Monday, October 17, 2011

PM Berlusconi Survives Italian Vote Of No Confidence: Did The Perugia Appeal Outcome Help?

Posted by Peter Quennell



Even some opposition MPS’s voted for Mr Berlusconi last Friday.

They consider him the only leader right now that might pull Italy out of the economic soup.  His popularity polling was already down below 30% and his party’s position in the parliament very weak.

Italy and the other so-called PIIGS countries (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain) have all amassed public debt that exceeds what those economies now produce in one year. (So has the United States. Right now, its national debt is around $15 trillion and its annual GDP about 10% below that.)

Most of that Italian debt was racked up under Mr Berlusconi in the past 10 years when his pro-big-biz policies failed to make the economy grow. (In general big biz adds little value and few jobs. Why Europe and the US and Japan are in the messes they are in.)

Below, you can see the current Rome street reaction which is in effect blaming him for running the economy into the ground and for now make everyone pay. They have a point.

What connection might Mr Berlusconi’s predicament have to the outcome in Perugia? Well, for one thing, it was a small but vital victory for him against the Italian judiciary, with whom he is in the midst of a white hot war. It may well have helped him to survive that vote.

From a very good report by Alessandro Speciale.

Recently, the prime minister’s assault on the courts has taken on renewed urgency. A string of scandals allegedly involving Berlusconi began emerging in the spring of 2009, culminating with the case of Moroccan belly-dancer “˜Ruby the Heart-Stealer’ who has taken part in so-called “˜bunga bunga’ parties at Berlusconi’s villa when she was still underage…

In one wiretapped conversation, he was heard asking Valter Lavitola “” a journalist and fixer who took refuge in Bulgaria after Italian police issued an arrest warrant for him “” for a “˜suggestion’ on the appointment of the deputy head of the Guardia di Finanza, Italy’s financial police….

“The country is in a critical condition,” warned Emma Marcegaglia, president of Confindustria, the country’s main business association. She urged the government to act “very quickly” or for it to resign….

Despite the urgent nature of the fiscal crisis, Berlusconi has failed to secure a new central bank governor. The outgoing chief of Banca d’Italia, Mario Draghi, will take over the European Central Bank at the end of October. The natural successor for the job, Draghi’s deputy, Fabrizio Saccomanni, has been vetoed by the government’s coalition partners. A weakened Berlusconi stands impotent to overcome the vetoes.

So his remaining allies in the parliament usefully leap in.

Instead of focusing on the fiscal crisis, his allies in Parliament are fighting on behalf of their leader. They’ve been working to curb wiretapping “” to thwart the embarrassing leaks to the press ““ and to make the statute of limitations even shorter. But his majority is now so fractured that even these projects have not progressed. Instead, the prime minister’s troubles have triggered infighting in his government. Lieutenants and would-be-successors are jostling for the spotlight in the event of his downfall.

In a move described by critics as a desperate attempt to protect his boss, Minister of Justice Francesco Nitto Palma has launched an inquiry on the magistrates investigating Berlusconi in Naples and Bari, to make sure they themselves hadn’t breached the law.

MP Rocco Girlanda petitioned the President for an investigation into the Perugia prosecutors, but he did not even get a reply. (The President is no friend of the PM.) Perugia prosecutors are running this national investigation into bribes that Berlusconi’s allies might have taken, and Perugia prosecutors represent perhaps his biggest threat.

Are we suggesting there was a US-Italian conspiracy to spring Sollecito and Knox at the end of the appeal and conveniently make the Perugia prosecutors look fools?

Nah, we really don’t believe in elaborate conspiracies here. But it is amazing what happens at higher levels with just a few winks and nods.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/17/11 at 07:10 PM in The wider contextsItalian context

Comments

“Nah, we really don’t believe in elaborate conspiracies here”

Why?

Posted by jhansigirl on 10/17/11 at 10:01 PM | #

Hi jhansigirl. Stress should perhaps be on the “elaborate” because conspiracy attempts so universally leak or go haywire. Also I’ve watched a lot of aides around top people and in a sense have been one myself now and then, and a role of such people is to smooth things along without even ever telling the top guy what went down so deniability remains intact.

One theory in Italy is there might have been a wink and a nod from Berlusconi or party aides to some friendlies in Perugia and lo and behold judges and jury were appointed with who knows how many voters for Berlusconi all worrying about him. Hellman was almost flippant about the verdict after the appeal as if he was in on some joke, and as the Italian lawyers on PMF have been discussing he may have consciously mangled the law.

A few winks and nods could have achieved all of that.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/17/11 at 10:16 PM | #

Really think the lawyers on PMF or barking up the wrong tree.

As for the riots the anarchists don’t need an excuse not the first time they did it probably won’t be the last.

PIGS since when did Italy take the place of Iteland? Shouldn’t it be PIIGS?

Posted by Miriam on 10/17/11 at 10:49 PM | #

The claims of those out on the streets downtown in Rome, NYC, etc, are muddled and some offputting or plain wrong, but even the Wall Street Journal comes up with five valid reasons for investors to demonstrate.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203914304576628873340076918.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/18/11 at 01:12 AM | #

No connection between the case and Berlusconi.  One news commentator says Berlusconi may have obtained some advantage from the rioting because it gets his scandals and government woes off the front page, and because the rioters were associated with the leftists.

Posted by Gonzaga on 10/18/11 at 03:02 AM | #

Hi Gonzaga. We didn’t claim a known connection. No-one is ever going to read about it on the front page. That is never how these things work.

It was very fortuitous for him what happened and the article quoted said he came out ahead. Rocco Girlanda had already tried to influence the Perugia prosecutors by intimidation (he sent a petition to the President to have them investigated). Now someone just might have done so by other means.

Keep watching over the next 18 months and we should get some clues. Does the Olympics and earthquake relief investigation wrap up soon and how does it break. The kind of argument Judge Hellman advances in his sentencing report. The eagerness or otherwise of the prosecutors to go forward. The final outcome at Cassation, and whether the President ever does get involved.

My guess is that the Berlusconi party will luck out at the next elections due very soon and the changed political situation will hopefully ensure a quiet, fair, and by-the-law appeal. And I sure hope Mignini is not quite so shrill and Carlo Pacelli isn’t even there.

And yeah, those rioters do lack the soft touch. That too is a little wince-making. And at this point the big choices are out of Mr Berlusconi’s hands.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/18/11 at 04:21 AM | #

It’s hard for me to second-guess the lawyers. Mignini was relentlessly maligned but actually did a decent, caring job. Pacelli reprised his role as the designated attack dog. And why not? It worked last time.

If I had been on the prosecution I would have tried to hammer on the fact that these pieces of evidence were already known to be flawed—there was really nothing new. I would have pointed out that it would be more logical to look at the strongest evidence, and try to find reasonable doubt. But even that probably wouldn’t have worked with this jury because they didn’t believe the Massei report at all.

So what can you do when faced with a immovable jury? Like Pacelli I’d would have just called Knox a bunch of nasty names that she will hopefully not soon forget.

Posted by brmull on 10/18/11 at 05:37 AM | #

HI brmull. Yeah there are those here who would have yelled too! I was concerned at the time about a jury with 5 women lay judges, women juries tend to swing tough either way, and here they rejected the one option offered, murder with evil intent.

I am wondering if Knox will now send the exasperation meter of the white knights off the top of the scale, given she is not likely to reward them in the way they seemed to fantasize about. I saw a comment posted by David Anderson rather haplessly trying to give himself an edge.

On PMF they were discussing the effectiveness of the C&V consultants’ dazzling multimedia display of the findings in their report. Mignini actually used a highly effective multimedia presentation at the tale end of the trial. At minimum he might have responded with that.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/18/11 at 06:09 AM | #

Hi Everyone

This Appeal/ Retrial was not fit for purpose, but it was tailor made for a re invented Amanda with her opening twenty minute cry baby speech ( plenty more where that came from at the end of the trial) which the Jury bought into.

The Juror who was reported as saying “he new she was innocent by her face“, (If true) should be locked up for dereliction of duty.  The only image worth noting was the famous real time one of AK and RS having a kiss and did she look rough and suspicious.

One question if I may -

If Rudy had been a part of this Circus, (and not gone fast track) could he have also escaped Justice?

Many Thanks.

Posted by JHEA on 10/18/11 at 12:48 PM | #

This is my first post here I have been a silent reader for some time now, but like many before me have felt compelled to contribute what I can.

The amount of effort and detail that has gone into the site, the necessary translations which have taken place and lengthy detailed posts is quite astounding.

I hope that one day Meredith’s family will obtain answers to the unsolved questions and that they can find some peace.

Here are my questions, apologies if these have been covered before, and I have over looked them.

1. At what point did AK and RS stop being an item or girl friend, boy friend and who broke it off? 

The point at which this happened would indicate to me the moment when either AK or RS came clean to their legal team on what actually happened and were then advised to distance themselves from the other side. Who wants to be associated with a killer, even if you were in the room, nearby or a helper?

If the point at which they broke it off is known, perhaps it can be time lined against the alterations in the stories told of what happened? This might help to indicate who deviated to where and from what starting point and further indicate who the main perpetrator could have been.

2. The judge’s report states that he felt Meredith was restrained by other parties. He concluded this due to a lack of wounds inflicted on her arms as she tried to protect herself. If other parties were holding her arms and or wrists down, then should there not have been traces of DNA on Meredith’s wrists belonging to those people doing the holding down? Was that ever found?

3. The judge reported that mixed blood belonging to AS and Meredith was found. Were AK and RS ever checked for cuts to their arms, where did they blood from AK come from? I have seen on the site there is a photo showing a graze or mark under the chin, would that have been enough, it doesn’t look like a deep cut more a graze.

4. Was the mop and bucket ever recovered and tested; surely it would have contained some blood traces?

5. Was the washing in the washing machine in RS’s flat ever checked for blood samples. What was the washing?

6. The supermarket owner says he doesn’t know if AK bought something or not although he says he thinks he saw her. Were his till receipts ever checked for purchases around the 07:45 time he quoted?

7. When there was such unanimity in the first trial, how is that the appeal seems so easily to have dismissed any involvement of AK and RS?  The idea that one person could have wielded two knives, held Meredith down and sexually assorted her all at the same time seems to me at least impossible. What was it that skewed the jury’s thinking to forget all of these sorts of facts and set the pair free?

Posted by PaulL on 10/18/11 at 02:17 PM | #

Hi PaulL Like yourself I have been pondering over many of these questions - I don’t have the answers - hopefully others do.
Point 6. This to me is a really important point - why did the owner not notice if anything had been bought. Also, it just doesn’t seem to stack up that Knox after having been so cunning and meticulous with the clean up and moving the body would now do something so silly as going to buy cleaning products in full view of everybody. Was there not also something strange with the owners statement - he only came forward after a long time and after the police had spoken to him.
Re. the clothes in the washing machine - I have often wondered but again can’t seem to get any info. - what clothes were there, mixed or only Meredith’s, what was the stage of the washing.
cycle
Another point that has often baffled me was surely blood must have got onto Knox’s and Sollecito’s clothes - how was this washed off - it seems to be that they were in their bare feet - luminol traces - could they both have been naked?
Yet another point - perhaps the most baffling, is the question of the thrown away mobile phones. Knox apparently made a call to her bank around 10pm - if my understanding is right - but why would anyone try to phone a bank at 10pm - had she some kind of telephone bank system - this is a grey area that I can’t find explained. Were the phones ever checked for prints? Could this not have been another party, who having got hold of the phones, mistakenly or otherwise phoned the bank? Another point of contention is Meredith’s scream at 11pm - this is contested - injustice in perugia claims the distance involved was too great for a scream to have been heard by the woman - what exactly is the distance involved - surely someone has done some research on this. The injustice site also claim that Sollecito’s subsequent denial of Knox having spent the entire night with him came about after Police persuaded him that if he was fast asleep how could he be so sure she was with him - hense his claim that she was gone for a few hours - this is extremely important to know - I can find plenty of references to Knox’s statements - but nothing for Sollecito.
I have read both Massei and Micheli - and have been impressed - have always tended towards Knox and Sollecito being guilty - the evidence seemed just too much - recently I have started to question a few aspects of the case. PaulL brings up some very good points and I hope people who are experts in this case can take the time to reply. Let me say that your site and your passion for Meredith and this case really deserves credit.
Regards and best wishes, Johnny.

Posted by John Forbes on 10/18/11 at 04:41 PM | #

Re. my post above - got the names mixed up - it was Meredith who phoned her bank - not Knox.

Posted by John Forbes on 10/18/11 at 04:51 PM | #

@JHEA

I fully agree with your statement:

The Juror who was reported as saying “he new she was innocent by her face“, (If true) should be locked up for dereliction of duty.  The only image worth noting was the famous real time one of AK and RS having a kiss and did she look rough and suspicious.

I recall seeing the picture of their “realtime kiss” side by side the deadbody of Meredith (it appeared on some local newspaper).  It was so ghastly. 

@PaulL

It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to identify and isolate a few cells from the clothes or the skin.  You use a swab (like one used for cleaning ears!) to pick up cells from the suspected area and if you do that you will only pick up the victims cells.  In the same way, the mop and washing machine would have given “unreliable” results.  However, blood always leaves some stain (microscope and UV light is needed) on clothes and all detergents have masking agents to hide stains.

I am also puzzled about “from where the blood from AK came from”- something really fishy.

I am nevertheless convinced that the killers are “sophisticated” and “well informed” sufficiently well to remove all their traces reasonably well. RG does not fit that class.

I am interested in knowing their surfing history. AK once mentioned that the hard disk of her computer has “burned” - very strange - soon after the crime.

Posted by chami on 10/18/11 at 04:57 PM | #

I was just rereading this story.  Does this sound like someone who was coerced by police into making a false statement?  Even her lawyer says ‘she said something stupid and is now “sticking” to her first story’.  If that doesn’t sound like lying??  And her mother’s reaction too “She said some stupid things” not “She was pushed and forced and hit to make her say something”.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2007/11/12/meredith-murder-flatmate-changes-story-115875-20095546/

Posted by believing on 10/18/11 at 05:08 PM | #

Regarding Sollecitos interview with Kate Mansey (which I am fascinated with)
He states that ‘.....the bathroom was speckled with blood like someone had flicked it around, just little spots’.
I thought that this sounds as if someone had been shaking their hair in a ‘dog’ like fashion to dry their hair.
The least likely person to have done this is Guede who at the time of his arrest he had little or no hair.
If anyone can come up with a better explanation of speckled blood please advise.

Posted by starsdad on 10/18/11 at 05:36 PM | #

However the RS specks description all over I don’t think this matches with what the police found in the bathroom.  It seems to be his interpretation of the scene.  He also told Mansey that he saw the room covered in blood and would never get over the sight but according to what I read he was nowhere near the entrance and was hustled out of the house immediately after they found the body.  So that is verrrry suspicious to me. 

I was just reading on PMF about the mysterious short-circuiting of the computers and from what I understand it was only Knox’s computer which was damaged and not RS’s which is why they saw when Amelia was downloaded etc, and that is was possibly because it was an American computer and they hooked it up using a European electrical outlet? But I don’t think you need any transformer on computers used in different countries.  Very strange that the hard-disk was completely damaged and no data recovered and now wondering when the computer was taken into custody and what access that RS had to it (being a computer IT specialist could he have done something to delete all the hard drive data?)  The two of them were together outside of prison for awhile as indicated by the underwear shopping and eating of a pizza and crashing at RS’s house as described.

Posted by believing on 10/18/11 at 06:33 PM | #

@believing

I do believe he using Kate Mansey to try and ‘fit’ pieces of his alibi together. The whole interview is littered with ‘truths’ and ‘untruths.
“My girlfriend was her flatmate and she was crying and screaming, ‘How could anyone do this?’”
She didn’t, but he knows how people would normally react.

I wonder if he was describing the bathroom prior to cleaning? Was he describing it from memory?

Posted by starsdad on 10/18/11 at 06:56 PM | #

@believing

All laptops use an external brick that feeds DC voltage to the laptop.  If the voltage is incorrect (very very unlikely; all these bricks are universal) then the brick will burn out but nothing will happen to the computer.  Even if the computer hard disk is damaged, there are ways to recover some data.  Here I am very sceptical about any explanation you can give.  Further, the internet service provider can tell what are sites you have visited but this information is usually very limited.  For forensic work, you will not put on the computer (for the fear of overwriting the existing data) at all but take out the hard disk and use another PC and read the contents of the hard disk in ‘read-only’ mode.  You next copy the files to your directory and analyse (mostly the history files and logs) the pattern.  Usually you make an image of the hard disk and use the image (copy) for all the forensic work. I cannot understand where it went wrong but perhaps they have overwritten the hard disk with “junk data” and that will make the hard disk “unusable” but this will clearly point to a “guilty” perception.

Posted by chami on 10/18/11 at 07:25 PM | #

Just to clarify my post above.
Did Sollecito see the bathroom after it had been cleaned and was he describing the bathroom as it had been?

Posted by starsdad on 10/18/11 at 09:31 PM | #

@PaulL & John Forbes, there are many people who can address your questions better than I but I’lldo my best
1. There was an abundance of mixed blood [Meredith & Knox] in the bathroom, it is believed that Knox had a nosebleed, maybe she was punched in the struggle.
2. I believe the washing machine only contained Meredith’s clothes, there is some descrepancy as to whether or not the machine was still running when Filomena got to the house.
3. Regarding the owner not knowing what Knox bought. Don’t forget, he didn’t know what had just happened, this was just an ordinary day for him, he couldn’t possibly scrutinise everyone who come into the shop. It was probably days before he linked her with the event.
4. You ask about checking the phones for prints, I don’t know but if they were wearing gloves there may not have been any prints on them. They were also handled by a number of people, one of them belonged to Filomena [she gave it to Meredith on loan]. So Filomenas prints, Meredith’s, the lady who found them and the POlice all handled the phones during that time.
But in answer to your question I’m sure that they were checked for prints.
5. Blood on RS and AK clothes. There was a very high profile murder case in Ireland in recent years,a man Joe O’Reilly murdered his wife Rachel. But it was the little things that tripped him up…he knew a towel was missing from the airing cupboard [burglary gone wrong was a supposed motive for the murder, he remarked to a friend only two hours after her body was found that there was no evidence of sexual assault [it hadn’t been ruled out at that point] and like RS he fretted that he’d no witness. One of the main questions was why he had no blood on his clothes, it turned out that he stripped down to his underwear to do the murder, then he showered and dressed before leaving his poor wife to choke on her own blood. He got this tip from watchin CSI.

There are a lot of similarities between these two cases the more I think about it.

Posted by Melanie on 10/18/11 at 09:50 PM | #

Paul and John, Here are a few attempts at answers. In general I agree with Melanie but I have a few pet theories of my own:

1. At what point did AK and RS stop being an item or girl friend, boy friend and who broke it off?

Once Sollecito was taken into custody, in his statements and conversations with his dad, expressed a lot of anger toward Knox. I have no reason to believe that animosity was not genuine. The Sollecito defense—until Sollecito’s final statement in the appeal—always left open the possibility that Knox acted alone. I don’t believe the stories that Knox and Sollecito genuinely wrote letters to each other in prison, and I don’t believe their courtroom displays of affection. That was all for the benefit of the jury and the public.

2. The judge’s report states that he felt Meredith was restrained by other parties. He concluded this due to a lack of wounds inflicted on her arms as she tried to protect herself. If other parties were holding her arms and or wrists down, then should there not have been traces of DNA on Meredith’s wrists belonging to those people doing the holding down? Was that ever found?

Guede’s DNA was on Meredith’s left jacket sleeve. I actually agree with IJP that the stabbing occurred fairly quickly. I believe Meredith was held hostage for a considerable period of time just through force of intimidation. I doubt they could have tested her neck for DNA because there was so much blood.

3. The judge reported that mixed blood belonging to AK and Meredith was found. Were AK and RS ever checked for cuts to their arms, where did they blood from AK come from? I have seen on the site there is a photo showing a graze or mark under the chin, would that have been enough, it doesn’t look like a deep cut more a graze.

Judge Massei actually said that there was not enough evidence of “mixed blood”, only Knox’s DNA mixed with Meredith’s blood. I agree. Knox’s DNA was of course on her hands, in her bathroom, and in her bedroom. I think a sponge or washcloth that was used to clean up blood in those areas was carried into Filomena’s room and left the mixed DNA spot. I agree with Massei that Knox’s blood on the faucet looks older and may have nothing to do with the crime.

4. Was the mop and bucket ever recovered and tested; surely it would have contained some blood traces?

The mop and bucket were tested and revealed nothing. I believe this was just a ruse. If you look at the crime scene video, the mop is actually very cheap quality and wouldn’t have been worth hauling across town. What is interesting is that both Sollecito and Knox said she took a bag “for laundry” to the cottage. That is very suspicious to me.

5. Was the washing in the washing machine in RS’s flat ever checked for blood samples. What was the washing?

As I recall washing machines at both places were checked for blood and nothing was found. My suspicion is that the machine at the cottage was used to wash items that were used in the crime but were not thoroughly soaked in blood. For example, towels that the killers used after showering. Knox’s and Meredith’s towels were both found in the machine; Knox said she didn’t put them there. Items that were soaked in blood were left in the room, or destroyed.

6. The supermarket owner says he doesn’t know if AK bought something or not although he says he thinks he saw her. Were his till receipts ever checked for purchases around the 07:45 time he quoted?

Quintaville’s testimony is problematic because he didn’t come forward until a year later. Presumably it was not possible to check till receipts for a specific date and time over a year previously. In any event he said Knox was in the store for only a minute or so, so if she got something it’s unlikely she paid for it. I actually do believe Quintaville’s story because it fits well with the timeline, and Massei found him credible.

7. When there was such unanimity in the first trial, how is that the appeal seems so easily to have dismissed any involvement of AK and RS? The idea that one person could have wielded two knives, held Meredith down and sexually assorted her all at the same time seems to me at least impossible. What was it that skewed the jury’s thinking to forget all of these sorts of facts and set the pair free?

No idea.

A. Another point that has often baffled me was surely blood must have got onto Knox’s and Sollecito’s clothes - how was this washed off - it seems to be that they were in their bare feet - luminol traces - could they both have been naked?

I don’t think they were naked during the murder. What would be the point? I think it is very likely that they were in their underwear or naked during part of the clean up. That’s the best way make sure you don’t get your clothes dirty after all.

B. The question of the thrown away mobile phones. Meredith apparently made a call to her bank around 10pm - if my understanding is right - but why would anyone try to phone a bank at 10pm - had she some kind of telephone bank system - this is a grey area that I can’t find explained. Were the phones ever checked for prints? Could this not have been another party, who having got hold of the phones, mistakenly or otherwise phoned the bank?

My theory is that Meredith called the bank while she was trying to call for help. It was the first number in her phone. I can think of no plausible reason why the killers would play around with one of the victim’s phone after the murder. The phones appeared to have been wiped. There were only partial prints.

C. Meredith’s scream at 11pm - this is contested - injustice in perugia claims the distance involved was too great for a scream to have been heard by the woman - what exactly is the distance involved - surely someone has done some research on this.

How can IJP know that the distance is too great if they didn’t test it. Paul Ciolino had some guys run down the road while he listened from an apartment in the same building as Nara Capezzali and claimed he could barely hear them. That’s hardly conclusive. Her apartment is just 70 meters from the cottage. The area is shaped like an amphitheater. How could she not hear a blood curdling scream? The defense tried to get an independent audiologist’s report. Judge Hellmann didn’t allow it, and given what happened with the C-V report that’s probably a good thing. Ultimately they just took to disparaging her as “that incontinent old lady” and the jury apparently bought it.

D. The injustice site also claim that Sollecito’s subsequent denial of Knox having spent the entire night with him came about after Police persuaded him that if he was fast asleep how could he be so sure she was with him - hense his claim that she was gone for a few hours - this is extremely important to know - I can find plenty of references to Knox’s statements - but nothing for Sollecito.

Here’s Sollecito’s interview with the Daily Mirror from November 3: http://www.mirror.co.uk/sunday-mirror/2007/11/04/italy-murder-details-emerge-98487-20058122/

Here’s his statement to police on November 5: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1568640/Suspect-statements-in-Kercher-murder-case.html

Does he say *anywhere* that he “was fast asleep so how could he be sure”?

Posted by brmull on 10/18/11 at 10:34 PM | #

Makes me wonder what part people like this had
on the outcome on the case?

Was this guy there duing the testing?

http://www.christianpost.com/news/amanda-knox-latest-news-science-proves-her-innocence-says-professor-58433/

http://www.kivitv.com/news/local/131964318.html

Posted by Miriam on 10/18/11 at 11:33 PM | #

http://news.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474980609845

Posted by Miriam on 10/18/11 at 11:36 PM | #

Hi Brmull,

One thing that always intrigued me is why did AK and RS bring that knife from RS apartment to the cottage?
They must have been planning to treathen and/or kill Meredith. What do you think?

Posted by gdeschaetzen on 10/19/11 at 12:03 AM | #

Thanks very much to everybody who replied. One more question though - the interrogation. Does anyone know the exact number of hours that Knox was interrogated for - there seems to be crazy figures flying about. Was an interpreter and lawyer present - I gather they were not for the first interview. Why were the interrogations not recorded? Have Perugia police ever given an explanation? What was the reason for the hard drives on the students computers being destroyed - have the police ever officially explained this?
Many thanks for your time.

Posted by John Forbes on 10/19/11 at 12:28 AM | #

gdeschaetzen,

I don’t think the double DNA knife was used in the murder. If it had been, why would they have kept it while throwing away the other knife.

I think Sollecito gave Knox a flick-knife as a gift and that was the murder weapon. It would be an obvious gift from a knife aficionado. Testing showed Knox had handled one of the knives in Sollecito’s collection, so clearly she was interested.

I think the double DNA knife was used at Sollecito’s apartment during the destruction of evidence. As many people have observed, Knox and Sollecito had such a strange reaction when asked about that knife that it had to be involved somehow.

Laboratory contamination is always a possibility when dealing with such a small amount of DNA, but why on the blade and not the handle?

Posted by brmull on 10/19/11 at 12:42 AM | #

@John Forbes

Everyone goes on about what happened between the police and Knox… illegal interrogation, slaps, food deprivation, lack of legal representation etc. Sollecito has never made any allegations against the police.
I want you to look at what led up to her interview.
When he was first interviewed by the police Sollecito told police that he and Knox had been at a party and then spent the night at his flat with Amanda. This is also the alibi he provides to the Sunday Mirror 24 hours after the murder.
http://www.mirror.co.uk/sunday-mirror/2007/11/04/italy-murder-details-emerge-98487-20058122/
One wonders who the ‘friend’ was meant to be. (one could speculate Guede)
When he could not substantiate that they had attended a party. It appears from later documents that Sollecito explained to the police that he did not think it important that he needed to get his alibi ‘right’. The police seem to have accepted his explanation and asked him to give a truthful account of his activities on the fateful night.  Sollecito now claimed that he was at his apartment throughout the night with Amanda Knox and gave details of what they were doing. Phone calls, computer, what time they went to bed, what time they woke up etc.
Sollecito was asked to return to the police station on 5 November to answer some more questions.
Obviously, they were both very much aware that they were going to be interviewed about alibis before they attended the police station. Sollecito was confronted with telephone records that proved that he and Amanda Knox had lied previously. The police would go on to find that computer records did not match up also.
Game up.
Sollecito implicated Knox. He said he had told Amanda things would not match up. Sollecito claimed that he was at his apartment all evening, and that for part of the evening, Knox was out, 9am to 1pm. Sollecito never made another statement regarding his alibi for the rest of the case, as far as I am aware.
That was when Knox began to get ‘interrogated’

If the police were tough with her…....... don’t blame them!
A brutal, horrific murder of a young beautiful student had occurred on their patch.
They had given them more than enough time to get it ‘right’

Posted by starsdad on 10/19/11 at 12:59 AM | #

John,

Maybe someone here knows the true number of hours. I find it hard to take seriously. Whatever the number the Knox camp is using now, it includes hours that Knox spent on scene with the police or voluntarily at the station waiting for Sollecito or others. Note that Sollecito reportedly asked to be interviewed together with Knox.

It was Sollecito who originally complained about being interrogated for “14 hours”, “without shoes”, etc. Later Knox’s team appropriated that number, until someone apparently decided 14 wasn’t an impressive enough.

Posted by brmull on 10/19/11 at 01:03 AM | #

Thanks for the replies - but the question still remains regarding the number of hours. Why let the Knox camp get away with this? Surely someone must know. The other really important aspect is why were the interrogations not recorded - have the police ever supplied an explanation? and what reason did the police give for the students’s computer hard drives getting destroyed? Not having appropriate explanations for these aspects of the case only adds fuel to the Knox camp.
Many thanks.

Posted by John Forbes on 10/19/11 at 01:35 AM | #

While we’re waiting to see if someone can find out the true number of hours, let’s look at the other stuff:

Why the interrogations were not recorded - Mignini told an Italian newspaper that he wasn’t expecting the two to become suspects, so the room wasn’t set up to record. But later he admitted that the witness interviews with the other two roommates *were* recorded. So it’s pretty obvious the police didn’t want to record the Knox’s and Sollecito’s interviews because it would have been obvious to a court that they were indeed suspects, and their statements would have been inadmissible. Ethical or not, it’s a common police tactic to tell people they are witnesses not suspects so they will continue to cooperate and not lawyer up.

The hard drives - The police said that there was some mix-up with 110/220v power adapters. Only Sollecito’s Macbook Pro was spared. Fortunately this is the computer that Sollecito said he was using the night of the murder. What really happened to computers has never been revealed. Data recovery experts can read almost any hard drive, so all I can come up with is that all parties decided it wasn’t worth pursuing.

Posted by brmull on 10/19/11 at 03:14 AM | #

Miriam,

Hampikian is just one more person trying use the case to promote themselves. I read an interview which said that if it weren’t for him Knox and Sollecito would never have been freed. Gimme a break. He was a volunteer consultant to Knox’s parents.

Posted by brmull on 10/19/11 at 03:26 AM | #

The interrogations were not recorded because of lack of funding.  Remember that both AK and RS were initially questioned as persons of interest, not as suspects, just like all of Meredith’s friends, her boyfriend, and her housemates.  Their interviews were not recorded either, just like anyone else’s in that period.  No one else came forward to report police brutality.

Knox was provided with an interpreter - Anna Donnino.  The interpreter was present before Knox fingered Lumumba.  We know this because Knox said the interpreter suggested she might have been traumatized and unable to remember what happened that night.  I don’t know the exact time when she got a lawyer, but she didn’t need a lawyer from the beginning because she wasn’t a suspect. The British girls didn’t have lawyers either and no one blamed them.

Regarding the number of hours, I don’t know exactly, but Knox had gone with Sollecito to the questura in the evening - before midnight, but I don’t know the exact time.  Mignini came in around 2 or 3 am because she’d changed her story and accused Lumumba.  So she’d been there for 4-5 hours, maybe 6, before she came up with the “gift,” and she wasn’t being questioned that entire time.

The hard drives got fried, not sure how, but they had been cloned first.  So there’s no mystery information missing.

Posted by Vivianna on 10/19/11 at 03:27 AM | #

@Brmull - I remember the police saying that the lack of recording was due to being underfunded at the time.  I’m not sure if it was Mignini who said that.  The source where you read that the interviews with the other two roommates were recorded - did it say if anyone else’s interviews were recorded?

Posted by Vivianna on 10/19/11 at 03:39 AM | #

There was a detailed report in English on PMF that I read, about the computer for AK, but it did not come to any conclusion as to why the hard drive was destroyed/erased.  It stated that proper procedures were followed with the computer or something to that effect. I can’t find the report now but it was a translation of the official one in Italian, on the Perugia Murder File website.  The pro-defense crowd seem to think the police erased/destroyed her hard drive on purpose to get rid of any evidence that she was using it that night at the time of the murder.  It was a strange thing to happen.

That’s why I asked the question too if it could have been possible for AK and RS to erase her hard drive before the police confiscated it, as they were not yet in jail.  But I think the house was already sealed up so that they could not enter, unless her computer was at RS’s apartment?  Which would be possible as I thought her statement was that she checked emails that night (but apparently didn’t send a single one herself - that doesn’t make sense).  I don’t think she would be doing that on RS’s computer.  I never saw this mentioned in the Massei report etc.

Posted by believing on 10/19/11 at 03:43 AM | #

Melanie I did not think it was an abundance of blood but rather some small droplets, in the sink, on the door frame, and in the bidet, so indicating nearly all the rest was cleaned away or was never there.  The pro-defense group say that there was never any AK blood in the apartment, and that it was normal for her DNA and her footprints to be there, as she lived there.  I think they also state that there was no MK blood in the footprint in Filomena’s room.  I can’t find any one place which has the latest information on the mixed-DNA samples as well as the footprints, and it was not discussed again in the appeal as far as I know, so have to go back to information which may be out of date now.  Certainly the judges and jury of the appeal did not seem to place much importance on these pieces of evidence.

Posted by believing on 10/19/11 at 03:59 AM | #

@brmull

From the CNN Mignini interview on the Italian page here, it seems that Amanda went voluntarily to the police station on the evening of 5th of November. Sollecito changed his story to indicate that Amanda was not with him the whole evening (if I recall this happened when he was shown evidence that his story didn’t match computer and phone records).
At this point Mignini was called back to the police department. It seems that before he arrived Amanda made statements to a police officer there, likely as a rebuttal to questions about Sollecito’s change of story. This happened around 1 AM of the 6th (there is a police report of this). Her statements placed her at the scene of the crime, so her interrogation was suspended, since she was now a suspect. Hence they had to get a lawyer.
According to Mignini, Amanda insisted on talking so she made a second declaration at 5:45AM of the 6th, completely of her own volition, without any questions being asked since her lawyer was not present. She did this 2nd statement with Mignini present. These declarations were made in about an hour and translated, and Mignini signed her arrest warrant between 8AM and 9AM.

So while Amanda may have spent the night at the police station, she was not interrogated for 14 hours straight. She was likely interrogated for a few hours regarding Sollecito’s changed story, at which time she changed her story. Then she later repeated those statements of her own accord for another hour or so in the presence of Mignini and a translator.

Mignini says he made very clear to Amanda that Italian law allowed her to speak about the events if she wished, even though she was now a suspect and no longer a mere person of interest, since by her own account, she was at the scene of the crime.

Posted by Marcello on 10/19/11 at 07:46 AM | #

Vivianna,

Here is where Mignini says: “I usually [record] when for example I am in my office. I recorded the declarations of her roommates and of the witnesses.”

http://truejustice.org/ee/documents/perugia/MigniniPaglieri.pdf

Posted by brmull on 10/19/11 at 07:51 AM | #

believing,

The luminol in Filomena’s room was described as a shapeless stain (rather than a footprint) and showed DNA from Meredith and what the defense described as “low copy number” DNA from Amanda. I don’t know if the prosecution agreed.

But even if there was only Meredith’s blood in Filomena’s room, that implies a clean up because Rudy’s footprints go straight out the front door.

Posted by brmull on 10/19/11 at 08:05 AM | #

Marcello—I agree. Let’s try to break it down: The postal police showed up at 1300 on November 2. Knox implicated herself around 0100 on November 6. So there’s 84 hours total. According to Burleigh there was about 15 hours of witness interviews on November 2-3, mostly waiting around for others. Knox was interviewed for a few hours (say four) during the day on November 3, while Sollecito was talking to the Daily Mirror. Knox was not scheduled to be interviewed on November 5, but she went with Sollecito to the police station, and was herself called in for questioning at 11pm—two hours before she incriminated herself.

15+4+2=21 hours spent with the police at their request over 3-1/2 days, equavalient to 6 hours a day. Boo hoo. I worked about twice as many hours during that same period.

Posted by brmull on 10/19/11 at 09:11 AM | #

Oops I forgot November 4: They were at the police station for at least part of the day; they ordered pizza. Maybe we can get this more precise, but it’s not going to add up to more than 30 hours total—most of which was spent waiting around.

Posted by brmull on 10/19/11 at 09:36 AM | #

@brmull I forgot about the pizza ordering - they must’ve been really stressed out! David Anderson was on SKy news minutes after the acquittal, he lambasted the Kerchers and their lawyer for ‘going after’ Knox and he claimed that the Police managed to destroy 4 computers which ‘were full’ of photos of Knox and her friend Meredith.

@believing, re the ‘abundance’ of blood, I can only assume that what was meant was that there was enough for testing. I also remember reading [in more than one place] that there was a belief that Knox was bleeding at some point during the attack. I’ll see if I can find it.

Posted by Melanie on 10/19/11 at 10:55 AM | #

@brmull But what would they have been destructing with that knife then? This item has been used for some purpose because it had been cleaned with bleach… but for what?

If this was not premeditated, they have been very efficient in leaving no “obvious” traces because I can imagine in what panic they must have been if it was a sexual assault gone wrong. In such intense panic you do make “obvious” mistakes.

And what about AK’s lamp found near Meredith bed. Did we ever got an explanation from AK about this?

Posted by gdeschaetzen on 10/19/11 at 02:04 PM | #

This says much about the media coverage of OWS and related events…

Posted by Daoud on 10/19/11 at 03:56 PM | #

@gdeschaetzen

Knox was in the habit of carrying a kitchen knife in her bag.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-499082/Meredith-sex-killing-Foxy-Knoxy-changes-story—again.html

Posted by starsdad on 10/19/11 at 04:54 PM | #

Hi Everyone
        I see that the Knox family have an interesting dilemma. Knox herself is under what amounts to a lock down. She’s going nowhere without someone with her, so therefore how do you keep her news worthy and recoup all the money. My guess is that they will infer culpability (and or guilt) somehow. Look for this to resurrect in the near future. Never mind dissecting the evidence, that’s done. let’s look to the future and consentrate upon getting true justice for Meredith

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 10/19/11 at 04:58 PM | #

As too what I just wrote. Would it be possible to get something on facebook? the louder the squark the more people such as Nancy Grace will take notice.

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 10/19/11 at 05:04 PM | #

@john forbes

In Knox’s email home, written on Nov 4, she says that she was provided with an interpreter within the first hour of questioning on Nov 2 as a witness. There would have been no need for a lawyer at this time. From the email:

“...after sticking around at the housr (sic) for a bit, the police told us to go to the station to give testimony, which i did. i was in a room for six hours straight after that without seeing anyone else, answering questions in italian for the first hour and then they brought in an interpreter and he helped my out with the details that i didnt know the words for.”

Posted by Skeptical Bystander on 10/19/11 at 05:23 PM | #

Incidentally, in the same email Knox states that on the day following the discovery of Meredith, Nov 3, she spent “a good 5 and a half
hour day with the police again”, including a trip to the cottage, and that a good part of this five and a half hour day was spent back at the police station repeating “the answers that i had given
at the house so they could type them up”.

So, on Nov 4, the tally according to Knox is 11 1/2 hours, including time spent waiting around, time spent going to and from the cottage with police, time spent at the cottage with police, and time spent repeating the answers to questions so these answers could be typed up.

Posted by Skeptical Bystander on 10/19/11 at 05:29 PM | #

But the fact that they were able to order pizza [and were in the mood to eat it] would tell me that relations were at least amicable during that time

Posted by Melanie on 10/19/11 at 06:27 PM | #

The more I read about this case the more confused I get about the evidence.  I keep telling myself to forget about it for awhile but it is difficult.  I have a daughter about the same age as MK and I keep thinking, what if something like that happened to her?  It’s so difficult to imagine anyone being that evil and cruel, especially for no reason at all.  I keep wondering if it could be true that RG did it alone, but then I come back to certain things like the bare footprint on the bathmat which cannot be explained, or the partial clean-up but leaving of obvious evidence and it just doesn’t make sense.

I can’t understand why no one from the prosecution refutes the claims of 50 hours of intense interrogation without food or water more strongly, except to think they thought it would all come out during the AK slander trial, which was then postponed (was that Hellman who decided) and therefore that on-going myth turned many people in the USA against the prosecution.  I wonder what will come out in the Nov 15 slander trial now or if that will be postponed or dismissed.  I guess we will find out more answers then.  However everyone pro-defense will just say the police lied so it doesn’t seem like it will be resolved. 

Lumumba sounds like such a nice man too.  I read in one article that he was physically abused by the police when they arrested him but I don’t know if that was a lie??  I haven’t seen any other statements from him as to that situation.  He makes it sound like he was just stuck there in jail waiting to get out.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/sep/21/italy

Posted by believing on 10/19/11 at 06:38 PM | #

@brmull But what would they have been destructing with that knife then? This item has been used for some purpose because it had been cleaned with bleach… but for what?

If this was not premeditated, they have been very efficient in leaving no “obvious” traces because I can imagine in what panic they must have been if it was a sexual assault gone wrong. In such intense panic you do make “obvious” mistakes.

And what about AK’s lamp found near Meredith bed. Did we ever got an explanation from AK about this?

Posted by gdeschaetzen on 10/19/11 at 07:41 PM | #

Okay from Skep, we have additional details on the length of time Knox spent with the police on:

November 2-3: 15 hours (6 hours alone)
November 3: 5-1/2 hours
November 4: ????? hours
November 5-6: 2 hours before implicating herself

believing, Police brutality does exist and I think it’s certainly possible that Lumumba was hit by police when they arrested him. It was an early morning raid. All the police “knew” was that he was their murderer. He had no idea what was going on. I can see how a situation like that could get out of hand. But that’s a far cry from saying that everyone in this case was mistreated.


gdeschaetzen, Whether there was bleach used on the knife is still uncertain. I’ve suspected that Knox could have been cutting off a personalized key tag. That would have tons of Meredith’s DNA and no blood. Knox’s lamp could have been used to look for pieces of broken glass. I’m not sure what other obvious traces should have been left. If Knox held the knife and Sollecito held her head and neck there could be no traces of them at all.

Posted by brmull on 10/19/11 at 11:02 PM | #

Okay from Skep, we have additional details on the length of time Knox spent with the police on:

November 2-3: 15 hours (6 hours alone)
November 3: 5-1/2 hours
November 4: ????? hours
November 5-6: 2 hours before implicating herself

believing, Police brutality does exist and I think it’s certainly possible that Lumumba was hit by police when they arrested him. It was an early morning raid. All the police “knew” was that he was their murderer. He had no idea what was going on. I can see how a situation like that could get out of hand. But that’s a far cry from saying that everyone in this case was mistreated.


gdeschaetzen, Whether there was bleach used on the knife is still uncertain. I’ve suspected that Knox could have been cutting off a personalized key tag. That would have tons of Meredith’s DNA and no blood. Knox’s lamp could have been used to look for pieces of broken glass. I’m not sure what other obvious traces should have been left. If Knox held the knife and Sollecito held her head and neck there could be no traces of them at all.

Posted by brmull on 10/19/11 at 11:02 PM | #

Regarding the lamp, as far as I read I think she just testified that she had no idea how it got there.  And that’s all they could get out of her. 

I haven’t seen any real serious evidence that shows that the large knife was scrubbed with bleach.  How would that be proved?  I didn’t read that it was proven, just that it looked very clean.  I am not very sure it was the murder weapon.  Maybe it wasn’t.  But people who say “OK then they are innocent!”, sorry but how easy would it have been to throw the real knives or knife into the very large ravine or hills around that town.  The view shows a large endless nature park - plenty of space for hiding things.

The phones thrown into the garden then are a mystery and it seems like they were meant to be found in the morning, but for what reason I can’t imagine, except to show proof that AK had called MK to find her? That story with the bomb threat is still so strange, why the same exact house, and the timing at 10pm? 

Another thing I REALLY can’t understand is why the neighbor Nina who heard a terrible scream that night did NOT call the police but was terribly disturbed by it and couldn’t sleep afterwards.  It must be true, why would she make that up. It’s really incredible.  One night we heard a cry for help and we called the police right away, who then found nothing but they went door to door and asked everyone if they had a problem or heard anything.

Endless mysteries still.

Posted by believing on 10/19/11 at 11:10 PM | #

believing,

There is no innocent explanation for how the lamp got on the floor. Meredith had her own bedside table lamp. She would have just unplugged it and moved it to wherever she needed it, not taken Knox’s. The killers either needed two lamps, or Meredith’s lamp wasn’t good enough for what they needed it for.

As I said previously, the murder knife is only found in 25% of fatal stabbings. More likely than not, the knife was used in the crime somehow. A minor possibility is that it was contaminated in the lab and the suspects’ weird explanations mean nothing. This is what a fair juror would conclude, before proceeding to consider the mountain of other evidence linking Knox to the crime.

Regarding Meredith’s phones, I used to think they were left on so her friends wouldn’t become suspicious, or to draw investigators suspicions away from the crime scene, or to prevent Meredith from waking up and calling for help. But the killers weren’t really very savvy about phones. Phone records provide some of the most incriminating evidence against them. So I think Rudy just stole the phones and then thought better of it on his way back home. It’s interesting to note that Rudy claims he ran back to Corso Garibaldi using small streets so he wouldn’t be noticed. He clearly doesn’t want to place himself on the road where the phones were discarded.

Regarding Nara Capezalli, it’s important to note that a scream can be blood-curdling and not necessarily be loud. Otherwise more people would have heard it. I could easily imagine this older woman hearing the scream and being disturbed by it, but not connecting it to the murder, until someone asked her later. Chances are they never would have found Curatolo either if they didn’t find him and ask him what he saw.

Posted by brmull on 10/20/11 at 01:01 AM | #

Believing,
Re. your post - what bomb threat are you talking about - I know nothing about a bomb threat - can you give me some info please.
Also re brmull’s post on the mobile phones - I take it that there is some disagreement with the Massei report re. the phones because I think Massei claims Knox and Sollecito threw away the phones themselves whilst Brmull suggests it was Guede - which I agree is entirely probable - I never could get my head round Massei’s reasoning on the phone issue. Those phones seem to have been dumped carelessly and without thought - pointing to someone like Guede - not Knox or Sollecito.

Posted by John Forbes on 10/20/11 at 03:49 PM | #

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