Sunday, September 22, 2013

Questions For Knox: Ten Hard Questions That Knox Should Be Asked Monday On ITV’s Daybreak

Posted by The Machine





Amanda Knox will be interviewed for the first time in Britain on ITV’s Daybreak programme tomorrow.

No interviewer should unquestioningly accept everything Knox says as the gospel truth. Remember Knox served three years in prison and is labeled a convicted felon for life for malicious lying.

So let’s hope tomorrow’s interview is not yet another whiny mis-statement of the core facts, and not yet more sliming of Italian officials, of which we have just seen so many.

There are many questions on this site which Knox has never ever answered. Some arise from the evidence and some from her dishonest book.

See especially the tough questions here and here and here and here.  With luck the Daybreak hosts will ask Knox all of these tough questions below.

1. Multiple false alibis

You and Raffaele Sollecito gave completely different accounts of where you were, who you were with and what you were doing on the night of the murder. Neither of you have credible alibis despite three attempts each. Sollecito told Kate Mansey from The Sunday Mirror that you and him were at a party.

He told the police that you and him were at his apartment. He then told them that he was home alone and that you weren’t at his apartment from around 9.00pm to about 1.00am. You first told the police that you were at Sollecito’s apartment. After you were informed that he was no longer providing you with an alibi, you repeatedly claimed that you went to the cottage with Diya Lumumba.

You changed your story yet again and claimed that you were at Sollecito’s apartment, but he might have gone out. All the other people who were questioned had one credible alibi that could be verified.

Extract of Sollecito’s witness statement.

“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.

Question 1. Why did you and Raffaele Sollecito repeatedly tell the police and others a pack of lies?

2. False accusation

You falsely claimed that Diya Lumumba killed Meredith in two witness statements and you repeated the false accusation in your handwritten note to the police on 6 November 2007. You served three years in prison for this felony and your appeal to the Supreme Court was denied.

Question 2. Why did you repeatedly accuse Diya Lumumba of murder when you knew full well that he was completely innocent and why didn’t you or your mother retract your accusation when he was in prison?

3. The Double DNA Knife

According to a number of independent forensic experts - Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni, Dr. Renato Biondo, Professor, Giuesppe Novelli, Professor Francesca Torricelli, Luciano Garofano, Elizabeth Johnson and Greg Hampikian - Meredith’s Kercher’s DNA was found on the blade of a knife from Raffaele Sollecito’s kitchen.

He falsely claimed in his prison diary that he had accidentally pricked Meredith’s hand whilst cooking. Dr Stefanoni analysed the traces on the knife six days after last handling Meredith’s DNA. This means that contamination couldn’t have occurred in the laboratory.

Meredith had never been to Sollecito’s apartment, so contamination away from the laboratory was impossible.

Question 3. How do you think Meredith’s DNA got onto the blade of the kitchen knife?

4. The bra clasp

An abundant amount of Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA was found on Meredith’s on the exact part of Meredith bra clasp that was bent out of shape during the attack on her.  His DNA was identified by two separate DNA tests. Of the 17 loci tested in the sample, Sollecito’s profile matched 17 out of 17. Professor Torricelli testified that it was unlikely the clasp was contaminated because there was a significant amount of Sollecito’s DNA on it.

Professor Novelli analysed the series of samples from all 255 items processed and found not a single instance of contamination, and ruled out as implausible that a contaminating agent could have been present just on one single result. David Balding, a Professor of Statistical Genetics at University College London, recently analysed the DNA evidence against Sollecito and concluded it was strong.

Question 4. How do you think Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA ended up on Meredith’s bra clasp?

5. The bloody footprint on the bathmat

According to two imprint experts - Rinaldi and Boemi - the bloody footprint on the blue bathmat in the bathroom matched the characteristics of Sollecito’s foot, but couldn’t possibly belong to Guede. Rudy Guede’s bloody footprints led straight out of Meredith’s room and out of the house which indicates that he didn’t go into the bathroom after Meredith had been stabbed.

See our past posts on this here and here.

Question 5. Who do you think left the bloody footprint on the bathmat?

6. Mixed samples of Amanda Knox’s DNA or blood and Meredith Kercher’s blood

According to the prosecution’s experts, there were five instances of your DNA or blood mixed with Meredith’s blood in three different locations in the cottage. Even your lawyers conceded that your blood had mingled with Meredith’s blood. In other words, Meredith and Amanda Knox were both bleeding at the same time.

Question 6. Why were you bleeding on the night of the murder and is it a coincidence that only your DNA was found mixed with Meredith’s blood?

7. The Luminol Enhanced Footprints

Bare bloody footprints were revealed by Luminol at the cottage. Three of them are compatible with your foot size and one of them is compatible with Raffaele Sollecito’s foot size.

Question 7. What do you think the Luminol was reacting to - Meredith’s blood or some other substance?

8. The staged break-in

There is absolutely no evidence that anyone stood outside Filomena’s window and climbed up the vertical wall on the night of the murder. There were no marks from soil, grass or rubber soles on the wall. The earth of the evening of 1 November 2007 was very wet, so if anybody had climbed the wall, they would have left some marks on it.

The glass on the window sill and on the floor show no signs of being touched after the window was broken, which would have been the case if the intruder had gained entry through the window.

There was not a single biological trace on any of the shards of glass. It would have been very likely that an intruder balancing on the window sill would have suffered some kind of injury or cut because of the shards of glass.

If the window had been broken from the outside, there would have been shards of glass outside, but there wasn’t even one.

Judge Massei and the panel of judges at the Italian Supreme Court specifically mentioned the shards of glass on top of Filomena’s clothes which had been tossed onto the floor in her room and regarded it as proof that the break-in was staged.

Question 8. Who do you think staged the break-in at the cottage?

9. Knowledge of the crime

Umbria Procurator General Galati’s pointed out in his appeal that you knew specific details of the crime that you could have only known if you had been present when Meredith was killed.

According to multiple witnesses at the police station, you said you were the one who had found Meredith’s body, that she was in the wardrobe, that she was covered by the quilt, that a foot was sticking out, that they had cut her throat and that there was blood everywhere. But you weren’t in a position to have seen anything at all when the door was kicked in.

In your witness statement you described Meredith’s scream. Other witnesses have corroborated your claim that there was a loud scream.

Question 9. How did you know so many precise details of the crime?

10. Shower and the “bathmat shuffle”

The Scientific Police found 13 traces of blood in the bathroom that Meredith and you shared. Prosecutor Mignini and Filomena have both expressed their surprise that you showered in a blood-spattered bathroom.

Filomena told Mignini during cross-examination:  “I thought it was odd that she’d had a shower when there was blood all over the place.”

You told Mignini that you used the bathmat to shuffle to your room.

Question 10. Why did you shower in a bathroom that was splattered with blood, and did you notice the visible bloody footprint on the bathmat when you used it to shuffle to your room?

And why so soon after did the police notice that you were stinking?



Lorraine Kelly and Aled Jones the ITV Daybreak hosts who should confront Amanda Knox


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Judge Nencini’s Guidelines Authorize Televising Of The Florence Appeal Live In Real Time

Posted by True North



[Research room in the Palace of Justice which can double as a room for the press]


Acting with the speed and decisiveness for which the Florence Courts are renowned, Judge Nencini issues the court guidelines.

There will be regulated access to the courtroom and observers must be in court by 9:00 am. No phone contacts or tweets from the court to the outside world will be allowed.

A pressroom will be set up, as in Perugia, where most of the reporters preferred to sit so that they could use their computers and phones, and come and go when they wished.

And three fixed TV cameras will provide a broadcast-quality live feed from the court in Italian. This feed will be balanced against the needs of an orderly fair trial, and the feed could be turned off now and then.

In Perugia in 2009 and 2011 there were CCTV cameras in the court but the quality of the feed to the pressroom was low and when reporters captured some of it on videocam the resultant videos were somewhat murky as you can see on some YouTubes of the trial.

The huge new high-tech palace of justice was designed with TV feeds in mind.

Posted by True North on 09/19/13 at 08:28 AM
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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Breaking News From Italy-Based Andrea Vogt On The Aviello And Knox/Sollecito Court Actions

Posted by Peter Quennell



[A Florence courtroom similar in size to courtroom 32 which is assigned for the appeal]


Andrea Vogt kindly provides these details on the Knox/Sollecito appeal, the Aviello trial, and the increasingly desperate Knox and Sollecito PR.

1) Knox And Sollecito Appeal

In the first hearing on September 30, the court will decide on a fixed schedule as well whether or not to accept any defense evidence requests, such as new DNA testing or witness statements. The prosecution has also made two additional requests to the court: 1) request for another forensic review of knife to see if a small third trace that was never tested before can be examined. Experts in the first appeal deemed it low copy number and rejected requests to test it. 2) request to hear testimony from Luciano Aviello.

All our past posts on the Florence appeal can be found here and all our past posts on the DNA can be found here. 

The defenses are said to have filed monsters of requests for wide scope - a virtual retrial with the defenses in prosecution mode - complete with bizarre argumentation against the rulings of Cassation. None of the defense lawyers have ever won a case before Cassation. This sure seems like a losing move as Cassation is insisting on tight focus.

2) Luciano Aviello Trial

At the heart of Aviello’s trial in Florence are likely to be the revelations by inmate Alexander Illicet from Serbia Montenegro, who testified that Aviello had agreed to pin the murder on his brother in exchange for 158,000 Euros – money Aviello desperately needed to pay for a sex change. Aviello himself later took back statements he made on the stand, saying he had been bribed.

The backstory to the potentially very explosive Aviello trial can be found here.  If he cracks under pressure (as expected), he may spill the beans on the Sollecito family, on the defense lawyers Maori and Bongiorno. and on the judges Hellmann and Zanetti,

Potentially all could face prison. No family goes in for bribing of judges and witnesses (along with numerous other dirty tricks) if their little pride-and-joy is truly innocent.

3) Erratic Knox PR

Knox recently was featured in a number of print exclusives to the very U.K. tabloids her family blamed for sensationalizing her case at the outset. She then did her own exclusive video interview in Seattle to the same Italian columnist [used by Sollecito].

Knox, Sollecito, and Oggi are all already being investigated for contempt of court, as explained in all these past posts. For such charges, depending on the seriousness (and serial, seemingly unstoppable false accusations of crimes is pretty serious), prison sentences if found guilty might amount to ten years. That would be on top of any new sentence out of the Florence appeal which this time is likely to be 30 years.

Planet Earth to Amanda Knox: Smart move #1 could be to put aggravators David Marriott and Chris Mellas on the back burnder.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/18/13 at 01:03 PM
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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Excerpts From John Kercher’s Fine Book “Meredith” #1 Including Her First Happy Ventures To Italy

Posted by Hopeful





This is a series we will continue throughout appeal to keep front and center who the real victim is here.

John Kercher in the foreward to his book, “Meredith”, said it had not been an easy book to write, but…“I hope it is a portrait of which she would have been proud.” Mr. Kercher has painted an excellent portrait, not only of “the enchanting, generous, kind person that Meredith really was”, but of a happy and vibrant family who showed Meredith all the joys of living during her 21 years.

Meredith’s love affair with Italy started at age 1 1/2 years old when Arline and John took her to Rimini which is north-east of Perugia on the Adriatic coast. That was the family’s first visit, and they pushed her and Stephanie through the streets in a double stroller (pushchair).

Then when Meredith was 8 years old, they returned to Rimini for another holiday and “she was much more aware of the place…. She was extremely amused at the way the Italian waiters always offered her and Stephanie the menu before the rest of us and treated them like young ladies rather than children. The waiters would often wink at us as they went about this sophisticated routine.”

Meredith was awed by real Italian pizza, “amazed at how the cooks made them in wood-fired ovens and retrieved them with long poles.”

(Page 17) “All of this must have made a big impression on her, because when she entered senior school at the age of 14, she elected to study Italian, and later went on to study the language at Leeds University.” (She also knew French.)

(Page 32) “what a happy child she had been”. She and Stephanie as children would open Christmas presents by the fireplace “in one of the living rooms in our old house in Coulsdon.” Mr. Kercher said “I would pull some ash into the fireplace and draw small footprints with my finger to show that Father Christmas’s boots had landed there as he climbed down the chimney. Meredith and Stephanie would put out a glass of sherry and a mince pie for him—” and even a carrot for the reindeer.

(Page 33) Meredith was born in London at Guy’s Hospital on a freezing cold day. Mr. Kercher driving to the hospital with the older children (ages 9, 7, and 2 at the time) found his car’s radiator frozen and had to abandon it for a train at Purley to take them to the hospital, where he warned the nurses she would be born within 20 minutes of Arline starting labor. He was right. She weighed only 4 lb. 12 oz and he could almost hold her in one hand.

Meredith loved winter “especially when it snowed and she could get her plastic sledge out and whizz down the slope in the garden, or make a snowman. Nor did she mind occasionally walking the mile uphill to school with her mother, beside three-foot snow drifts when it was impossible to drive her there. Or we would go to a large open area in Old Coulsdon called Happy Valley, a park with 1,500 acres of snow that Meredith loved to play in.”

(Snow fell in ethereal tenderness in the Kristian Leontieux music video “Some Say” as Meredith appears in the video.)

Careful to give Meredith a chance at some warm weather birthdays not possible on December 28th, her mom and dad would arrange an event for her in the summer similar to Stephanie’s birthday, so that Meredith could also invite her friends for games in the garden. They also gave Meredith a bit more birthday attention at the New Year, so as a child she wouldn’t feel overlooked due to the Christmas celebrations. What caring parents!

Meredith loved bedtime stories and Mr. Kercher would oblige. He used to make up stories every night for her and Stephanie. “One was about Meredith going to a forest where she would meet a fairy. The fairy would spin several times, then there would be a flash of light and Meredith would be transported with the fairy into an adventure.” (Page 35) Once as he started the story, Meredith’s quick humor surfaced as he asked her what would happen next. “She was sick because she was dizzy!”

“Stephanie’s own story was about being transported on a bird’s back across forests and fields. There was never any jealousy or animosity between them. They would lie there listening and giggling or adding bits to the stories. They really got on well together, and even as they grew older they would share confidences, along with clothes and cosmetics.” (Page 36)

The stories had stopped when Meredith was about 10 years old, but at age 14 she still asked for them. Mr. Kercher was living separately then and he would go back to his flat and write her a story and read it to her over the phone. He made Meredith the central character and she wanted him to do it every day. “Even when I went to Spain for a week, I would write some of it on the beach and then call her from a payphone in the evening and read it to her. Eventually, it became a 60,000-word novel, which I gave to her. It is called “The Strange Case of Miss Carla”.

Mr. Kercher’s “Miss Carla” was based on a sweet elderly neighbor lady who lived next door. Stephanie and Meredith visited her often. They adored her. Her name was Muriel Babot and she would invite them in to do jigsaw puzzles with her or visit them and bring photographs for the girls to look at. Mrs. Babot’s son-in-law Paul was a steam railway enthusiast. He lived a few miles away and he had “transformed his garden” with miniature railway tracks that ran all around it, “with proper signals and lights.

He had several trains powered by steam, and he would sit on the engine and people could sit on the back.” Several times a year he would open it up to the public and invite other enthusiasts to bring their engines to put on his tracks. Mr. Kercher says, “We were always invited, and Stephanie and Meredith loved riding around the garden.” (Page 37)

“In the novel Miss Carla is quite a mystical character, and she travels through time, becoming younger as Meredith becomes older.” (Page 37)

As a child Meredith went to junior school at Keston in Old Couldsdon and then to the Old Palace of John Whitgift School in Croydon. She went on to Leeds University in Yorkshire and became an Erasmus scholar, then brushed up her Italian at Perugia’s University of Foreigners and then enrolled at the University of Perugia.

A two month happy beginning then ended in calamity, but I prefer the chapters in Mr. Kercher’s book that detail all the happy days, such as his taking a 15-year-old Meredith to shop at Selfridge’s on Oxford Street in London and laughing at himself for expecting her shopping spree to take only an hour. She shopped her heart out for four full hours while he finally waited on a chair, and after a respite for lunch, she wanted to return to shop for few more minutes which turned into another hour. It was her day and she loved all the beautiful fashions.

(Page 43) Mr. Kercher recounts another fruitful shopping spree when he took Meredith and Stephanie on the Eurostar to the French town of Lille. Meredith was about 14 and they lunched at a cafe when the girls discovered some clothes shops that sent them into serious retail therapy. They sent dad to the ATM to fund their whirlwind of buying and they all laughed when they had to pile all the coats, skirts, and shopping bags into a supermarket trolley to rush back to catch the Eurostar barely in time to return to England. He says they were all “laughing our heads off”.

Good times, good times! How refreshing to hear of the Kercher family’s good times! John Kercher has done the world a big favor by recounting them for us, and this excerpt is just a tip of the iceberg of Meredith’s many happy moments with a loving family.

The family loved the coast and Meredith did, too. “And as we were only a short drive from Brighton it was a place we visited regularly. Sometimes we had a picnic on the beach but at other times we would go to a restaurant that specialised in fish ‘n’ chips. Then there were the Lanes, a maze of narrow streets like a kasbah, filled with cafes, bistros and antiques shops. She was always fascinated by this place, and I often picture her there.”

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

To help the hard-pressed family there is a link to the Meredith Fund in our left column


Friday, September 13, 2013

Lead Judge Is Now Confirmed And Court Dates Announced For The Florence Appeal

Posted by Peter Quennell



Above: the formidable senior appeal judge Dr Alessandro Nencini who will preside over the appeal.]


September 30; October 4, 23, 24; and November 6, 7, 25, and 26.

These are the dates the Florence appeal court will meet. Corriere and other Italian media sites are confirming these as the dates.

It is confirmed that Judge Alessandro Nencini will preside over the appeal in the Palace of Justice’s Courtroom 32. He is a very senior judge. As the ANSA News Service mentions, Judge Nencini is the President of the Second Chamber of Appeal of the Florence Court.

The new Prosecutor General of Tuscany (Florence’s region) Dr Tindari Baglione, the chief prosecutor of Tuscany’s appeal court, is selecting the prosecutors for the appeal. He arrived in Florence in May of this year. He is said to be formidably unbending. He recently imposed tough sentences on 27 people for the environmental damage caused by illegal work in Mugello on the high speed rail link between Florence and Bologna.

Already appointed as the lead prosecutor is Dr Alessandro Crini. He was among the Florence prosecutors who handled the investigation into the murders by the Monster of Florence and also the mafia massacres of 1993.  In the Monster of Florence case he was a deputy to the leading prosecutor Dr Paolo Canessa, the main prosecutor of the last and final MoF trials.

There are at least seven pieces of bad news for the hotheaded among the Knox-Sollecito faction coming down the pike, some already mentioned in this recent post here..

    1) Prosecutors Paolo Canessa and Alessandro Crimi carried out their MoF investigations in cooperation with Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini of Perugia. We believe it was they who first involved Dr Mignini in the MoF case by explaining the possible MoF connection with the Narducci murder Dr Mignini was investigating. Dr Mignini has no role in this appeal, but they had obvious confidence in him..

    2) Giulia Bongiorno may be leaving the Sollecito team. Sollecito himself has done an immense amount to embarrass her with his defamatory book and narcissistic TV claims. The new lawyer Dr Mastro is said to be a relative of the Sollecito family and has been harshly critical of the Bongiorno defense line of joining Sollecito to Knox at the hip. He would presumably separate Sollecito from Knox, and may throw Knox to the wolves if it helps.

    3) The trial of Luciano Aviello will be running in Florence during the same time as the appeal. Each could explosively impact the other.  We explained the extraordinary implications of this trial for the Knox and Sollecito entourages in this past post also linked to just above.

    4) The trial of Frank Sforza for criminal defamation will start in Florence on 6 November. A prosecutor will bring this case, it is not a simple calunnia case brought by those Sforza abused. We have a new post pending which will explain the many nasty implications for the FOA. Its testimony could also spill over into the Knox-Sollecito appeal.

    5) The appeal outcome is expected to be arrived at by the latest in December. Knox and Sollecito wont have to wait long to hear the probable outcome: guilty as charged. Whether either will appear in the court seems doubtful, but a no-show will do them no good. A coward’s move.

    6) The chief prosecutor in Florence is expected to announce any time now what charges will be brought against Raffaelle Sollecito and his publishers for the many false accusation of crimes and malicious mis-statements of evidence he foolishly included in his book. At least one could incur a substantial prison sentence: Sollecito’s false accusation that the prosecution sought a deal whereby he would turn on Amanda Knox in exchange for lesser charges.

    7) The chief prosecutor in Bergamo north of Milan is expected to announce any time now what charges will be brought against Amanda Knox and her publishers and Oggi for the many false accusation of crimes and malicious mis-statements of evidence she foolishly included in her book. At least one all by itself could incur a prison sentence: Knox’s false accusation that the prosecution forced her in an illegal interrogation into framing Patrick Lumumba.

Those who appear to us realistic about the minefield they face include the defense lawyers (who are rumored to be very despondent) and those who have detached themselves from the pro-Knox forces and quite possibly Curt Knox himself who of late has been quiet for sure.

Those who still maintain a crazed and abusive hard line appear to be only Bruce Fischer and the Mellas family including Chris, Edda, and close relatives. Fischer seems to us unlikely to grow a brain before he is dragged to court, but it is possible that the Mellas family might.  They have taken down all traces of one of the many defaming websites Chris Mellas is known to have put up, the final Perugia Shock.

Also when he overstayed his welcome at their house they threw Frank Sforza out.


[Central Florence at night with Palace Of Justice faintly visible behind at left-center; click to enlarge]


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Translations Of Key Testimony Is Being Added To The Daily TJMK Reports Of The 2009 Trial

Posted by catnip





If you read PMF or TJMK regularly, you will know that our many Italian speakers have posted dozens of translations over the years.

Many were quickies of Italian reports of court or prison doings and the takes of Italian reporters and the public. Perhaps most worthwhile for you to check out are the very meticulous translations of court proceedings and rationales by the painstaking PMF team. 

1) Key court documents

On PMF Clander has posted links to the largest and most important translation efforts with the covering intros and cautions that are vital to understand the difficult work involved and the possible need for small updates.

    1) Judge Massei sentencing report in English: First-level Court - Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox.

    2) Judge Giordano sentencing report in English: Supreme Court - Rudy Guede.

    3) Judge Hellmann sentencing report in English: Second-level Court - Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox.

    4) Dott. Galati appeal to the Supreme Court in English: The Prosecution’s Appeal To The Supreme Court.

    5) The Supreme Court of Cassation of Italy sentencing report in English: Supreme Court vs. AK & RS.

2) Reports from trial court sessions

Now we are adding more translations of the key testimony at the trial in 2009. All trial testimony will be closely examined by the appeal court in Florence. They are being attached to our daily reports posted at the time. You may find these three especially illuminating. Scroll down each post for each translation.

    1) Daniele Moscatelli (scroll down), a police investigator from Rome who helped question Sollecito. Officer Moscastelli said that defendant Raffaele Sollecito looked “confused and nervous” during the questioning and that he was carrying a “long” knife in his pocket.

    2) Fabio Astolfo (scroll down), an English speaking officer who helped question Knox. He also helped with food and drink from the vending machines, and observed Amanda hitting herself while on the way to get her fingerprints taken.

    3) Oreste Volturno a chief inspector who took part in the search of Raffaele’s place; and investigated when and where the bleach found there was purchased, and investigated the 20 euro withdrawal reported on Meredith’s account, and tried to track down Raffaele’s school and police records; and also participated in the seizure of material from the Telenorba TV station after their broadcast had gone to air.

More such translations will follow.

Posted by catnip on 09/11/13 at 10:54 PM
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Monday, September 09, 2013

In English The Vital Supreme Court Rationale For the Hellmann Annulment And Florence Repeat Appeal

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters




On 23 June in his summary for English speakers our main poster Yummi started off as follows:

On June 18. 2013 the Supreme Court of Cassazione issued the official rationale for the sentence of annulment of the Hellmann-Zanetti verdict.

That verdict acquitted Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito on the charge of murder and sexual violence, while finding Knox guilty of the crime of calunnia (obstruction of justice by maliciously placing false accusation against a person you knew was innocent)....

The 74-page motivation report states clearly that they ‘accept the points of the recourse’ from both the Prosecution and the Kercher parties, while they reject the Knox defense recourse.

While you will realize it yourself in reading it, I can say in advance that what the Supreme Court points out in the appeal verdict is a pattern of manifest violation of an unprecedented gravity. All those I know in the law professions have never seen, throughout their professional lives, a Cassazione bashing portraying such a concentration of flaws in one verdict. 

Mostly written by Judge M. S Caprioglio (possibly including parts by Judge Severo Chieffi) the document features a sophisticated Italian language and a formal style.

This report has now been put into English by the same team on PMF that has already done so much to level the playing field which the defense forces have tried so hard to tilt by way of the fact that Italy speaks a different language. 

The translators are the PMF posters and Italian speakers Catnip, Clander, Earthling, Jools, Popper, Skeptical Bystander, The 411, Thoughtful, Tiziano, TomM, and Yummi,

Clander has posted the download link and covering notes here on PMF. Well done. A vital read.


Below at front: some of the judges of the Supreme Court’s elite First Section with Dr Caprioglio at right]

 


Thursday, September 05, 2013

Questions For Knox: Why So Many False Claims In Accounts Of Your Visit To The House?

Posted by James Raper



[Filomena’s shutters on approach above and below NOT half-open as they were when Knox arrived]


Additional to this post and this post on the overwhelming strength of the evidence against Sollecito and Knox.

Amanda Knox was of course lying from the start about her initial visit to the cottage to have a shower and collect a change of clothing, in the account which she gave the police when they turned up, and which she then embellished into a version of Little Red Riding Hood in her e-mail.

Here’s how we can know why. One of her most glaringly untrue claims, one not hard to fathom out and indeed I have no doubt that she had done so herself and regretted it within minutes of recounting her story to the police.

The shutters to Filomena’s window were open upon the arrival of the postal police.  Massei (page 27) -

Said window had two half-closed shutters, and the right-hand shutter (the right with respect to the person looking at it) was slightly more open‛ (page 62, hearing of February 6, 2009, Battistelli’s statements).

Filomena’s window is in fact the most prominent feature of the cottage for anyone walking down the lane to it. Yet, incredibly, if we are to make sense of the rest of her account, we are required to believe that Knox did not notice the shutters .

Whether they were half open or less than half open does not matter. They were open, indicating, as a matter of common sense, that the occupant of the room might be somewhere around.

You would think that anyone (anyone but Knox apparently) apprised of this elementary scrap of information about their own home and flatmates, and then in addition finding that the front door was open and no-one was answering, would have checked the other rooms, and in particular Filomena’s, out of curiosity if not concern, wouldn’t you? Of course you would.

Discovery of the broken window would then, if not before, have been inevitable, but of course in those circumstances no one would have believed that she had then had a shower and blow dried her hair.

Of course it did occur to the police that her story was a load of nonsense, just as it did to Knox and Sollecito.

See at bottom here for the famous picture of Knox and Sollecito together outside the cottage, Knox with her left hand up to her eyes and Sollecito by her side standing with his back to the window, jaws clenched and staring blankly straight ahead.

They knew, and they must have been praying hard that the police were just as stupid as them. When they were not arrested on the spot they must have thought their prayers were answered.







[Shower? Knox with Sollecito several hours later at which point her body odour was reported as immense]


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.


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Surprised? A Desperate Ghirga Urges Amanda Knox To Not Show Up At The Florence Appeal

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above: Knox’s legal team with mom back when; even then it looked like they could use some sleep]


Amanda Knox is urged to stay away. A report from Italy here.

Clearly her lead defense lawyer Ghirga (who normally handles only small-time crime) thinks the presence of Knox and her entourage can only make things worse and now belatedly attempts to get a grip.

Worse?! How can they make things any worse?

Since the end of trial in 2009 Amanda Knox’s entourage and she herself appear to have broken law after law after law. Let us list some of the ways in which they are now foolishly dug in so deep.

The evidence in the case as presented at trial in 2009 remains rock solid to this day (the Massei outcome is the state of play) and if the large knife is retested, it could actually get way worse. Hundreds of open questions remain which Knox has strenuously avoided answering, either on the stand or in her book or on TV. 

In Florence, how does she talk about that?

Every instance where Amanda Knox and any of her entourage alleged without hard proof that Italian police and prosecutors have committed crimes (and there have been literally hundreds of such accusations by Preston, Fischer, on and on, now all captured and preserved) could see any or all of them hauled into court with zero heads-up (ask Sforza).

In Florence, how does she talk about that?

In 2011 Knox was sentenced to three years (served) for the crime of framing Patrick Lumumba. So what does this slow learner do? Turn right around and commit the SAME crime in her nasty book, only this time she makes it worse. This time, she frames the chief prosecutor, in describing in detail a highly illegal interrogation that never took place.

In Florence, how does she talk about that?

There are perhaps 40 felony allegations against police and prosecution in Sollecito’s blood-money book and maybe another 20 in Knox’s own. Each of them will be put on trial separately for those claims and either one of them or both in desperation could take down all the writers, all the agents, all the publishers, all the wild-eyed conspiracists who helped write the books, and all those who made the illegal multi-million dollar deals, including their own two dads.

In Florence, how does she talk about that?

The contempt of court trial of Frank Sforza is about to start. He is desperate to stay out of jail, and all of his alleged felonies since 2008 in contempt of the court could put him there for up to ten years. Consider the list of precisely who in Italy and the US Frank Sforza might take down, to try to give himself something of a break. This list is nothing if not long (see next post).

In Florence, how does she talk about that?

Witness Luciano Aviello is now on trial and as this post explained Aviello could take down all of the defense lawyers (for illegal dealing over the “right” judge), all of the Sollecitos, if they offered bribes, and both of the judges, Hellmann and Zanetti, who presided over the annulled appeal.

In Florence, how does she talk about that?

Nobody with any sense flouts the Supreme Court, or the extremely important, powerful court in Florence, which has sent down some of the toughest perps in the land.

Both courts and both prosecution teams are well-know in Italy for being cold and relentless in their search for the truth. None of the four lead lawyers for Sollecito and Knox has ever won even one case either in Florence or before the Supreme Court.

This might well be a trial balloon, to see how the Florence prosecutors and courts react. An arrest warrant, maybe? As we have seen lately, they act fast, and suddenly at any time.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wildly Successful Foreign TV Network Enters The US Market With An Agenda To Educate Americans

Posted by Peter Quennell

[Above: Dopaminex’s tribute to the Middle East and especially Dubai; music by Tchaikovsky]


Almost always when good people are at loggerheads you can go back in time and find what caused that was a “system problem”.

Middle Easterners were not always at loggerheads with the United States and for that matter the Jews. If you go back into the history of that region you will find that everybody got along really quite well - until around 1920.

Jewish merchants had operated (as Lebanese merchants still do) in all of the big towns of the Arab areas and provided many irreplaceable goods and services. Americans and Europeans as individuals (think Lawrence of Arabia) loved to be in that often kind and hospital, often very beautiful region.

What happened around 1920?

Well, the British and to a lesser extent the French ratted on just about everybody over secret deals they had made throughout the Middle East to build coalitions to help them to win World War I against the Central Powers in that strategic region.

Why? Don’t give them too much of a break, but the “system problem” here was that they were trying to maintain worldwide empires, undoubtedly in part to exploit but also in part as they saw it to build things up and provide stable functioning of economies and judicial and political systems in most-usually tribal societies where the tribes often didnt especially like one another.

If that was their job, then the British and French leaderships argued that it was far from done.

India and what is now Pakistan and Bangladesh in particular thought this was becoming way too stretched out and under Gandhi’s influence took the lead in breaking explosively away from the British - thirty years later, in 1948.

In the Middle East the many clandestine deals the British and French had set up with trusting influential locals were broken with almost all of them, these especially included

  • The Jews, for a homeland (the Balfour Declaration) in absence of which the Holocaust in Europe later proceeded, and then the explosive creation of their own homeland out of Palestine;

  • Egypt, which led to the rise of Nasserism (militarism) and the Moslem Brotherhood which we still see playing out in the streets and on TV and Twitter today;

  • Iraq, which led to the rise of militant Baathism and eventually to the takeover of the political leadership by the general Saddam Hussein

  • The Arabian peninsula, which in the 1920s and 1930s was taken over by the by-then militant Saudis who used the very conservative Wahhabism brand of Islam to prove and spread their legitimacy;

  • Algeria, where the resulting militants who arose into the ascendancy in Algeria eventually took their fight for liberation right to the streets and subways of Paris.

What a mess. And out of this, somehow, the US manages to become the bete noir though it really played no part in creating it.

Oil as a resource helped in some ways, but there was so much of it in some of the countries that it absolutely destabilised local currencies, and the national economic equation, and has led to huge joblessness in the region. 

Meanwhile, as growth slows and the internet spreads, the media networks outside the region have been cutting back on their own foreign reporting and in this case vital windows for Europeans and Americans to see into the region.

But now, as of 4:00 pm yesterday, the very well-funded Middle Eastern news network Al Jazeera is being received by cable in 40 million American homes. Al Jazeera paid half a billion dollars for the fading Al Gore Network “Current” which is chickenfeed money in their terms.

Al Jazeera intends to broadcast a lot of American news and even some sport, and in between, to broadcast what they see as even-handed reports on all things news in the Middle East.

Al Jazeera is a massive operation, much bigger than the BBC, and it has news bureaus throughout the Middle East, Europe, and even the United States (around a dozen).

We confront day-to-day a lot of xenophobia and bigotry (in our case against Italians and Italy).

So it is good to see another maligned region now fighting back to win the hearts and minds of basically good and fair-minded Americans.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 08/21/13 at 09:09 AM
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Monday, August 19, 2013

Foolhardy Knox-Mellases And Candace Dempsey Pile Contempt Of Court Upon Contempt Of Court

Posted by Hopeful



[Candace Dempsey and Frank Sforza who in court soon may disavow her numerous false accusations]


Horrible horrible CNN story tonight on “Crimes of the Century”, in which they featured the Knox case. CNN shredded the case with dozens and dozens of half-truths and outright errors.

They did show some sympathy to Meredith using decent photos of her and some complimentary verbiage from various speakers, but CNN aimed to convince viewers that poor Amanda was persecuted by evil tyrants bound to medieval mindsets. They actually delighted in casting aspersions on Mignini for being an honest and devout Catholic as if that is some horrid slur.

The miserable program which aired at 8:00 pm Central Standard Time her on Sunday night in the U.S. showcased the malevolent faces of Candace Dempsey, Anne Bremner, Nina Burleigh and Dr. Mark Waterbury spewing out garbage and error, and they gave them so much face time on camera, it was awful.

The video footage of Mignini was trash photography with angles and poses meant to make him look bad, but it was an utter fail. His dignity was intact despite the worst they could throw at him. Yet it wasn’t hard to make the pro-Knox forces look ignorant on the show. Dempsey almost sounded mentally afflicted and looked very odd while Anne Bremner couldn’t say much with a straight face nor stop nervously batting her eyelids.

Everyone on the Knox bandwagon looked positively shifty. Thankfully Curt and Edda did not star in this production much, we were spared their serial nonsense. They were shown more as background figures.

Even Amanda was treated rather poorly despite the theme of “poor girl, she’s innocent and has been railroaded”, because they took bits and pieces from her recent TV interview in her sleeveless blue dress and they pulled out her most irrelevant and salacious remarks loosed from any context. They shredded her comments, using such junk as her remark that she was sexually active but not sexually deviant and thet she wasn’t dressed in leather and cracking a whip.

Tawdry stuff, and nothing in context. They used, “I wish I’d stood up to them more” and never showed her squirming and looking discomfited at many questions. No, the truth wasn’t well presented.

They only showed Mr. John Kercher once early in the show in a fleeting shot. Later they used footage of Arline Kercher alone, and had her saying, “We need to know what happened.” It was an absolute debacle of a news program if truth were the aim, and a total assault on Mignini from start to finish. They attacked all the DNA evidence. Attorney Ghirgha was shown briefly and so was Dalla Vedova surrounded by the press pack with microphones at his mouth.

Rudy Guede was again made to take the brunt of the entire murder, and CNN planted the false idea that he had his sentence shortened due to rolling over on Knox or cutting some deal with the prosecution. Courtroom scenes of the first trial in Perugia were abundant, with Sollecito being paraded in with his long hair and white jacket in the early days. Bongiorno was shown hugging him after the acquittal, and Amanda’s crying jag as she was acquitted.

The cameras were fixed on Mignini making him look like a sinister plotter of retribution, it was all so predictably malicious and unfair toward him. A complete abomination instead of accuracy in reporting.

I was appalled at the audacity and insolence of Candace Dempsey when she said Mignini is the kind of man who after finding a lovely British girl on the floor in blood could make up an entire scenario of a sex crime out of his own fantasies. She deviously left out the glaring fact that Meredith’s body was found with physical signs of sexual assault and half-nude. What a con artist she is.

The only piece of truth in the entire episode was a trite one when the male speaker (forgot his name, Darren? Kolinky?) he said Knox was extremely stupid. STUPID. As if we didn’t know that already. This grinning fellow seemed a silly adjunct to the other silly billy goats gruff namely Bremner, Dempsey, Waterbury, Burleigh. I give it a zero. It was a pathetic attempt to cover the Kercher case as one of the “Crimes of the Century”. An epic fail, and nobody fooled but the self-deceived cast of the show.

The program was nauseating to anyone who knows the facts. Nina Burleigh lamented the celebrations in the street at midnight when Knox’s guilty sentence was announced, as they yelled in Italian “American assassin!” Burleigh claimed it was as close as she’d ever get to seeing a mass mob use a scapegoat, this time the dear sweet Amanda, shudder.

Nina Burleigh and the other two women were set up as some kind of ludicrous experts. The more contained yet equally in the wrong Dr. Waterbury said that Meredith’s DNA was not on the knife. It was just one outlandish falsehood after another.

Posted by Hopeful on 08/19/13 at 12:45 AM
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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Contempt Of Court Trial Now Begun Could Decimate The Criminal Enterprise AKA The Defense Campaign

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above: Florence’s Chief Prosecutor Dr Quattrocchi now prosecuting defense witness Aviello]

Stance of the Supreme Court

Criminal enterprise?! Don’t take our word for it. That is what the Italian Supreme Court considers it may be, and is prompting strong measures normally held in reserve for mafia-type assaults on the justice system.

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. 

The “usual suspects” with anti-justice interests

As we explained three months ago in this post the “usual suspects” pretty openly working to take Italian prosecutors and police down a peg or two can be bunched into these 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.

If we look closely - a lot closer than all the UK and US media 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 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? Nina Burleigh? Candace Dempsey? Greg Hampikian? Paul Ciolino? Judy Bachrach? Bruce Fischer? David Anderson? Joel Simon? Donald Trump?

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.

Their reversals in Meredith’s case:

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 Sforza (on the run from the law in the US and Italy); Halkidis and Hampikian (see 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. 

Their reversals in the Monster of Florence case.

Yummi mentioned some 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.

And the stick of dynamite now in a Florence court

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. 


Friday, August 09, 2013

How Greg Hampikian Abuses Two Positions of Trust In Serially Misrepresenting The Hard Evidence

Posted by The Machine




Overview

Greg Hampikian holds two positions of trust: he is a teacher of biology at Boise State University in Idaho (population 1.6 million) and he is the local representative for Idaho of the Innocence Project,

His use or misuse of his Innocence Project mantle via a case way outside his official area in Italy to leverage his prominence is particularly questionable. Few Italians know who he is or can read him and so challenge him, and Italy’s justice system probably allows less false convictions than any other, though he never makes that fact clear.

This post explains how the investigations of local Innocence Project representatives are not always reliable - and how Hampikian for his own benefit serially misrepresents the evidence in Meredith’s case. 

Michael Naughton

The Innocence Project is mostly professionally staffed by cool-headed, competent law and genetics professors who are more interested in promoting truth and justice than their own place in world history. But as another case in the news also shows, it doesn’t always work out that way.

Yesterday’s breaking news shocked many in England. Convicted killer Simon Hall finally admitted that he was indeed guilty of the murder in 2001 of Joan Albert, a pensioner who was savagely stabbed five times.

Simon Hall had been vehemently protesting his innocence for 12 years.  There are some striking similarities between this case and the Meredith Kercher case.

  • The perp’s mother convinced that her child is innocent of murder? Yes.

  • Politicians, legal experts, journalists and members of the public convinced that person convicted of murder is innocent? Yes.

  • Television documentary casting doubt on the conviction? Yes.

  • Criticisms of police investigation and claims there is no DNA evidence and no motive? Yes.

  • Website set up in order to convince the public that the person convicted of murder is actually innocent? Yes.

  • An academic staff member of the Innocence Project leaps on board and starts pontificating before closely looking? Yes.

Simon Hall’s confession has made his most adamant defender Dr. Michael Naughton, the local director of the Innocence Project at Bristol University (image below). look like a real dupe, and may have destroyed his credibility as an expert and a campaigner on wrongful convictions.

Dr. Naughton long campaigned hard for the release of Simon Hall, and called repeatedly for his conviction to be quashed. Simon Hall’s public reversal will set back both the Innocence Project and his own career.



[Above: the hapless Dr. Michael Naughton, made to look a fool by a manipulative murderer]

Greg Hampikian

Greg Hampikian has been widely observed on TV and in print, and in front of his own students and other assemblies, proclaiming that he solved the DNA part of the case and was key to the defenses achieving Knox’s part-acquittal and Sollecito’s acquittal in 2011 (annulled last March).

Hampikian holds two positions of trust: he is a teacher of biology at Boise State University in Idaho (population 1.6 million) and he is the local representative for Idaho of the Innocence Project, which New York law teachers Barry Sheck and Peter Neufeld co-founded to ensure correct outcomes in American DNA-based cases.

Whenever Greg Hampikian speaks about the Meredith Kercher case, his university and his Innocence Project credentials are invariably emphasized. This is presumably to convince a generally ill-informed or wrongly informed public that he is the most credible expert, whose opinion that Amanda Knox is innocent can be trusted completely.

But can Greg Hampikian really be trusted when it comes to the Meredith Kercher case?

The simple answer to this question is no. When you listen to or read Greg Hampikian’s comments about the case in the interviews, it becomes abundantly clear that:

  • He is ignorant of most of the basic facts of the case.

  • He hasn’t read the official court documents in their entirety, but has instead relied on Amanda Knox’s family and supporters for his information without bothering to do any fact-checking.

  • He incessantly downplays or misrepresents the hard evidence against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito and overstates that against Rudy Guede.

  • He doesn’t limit himself to his own narrow area of expertise, but speaks about other aspect of the case and gets basic facts wrong.

  • Like so many in the seedy defense operation he ridicules his counterparts in Italy, most of whom are much better qualified in criminal-case DNA than he is.

Hampikian and Knox

In ignoring most of the evidence against Amanda Knox, he repeatedly pretends there was only ONE hard piece of evidence against her. He claimed in an interview with John Curly on Kiro FM that the ONLY evidence that implicates Amanda Knox is the DNA on the large knife.

You only have to read the Massei report to know that this is not true. For sake of brevity, I’ll summarise just some of the multitude of evidence that Hampikian doesn’t even mention in his media interviews, let alone refute.

1. Amanda Knox’s DNA was found mixed with Meredith’s blood in three places in the bathroom: on the ledge of the basin, on the bidet, and on a box of Q Tips cotton swabs (192).

2. Knox’s DNA and Meredith’s DNA was also found mingled together in a bare bloody footprint revealed by Luminol in the hallway and a mixture of Knox’s DNA and Meredith’s blood was also found in Filomena’s room (380).

3. Three bare bloody footprints were revealed by Luminol in the hallway and one in Amanda Knox’s room were attributed to Knox (247).

4. Hampikian doesn’t say anything about Amanda Knox’s false and malicious accusation against Diya Lumumba which Massei concluded was done to lead investigators down the wrong track (389).

5. Hampikian ignores the evidence that shows that the break-in at the cottage was staged such as the corroborative eyewitness testimony that stated there were shards of glass on top of clothes and objects on Filomena’s room (53) and the fact that Rudy Guede’s bloody shoeprints led straight out of Meredith’s room and out of the cottage (44) which indicates that he didn’t stage the break-in in Filomena’s room or go into the blood-spattered bathroom after Meredith had been stabbed.

6. Hampikian doesn’t address Amanda Knox’s numerous lies never mind provide a plausible innocent explanation for them.

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). Hampikian doesn’t explain why Amanda Knox gave multiple conflicting alibis.

7. Hampikian has said nothing about the Umbria Procurator General Galati’s observation that Knox knew specific details of the crime that she could have only known if he had been present when Meredith was killed. I suspect Greg Hampikian is blissfully ignorant of Galati’s appeal.

  • According to multiple witnesses at the police station, Knox said she was the one who had found Meredith’s body, that she was in the wardrobe, that she was covered by the quilt, that a foot was sticking out, that they had cut her throat and that there was blood everywhere. Knox wasn’t in a position to have seen anything when the door was kicked in.

  • Dr Galati pointed out in his appeal that Knox described the spot where Meredith was murdered and described the state of the body, the room and the injury to Meredith’s throat. He concluded that Knox knew everything because she was in the room at the time of the murder and when Meredith was left in the condition in which she was discovered. The judges at the Italian Supreme Court who annulled the acquittals also noted that Knox had known these details and that Judge Hellmann had ignored these clues.



[Above: Barry Sheck and Peter Neufeld, who co-founded and manage the Innocence Project]

Hampikian and Sollecito

Greg Hampikian also ignores the other key pieces of evidence against Raffaele Sollecito.  In an interview that was posted on the KPLU 88 website Hampikian made the astonishing claim that none of the evidence collected from the crime scene belonged to either Knox or Sollecito:

All of the evidence taken from the crime scene belonged to either Meredith Kercher or this guy Rudy Guide (sic). There’s no reason to invoke (sic) these other two people,” Hampikian said.

Really?! This bizarre claim was made even though Hampikian essentially conceded that Sollecito’s DNA was on Meredith’s bra clasp in an open letter he signed along with a number of other scientists:

DNA testing of this item using the Identifiler kit showed a mixture of DNA, with the majority of DNA consistent with that of the victim. Raffaele Sollecito could not be excluded as a source of a minor component of DNA with peaks of approximately 200 rfu. Y-STR testing confirmed that the male haplotype detected was consistent with the DNA of Raffaele Sollecito.

Hampikian goes on to claim that the bra clasp was contaminated, without offering any scenario or proof of this. He ignores all the other evidence against Sollecito. Again for the sake of brevity, I will briefly outline some of the key pieces of this evidence.

1. Two bloody footprints were attributed to Raffaele Sollecito. One of them was revealed by Luminol in the hallway and the other was on the blue bathmat in the bathroom. Andrea Vogt explained how detailed the analysis of the footprint was in a report for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

All the elements are compatible with Mr. Sollecito’s foot,” Rinaldi said, pointing with a red laser to a millimeter-by-millimeter analysis of Sollecito’s footprint projected onto a big-screen in the courtroom. He used similar methods to exclude that the footprint on the bath mat could possibly be Guede’s or Knox’s.

“Those bare footprints cannot be mine,” said Sollecito in a spontaneous statement…. But the next witness, another print expert, again confirmed Rinaldi’s testimony, that the print, which only shows the top half of the foot, matches the precise characteristics of Sollecito’s foot.

2. Computer and telephone records provide irrefutable proof that Sollecito lied repeatedly to the police about what he was doing on 1 and 2 November 2007: he didn’t speak to his father at 11.00pm; he wasn’t surfing the Internet from 11.00am to 1.00am and he didn’t sleep until around 10.00am because he played music on his computer from approximately 5.30am for half an hour and he used his mobile at about 6.00am.

3. Sollecito gave at least three completely different alibis which all turned out to be false. He even admitted in his witness statement that he had lied to the police. Hampikian has never addressed Sollecito’s multiple false alibis and numerous lies.

Hampikian and Guede

Greg Hampikian exaggerates the evidence against Rudy Guede

1. Greg Hampikian told an audience of about 200 at Boise State University that Rudy Guede’s DNA was all over the victim:  “You had one guy whose DNA was all over the victim.”

This is a common FOA myth which has been repeated by journalists in the media ad nauseam. If Greg Hampikian had bothered to read the official court reports such as the Micheli report and the Massei report, he would have known that there was only one sample of Guede’s DNA on Meredith’s body.

You would expect a scientist to be give precise factual statements, not vague, untrue comments. Listen to him closely and he resembles a dishonest second-hand car salesman who relies on hyperbole and rhetoric with these comments rather than an objective scientist. Hampikian’s intention in this instance was clearly to persuade and not inform.

2. Greg Hampikian makes unsubstantiated claims about Rudy Guede’s criminal history

In his interview with Joey Ortega Greg Hampikian claimed that Rudy Guede “had committed crimes before”. He didn’t specify what these crimes were let alone support his opinion that Guede had committed any crimes before with any proof i.e. specifically refer to any criminal convictions.

The reason why he didn’t refer to any specific criminal convictions is that Rudy Guede didn’t even have any convictions at the time of the murder. It would have been more accurate for him to have said that some people suspect Guede has committed crimes before and give some specific examples.

3. Hampikian seems intent on portraying Guede as a hardened criminal. He falsely claimed in a number of interviews (see here and here) that Guede was already in the criminal DNA database at the time of the murder.

According to Barbie Nadeau, Rudy Guede was identified by fingerprints found in Meredith’s room. The police had to go to his apartment to take DNA samples from a hairbrush. Within a few days, that DNA was matched to the DNA found at the cottage (Angel Face, page105, Kindle Edition).



[Above: Greg Hampikian with Knox-Mellas family member and enabler - shown getting his marching orders?]

Hampikian and Italian experts

Hampikian incessantly tries to discredit the police investigation. In this he doesn’t limit himself to his own area of expertise - biology - but speaks out about other aspects about the case and gets basic facts wrong.

1. For example, he falsely claimed in an interview with CNN that the authorities didn’t like the way Amanda Knox behaved and that’s why they wanted to investigate her, Sollecito and Lumumba:

They didn’t like the way Amanda behaved, whatever that means, and so they wanted to investigate her and Raffaele and her boss.

The real reasons why Knox and Sollecito officially became suspects and were arrested actually had nothing to do with Amanda Knox’s odd behaviour. On 5 November 2007, Sollecito admitted in his witness statement that he had lied to the police, and he stated that Amanda Knox wasn’t at his apartment on the night of the murder. He was arrested and taken into custody.

After Knox was informed that Sollecito was no longer providing her with an alibi, she repeatedly stated in her witness statements that she was at the cottage when Meredith was killed. She too became a suspect and was arrested. Hampikian has completely ignored these crucial details.

2. Hampikian regurgitates another common FOA myth with his claim that the authorities weren’t able to say why they took Sollecito’s kitchen knife from his apartment. In Boise Weekly: “They aren’t able to say why they took that (knife).”

The usual FOA claim is that the knife was randomly selected. Hampikian has clearly relied on Amanda Knox’s supporters for this misinformation and not on the testimony of the person who actually selected the knife - Armando Finzi.

Mr Finzi testified in court that he chose the knife because it was the only one compatible with the wound as it had been described to him.

“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

3. Hampikian has never proved that there was any contamination.

As I’ve already pointed out in my previous post, the Italian Supreme Court has explained how DNA evidence should be assessed in court i.e. contamination must be proven with certainty not supposition.

Greg Hampikian has never described the specific place and time where contamination could have plausibly occurred. It’s not good enough to claim that it was possible or probable. 

Dr Galati made the following common sense observation in his appeal:

“It is evident that the “non-exclusion” of the occurrence of a certain phenomenon is not equivalent to affirming its occurrence, nor even that the probability that it did occur.” (57).

He goes on to explain that unless there is proof of contamination of the knife and bra clasp, you can’t simply claim there was in order to nullify this evidence:

...if one is not able to [67] affirm where, how and when they would have happened, they cannot enter into a logical-juridical reasoning aimed at nullifying elements already acquired, above all if scientific in nature.” (57).

It doesn’t seem to have ever crossed Greg Hampikian’s mind that the bra clasp and knife really might not have been contaminated.

Final Thoughts

Greg Hampikian is in a privileged position of trust because he is often interviewed about the case in the media and gives presentations about the case at academic institutions. His impressive credentials mean that he is trusted by many members of the general public and by people in the media. However, he has abused this trust by not bothering to get acquainted with the details of the case, getting basics facts wrong and completely misrepresenting the evidence against Knox, Sollecito and Guede.

I hope Simon Hall’s confession will make Hampikian realise that sometimes the truth isn’t always what you want it to be and Innocence Project experts on wrongful convictions can be duped and get it wrong.

Perhaps the next time Hampikian is interviewed about the case he’ll avoid hyperbole and rhetoric and just stick to the facts and his own area of expertise. But I wouldn’t count on it.

Posted by The Machine on 08/09/13 at 05:18 PM
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Monday, August 05, 2013

A New DNA Analysis Strongly Implicating Sollecito Seems to Have The Defense Forces Extremely Rattled

Posted by The Machine


F
[Above: DNA professional Professor David Balding; at bottom, DNA amateurs Barras and Halkides]


The Supreme Court has already shown strong disdain for the myriad dirty tricks of the defense forces, and legal action is building against them (see our post next week).

That the defense forces in this context attempt to put out even more misleading information seems a sure sign that their backs are to the wall, and that they will risk anything to again tilt the playing field. 

Colin Barras

“Software says Amanda Knox’s DNA wasn’t at crime scene”  This highly misleading header appeared above an article by Colin Barras on the New Scientist website last month.

It should be pointed out that Colin Barras isn’t a DNA expert. He has never been involved in a forensic investigation. He has never provided expert testimony in a court case. He is simply a freelance British science writer with degrees in geology, palaeobiology and palaentology - the palaentology of Jurassic sea urchins.

Barras explains in his article that Professor David Balding, a Professor of Statistical Genetics at University College London, has developed new software for interpreting Low Template DNA evidence.

This is true. However, Barras then goes on to make the following claim:

Using the software on data from Knox’s trial suggests that it was very unlikely that her DNA was at the crime scene.

In fact Professor Balding and his software suggested nothing of the sort. Professor Balding was referring specifically to an incomplete DNA profile on Meredith Kercher’s bra clasp which has never been at much issue.

He did not refer to all the other DNA evidence that was collected at the crime scene and presented as evidence in court.

It’s important to clarify what this crime scene actually is, because the defense forces of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito constantly move the goalposts in relation to this case depending on who they are talking about.

When they talk about the evidence against Knox and Sollecito, their version of the crime scene is strictly limited to Meredith’s room. When they discuss the evidence against Guede, their version of the crime scene includes other rooms in the cottage i.e. the other bathroom and the hallway. And when they discuss the collection of the DNA evidence, their version of the crime scene suddenly includes the flat downstairs, even though no crime was committed there.

According to Wikipedia “A crime scene is a location where a crime took place (or another location where evidence of the crime may be found), and comprises the area from which most of the physical evidence is retrieved by law enforcement personnel, crime scene investigators (CSIs) or in rare circumstances, forensic scientists.”

The Scientific Police from Rome and the Forensic Police from Perugia clearly regarded most of the cottage as a crime scene. The Forensic Police from Perugia catalogued potential evidence by placing letters and numbers in different rooms in the cottage. (The Massei report, p200).

The Scientific Police then collected DNA and forensic evidence from Meredith’s room, Amanda Knox’s room, the hallway, the kitchen, the blood-spattered bathroom, the other bathroom which was used by Filomena and Laura and Filomena’s room where the break-in was allegedly staged. That’s a total of seven rooms.

And the Scientific Police didn’t actually claim at the trial that the incomplete profile on the bra clasp belonged to Amanda Knox. It was Sollecito’s forensic expert Professor Vinci who claimed that Knox’s DNA was on Meredith’s bra. His findings were presented in court at Rudy Guede’s fast-track trial in 2008.

So Colin Barras has used a straw-man argument. He has completely ignored the six pieces of DNA evidence that place Amanda Knox at the crime scene on the night of the murder.

According to the prosecution’s experts, Amanda Knox’s blood was found mingled with Meredith’s blood in three places in the bathroom: on the ledge of the basin, on the bidet, and on a box of Q Tips cotton swabs.

Knox’s DNA and Meredith’s DNA was also found mixed together in a bare bloody footprint which was revealed by Luminol in the hallway and a mixture of Knox’s DNA and Meredith’s blood was also found on the floor in Filomena’s room.

Amanda Knox’s DNA was found on the handle of Sollecito’s kitchen knife and a number of forensic experts - Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni, Dr. Renato Biondo, Professor Giuesppe Novelli, Professor Francesca Torricelli, Luciano Garofano, Greg Hampikian and Elizabeth Johnson - have all confirmed that Meredith’s DNA was on the blade.

Dr Stefanoni analysed the traces on the knife six days after last handling Meredith’s DNA. This means that contamination couldn’t have occurred in the laboratory. Meredith had never been to Sollecito’s apartment, so contamination away from the laboratory was impossible.

The knife is still in evidence and remains compelling evidence against Knox and Sollecito.

Ominously for Knox and Sollecito, the Supreme Court explained how DNA evidence should be assessed in court i.e. contamination must be proven with certainty not supposition.

The burden of proof is on the person who asserts contamination, not the person who denies it.

In other words, if the defence lawyers claim the DNA evidence was contaminated, they must describe the specific place and time where it could have plausibly occurred.

Nobody has ever proved that the bra clasp and knife evidence were contaminated and it’s difficult to see how the defence lawyers’s experts are going to do this at the new appeal.

Chris Halkides

Chris Halkides is one of Amanda Knox’s most effusive supporters. He has pontificated extensively about the case on his blog View from Wilimington and on other Internet websites.

On 30 July, he was finally prompted to post an interview with Professor Balding done some months previously. I suspect Halkides had been very keen to interview Professor Balding after reading Colin Barras’ article on the New Scientist website; but was holding back on posting it because it went against his own claims.

Indeed,  his interview has turned out to be quite a slap in the face for the Friends of Amanda and Colin Barras, because Professor Balding categorically described the DNA evidence against Sollecito to Halkidis as “strong”.

It’s worth summarising Professor Balding’s impressive academic record which for this case is topnotch, perhaps the best .

He is currently the Chair of Statistical Genetics at University College in London. He has a first-class honours degree and a PhD in Mathematics. And he has written many journal articles and co-authored a number of books on a range of topics.

This is apparently the whole of Chris Halkides’ interview with Professor Balding:

TUESDAY, JULY 30, 2013

An interview with David Balding

Part 36 in the Knox/Sollecito case

Professor David Balding recently published an analysis of the bra clasp DNA.  It may be helpful to explain some terms found in this article.  John Butler (Fundamentals of Forensic DNA Typing) defines the likelihood ratio (LR) as “The ratio of the probabilities of the same event under different hypotheses, and he explains that the prosecution’s hypothesis is usually the numerator, and the defense’s hypothesis is usually the denominator.  A ban is a unit of expressing the weight of evidence (WoE).  This scale is logarithmic; a likelihood ratio of three bans is equal to one thousand.  Some months ago Dr. Balding was kind enough to answer some of my questions about this work.

Does Raffaele Sollecito¹s DNA fall into the category of low template DNA, and if so, should two separate amplifications have been run?

There’s no strict definition of “low-template” but broadly yes the peaks associated with Sollecito are low (but not those associated with Kercher, they are high).  Conti-Vecchiotti discuss a threshold of 50 rfu below which a peak should not be relied on; in the UK, that threshold was used in the past but nowadays as techniques have improved the threshold is often lower, 25 or 30. 

However that doesn’t matter here as all the peaks associated with Sollecito are well above 50: there is a 65, a 70 and a 98, all the 26 other peaks are above 100.  So it is not extremely low template - many low-template cases are successfully prosecuted in the UK even when some peaks fall below the threshold and so are discounted.  In this case all the peaks associated with Sollecito seem clear and distinct so I think there can be no concern about the quality of the result as far as it concerns him or Kercher.

Replication is generally a good thing and is nowadays done in most cases in my experience, but not all - one problem is that replication splits the sample and so can increase the chance of not getting a usable result.  But although replication is desirable it is not essential.  (In a sense there already is replication, because each of the 15 loci is an independent test.) 

This is all a matter of weight of evidence, which Conti-Vecchiotti paid no attention to: if you measure the weight of evidence properly, that accounts for the extra assurance that comes from replication and gives a stronger result (or conversely gives a weaker result if there is not replication).  But because Sollecito is fully represented in the stain at 15 loci (we still only use 10 in the UK, so 15 is a lot), the evidence against him is strong even allowing for the additional uncertainty due to non-replication.

Are there contributors other than Raffaele Sollecito and Meredith Kercher to the autosomal profiles?  If so, how does the presence of this additional DNA affect the bra clasp as evidence?

Yes, Conti-Vecchiotti identified a further 12 above-threshold peaks at alleles that could not have come from Sollecito or Kercher.  They correctly criticised the scientific police for ignoring these: many do appear to be stutter peaks which are usually ignored, but 4 are not and definitely indicate DNA from another individual.  The extra peaks are all low, so the extra individuals contributed very little DNA.  That kind of extraneous DNA is routine in low-template work: our environment is covered with DNA from breath and touch, including a lot of fragmentary DNA from degraded cells that can show up in low-template analyses. 

There is virtually no crime sample that doesn’t have some environmental DNA on it, from individuals not directly involved in the crime.  This does create additional uncertainty in the analysis because of the extra ambiguity about the true profile of the contributor of interest, but as long as it is correctly allowed for in the analysis there is no problem - it is completely routine.

Are there contributors to the Y-STR profile other than Raffaele Sollecito?  If so, how does the presence of this DNA affect our interpretation of the bra clasp as evidence?

I haven’t looked closely at the Y evidence - there seems no need for it because the autosomal evidence is overwhelming for the presence of DNA from Sollecito.  But from a look at Conti-Vecchiotti, it seems to back up the conclusion from the autosomal profiles: Sollecito’s alleles are all represented and these generate the highest peaks, but there are some low peaks not attributable to him; so at least one of the additional contributors of low-level DNA to the sample was male.

The bra clasp was collected about 47 days after the murder, and it was found in a different location from where it was initially observed.  In the interim many people entered the cottage and items from her room were removed.  Are these concerns sufficient for the clasp to be excluded as evidence?

The only worry would be if somehow DNA from Sollecito was brought into the room and deposited on item 165B.  I don’t know enough about what happened to say if that was likely but I’d guess that people walking in and out of the room etc would be unlikely to do that.

The clasp was collected with gloves that were not clean, not with disposable tweezers (videos here and here).  The glove was handled by more than one person.  Are these concerns sufficient for the clasp to be excluded as evidence? If not, should the clasp be given less weight as evidence because of them?

Same comment - the only concern is if any of this could have transferred DNA from Sollecito onto item 165B.

Would you care to comment on the storage of the clasp after the forensic police tested it?

I know nothing about it.

Did you analyze the electronic data files?  Did you examine the laboratory¹s own protocols and machine logs?

I have only seen the epgs for the autosomal DNA profiles of 165B.  There is an unclear version of them in the Conti-Vecchiotti report, but Prof Vecchiotti kindly provided me with a clean set.

Did you examine the negative controls?

No

Fellow main poster Stilicho highlighted the most important conclusions from this interview on the PMF Forum where the quality of the DNA discussion is very informed.

The interview contains a few things that have been vigorously denied by the FOA:

The 50 RFU level is not sacred or inviolable.

It is improbable that Sollecito’s DNA got there by secondary transfer or by contamination.

The likelihood that the DNA on the bra clasp is Sollecito’s DNA is “overwhelming”.

...the interview doesn’t contain anything not already known to both sides but it contains several key elements that are not accepted by both sides.

Chris Halkides asked two-part leading questions and didn’t get the answers that would be needed to continue to falsely assert that Sollecito’s DNA is not abundant on the clasp or that, if it was there, it likely got there by some other route.

All the other inferences about environmental contamination are irrelevant to Balding’s main point: it is Sollecito’s DNA on that clasp and it didn’t get there by accident.

Final Thoughts

Some credit must go to Chris Halkides for finally posting the interview with Professor Balding even though it categorically said the DNA evidence against Sollecito is strong. I’m not sure he’ll be invited to any FOA events in the future.

Shame though on Colin Barras, for writing such a misleading article, and for using a straw man argument to highly misrepresent the DNA evidence against Amanda Knox which was then deliberately fed to the Italian media.

He completely ignored the six pieces of evidence that place her at the crime scene on the night of the murder. He also completely ignored the most important of Professor Balding’s findings.  ie that the DNA evidence against Sollecito is strong.

This finding implicates Knox and places her at the crime scene when Meredith was killed, and makes a mockery of Barras’s headline that suggested otherwise.


[Below: the wannabe crime-scene DNA experts Colin Barras, left, and Chris Halkides, right]

Posted by The Machine on 08/05/13 at 04:26 PM
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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Prospects In Favor Of A Possible Fugitive Amanda Knox Take Yet Another Hit

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above and at bottom: Panama, where the fugitive Robert Lady was setting himself up to be untouchable]


The former CIA operative Robert Seldon Lady is on the lam from Italian law.

He is now a worldwide fugitive - with fewer governments stepping forward with offers for him than for the other famous fugitive Edward Snowden. We posted briefly on the case here and here and two weeks ago Barbie Nadeau posted a good update here.

Robert Lady was the leader of the team that kidnapped the supposed Egyptian radical Abu Omar in Milan in 2003. Then he escorted Abu Omar to Egypt and he was apparently present for some months while Abu Omar was tortured.

The Milan court put online in English this 210-page summary of the case against Robert Lady and another 18 Americans who were involved. Amazing reading. What absolute buffoons. In total 25 Americans and 9 Italians were accused, though not all were put on trial, and as Barbie Nadeau explains, all of the others received Italian leniency.

Robert Lady didnt, though, and after he was convicted in absentia in Milan he took off out of the United States for central America. The CIA might have continued to help him there, though there were signs that the State Department and Rome Embassy, who have many other important dealings with Italy, were pretty ticked.

One CIA operative even sued State for diplomatic immunity (none of them were granted it).

When it became known that Robert Lady was living in Panama (a country without an extradition treaty with Italy) and close to citizenship, Italy through Interpol issued a worldwide arrest warrant, and requested that Panama round him up.

A few days ago, Robert Lady sought to move to the next country, Costa Rica, and was briefly detained.

What happened next is very murky. But it seems that Robert Lady was headed for the US by air, with possible help from some arm of the federal government - and then he just suddenly disappeared.

Last week, the Panamanians picked him up. It was the real world equivalent of a magician’s trick. He was nowhere, then suddenly in custody and in the news, and then—poof again!—he wasn’t. Just 24 hours after the retired CIA official found himself under lock and key, he was flown out of Panama, evidently under the protection of Washington, and in mid-air, heading back to the United States, vanished a second time.

State Department spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters on July 19th, “It’s my understanding that he is in fact either en route or back in the United States.” So there he was, possibly in mid-air heading for the homeland and, as far as we know, as far as reporting goes, nothing more. Consider it the CIA version of a miracle. Instead of landing, he just evaporated….

Having vanished in mid-air, he has managed so far not to reappear anywhere in the US press. What followed was no further news, editorial silence, and utter indifference to an act of protection that might otherwise have seemed to define illegality on an international level.

There was no talk in the media, in Congress, or anywhere else about the US handing over a convicted criminal to Italy, just about how the Russians must return a man [Snowden] Washington considers a criminal to justice.

Nevertheless, a thorn in the flesh of American-Italian relations has been disappeared, suggesting that the pro-friends-with-Italy State Department line is dominant. Having lost everything , the former US officlal Robert Lady is now a world-wide fugitive and further US help if any is likely to be very furtive.

Confessed druggie and convicted felon Amanda Knox, a private citizen, can hardly expect any more official deference.



Saturday, July 27, 2013

Meredith’s Perugia #34: Startling Sights Of Italy As Selected By Video Editor Alessandro Belotti

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

Exhausted yet?!!  Another in our video series of what Meredith could and should have seen. Same with everybody here if they possibly can.

We have had some readers curious as to the point of this series - until they themselves got to go there. THEN they saw what Meredith was forever stopped from seeing, and they started really watching.

Amateur editor Alessando Belotti put this YouTube together.  Italians have produced far more of these proud, adulatory videos than any other nationaility, go online and you can track down thousands.

Italian are lucky that they have so much to work with - huge history, culture and scenery; fashion, cars, food and wines, mountains, plains, and a coastline that is one of the longest in the world.


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