or respinning if any mention is made of her family’s stalwart friend and logistics handler in Perugia. The man of many aliases, amongst which is his blogging name of “Frank Sfarzo”.

“Sfarzo” (real name Sforza) did not show up yesterday ““ New Year’s Eve 2012 - in court in Seattle for his preliminary hearing for a double charge of Assault 4-Domestic Violence related to his latest arrest associated with violence (domestic violence or against law enforcement officers) in different countries and continents.

Already the few remaining “Friends of Amanda” spinners on Bruce Fischer’s TrashForCashVictimsAnywhere forum not yet chilled by his escalating legal comeuppance are desperately justifying “Frank’s” bouts with domestic violence arrests as being the fault of the alleged victims.

One of the victims, Peter H in Canada, who had trustingly contributed to Sforza a very large sum, has now said “enough is enough” and bit the bullet in terms of personal embarrassment and posted a highly abusive and dishonest email from Sforza which passes for truth in his pathological world.

This is reposted with thanks from PerugiaMurderFile.net and deep appreciation to Peter H.

Yes, unlike you, abandoned and avoided like pest by everyone, I’m having fun. And anyway it’s not your business if I’m having fun or not, since the idea of you making my business makes me puke, as everyone who looks at you can only be disgusted by your scary appearances and, if they know you, even more by your person.
You are a zero, in BC nobody knows you, you never produced anything in your life, you just live out of a disability check, you have no money, you save on the electricity, you calculate how much water your victims, who accept to reach you in that barn, consume.
Your “friend” Bill Gates doesn’t have any idea who you are as well as your other “friend” Steve Jobs didn’t.
It’s only your imagination of mythomanic, paranoid, perverted, drunkard, old fool, as you rightly define yourself.
You are a disturbance for every one who has the bad luck to come across you, or who falls in the traps in which you attract them. You harassed Betttina, you harassed me, you are violent, dangerous, you have hallucinations because you are crazy, you are a snitch and a slanderer at once, you called the police at 4am while I was in bed telling them that I had stolen your wallet and cellphone. And that’s in the records of the police of BC. You were so clever to call the police after having made crimes against me, exactly as the other drunkard did. That’s the proof that you are stupid. You are so stupid you are not even able to make up an accusations against your victims. How can someone who has to stay in your house steal your cellphone and wallet, what does he do with your cellphone and your wallet if he’s staying in your house out of the world?
Uh? What? You don’t understand? If you were able to understand you would have produced something in your life, you would have someone close to you instead of having to pay people to get there.
Old disgusting drunkard and fool, remove immediately all my contact information from your email and cellphones. Remove within 48 hours the emails to me or from me you have been publishing online (because you are a nobody mythomaniac who wanted to show to the world that you were my friend). I never authorize you to publish my emails,I told you that you could post them only on the private discussion of IIP, where there are my friends, not on the public one. Remove those emails withing 48 hours or I’m gonna sue you. Never contact me again. You can’t answer this email, you can’t talk about me or say anything about my person with anyone. Next email or any attempt of communication in any form from you towards me will be evidence of your further disturbance to me, I’ll pass the border and I’ll report you to the police, who luckily know you very well.

We checked and Sforza’s malicious description of Peter H is not remotely akin to the truth. Many others can testify that, in terms of Sforza’s endless stream of threatening and abusive emails, that one is very much par for the course. Could Michael Heavey be next?

No wonder more and more one-time supporters of “Frank” and the Bruce Fischer forum TrashForCashVictimsAnywhere and in general the Amanda Knox cause are becoming more and more revolted with an immoral and borderline illegal campaign.

On New Year’s Eve, “Frank’s” Seattle court appointed lawyer initially tried ““ do give her credit ““ to arrange a week’s delay in the hearing, alleging “customs” problems that “Frank” was said to be suffering. However, Judge Ed Mckenna probably believed that with a month to prepare for any such problems, the blogger known as “Frank” should have foreseen them and been in court on schedule.

In reality, Frank likely had no problems with the American Customs. There are only three or four grounds. See the form below.





It is doubtful that even he would fly to the US for a domestic violence preliminary hearing and at the same time tried to introduce those prohibited or restricted goods into the country. Given “Frank’s” dependence on other peoples’ earnings, it is unlikely he introduced excessive levels of cash into the US. It is unlikely he tried to introduce livestock, vegetables, or disease agents.

Instead of being allowed a week for Sforza to make it through Customs, the judge gave Sforza’s lawyer only three and a half hours delay in starting the proceedings against him on New Year’s Eve. However, by 1:30 p.m., she had to concede that she couldn’t ensure that Frank could be anywhere in particular at any particular time. She did not even know where he was.

As a result, Judge McKenna had no other option than as prosecution requested to issue a bench warrant for “Frank’s” arrest.





Click for a larger image. That shows that the Amanda Knox PR asset known as “Frank” is now officially wanted under an arrest warrant covering any jurisdiction in the United States. If spotted any police can arrest him on sight. Anyone with any information concerning his whereabouts may inform the nearest law enforcement agency.

However! He may still be in Italy, or he made already be in some other country, indeed even under cover in the United States. In fact, his personal Facebook page currently lists a visited location in the New York area, although given his track record of deception that may or may not be where he really is.



[“Frank” could be in NYC if his Facebook page shows his true location.]


A number of questions remain to be answered.

One is the basis on which “Frank”, a foreigner with a recent record of domestic violence arrests, could be released on bail last November following his arrest for attacking two housemates in Seattle.





As the above image indicates, it appears that typically Assault IV”“DV suspects are held in prison, especially if there is a likelihood of flight.

Just as Amanda Knox was held in preventive prison in Italy to avoid her entourage of fulfilling their promise to get her out of prison and Italy in whatever possible way, why was “Frank” ““ a foreigner with arrest and legal issues growing around the world ““ allowed out on only $2,000 bail when it was very likely that what could happen has actually happened: he left the country and hasn’t returned on time for his court preliminary hearing in Seattle. Who facilitated this questionable decision to offer him bail in November?

Having left the country, both the judge who freed “Frank” on bail in November and “Frank” himself should have been more than aware that should “Frank” leave the country ““ exactly as he seems to have done hours after getting his bailed freedom in November - that he could have serious and lengthy paperwork to prepare should he want to return and face the American justice system?

A justice system that Fischer’s TrashForCashVictimsAnywhere and the Amanda Knox PR campaign has so often favourably compared to what they paint as a corrupt, abusive Italian justice system.





Entering the US if you have an arrest record ““ as is definitely the case of “Frank” ““ is difficult and requires much more extensive paperwork than simply filling out the ESTA VWP forms online like an average tourist. Anyone in “Frank’s” situation should have been responsible enough to identify potential problems in returning to the US to face his Domestic Violence charges “¦

Unless!

    ...unless the entourage around him (I’m not referring to his court appointed lawyer) felt that in fact the best option of those available is to not have “Frank” go through a difficult trial that could further damage the Knox PR campaign and have a negative impact on upcoming sales of Knox’s memoir “tell all” book and her odds on appeal.

    or unless the US Rome Embassy or Immigration decided (not at all for the first time) that it would be way cheaper and safer for everybody concerned to simply keep him out.

The final question is: where actually is “Frank”?

He has an upcoming trial in Italy for biting a police officer who responded to a domestic violence complaint phoned in by a female member of “Frank’s” own family. A prison term is a real possibility. He has an American arrest warrant issued against him. A prison term is a real possibility. He’s certainly not wanted back in Canada.

His attempted point of entry into the USA if there was one is not publicly know. He has not been seen publicly in Perugia for some weeks.

Maybe he’s already disappeared into some far-off hills for a few years. Cross-section of his new lodgings below?




Judge Ed McKenna Issues A Bench Warrant For The Arrest of Court No-Show Frank Sforza

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above and below Municipal Judge Ed McKenna and some images of Seattle Justice Center]


Our main poster Fly By Night reports from the Seattle court.

Before the afternoon session began, Frank’s court appointed lawyer and the court bailiff informed interested parties that he would not be making an appearance.  The KING5 cameraman decided to leave before hearing the adjudication. With court in session, the lawyer apologized to the judge for wasting the court’s time on her no-show client by requesting the half-day delay.

In the morning session the lawyer initially requested a one week delay due to Frank having “customs” problems, but could provide no further information for the court regarding Frank’s absence in the afternoon session.  The judge was aware of Frank’s legal issues in Hawaii, but could find nothing in Frank’s record that would have prevented him from making it to court and therefore disregarded the claims of “customs issues”.

The judge was willing to entertain any additional excuses or suggestions on Frank’s behalf, but unfortunately there were no supporters to be found, leaving his lawyer to state, “I have no further suggestions, your honor.”

The judge then asked the prosecution for a recommended course of action.  The response was, “issue a bench warrant for Mr. Sforca’s arrest”, and the judge agreed, issuing a bench warrant for Frank’s arrest on New Year’s Eve 2012.

Hmmm. Unfortunate that there was not even one supporter to be found…

Frank Sforza has apparently not been seen in Perugia either since his flight out of Seattle a month ago. He also failed to attend a court hearing in Perugia on his (more serious) resisting-arrest charge there.

If he fails to appear in court on the new date next month a Perugia judge is expected to issue a warrant for his arrest. Its is possible that he could be declared an international fugitive if there are more no-shows. 

Oddly, Frank Sforza is apparently still sending out his trademark abusive emails to his former fans and financial helpers. Will that come to include Judge Heavey and Curt Knox? 

Not such a good idea to fight justice all these years. Kermit will post again next on the full implications of Frank’s meteoric career - downward.

 










































Monday, December 31, 2012

Will Frank Sforza Show In Seattle Court? If Not Arrest Warrant And Freedom Revocation Probably Next

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[Above center: Frank Sforza with close acquaintances Curt Knox and Michael Heavey]


1. Skeptical Bystander reports:

Live from the Seattle Municipal Court: Sforza a no show this morning.

Attorney requests one week delay, says Frank is having customs problems and interpreter is not available this afternoon.

Judge asks if Frank’s English is good enough to function without interpreter and then resets for 1:30 today.

Will he show? KING 5 cameraman was there.

2. Fly By Night reports

Frank Sforza is a no show this afternoon as well. This time, there’s no KING camera to record the non-event. Waiting for Judge McKenna to make an appearance.

If there were supporters in attendance, they were being very discreet.


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Frank Sforza Serial Defamer of Italian Justice Must Face Hard Truths Of American Justice

Posted by Kermit





This has not been a good year at all for the increasingly beleaguered Knox and Sollecito campaigns.

As interest in Amanda Knox and her case dwindles precipitately in the United States, her image handlers seem to realize that a major final push effort must be made for their final challenge to be successful: a profitable sales kickoff for Knox’s “tell-it-all” book now promised for April 2013.

At this point, the tough prosecution appeal in the case against Knox and Raffaele Sollecito for the murder of Meredith Kercher seemingly hardly interests the PR campaign, apart from any market “churn” that it can help to develop for the book..

Raffaele’s own US book promotion tour three months ago was little short of a complete disaster. On the one hand, his heated text has provided massive new defamatory material against innocent persons, and on the other he has introduced new affirmations that totally contradict his defence team’s posture throughout the murder trials.

Now, the Perugian Blogger known variously as “Frank Sfarzo”, “Francesco Sforza” and “Francesco Sforca” (real name Sforza) has been arrested and has spent time confined in Hawaii and Seattle jails, in addition to being questioned by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Canada. In Seattle he may face more time.

These arrests and questionings are in addition to his arrest and charging in Perugia for attacking police officers coming to investigate a complaint for alleged domestic violence phoned-in by a female member of his own family. That trial is now pending.



[“Frank Sfarzo” with his fellow serial belittlers of Italian justice, Bruce Fischer and Steve Moore]


Frank’s Canadian Caper and his Hawaiian Punch adventure were of thematic note. In one case, it was an elderly Canadian gentlemen who was acting as Frank’s host who made the phone call in the wee hours to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, because he feared that the often scantily clad and more-and-more argumentative “Frank” was a real physical threat to him. In the other case, a woman had Hawaiian police alerted and had claimed that she was pushed around by “Frank” in the hotel where she had put him.

What is really surprising is that in both cases the victims of alleged aggressions were fervent supporters of Amanda Knox! And in both cases, the victims had given “Frank” substantial monetary gifts: $5,000 by the Canadian man, and air tickets to Hawaii by the American woman.

In both cases, the victims were followers of the absurdly named “Injustice in Perugia” blog run by the beleaguered pro-Knox Chicago-suburbs blogger Bruce Fisher/Fischer. Fischer is actually a mall store assistant and wannabe sleuth who like “Frank” makes use of more than one name in grandly presenting a faux front to the world.

Back when he claimed online to be the upscale “Bruce Fisher of New York”, Bruce carried out many nasty and in-effect anonymous attacks on individuals, mostly women, who did not share his point of view. The “Fischer of Chicago”, now exposed, continues more cautiously in public, but in his little private forum he continues to rant against anyone who doesn’t share his untethered take on Amanda Knox’s total innocence and a vast Italy-wide conspiracy. This authentic Fischer has a fairly unexotic lobbying base and Internet connection for promoting his pro-Knox cause: the suburban-mall fur-shop where he works.

Fisher/Fischer is now maintaining that the plea on his blog for the “Frank Sfarzo Fund Drive” is to help the Perugia Shock blog and not “Frank” the blogger who runs it ““ however, that’s not what the Fund Drive description says:



[Above: Amanda Knox advocate Bruce Fisher/Fischer has been a key enforcer of donations to the Perugian Blogger]


As is often the case of persons who suffer domestic physical and psychological abuse at the hands and mouth of someone they implicitly respected, it must have taken a major act of self-questioning and doubt before the Hawaiian and Canadian victims were able to make themselves step forward and decry the abuse they allegedly suffered and were humiliated by.

Both of those cases were talked about a lot on several web discussion boards. Not surprisingly, Fisher/Fischer, who has invested heavily in the particular versions of the crimes against Meredith that he promotes to “save” Knox (and, as a necessary side-effect, Raffaele Sollecito) could only try and explain/justify the Perugian Blogger’s behavior, while at the same time directly accusing the two real victims of provoking the Blogger’s “quirky” personality. Fisher/Fischer’s take on Knox and his related income stream would otherwise be at stake.

Perhaps Fischer should be more worried about the potential liability for wrong claims he makes about third parties in this case, especially those in Rome and Perugia, and about the potential for the Perugian Blogger to cause further cases and more victims of domestic violence, given the blogger’s alleged record.





In spite of the statement of “Probable Cause” by the arresting police officer in Hawaii (see image above), in the end, under a great deal of heat, charges were not pressed by the victims against “Frank” in Canada or in Hawaii.

However, what Fisher/Fischer and other pro-Knox PR assets did not reveal in what I consider to be their hypocritical justification of “Frank’s” known violence in his North American travels is that he actually had one further legal case, still going forward in Seattle at this date.

It started to receive public scrutiny only when it was unearthed by Internet commenters on the pro-victim side.

Following his problems in Canada and Hawaii, on November 27 “Frank” was arrested yet again, in Seattle, after allegedly having a physically violent encounter with the persons with whom he had arranged a room when he returned to Washington State after his disastrous emergency exit from Hawaii. He spent over 24 hours in a Seattle jail before being bailed out thanks to donated funds.

The Seattle police report concerning this most recent incident and the arrest of “Frank” states thus:

“(VI ““ Victim1) said that he was sitting on the couch talking to the District Attorney’s Office when S/Sforza became agitated and slapped the phone out of his hand. S/Sforza then jumped on top of him and punched him in the face approximately four times. V I was able to push S/Sforza off of him and stand up but S/Sforza pushed him back on the couch causing pain to his right shoulder. S/Sforza then jumped on top of V II (Victim 2) and began slapping in the face and scratched him on the temple. While V II struggled to get away he scraped his left knuckle but was able to get to his room. While in his room he grabbed his phone to call 9-1-1. As he was walking out of his room S/Sforza tried to push him back in the room and grabbed him by the throat using both of his hands. S/Sforza then left the house and 9-1-1 was called. V II had a visible red scrape to his right temple, a visible scrape to his left knuckle and redness around his neck. Both victims declined medical attention at the scene.

[ed note. Sforza called 911, informing police that he would meet them] ... at 36th Ave W and W Mcgraw where he said he would be waiting. S/Sforza said that both V I and V II had been giving him a hard time since he returned from his trip. He said they told him that he wasn’t able to leave his room. He stated that V II had tried to force him to leave the house and choked him. S/Sforza did not have any visible signs of assault and did not have any redness around his neck. S/Sforza said the police were called to the house yesterday for a disturbance. A report was written on that incident (12-403658).

S/Sforza was placed under arrest and transported to the West Precinct… Persons took pictures of the injuries to V II and sent them for processing to the SPD Photo Lab via the Digital Evidence Management System (DEMS). 2 Domestic violence Supplemental forms were completed by Officer… S/Sforza has a passport from Italy and requested Consular notification.”

“Frank” has hinted in online conversations that he may be coming to Seattle for the purpose of celebrating New Year’s Eve. He has even gently jibed Amanda’s co-murder suspect (pending final appeal) Raffaele Sollecito for not being sure if it’s worth it to go to Seattle for just a few days at year’s end:





However, if The Perugian Blogger, a man of at least three aliases and now a number of arrests relating to domestic violence, is going to be in Seattle on December 31, it will actually be because he has a court hearing on New Year’s Eve for two counts of Assault 4 ““ Domestic Violence. 

This time, it seems that the alleged victims won’t hold back or be humiliated into letting the crime go unchallenged and have the charges withdrawn.

“Frank” has been a central figure to the pro-Knox forces ever since a few months after the murder of Meredith he decided instead to advocate for Knox in conjunction with other elements of the Knox PR campaign. This was a shocking and sudden 180 degree U-turn for someone who had up until then been strongly pro-Meredith and favorable to the prosecutor. Mr Mignini, on the case.

What incentive did he have to make such a rapid, stunning, radical change? Leaving many former followers behind?

I don’t know, but do note that nobody can account for how he paid his bills these past 4 years since he claims that no Italian media buys his articles. With “Frank” seemingly living off of the kindness of others and/or the PR campaign, and seemingly not having a particular long-term address of his own… Does the term “drifter” come to mind?

In time, the integration of “Frank’s” Perugia Shock blog with the Knox PR campaign was openly evidenced ““ before its current aesthetic makeover after it briefly was forced down ““ by the incorporation of key Knox lobbyist Jim Lovering into the blog credits thus:



[Above: Will “Frank’s” campaigner colleague and local resident Jim Lovering appear in court next Monday to support him?]


The Perugian Blogger has been useful to the pro-Knox campaign. In spite of American thriller novelist Douglas Preston’s strange affirmations that Italy has been coming over to Amanda’s side in her legal battle, the truth is that few non-American and specifically no Italian faces have come out strongly in favour of Knox, except for her own lawyers of course.

“Frank” quickly became a local enabler for the Knox-Mellas clan in Perugia, helping out with the most mundane activities, from revealing secret insider “knowledge” or “facts” on his blog, to babysitting the younger Knox-Mellas girls, or involving the girls in paid-for photo shoots.

In return, he was often referred to in pro-Knox circles as a “journalist”. This faux title was certainly a step up from “Frank’s” prior life of maintaining a website dedicated to selling truffles or capitalizing on the Italian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire.



[Image above: “Frank” before Meredith’s murder: a mundane life of waiting for his 10 minutes of fame]

.
Following Meredith’s murder, and with the Knox-Mellas clan desperately in need of a facilitator for their everyday logistics in Perugia, “Frank” became their handyman and, in time, almost part of the Knox-Mellas clan.



[Image: Perugian Blogger “Frank” and Chris Mellas, Amanda Knox’s stepfather.]


“Frank”, however, was not merely a passive enabler. He asserted himself, and he pushed his envelope of fame and ownership of knowledge, even though he was mostly a receiver of the tidbits of information the Knox-Mellas clan would throw him when convenient.

His particular claim to “ownership” of information given to him got to the ridiculous point of claiming copyright to court documents that he received and posted on his blog. Court officials might find that pretty cheeky!





The official image of the knife later resurfaced in a great video by ViaDellaPergola here.

It seems that befriending “Frank” became the “in” thing to do, for a brief moment anyway, with many FOA-types and Knox Entourage hangers-on. He must have seemed quite exotic, and also, surprisingly, on their side. After all, the rest of Italy was clearly not.

Bruce Fisher/Fischer the blogger and Knox lobbyist has increasingly isolated himself in supporting “Frank”, and has been working around the clock to justify “Frank’s” string of domestic violence arrests and police questionings, after having published and vouched for “Frank’s” need for financial assistance.

Will Fisher/Fischer and Steve Moore continue to befriend and support “Frank” the blogger? Moore once stated that he would trust Amanda Knox as a roommate to his own daughter. Would he trust “Frank” to spend time alone overnight with his own daughter, now that Moore is aware of Frank’s arrest record for domestic violence? Does he approve of “Frank’s” way of living “¦ is it simply “”˜Frank’ being “˜Frank’”, or something that a father might be worried about?

Another of “Frank’s” close confidantes in the US has been Candace Dempsey, a person with a personal food blog on the Seattle Post Intelligencer website who hastily erased most of her culinary blogging past in order to get on with her new found life as a pro-Knox writer.



[Food blogger Candace Dempsey has attempted to recycle her professional focus in parallel with “Frank”]


Dempsey continues to dedicate herself ““ for the moment at least ““ to writing about Amanda Knox’s involvement in the Meredith Kercher murder case from a pro-Knox point of view.  Will Candace be at Frank’s hearing in the Municipal Court of Seattle on December 31? It would be a fine way of supporting someone she has shared so much fellowship with.

Followers of Meredith’s murder case all remember how Dempsey’s man-in-Perugia “Frank” stalwartly supported her affirmation that it would have been impossible for Amanda and Raffaele to stake out any movements of persons entering or leaving the cottage following Meredith’s murder, due to the entrance to the cottage grounds supposedly not being visible from the Piazza Grimana “¦ in spite of every eye-witness observation and evidenciary photo to the contrary.

Another pro-Knox asset who has been supportive of “Frank” in many ways is Seattle’s King County Judge Michael Heavey. Heavey once received a stern official reprimand for sending, on State of Washington stationary, private accusations of judicial negligence to Italian authorities, where he accused Prosecutor Mignini of grave mismanagement of the Meredith Kercher murder investigation, without providing any evidence to support his wild and defamatory claims. Heavey continues his pro-Knox support in a vocal manner, with appearances at university forums that are prepackaged to support Knox, or speaking at local Rotary Club meetings (luckily we saved the video).



[“Frank” the Perugian Blogger and host Judge Michael Heavey pose together.]


Will Judge Heavey be present at “Frank’s” hearing for charges of domestic violence on December 31? Will he use his good offices to help Frank bear the state of Washington’s justice in the lightest manner possible?

Anti-Mignini novelist Douglas Preston, a patron funder of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), appeared (how coincidental) in a strange CPJ open letter to the world by Joel Simon to Italian authorities, complaining that a mysterious police squad that supposedly reports to Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini had beaten up “Frank” and had him arrested on trumped up charges.



]Novelist Douglas Preston ““ now a self-described “point-of-view journalist”]


Preston was a central source in a Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) open letter which transformed the domestic violence complaint of a female member of the Perugian Blogger’s family into a case of harassment by Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini. It’s hard to make up crazier tales, yet the CPJ stands by the unsubstantiated claims fed to it.  In most jurisdictions that’s called defamation.

Now is a good time for the CPJ’s Executive Director Joel Simon to show his face and admit his embarrassing error by recognizing that “Frank’s” arrest for violence against police officers in Perugia while resisting arrest was under the responsibility of Prosecutor Paolo Abbritti and his team.

Mr Mignini who “Frank” and Preston and Simoin smeared globally had no role at all and may well have not even have known about it. “Frank’s” domestic and anti-authority violence in Italy is consistent with his domestic violence related arrests in North America.

No one, not even CPJ’s Joel Simon could ever have seriously considered that the provincial civil servant Mr Mignini has a private goon squad of rogue policemen who report to him and beat up persons on his request.

By recognizing his error, Joel Simon would be making a positive gesture to classic journalistic standards (not gonzo point-of-view journalism standards) of correcting errors, and he would also be doing a great service to victims of domestic violence around the world. Joel, I ask you please to finally do what is right, and not what a financial benefactor of your organization wants you to do.





It is also important to hear what Preston’s response if any is to “Frank’s” current legal woes in the US. So far, no word from him. Will Preston continue to see the long arm of Mignini in all these arrests? Or will he distance himself from a person Preston considers a fellow “point-of-view journalist” in the Meredith Kercher case?

Preston recently contacted this writer, saying he was writing an Afterword to a book by Mario Spezi about what he calls the “Amanda Knox case”. He said this chapter would be dedicated to the key online players on both sides of the case. (Preston was first invited, see here and here and here, to correct some of his previous error-laden work.)

There is probably no other online personality more prominently associated with the Amanda Knox PR campaign than the blogger who goes by the nickname of “Frank Sfarzo”.

If Preston can’t make it to Seattle to support “Frank”, I guess we will have to wait for his new Afterword in Spezi’s book or his magazine article to catch his angle on “Frank’s” travails with the law, or at least what he thinks about “Frank” after they appeared together in the CPJ open letter - after which, Preston wrote some vigorous followup emails about the CPJ’s open letter concerning “Frank”.

If it had not been for Preston the fictionalist and “Frank” the recycled truffle blogger, there would have been no inaccurate and highly unfair demonizing of Prosecutor Mignini, and that would have taken the air out of Bruce Fisher/Fischer’s own very nasty campaign.

In addition, the pro-Knox books written by would-be opinion benders Nina Burleigh and Candace Dempsey would have been very different or impossible to develop as they are.

It goes on and on. The list of pro-Knox PR assets who have used “Frank” in their own particular contributions to Amanda’s cause is extensive.  Will any of them be in Seattle Municpal Court [image below] with the Perugian Blogger this Monday at 10:00 am?





A pro-Knox commenter who goes by the penname of “KayPea” is trying to rally the pro-Knox troops who are now starting to back off in a very natural manner from “Frank” and the string of domestic violence incidents that “Frank” seems to have been involved in. On the “IIP” blog, she exhorts them to remain in the fold. If we believe her, she is speaking for herself - and remarkably, also the Knox and Mellas families:

“several of you good people [she’s referring to pro-Knox readers] seem to be trying to make up your mind about Frank’s credibility as the author of Perugia Shock as it is juxtaposed on his personal life and this crazy mess with Bettina, Peter and the nutters at the boarding house [ed note: these are respectively the pro-Knox Hawaiian, Canadian, and Seattlietes who are now non-grata “¦ it seems that if you want to make sure that you are allowed to be a groupie, don’t let yourself to get into a situation where “Frank” the Perugian Blogger can abuse you].

Please know that the people who know him the best, Amanda’s family and friends, have been at his side throughout the past few months. COME. WHAT. MAY. They, and I, accept all of Frank’s personality quirks ...” (IIP, 27/12/2012)

However, the owner of the blog, Bruce Fisher/Fischer, seems to be trying frantically to isolate the impact of “Frank’s” “personality quirks” on the IIP emporium. Fischer has stated thus:

“lets lay this out in simple terms. Amanda and Raffaele are free. Nothing that happens in Frank’s life at this point has anything at all to do with anything that took place in the past with regard to the case. Nothing happening in Frank’s life has anything at all to do with Meredith Kercher.”

(Bruce Fisher/Fischer ““ IIP blog ““ 27/12/2012)

It’s as if Fischer in his surreal bubble is claiming that “Frank” never really ever existed. Never fought tooth-and-nail for years to deny Meredith and her family their justice.

If I were “Frank”, I would be thinking that maybe not very many of my once long list of FOA friends will be showing support during the New Year’s Eve court appearance.

Will they be joining him for drinks later after the court hearing is done? Or maybe further contact would put them at risk of being pushed into being the next “Bettina” or “Peter” in Canada, more victims of domestic violence.

Does anyone reading believe any longer the wild, uninvestigated claim of Douglas Preston’s friends at the CPJ? That the Italian Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini was behind the complaint placed by female members of “Frank’s” family in Italy? Which eventually led to his arrest there after attacking police officers?

Or is that simply another falsehood from the pro-Knox PR myth factory?

Domestic violence is a terrible, terrible issue in our society. We should never try to explain it away, or blame the victim or any third parties who had nothing to do with the violence.  To do so only degrades the victim, and distances yet further the perpetrator from correcting his criminal behavior.

Let’s hope that if someone shows up at the Perugian Blogger’s court hearing this Monday December 31, even if all of his erstwhile FOA friends have disappeared, that victims of domestic violence are there with true supporters, demonstrating that they have no fear of decrying this degrading, despicable criminal behavior.





Final question. Will the Knox-Mellas families really continue to support Frank? Will they let him stay at their homes? Would Amanda let him sleep at her apartment or even visit without her boyfriend or anyone else present?

In fact will any of the Knox-Mellas clan members be at “Frank’s” court hearing at the Seattle Municipal Court at 10:00 am this Monday December 31?  In particular, will Amanda be there? Or does Frank, as is rumored, have her freaked?








Wednesday, December 19, 2012

False Allegations Against Italian Officialdom Sparking Increasingly Tough Legal Reaction

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters





David Marriott? Chirs Mellas? Doug Preston? Curt Knox?

Maybe none of the above. But whoever came up with the hairbrained idea that a pedal-to-the-floor assault on the officlals handling the case would lead to a tranquil outcome for the accused was maybe not thinking very well on that day.

The Italian System

We have gone over the impressive characteristics of the Italian justice system again and again. It is THE most popular and trusted institution in Italy - and by a wide margin.

It is a very fair, carefiul and painstaking system, staffed by well-trained professionals all the way up from cops through investigators through prosecutors through judges through the Supreme Court to the President of the Italian Republic himself.

The Italian system may be the least likely justice system IN THE WORLD for rogue police or rogue prosecutors or rogue judges to hijack it and bend things their way. Even ex-PM Berlusconi tried but his charges still plague him.

Prosecutors again and again see their cases tested in front of administrative magistrates, and those magistrates make all of the decisions. Everything is very public, and judges explain how they decided (ask a typical US or UK jury to do that!) and how they arrived at their theory of the crime.

In the Perugia case the judge for Guede developed one theory of the crime, the judges for Knox and Sollecito at trial a second, and the the judges for knox and Sollecito at first appeal a third. In fact none of them swallowed the tentative prosecution theory wholesale, though many of our lawyers found it quite sound.

Those Who Attack

Now we have three Italians either already facing charges or soon to face charges - Mario Spezi, Frank Sforza and Raffaele Sollecito, each in several suits. These are in addition to the three Americans who have already been charged - Amanda Knox, Edda Mellas, and Curt Knox.

So the present total is six.

Mario Spezi

Spezi is the Italian sleuthing partner of the American fictionalist Doug Preston who for his uninvited interference in what was an ongoing police investigation of the Monster of Florence case has faced legal woe after legal woe in recent years.

Spezi has already lost one defamation suit to the former MOF investigator and prominent novelist Michele Giuttari, he must in February face another, and he may have to face up to another half dozen more after that. We don’t expect Spezi’s losing streak to end any time soon.

Frank Sforza

Sforza hides behind the name Frank Sfarzo as an intemperate and rarely accurate blogger on the case. He brings no known professionals skills to the task. He is reported to be the target of criminal charges relating to alleged abuse of the sister and mother with whom he lives. His unsavory reputation and desperate finances mushroomed openly the other day, when he was reported in personal confrontations while visiting Canada and Hawaii.

Sforza now faces a defamation suit as well, for claiming to the whole world via Doug Preston and Joel Simon of the Committee to Protect Journalists in New York that he was being persecuted by a prosecutor back in Perugia. The prosecutor was not even involved. Seems to us an open and shut case.

Raffaele Sollecito

Sollecito still stands accused in Meredith’s death unless and until the Supreme Couirt signs off. It may not do that any time soon.

Flowing from his new book, Sollecito will apparently face a ton of defamation woes in the next few weeks. These may come to ensnare his defense team (who are credited with helping put together the book) and his shadow writer, his Seattle supporters, and his publishers Simon & Schuster of New York.

Our emerging book corrections page shows how riddled with wrong claims we find Sollecito’s book. We estimate up to 300 wrong claims.  If and when Sollecito sees all the defamation charges filed, we will know from court filings who among Italian officialdom claims passages in the book defame them.

What Next?

Maybe the cases against these six could eventually all dry up and then there will be no more. But we sure wouldn’t lay any bets. Do an Internet search and you’ll instantly turn up plenty more defamatory idiocy. Many media sites may be very vulnerable and may be sued to retract and pay up.

Italian anger is riding high - and it sure ain’t against the prosecutors or cops.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

How Doug Preston’s Wrong Claims In His MOF Afterword Were Often Contradicted In The Past

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[Above: Said to be Doug Preston’s nice workshop in coastal Maine where he apparently makes his stuff up]


This is our own “afterword” to Kermit’s Powerpoint post below on Preston’s Afterword in which Kermit quoted original sources to back up all his claims.

Our profuse quoting of original sources, including many translated ONLY by PMF and TJMK from the original Italian, is what gives PMF and this site such strength as points of reference used regularly by media on both sides of the Atlantic.

Preston doesn’t really seem to be able to provide references for his own work.

In his deeply anti-Italy MOF book, he offers no bibliography, no footnotes, no overview of key documents, few sourced quotes, and interview quotes that often seem stretched and maybe flat-out wrong (as with the one with Madame Bene in the Afterword, about the claimed non-investigation of the screaming drug addict in the square). 

In a rather self-congratulatory comment Preston posted on the CPJ website 18 months ago, he claimed this.

Before publication [The Monster of Florence] was minutely vetted by no less than five attorneys in two languages in Italy, the U.K., and the United States. Since publication, it has been read by millions of people in many European languages. In all that time, and with all the millions who have read the book, not one significant error of fact came to light. Mario Spezi and I stand by every single assertion of fact in that book today just as strongly as we did when it was first published three years ago.

Really? Well, without sources to check, what exactly did all those lawyers do?  The Afterword claims were published only in English, so that very few Italians who do know Italy and the case ever got a chance to provide alternative points of view - a few did, though, and there are several sarcastic Italian reviews on Amazon. In Italy, the more credible Guittari version outsells it 10-to-1. 

Preston’s lurid and under-researched claims then of course went viral.

You can see his claims about Rudy Guede and the “14 hours” interrogation and the meanie Mignini and junk Italian reporting and the incompetent Italian justice system and anti-Italianism generally disseminated all over the web. Read things by Candace Dempsey and Nina Burleigh and Michael Heavey and Saul Kassin and Bruce Fischer and Nigel Scott and Joel Simon and you will see the Preston claims parroted there.

Even in Raffaele Sollecito’s book we are turning up some of the claims!

And yet literally dozens of correct statements of fact that contradict Preston’s MOF Afterword have been posted on PMF and TJMK and other sites and in various books over the past four years. These are just a few on the 14-page Afterword posted on this site alone.

1) Contradicting Preston’s claims about the incompetence of the Italian System.

    Click “They Were Held For A Year Without Even Being Charged!!”

    Click Why The Italian Judiciary’s Probably Less Prone to Pressure Than Any Other In The World.

    Click Why The Prosecutors In Italy Are Relatively Popular.

    Click The Chief Enforcer Of The Constitution And The Rule Of Law is Wildly Popular Throughout Italy.

    Click Italian Campaigner For Victims And Their Families Says The System Is Denying Them Justice.

    Click A Token Balance In The Italian System: The Voice In The Court For The Victim

    Click Compared To Italy, Say, Precisely How Wicked Is The United States?

    Click Why The Totality of Evidence Suggests Knox And Sollecito Are Guilty Just As Charged.

    Click An Overview From Italy Of The Galati-Costagliola Appeal To The Supreme Court Of Cassation


2) Contradicting Preston’s claims about the Knox “14 hours” interrogation

    Click Our Take On The Case For The Prosecution: #3 Raffele Sollecito’s Multiple Conflicting Alibis.

    Click Our Take On The Case For The Prosecution: #4 Amanda Knox’s Multiple Conflicting Alibis.

    Click This Testimony Does Not Seem To Have Gained Much Traction Here In Italy.

    Click Italy Shrugs: Why The Defendant’s Testimony Seems To Have Been A Real Flop.

    Click Dr Galati: Note An Example Of How Curt Knox’s Campaign Is Misleading American Experts And Audiences.

    Click Dr Galati: Attacks On Prosecution By Curt Knox’s Hatchet Men Becoming Shriller, More Fictional #1


3) Contradicting Preston’s claims about Rudy Guede and his central role in the events

    Click Understanding Micheli #2: Why Judge Micheli Rejected The Lone-Wolf Theory.

    Click A Visual Guide To The Staged Break-In Via Filomena’s Window.

    Click Powerpoints #6: Trace Evidence Seems To Confirm More Than One Perpetrator At Scene.

    Click Powerpoints #7: Forced Entry Via Filomena’s Window Fails The Giggle Test.

    Click Powerpoints #10: Telling Evidence Against Sollecito The Experts Seem To Have Got Absolutely Right.

    Click Powerpoints #12: The Telling Case Of The Doctored Footprint

    Click The New 80,000 Pound Gorilla In The Room Introduced By The Italian Supreme Court of Cassation.


4) Contradicting Preston’s claims about the large knife and DNA in the house

    Click Understanding Why The DNA Is On The Knife.

    Click What We Believe Are The Hard Facts On The Double DNA Knife.

    Click Setting Out What We Know About The Mixed Blood Evidence Samples From The Massei Report.

    Click Conti-Vecchiotti DNA Review Is Weak, Tendentious, Cites Non-Existent Standards

    Click An Overview From Italy Of The Galati-Costagliola Appeal To The Supreme Court Of Cassation


5) Contradicting Preston’s claims about an evil Mignini and satanic illusions

    Click BBC Interview: Mignini Comes Across As Fair, Decent, Funny, And Quite Sane.

    Click Prosecutor Mignini Offers Some Helpful Advice To A Factually Challenged Reporter

    Click New Mignini Interview Makes Doug Preston Look Increasingly Incompetent And Vindictive.

    Click What His Florence Conviction Means For Giuliano Mignini And The Case.

    Click That Widely Watched LA7 TV Interview With Giuliano Mignini

    Click Open Letter To CNN Head Ken Jautz: Reports As Terrible As Drew Griffin’s….

    Click Full CNN Interview With Mignini That CNN SHOULD Have Reflected

    Click Mignini’s And Giuttari’s Florence Convictions Are Overturned As Florence Court Had No Jurisdiction.

    Click Dr Galati: Please Check Out What Looks Like A Mischievous Defense-Inspired Global Hoax.

    Click A Ten Part Series Showing How Mignini Was Misrepresented By Preston, Sforza and CPJ.

    Click Powerpoints #13: We Now Examine The Compelling Evidence For The REAL Railroading From Hell

Monday, September 24, 2012

Strong Trend: Increasingly The Good Lawyers Are On One Planet And The PR Shills Are On Another

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Prominent lawyer Wendy Murphy reflects many in saying the evidence is very strong] 


In the post below Jane Velez Mitchell of CNN can be watched staking her legal reputation on Sollecito.

This may surprise you. Jane Velez Mitchell is not herself a lawyer. In fact, she has only a possible journalism degree awarded by New York University.

She claims she was hooked after she “read his book until 2:30” and encountered him in some elevator - we have been puzzling over which elevator and when, for if it was an elevator in the Time Warner building in New York why was he not right there in the studio?

Of the three lawyers she had on the show, the two who did know the case (Wendy Murphy and the crime blogger Levi Page) came down very decisively against Sollecito. The third (Joey Jackson) knew nothing about the case, though even he thought the book was terribly timed.

In effect, Jane Velez Mitchell was carrying on like another PR shill. She really wasn’t any less amateurishly invested than Saul Kassin. Another non-lawyer - Saul Kassin is actually a psychologist.

Where ARE the lawyers for Knox-Sollecito?

All of them seem to have gone awol. Our main poster James Raper, himself a lawyer, sent out this invitation to speak up. In the five months since he posted that, not ONE lawyer has come forward.

Well, except for one strange burble from Anne Bremner, about RS and AK watching Amelie and that being their alibi - though the watching of Amelie took place three to four hours earlier. Even RS and AK didnt claim that.

Knox family legal advisor Ted Simon sounds rattled every time he talks, which he hasnt done since late in 2011. And poor lost Michael Heavey still can’t get to grips with the facts.

In contrast, we now have two of the foremost legal talking heads in the US - Wendy Murphy (a former prosecutor) and Nancy Grace (a former prosecutor) - saying the evidence is overwhelming.

In Italy the Sollecito lawyer Giulia Borngiorno, in face of the Galati appeal and possible legal trouble of her own over Aviello and judge-shopping, has become seriously silent. And Sollecito lawyer Luca Maori just had to distance himself from Sollecito, in conceding that Sollecito in his book had been lying.

Where are the PR shills for Knox-Sollecito?

Though they seem to have shadow-written much of the Sollecito book ostensibly shadow written by the real shadow writer, Andrew Gumbel, Curt Knox’s hatchet men have become so nasty and so distanced from the real facts that they now repel classy media company.

To her great credit, a week ago Katie Couric was repelled - and she showed it. 

However there are still a few out there shilling for Knox and Sollecito. We would include in the active shill group Andrew Gumbel, Sollecito book agent Sharlene Martin, and maybe the publisher’s own promoters (if any).

Also Jane Velez Mitchel of course now. Saul Kassin (a flagship shill who may have gone silent). And the shrillest of all the shills, David Anderson, Bruce Fischer, Frank Sforza, Nina Burleigh, and Candace Dempsey.

They all seem to have big chips on their shoulders, and of course financial stakes. Maybe that is what it takes to be a shill here? Sort of the opposite of a degree in law?


[Below Two Sollecito shills: ghost writer Andrew Gumbel and literary agent Sharlene Martin]


Friday, July 27, 2012

Heads-Up To The Amanda Knox Forces: A Case Showing How Closely The US and Italian FBIs Co-operate

Posted by Peter Quennell



Meet Doctor Mark Weinberger.

That report about his arrest in Italy was broadcast in 2009. We last posted on him here.

Weinberger was apparently a wildly successful doctor who ran a sinus clinic in Indiana and lived a wildly affluent lifestyle a few milers north outside Chicago. In 2004 he disappeared off his large yacht which was then anchored at a Greek marina, and for six years his (very impressive) wife Michelle presumed he was dead.

In the meantime she had found out that he had actually been running a huge fraud, scamming health insurance and the US government via false billing and unnecessary surgery (often botched) for many millions. And that far from being left comfortably off, she was financially wiped out.

In 2006 in absentia she divorced Weinberger and started over.

In 2009 Weinberger was captured in the Alps by the Italian equivalent of the FBI and returned to the United States as soon as his extradition was requested. In perhaps 99 percent of all US-Italian extradition cases, the fugitives are handed over by both governments very promptly. This sure wasn’t any exception. 

Weinberger began to lose the first of numerous civil suits a year ago, and on wednesday he pleaded guilty to 22 criminal charges in federal court.

His prison term is set at ten years.

One moral of the tale apparently still not learned by Steve Moore and Bruce Fischer and their hapless ship of fools, so desperate for approbation, is this: much or most of the time it is the fine Italian equivalent of the FBI that they are misrepresenting and defaming.

In the past two weeks alone, we have seen new ramblings by Saul Kassin and Nigel Scott (engineered by Bruce Fischer) that to any informed lawyer are quite crazy. Kassin and Scott clearly didnt have the slightest idea WHO they were defaming or accusing of crimes.

Or how much more determined thier defaming makes the Italian FBI and other law enforcement agencies and the courts to give Amanda Knox (or Curt Knox or Edda Mellas) no special breaks.

The daffy Steve Moore first introduced this confusion way back here.  And of course Bruce Fischer, Curt Knox’s hotheaded chief hatchet man, sustains it up to this day.

Eighteen months ago, Chris Mellas (whose business in Seattle is doing well) sensibly recommended from Perugia that the Knox campaign should finally acquire some cool heads and some REAL experts, and toss the trouble-making grand-standers they had acquired over the side.

Perhaps predictably, Curt Knox (whose business in Seattle is doing badly) reacted red-faced and steaming, and shot this seemingly quite smart idea down. So the abrasive, misleading, very amateur campaign goes on.

***

Added. We are now told that Frank Sforza and David Anderson are in Seattle, and Sollecito will be there soon, to actually jack up the level of defaming in the RS and AK “we were the victims” books being written.

Wow. THAT is Curt Knox’s end-game?l He ran that one past Chris Mellas?  It seems universally believed in officialdom in Rome and Perugia that Curt Knox KNEW all along that Amanda did it. Apparently with good evidence.

What will he do if they charge him?
 


Friday, May 27, 2011

Questions For Knox and Sollecito: Address These Several Hundred On The Hard Evidence

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters





These questions were first addressed to Rocco Girlanda, the pro-Knox Member of Parliament. who came up empty-handed.

This Open Letter to Rocco Girlanda was first posted and sent to him in English on 9 November 2010. Six-plus months later, no response. We are now reposting it and mailing it in Italian, as Italian media and opposition MPs are interested in asking him these same questions.

Mr. Rocco Girlanda
Parliamentarian for Gubbio in Umbria
Chamber of Deputies
Parliament of Italy
Rome, Italy


Dear Mr. Girlanda:

Questions Concerning Your Hurtful Behavior Toward The Family and Friends Of Meredith Kercher

And Also Concerning Your Ethics, Your Politics, Your Legal Behavior, And Your Personal Behavior

Your book Take Me With You ““ Talks With Amanda Knox In Prison” is leaving readers with a number of disturbing questions as to your motives, timing and interests in writing the book and publishing it at this time.

These questions concern whether your book - or at least its publication right now, directly before the important first level of appeal - is in fact very unethical, and they also concern the appropriateness of the nature of your relationship with Miss Knox.

In order to put these these questions to rest, we are sure that you will be eager to know what they are, and to respond to them in your best way possible. We’d be pleased if you would reply to us through our return address, or - given the public nature of this discussion - email it for posting directly on the TJMK website.

Here are the questions we have assembled. Again, we thank you in advance for your replies:

  • Do you believe in the separation of the executive, parliamentary and judicial branches of government? Since you are a parliamentarian (and, in particular, a member of the judiciary committee), do you think that the publishing of your book at this time could be seen as being inappropriate, given the calendar of Amanda’s appeal for her murder conviction, as well as the ongoing trial for slander (for having accused the Perugian police of hitting her during questioning)?

  • When you visit prisons in your role as a parliamentarian, what is your main objective: perform an independent check and control over prison conditions, or befriend prisoners? After how many visits to Capanne prison did you realise that you had established a friendship with Miss Knox? How often do you visit prisons in Italy? Which other prisons have you recently visited? Do you visit men’s prisons? Do you regularly give gifts to prisoners, like the books or the computer you gave to Amanda? If you consider that the computer was not a personal gift but rather from the Italy-USA Foundation of which you are president, which other American prisoners in Italian prisons have received such gifts? Which criteria does the Foundation follow in deciding who receives gifts? (for example, prisoners who have expressed repentance, or prisoners who have to use free legal aid due to financial penury, or prisoners who contribute to awareness programs to help others avoid similar crimes in the future ....).

  • As president of the Italy-USA Foundation, you have expressed concern that this case has strained relations between the two countries. Have you spoken with the US Embassy in Rome about your concern?  Within the framework of Italian-US relations, are there any other issues which you think come close to your-perceived significance of Amanda’s involvement in murdering Meredith Kercher? (for example:  Italy’s middle east policy concerning talks with Palestinian organisations, or discussions about the acceptance by Italy of Guantanamo inmates, or the ongoing state of Fiat-Chrysler relations and investments, or the rooting out of organised crime, or even Berlusconi’s joke about Obama being handsome and suntanned?)



[Above: the village of Gubbio to the north-east of Perugia which Rocco Girlanda currently represents]

  • In your over 20 parliamentary privilege meetings with Amanda Knox, did she ever act in a bizarre manner, like performing cartwheels for you? Why didn’t you ever ask her about her murdered roommate, Meredith Kercher or in general about the crime? Can your book really be of any interest to anyone if it only contains bits and pieces of poetry and banal conversation, without linking Amanda to the case which has put her into jail? How can your book come close to one of its supposed objectives - that of trying to understand how a young person could be involved in a violent crime such as that of Meredith Kercher’s murder - it you make no reference to the crime?

  • You have stated that you have daughters similar to Amanda Knox. In what ways are your daughters comparable to Amanda? Studies? Personal life and use of drugs, or social habits with the opposite sex? Some other way?

  • Amanda wrote you a letter (amongst others) on 7 August 2010, where she tells you in Italian, “The only thing I can show you is my gratitude for your friendship and your support.” What is the extent and what are the characteristics of this friendship and support? Is Amanda’s gratitude one-sided, from the perspective of an emotionally weak prisoner who becomes dependent on any stranger who shows her the slightest kindness, or do you mutually share this friendship which she describes, between the two of you? Do you know if Amanda’s Italian legal team are aware of the extent of your friendship? Do you think that your friendship may actually somehow complicate her legal situation and strategy?

  • You describe an affectionate hug between you and Knox: “I blush. She holds me, I hold her. It’s a never ending embrace, without a word. If I said I didn’t feel any emotion I would be lying. Maybe my face reveals that.” is what was quoted in the Daily Mail. Have you ever told a priest, psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker, drinking buddy or your wife about your physical contact with Amanda and your nocturnal dreams which involve her? If so, what advice have they given you?

  • Did you attend any of the Knox-Sollecito trial sessions over the course of the year that it was held? (it would have been easy: you could have taken advantage of visits to your parliamentary constituency, just as you have found it easy to visit Amanda in jail). Are you familiar with the evidence? Are you aware that there are two other persons convicted for the same crime together with Amanda? Do you know if - like her - they write poetry and want to be parents when they are freed from prison (a number of years from now)? Do such desires for life under regained freedom make any convicted prisoner less guilty of the crimes they have committed?

  • Do you feel that there were any specific errors or problems with the investigation in this case which you believe may contribute to an incorrect verdict and sentence for the three suspects? Did Amanda get a fair trial compared to any other similar crime investigation and legal process in Italy?

  • Are you able to offer an explanation as to why not once have the Kerchers and their lawyer, Francesco Maresca, ever been worried about the trial outcome? After three years, why is it that Francesco Maresca still has no worries and is confident that the convicted will lose their appeals?


[Above: Mr Girlanda with images of herself by Amanda Knox released about simultaneously with his book]

  • Do you believe that any of the investigation or judicial officials involved in this case are corrupt, or that any type of corruption played a role in their activities? Don’t be shy, please identify those who did wrong amongst Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini, Prosecutor Manuela Comodi, Judge Claudia Matteini, Judge Paolo Micheli, Judge Giancarlo Massei, Judge Beatrice Cristiani, the six lay judges, Appeals Judge Emanuele Medoro, Homicide Chief Monica Napoleoni, Inspector Rita Ficarrra, DNA expert Patrizia Stefanoni, or any other person involved in this complex case. Was there a conspiracy of corrupt officials who directed an evil campaign against an obviously innocent girl with no real evidence against her?

  • As a followup to the prior question, do you know that not one credible international attorney or professor of comparative criminal law and procedure has taken the defense of Amanda Knox, claiming injustice in the Italian judicial system? Do you agree that the Italian criminal system is fair, balanced and completely pro-defendant?

  • Do you know that Italian citizens constantly complain of their relaxed criminal laws and that criminals are constantly set free even after being sentenced on appeal while waiting for the confirmation of the Cassation Court? For example, little Tommy would still be alive if Mario Alessi had been kept in prison after being convicted on appeal for raping a minor. As a politician, don’t you think the law should be changed by keeping violent criminals in jail after being convicted on appeal, in order to guarantee the security of the citizens of the country you represent?

  • Do you know that the Italian attorneys of Amanda Knox don’t approve of this media propaganda perpetuated by the Knox-Mellas clan, that seems intent on spreading falsehoods and misinformation, while at the same time blaming an entire country (the one you represent in parliament) for an alleged “wrongful conviction”?

  • In promoting your book, you have stated that during your more than 20 meetings with convicted murderer Amanda Knox, a “friendship” has grown. Would you classify that as a friendship of convenience or a friendship based on caring for the interests of the other? We ask that because it truly shocks us that Knox’s Italian legal team was humiliated, and Knox herself was deprived professional legal advice and support through the publication of your book without it being vetted by her lawyers.  “She is very worried,” said Knox’s lawyer Luciano Ghirga, declining to comment on the book which he said he has not seen. “She is not at her best. She is very worried” ahead of the appeal, he added. Although the book will likely change little in Knox’s legal predicament, I would have thought that a “friend” who was also a law-maker would realise the importance of consulting the other friend’s lawyers concerning the possible fallout of a personal literary initiative such as yours.

  • Do you know that the American Embassy has followed this case from day one and reported to the State Department? Do you know that the Embassy stated that the trial was fair? Do you know that the State Department never expressed concerns about the outcome of the trial?

  • Do you know that the only American politician that once spoke out regarding this trial was Mrs. Maria Cantwell from Seattle when she asked Mrs. Clinton to verify if Italy is a third-world country with a barbarian criminal system and if Amanda Knox was sentenced only because she is an American citizen?

  • How did you and your associate Corrado Maria Daclon prepare his list of contacts that he met with in his trip to Seattle when you were writing your book? Did some person or persons arrange for meeting with these contacts? Was this person associated with the Knox-Mellas Entourage?

  • Have you ever read the 430-page Sentence Motivation Report (“Dispositivo Della Sentenza Di Condanna”) written by Judge Massei who presided over the Knox-Sollecito trial?  Do you know that there is overwhelming evidence against Amanda Knox and that the information spread out by the expensive PR team, hired by the Knox family, is neither a complete nor trustworthy story?


[Above: Giulia Bongiorno. Concern that Rocco Girlanda has gone way beyond what is appropriate to his parliamentary privilege to visit prisons “to inspect conditions” is further inflamed by his presence on the Italian parliament’s Judicial Committee. This committee, amazingly, is presided over by Raffaele Sollecito’s lead defense lawyer: Giulia Bongiorno. Is Giulia Bongiorno turning a blind eye to Mr Girlanda’s extraordinary number of visits, which seem highly abusive of his privilege, and exceed the quota of any family member?]

  • Do you know that the vast majority of Americans have no idea of who Amanda Knox is? For example, if you look at the number of hits on videos posted by the Knox clan on YouTube, you would discover that few hundred people have visited the site. Also, do you know that the vast majority of Americans that have heard about this case think she’s guilty?

  • Do you know who Steve Moore is? As President of the of the Italy-USA Foundation, do you, Mr. Girlanda, approve the insulting assertions of Mr. Moore when he says that the Italian police questioning of Amanda is typical of a “third world country”? That is was “something close to water-boarding”? Do you know that Steve Moore said that Amanda’s accusation of Patrick Lumumba, an innocent man, was “recanted by Amanda as soon as she had gotten some food”? Do you know that this weird individual said that “the court of final appeal is going to be the press. It’s going to be the public”?

  • Have you ever read or seen Steve Moore on American national television? Do you know that he has been interview by all major American television news stations, spreading falsehoods and misinformation? Do you know that Mr. Moore has been accusing Italy as a whole as been responsible for what he calls a “wrongful conviction”, in a “railroad job” by a “psychopathic prosecutor”? Do you agree with him?

  • Of the crime scene, Steve Moore said that “there was blood everywhere. There were foot prints, fingerprints, palm prints, hair, fluid samples, DNA of just one person: Rudy Guede”. Do you know that Rudy Guede left very little evidence for someone who has admitted been there and touching everything? Do you know that Guede left no hairs, no saliva, no sweat, no blood, and no other bodily fluid at the scene of the crime? Do you know that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito left plenty of DNA evidence and footprints all over the crime scene? Do you know that Steve Moore is telling falsehoods? Do you know that the motivation report clearly explains, without a minimal doubt, that more than one person was present during the murder of poor Meredith? (Please do read Judge Massei’s report)

  • Steve Moore says that the interrogation of Amanda Knox at the police station “was the most coercive interrogation I have ever seen admitted into a court in the last 20 years”. Do you know that the interrogation at the police station on the evening of November 5, 2007, before the arrival of the prosecutor, was just 1 hour and 45 minutes and that Amanda was treated like any other witness that had just been caught lying?

  • Have you ever visited Raffaele Sollecito or Rudy Guede in jail and are you planning to write a book on them as well?

  • We have just heard that the bound edition of your Amanda Knox book has been pushed by the conservative publisher at least as far away as next spring. Could this be cold feet on the part of your publisher, who may not want to be associated with the public relations campaign of a convicted killer? Or of a disaster in terms of predicted sales? Your agent Patrick King seems in a furious rush now to get the book out one way or another for Christmas .... who on earth would want to give a Christmas gift to a friend or loved one which is composed of bizarre sweet talk with a convicted murderess?

  • Are you even slightly aware of the deep hurt which you have caused to the Kercher family and Meredith’s many friends with your book? Do you know that some persons with great sympathy for them have words for you like “a pretty cruel heartless bastard”?

Finally, Mr. Girlanda - and we thank you for your patience in responding to these questions, which many concerned Americans and non-Americans have helped us compile - you have indicated that the proceeds from the sale of this book will go to the U.S.A.-Italy Foundation of which you are president.

If this budget injection is not used to make gifts of additional computers for more American prisoners in Italian jails beyond Amanda Knox, would you please consider applying part of the book proceeds to the new scholarship that the Perugia city council has established together with the University for Foreigners, in memory of Meredith Kercher?

It would be a wonderful gesture which would respond positively to those many Americans and non-Americans who are concerned that Amanda Knox’s conviction for the murder of Meredith should not be spinned into a money-grubbing show-business performance, where the only victim of this case - Meredith - is forgotten, and instead through some sort of twisted publicity campaign, one of the guilty parties is converted into a sympathetic Mother Theresa who escapes fully responding for her crimes.

The original of this letter in English and Italian has been emailed and sent in hard copy to your office in Rome. We greatly look forward to your various responses and will be happy to post them in Italian and English here. 


Very many thanks in advance from people all over the world who are seeking true justice for Meredith

Signed in the original for the Main Posters Of TJMK
Who include a number of American and Italian lawyers


Friday, May 13, 2011

CPJ Accusation #3 Against Italian Justice Officials : Was Anon Blogger Arrested On MIGNINI’S Orders?

Posted by Kermit


Overview. In our Second Open Letter to Joel Simon and world leaders we noted that NOT ONE of the accusations against Italian officials on close examination stands up. This is Attachment Three to that letter. More investigative posts are to come. 

Accusation 3:  This anti-Mignini accusation is even more startling than numbers one and two.  The harassment reached its peak on September 28, 2010, when five officers of Squadra Mobile forcibly entered “Sfarzo’s” apartment. They did not produce a warrant or show their badges, “Sfarzo” (real name Sforza) told CPJ. Four of the five shoved Sforza to the ground, struck him, handcuffed him, and climbed on top of him, crushing his air supply “¦ etc. etc. etc. The officers refused Sforza’s requests to call his lawyer or his relatives, and put him in a cell for the night.” (Source: CPJ Letter to 21 World Leaders )

Well, I’m still surprised that CPJ didn’t ask the Perugian blogger for his lawyer’s name, or for information about the hospital and the doctors who attended him.

I’m also surprised that CPJ didn’t ask both the blogger and the police headquarters about why the accused policemen (with or without a warrant) originally went to his home. It all sounds like a story that is extremely full of holes of information which should be filled (unless if you prefer not to fill them in).

I don’t know if the CPJ realized it, but with this accusation, the organisation has ratcheted up the grave accusations against Mignini. If up until now the anti-Mignini crowd’s accusations were limited to describing Mignini’s alleged bothersome provocations, the CPJ has now appeared on the anti-Mignini stage, and is claiming that he has opened a qualitatively higher level of menace: one of physical violence causing bodily harm. The only thing missing is for Mignini to be called a drug-dealer and a drifter.

Since the CPJ didn’t ask the blogger nor include in its Letter to the World why the police went to the blogger’s home, the CPJ’s insinuation is that Mignini’s goon squad simply went to the blogger’s home under that prosecutor’s orders, and with no justification.
I see no evidence that:

  • Mignini sent anyone anywhere that day,
  • the police weren’t there (if they were) on police business related to the Perugian blogger’s real-life persona,
  • the altercation with the blogger (if there was one) had something to do with Mignini,
  • the injuries suffered by the blogger were noticeable (if there were any),
  • the blogger’s neighbour was contacted the CPJ, as a first hand eye-witness.

The CPJ letter quotes the Perugian blogger:  “The next day, the officers brought Sfarzo (real name Sforza) before a local judge, who validated his arrest and indicted him on several articles of Italy’s penal code “¦. ‘The police can count on the complicity of judges,’ Sfarzo told CPJ”.

If Joel Simon of the CPJ ratcheted up the level of the attack on Mignini by claiming that physical bodily-damaging violence is now part of MIgnini’s media relations program, our astonishment is increased with the new and confusing element of the judges’ complicity. If Mignini is the ringleader, shouldn’t he be the one who has the complicity of the judges, instead of the national policemen, who up until now seem to be footsoldiers of Mignini?

You tell a tale in the Letter to 21 World leaders which is confusing. Please provide us with a believable link between Mignini, police officers and judges in this violence. Who’s the leader?

Well, we’re here to do a check on the third Anti-Mignini Accusation of the CPJ. There is no direct evidence of this strange supposed attack available for me to go on, so I think I’ll have to do a credibility check on the Perugian blogger’s words and photos in other situations where Mignini is present, such as regards the Meredith Kercher murder investigation.

Forensics Method for Test 3: Google, and reading up on the murder of Meredith Kercher

Line of Investigation for Test 3: Since the Perugian blogger’s blog is sometimes difficult to understand for me, due to English language expression issues, or due to his particular sense of humour, we need to contrast his credibility in a direct, visual and non-verbal manner.

Test 3, Step 1: 

Step 1a: Talk with someone familiar with the online discussion of this case. Ask about situations where the Perugian blogger has undermined his own credibility in a obvious, relevant and conscious way, comparing these situations to the credibility he needs to support his colourful description of a Mignini directed police commando which storms into the house of the blogger for no reason whatsoever other than to beat him up (a qualitative change from the other accusations that the blogger has made against Mignini, and which haven’t stood up to scrutiny) and make it look like the blogger attacked them, all in order to try him and send him to jail.

I’m not looking for situations of the typical silly comments which we may make at one time or another due to human foible, but where a direct, explicit decision or affirmation is made which undermines one’s overall credibility.

Today we’ll look for just one situation to analyse. However, I’m open to examine other such events or declarations, especially if the CPJ finally decides to start to do basic checking behind the details of its recent attack on Mr. Mignini. We can hopefully work together on this in the future.

Step 1b: Take the key elements of the above situations commented on where the Perugian blogger is involved, and follow the development of the discussion.

Google:  perugia shock via della Pergola from where raffaele amanda checking house (enter)

Approximate time required to obtain material to be analysed: minutes/few hours

Analysis:

Let’s go back in time to the end of November and start of December of 2008. There was an open debate then on a pro-Knox cooking blog based in Seattle which has since become dedicated to the Amanda Knox case. At that point one of the many Internet forum debating issues concerning the crime committed against Meredith Kercher was whether it is possible from Piazza Grimana to see the gate of the cottage where Meredith lived together with Amanda Knox, her now convicted murderer (pending appeal), and two other Italian girls.

Piazza Grimana is a park/pedestrian square with a basketball court, carved into a downhill slope just outside of Perugia’s ancient Etruscan Arch. The prosecution maintained a theory that following the murderous act for which they have been convicted, Knox and Sollecito could have waited in the Piazza Grimana, looking towards the access ramp of the cottage to see who might arrive (perhaps, for example, emergency vehicles).

Obviously, the cooking blog curator didn’t manage to clear up this debate in her favour, but the Perugian blogger, who was already on excellent terms with pro-Knox forces “came to the rescue” on his blogspot pages with this image which seems to demonstrate that the view of the cottage access ramp from Piazza Grimana is blocked by the building on the right:


Above: The Perugian blogger provided momentary pressure release for the cooker, by posting this image with the accompanying text to emphasize that you can’t see the cottage gate from Amanda Knox’s and Raffaele Sollecito’s alleged perch on the raised edge of the Piazza Grimana. The logic of the argument is that if neither you nor I can see the cottage gate (in that photo), then neither could Knox nor Sollecito, and therefore the prosecution theory was not applicable.

The Perugian blogger’s photo from Piazza Grimana was perfect for the requirements of the cooking blogger, and a grateful post soon went up on her site:


Above:  A pro-Knox Seattle food blogger with a personal blog on the Seattle PI site was relieved to have visual support for her theory that the view of the cottage gate from Piazza Grimana is “clear as mud”.  (Source:  Seattle PI amateur blog  Note:  this comment and other followup ones were cleansed ““ erased ““ a long time ago. )

The online blog discussion could have drifted on to other topics if it weren’t for the fact that many of us knew perfectly well that you can see the cottage gate from Piazza Grimana. Even a person not familiar with this case, upon examining the apparent proof provided by the Perugian blogger that the building on the right might negate the possibility of two murderers staking out the cottage entrance ramp, could come up with an effective answer :


Above: It’s just a jump to left, that’s all that is required to gain the line of vision needed to watch the access to the cottage. (Source: Rocky Horror Picture Show)


Above: Let’s try something extremely obvious that the Perugian blogger seems to have avoided in evaluating whether you can see the cottage gate from Piazza Grimana “¦ what will happen if we move a little to the left? 


Above: Luckily, the TJMK editor had been in Perugia and came back with an extensive collection of photos of the things he had seen, including the view of the cottage access ramp from Piazza Grimana.


Above:  Even Italian television was providing the view that Knox and Sollecito may have had from Piazza Grimana of the cottage gate. Why would the Perugian blogger and his pro-Knox lobby group associates want to deny this view from the English-language debate on the case?

If from just a couple of metres to the left you get a completely different story compared to the shadows to the right, and that makes plausible one element of a prosecution theory, I would have thought that a real freelance reporter would not avoid reporting on the obvious.

Test 3, Step 2: Conclusion

This test has been a credibility check. My opinion is that if the Perugian blogger applies the Jump-to-the-right book of extra-judicial lobby blogging, instead of the Jump-to-the-left book of journalistic reporting ““ to the detriment of the prosecution of a criminal case ““ then it is within the realm of reason that such a tendency toward misinformation / incomplete information about Mignini could also be applied by the blogger in describing to CPJ a Mignini-directed violent attack by rogue policemen loyal to Mignini and not their superiors, and who had no other reason to appear at the home of the real person behind the Perugian blogger’s screen-name other than to threaten him into not writing about a case that was already long out of the hands of said prosecutor.

Let’s update the Balance Sheet for Testing CPJ’s Anti-Mignini Accusations and see where things stand:

[below: The results of the third test of credibility in the anti-Mignini accusations only serve to worsen the state of the CPJ’s own credibility.]

Lets continue to the next.

 


CPJ Accusation #2 Against Italian Justice Officials : Did Court Officials Hassle The Anon Blogger?

Posted by Kermit


Overview. In our Second Open Letter to Joel Simon and world leaders we noted that NOT ONE of the accusations against Italian officials on close examination stands up. This is Attachment Two to that letter. More investigative posts are to come. 

CPJ Accusation #2:  The CPJ letter makes a second accusation against Mr. Mignini concerning supposed (yet unsubstantiated) abuse that Mr. Mignini has organized against this blogger: “When the trial of Knox and Sollecito began that December, Squadra Mobile continued to harass him. They regularly tried to prevent him from entering the court; seized his cellphone and went through his contacts and text messages; mouthed insults at him from across the courtroom; and stared over his shoulder as he took notes. “This was done in the presence of the judge, the Carabinieri [the military police], and the court guards, but they would do nothing,” Sfarzo (real name Sforza) told CPJ.”  (Source: CPJ’s Letter to the World 19-04-2011)

Line of Investigation for Test 2: For many of these cases of supposed abuse and threats, the best source for contrasting the grave accusations which the CPJ heaps rather flippantly on Mr. Mr. Mignini, are the words and images that the supposed victims themselves post on Internet.

The Perugian blogger didn’t take photos or video of the entrance controls to the courthouse. I can imagine that in this day and age of terrorism and security controls, it would have been normal for the guards to have asked the blogger’s purpose in entering the courthouse, and if he said he was a member of the press (promoted to “local freelance reporter” by the CPJ), it would have been normal for them to expect him to produce a press pass, accreditation, media business card, or any other professional identification.

And if he didn’t have press identification and if he wasn’t a member of the families of the defendants, or there as a guest of the Kerchers or the prosecution, I can imagine that he would have had some difficulty initially getting access to the courtroom.

Anyway, let’s assume that the credibility of the first part of this accusation (being hassled when entering the courthouse) has the same level of credibility of the second half of this accusation (being insulted and spied on within the courtroom).

If you agree, let’s first of all take a fast look at the general news agency photos of the courtroom which you saw in my first letter a couple of weeks ago.  The test will be to contrast those photos with the blogger’s own photos from court sessions, in order to understand the possibility that such harassment occurred.




[At top and above: The Perugian courtroom where Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were tried, and where the CPJ claims that the Perugian blogger was yet a further victim of this trial.]

To the right of the upper photo, and at the back of the lower photo is the press pen, where members of the press are crammed in and must remain between a railing and a back wall.

In front of the press pen railing are the defendants’ family members and other authorized parties. 

In front of family members, guards separate the defendants and their legal teams from their families. (To the left of the legal defence teams are the prosecution and private plaintiffs.)

Opposite the prosecution and defence legal teams, facing them at the front, are the judge and the members of the judicial jury.

Test 2, Step 1:  Google:  site:blogspot.com perugia shock court (enter)

(Please note that even though the Perugian blogger’s site has been removed, you can still get photos and text through Google caches.)

Approximate time required to obtain material to be analysed: less than 1 second

Analysis:

The pro-Amanda Knox lobbyist blogger’s blogspot lobby pages (or, if you prefer, the “local freelance reporter’s” news publishing page) are chock full of photos in the court sessions of the trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.
Let’s make a collage of them:


[Above: A jammed pack collage of photos from the Perugian blogger’s blogspot “freelance reporting” page:  http://perugia-shock.blogspot.com/  (I never knew that by having a blogspot page you became a freelance reporter. Neat.) Double click on the above image to see a larger resolution version. ]

I have indicated each individual photo with a letter. From my point of view, the Perugian blogger was where he should have been in all instances, which is behind the railing of the press pen, near the back wall of the courtroom. This is clearly the case in photos “B”, “C” and “D”, where you can actually see the railing which separates the press pen from the rest of the courtroom.

In the rest of the photos, especially when the zoom function is obviously in use, such as in photos “H”, “J” or ” K”, or simply by gauging perspective, such as in the case of photo “L”, it’s safe to say that the Perugian blogger in all cases was behind the railing of the press pen.

Let’s place on a sketch of the courtroom, the location from which the Perugian blogger took those photos in Amanda Knox court sessions he attended:


Now, if the blogger was in the press pen, any police officer who would have stepped into the crowded, fenced off area and wandered around behind the backs of the journalists, reporters, and blogger - especially making a noticeable attempt to look over shoulders - would have been noticed by the journalists in addition to the blogger who has accused Mignini of sending these spies out.

I realize that these photos may not represent all of the court sessions that the blogger attended.  The possibility exists that in some other session he wasn’t in the press pen, but sitting with the Knox-Mellas family, with whom he has a personal relationship, or in some other non-press location in the courtroom.

Since the CPJ calls the Perugian blogger a freelance reporter, I would assume that the CPJ would also situate the blogger in the press pen and assume that if he wasn’t attending as a member of the press but as a friend of some defendant, then he shouldn’t be afforded the protection of the CPJ (in any case, I doubt this scenario occurred).

As for the “mouthing of insults”, in general, everybody faces forward in the courtroom, except for the judge and the members of the judicial jury. Any police officer or carabinieri agent or prison/court guard present would have been mouthing to the whole press corps plus the blogger, not just him.


[Above: As we see from this photo, everyone in the courtroom faces forwards, except the judge and the jury “¦ and the Perugian blogger (I think that’s him there on the left looking backwards). Golly, maybe he was spied on over his shoulder after all.]

It requires a Friends of Amanda Leap of Faith to imagine the alleged spying happening without anyone else detecting it, other than the blogger.

I won’t comment on the possibility that Judges Micheli, Massei or Hellman condone or are accomplices to such behavior. I honestly think that the CPJ should think twice before it spreads so much conspiracy around, on the basis of a verbal statement by a blogger whose real name the CPJ didn’t even know when they spoke to him (you did speak to him, right? Or did someone else do the phone interview on your behalf?).

If the CPJ honestly thinks that this behavior occurred, since the presiding judge has responsibility for what goes on in the courtroom, why didn’t the CPJ Letter to the World accusing Mignini not make nominal reference to the judges who pull rank over Mignini and include them in this specific accusation?

Test 2, Step 2: Conclusion

Having seen in a more detailed way the layout of the courtroom and the normal positioning of the Perugian blogger, it is difficult to imagine how he may have been spied upon by policemen looking over his shoulder.

As for the mouthing of insults, as a rule, the guards face forwards and are located in front of the family members and other invited persons. For a guard to turn towards the Perugian blogger and mouth an insult, not only the other journalists would have seen it, but also the guests and probably lawyers as well.

If any insults were mouthed at the Perugian blogger during the course of the Amanda Knox trial, or the start of the subsequent appeal, it is difficult to believe that this could have occurred with only the presiding judge (in addition, of course, to the ringleader Mignini) realizing what was going on.

It’s time to go back to the Balance Sheet for Testing CPJ’s Anti-Mignini Accusations and update it:

[Below: Click image for larger image.. The second test of credibility in the anti-Mignini accusations could only be passed if the person who formulated it took a giant Friends of Amanda Leap of Faith.]

Let’s continue to the next.


CPJ Accusation #1 Against Italian Justice Officials : Was The Anon Blogger Pushed And Threatened?

Posted by Kermit


Overview. In our Second Open Letter to Joel Simon and world leaders we noted that NOT ONE of the accusations against Italian officials on close examination stands up. This is Attachment One to that letter. Click on the image above to see all the tests we carried out. More investigative posts are to come. 

CPJ Accusation #1: In CPJ’s Open Letter To The President of Italy Joel Simon writes about a Perugian blogger who uses the screen name “Frank Sfarzo” (real name Sforza, presumably CPJ didnt bother to check his real name). His claimed troubles started on October 28, 2008, the day Knox and Sollecito were indicted and a third defendant was convicted of murdering Kercher. Several members of Squadra Mobile, Sforza told CPJ, approached him just outside the city court (Corte di Assise di Perugia) and started to push and hit him. “You are pissing us off!” they told him, referring to his coverage.)

Opening observation: If Frank Sforza was in October 2008 on the cops’ radar we would be incredibly surprised. His blog had run for only a few months, it was low- volume and objective, it was in English, and it was pro Meredith and pro prosecutors and cops at this time. WHY would cops be “pissed off”??? Zero reason we can see, based simply on what appeared on his blog. Okay, let’s continue on to the supposed evidence of his claim. 

Line of Investigation for Test 1: In our first open letter to Joel Simon we already included the Perugian blogger’s own video of this alleged aggression. (His site is now temporarily taken down but we have the video.)

Since the alleged aggression occurred in the middle of a media scrum, I suggested in my prior letter that you study video sequences of other news organizations present to see if anyone had it in for the blogger (which is the essence of your accusation). 

Based only on that video, most viewers would seriously doubt ““ no, directly throw out ““ the accusation that CPJ makes. You do not see “several” policemen approach him and “push and hit him”.  However, you still don’t seem to have studied the video so here goes.

Test 1, Step 1: Google for video: 29 Oct 2008 “rudy guede” (enter)

This Google search made sense, since the aggression supposedly occurred when the Kercher family was exiting the courthouse in late October 2008 after Rudy Guede was sentenced for the murder of their daughter and sister Meredith. In October of 2008, the Perugian blogger had barely just switched sides from being pro-victim, to joining the pro-Amanda lobbying group. 

In the sake of honesty and transparency (something that seems to be lacking from some media organizations these days) I should say that I repeated this test twice. The first time I googled for videos dated “28 Oct 2008” (the date of Guede’s sentencing), however, since it occurred well into the evening, most of the news videos are dated the next day.

Approximate time required to obtain material to be analysed: less than 1 second.

Analysis:

There are a number of videos which result from the Google search. I latched onto one from The Guardian.

The sequence which is of interest in The Guardian’s video goes from the 00:55 second mark to 1:11. You’ll need eagle eyes for this, but look out!!! Just a fraction of a second before the video cuts to the Kercher family’s news conference, we too are witnesses to the Perugian blogger suffering his aggression “¦ centimeters from Stephanie Kercher’s face!!! 

Now if the Italian cops were the ones doing the beating up, you’ll have to admit that’s pretty cheeky of them, in front of the murder victim sister’s nose, under the blaring light of dozens of television cameras.


[Above: If it’s true that Mignini is responsible for this aggression, all I can say is that his hit squad is made up of undetectable aces. Closer scrutiny shows that Stephanie Kercher seems to be putting her hand up to protect herself, not from Mignini’s goon squad, but from the crush of reporters, with the blogger right there in her face.]

Now I can imagine that there will be persons out there who will need to believe that what appears to be jostling and media scrum etiquette is actually a planned conspiracy by Mignini, his private Italian national police force goon squad, and a series of judges who are complices to the abuse.

So, let’s do a more detailed review of the abundant information at hand. In fact, before we look more closely at the Perugian blogger’s aggression, let’s just watch The Guardian video a couple of times in order to get a feeling for those 16 seconds of movement. This is very important to understand the event.

At the beginning of the sequence, you only see the door of the courthouse which the Kercher family has exited in the first second. There are four or five plainclothes policemen or guards who escort the family as they approach the media crowd. They plunge into the media, which moves along with them a little. However, at the core of the crowd, the Kercher family and their escorts progressively move past each photographer and cameraman.

This is, I imagine, the exact same process as any courtroom departure covered by the Press, yet it is an important consideration in this test: for as much as individual members of the media try to advance along with the Kerchers, the Kerchers and their escorts press forward and “overtake” each member of the media.

The only people who don’t change position in a relative manner to one another are the members of the press: the colleagues that each reporter or cameraman has at his elbows change very little their position amongst each other (even if the whole body of the Press is shuffling along as they try to follow the Kerchers).  One exception to that relativity we’ll see later, is the Perugian blogger.

Okay, now that we’ve seen The Guardian video a couple of times, we have a feeling for the setting and the non-stop movement of the Kerchers and their escorts.  Let’s look at the “aggression”. As we said, it occurs just at the end of this sequence, at 1:10 and 1:11, right before The Guardian’s video cuts to the Kerchers’ press conference (in the following frames from the video, I’ve removed the irrelevant left and lower parts of the frames in order to enlarge and concentrate on “the aggression”)


Above image: Between the 1:10 and 1:11 marks of The Guardian video, we see the Perugian blogger appear (that’s the last second of the courthouse exit sequence). It’s not too clear in this frame, but if you have seen the video, you can see clearly that he has a couple of fixed or video newsmedia cameras just behind and to the right of him.

In that first frame, there is not yet any evidence of violence, he is slightly crouched (as evidenced also by the angle of his own video images which we will look at in a minute). I believe that is Stephanie Kercher’s right hand that is outstretched ““ in this frame it appears that it could be a left hand, however that doubt is removed in the next frames:


Above image: “The Aggression” has occurred! We don’t see exactly what provokes the Perugian blogger’s reaction, but he raises his right hand to his head. His hand is empty, so this is quite likely just at the moment when in the blogger’s own digital camera (or cellphone) drops, or hangs and dangles. Clearly, he is not filming his short digital video.

One suspect in “The Aggression” is the escort to the right of Stephanie Kercher (indicated as Escort 1 in my marked up image). The escort’s unseen right hand, right arm or right shoulder quite likely makes physical contact with the Perugian blogger ““ while the CPJ may believe that this contact was executed under the devious instructions of Mr. Mignini, I find a much more plausible explanation in that this escort was simply making way for the Kerchers.

Now, those who are fans of gymnastics may believe that said escort somehow wrapped his right arm around the Perugian blogger’s head and tapped / slapped / hit him there on the right side, although it doesn’t make sense that a person on the left side of someone hits that someone on the right side of their head.

Quite likely the best explanation is that someone or something to the right and behind the Perugian blogger hit him. We see emerging in this frame a total of four photographers or cameramen.

It’s entirely possible that the Perugian blogger got in the way of one of those members of the media, and that either he backed into them and their equipment (hitting his head), or that the advancing group of the Kerchers and their escorts pushed the blogger into the photographers and cameramen and their equipment, or that a cameraman got irate with the blogger for buzzing about and getting in the way and slapped him on the head.


Above image: This is the marked up version of the first image we saw. It is just before The Guardian’s video cuts to the Kercher press conference. We see better the emerging cameras 3 and 4. What appears to be Stephanie Kercher’s right hand could actually now be touching the Perugian blogger (I hope that by trying to protect herself that the CPJ doesn’t call her an accessory to “The Aggression” and issue another accusatory Letter to the World!).

There’s a possibility that what I’m calling Stephanie Kercher’s right hand could be the right hand of her escort, although I think not, as it is at an unnatural angle for him. In addition, if you compare the size of her hand to the Perugian blogger’s hand, it seems more appropriate to assign it to her (it is true that women’s hands are smaller than men’s, and that relation is definitely what we see in this frame). 

We’re not finished yet with “The Aggression” at the courthouse. However, just on the basis of what we’ve seen, does it seem like Mr. Mignini has directed “several members of Squadra Mobile” to approach the Perugian blogger and start “to push and hit him”?

Please, please Mr. Simon, don’t tell me that the CPJ still doesn’t have it clear, that you’re still thinking about it, that you’re not yet ready to withdraw your accusation against Mr. Mignini on this one ““ for the moment I’m only talking about this first example you gave of Mignini’s aggressions which justify for you sending a letter to 21 World Leaders.

[Above: The three video frames analysed from The Guardian video, with no markup or overlays. Click on each image if you want to see a larger version]

I mentioned that last night the Perugian blogger’s website was removed by Google’s Blogger service. However, trust me in the data I provide below on his video. If you would like to see the rest of the video, or consult alternative frames, do contact me.
Just for the record, the video used to be available at this link Here’s his own version of “The Aggression” outside the courthouse:


[Above: Although the CPJ has started to call the Perugian blogger a “local freelance reporter”, the quality of his video makes one repeat the question if he is anything more than the blogspot blogger that he is (er, used to be), allied through collaborator Jim Lovering with the Friends of Amanda lobby.]

Given the low resolution and the non-stop jumping in the blogger’s 36 second video, I’ve only extracted a handful of frames, which I won’t enlarge any more, otherwise they become pixellated and unviewable.

At 01”, you can just barely see the courthouse door in the background. In the foreground you can see the backs and equipment of the members of the press who are filming the Kercher family. The Kerchers and their escorts are not yet defined, given the low quality of the video, however, the brightness of the camera lights and flash bulbs situates them in the medium distance. In other words, they are some distance still from the Perugian blogger.

At 05” and 07”, the mass formed by the Kerchers and their escorts moves forward, getting closer to the Perugian blogger, however, he is still separated from them, as seen by heads and media equipment that continues to appear between them and him.
In the whole video you can hear noise, people complaining, other people asking to please make way, there is a lot of commotion. At 09” when listening to the video you can hear a swear word in Italian.

At 11” and 12” there is still at least one line of members of the press between the Perugian blogger and the Kerchers / escorts as they advance inexorably through the media scrum. In 11” you see someone and a dark shape (television video camera?) on the left, in 12” you see hands of reporters with microphones in front of Stephanie Kercher’s escort.

At 13” and 14” this same escort (Escort 3 in my marked up Guardian video, on Stephanie Kercher’s left) gets hit on the head or seems to almost get hit on the head by a boom mike (I include a frame from The Guardian video of this moment). The boom mike is connected to a camera or some over equipment to the left of the blogger, and this gets in his way.

The core group of the Kerchers and their escorts continues forwards. From 14” to 25”, the Perugian blogger seems to squirrel around, looking for a better position. He is changing his relative positioning to the other cameramen and reporters near him.

The cameraman (I assume he’s a cameraman) with the boom mike to his left keeps getting in front of the blogger, and the blogger can’t get a good shot. Up until now, the blogger has been taking his video from on high (holding his digital camera / cellphone above his head, and filming the foreheads and the tops of the heads of the Kerchers and their escorts.

Then he gets an idea. He burrows low and moves left behind the cumbersome cameraman with the boom mike, abandoning his attempt to position himself in front of Escort 3.

In 27”, he pops out of the dark mass of cameramen’s backs, just below Escort 1’s chin, looking up now at Stephanie from further to her right (you see his video is now from below, looking up, instead of aiming his camera from above on the right as he had done before).

A budding freelance reporter’s dream scoop: Right in front of Stephanie! Eye to eye! (Well, better said, eye-to-her chin.)

His exclusive images didn’t last for long. About two seconds to be exact.

At 29” the Perugia blogger’s camera shows the night sky, the ground, and the crowd. Did the escort and Stephanie plow into him? Probably.

Did he also hit his head on one of the cameras / boom mikes / other media equipment he had ducked under (because he got plowed into, or because he backed into the members of the media) and that were slightly behind and above him? Maybe.

Did a member of the media whose images or sound the blogger had been messing up get mad and slap him? Maybe.

Did a policeman unseen on the videos hit him? I doubt it, but maybe.




[Above:  Television cameras, along with pitted olives, can be dangerous weapons, and provoke grievous international tensions, including hitting sportsmen on their heads with bulky cameras and their boom mikes. In a case of aggression like in Perugia, it’s almost better to set up Mignini as the fall guy, rather than a wealthy television broadcasting network.]

From 29” to 36” in his video we hear complaints and comments to the end of the tape when there is some comment about “The last 3 days “¦”.

Remember what we observed in The Guardian video? That the core group of the Kerchers and escorts was moving along, not stopping. By the time we get to the end of the blogger’s video, the Kerchers and their escorts will have been long gone.

At the very end of the video, in the commotion and exchange of angry comments ending with “The last 3 days “¦ ” , the voices aren’t separating, one or the other isn’t walking away. However, the seven seconds from 29” when the Perugian blogger bumps his head / gets his head bumped to the 36” mark are one fifth of the total video, which takes the Kerchers from the doors of the courthouse to well beyond the Perugian blogger.

I doubt that one of the police escorts stopped and waited until the crowd had cleared to insult the blogger.  I also doubt that after bumping his head, “several members of Squadra Mobile “¦ approached him” and that that’s when the vicious attack mandated by Mr. Mignini started.

Who made that possibly insulting comment about “The last 3 days “¦”? An escort or other security official? A member of the media elbowing with this budding wants-to-be-a-freelance-reporter-but-is-still-a-blogger, and who was ticked off that the blogger hadn’t yet learned media scrum etiquette and that you simply can’t stand up in front of someone’s big fat camera lens (especially if you have an eensy-teeny weenie one, maybe only cellphone)?

Can this disparaging remark and elbowing be linked to a vengeance driven Mignini (vengeance for what? Some broken English comments on a blogspot page?) and his campaign to harass reporters? I doubt it.

Do either of these videos show the imagery that is explicitly described and further insinuated by the CPJ in its Letter to the World, namely that “several members of Squadra Mobile “¦ approached him just outside the city court “¦ and started to push and hit him.” ?

(Source: CPJ’s Letter to the World 19-04-2011)


[Above:  For the moment, Joel Simon of the CPJ has not yet backed down from his description of the terrible incident that he feels the Perugian blogger suffered outside the local courthouse. I guess he’s still waiting on evidence that it didn’t happen.]
If the CPJ is going to continue to justify in the light of these two videos that a squad of goons directed by Mignini “pushed and hit” the Perugian blogger, and turn it into an event which should be informed to 21 World Leaders, well, I honestly think you’ve got it wrong.

Excuse the length of text I’m dedicating to this one test. I don’t want to be pedantic with my frame-by-frame analysis, but I did want to be thorough, just so that there is no doubt about what happened (or, better said, didn’t happen) outside the Perugia Courthouse on 28-10-2008.

Test 1, Step 2: Conclusion

I think that simply by watching the two videos once, even without the frame by frame analysis, it is more than evident that what you have stated in your letter of 19-04-2011 bears no relation to the Truth whatsoever.

Having finished the first test, let’s take a look at how things stand on our Balance Sheet for Testing CPJ’s Anti-Mignini Accusations:


Above: The first test of credibility in the anti-Mignini accusations was pretty easy to do, and it’s one of the hardest ones!

Let’s continue to the next.


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Is Joel Simon Of CPJ Now In Hiding - And Pushing The Naive Nina Ognianova Out To Take The Hits?

Posted by Kermit



[Above: Nina Ognianova adds to CPJ’s abusive and unsubstantiated witchhunt of Giuliano Mignini]


“Frank Sfarzo” was running a low-traffic, low-impact blog which has long consisted of vague unsourced innuendo plus extensive defamation in the comments area

Every REAL reporter we have ever asked has said that in their eyes “Frank’s” site is a joke. His real name is Sforza. There are strong signs that Sforza is a paid flunky for the Knox PR campaign, and he is supported for blowing smoked and HIDING the grim and unmistakable truth.

Now, right at the mid-point between my Open Letter #2 to Joel Simon below and my posting of VOLUMINOUS evidence of his false claims to come, this misguided further attack on Miignini appears. 

Unsubstantiated passages here are in bold.

New York, May 11, 2011—The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Florence and Perugia authorities to drop the trumped-up defamation lawsuit against Perugia Shock...

Sfarzo (real name Sforza) told CPJ that he received an email from Google, which hosts the site, last night informing him that a court order has been issued for the “preventive closure” of his blog dedicated to the Kercher case.

It was from the court order, Sforza told CPJ, that he learned that Perugia Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini—who has a long-standing record of anti-press actions—has filed a lawsuit against Perugia Shock for “defamation, carried out by means of a website.”

The court order, which stemmed from Mignini’s claim, was issued on February 23 by Florentine Judge Paola Belsino. Mignini is the lead prosecutor on the Kercher case.

[ CPJ’s Nina Ognianova says] “This is hardly the first time Mignini has resorted to the law to silence his critics. It’s a heavy-handed tactic that is bound to have a chilling effect on journalists in Italy.”

CPJ has documented a history of official harassment, physical attack, and fabricated legal prosecution against Sforza.

Journalist Sabina Castelfranco of CBS in Rome (CBS is the most baised against the prosecution) has said: “Certainly it does appear that he is being vindictive, however maybe he did have a case to sue Frank Sforza for defamation.”

The MyNorthwest website describes the Perugian blogger as accusing “Mignini of having ties to drug dealers.” That is one pretty serious charge.

So. Some more hard questions for Nina Ognianova.

  • On what basis can Ognianova call the charges “trumped up” if Ognianova as we suspect doesn’t even know what those charges are for? What will Ognianova say if they are genuine, serious, and provable?
  • Does Ognianova understand what exactly are other charges against the Perugian blogger relating to a visit by police to his home last autumn? And what relation those other charges may have with the removal of his blog?
  • Did Ognianova ever LOOK at the content of Frank’s blog and see the often-hallucinatory junk that regularly appeared there? Does Ognianova have any clue about the true state of reporting on Meredith’s case?
  • Does Ognianova have any clue about the harrasment of real reporters, who have tried in face of REAL harrassment to report objectively and impartially from Italy and Seattle on the case?
  • How does Ognianova associate Giuliano Mignini with the FLORENCE legal authorities? Does she know he is NOT now the lead prosecutor and is only tangentially involved with the appeal?
  • Has Ognianova seen the three-month-old court order for “Frank” to take the website down? Has Ognianova seen Google’s note to “Frank” about taking his (free) blogger account down? Are they both for-real?
  • Does Ognianova approve of the drug dealing accusations of this blogger who wants to be considered a freelance reporter even though his blog was simply the European outlet of the pro Amanda Knox campaign?
  • Does Ognianova consider accusing Mignini of having drug dealing ties simply represent part of the free speech reporting on the Meredith Kercher case? Does she approve of the huge abuse directed at him?
  • Does Ognianova know that throughout there was a co-prosecutor? Does Ognianova know that the case passed through the hands of nearly two dozen judges - and, already, the Supreme Court?
  • Does Ognianova know of the rather brilliant assembly and presentation of the case by the two prosecutors? Does Ognianova know of the weak and lackluster defense component and their true desperation right now?

And where is the oversight over Simon’s and Ognianova’s runaway train here,  by the (All-American) Board of Directors of the CPJ?


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

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

Posted by Kermit

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


Dear Mr. Simon,

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

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



[Click above for a larger image]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    -> If so, then Red Flag

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

    -> If not, then Red Flag

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

    -> If so, then Red Flag

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

    -> If so, then Red Flag

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

    -> If so, then Red Flag

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

    -> If so, then Red Flag

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

    -> If not, then Red Flag

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

    -> If so, then Red Flag

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

    -> If so, then Red Flag

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

    -> If so, then Red Flag

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But you haven’t.



[Click above for a larger image]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



[Click above for a larger image]

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

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

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

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

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

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



[Click above for a larger image]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



[Click above for a larger image]

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

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

Let me help you out.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



[Click above for a larger image]

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Kermit

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


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


Friday, April 29, 2011

Committee To Protect Journalists Responds, But Provides No List Of Sources Or Interview Transcripts

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for the response by Nina Ognianova. Comments are open below that CPJ post and both Kermit and Doug Preston have taken advantage, Kermit gracefully, Preston petulantly..

Nina Ognianova does not address Kermit’s contentions, though she did link to TJMK, and really responds only in broad generalties. She still leaves standing the smears of Giuliano Mignini and other Italian officials that the Committee to Protect Journalists chose to broadcast globally. 

We can find zero evidence that CPJ interviewed anyone in Perugia, except presumably for the strenuously anonymous blogger “Frank Sfarzo”  (real name Sforza) who the CPJ may actually realize now is not a real journalist and who posts mostly mischievous nonsense under an assumed name. 

Nina Ognianova does not explain why neither Mr Mignini not anyone in the police or judiciary were interviewed before the CPJ smeared Mr Mignini in an open letter sent to Italy’s President and a number of other notables worldwide.

There’s been good commenting starting about here about this already on PMF where some are warming to the idea of a public hearing in Perugia (“Frank Sfarzo” goes on trial early in May)

Maybe “Frank Sfarzo” and Doug Preston can be made to finally put up or shut up. This may not be the result the hornswoggled Joel Simon was intended to deliver..


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Open Letter To CPJ’s Joel Simon In New York: This Is The Fact Finding YOU Really Should Have Done #2

Posted by Kermit

Concerning CPJ’s letter to Italian President Giorgio Napolitano on press freedom (#2)




[Above: Knox lawyer Luciano Ghirga stated on 21 October 2008: “Amanda wasn’t hit. There were pressures from the police, sure, but we never said she was hit.” Well into Amanda’s trial, and shortly after her stepfather’s arrival in Perugia, she unexpectedly stated in court that she had been hit by police during her questioning. Watch the whole video yes at the Perugian blogger’s site.]



From the CPJ letter to the President of Italy and 20 other European and International figures:

“Sfarzo (real name Sforza) was released pending a trial in May. He faces up to six years in prison if convicted. “˜The police can count on the complicity of judges,’ Sfarzo told CPJ”

Now I’m confused: I thought that it was Mignini who utilized and had the complicity of the national police in his nefarious actions against the Perugian blogger. Now it seems that the blogger (or CPJ) is saying that the national police manipulate the judiciary to advance some terrible agenda, with the complicity of judges. Please clarify, for the sake of sanity, is it Mignini or the national police who are the source of the harassment that the blogger suffers?



[Above: Now let me get this straight: Amanda Knox hearing and trial judges such as Paolo Micheli (left), Giancarlo Massei (centre), or Claudio Pratillo Hellman (right) are beholden to members of the national police? Where will the Evil Conspiracy stop?]


Although motive is not necessary to any crime, having one helps to understand a criminal action. This alleged harassment makes no sense. Mignini presented his investigation report three years ago.  A guilty conviction was obtained, and the defendants are now in appeals, with different judges and new legal processes.

The case has for some time been out of Mignini’s investigative hands and is following its natural progression through different courts, under the guidance of the corresponding judges.

In the case of the national police, they don’t have any particular relation with the blogger as regards the Meredith Kercher murder case. Quite another possibility is that he has some other legal problem. Have you asked the blogger if he has any other legal question open, under his real name?

One question: if the blogger had been abused by Mignini or the Italian national police between October 2008 and September 2010, why is it only now that noise is being made about it?

In order to check out the blogger’s emotional state in the time frame of the alleged police attack, I took a look at his blogspot page for posts and comments in that time period.

The blogger’s last post before the alleged attack was on 10 September 2010. This post generated 586 comments, mostly before, but also some following the supposed attack on 28 September 2010 including comments by the blogger himself.

His first post following the alleged police attack was just a couple of days later on 1 October 2010. He writes “The mini media circus around the Meredith Kercher case materialized again in Perugia, surprisingly, for a closed door hearing “¦. Luciano Ghirga described her as showing a shorter haircut and as being concerned “¦”

In the 361 comments which this post generated, including comments by the blogger, I didn’t detect any indication that he had been through a harrowing experience at the hands of police officers who in some yet-to-be-defined-manner are remotely controlled by the prosecutor Mignini.



[Above: Business as usual. It’s 1 October 2010, just 48 hours after the supposed brutal attack which required the blogger to receive medical attention in the hospital. Yet his recovery is swift, and his texts don’t reflect the suffering he has gone through.  (Image: Perugia Shock blog)]


From the CPJ letter to the President of Italy and 20 other European and International figures:

“Oggi editor Umberto Brindani also received two “notices of investigation” that year—dated July 24 and September 2—in relation to the magazine’s coverage of the Monster of Florence case, CPJ confirmed.”

If the CPJ was able to confirm a couple of notices of investigation against the well established national magazine Oggi, why didn’t the CPJ also try to confirm any of the alleged abuse against the vulnerable Perugian blogger who is the main point of the CPJ text? You indicate that you had direct contact with him.

For example, you could have asked the blogger to show you a copy of a complaint concerning the alleged attack by national policemen on 28 September 2010. Or the CPJ could have spoken with the hospital psychiatrist who supposedly examined the blogger following that alleged attack.

 

From the CPJ letter to the President of Italy and 20 other European and International figures:

“Preston, Spezi’s co-author who suffered harassment by Mignini himself in 2006—and eventually was forced to leave Italy for fear of imprisonment—told CPJ he was still afraid of going back. He has been unable to clarify his legal status in Italy. In the summer of 2008, Mignini told third parties that he would have Preston arrested if the writer returned, Preston writes in the Afterword to The Monster of Florence paperback edition, published in 2009.”

If Preston was “forced to leave Italy for fear of imprisonment” in February of 2006,  then why did Preston go to Italy with an NBC “Dateline” filming crew in October 2006, just months after leaving under an alleged “threat” by Mignini, and four months after his interview in The Atlantic where he called Mignini “a sincere man and an honest and incorruptible judge”.



[Above: Many people are led to believe that Preston hasn’t been to Italy since his hasty departure after meeting Mignini in early 2006. In fact, he has returned with Dateline NBC to tape a show on The Monster of Florence. (Photo credit: Original source. And an alternative link to same story.]

Barbie Nadeau, an excellent and recognized reporter for Newsweek and The Daily Beast, wrote in a well researched article on Preston that he “also says that Mignini ordered him to leave Italy. Mignini says that he never asked Preston to leave the country, but instead suggested that Preston didn’t understand Italian and that he should get a lawyer.”

If you do further Googling, you will see that it appears that the only person who says that Preston can never go back to Italy (in spite of having gone back to Italy) seems to be Preston himself.

What Preston says he hasn’t been able to clarify, Mignini has repeated in a number of articles in the Italian and English-speaking press.

 

From the CPJ letter to the President of Italy and 20 other European and International figures:

“We ask you to ensure that the politically motivated lawsuit against Perugia blogger Frank Sfarzo is immediately scrapped and that outside investigators are assigned to conduct an investigation into the September 28-29, 2010, abusive actions of Squadra Mobile officers against him.”

On what basis can you affirm that the alleged abuse suffered by the Perugian blogger is “politically motivated”? What link is there between the national police officers who allegedly committed said abuse and the prosecutor of the first trial against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito which ended almost a year prior to said abuse?

Who is this Perugian blogger, if he isn’t “Frank Sfarzo”?  Is he a journalist? Or in fact is he closely associated with “opinion-makers” for the Amanda Knox cause?

I have no interest in knowing the Perugian blogger’s real-life name, but I would hope that as part of its investigation, the CPJ would have ascertained whether the blogger’s real life persona may explain why the event of 28 September 2010 occurred (and what motivated the visit of the national police) better than linking it without any real proof to the prosecutor who so enraged Doug Preston (at least from the end of 2007 onwards, following Meredith Kercher’s murder and the intense media coverage of this sad event).

One of the most well known members of the Amanda Knox on-line lobby is an American, Jim Lovering. He appears on many websites where the case against Knox is discussed, sometimes posting in his own name and sometimes under the pseudonym “Charlie Wilkes” (a 19th century American naval explorer linked to Puget Sound).

It is telling that Lovering-Wilkes is cited as one of the two collaborators that the Perugian blogger works with on his site.



[Above: The Perugian blogger counts on Jim Lovering (also known on-line as “Charlie Wilkes”) as one of his two collaborators. Lovering is one of the most prominent figures in the “Friends of Amanda” pro-Knox activist group.]


If you do some basic Google research (“Jim Lovering” “Friends of Amanda”), you will find that Jim Lovering is the moderator of the “Friends of Amanda” website.

Here below is the Perugian blogger and Chris Mellas, presenting the Friends of Amanda website:



[Above: The Perugian blogger and Chris Mellas ““ Amanda Knox’s stepfather ““ presenting the Friends of Amanda website.]


Lovering/Wilkes has made himself famous in the pro and con discussion boards of this case for his anything-goes pro-Amanda stand.

This includes the manipulation with a Photoshop-type program of an image of a footprint of Rudy Gudy, found guilty together with Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito of Meredith Kercher’s murder.

The manipulation adjusted the size of the Guede print taken in prison to the dimensions of a footprint made in blood found on the bathmat of the cottage where Meredith was brutally murdered (the matching of the footprints would support the “lone-wolf” theory of the Knox defence, that only Rudy was involved of the group of three young people found guilty, and therefore that Amanda should go free).

A simple gauging of the size of the print seems to show that when Lovering/Wilkes resized it, the print ended up much smaller than what it should be.

For further information consult this presentation with the satirical title: “Mr. Marriott, I Shrank the Black Kid”. Or review the on-line discussion of the issue by Googling: Rudy Guede “hobbit foot”.

Although the Friends of Amanda Knox group declares on its webpage that “We are not affiliated with her family”, some of its most prominent members are close friends to the Knox-Mellas family, as they themselves publish on Internet sites such as Facebook.



[Above: In this Facebook posting from September, poster “Charlie Wilkes” (Knox activist Jim Lovering) writes of his photo: “At the table are (Washington State Judge) Mike Heavey, Mark (Waterbury) and Michelle (Moore, wife of ex-FBI / ex-university security man / screenwriter Steve Moore). Chris (Mellas) is seated at the table in the background. I’m not sure who he is talking to. Christina Hagge and Edda (Mellas ““ Amanda’s mother) are standing on the right “¦. It was a very enjoyable gathering”. (Photo credit: Facebook ““ Perugiamurderfile.org)]


Judge Michael Heavey of the Superior Court of the State of Washington is a neighbour of the Knox-Mellases and has been involved with lobbying efforts for the family from early on (he now seems to not be a formal activist of FOA, although informally ““ as we see in this photo ““ he continues to support the cause).

In August of 2008, he wrote a letter to the Italian judicial council that regulates the activity of the country’s judiciary, decrying:

“”¦.On June 16, 2008, Judge Giuliano Mignini, The Public Minister of Perugia, closed his investigation concerning the horrific murder of Meredith Kercher.

“¦. Since November 6, 2007, the conduct of the prosecutor, police and prison employees has been to supply false information to the press to inflame public opinion against Amanda Knox, Rafaele Sollecito and Patrick Lumumba.

“¦. the prosecutor’s office (Kermit: ie. Mignini’s), police and prison employees have made illegal and false statements to the press.

“¦. Amanda Knox’s lawyers have no knowledge of my request to the distinguished and honorable members of the Consiglio Superiore della Magistratura.”


The English text and Italian original were published for a number of weeks in 2008 on Seattle celebrity lawyer Anne Bremner’s webpage. Bremner is another original member of the Friends of Amanda group.  Source: this webpage which has since been redesigned)
 

[Above: Heavey wrote a neither substantiated nor proven extra-judicial opinion of grave illegalities he ascribed to the investigators of the murder of Meredith Kercher, naming specifically the prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini. His opinion was sent to Nicola Mancino, vice-president of the Italian Judicial Council, and four other persons, including Italian President Giorgio Napolitano and Prime Minister Berlusconi.]


This unofficial, private lobbying done on Washington State Superior Court stationery didn’t go over well, as you can imagine, with the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct, which proceeded to charge Heavey:

“[Mr. Heavey is charged with] violating Canons 1, 2(A)and 2(B) of the Code of Judicial Conduct by writing letters on official court stationary to Nicola Mancino, Judge Claudia Matteini, and Giuliano Mignini (members of the Italian judicial system) on behalf of criminal defendant Amanda Knox; utilizing court staff to type those letters; and speaking publicly on several occasions about that same pending criminal case in an attempt to influence the proceeding.” (Source: Washington CJC)

The CJC’s investigation later concluded that Heavey had violated the judicial code by:

using his status as a judge to attempt to influence a criminal proceeding in another country, thereby exploiting his judicial office for the benefit of another.

“¦. Respondent agrees he will not retaliate against any person known or suspected to have cooperated with the Commission, or otherwise associated with this matter; that he will not repeat such conduct in the future; and that he will promptly read and familiarize himself with the Code of Judicial Conduct in its entirety.”(Source: Washington CJC)




[Above: In spite of his reprimand in 2010 from the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct for - amongst other things - “speaking publicly” about the Amanda Knox case, it seems that Judge Michael Heavey has found a way to make this sort of activity compatible with the sentence of the Commission, and he continues to appear on her behalf (on his own time?). Recently on 4 April 2011 he appeared at Seattle University with other speakers aligned with the Amanda Knox cause to present the case for her innocence.] (Source: Youtube video uploaded by West Seattle Herald)

 
What is curious is Heavey stating in his letter to the Italian authorities that he was doing this without the knowledge of Amanda Knox’s Italian lawyers.

She has two heavyweights as her main lawyers: Luciano Ghirga ““ a well”“known and experienced Perugian lawyer ““ and Carlo Dalla Vedova ““ also experienced, and suggested by the American Embassy in Rome. In addition, there are all the experts in a number of areas that these two lawyers have introduced to the case as it has proceeded.

They will know what’s best for Amanda, and if she or her family have any questions about the legal strategy, then they should change the team. It’s inconceivable of persons close to her family taking extra-judicial measures to “help” her when those measures aren’t vetted first by her legal team beforehand in order to decide if it really does help or hinder the cause.

But that does seem to be the case here.

Between actions like Heavey’s and the not-stop media onslaught with programs such as the CBS 48 Hours series produced by Doug Longhini (starring Private Investigator Paul Ciolino who travelled to Perugia and tried to get a witness to the crime to open her door at night to talk to him ““ he has recently called that witness “crazy” from the safe distance of a Seattle auditorium) which questioned the correctness of the investigation, there was so much noise coming from America that Knox’s lawyer Luciano Ghirga actually had to go to prosecutor Mignini’s office and disassociate himself and Amanda’s defence from these opinion-making actions:

“There are people around the figure of Amanda who have no formal role in the student’s defence team, which is formed by myself together with my colleague Carlo Dalla Vedova. These people are not only not helping our client in the difficult judicial process in the Corte d’Assise in which we have to defend her, but on the contrary, they are harming her judicial position.”

(Source: La Nazione 3 February 2009- Alternate translation link here.)

Why in the world would anyone participate in an extrajudicial strategy of attacking a legal process, unapproved by the defendants own lawyers? The first answer that comes to my mind is that the party involved doesn’t have much faith in being successful in the legitimate legal process.

Paul Ciolino, the Private Eye who went to Perugia for Doug Longhini’s 48 Hours, recently participated in a seminar in Seattle University dedicated to Amanda Knox (co-speakers included Friends of Amanda founder Tom Wright, ex-FBI / ex-university security officer / screenwriter Steve Moore, and “¦ State of Washington Superior Court Judge Michael Heavey).

Mr Ciolino, I believe, more or less sums up the extra-judicial strategy for dealing with Amanda’s predicament by stating:

“She’s not going to come out of there because the Italians are nice guys and they’re going to admit that they made a horrible mistake and that the prosecutor yes indeed he is crazy but ... she may come out, she’ll come out in a year or two, that’s my best guess, okay, but she’s going to come out because the State Department is going to get involved, it’s going to become political.”

(Source: At 1:48:23 in the Youtube video uploaded by the West Seattle Herald)

I’m not saying that the Perugian blogger is a member of the Friends of Amanda group (which in any case doesn’t seem to be a “card-carrying” type of association “¦ it’s more a question of who wants to be publicly associated with it. Judge Heavey was “publicly” with the group until he decided to not be publicly associated with it.)

But it would be hard for the blogger to deny that he’s very, very, very close to this influence/lobby group, what with blog bed fellows such as his blog’s main collaborator Jim Lovering - the Friends of Amanda Knox website moderator - and what appears to be a personal relationship with members of the Knox-Mellas family.

I honestly believe that the Committee to Protect Journalists does fine and commendable work protecting journalists, who risk so much all around the world trying to do their work and keep people informed through a free press.


[Above: Truly threatened journalists around the world benefit from the support and awareness activities of CPJ. Bravo. (Photo credit: Committee to Protect Journalists)]

However, I encourage the CPJ to do further research concerning the news and blog personalities surrounding the Meredith Kercher murder case, and the alleged injustices they may have suffered.

Particularly worrisome for the preservation of balanced reporting by independent journalists is the hiring by the Knox family of the Gogerty Marriott public relations firm. This contract has been so successful that this PR firm uses their Amanda Knox campaign as a case study on their website.

At Gogerty Marriott we apply campaign strategies, disciplines and tactics to public affairs problems to help our clients achieve their goals “¦. We consider every project individually and assemble a team to suit the client’s specific needs. We then develop and implement a plan; usually integrating a range of tactics such as earned and paid media, community outreach, ally development, and government relations among other ways of reaching important audiences.”  (Source:  Gogerty Marriott website.)

It is ever so important for the CPJ to protect journalists around the world who are struggling in dangerous situations to maintain their independent voice and to promote free press.

However, a PR campaign which uses “earned and paid media” could perhaps, be analysed further before sending alarmist communications to high-profile international authorities and potentially wasting the scarce resources of your organisation.


 

From the CPJ letter to the President of Italy and 20 other European and International figures:

“It is unacceptable that journalists, bloggers, and writers on both sides of the Atlantic should censor themselves by staying away from subjects of public interest such as the Meredith Kercher murder case and the Monster of Florence killings because of Prosecutor Mignini’s inability to tolerate the scrutiny that comes with public office.”

If you read the thousands or tens of thousands of articles and blogposts written on the Meredith Kercher murder case, you will quickly find that few persons censor themselves or hold back in their comments, starting off with the Perugia blogger.

Please do go to the blogger’s site. Compare it to this True Justice for Meredith Kercher site, which has a different, victim oriented focus, or to any other of the many sites, and newspaper articles which have been dedicated to this case.

Each one has its angle which it has freely developed. You’ll see that the only censoring carried out is the prudent censoring of unsubstantiated libelous claims which once in a while must be done to guarantee the ongoing unhindered success of the sites.

A study of the Perugian blogger’s posts and his own comments (in addition to the people who comment on his site) doesn’t lend credence to the belief that his voice has been somehow repressed or threatened.

Let me wind up with the words of Andrea Vogt, an objective, bilingual reporter who has been providing great coverage on the Meredith Kercher case, writing about both things positive and negative for Amanda Knox:

“In real life, prosecutor Giuliano Mignini is not at all as he’s been portrayed in the mainstream American media. He’s been vilified as a conspiracy theorist out to get anyone who dares criticize him. I’ve done it (in print and in person) and he’s been professional and dignified, even when he heartily disagreed.”

(Source: the New York Post.)

You can not imagine the abuse received by that reporter (and other valiant journalists who dare have an open opinion on the Knox-Sollecito-Guede trials) from certain pro-Knox sectors of the online world. In a separate story, this same reporter provides us with insight concerning threats pervading the discussion of this case:

“Police are investigating complaints from a Seattle woman who says she was intimidated and threatened online because of comments she made about the Amanda Knox case.

The unredacted Seattle Police Department report, obtained by seattlepi.com, names a primary suspect and quotes the woman as saying that that the suspect “˜is engaging in tactics meant to intimidate,’ along with “˜the tacit consent’ of Knox’s stepfather, Chris Mellas.
“¦. Perugia Shock is hosted on a California server and financed by an American firm, according to the Perugia-based blogger who covers the case and operates the site under the alias “˜Frank Sfarzo.’

While fans say his blog poses alternative theories rarely discussed in the mainstream media, critics say his minimalist moderation results in an out-of-control comment section where posters “out” those who wish to remain anonymous, track their ISP addresses to reveal their physical locations, pose as people they are not—someone posted as Meredith Kercher, the victim, once—and make threatening posts about each other, as well as about the major players in the case, including Knox, her family, journalists, lawyers and prosecutors.

“¦. A similar address, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), which is cited in the police report, was also used to send two vulgar messages to a Newsweek reporter covering the case in Perugia. The message, sent from a Blackberry device, ended with the postscript, “˜You sound like you were abused as a child.’

“¦. (True Crime blogger Steve Huff) has been particularly surprised by the network newsmagazines’ “˜pro-active efforts’ to smear the prosecutor while painting Knox as “˜some innocent pixie college girl.’ “˜There’s some larger statement afoot in that about American views and our culture of looks over authenticity, in my opinion,’ Huff said. Huff said his opinion about guilt or innocence in the case is still flexible—he can see both sides and thinks the case could go either way, but the vicious online harassment—present from the onset but particularly intense just prior to the start of the trial—prompted him to dial back his participation.

“˜It was so pervasive and distasteful to me that as a blogger and now as a journalist I’ve all but washed my hands of covering the case,’ Huff said.”

Read more on the Seattle PI website.

Now that surely is interesting. Maybe you should talk to longtime professionals like Steve Huff, and learn why the threatening environment of this case ““ specifically from the pro-Knox camp ““ made him decide not to continue covering it.

Contact independent, credentialed, widely read, knowledgeable, bilingual (English-Italian) journalists such as Andrea Vogt (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, New York Post and other publications) and Barbie Nadeau (Newsweek, The Daily Beast) who have been at most or all of the Amanda Knox trial sessions.

Read their work and you will see balance in the information provided, including both that which supports Amanda’s cause and that which is not favourable. Ask them about their take on the judicial and reporting scene in Perugia concerning this trial. Ask them about the threats or abuse they have received. Consider offering them protection if they request it (I have not contacted them on this, take it as a tip).

Beyond these two journalists in particular, you will be able to find more.

I think you will see that you will have to rectify your letter of last 19 April 2011, or at least comment that in the media circus surrounding this sad, sad case of a bright young English girl beloved by her family who was brutally murdered, there is more than meets the eye.

I will conclude by stating that:

  • In spite of collaborating on his website with Jim Lovering, one of the prominent leaders of the Friends of Amanda opinion-making lobby group, the Perugia blogger isn’t necessarily a member of that group, if the group actually has formal membership. I am in no position to state that (nor deny it). However, with Lovering/Wilkes by his side on his own blog, the Perugian blogger is very, very, very close to them.
  • nor is there evidence that the Perugia blogger is an element of the Gogerty Marriott pro-Knox PR campaign, a campaign which may use “tactics such as earned and paid media”.
  • However, in case that the Perugian blogger is an opinion-maker, or is simply caught up in an opinion-making framework, is he still to be protected by the CPJ? Can journalists ““ if the blogger claims to be a journalist ““ be lobbyists, or associated with lobbies and still benefit from the protection of the CPJ, if they actually are threatened? Would the CPJ protect FOA leader Jim Lovering / Charlie Wilkes who helps the Perugian blogger with his posts,  if Lovering/Wilkes claimed that Mignini had sent police to beat him up due to writings on the blogger’s Perugia Shock blog where Lovering/Wilkes is a collaborator?
  • of the examples you gave in the CPJ text concerning the supposed threats and abuse suffered by the Perugian blogger, the blogger’s own video of the event on 28 October 2008 seems to contradict your description of several national policemen approaching him and hitting him and pushing him (in front of Meredith Kercher’s family and preserved by the cameras of the press in the media scrum?). The example of national policemen looking over his notes in the press area at the back of the courtroom doesn’t seem to jive with the physical layout of the courtroom. The example of the Perugian blogger supposedly being beat up by policemen on 28 September 2010 may have happened (or it may have happened in another manner), but there is information lacking as to why these policemen showed up at the blogger’s door and which superior of theirs in the national police sent them. I see no link to Mr. Mignini there nor have you shown any. As far as motive is concerned, Mignini closed his investigation case file on the murder of Meredith Kercher three years ago. The case is out of his hands and now is at different levels of appeals in the courts. Why would he send a goon squad after the blogger?  (If anyone tells you that Mignini is an evil, satanic-obsessed, rogue prosecutor, then please tell them that they are mistaken, that role was assigned by a famous American writer years ago to an Italian policeman who the famous writer doesn’t talk about anymore.)
  • the insinuations that Mr. Mignini has some sort of private police force at his beck and call don’t fit in with the procedure-based workings of the relations between the Italian judiciary and the different police forces.

I would ask you that you reopen your investigation of this matter. I would exclude contact with persons who have a financial or any other interest in Mignini being painted in a specific light. And ““ as a good journalist ““ I would seek out “the other side” of this story.

I thank you for your time and attention. Please feel free to contact me if you require any further information or if I may be of assistance as you become more familiarized with this case.

Very sincerely,

Kermit

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

Copied to:

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



[Above: Joel Simon of the CPJ, left, with “Frank Sfarzo”, Chris Mellas, and Doug Preston]


Open Letter To CPJ’s Joel Simon In New York: This Is The Fact Finding YOU Really Should Have Done

Posted by Kermit

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


Dear Mr. Simon,

Concerning CPJ’s letter to Italian President Giorgio Napolitano on press freedom

One week ago the Committee to Protect Journalists emailed an open letter to the President of Italy on press freedom in the Meredith Kercher case. This letter was copied to a number of other notables worldwide and also it was put online. 

I believe this letter is factually highly inaccurate, is ill-researched, and is very unfair and possibly libelous to the officials in Rome and Perugia that it criticises. It is likely to do a lot more harm than good, and may come to blemish the CPJ’s fine reputation.

I am extremely familiar with this case. I live in Europe and visited Perugia very soon after Meredith Kercher’s sad death. I have long participated in online discussions seeking justice for Meredith and some closure and peace for her suffering family. I post under the name of Kermit. You can see my 13 TJMK posts here which have received many media mentions. I use Kermit as an online ID to maintain my personal life separate from my on-line life. I am NOT a journalist and so my real name is a minor issue.

Your open letter was dedicated to a large extent to detailing supposed abuse suffered by an anonymous blogger who you appear to believe is an impartial and credentialed journalist. You say this was at the hands of Italian national police officers who you seem to indicate follow illicit orders of an Umbrian prosecutor, Mr Giuliano Mignini, instead of their own superiors in the national police (Polizia di Stato). You also accuse Mr. Mignini of being the source of various threats to this anonymous blogger and real journalists, citing what you think are valid examples.

In fact, as we will see, all of the supposed threats in your examples are either vague or cannot be associated with Mr. Mignini. In some of your cases the “reporting” Mr Mignini takes exception to is the publishing of unsubstantiated accusations, for example concerning his state of mental health.

I’m surprised that in investigating one specific alleged case of abuse against a local Perugian blogger, that you haven’t noticed a massive, very nasty, highly misleading and well oiled campaign to malign and vilify Perugian and Rome authorities and to some extent Italy in general. Nowhere do you mention that specific persons directly and indirectly associated with that campaign seem to have something to gain by taking down Mignini and by setting free the convicted murderers of Meredith Kercher (pending appeal). Nowhere do you mention that REAL journalists like Andrea Vogt and Barbie Nadeau have received enormous heat and online libels for simply trying to report facts impartially from the court and from Seattle.

I would make a request that the staff of the Committee to Protect Journalists research further the points I bring up, and I would ask that if this research paints a picture different from what has been described in your text of last April 19, then you issue a followup letter to clarify these points, sending the followup email to the same 21 receivers of the first text.

Perhaps most importantly, you could contact Mr. Mignini himself and get his side of it. Others including the BBC have managed to do so and you should be aware of this BBC report. Mr Mignini has already publicly denied through Italian and international press publications some of the accusations which you are making in your letter, such as that Douglas Preston will be arrested if he returns to Italy. He states clearly that is not true. 



[Above: The forgotten fact in the CPJ text: When did this journalistic organisation contact Mr. Mignini, in order to contrast the accusations against him by a blogger who lives behind a pseudonym? (Photo credit: BBC)]


In the rest of this open letter I intend to examine below one by one the disputed points in the CPJ letter to the President of Italy. This statement is the first.

From the CPJ letter to the President of Italy and 20 other European and International figures:

“Dear President Napolitano,

The Committee to Protect Journalists, an independent, nonpartisan organization dedicated to defending the rights of journalists worldwide, is deeply concerned about local authorities’ harassment of journalists and media outlets who criticize the official investigation into the November 2007 brutal murder of British exchange student Meredith Kercher in the central Italian city of Perugia.”

The international network of followers of the Meredith Kercher case and its pre-trial investigation are not aware of any harassment of journalists by Mr. Mignini (or police agents who may have received instructions from him when the investigation was underway), from the moment of the crime, until the investigative report was delivered to the court in June 2008.

The allegation of harassment is news to us, in a case which over the course of almost four years has already gone through the lower court (three suspects each convicted of murder and other crimes) and is currently in the appeals stage.

The legal action taken by Mignini (or threatened action) in the case cited of the West Seattle Herald reporter Steve Shay writing that “some in both the American and Italian legal field believe Mignini is mentally unstable” doesn’t surprise me. Most people would see that not as a legitimate criticism of the official murder investigation as the CPJ states in its letter to the President of Italy, but rather as an unsubstantiated low blow without any professional journalistic contrasting of that claim. Mignini’s response is not an aggression to silence the West Seattle Herald, but rather a question of defending one’s personal honour and reputation. Mignini’s legal action would be taken on a personal level, not as an element of the Meredith Kercher murder case.

Or are legal professionals’ personal freedom and constitutional rights suspended in the light of unsubstantiated press claims? Is Mr. Mignini unable to defend himself against false accusation? Can the press make unsubstantiated and uncontested claims about anyone’s state of mental health without being subject to redress?


[Above: The Perugia blogger dispatching with Prosecutor Mignini, at a date believed to be after the start of the alleged harassment supposedly carried out under orders of Mignini. They seem to be interacting without any problem. (Photo credit: UK Channel 4)]


From the CPJ letter to the President of Italy and 20 other European and International figures:

“The Kercher murder investigation was headed by Mignini and conducted by a Perugia police unit known as the Squadra Mobile. Mignini was also in charge of the latest investigation into the unsolved murders of eight couples in Tuscany between 1968 and 1985, collectively known as the Monster of Florence killings”

Out of three affirmations in the preceding paragraph, only one is true, the first. Mr. Mignini was indeed the head of the investigation into the murder of Meredith Kercher.

The second affirmation is partially true. The Italian national police (Polizia di Stato - not “Perugia police” as you state) in Perugia was substantially involved in the Meredith Kercher murder investigation, be it Squadra Mobile units, medical examiners, local forensic and technical experts, as well as specialist forensic units brought in from Rome. These people report to their own chiefs and superiors in the hierarchical structure of the national police, although they would have carried out specific approved investigative actions within the framework of this investigation under the instructions of Mr. Mignini (and the next day they would be carrying out investigative actions for other prosecutors in other cases).

The third affirmation is false. Mr. Mignini is a prosecutor in Perugia, in the region of Umbria. As the nickname indicates, the “Monster of Florence” killings were carried out around Florence, in the region of Tuscany with the same .22 Beretta pistol between 1968 and 1985 (it is debatable whether the first crime of 1968 was done by the same perpetrator of the following string of murders, but they are clearly decades old crimes).

Various Florentine prosecutors participated in the investigations and trials related to the murders done by the Monster of Florence.  Mr. Mignini was never “in charge” nor even involved in those investigations. It was a different time and different place.

The last of the police investigators in this Florentine case (so important and complex that instead of having a prosecutor control the case, there was a sort of super-cop who oversaw and directed all investigations, requesting prosecutors to authorize certain investigative actions) was called Michele Giuttari. It was under his analysis and investigation that the theory relating the Monster of Florence killings to occultism was developed.



[Above: The Monster of Florence’s Beretta pistol killed 8 couples between 1968 and 1985. Mr. Mignini was uninvolved in the main investigations and trials of these decades old crimes, as he lives and works in Perugia, in a different location and in a different time frame. (Photo credit: Insufficienzadiprove)]



In a separate action, years later in 2001, Mignini reopened the investigation into the death of Dr. Francesco Narducci, initially thought to have drowned in a lake near Perugia. There were potential links between Narducci’s death and the perpetrators of the Florence murders.

Actually, if you want to understand better the Narducci case (from it being reopened in 2001) and understand its relation to the Monster of Florence case, please read the Perugian blogger’s summary on his blogspot page. 

This mixing up of the facts of the Monster of Florence case is not new. I fear that American author Douglas Preston ““ who has substantial financial interest in the book sales and movie royalties related to his book The Monster of Florence (and who is also a financial supporter of CPJ ) - may have had direct or indirect input into the sculpting of this imprecise CPJ missive, which doesn’t really link Mignini to any of the events the Perugian blogger in question is supposed to have suffered (this is just an opinion).

Why? Preston is exploiting his own run-in with Mignini years ago, when the latter interviewed him concerning his activities and knowledge relating to shared elements and suspects of the Narducci and Monster of Florence cases.

For authors Mario Spezi and Douglas Preston researching the Monster of Florence case in Florence, super-cop Michele Giuttari was the source of much of their criticism of the case. In spite of being shaken up in early 2006 due to his interview with Mignini, Preston said a few months later in an interview with The Altantic:

Question: “Do you think that the investigation has become personal for (police investigator Michele) Giuttari?”

Preston: “I think even more than for Mario and me “¦. Giuttari really doesn’t have anything beyond the Monster case. His entire career rides on this case and solving it””or at least not making a fool of himself while he investigates “¦. So yes, it is personal. I think that everyone in Italy acknowledges that Giuttari seems to carry a great personal animosity against Spezi.”

Question: “Judge Giuliano Mignini, the public prosecutor who interrogated you, is another important player in the case. Was Mignini just doing his job? How much weight do you give to the idea that Mignini had it in for Spezi and you?”

Preston: “”¦. As for Mignini himself, I think he’s a sincere man and an honest and incorruptible judge. I don’t think that he’s a bad man “¦. I think he was doing his job the best he could. I think in many ways he was badly misled by Giuttari, the police officer who was running the investigation.”

(Source: The Atlantic)

Now there’s something I don’t understand. All the bad things we’re hearing about Giuliano Mignini since late 2007, in particular from Doug Preston seem to have been cut and pasted from Preston’s comments about Michele Giuttari, the chief investigator in the last legs of the Monster of Florence investigation, and these bad characteristics have been assigned to Mignini.

Preston has simply “cut” (not pasted!) the name Michele Giuttari from any mention ““ the once bad-ass investigator of the Monster of Florence as a larger-than-life persona is gone from his recent writings on the case.

And Mignini has been reassigned Giuttari’s nefarious role, even though Mignini is from Perugia and he investigated the Narducci death.  The link (albeit important link) to the Monster of Florence, is that since Narducci could have been associated ““ according to initial investigative data in 2001 ““ with persons related to Giuttari’s old Monster of Florence theory, therefore Mignini assumed the Monster of Florence occultism theory developed in the Florence investigations.

Preston’s switch-a-roo has happened even though Preston had good words for Mignini in 2006 after his questioning at the hands of this prosecutor.

What happened? Well my opinion is that with literally dozens of books out about the Monster of Florence, someone realized that yet another book by Preston and Spezi would need some commercial umpah, especially if it was to be taken to the English-speaking market (Spezi had already written one book on the case, now he was writing another ““ Giuttarri had also written books on the case, in addition to many other authors).

The terrible murder of Meredith Kercher, and the fact that Giuliano Mignini was on duty as prosecutor on that All Saints long-weekend was what was needed. The English-speaking press has covered the murder on an on-going basis since then. Amanda Knox’s family hired a PR firm which uses that PR contract as a case study on their website, explaining proudly how “Gogerty Marriott’s work for the (Knox-Mellas) family has brought them in touch with all major U.S. news networks ““ ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and Fox News, as well as independent programs such as Oprah Winfrey and a host of national and international magazines and newspapers”. (Source: Gogerty Marriott website.)

My theory is that with Amanda Knox being arrested and tried for the murder of Meredith Kercher, the latest book on The Monster of Florence had found a great, long-term PR strategy to latch on to. All that was required was to change the hated satanic-obsessed, rogue investigator figure of Giuttari into the civil servant Mignini, a prosecutor in the sleepy town of Perugia who has never published a book in his life. This focus requires that one stops talking about Giuttari. Done. And that one talks a lot about Mignini and his satanic theories, Perugian Mignini the lead prosecutor of the Monster of Florence (well, if you say it loud enough and long enough and put it into a Hollywood film, that’s what people will remember). Done.

 

From the CPJ letter to the President of Italy and 20 other European and International figures:

“The anti-press actions of Squadra Mobile under Mignini’s supervision, coupled with Mignini’s longstanding record of harassment of journalists who criticize his conduct on the job, cause the press to stay away from sensitive subjects, including important developments in the Kercher case such as the appeal of two defendants in the case.”

Who told you that the Squadra Mobile police unit is under Mr. Mignini’s supervision? You would do well to consult sources other than those who helped you draft your text.

The investigation of the murder of Meredith Kercher lasted from the moment of discovery of her body by the Italian telecommunications police who appeared at the victim’s home to inquire about a lost mobile phone on 2 November 2007, until Mr. Mignini presented his investigative report in June 2008.

As previously mentioned, different police investigative and forensic units would have received specific and / or ongoing instructions during the course of the investigation to carry out individual tasks in gathering evidence, but outside those tasks and in particular since the closing of the investigation in June 2008 the national police work at the central police station (“Questura”) and report in their daily work to other police officers, while Mr. Mignini works in his magistrate’s offices and has his own reporting hierarchy.

According to the CPJ the alleged harassment of the Perugian blogger started in October 2008, long after the close of the investigation into Meredith Kercher’s murder. (It should be underlined that since then, the only driving force behind advancing the legal proceedings against the three persons accused and convicted of murdering Meredith Kercher is not the prosecution ““ specifically Mr. Mignini - but rather the judges who are hearing the different levels of trial and appeals.)

The CPJ seems to be insinuating ““ no, more than that, it is accusing Mr Mignini of having extra-official links to police officers who allegedly harass a local Perugian blogger, as if Mignini had some sort of personal “hit squad” or goons at his beck and call.



[Above: These are some of the police investigators whom Mignini was able to use as a part of the investigation into the murder of Meredith Kercher. CPJ may want to pass this photo to the Perugia blogger, to see if he is able to identify some of the police officers who allegedly attacked him three years after the crime, two years after Mignini’s investigation ended, and almost one year after the first level trial ended and Judge Massei and the judicial jury found Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito guilty of murder.]


The CPJ letter to the President of Italy also refers to “Mignini’s longstanding record of harassment of journalists”. CPJ probably acted correctly within its terms of reference when it sought to bring attention to the plight of Mario Spezi in 2006 when he was arrested by Mignini (whether that arrest was justified or not). What other examples of does CPJ have of Mignini’s historical “record” of supposedly harassing journalists?  Suing because reporter Steve Shay writes an unsubstantiated mention of Mignini being mentally unstable?

 

From the CPJ letter to the President of Italy and 20 other European and International figures:

“CPJ is particularly concerned about the impact Perugia authorities’ repressive actions have on local reporters and individual bloggers, who lack the support and backing of major publications”.

“CPJ is particularly concerned” “¦  Why did the CPJ get concerned? Can I ask how the CPJ became aware of the supposed harassment of the Perugian blogger by Mignini, and who has developed the “case” presented against Mignini in the CPJ letter? 

Has the CPJ questioned the motives of the person(s) who helped develop this document and their potential “stake” in having the CPJ accuse Mignini of harassment? Will they gain by further book sales or movie royalties by creating a media interest in a supposedly rogue Italian prosecutor?

“Perugia authorities’ repressive actions have on local reporters and individual bloggers” “¦  Please be clear: are there other Perugian authorities beyond Mignini involved in this harassment , i.e. is there a conspiracy involved?  Or is the situation the opposite, that the “Perugia authorities” are individual policemen who may have bothered the blogger in question, and so someone in CPJ decided to make a dotted-line to Mignini ““ if so, on what basis is this dotted line made? Who made it?

You refer to “local reporters”. Beyond the blogger, who are the local reporters who have suffered at the hands of Mignini?  Is there anyone?

On one hand, have any local reporters, or on the other hand has the blogger in question made any formal complaint about the alleged abuses suffered?  If he (or they) haven’t felt comfortable presenting a complaint in Questura in Perugia, they could go to the Carabinieri or other locations to present such a complaint. If no formal complaints have been made by the blogger in two and a half years of harassment, why not?

I agree with you that in general terms, news outlets that are limited in circulation and critical mass are more at risk to suffer harassment from authorities. In this regard, I encourage you to contact a couple of the local newspapers in Perugia such as Il Giornale dell Umbria (editor: Giuseppe Castellini) or Corriere dell Umbria (director: Anna Mossuto).

Ask them about possible harassment by Mr. Mignini. Even better, while you’re at it, why don’t you do a peer check,  and ask them about the local blogger you have become concerned about?



[Above: The CPJ should make immediate contact with local newspapers in Perugia such as these, in order to evaluate in situ the possible harassment of local reporters by Mr. Mignini.]

 

From the CPJ letter to the President of Italy and 20 other European and International figures:

“Of the cases that have come to CPJ’s attention, one stands out because of the abusive actions employed by members of Squadra Mobile to punish a critic of the official Kercher murder inquiry. Local freelance reporter Frank Sfarzo (real name Sforza) created his English-language blog Perugia Shock in 2007, days after Kercher’s gruesome murder.”

You say that it was Squadra Mobile police officers who “punished” this critic of the investigation. Can those Squadra Mobile officers be identified? (I imagine so). What is the link between those Squadra Mobile officers and Mr. Mignini? Do the direct superiors of those officers in the national police know of this supposed secret relation? Or are those direct superiors of the national police part of the conspiracy too?

(If you don’t mind a slightly ironic comment on my part, if you go all the way up the national police structure, you may find that President Napolitano as well as parliamentary judicial committees where one of Raffaele Sollecito’s defense lawyers is present are also part of the irregular reporting lines of the Mignini conspiracy.)

By the way, it’s not important to this question, but just to be clear, I believe that the Perugia Shock blog page was established just prior to the murder of Meredith Kercher, and may have been destined for some other purpose when the murder occurred and the blogger in question decided to reorient the blog. The blogger in question also has web pages dedicated to buying Italian products such as truffles, not to mention a blog devoted to the Italian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire.

In fact, while the blogger writes under the name of “Frank Sfarzo”, this appears to not be his real name. He seems to have indicated different backgrounds to different persons, including to newspaper reporters who have had contact with him. For example, he has described himself as a film professor to reporter Jonathan Martin of the Seattle Times. 

To the BBC’s Julian Joyce he described himself as a journalist.

It’s not a major issue for me, but does the CPJ protect anyone who says they are a journalist, or only journalists with credentials, or members of a professional organization with a code of conduct?  I just post comments on blogs and once in a while add my own research to the topics being discussed “¦ could I too as Kermit request protection from the CPJ if I deemed it necessary, say I received threats from a certain persons involved in a court case I was discussing?

Would you write a big letter to presidents and cabinet ministers and senators around the world? Or do you only do that when a well-off, best-selling American author is part of a personal feud with an investigative magistrate?

Pro-victim blogger Skeptical Bystander and other posters of the Perugia Murder File board could potentially be in need of such assistance, given the sorts of threats that she has received and that often goes untouched for days or weeks when posted on the Perugia Shock blog comments page.

 

From the CPJ letter to the President of Italy and 20 other European and International figures:

“Sfarzo told CPJ his troubles started on October 28, 2008, the day Knox and Sollecito were indicted and a third defendant was convicted of murdering Kercher. Several members of Squadra Mobile, Sfarzo told CPJ, approached him just outside the city court (Corte di Assise di Perugia) and started to push and hit him. “You are pissing us off!”—they told him, referring to his coverage.”

As mentioned, by October 2008, the investigation was out of Mignini’s hands and as a case was in the hands of the different judges who have tried Rudy Guede, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. No police officers would be receiving investigative instructions from Prosecutor Mignini, unless if he had an extra-official relation to them that bypassed normal communications channels between the judiciary and the police.

I am not in a position to say that the person who blogs under the name “Frank Sfarzo” wasn’t pushed by policemen on 28 October 2008. However, you say that this happened due to his “coverage” of the case.

If you read the Perugia Shock blog pages, especially from the fall of 2008, you will see that they are written in broken English, and that the blog’s following at the time was limited. Did Mignini or the police officers read the blogspot page in English?

Your description of the alleged events outside the Corte di Assise (“several members of the Squadra Mobile “¦ approached (the blogger) just outside the city court and started to push and hit him”) bears little resemblance to the blogger’s own video of the event. I URGE YOU to view the video of the alleged aggression of the Perugian blogger (please click on link and scroll to end of post).

In the video, viewers see the family of the murder victim ““ Meredith Kercher ““ exiting the courthouse in the middle of a media scrum. There is jostling and pushing amongst the dozens of reporters on the scene.

The blogger struggles for a good angle and seems to be walking backwards as he tapes his video. Meredith’s sister is easily identifiable. The blogger tumbles. Was he pushed? Maybe. Was it a policeman or another reporter in the media scrum who bumped into him? Maybe one or the other, or maybe the blogger simply stumbled in his awkward backwards walk.

Did someone say something rude to him? Maybe. If something rude was said, was it due to his “coverage” of the case? Or simply because in the moving crowd the backwards walking blogger was getting in the way?

In any case, at no point do we see “several members of the Squadra Mobile” approach the blogger and “push and hit him”.



[Above: The Perugia blogger’s own video on 28 October 2008 of one example of the “aggression” which has provoked a letter from the Committee to Protect Journalists to the Italian President and 20 other international figures. Moments afterwards, he falls backwards, into the media scrum. Were he to have been attacked by “several members” of the Squadra Mobile, Stephanie Kercher ““ Meredith’s sister pictured at front on the right ““ would have been a point-blank witness to the crime. He had his camera aggresively in her face.

In addition, all of the Italian and international news cameras following the Kercher family from behind would have taped the perpetrators of such an aggression, if any. CPJ could use its contacts with media outlets present that day (there were dozens of journalists) to obtain video of the aggression, filmed from just a couple of metres away.]

 

From the CPJ letter to the President of Italy and 20 other European and International figures:

“When the trial of Knox and Sollecito began that December, Squadra Mobile continued to harass him. They regularly tried to prevent him from entering the court”

What are the requirements for entering a court session in Perugia? What priorities are assigned for press access? What press credentials have to be produced? What press credentials did the Perugian blogger have in December of 2008? Did he have any? Was this harassment witnessed by other journalists in Perugia to report on the trial?

Has the CPJ contacted other journalists covering the court sessions to inquire as to access procedures, or whether they saw the Perugian blogger being given a hard time (maybe he tried to access extra-early before other journalists ““ in order to get a good spot ““ and there were no other witnesses to the access harassment he suffered in these over-capacity court sessions).

 

From the CPJ letter to the President of Italy and 20 other European and International figures:

” . . . mouthed insults at him from across the courtroom; and stared over his shoulder as he took notes. “˜This was done in the presence of the judge, the Carabinieri [the military police], and the court guards, but they would do nothing,’ Sfarzo told CPJ.”

In all the images that I have seen of the courtroom in the trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, the reporters are at the back, against the wall. Was there a “safety lane” which police officers patrolled behind the reporters and which they used to spy on the blogger over his back?

Did the police officers spy on any other reporters? Did any other reporters notice the alleged spying carried out on the blogger, or was it done in such a surreptitious manner that no one realized what was going on?

Please! Look at photos of the press area in the Perugia courtroom! It seems physically difficult for anyone but other reporters to be looking over reporters’ (or bloggers’) backs.



[Above: The Perugian courtroom where Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were tried. At the back behind the railing and against the wall: the press. In front of the railing: defendants’ family members and other authorized parties.  In front of family members: guards.  Finally, in the foreground, the defendants and their lawyers. For the national police to have looked over the blogger’s shoulder as he made notes, they would have to have elbowed their way through the press to an indiscrete and obvious positioning behind him (or, he would have had to been in a location not assigned to the Press, such as the defendants’ family zone, which could be a possibility). Have you asked the Perugian blogger about his relation to the Knox-Mellas family both in and outside of the courtroom? Is it limited to simply interviewing them from time to time, or is this relationship much closer with individual members of the family, beyond a traditional reporter-subject relationship?]


By listing the complicit passivity of the judges, the Carabinieri and the court guards in addition to the Polizia di Stato, CPJ does seem to have swallowed quite a large conspiracy, where Prosecutor Mignini not only is pulling the strings of three different police forces, but also the presiding judge of the case. The only way to make this bigger-than-life Evil Mignini Conspiracy into something bigger would be to turn it into a Hollywood movie.



[Above: The Monster of Florence movie rights have been purchased by Tom Cruise. Any and all ways of stirring up and mixing up the English-speaking press’s coverage of Mignini’s Narducci investigation from 2001 onwards, and linking it and the high profile trial of American Amanda Knox to the decades old 1970’s and 1980’s Monster of Florence murders is free publicity for the book and movie”  (Photo source: The Wrap)]

 

From the CPJ letter to the President of Italy and 20 other European and International figures:

“The harassment reached its peak on September 28, 2010, when five officers of Squadra Mobile forcibly entered Sfarzo’s apartment. They did not produce a warrant or show their badges, Sfarzo told CPJ. Four of the five shoved Sfarzo to the ground, struck him, handcuffed him, and climbed on top of him, crushing his air supply, he told CPJ.”

Has the CPJ made any attempt to validate these claims of mistreatment? One thing I don’t understand is where is the link between the blogger’s alleged mistreatment and Mr. Mignini?

If any blogger in Perugia feels that he or she has been bothered by the police, can they get the CPJ to intervene against Mignini even if there is no direct link that we can see?

Has the CPJ contacted the Questura (main police station) of Perugia to inquire as to the reason the team of officers was sent to the blogger’s home? Who was the police chief who sent them? Did Mignini just pick up his phone in his magistrate’s office, call the Questura and ask his policeman friends to go over and rough up a local blogger?

 

From the CPJ letter to the President of Italy and 20 other European and International figures:

“Next, the officers took Sfarzo to the Perugia city hospital, where they claimed he had attacked them; they persuaded a doctor to issue a medical report for the injuries Sfarzo was alleged to have caused. In addition, the Squadra Mobile officers brought Sfarzo before a psychiatrist, demanding that she issue him a certificate of insanity.”

Again, has the CPJ made any attempt to validate these claims? Has it been in contact with the doctors at the hospital who examined the blogger?

 

From the CPJ letter to the President of Italy and 20 other European and International figures:

“From the hospital, the officers brought a handcuffed and injured Sfarzo to their headquarters, where, in the blogger’s words, they “displayed me as a trophy,” referring to him as “the bastard who defends Amanda [Knox].” The officers refused Sfarzo’s requests to call his lawyer or his relatives, and put him in a cell for the night.”

Has the blogger’s lawyer taken any action to sue the police officers who allegedly attacked him? The normal starting point would be a formal complaint: has the CPJ requested confirmation that this incident legally exists from the blogger’s point of view, specifically that a complaint was filed at the time it allegedly occurred? If it exists, has the CPJ examined this complaint and inquired with police authorities as to the progress achieved in resolving it?

The truth of the matter is that this is reminiscent of one aspect of the Meredith Kercher murder case, where Curt Knox and Edda Mellas, parents of convicted killer (pending appeal) Amanda Knox were interviewed by John Follain of The Times of London. “Curt says: “˜Amanda was abused physically and verbally’” during her questioning on the night of 5 November 2007.

Now it may be that the same standards that the CPJ applies to Mignini also apply to the police who questioned Amanda on that evening, namely that they can be accused of crimes (beating a suspect) without the accusers having to provide anything to substantiate the accusation. However, in reality, as you can imagine (and probably as you or I would do), those police officers are suing Amanda’s parents for slander. Alas, in the days (and weeks and years) after Amanda’s arrest, it seems that no complaint of police brutality was ever actually filed with the police.


Above: The Knox-Mellas family members have repeated claims that Amanda was physically abused in her interrogation which started after 11 p.m. on the night of 5 November 2007 and was stopped at 1:45 a.m. They are in their rights to do so, but the OPJ should also recognise that police officers who are the targets of such accusations have the right to respond using the law to defend their honour and reputation. Or is that not so?  (Source of posts: discussion board of the original Steve Huff True Crime Weblog)

In fact, Amanda’s lawyer Luciano Ghirga even denied at one point that she had been poorly treated, as the Perugian blogger informed the world on his site.


[LETTER CONTINUES below in the next post. Click here. Please post any comments under that post.]


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Is The Campaign That Ranted Against Italy For So Long Now Fearing An Italian-American Backlash?

Posted by Peter Quennell


This bizarre Seattle PI blog post suggests that the Knox PR campaign may now fear a major Italian-American backlash.

Really?!

Not exactly surprising, after first stirring up so much anti-Italy hate - remember “third world country” and “keystone cops” and “kangaroo court” and “saving face” and “anti Americanism” and “tabloid journalism” and on and on?

Not to mention “evil Mignini” hoodwinking everyone in Italy all the way up to the Supreme Court with “satanic conspiracies” that work easily in a “catholic country” implying everyone there is too prudish or simply not very bright?

When did they ever say anything about Italy that was actually nice? Or restrain their forces from being over-the-top nasty, as with the venom the white knights STILL direct toward Mr Mignini?

Really GOOD PR people seek to merely shade the truth.

They don’t ever build a campaign around a really big lie, because when the really big lie comes down, it really comes crashing down and ALL is lost. A result worse than if there had been no campaign at all.

Proof?  Read the many hard, angry and incisive comments right under that blog post. And we know that Italian Americans now are showing some sure signs of having had more than enough.

Not exactly a PR man’s dream. 

Added: Important Breaking News

We all already know that the US State Department up to and including Hillary Clinton not only finds the Knox campaign ludicrous and very unhelpful -  they also regard it as xenophobic.

Now the chief of staff of an Italian-American member of the US Congress in Washington DC (not, obviously, David Wu’s chief of staff) has sent us this request.

He would like to get every possible example of the sliming of Italy and the Italian officials on Meredith’s case, including the sliming of Giuliano Mignini.

Please could our readers email or post here below any examples you may know of? We may create a new TJMK page just for them.

This may factor into political races in November, and there may be a political motion in the US Congress to stop this vile anti-Italy campaign dead.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wow! Perugia Shock’s “Frank Sfarzo” Claims Copyright Infringement In This Video

Posted by Peter Quennell



One week ago our poster Machine posted an excellent video by the talented video creator ViaDellaPergola on the strength of the evidence represented by the knife.

In a move perhaps unique in this whole case, where both right and wrong information has flowed freely (some of it perhaps too freely), “Frank Sfarzo” of Perugia Sock (real name Sforza) has now claimed a copyright infringement.  Click on the arrow above for the confirmation.

The YouTube management have removed the video unusually quickly - another first, in our experience, as such claims are usually argued back and forth in a process. 

“Frank Sfarzo” has repeatedly been thrown on the defensive in the past, both for seeking commercial gain from Meredith’s case, and for allowing many seemingly highly libelous comments by anonymous posters.

More to come as we check out the video, and see what the problem actually was.

By the way, in most legal systems copyright can only be claimed by real people with real names. We wonder what name YouTube knows the elusive “Frank” by - and why he has to use a false name.


Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The Vilification Of Prosecutor Mignini Clearly Continues To Misfire

Posted by Peter Quennell


In this recent post we included an amazing statement from Mr Mignini.

A number of sources then confirmed that he and we had it exactly right in that post and that the claims of the American writer of the lurid “Monster Of Florence” are nasty, mischievous, and simply don’t check out.

Sources tell us Mr Mignini may have sharp elbows - but he is also very fair and careful, rarely leaks or does anything just for the publicity, does a great job for Perugia (where he is rather popular), and really respects the victims of crimes and and their families - in this case, Meredith and her family who repeatedly sound like they respect him.

Now La Nazione is reporting that Mr Mignini is again aggressively fighting back against the so-far-fruitless campaign to vilify him. 

He is planning to sue a Joe Cottonwood, seemingly a publicity-hungry carpenter and occasional journalist in California whose knowledge of the case would apparently not even cover a postage stamp. And who seems to feel he has a license to shoot his mouth off slanderously in Italy, regardless of who actually gets hurt.

The publisher of his uninformed take on the case in Il Giornale will apparently also be sued,

From La Nazione:

According to the American writer [Cottonwood] among other things, “perhaps in Italy there is a hatred of American college students who give joy to madness. Amanda will pay not for her guilt or innocence, but because of popular resentment towards rich and superficial Americans. The murder of Meredith Kercher is one of those mirrors that reflect the prejudices of the investigators.”

The last time that the prosecutor had moved for legal action was in January, when the West Seattle Herald described him as “inadequate” and “mentally unstable”. In that case, in a move that many had regarded as completely understandable as well as justified, the prosecutor saw fit to start concrete legal action.

And now the same judge [Mr Mignini] is preparing for a new legal battle after suffering yet another attack from the disparaging “‘stars and stripes”. Mr Mignini and his colleague Manuela Comodi are preparing an indictment for after the conclusion of the trial, which resumes in mid-month this month.

Nice going by the fatuous Joe Cottonwood. For those of a less xenophobic frame of mind here actually is the evidence. A series still far from complete.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Fast Implosion Of Frank’s Perugia-Shock Blog On The Case

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger image]

According to the webtracker Alexa, readers have been departing Perugia-Shock in droves.

Just a couple of months ago, Perugia-Shock was about the 4 millionth site in readership in the world, out of a world total of just over 6 million.

It has since dropped an astounding 1.5 million places, and its three month average is now 5,492,938 in the world. (For comparison, TJMK’s three-month average is 1,953,715 place - and TJMK is less than half as old.)

Many vanity websites run by school-kids in the evenings see bigger numbers than Perugia-Shock. Many bloggers simply give up and go quiet when their numbers tank so abysmally.

Through early last summer, we had tremendous respect for Perugia-Shock, but three main things seem to have gone wrong.

  • It abandoned its high-ground not-for-profit status (TJMK is not-for-profit) and it started featuring money-making advertising on the site; also in other ways it seemed to be becoming a vehicle for the blogger to advance his future, and to make money out of Meredith’s sad death.
  • It moved away from its trademark cool, compassionate and often ironic consideration of the circumstances of the Perugia case; instead it seemed to reflect a growing fascination with one of the defendants, although with the evidence now mounting, that seems to be cooling.
  • It has recently allowed the repeated hijacking of its discussion threads by an off-putting group of slashers and burners, who seem to have little interest in the facts of the case, and much interest in attacks on neutral commentators who believe that Meredith, too, deserves a fair trial.

Professionals in the blog field in New York checked Perugia-Shock out at our request, and they suspect that with the core audience departing so fast, it is already beyond saving. Better to simply fold up the tent, they say, and try to start over based on lessons learned.

The one alternative that might work?  The solution Miss Represented is adopting right now. A closed membership for commenting, and some rules for respectful interaction. Otherwise, Perugia-Shock may soon be down around 6 million.

Right behind two million teeny-boppers.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Mr Mignini, Pehaps Keep A Close Eye On This Person, Too

Posted by Peter Quennell


[Amended] That guy on the far left is said to be Frank. We owe you one, Candace. Thanks for the tip.

An email that came in from a trusted source says Frank’s collaboration on the book deal is believed to be dead.

If that really is the case, it is good news, and that is the end of this story. We’ll keep watching, though.

By the way we dont really go looking for stuff on Frank. It just pours in. Perugians seem really ticked at him.


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Ads By Google… Misreporting By Frank?! Money-Grubbing Commences at Perugia-Shock

Posted by Skeptical Bystander




Money turns Sforza’s head

Sales and ad revenue is really what is driving so much of the very haphazard case reporting.  And not only that of the newspapers. Also ad-driven websites, for example.

Frank Sforza of the ad-driven Perugia-Shock site must have paid close attention when Candace Dempsey’s ad-driven site hosted by Hearst’s Seattle-PI noted the obvious: that Amanda Knox sells newspapers.

Frank’s latest post first describes the most recent case witnesses to emerge. He tells us why they should be discredited, even before they testify. The main reason, it seems, is that Frank is suspicious of them.

And all Frank-watchers know this: they must question everything he tells them to question, and accept all he says as gospel, or face some petulant wrath.

A phony interview

Perhaps not coincidentally, some of the new case witnesses were encouraged to come forward by journalists from one of the local newspapers Frank has somehow got on the wrong side of.

The pièce de résistance in Frank’s blog entry is his “interview” with Amanda Knox ““ a genuine scoop, it seems. Ms Dempsey told her readers it was “actual comments” from Amanda… the first she has seen.

With this claim in mind, I read the post, noting first that Frank said he “sent” questions to Knox in the Capanne jail. By carrier pigeon? By smoke signals? By a birthday cake with a tape recorder inside? He doesn’t specify.

And he presented the results in the form of a verbatim interview…  in broken English!

Seemingly overwhelmingly obvious to any native speaker of English - any except Ms Dempsey, it appears, who claimed this to be “the first [interview] I’ve seen in English, and not through a politician”  in a post on 3 December.

Rather more astute readers immediately asked Frank what on earth was going on.

He gave some of his trademark evasive and irritated replies - and he even wrote at one point that if readers were confused, then that was good.

Slippery “journalism”

Still, he has steadfastly maintained throughout that, in keeping with the blog’s philosophy, “sentences get reported as they are, they don’t get cleaned or improved or corrected or made understandable.”

How can we square that with the circumstances apparently surrounding the interview, as reluctantly conceded by Frank? If anyone out there can reconstruct this process based on what Frank has revealed under duress, we’d appreciate hearing from them.

Frank insists the interview contains (sic) “just the things she said, she didn’t write them, it’s sentences thrown there in the hurry about the end of the visitation. It’s not that we could record, she said them and then, we came out of there and after the second check point we tried to reconstruct the exact words, correct or not. And that’s exactly what she said, for what it may count.”

Wow. If anyone still feels confused, Frank offers this helpful insight: “Obviously I can’t speak about that and I have to confuse details and movements on purpose.”

Confusion is deliberate!

He then has the gall to ask readers to trust that “what she said is what she said,” and asserts that “the words she said were reconstructed right after, mistakes included, since it was real language and I like to report real language.”

So! Is everyone thoroughly confused by now? I hope so, because that apparently really was Frank’s purpose here.

And what about the actual puffball questions, any actual delivery mechanism aside? The strangest one, added to the original post as an afterthought, concerns a vibrator.

Ms Dempsey has claimed, on more than one occasion, as usual sans proof, that many of the journalists covering the case are males with mid-life issues. Does that also apply to Frank? 

Or perhaps it was added because details even remotely related to Amanda’s sex life sell? Did Frank simply decide to stick with what sells?

Perhaps making it all up as he went along?


Friday, November 28, 2008

A Reader Draws A Contrast In Sites Following The Case; Mean Perugia Shock Blog Disappoints

Posted by Peter Quennell





TJMK versus Perugia Shock, compared. Below, a reader’s comment, lifted from yesterday’s post.

It reflects emails from readers who seem frustrated at the Perugia Shock website. Many followers of the case, we included, remain deeply grateful for its excellent and dispassionate early reporting on the case.

Since then, its tone seems less certain. It appears to be frustrated at being held more at arms-length now by some of those really in the know on the case.

Seems a pity. We really still need that earlier kind of on-the-spot reporting.

To the Administrators of this site, and the bloggers here,

I found your website through an article that was published at The Croydon Guardian Newspaper. Ever since then, I’ve been regularly visting this site, reading the highly informative articles, and which have helped me settle my mind on what I think happened the night of 01.11.2007 to the poor victim.

I was always (and continue to be) intrigued by the professionalism, and sound manner in which these articles were written, and the investigation behind them was conducted.

A few days ago, I read something here about a website called Perugia Shock. I thought I’d give it a go (you know, get both sides of the story and hear other voices). I misleadingly believed that that the quality of blogs at the Perugia Shock website would be somewhat equivalent to this website. I was greatly disappointed!

I’ve since made only two blog postings there and been reading what the bloggers have to say. I was truly ‘shocked’ (more than the Perugia Murder itself) by the language, anger, spite and venom that dominated a lot of the bloggers postings there. I have therefore made my third and last posting there and sworn never to visit that site again in risk of wasting my time & breath.

To this effect, I would like to congratulate both the administrators and the bloggers here for their wonderful, calm, professional, polite, and very informative views - what a difference this marks, in comparison to the ‘Perugia Shock’ type of discussions! I am glad I found this website first.

Please continue the excellent work!

Socrates42


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Frank Sforza’s Perugia-Shock Blog: Approach With Caution

Posted by Skeptical Bystander


Frank Sforza called himself Frank Sfarzo for several years online.

Editor’s note: Both Frank Sforza and Perugia Shock are long gone, both forced of the scene for legal reasons. Sforza had losing court caes in Perugia and Seattle. But for years after this post Sforza caused considerable havoc, not least to his own family and to the populations of north-west United States, southwest Canada, and Hawaii. He conned the naive Doug Preston - not exactly a difficult feat - and was mindlessly assisted by Bruce Fischer and Chris Mellas. There are about three dozen posts in his series.

1. Meredith Case Websites

As you probably know, the complex and controversial case of Meredith Kercher is widely posted about on numerous websites in Italy, the UK and the US.

They vary a lot in their objectivity and the quality and timeliness of their information. Some appear to be little more than shills for the defendants and spend a lot of time blowing smoke and trying to brush inconvenient facts under the carpet.

Others are much more objective and really do want to see justice done and, just as importantly,  seen to be done..

The busiest forum on the Meredith Kercher case remains the True Crime Meredith Kercher board hosted as one of his sites (though he usually does not post there) by Steve Huff, a much-admired American crusader for justice.

That board has been busy since last November, in several technical iterations, and it is supported by a large community which has posted some thousands of remarks on it since early in November. (I’m a moderator and poster on that board.)

2. Sforza’s Perugia Shock

One of the several blogs of widely varying quality is Perugia-Shock, which is run by an Italian resident of Perugia named Frank Sforza.

It started out being objective, on-the-ball, amusing, caring for the victim, and widely admired.  But seemingly no longer. Recently it has wandered and the comments below the posts have become more heated.

As many Perugia-Shock readers have noticed, Frank has become quite annoyed with the True Crime board in the last couple of months, and what this suggests about Perugia-Shock is interesting and revealing.

  • Those who post on True Crime board tend to examine, analyze and discuss every piece of information pertaining to this case, and then they decide individually what it is worth. In contrast, Frank brings “scoops” to his public, which he gets from his “sources,” and to which he adds a dash of irony to make his interpretation go down easier. In his comments, he doesn’t seem to appreciate people questioning his authority, his sources or his judgement. And some posters on the True Crime board have been quite vocal and, in most cases, quite astute in their criticism of Frank’s evolving position on the case.

  • One of the criticisms of Frank’s blog on the True Crime board was the temporal (if not causal) relationship between the appearance of the Paypal button for contributions, his proximity to some of the Knox/Mellas family members, and a noticeable change in his focus. I am sure this criticism was noted, although Frank says he doesn’t read any other boards or blogs and gets all the information he needs from his own sources. The Paypal button has now disappeared - although the shift in focus has remained and even intensified.


3. Sforza’s Tilt Toward Knox

Frank’s blog now seems to have become all about Amanda Knox. I would say that two things have pushed him in this direction: Frank’s audience, and Frank’s sources.

  • The seeming role of Amanda Knox in the crime is undoubtedly what has attracted the attention to the case of much of the English-speaking world and of course a focus on Knox results in more website traffic.

  • Frank’s sources don’t seem to be what they used to be. Perhaps he has broken some important trusts. It is clear that at the beginning he was getting his information from the police and perhaps from the prosecution.

And since? Well, first there was Frank’s Biscotti phase - Mr Biscotti is the lead lawyer for Rudy Guede, one of the defendants, who seems to be under siege by the other two defendants. At this time, Frank was quite vocal about Raffaele and Amanda as suspects.

Then at some point, Frank stopped talking about Raffaele. I think it may have been after the Sollecito clan’s “trafic d’influence” activity was disclosed.

Frank’s comments about Biscotti have since turned quite negative. He recently compared Biscotti to Alan Dershowitz, a flamboyant American trial lawyer, and scoffed at Biscotti’s team of young acolytes in Perugia. What I suspect, my personal opinion, is that maybe these people are now spurning his advances - trust is gone, so no scoops from them.

4. Sforza’s Questionable Sources

The strangest turn for me came when Sollecito defense lawyer Giulia Bongiorno made her famous visit to the Kercher/Knox cottage several weeks ago, in which a demonstration was attempted that someone could have come in through flat-mate Filomena’s window.

Just prior to that visit, Frank unveiled a “scoop” about Rudy having a laptop and a cellphone in his possession when he was found in the Milan kindergarten, both stolen from a Perugia law firm by someone who had climbed through a window - just about as high off the ground as Filomena’s.

Given the timing of the Bongiorno visit, the findings that emerged from it, and the content of Frank’s scoop, one has to wonder if the source for Frank’s “scoop” was not the “smiling team” of Sollecito and Knox. (Incidentally the team is not referred to in this way any more—ever since Raffaele stopped being referred to as Daddy’s Boy.)

We can wonder too who gave Frank the Amanda Knox prison diary, and why it was published with the story of an HIV possibility included.

This certainly struck me as odd, since it was just after I myself had been offered a peek at the diary, and had been privately given the HIV story. (Incidentally, when this story was told to me, there was not a hint of anger about the diary being leaked to the press. Only the spin it got seemed cause for concern.) I declined the offer and, considering the source, did not publish the story.

Lo and behold, a photo from the diary and the HIV story were then prominently featured on Frank’s blog a couple days later!

Frank has been referring negatively to the Umbria press. He apparently feels that these papers are not reliable - because they are getting their information from the prosecutor. Or so I gathered from a comment he made on his blog. The book published by four Perugia journalists is worthless, according to Frank, and he is not happy with the True Crime board for translating and dissecting much of it.

The moral of this story? I think you are more than smart enough to work it out for yourselves. If I could offer any advice, it would be to take very lightly Frank’s put-downs of the TC Board. What does he really know about it anyway? According to him, he doesn’t actually read it!

In reality, the posters there seem to have pissed him off by seeking out multiple sources of information and making their own interpretations of it. Keep up the good work!!

5. My Own Relationship With Sforza

I formerly edited many of Frank’s blog posts for him. For those who may have missed it, I am no longer doing this editing. I think my editing was a big help to him, and I didn’t mind doing it, even though I often disagreed with him.

I especially disagreed when he posted about the falsely-accused Patrick Lumumba. Specifically Frank’s post about a money angle; I rarely advised Frank not to post something, but I thought that post reflected a personal vendetta and jealousy, and was unworthy of him.

Frank claimed this post had no bearing to the case whatsoever. So I was surprised when he posted negatively yet again about Patrick Lumumba, and yet again about money. The transcript from the December audience with Prosecutor Mignini was used to harm Patrick, not to help Amanda.

Which shows it’s sometimes possible to harm two birds with one stone…

6. And Now, Breaking News

As if on cue, Frank himself has provided support for my arguments above.

Exhibit one: His entry from yesterday is entitled Short Trial for Rudy, but the photo shows Amanda Knox and the caption reads “no, no handcuffs.”

Exhibit two: In the comments section, the Italian Woman at the table asserts that Frank is the first and only source we have for the verbatim deposition of the Albanian witness who claims to have seen the three suspects together on the night of the murder. In fact, Frank’s own source may have been TGCOM, which published the verbatim.

It was brought to the TC board immediately by Jools, and then was quickly translated and discussed by the TC board””well before Frank posted. In the comments section to Frank’s blog entry, Jools set the record straight and reproduced her original, time-stamped post from the TC board. Kermit followed up with a link to TGCOM. Both of their comments were deleted by a blog administrator.

After numerous deletions in what seemed like one angry gesture, the blog entry was disabled for comments, although someone (Frank?) noted that perhaps some of the comments had been deleted in error. Thinking that hers had been, Jools reposted her clarification under the prior entry. That too was deleted and the entry was then disabled. I can understand why Frank might want to close his blog when he isn’t there to monitor, but I don’t understand why these simple clarifications were deleted.

Is it because both Jools and Kermit indicated Frank’s source (or at least a source that had the information at the same time as or even before he did), or is it because they demonstrated that his “scoop” was not really one at all? Strange doings over there.

This may seem unimportant, but in a case where the press has been maligned for providing inaccurate information, and where certain individuals like Frank claim to be beacons of truth, they need to set the example by, well, being truthful. Or at least correcting their errors. It may be that IW did not know that TGCOM had already published, but once that clarification was provided there was no reason to delete THE TRUTH.

In fact, the posters should have been thanked for setting the record straight. But they weren’t. It is hard to trust a source that is more interested in self-promotion than accuracy. If I am wrong about any of this, I hope someone will correct me.

Exhibit three: Not directly related, but interesting nonetheless. IW claimed that all reporters had kept a respectful distance from the Kercher family at all times and had not asked questions. The entry under which she posted this claim is the same one in which Frank tells us that he asked Stephanie how Amanda Knox and her late sister got along. Before she could answer, according to Frank, her lawyer “shouted her mouth.”

This was later changed to “shut her mouth,” which is not much clearer. I still don’t understand if this means he placed a hand over her mouth, took his fingers and physically closed her lips, told her to zip it or what. In any case, at least one reporter did not keep a respectful distance and even asked Stephanie a question about Amanda Knox and her late sister.




Transposed comments


Skep,

Thanks for clearing up what has happened over at the Perugia Shock Blog.  I was a long time reader over there, and the shift to supporting Amanda Knox is SO transparent, as well as the editing change since you stopped helping him.  Take today’s entry for example.  It’s title is “Rudy Gets the Short Trial”, yet who’s picture appears with the caption “no, no handcuffs”? Amanda Knox!

To me, when you see a comment section on a blog with an inordinate amount of “comment deleted” entries, it’s time to move on, and conclude something is very wrong. That is exactly what I have done.

Tara

Posted by Tara on 09/17/08 at 02:47 PM | #

Signs of a real growth-industry here. Fame and fortune via the “Amanda Knox Was Rairoaded” route.

Slime the defendent. Slime the police. Slime the prosecutors. Slime Guede. Slime Italy.

Resulting in books galore. TV crime-chat programs nightly. A standard figure of outrage on CNN’s Nancy Grace outrage program (a wonder they have not already made it on there). Google ads on their websites by the hundred.

If this cannot be spun into a $250,000 a year income, they are not really trying.

We are The Wall here! It will go no further. A very fine piece up there for starters, Skep.

Posted by Fast Pete on 09/18/08 at 11:28 AM | #


See also the comment below added later by Bettina who had a nasty encounter.