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Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Sollecito Takes On A New Lawyer To Help Him Work His Way Past The Minefield That Is His Book

Posted by Peter Quennell





Both Sollecito’s book and Knox’s book seem to have the primary purpose of poisoning public opinion against the courts.

The serious charges Sollecito and Knox will probably face for those books are of three kinds: (1) the contempt-of-court misrepresentation of the Italian justice system itself; (2) the obstruction-of-justice twisting of the evidence in the case; and (3) the claims of crimes committed by numerous career police and prosecution officials.

If false, in effect a gigantic frame-up that leaves Knox’s framing of Patrick in the dust.

At the eighth session of the Florence appeal court back in January, Giulia Bongiorno engaged in a day-long summation which was peculiar, to say the least.

Like Sollecito and Knox in their books, Giulia Bongiorno seemed to be attempting to put the justice system and investigation and prosecution in the dock.

If false, another gigantic frame-up that leaves Knox’s framing of Patrick in the dust.

Bongiorno’s rant didnt seem to help Sollecito in undermining any of the hard evidence in the case, and it left the judges visibly unmoved. But it was notable how closely it resembled the rants on the justice system and its officials by Sollecito himself in his book. See the examples in the post below.

There are some complex later passages in Sollecito’s book and some recurring themes that we will analyse which would seem impossible for Sollecito to write about in such detail without the extensive help of a lawyer who was in the court.

Who precisely was that?

Reports from Italy now state that Alfredo Brizioli, not Giulia Bongiorno, will be the lawyer the Sollecitos choose to respond to the investigating prosecutor’s report on the book. Perhaps Mr Brizioli (who right now is himself on trial for obstruction of justice in another case) can try to negotiate a way for his client to spread the blame before the charges are set in stone.

The Sollecitos seem weak. Alfredo Brizioli seems weak. Giulia Bongiorno seems weak. And Knox also seems weak - if Sollecito is ever going to back away from Knox (perhaps to try to claim the final murderous stab of Meredith was solely Knox’s crazed idea) there is just this one last chance.

We in no way favor Sollecito getting off lightly without recanting. We do want to point to the potential fireworks a smart prosecution has engineered that might help achieve this.

Although there was a sort of bidding war for both books, not every publisher, having seen what was to be in them, was eager to join in. Some did sit on the sidelines. 

Withdrawing the two books ASAP might be the smart move. The mood in the book industry in New York, where both publishers have their HQ’s, seems to be that that move could be the wisest.




Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Italy’s Unpopular Politicians And Mafia Fellow Travelers Against Italy’s Popular Justice System

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above and below: several of over 100 car bombings Italian police and prosecutors were killed in]

1. On The Pro-Justice Side…

This puts the faux Nencini “end-of-civilization-as-we-know” crisis into some sensible context.

The Italian system doesn’t exactly come out badly compared to say that of the US. Surprise, surprise: See here who agrees.

Comparatively speaking, Italy has a much lower crime rate than the US, a much lower murder rate, a highly professional un-elected police hierarchy, a much smaller court system, and a miniscule number of prison cells.

The mafias are now mostly backed into small pockets..

For reasons to do with Italian history pre-WW II the system keeps politicians very much at arms length.

Almost every other justice system in the world comes under the Prime Minister’s or equivalent’s control, and it his or her party that appoints the judges. The Italian system comes under the separately-elected and non-partisan President of the Republic.

All judges and all prosecutors follow a career path laden with checks and balances, learning exercises and tests. (At this the highly-competent and impartial Dr Mignini excels and he will soon be the attorney-general of a region.)

The system is extremely pro-defendant - probably the most pro-defendant in the whole world. See this article and this article for proof.

The number of Italians who are in prison at any one time is proportionally only about 1/5 that of the United States. Take a look.

It is not like everyone in Italy is impatiently waiting for the fatuous posse of Preston, Heavey, Fischer & Moore to turn up and save them from themselves. There is no problem there.

Our Italian poster Machiavelli (Yummi) who reported for us on the Cassation and Nencini appeals has assembled these facts on what the Italian population actually thinks. 

For comparison, in 2011 the percentage of Italians who declared they trust the justice system “a lot” or “enough” was 53.3%. By comparison, the percentage of Italians who declared they trust the government “a lot” or “enough”  were 14.7%, and those who trust the parliament were only 15%.

In 2012, the percentage of Italians who trust the parliament is now only 9.5%, and those who trust the Mario Monti administration are only 21.1%.

Over the eight years from 2004 to 2012 the percentage of Italians who trust the justice system was always bigger than those who trust parliament or government by at least ten points, and in some years we can see a spread of 20, 30, even 39 percentage points achieved by the judiciary over the parliament and government.

However, some cases of corruption (such as our Hellmann-Zanetti case, but also several others indicated by the Rapporto Italia 2012) do hamper trust.

The most trusted institutions in Italy above all are the Carabinieri (74% of Italians trust them) and the Polizia di Stato (71%).

Which means the most trusted institutions are precisely those law enforcement instruments which are deployed to enforce the orders of prosecutors.

(My source is “Rapporto Italia 2012” by EURISPES). 

More evidence of this popularity.  And even more.

2. On the Anti-Justice Side

In the past decade both corrupt politicians and the mafias have been remorselessly rolled back.

The Perugia Prosecutor-General’s Office being close to Rome and notoriously hard to bend was given national jurisdiction over the corruption of the 2006 Winter Olympics and the 2010 rebuilding following a huge earthquake.

The Florence Prosecutor-General’s Office being close to Rome and notoriously hard to bend was given national jurisdiction over the corruption of the contracts for the high-speed rail links that pass through Florence and on.

But attempts of corrupt politicians and others to meddle in this case go on and on and on.

Knox and Sollecito may think it is for pure love of them. Think again. There are unsavory parties on the anti-justice bandwagon who if it suited them would disappear Knox and Sollecito in the blink of an eye.

Politics played a part in ex-MP Rocco Girlanda, a Berlusconi poodle, accessing Capanne Prison multiple times to slobber over Knox. As a member of the Justice Committee under former Berlusconi-party MP Giulia Borngiorno’s sway (hows THAT for a conflict of interest?) Girlanda (1) petitioned the President for Knox, (2) tried to cut the national police wiretap budget, (3) tried to get Perugia prosecutors investigated, (4) repeatedly appeared on TV and in other media to make false allegations, and (5) chaired several US/Italy “liberation” meetings.

Sollecito lawyer Giulia Bongiorno has been wearing her member-of-parliament hat to stir up the (essentially toothless) Ministry of Justice against Judge Nencini. And to try to get the Council of Magistrates to give her client a break (Good luck with that - they wont move.)

The mafia backseat drivers (known about in Italy but not reported in the US) are there in a minor but pervasive way. Their roles were summarised in several places including this post here.

It is odd, to say the least, to see such self promoting reformers of the Italian system as Preston, Heavey, Fischer and Moore happily carrying water for the mafias.

So What We May Expect

Judge Nencini is a seasoned mafia fighter, and he is also a seasoned fighter of politicians who are corrupt and try to bend the system their way. But his record is very clear. Attack him for murky end - and he does not exactly back down.

From the point of view of Sollecito’s prospects, this faux storm looks like another huge wrong move.







Friday, December 20, 2013

Multiple Provably False Claims About “Forced Confession” Really Big Problem For Dalla Vedova & Knox

Posted by FinnMacCool






The Breaking News

This post goes live just as the news breaks that it was Knox lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova who filed these patently false claims against the justice system of Italy with the European Court.


1. “There would be no need for these theatrics.”

Amanda Knox has not been present for any part her latest appeal against her own murder conviction. Nevertheless, she has made two meretricious contributions to the proceedings.

First, on the day that the prosecution opened its presentation of the case against her, she announced that her lawyers had filed an appeal against her slander conviction to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). ECHR hears only allegations of human rights abuses, which must be reported within six months of the alleged incident (or within six months after all local avenues have been exhausted; in this case none has even been explored).

This out-of-date application to an inappropriate body in pursuit of a groundless allegation is therefore bound to fail.

Knox’s second publicity stunt came on the day that her own defense lawyers began their own presentation. She sent a five-page email in English and Italian, with grammatical mistakes in each language, protesting her innocence and affirming that the reason she is not present in the court is because she is afraid of it.

There are many comments that could be made about the email, but perhaps its most grievous legal error comes in the aside where she claims that the “subsequent memoriali (sic), for which I was wrongfully found guilty of slander, did not further accuse but rather recanted that false ‘confession’.”

That singular document does not recant her previous statements (“I stand by what I said last night…”), but does contain further accusations against Patrick Lumumba (“I see Patrik (sic) as the murderer”), as well as seeking to cast suspicion on Sollecito (“I noticed there was blood on Raffaele’s hand”) and an unnamed “other person”.

However, by claiming that she has been “wrongfully found guilty” on that charge of calunnia, she is refusing to recognize the legitimacy of the Italian Supreme Court, which has definitively found against her on that count, and also of the Hellmann appeal court (the only court to date that has not found her guilty of the main charge of murdering Meredith Kercher).

Dr Alessandro Crini presented the prosecution’s case on November 25th/26th. It was not a particularly theatrical performance, but rather a very long summary of the many items of evidence against Sollecito and Knox.

The most theatrical element of the case so far has been when one of the defendants insisted that the judge should read out five vacuous pages of her email immediately before her own lawyers presented their case on her behalf.

This gives a certain dramatic irony to Knox’s claim, “If the prosecution truly had a case against me, there would be no need for these theatrics”.

Such ironies appear to be lost on Knox, however, since she seems incapable of reading back over her own work for solecisms or contradictions. (In the email itself, for example, in consecutive sentences she writes: “I had no contact with Rudy Guede. Like many youth in Perugia I had once crossed paths with Rudy Guede.”)

One of the many errors she makes in the email is to put in writing some of the wild claims that she and/or her supporters have previously made regarding the witness interview she gave on the night of November 5th/6th 2007.

The purpose of the current post is to consider that interview in greater detail, using as source material primarily Knox’s memoir “Waiting to be heard” (2013) and Raffaele Sollecito’s memoir, “Honor Bound” (2013), abbreviated here to WTBH and HB respectively.



2. “When we got there they said I couldn’t come inside.”

Amanda Knox was not even supposed to be at the police station on the evening of November 5th, 2007. She should have been attending a candlelit vigil, in which Meredith Kercher’s friends, classmates and supportive well-wishers met at eight o’clock at Corso Vannucci to process through to the Duomo, carrying candles and photographs of the victim.

A friend of Meredith’s – a young Polish student – texted Amanda Knox to invite her to this vigil, but Knox had better things to do. (WTBH: 82) She accompanied Sollecito to his friend Riccardo’s house for a bite to eat (HB: 29) where she absent-mindedly strummed a ukulele. (WTBH:82)

Knox writes of the vigil: “I wanted to be there but… the decision was made for me” because “Raffaele had somewhere else to be”. (WTBH: 82)

One consistent feature of her narrative is her refusal to accept responsibility for anything, including her failure to turn up for her murdered roommate’s vigil, but we should note also that the vigil (eight o’clock) and the dinner (nine o’clock) both take place within the timeframe of her supposed series of interrogations, which according to her email involved “over 50 hours in four days”.

By her own account, when she ignored the police’s request not to accompany Sollecito to the Questura and just came anyway, it was the first contact she had had with the police in well over 24 hours.

Let us consider what was happening in the early part of the evening of November 5th, 2007.

The police are at the station studying the evidence; Meredith’s friends are proceeding downtown with candles and photographs of the victim; and Knox is playing the ukulele at Riccardo’s house.

Far from taking part in a lengthy coercive interview, Amanda Knox had gone to her University classes as normal, had bumped into Patrick Lumumba, whom she would later accuse of Meredith’s murder, and had later skipped the vigil to have dinner with Sollecito. (WTBH:83)

Meanwhile, back at the Questura, the police could see that Raffaele Sollecito’s stories simply did not add up.

They therefore called Sollecito and asked him to come into the station for further questioning. They told him that the matter was urgent; that they wanted to talk to him alone; and that Amanda Knox should not accompany him. (HB: 29) 

Sollecito responded that he would prefer to finish eating first. (The same meal is used as an excuse for not attending the vigil at eight o’clock, and for delaying their response to the police request at around ten.) By his own account, Sollecito resented being ordered what to do by the police (HB: 29), and so he finished eating, they cleared the table together, and Amanda Knox then accompanied him to the station. (HB:30; WTBH: 83)

Naturally the police were both surprised and disappointed to see her. Their civilian interpreter, who had worked flat out through the weekend accompanying not only Amanda Knox but also the rest of Meredith’s English-speaking friends, had gone home. The only person they were planning to speak to that night was Sollecito, and even he was late. According to Knox, the police were not expecting their interview with Sollecito to take very long:

When we got there they said I couldn’t come inside, that I’d have to wait for Raffaele in the car. I begged them to change their minds. (WTBH: 83)

The police were not prepared for an interview with Amanda Knox. They had asked her not to come, and they tried to send her away when she got there. It was late on a Monday evening and there were no lawyers or interpreters hanging around on the off-chance that someone might walk into the police station and confess.

However, that’s what happened. And it is on that basis that Amanda Knox is now claiming that the interview which she herself instigated was improperly presented by the police:

I was interrogated as a suspect, but told I was a witness. (Knox email, December 15, 2013)

But she wasn’t a suspect. In fact, she wasn’t even supposed to be there.



3. “Who’s Patrick?”

We will now examine Knox’s claim that “the police were the ones who first brought forth Patrick’s name” (Knox blog, November 25th, 2013).

She has already admitted in court that this is not true. In fact, it is clear from her own book that the police did not even know who Patrick Lumumba was, at that point.

If they had suspected him or anybody else, they would have brought them in for questioning, just as they had already questioned everyone else they thought might be able to throw some light on the case.

The police plan that evening was to question Sollecito in order to establish once and for all what his story was. They would perhaps have brought Knox back the following day (together with the interpreter) to see how far Knox’s story matched Sollecito’s. In the event, their plan was disrupted first because Sollecito delayed coming in, and second because when he finally arrived, he had brought Knox with him.

“Did the police know I’d show up,” Knox asks rhetorically, “or were they purposefully separating Raffaele and me?” (WTBH: 83) She does not offer a solution to this conundrum, but the answer is (b), as the patient reader will have noticed.

She thus turned up to the police station despite being expressly asked not to come. The police asked her to wait in the car and she refused, complaining that she was afraid of the dark. They allowed her inside.

Today, she might complain that she “was denied legal counsel” (Knox email, December 15th 2013) as she entered the Questura, but there was absolutely no reason for a lawyer to be present, since by her own account, all the police were asking her to do is go home.

Knox did not go home. According to WTBH, while Sollecito is in the interview room, she sits by the elevator, doing grammar exercises, phones her roommates about where to live next, talks to “a silver-haired police officer” about any men who may have visited the house (she claims to have first mentioned Rudy Guede at this point, identifying him by description rather than name) and does some yoga-style exercises including cartwheels, touching her toes and the splits.

It is at this point – somewhere between 1130 and midnight – that Officer Rita Ficarra invites Knox to come into the office so that they can put on record Knox’s list of all the men she could think of who might have visited the house.

Knox takes several pages (WTBH 83-90) to explain how she went from doing the splits to making her false accusation against Patrick Lumumba. Like much of her writing, these pages are confused and self-contradictory.

One reason for the confusion is that Knox is making two false accusations against the police, but these accusations cannot co-exist. First, she attempts to demonstrate that the police made her give the name of Patrick Lumumba. Second, she wants us to believe that Officer Ficarra struck her on the head twice.

This is denied by all the other witnesses in the room, and Knox did not mention it in her latest story about applying to ECHR. In her memoriale (WTBH: 97), she claims she was hit because she could not remember a fact correctly.

But in her account of the interview (WTBH: 88), Knox explains that Ficarra hit her because, the fourth time she was asked, “Who’s Patrick?”, she was slow in replying, “He’s my boss.” This is the exact opposite of not remembering a fact correctly. Knox is so keen to make both false charges against the police stick that she fails to notice that one contradicts the other.

Knox at least provides us with two fixed times that allow us to verify the start and finish times of the formal interview. It began at 1230, when Anna Donnino arrived to interpret, and ended at 0145 when Knox signed her witness statement.

Bearing in mind that this statement would have needed to be typed up and printed before she signed it, the interview thus took little over an hour, and was not the “prolonged period in the middle of the night” that her recent blog post pretends. (We might also remember that Knox’s regular shift at Le Chic was from 9 pm to 1 am, meaning that the interview began during her normal working hours.) (WTBH:31)

WTBH also flatly contradicts Knox’s own claim that her accusation of Lumumba was coerced by the police.

According to her own account, she first mentions her boss (although not by name) in the less formal conversation, before the interpreter’s arrival, telling the police : “I got a text message from my boss telling me I didn’t have to work that night.” (WTBH: 84)

The police appear to pay no attention to the remark (which undermines Knox’s argument that the police were pressing her to name Lumumba) but instead keep questioning her on the timings and details of what she did on the night of the murder. And Knox finds those details difficult either to recall or to invent.

Donnino arrives at half past midnight, and the formal interview begins.

Again, the focus is on the timings of Amanda Knox’s movements on the night of the murder, and again she is having difficulty remembering or inventing them. Ficarra picks up Knox’s cell phones and observes: “You texted Patrick. Who’s Patrick?” and Knox answers, “My boss at Le Chic.” (WTBH: 86)

There is a short discussion about this text message, and then a second police officer asks her: “Who’s Patrick? What’s he like?” This time Knox answers: “He’s about this tall… with braids.” They then continue to discuss the text message, and then the police ask her a third time, “Who’s this person? Who’s Patrick?” Knox again replies: “Patrick is my boss.” (WTBH: 87)

Donnino then makes the intervention about how traumatic events can sometimes affect memory. Such events certainly seem to have an effect on the memory of the police, because one of them asks Knox a fourth time: “Who’s Patrick?” At this point, Knox claims in her memoir that Ficarra struck her on the head. (WTBH: 87)

This is nothing to do with failing to remember a fact correctly, because the fact is correct: Patrick Lumumba is indeed her boss.

The police continue to believe that she is hiding something, and they ask her who she is protecting. After a few minutes of questioning along those lines, Knox has an epiphany in which she claims that the face of Patrick Lumumba appeared before her and she gasps: “Patrick – it’s Patrick.”

If we believe one of Knox’s other stories, that the police were cunningly trying to get her to name Patrick Lumumba, we might expect them to be quite pleased to have succeeded at this point. But according to Knox, their response is to ask her a fifth time, “Who’s Patrick?” The whole room must have wanted to chorus at this point, “He’s her boss!”, but according to Knox, it is she herself who simply repeats: “He’s my boss.”



4. “I was also hit in the head when I didn’t remember a fact correctly…”

Shortly after lunch on Tuesday November 6th, Knox wrote a piece of paper (known as her “memoriale”) in which she makes her first accusation that the police hit her. She hands this memoriale to Rita Ficarra, the very person she would later name as doing the hitting. We have noted above that in her account of the interview, the context Knox provides for this alleged blow is as follows:



This singularly repetitive catechism is supposed to have taken place at around one o’clock in the morning.

However, writing the following afternoon, Knox describes the event like this:

Not only was I told I would be arrested and put in jail for 30 years, but I was also hit in the head when I didn’t remember a fact correctly. I understand that the police are under a lot of stress, so I understand the treatment I received. (WTBH: 97)

This makes no sense as a reflection on the interview as she has earlier described it. In her version of the interview, she claims that the police kept asking her the same simple question, to which she keeps replying with the same factual answer, and the blows to the head take place in the middle of all that. Yet in her “memoriale”, she claims that the blow was because she could not remember a fact correctly.

In case two mutually contradictory accounts of that false allegation are not enough, Knox also provides a couple more explanations for why she was hit. Her third bogus claim is that the police said they hit her to get her attention, which makes for a dramatic opening to Chapter 10 of WTBH:

Police officer Rita Ficarra slapped her palm against the back of my head, but the shock of the blow, even more than the force, left me dazed. I hadn’t expected to be slapped.

I was turning around to yell, “Stop!”—my mouth halfway open—but before I even realized what had happened, I felt another whack, this one above my ear. She was right next to me, leaning over me, her voice as hard as her hand had been. “Stop lying, stop lying,” she insisted.

Stunned, I cried out, “Why are you hitting me?”  “To get your attention,” she said. (WTBH: 80)

This is a direct allegation against a named police officer, and not surprisingly it has resulted in another libel charge against Amanda Knox. It is a strong piece of writing, too: on its own, isolated from context, it reads like a trailer for the movie version. The trouble is, that when Knox later tries to set it in context, it makes no more sense than “because I didn’t remember a fact correctly” as an explanation as for why the blow came.
 

They pushed my cell phone, with the message to Patrick, in my face and screamed,

“You’re lying. You sent a message to Patrick. Who’s Patrick?”

That’s when Ficarra slapped me on my head.

“Why are you hitting me?” I cried.

“To get your attention,” she said.

“I’m trying to help,” I said. “I’m trying to help, I’m desperately trying to help.” (WTBH: 88)

This makes no sense. They already have Knox’s attention, and she is having no difficulty giving them a factual response to their repeated question, “Who’s Patrick?”

It is difficult to explain any logical motivation for that slap in terms of any of the three suggestions Knox has made so far: (1) because she couldn’t remember a fact correctly; (2) because she failed to answer the repeated question “Who’s Patrick?” quickly enough; or (3) to get her attention. She’d got the fact right, she’d answered the question, and they already had her attention.

Knox then provides us with a fourth version of possible reasons for the alleged slap. She describes the following encounter between herself and Rita Ficarra on their way to lunch at around two o’clock on Tuesday afternoon:

With my sneakers confiscated, I trailed [Ficarra] down the stairs wearing only my socks. She turned and said, “Sorry I hit you. I was just trying to help you remember the truth.” (WTBH: 94)

Once again, this makes no sense in the context of a blow to the head while waiting for a reply to the question, “Who’s Patrick?” It is perfectly true that Patrick Lumumba was Amanda Knox’s boss, and she had already correctly answered the same question twice, by her own account.

These are the four main WTBH versions of how Amanda Knox was struck on the head by Rita Ficarra. Perhaps she hopes that readers will choose the one they like best and will ignore its discrepancies with the others.

When testifying in court, however, Knox provided three further versions of the same alleged incident.

First, when asked to explain why she had stated in her witness account that Meredith Kercher had had sex before she died, Knox answered that the police had suggested this to her and that they hit her to make her says so in her statement (Knox testimony, June 12 2009).

Second, a few minutes later during the same testimony, she claimed that the police hit her twice before she gave the name of Patrick, to make her give a name she could not give. (WTBH: 227-8; Knox testimony, June 12 2009)

Third, later still, she tells her own lawyer that the police were screaming at her “You don’t remember”, she was struck from behind, and when she turned around she was struck again. (WTBH:227; Knox testimony, June 12 2009)

These are seven different stories Knox has told about how she was hit during her interview. Even her most generous supporters would have to admit that at least six of them must be false. Everyone else in the room at the time has testified that it did not happen.

When Knox published her fantasy claim about appealing to ECHR last month, she neglected to mention that she was hit. This essentially confirms what has been obvious for some time: Rita Ficarra did not hit Amanda Knox during the interview.

Nobody did. All seven stories are false. 



5. “She was screaming in Italian, ‘Aiuto! Aiuto!’”

However, Sollecito provides an ear-witness account of Knox’s traumatic interview, claiming that he could hear her shouting from where he was being interviewed in a nearby room. Here’s his version:

Then came a sound that chilled my bones: Amanda’s voice, yowling for help in the next room. She was screaming in Italian, “Aiuto! Aiuto!” I asked what was going on, and Moscatelli told me there was nothing to worry about. But that was absurd. I could hear police officers yelling, and Amanda sobbing and crying out another three or four times. (HB:33)

If Sollecito’s aim here is to invent a story even more ridiculous than Knox’s, he has succeeded.

For one thing, it does not match any of Knox’s seven stories about how her interview went. But even on its own terms, Sollecito’s story makes no sense. If we imagine for a moment an Italian witness or suspect being interrogated in Italian by Italian officers in an Italian police station, what possible motivation could such a woman have for shouting “Aiuto!”? Who could she be hoping might conceivably respond to her call?

How much more absurd, then, to suppose that an American woman accompanied by an interpreter would shout “Aiuto!” when by her own account she was trying to help the police with their inquiries at that point.

Perhaps Sollecito wants us to believe that Knox was offering to help the police with their inquiries, and Donnino was loudly translating it to “Aiuto!” at this point. Or perhaps, as is often the case with Sollecito, he has given so little thought to his lies that he has not made the slightest effort to make them believable.

There are other occasions when Sollecito is cavalier with the credibility of his explanations for the evidence against him. For example, when confronted with evidence that the victim’s DNA is on his kitchen knife, he suddenly remembers an occasion when he accidentally pricked her while cooking.

(Astonishingly, he repeats this absurd fiction on page 49 of Honor Bound, although he shifts the pricking to Via della Pergola and makes it a knife local to there, since it is obvious that the victim had never visited his own apartment.)

Or again, on being confronted with the (incorrect) evidence that his shoeprints have been found at the scene of the crime, he speculates to Judge Matteini that someone might have stolen his shoes and committed the murder in them. (HB:42)

Even today, Sollecito is currently making a public appeal for funds for his defense, pleading financial hardship, while taking lengthy vacations in the Caribbean, with photographs of his tropical lifestyle appearing in Oggi.

In his book, Sollecito also decides to make a claim of his own that the police struck him:

One of my interrogators opened the door noisily at one point, walked over, and slapped me. “Your father is a fine upstanding person,” he said. “He doesn’t even deserve a son like you, someone who would stand by a whore like Amanda.” (HB:36)

This is actually one of his more plausible stories. He has not named the officer, and he has created an incident to which there are no witnesses; he gives the impression that he was alone in the interview room when this officer came in.

Of course, he has made no formal complaint about this, nor has he mentioned it before publishing it in his book, nor has he named the officer or given any clue as to his identity. Nevertheless, these details simply stand in contrast to Knox’s libelous allegation, in which she named the officer, gives several contradictory accounts of how the blow occurred, and there are several witnesses all of whom deny that any such blow took place.



6. “Maybe a cappuccino would help.”

Finally, it seems only fair to speak up for Anna Donnino, the much-maligned interpreter who was given the task of accompanying Knox as she made her slanderous accusation of Patrick Lumumba.

Knox describes her arrival at the station like this:

The interpreter sat down behind me. She was irritated and impatient, as if I were the one who had rousted her from bed in the middle of the night. (WTBH:86)

While someone else must have done the rousting, by Knox’s own account it is indeed her fault that Donnino was called into the police station that night. Knox was the only English-speaker present, and she had ignored the police’s request that she stay home while they interviewed Sollecito.

Although Donnino must have had every right to feel irritable and impatient, Knox gives little evidence of it in her transcript of the interview. On the contrary, Donnino patiently volunteers an explanation that might attribute Knox’s self-contradictory stories to trauma and stress rather than deliberate lying.

Amanda Knox has often repeated her assertion that police called her a liar during that interview. For example, in the movie-trailer-type excerpt at the beginning of Chapter Ten, she writes:

They loomed over me, each yelling the same thing: “You need to remember. You’re lying. Stop lying!” (WTBH:80)

However, in the more detailed version that she gives on pages 83-90, she does not mention a single police officer calling her a liar. Only once do the police even ask her “Why are you lying?” (WTBH:88) The only person to call Knox a liar, in her account, is Anna Donnino, in the following passage:

“In English, ‘see you later’ means good-bye. It doesn’t mean we’re going to see each other now. It means see you eventually.”

In my beginner’s Italian, I had had no idea that I’d used the wrong phrase in my text to Patrick—the one that means you’re going to see someone. I’d merely translated it literally from the English.

The interpreter balked: “You’re a liar.” (WTBH:87)

The verb “balked” makes no sense here, and so let us charitably call it a printer’s error for “barked”. However, that is the only instance of Knox being called a liar her entire remembered account of the interview.

It seems that she is so reluctant to admit to having said anything that her readers might think sounds like a lie that she forgets this gives the police no context for calling her a liar. This in turn means that the only “lie” she can be accused of is her demotic interpretation of the English phrase “see you later”, in which she presents herself as correct and Anna Donnino getting it wrong.

Ironically, Anna Donnino’s next intervention, for which there are several witnesses including Amanda Knox herself, is clearly intended to suggest that failing to remember the details of a traumatic event properly may NOT be an indication of lying, but instead may be the result of the stress of the trauma:

The interpreter offered a solution, “Once, when I had an accident, I didn’t remember it. I had a broken leg and it was traumatizing and I woke up afterward and didn’t remember it. Maybe you just don’t remember. Maybe that’s why you can’t remember times really well.”

For a moment, she sounded almost kind. (WTBH:88)

“Kind” is a key word for Amanda Knox, and she continually judges people by whether they are kind to her. On this occasion, she is quite right: Anna Donnino does sound kind and helpful in volunteering this intervention. It is not a kindness that Knox would repay, however. On the contrary, in her later account of the trial, she is scathing of prosecutor Mignini’s description of Donnino as “very sweet”:

As for my interrogation at the questura, Mignini described the interpreter— the woman who had called me “a stupid liar” and had told me to “stop lying”—as “very sweet.” “I remember that evening how she behaved toward Amanda,” he said. (WTBH:244)

Knox has evidently forgotten that she has failed to mention anybody at all calling her a “stupid liar” during the interview, or that anybody told her to “stop lying”. Even her claim that Donnino called a liar over a translation error is illogical and is out of keeping with Donnino’s subsequent intervention.

Knox has also forgotten that the only other mention she makes of Donnino at the questura is in the following passage, from the day before the interview. While Knox is going over the events of the night of the murder in her mind, she reports: 

“…the interpreter walked by, looked at me, and said, ‘Oh my God, are you okay?... You’re pale… Maybe a cappuccino would help. Come with me.” (WTBH: 76-77)

Once again, Knox unwittingly provides evidence that supports Mignini’s description of Anna Donnino, and undermines her own. Once again, she unwittingly provides evidence that her human rights were perfectly safe at Perugia police station.



7. “What does this say about my memory?”

The accounts of all three defendants in this case are so obviously fictitious that the subject should no longer be open for discussion. Any level of reasonable doubt that might have been acceptable to the Hellman appeal court has been removed not only by the Italian Supreme Court but even more so by the self-penned accounts published by Knox and Sollecito themselves.

Their bizarre and delusional writings will appear incredible to any objective reader who troubles to read them. The physical evidence against them - the DNA, the footprints, the knife, the faked burglary, and so on - only serves to confirm the most likely explanation for their wildly unbelievable stories - namely that they are lying to cover up their involvement in a brutal murder.

Given that his own account was patently fictitious, Guede has been fairly well advised to opt for a fast track trial which offers a reduced sentence and an abbreviated process. (Better advice might have been to plead guilty, but that is for him to choose.)

As a result, he will be eligible for parole relatively soon, even as the longwinded trials of Knox and Sollecito grind toward their conclusions. Whether or not it is right and fair for Guede to be given that parole is a separate question that will be considered in due course - even his expressions of remorse sound false and are undermined by his continuing refusal to give a plausible and honest account of what happened that night.

However justice systems all over the world are obliged to balance the rights of victims against the rights of defendants, with resultant compromises that are often uneasy and unsatisfying. Victims’ families may want the truth, but the perpetrators don’t always want to tell it.

The situation for Knox and Sollecito is different because their preposterous stories have been shored up by a coterie of supporters who in the long run have done the two defendants no favors whatsoever.

The pair have chosen the full trial process which may have postponed the final decision for several years, but which is also likely to result in much lengthier prison sentences.

It is too late now for Knox and Sollecito to opt for a fast track process, and everyone, no matter how ill-informed, can surely agree at least that the path they have chosen has been painfully slow and longwinded.

But there were many other options that, although previously open to them, have now been closed down by their supporters’ stubborn insistence that the case against them was first concocted by a vindictive prosecutor who took an early dislike to them and was subsequently supported by a vast conspiratorial network of police, judges, journalists, shopkeepers, students, friends and relatives of the victim, and so on.

This conspiracy theory is not only daft, but it provides no help at all for the two people at its core whose words and actions remain delusional and psychotic.

Amanda Knox wrote in her memoriale,  “Is the evidence proving my pressance [sic] at the time and place of the crime reliable? If so, what does this say about my memory? Is it reliable?”(WTBH 98-9). These words are a clear cry for help.

Whether or not this cry was genuine, or was simply a cunning attempt to diminish punishment, is a matter that could and should have been determined at the time by a qualified psychiatrist. Instead, Knox was provided with a set of lawyers and a PR firm both of whom were set the task of claiming and proving their client’s innocence.

Her false allegation against an innocent man was then explained as resulting from a coercive police process - another ludicrous claim, contradicted by all the available evidence, including the self contradictory accounts published by the defendants themselves.

Knox and Sollecito are damaged individuals whose grip on reality is loose and whose delusional ramblings suggest that they need urgent psychiatric help. Instead, their fantasies have been cocooned by highly vocal supporters who have enabled the fantasists to maintain a series of fictions that, in the final analysis, will almost certainly fail to stand up to legal scrutiny.


Wednesday, December 04, 2013

With Sollecito’s First Plea For Mitigation Seen As A Flop, His Behavior Seems Increasingly Erratic

Posted by Peter Quennell





Sollecito has not ever taken the witness stand.

And given the minefield his foolish book and media claims amount to, don’t hold your breath expecting otherwise soon. However, last month Sollecito did use the Italian accuseds’ privilege of making an impromptu plea to the judges.

He was not under oath and not subject to cross-examination by the prosecutors. He did not address the copious evidence, and was seen as attempting to humanize himself to perhaps get some years knocked off a final sentence.

As always, Knox forces were left confused, thinking he had somehow helped both of them. But Sollecito repeatedly drew attention to his being an Italian and in effect to Knox and Guede not being Italians, thus once again separating himself from Knox on lines Barbie Nadeau also described here..

Our main poster Yummi was in the court and reported in part as follows:

One of the woman judges kept staring elsewhere and almost never watched Sollecito all the time he was talking. Sollecito’s speech itself was actually not that exciting. It was so overt that he was focused on portraying himself as a person who is so good and cannot hurt anyone, not the bad guy described in the media.  The real and only topic of Sollecito’s statement was himself, who he is, his “true” personality, he begged them to look at what a good and suffering a boy he is…

And believe me, Sollecito was just whiny. For a big part of his speech he was just putting distance between who he is today and the person he was when he was 20 years old. He talked about the impossibility of finding a job (the job he would like to have in a corporation, obviously, not just any job) and wanted the judge to project to his condition from that of young Italians who can’t hope to see a future.

Then 10 days ago the skilled senior prosecutor Dr Alessandro Crini fired back, and effectively demolished Sollecito’s premature statement. As we reported, Dr Crini took nearly two days to do that.

Sollecito was again in court on the first day, but was seemingly unable to face Dr Crini’s onslaught on the second day. He remained holed up at his hotel.

Although Dr Crini settled on a lowest-common-denominator motive - a Lord of the Flies flare-up which had escalated into mob violence and the fatal stab to Meredith - his recounting of the evidence and associated behavior of the pack was comprehensive and very hard.

Meredith was treated “as if she was an animal.” In this way Dr Crini defined the dynamics of the murder of Meredith Kercher during his indictment. According to Dr Crini, the attack escalated to the point where the attackers felt they “needed to get rid of a girl they had abused”. While Rudy Guede sexually abused Meredith Kercher, supine on the floor of her room, Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox, according to the reconstruction, were at each side of the body of the victim.

“The mouth and neck of the victim were contained in a fierce way to avoid Meredith going berserk and screaming, and when Meredith did in fact manage to scream, she received the final fierce stab to the throat.” Two knives were used in the crime at the house in Via della Pergola on the night between 1 and 2 November 2007”...

Dr Crini referring to the bra clasp of the victim, said that “the presence of the DNA of Raffaele Sollecito is quite certain” and explained at length why there was no “possibility of contamination”.

Amanda Knox was at the scene of the crime, according to the identification made ​​by the scientific police in Meredith’s room of an imprint of a shoe (female size 36-38 according to the results of the analysis)... On the pillowcase, the center of gravity of this bloody history, were found a palmprint of Rudy Guede and this print of the shoe.”

Dr Francesco Sollecito was reported as being shocked by the unrelenting tone of the indictment. However, Sollecito’s plight is not nearly as bad as the ever-stubborn Amanda Knox’s.

Knox has already served three years and was fined heavily for obstruction of justice. She could face another year for that if it is found to have been aggravating. And as the post below mentions, she could face as many as three more charges for aggravating obstruction of justice. 

Sollecito in contrast has respected the court by actually showing up, and, unlike Knox, has lately shown restraint in accusing his accusers.

However, the day after Dr Crini ‘s indictment, it looked like Sollecito was taking off out of Italy like a rabbit. 

La Nazione reported that police at Florence Airport had held back a fully loaded Air France flight to Paris while they checked with the prosecution that he was indeed allowed to leave the country.  La Nazione said the prosecutors have some concern that he might skip and not come back, but he did come back from Santo Domingo, and his family has always ensured a presence in court.

But next TGCom24 reported that Sollecito’s father had claimed that Sollecito had already gone home to Bisceglie, although he is a free citizen still in possession of a passport and can travel anywhere if he wishes.

But then TGCom24 reported that he had indeed flown to Paris, and had turned around and come straight back again, to stay with family friends.  And that on 8 December he will sit his final exams in computer science at the University of Verona.

However soon after that La Nazione reported that Sollecito’s father had been contradicted by his lawyers, and his erratic son had slipped through his fingers and flown “for his work” back to Santo Domingo. Translation by Jools:

1 December 2013 – SCOOP. Denials, lies, game by the defenders. But in the end it’s up to the lawyer Luca Maori to admit: “Raffaele Sollecito returned to Santo Domingo, as anticipated on Friday by La Nazione”

He embarked from Florence’s Peretola Airport and made a stop-over in Paris, from where he then flew to the Caribbean island where he spent the last few months that preceded the start of the new appeals process. “But there is nothing strange - minimizes the lawyer - Raffaele went back to pick up the things he left there, will be back in ten days for the final exams and to await the judgment. With anxiety, but self-assured.”

No escape, just a normal “work” trip. Permissible, since there is no measure that prevents the accused to leave Italy. But the departure of Sollecito, accused of the murder of Meredith Kercher along with former girlfriend Amanda Knox (already sheltered in the U.S.) caused some sneering. And even the agents of the Border Police, when they saw him in front of the [departure] gate, made a phone call to the Procura to be sure whether the journey in the midst of the appeal process was really “normal.”

IN FACT. Sollecito ‘s father, in an understandable effort to defend his already too overexposed son, slipped on the so-called banana peel, placing the young man within a few hours in various locations, but never in the true destination across the ocean: in Verona, preparing for the final exam in computer science in regard to the thesis, or in Paris, but just for a flash-stay from which he was back the day after. At Christmas, maintained the father, Raffaele will return from abroad. Maybe for the last break before the final rush of the Mark II process, which, according to calculations by the Assize Court of Appeal, could be concluded on January 15.

Meanwhile, the hearing on 16 December is for the remaining civil parties, then double date for the defence, (December 17 and January 9) and hearing on the 10 dedicated to counter-argument. With Sollecito in the courtroom, assures the lawyer.

More grief for Papa Doc…. In the movie Groundhog Day the obnoxious hero had to repeat a single day of his life again and again till he hit upon the right things to do and say. Judge Nencini did leave Sollecito an opening to address the judges again.

It is in Sollectto’s own best interests to go back to court, and try and try and try to look and sound chastened till he gets it right. Knox too. 







Saturday, November 30, 2013

Note For Strasbourg Court & State Department: Knox Herself Proves She Lies About Her Interrogation

Posted by James Raper





In our previous post Kermit nicely shows how, under the European Court of Human Rights’ own guidelines, Amanda Knox’s “appeal” won’t put her out of reach of the fair and painstaking Italians. 

If any of the busy, hard-pressed ECHR investigators do choose to press beyond the ECHR guidelines, they will almost instantly establish that in her voluntary interview on 5 November 2007 Knox was treated with complete fairness.

Also that her false accusation of Patrick (which she never retracted) was entirely of her own doing.

And also that she is not only trying to throw sand into the wheels of Italian justice during an ongoing judicial process (a felony in Italy) but she is trying to welsh out of paying Patrick his damages award of $100,000 (a contempt of the Supreme Court) thus foolishly risking two more charges of aggravated calunnia.

This post derives from a post of mine last May. In another post, we showed that Dr Mignini was not present for the interrogation that night, and Knox maliciously invented an illegal interrogation at risk of a third aggravated calunnia charge.

In fact Dr Mignini met with Amanda Knox only briefly, later, to charge her and to warn she should say no more without a lawyer. He asked her no questions.

I will compare the various accounts of the interrogation to demonstrate that Amanda Knox is indeed lying to the ECHR, just as she did repeatedly in her book this year and also on US and European television.

  • There are two main bodies of truth about the interrogation: (1) all of those present at various times on that night and (2) Knox’s own testimony on the witness stand in mid 2009.

  • There are two main bodies of lies about the interrogation (1) The Sollecito book and (2) the Knox book, which by the way not only contradict one another but also contradict such other accounts as those of Saul Kassin and John Douglas.

The police had called her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito in to the station for questioning and Knox had accompanied him because she did not want to be alone. They had already eaten at the house of a friend of Sollecito’s.

Knox’s interrogation was not tape recorded and in that sense we have no truly independent account of what transpired. The police, including the interpreter, gave evidence at her trial, but we do not yet have transcripts for that evidence other than that of the interpreter. There are accounts in books that have been written about the case but these tend to differ in the detail. The police and the interpreter maintain that she was treated well. Apart from the evidence of the interpreter all we have is what Knox says happened, and our sources for this are transcripts of her trial evidence and what she wrote in her book. I shall deal with the evidence of the interpreter towards the end of this article.

I am going to compare what she said at trial with what she wrote in her book but also there was a letter she wrote on the 9th and a recording of a meeting with her mother on the 10th November which are relevant.. What she wrote in her book is fairly extensive and contains much dialogue. She has a prodigious memory for detail now which was almost entirely lacking before.  I am going to tell you to treat what she says in her book with extreme caution because she has already been found out for, well let us say, her creative writing if not outright distortion of facts. I shall paraphrase rather than quote most of it but a few direct quotes are necessary.

Knox arrived with Sollecito at the police station at about 10.30 pm (according to John Follain). The police started to question Sollecito at 10.40 pm (Follain).

In her book Knox describes being taken from the waiting area to a formal interview room in which she had already spent some time earlier. It is unclear when that formal questioning began. Probably getting on for about 11.30pm because she also refers to some questions being asked of her in the waiting room following which she did some stretches and splits. She then describes how she was questioned about the events over a period from about the time she and Sollecito left the cottage to about 9 pm on the 1st November.

Possibly there was a short break. She describes being exhausted and confused. The interpreter, Knox says, arrived at about 12.30 am. Until then she had been conversing with the police in Italian.

Almost immediately on the questioning resuming -

“Monica Napoleoni, who had been so abrupt with me about the poop and the mop at the villa, opened the door. “Raffaele says you left his apartment on Thursday night,” she said almost gleefully. “He says that you asked him to lie for you. He’s taken away your alibi.””

Knox describes how she was dumfounded and devastated by this news. She cannot believe that he would say that when they had been together all night. She feels all her reserves of energy draining away. Then -

“Where did you go? Who did you text?” Ficarra asked, sneering at me.

“I don’t remember texting anyone.”

They grabbed my cell phone up off the desk and scrolled quickly through its history.

“You need to stop lying. You texted Patrick. Who’s Patrick?”

“My boss at Le Chic.”

Stop right there.

How were the police able to name the recipient of the text? The text Patrick had sent her had already been deleted from Knox’s mobile phone by Knox herself and Knox hasn’t yet named Patrick. In fact she couldn’t remember texting anyone.

It is of course probable that the police already had a log of her calls and possibly had already traced and identified the owner of the receiving number for her text, though the last step would have been fast work.

In her trial testimony Knox did a lot of “the police suggested this and suggestd that” though it is never crystal clear whether she is accusing the police of having suggested his name. But she is doing it here in her book and of course the Knox groupies have always maintained that it was the police who suggested his name to her.

The following extract from her trial testimony should clear things up. GCM is Judge Giancarlo Massei.

GCM: In this message, was there the name of the person it was meant for?

AK: No, it was the message I wrote to my boss. The one that said “Va bene. Ci vediamo piu tardi. Buona serata.”

GCM: But it could have been a message to anyone. Could you see from the message to whom it was written?

AK: Actually, I don’t know if that information is in the telephone…………………..

GCM : But they didn’t literally say it was him!

AK : No. They didn’t say it was him, but they said “We know who it is, we know who it is. You were with him, you met him.”

GCM : Now what happened next? You, confronted with the message, gave the name of Patrick. What did you say?”

AK : Well, first I started to cry…....

And having implied that it was the police who suggested Patrick’s name to her, she adds….. that quote again -

“You need to stop lying. You texted Patrick. Who’s Patrick?”

“My boss at Le Chic.”

Here she is telling the Perugian cops straight out exactly to whom the text was sent. “My boss at Le Chic”.

But that does not quite gel with her trial testimony -

And they told me that I knew, and that I didn’t want to tell. And that I didn’t want to tell because I didn’t remember or because I was a stupid liar. Then they kept on about this message, that they were literally shoving in my face saying “Look what a stupid liar you are, you don’t even remember this!”

At first, I didn’t even remember writing that message. But there was this interpreter next to me who kept saying “Maybe you don’t remember, maybe you don’t remember, but try,” and other people were saying “Try, try, try to remember that you met someone, and I was there hearing “Remember, remember, remember…..

Doesn’t the above quote make it clear that the police were having considerable trouble getting Knox to tell them to whom her text message was sent? It would also explain their growing frustration with her.

But perhaps the above quote relates not to whom the text was sent but, that having been ascertained, whether Knox met up with that person later? Knox has a habit of conflating the two issues. However there is also the following quote from her trial testimony -

Well there were lots of people who were asking me questions, but the person who had started talking with me was a policewoman with long hair, chestnut brown hair, but I don’t know her. Then in the circle of people who were around me, certain people asked me questions, for example there was a man holding my telephone, and who was literally shoving the telephone into my face, shouting “Look at this telephone! Who is this? Who did you want to meet?”

Then there were others, for instance this woman who was leading, was the same person who at one point was standing behind me, because they kept moving, they were really surrounding me and on top of me. I was on a chair, then the interpreter was also sitting on a chair, and everyone else was standing around me, so I didn’t see who gave me the first blow because it was someone behind me, but then I turned around and saw that woman and she gave me another blow to the head.

The woman with the long hair, chestnut brown hair, Knox identifies in her book as Ficarra. Ficarra is the policewoman who started the questioning particularly, as Knox has confirmed, about the texted message. “Look at this telephone! Who is this? Who did you want to meet?” Again, surely this is to get Knox to identify the recipient of the text, not about whether she met up with him?






In the book though, it is all different.

In the book, the police having told her that the text is to someone called Patrick, Knox is a model of co-operation as, having already told them that he is her boss at Le Chic, she then gives a description of him and answers their questions as to whether he knew Meredith, whether he liked her etc. No reluctance to co-operate, no memory difficulties here.

Notwithstanding this, her book says the questions and insinuations keep raining down on her. The police insist that she had left Sollecito’s to meet up with - and again the police name him - Patrick.

“Who did you meet up with? Who are you protecting? Why are you lying? Who’s this person? Who’s Patrick?”

Remember again, according to her trial testimony the police did not mention Patrick’s name and Knox still hasn’t mentioned his name. But wait, she does in the next line -

“I said “Patrick is my boss.””

So now, at any rate, the police have a positive ID from Knox regarding the text message and something to work with. Patrick - boss - Le Chic.

Knox then refers to the differing interpretations as to what “See you later” meant and denies that she had ever met up with Patrick that evening. She recalls the interpreter suggesting that she was traumatized and suffering from amnesia.

The police continue to try to draw an admission from Knox that she had met up with Patrick that evening - which again she repeatedly denies. And why shouldn’t she? After all, she denies that she’s suffering from amnesia, or that there is a problem with her memory. The only problem is that Sollecito had said she had gone out but that does not mean she had met with Patrick.

Knox then writes, oddly, as it is completely out of sequence considering the above -

“They pushed my cell phone, with the message to Patrick, in my face and screamed,

“You’re lying. You sent a message to Patrick. Who’s Patrick?”

That’s when Ficarra slapped me on my head.”

A couple of blows (more like cuffs) to the head (denied by the police) is mentioned in her trial testimony but more likely, if this incident ever happened, it would have been earlier when she was struggling to remember the text and to whom it had been sent. Indeed that’s clear from the context of the above quotes.

And this, from her trial testimony -

Remember, remember, remember, and then there was this person behind me who—it’s not that she actually really physically hurt me, but she frightened me.”

In the CNN TV interview with Chris Cuomo, Knox was asked if there was anything she regretted.

Knox replied that she regretted the way this interrogation had gone, that she wished she had been aware of her rights and had stood up to the police questioning better.

Well actually, according to the account in her book, she appears to have stood up to the police questioning with a marked degree of resilience and self- certainty, and with no amnesia. There is little of her trademark “being confused”. 

So why the sudden collapse? And it was a sudden collapse.

Given the trial and book accounts Knox would have us think that she was frightened, that it was due to exhaustion and the persistent and bullying tone of the questioning, mixed with threats that she would spend time in prison for failing to co-operate. She also states that -

(a) she was having a bad period and was not being allowed to attend to this, and

(b) the police told her that they had “hard evidence” that she was involved in the murder.

Knox has given us a number of accounts as to what was actually happening when this occurred.

In a letter she wrote on the 9th November she says that suddenly all the police officers left the room but one, who told her she was in serious trouble and that she should name the murderer. At this point Knox says that she asked to see the texted message again and then an image of Patrick came to mind. All she could think about was Patrick and so she named him (as the murderer).

During a recorded meeting with her mother in Capanne Prison on the 10th November she relates essentially the same story.

In her book there is sort of the same story but significantly without mention of the other officers having left the room nor mention of her having asked to see the texted message again.

If the first two accounts are correct then at least the sense of oppression from the room being crowded and questions being fired at her had lifted.

Then this is from her book -

In that instant, I snapped. I truly thought I remembered having met somebody. I didn’t understand what was happening to me. I didn’t understand that I was about to implicate the wrong person. I didn’t understand what was at stake. I didn’t think I was making it up. My mind put together incoherent images. The image that came to me was Patrick’s face.  I gasped. I said his name. “Patrick—it’s Patrick.

It’s her account, of course, but this “Patrick - It’s Patrick” makes no sense at this stage of it unless it’s an admission not just that she had met up with Patrick but that he was at the cottage and involved in Meredith’s death.

And this is from her trial testimony -

GCM : Now what happened next? You, confronted with the message, gave the name of Patrick. What did you say?

AK : Well, first I started to cry. And all the policemen, together, started saying to me, you have to tell us why, what happened? They wanted all these details that I couldn’t tell them, because in the end, what happened was this: when I said the name of Patrick I suddenly started imagining a kind of scene, but always using this idea: images that didn’t agree, that maybe could give some kind of explanation of the situation.

There is a clear difference between these two quotes.

The one from her book suggests that she was trying hard but that the police had virtually brought her to the verge of a mental breakdown.

Her trial testimony says something else; that a scene and an idea was forming in her mind brought on by her naming of Patrick.

In her book she states that a statement, typed up in Italian, was shoved under her nose and she was told to sign it. The statement was timed at 1.45 am. The statement was not long but would probably have taken about twenty minutes to prepare and type.

The statement according to Knox -

... I met Patrick immediately at the basketball court in Piazza Grimana and we went to the house together. I do not remember if Meredith was there or came shortly afterward. I have a hard time remembering those moments but Patrick had sex with Meredith, with whom he was infatuated, but I cannot remember clearly whether he threatened Meredith first. I remember confusedly that he killed her.

The fact that the statement was in Italian is not important. Knox could read Italian perfectly well. However she does insinuate in the book that the details in the statement were suggested to her and that she didn’t bother to read the statement before signing.

Apart from what has been mentioned above, there are some other points and inferences to be drawn from the above analysis.

    1.  Knox’s account destroys one of Sollecito’s main tenets in his book Honour Bound. Sollecito maintains that he did nothing to damage Knox’s alibi until he signed a statement, forced on him at 3:30 am and containing the damaging admission that Knox had gone out. But Knox makes it clear that she had heard from the Head of the Murder Squad that he had made that damaging admission, at or shortly after 12.30 am. Or is Knox is accusing Napoleoni of a bare-faced lie?

    2.  It is valid to ask why Knox would not want to remember to whom the text had been sent. Who can see into her mind? Perhaps Knox realized that discussion of it would confirm that if she had indeed gone out then it was not to Le Chic, where she was not required. However even if she thought that could put her in the frame it’s not what an innocent person would be too worried about. Perhaps she did just have difficulty remembering?

    3.  If there was no fuss and she did remember and tell the police that the text was to Patrick, and the questioning then moved on to whether she met up with Patrick later that evening, what was the problem with that? She knew the fact that she hadn’t met up with him could be verified by Patrick. She could have said that and stuck to it. The next move for the police would have been to question Patrick. They would not have had grounds to arrest him.

    4.  Knox stated in her memorial, and re-iterates it in her book, that during her interrogation the police told her that they had hard evidence that she was involved in Meredith’s murder. She does not expand on what this evidence is, perhaps because the police did not actually tell her. However, wasn’t she the least bit curious, particularly if she was innocent? What was she thinking it might be?

    5.  I can sympathise with any interviewee suffering a bad period, if that’s true. However the really testy period of the interview/interrogation starts with the arrival of the interpreter, notification of Sollecito’s withdrawal of her alibi and the questioning with regard to the text to Patrick, all occurring at around 12.30 am.  There has to be some critical point when she concedes, whether to the police or in her own mind,  that she’d met “Patrick”, after which there was the questioning as to what had happened next. Say that additional questioning took 20 minutes. Then there would be a break whilst the statement is prepared and typed up. So the difficult period for Knox, from about 12.30 am to that critical point, looks more like about 35 to, at the outside, 50 minutes.

    6.  Even if, for that period, it is true that she was subjected to repeated and bullying questions, and threats, then she held up remarkably well as I have noted from her own account. It does not explain any form of mental breakdown, let alone implicating Patrick in murder. In particular, if Knox’s letter of the 9th and the recording of her meeting with her mother on the 10th are to believed, that alleged barrage of questions had stopped when she implicated Patrick.  An explanation, for what it’s worth, might be that she had simply ceased to care any longer despite the consequences. But why?

    7.  A better and more credible explanation is that an idea had indeed formed suddenly in her mind. She would use the revelation about the text to Patrick and the consequent police line of questioning to bring the questioning to an end and divert suspicion from her true involvement in the murder of Meredith Kercher. She envisaged that she would be seen by the police as a helpless witness/victim, not a suspect in a murder investigation. As indeed was the case initially.  She expected, I am sure, to be released, so that she could get Sollecito’s story straight once again. If that had happened there would of course remain the problem of her having involved Patrick, but I dare say she thought that she could simply smooth that over - that it would not be a big deal once he had confirmed that there had been no meeting and that he had not been at the cottage, as the evidence was bound to confirm.

At the beginning I said that we also have a transcript now of the evidence of the interpreter, Anna Donnino. I will summarise the main points from her evidence but it will be apparent immediately that she contradicts much of what Knox and her supporters claim to have happened.

Donnino told the court that she had 22 years experience working as a translator for the police in Perugia. She was at home when she received a call from the police that her services were required and she arrived at the police station at just before 12.30 am, just as Knox said. She found Knox with Inspector Ficarra. There was also another police officer there whose first name was Ivano. At some stage Ficarra left the room and then returned and there was also another officer by the name of Zugarina who came in. Donnino remained with Knox at all times

The following points emerge from her testimony :-

    1. Three police officers do not amount to the “lots of people” referred to in Knox’s trial testimony, let alone the dozens and the “tag teams” of which her supporters speak.

    2. She makes no mention of Napoleoni and denied that anyone had entered the room to state that Sollecito had broken Knox’s alibi. (This is not to exclude that this may have happened before Donnino arrived)

    3. She states that Knox was perfectly calm but there came a point when Knox was being asked how come she had not gone to work that she was shown her own text message (to Patrick). Knox had an emotional   shock, put her hands to her ears and started rolling her head and saying “It’s him! It’s him! It’s him!”

    4. She denied that Knox had been maltreated or that she had been hit at all or called a liar.

    5. She stated that the officer called Ivano had been particularly comforting to Knox, holding her hand occasionally.

    6. She stated that prior to the 1.45 am statement being presented to Knox she was asked if she wanted a lawyer but Knox said no.

    7. She stated that she had read the statement over to Knox in english and Knox herself had checked the italian original having asked for clarification of specific wording.

    7. She confirmed that that she had told Knox about an accident which she’d had (a leg fracture) and that she had suffered amnesia about the accident itself. She had thought Knox was suffering something similar. She had also spoken to Knox about her own daughters because she thought it was necessary to establish a rapport and trust between the two of them.

The account in Knox’s book is in some ways quite compelling but only if it is not compared against her trial testimony, let alone the Interpreter’s testimony:  that is, up to the point when she implicates Patrick in murder. At that point no amount of whitewash works. The Italian Supreme Court also thought so, upholding Knox’s calunnia conviction, with the addition of aggravating circumstances.




Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Differences Between Micheli, Massei, Hellmann and Nencini Courts Pointing To Almost Certain Outcome

Posted by Peter Quennell





What are the biggest differences? In fact the Supreme Court already pointed them out: science, scope, and balance.

Judge Micheli, Judge Massei and Judge Nencini all have a very extensive criminal-case background. All three have handled many cases of murder, many cases against the mafia, and many cases involving criminal science. All three have remarkable success records and have hardly ever been overturned on appeal. 

Judge Hellmann and his court are the extreme outliers. Until forced into early retirement by the Council of Magistrates, he had been a (quite good) business judge. His one major criminal case, years ago, had led to a farcical outcome, and he was ridiculed for this at the time.

Cassation made it very clear that he simply did not reflect a knowledge of the precise Italian law on scope and balance at the appeal level, and that he mishandled the science. In fact, as he actually said, the reason he appointed two independent DNA consultants was that he was at sea on the science.

That left Judge Hellmann’s panel of judges like a rudderless ship, bereft of the kind of good guidance from the lead judge on science, scope, and balance that comes only from many years of experience.

Which, given a level playing field, the pathbreaking Italian system enforces competently like almost no other.

Above all as the Hellmann Report makes extraordinarily plain, his court came to be swayed by the CSI Effect, with the help of two tainted consultants and probably the irresponsible Greg Hampikian in Idaho.

The CSI Effect is a phenomenon very, very unlikely to happen in Judge Nencini’s court.  First, take a look at this good explanation of what the CSI Effect is in the Fox Kansas City video.



Many crime shows such as the BBC mysteries and the Law & Order series and spinoffs show investigators solving their crimes in the old-fashioned way. Lots of witness interviews and alibi and database checking, and walking around and loose ends and lying awake at night puzzling. And often there’s a big stroke of luck. 

But if you watch the very popular CSI Las Vegas series and its spinoffs in Miami and New York, and the various clones on other networks, you will see something very different indeed.

When those shows first began airing worldwide in the late nineties, the producers explained that audiences increasingly appreciate learning something new when watching a show, and it is true, one sure can load up on the trivia.

But you will also see the US equivalent of Dr Stefanoni and her forensic team in those shows, roaming far beyond the narrow crime scene, interrogating witnesses and checking alibis and finding a lot of non-forensic evidence, and even at times drawing guns.

Most unreal is that, time and again, the forensic evidence testing is clearcut and takes just a few minutes and instantly clinches the case.

  • There are several articles like this one and this one on whether the Casey Anthony jury was affected by a shortfall in the starkness of the forensics when the behavioral evidence seemed so strong.
  • There are several articles like this one and this one on whether the appeal verdict outcome in Perugia might be affected in the same way.
  • There are many articles like this one and this one and this one and especially this one saying there is a tough added burden on investigators and juries without a commensurate improved outcome.

With conviction rates declining in the US and Europe, professionals are taking a scientific look at whether the CSI Effect is one big cause of that decline.

At the macro level in the US this writer doubted that the CSI Effect is fatally unbalancing takes on the wider evidence. The same conclusion was reached in this first major study at the micro level.

But the belief in the CSI Effect continues. Articles like this one on an Australian site talk of a backlash against too many acquittals. Some articles like this one argue that maybe lay juries are out of their depths.

And judges and prosecutions are taking countermeasures.

In Ohio and many other states prosecutors and judges are acting against a possible CSI Effect in their selection and briefing of juries. And an NPR report came up with these findings.

Some states now allow lawyers to strike potential jurors based on their TV habits. Judges are issuing instructions that warn juries about expecting too much scientific evidence based on what they see on TV.

In the field, Shelton says death investigators sometimes run useless tests, just to show they went the extra CSI mile.

“They will perform scientific tests and present evidence of that to the jury. Even if the results don’t show guilt or innocence either way, just to show the jury that they did it.”

This is coming at a time when death investigators in America have no resources to spare. An investigation by NPR, PBS Frontline and ProPublica shows some states have already opted not to do autopsies on suicides, others don’t autopsy people who die in traffic accidents, and many don’t autopsy people who die over the age of 60.

But Murphy, the Clark County coroner, expects things to get worse.

“You know, we’re in budget cuts right now. Everybody’s in budget cuts. Las Vegas is no different than anybody else. We’re hurting. We’re going to feel that same crunch as everybody else,” he says.

One of Zuiker’s great disappointments is that, for all its popularity, his fictional Las Vegas crime lab didn’t generate more political support to fund death investigation.

“I’ve done my job. You know, we’ve launched three shows that cater to 73.8 million people a week and is a global phenomenon and the largest television franchise in history. We hoped that the show would raise awareness and get more funding into crime labs so people felt safe in their communities. And we’re still hoping that the government will catch up.”

None of the science in Meredith’s case has ever been discredited in court. Even in Judge Hellmann’s court the agenda-driven independent consultants Conti and Vecchiotti failed - and under cross-examination admitted it.

Also remember that the Hellmann court did not get to see two very key closed-court scientific presentations (the stark recreation of the attack on Meredith, in a day of testimony, and later in a 15 minute video) which had a very big balancing effect on the Massei court. 

Right now the reputation of not one defense-campaign stooge who has attacked the science remains intact.

Greg Hampikian has headed for cover. He had widely proclaimed that he clinched the Hellmann court’s outcome, in an act which may well have been illegal. Unsurprisingly, he is now trying very hard to hide his own claimed “proof ” of shortfalls in the science, as Andrea Vogt has been showing in her Boise State University investigation, and as we will soon post more on. 

Saul Kassin is another defense-campaign stooge who falsely claimed that he clinched the Hellmann court outcome by “proving” a false confession by Knox - in an interrogation that never even took place.

Despite all of this, maybe as straw-snatching, we can again see an organized attempt to confuse American opinion on the science of the case.

Whether she did this intentionally or not, that is what the PR tool Colleen Barry of the Associated Press was doing when she omitted that the trace of Meredith on the knife is undisputed hard evidence.

Judge Micheli and Judge Massei handled the science, scope, and balance with some brilliance. In all three dimensions Judge Hellmann fell short abysmally.

What is your own bet on the outcome under the exceptionally experienced Judge Nencini?





Parts of this post were first posted in 2011 after the disputed and much examined outcome of the Casey Anthony murder trial..


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Testing Of The DNA Sample Starts Today Though Possibly No Results Announced Before 6 November

Posted by Peter Quennell


1. ViaDellaPergola’s video

That video from 2010 illustrates how the existing positive tests described in the Massei Report were crystal-clear; subsequently Hellmann, Zanetti, Conti and Vecchiotti (all now being investigated) so muddied the water.

2. From our short-form Massei Report

This is from Part Three of the four-part abbreviation of the Massei Report done by Skeptical Bystander and a PMF team in mid-2011.

Exhibit 36: The double DNA Knife

Exhibit 36 is a 31 cm long knife with a 17 cm blade and a dark handle.  It was seized from the kitchen cutlery drawer at Raffaele Sollecito’s home, located at 110 Corso Garibaldi in Perugia, on 6 November, 2007 when Chief Inspector Armando Finzi was ordered to perform a search of Sollecito’s residence.  This exhibit is important because “Sample 36b” taken from a scratch on the knife blade yielded Meredith Kercher’s biological profile.

After putting on gloves and shoe coverings, Finzi and his team entered the home.  They noted a strong smell of bleach.  Opening the cutlery drawer, they saw a big, “extremely clean” knife.  In Sollecito’s bedroom they found a second knife.  The knives were bagged and sealed.[106]

Exhibit 36 was carried back to the police station, where it was placed in a box for shipping to the Polizia Scientifica in Rome.  Dr. Stefanoni was the recipient of the box containing the knife in Rome.  All parties testified that standard procedures were followed to avoid the risk of contamination.

On 4 November, 2007, Meredith’s roommates Filomena Romanelli, Laura Mezzetti, and Amanda Knox had been taken by the police to look at the knives in their kitchen at the apartment in Via della Pergola.  Personnel from the Questura reported Amanda’s “severe and intense emotional crisis, unlike [the reaction of] the other two girls”.[292]  This behavior was contrasted to Amanda’s behavior at Police headquarters two days earlier:

“This circumstance appears significant both in its own right and also when one considers that Amanda had never previously shown signs of any particular distress and emotional involvement (in the Police headquarters, on the afternoon of November 2, Meredith’s English girlfriends, Robyn Carmel and Amy Frost in particular, according to their declarations, had been surprised by the behaviour of Amanda, who did not show emotions).”[292]

Investigators’ attention was alerted to the Exhibit 36 knife because of Amanda’s inconsistent behavior.  Later, police overheard a jail conversation between Knox and her parents on 17 November, when Knox said, “I am very, I am very worried about this thing with the knife ... because there is a knife of Raffaele’s ...”.[292]

Exhibit 36 thus became a central piece of trial evidence.  The debate would subsequently be focused on two issues: The compatibility of the knife with the large stab wound in Meredith’s neck; and the reliability of the DNA analysis.

Considering the first of these points, although the knife blade is 17 cm long, the depth of the larger wound is just 8 cm .  This “discrepancy” was the basis of defense efforts to discredit the knife as a murder weapon. The compatibility of the Exhibit 36 knife and the larger of Kercher’s wounds is addressed by Professor Bacci (see p. 121 of the Massei report).    Professor Norelli maintains that “it is not said that a blade is always embedded (plunged into) the target right up to the handle; the blade may also go (in) only to a certain portion of its length, and not right up to its end”.[126] 

It is noted that the movements of the victim may have played a part in determining the depth of the cuts.  “If I insert a centimeter of the blade into the victim and the victim suddenly moves towards me, how much of the blade will be driven inside the body surface area is absolutely unpredictable and depends on the action of both”.[129]  Alternatively, the blade of the knife might have met an obstacle. The cutting action is described on p. 146 and again starting on p. 152.

Defense witness Dr. Patumi disputed the compatibility of the wounds with said knife, arguing that a blade of 17 cm length could not have caused a cut 8 cm deep; see p. 156-157.  However, the Court rejected “the thesis of the incompatibility of the most serious wound and the knife Exhibit 36”, holding this thesis to be “unacceptable” .[172]

Regarding the second point – that of the DNA analysis – Dr. Stefanoni was the responsible expert at the crime lab in Rome. Although no biological traces were visible to the naked eye on the face of knife blade, Dr. Stefanoni perceived scratches - “anomalies in the metal’ - on the blade when rotating the blade under strong lighting.  The streaks were:

“… visible under good lighting by changing the angle at which the light hit the blade, since obviously the blade reflects light and thus creates shadows, making imperfections visible.”[196]

Sample 36b was taken from one of these points on the blade.  The genetic profile of Meredith Kercher was identified from this sample. Stefanoni presented charts to the court, showing the DNA profile: she noted “that the peaks were a bit low, but that without doubt were still within the range that is considered useful for testing a specimen (page 108). Although of a much lower quantity of DNA, the profiles were nonetheless very present and, by making a comparison with Meredith’s profile, Dr. Torricelli reported that ‚we find all the alleles, and we find them to be equal to those obtained from the swab taken, from the sample taken from the wound. Therefore in this case too, without doubt‛ -she continued- ‚although we are confronted with a sample that contains very little DNA, it nonetheless contains the DNA of only one person and is therefore comparable to Meredith’s; with regard to this knife, I would say I have no doubt in interpreting it: specimen A with Amanda’s profile and specimen B with the profile, compatible with that of Meredith.”[231-32] However, the amount of DNA was small and it was all used up in order to run a single test.

The defense objected that it was impossible to evaluate whether the actual nature of Sample 36b specimen: 

“.. when we have a small amount of DNA we talk about low copy number DNA, and that when this type of DNA is present, we are indeed able to carry out our amplification and obtain a profile, but we must remember that we may have lost one of the alleles, we may have an allelic imbalance ... it becomes very difficult to distinguish from a real allele, so that when working on ...  small quantities of genetic material, it is necessary to be very cautious in interpreting the results.”[237]

To this point, Dr. Stefanoni argued that it is preferable “to know to whom a biological specimen is attributable, rather than ascertaining the nature of that specimen, without attributing it to anyone.”[288]

Furthermore, it was argued by the defense that the quantity of DNA was too low to be able to perform the tests and consider the results reliable.  Given a low amount of DNA, the risk of contamination is high - particularly given the very numerous number of samples being analyzed.
 
The court rejected the possibility of contamination because no anomalies were ever identified in the Polizia Scientifica’s analytical process. The Prosecutor pointed out that all tests had been carried out in the presence of a lawyer/consultant for the defense - who had raised no objections during the testing.  The possibility of contamination during the collection of evidence was rejected based on a detailed consideration of the collection process.

Thus, the DNA from Meredith which was found on that knife cannot be traced back to any contamination occurring in the house in which it was found, or to the method of acquisition of the knife on the part of Finzi, or even to the collection and dispatch methods used by Gubbiotti. In addition, as has been said, that such contamination could have been carried out by the laboratory is also ruled out.[266]

In addition, Dr. Stefanoni testified that she did have the biological profile of the defendants, but did not employ them while interpreting the electrophoresis diagrams. Nevertheless, the Massei report judges that:

“... the main criticisms advanced by the defense concerned precisely this very small DNA quantity, and it raised the question of the reliability of the result obtained.”[288]

To this central point, Dr. Stefanoni:

“Regarding the too low quantity of DNA, Dr. Stefanoni declared, as has been seen, that even in the case of a particularly scanty amount of material, the analysis and evaluation should be performed, and she added that, if the data that emerges is absolutely readable and interpretable and the correct laboratory practice was followed, the result is reliable and there is no reason to repeat the test.

“It does not follow ... that the data is unusable and unreliable as a consequence of a lack of repetition due to a lack of further quantities of DNA. It is necessary, instead, to take account of the data that emerges from such a specimen and to check for the – possible – presence of other elements, both circumstantial and inherent to the data itself that, despite the lack of repetition of the analysis, could allow an evaluation of the reliability of the analysis and of its outcome.”[289]

The court concluded that the biological profile that resulted from the 36B DNA analysis ...

“… gave a biological profile attributable to the person who was mortally wounded with that very knife: a result, therefore, that was entirely reasonable and consistent with the event; [it was] certainly not explainable as a mere coincidence, and it must be ruled out –according to what has already been observed in this regard - that it could have originated from contamination or from the use of a suspect-centric method.”,[290] and that

“…. it should therefore be affirmed that the analysis of trace 36B, which detected the presence DNA attributable to Meredith, appears to be completely reliable.”[293]


3. TJMK posts on the latest DNA science

1. Poster Fy By Night:  The Hellmann-Zanetti Appeal Court’s DNA Consultancy Looks Even Worse In Face Of The Latest Science

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

4. Sollecito tries to wind back the “pricked” claim

Our lawyer SomeAlibi recently explained how.

5. Andrea Vogt posts possible scenarios.

Scroll down to UPDATE OCT. 9, 2013 An excellent weighting of the possibilities.

The DNA could be Meredith’s, which would dramatically hurt thr defenses. It could be Rudy Guede’s, which would dramatically hurt thr defenses. Or it could be neither (or untestable) which would nt neccessarily affect the outcome. .


Thursday, October 03, 2013

Tomorrow Could See The Beginning Of The End Of The Rampaging “Public Relations” Campaign

Posted by Peter Quennell





Tomorrow the court probably wont touch directly on issues of Sollecito’s and Knox’s innocence or guilt.

Instead the court under a Supreme Court requirement will get into the myriad dirty tricks of the defenses, why such campaigns had to be run if the accused perps had no blame, how the mafia is infiltrating its way in, and maybe some hard evidence of real crimes.

The three shown above are of course defense lawyer Giulia Bongiorno, Judge Hellmann, and Francesco, Sollecito’s dad.

Bongiorno may have offered bribes for false testimony, tame judge Hellmann may have attempted to cover up evidence of crimes (those bribes), and Papa Doc may have been over-eager to get his son out of prison by any means fair or foul.

Except for Luciano Aviello’s photo, which has never yet appeared on the web, as he had that protection as a jailhouse snitch, we have had a pretty comprehensive series of posts about him starting back in June 2010. These seven are perhaps the most key.


Note that NOBODY knows exactly what the prosecution has up its sleeves. The FOA wannabees still don’t realize what a huge jump the prosecution has on them. It plays its cards very close to the chest.

Going back a very long time the prosecution appear to have set a number of traps. Back in 2010 it knew Hellmann’s presence at the appeal had been quietly organized by the defense. It knew that the Supreme Court understood that Guede could not have killed Meredith on his own.

And it knew that Aviello was a walking time-bomb and knew how to set him off.  And all of the three above seem to have unwittingly walked into that trap.

Of course there is no way that the court closes the book on Aviello tomorrow, because his own trial in Florence under the same prosecutor’s office is still going on. There is immense pressure on Aviello to come clean and not end up inside yet again.

All three above could be called to give testimony at his trial. And he could pave the way to all three facing trials of their own.


Wednesday, October 02, 2013

The Mafia Is Being Watched By Italian Law Enforcement For Role In Pro-Knox Anti-Justice Vilification

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above the two co-judges with lead judge Allessandro Nencini reading the case history]


Amanda Knox seems to have got herself into bed with some pretty unsavory chararcters.

Her ill-advised book with its bizarre new criminal defamations is being investigated in Bergamo for a special purpose.  Bergamo is Oggi’s headquarters city, and Oggi’s editor Umberto Brindani is said to have known affiliations with the mafia.

Knox’s book was gleefully excerpted in Oggi (see this post and this post) and interviews of Knox and photos of her have repeatedly been featured prominently.

And as we have posted previously, the mafia and their handmaidens strive constantly to bring the Italian justice system down a peg or two. When not using dynamite, as they often have, they especially favor the weapon of character assassination.

The vilification campaign being run in the United States by David Marriott, Chris Mellas, Doug Preston, Bruce Fischer, Steve Moore, Michelle Moore, Nigel Scott, and David Anderson (and from Italy by Frank Sforza) seems to be right out of the mafia playbook, whether all of them know it or not.

How the mafia have been using the public relations campaign to their own advantage seems set to emerge further in at least five of the associated trials coming down the pike: those of Luciano Aviello, Frank Sforza, Mario Spezi, Raffaele Sollecito (his book trial) and Amanda Knox (her book trial).

Sensible legal strategy for Sollecito and Knox in light of the appeal’s (unsurprising) narrow scope and all of these threatening black clouds on the horizon would seem to be to do an immediate u-turn.

Maybe admit now that the scenario of the attack on Meredith was not dis-similar to that in Update #10 in the post below this one, which summarises what the prosecution and Supreme Court still believe happened.

They may actually get themselves a few breaks. Today the Sollecito forces for sure and perhaps the Knox forces are at least meditating it.

The excellent Umbria24 is one of the huge majority of Italian newspapers and websites which are believed to have no known mafia affiliations. Here is a report on the requests made to the court for scope by the defenses and the prosecution.

We have translated this from the Umbria24 website.

Meredith, war of requests in the first hearing of the 2nd Appeal

The court has order a new test on the I trace and on the hearing of the witness Luciano Aviello. Rejected all other requests

By Francesca Marruco

After a little over 2 hours in its counsel chambers the Florence Court of Appeals has decided to ordered a new test on the (I) trace evidence of the knife seized in Raffaele Solecitto’s apartment, the weapon presumed to have been used in the murder.

The Court has also decided to hear the witness Luciano Aviello and rejected all the other requests of renewal of investigations presented by the defense. The Court returns on Friday with Aviello and the provision of the task of the new genetic analysis to the Carabinieri del Ris of Rome.

[The appeal] started this morning in the maxi courtroom no. 32 of the Florence Justice Courthouse, the new trial for the murder of Meredith Kercher, after the annulment of the acquittal by the Supreme court. Present in the courtroom was only Patrick Lumumba.

Absent, as expected, were the two accused Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. 

- 9:00 Francesco Sollecito, father of Raffaele,  says he is tranquil about the outcome of the new trial. Responding to the journalists, he specified “The statement of the Supreme Court is compromised by errors committed because the judges did not have full assess to all of the proceedings, as they themselves specified,”

- 9:45 The defense of Knox and Sollecito have asked for the exclusion of the Patrick Lumumba (civil) part because the conviction of Amanda for calunnia has already been passed into final sentence.

This request was opposed by the General Prosecutor Alessandro Crini, and the lawyer of Lumumba. For them the plaintiff’s civil right is legitimate, as the Supreme Court, has asked to re valuate the penalty, in order to obtain the impunity.

The Court retired in counsel chambers to decide and announced it wanted to decide today on the reopening of the investigation.

- 10:15 The court rejects the request of the defense of Knox and Sollecitto to exclude the civil part of Patrick Lumumba, because the Court specifies that, among other things, the offense was not assessed in the totality by the first court.

- 10.50 The President of Court of Appeals, Allessandro Nencini, is initiating the introductory report. Starting from the day of Meredith’s homicide. The judge traveled trough the most important passages of the three Courts. Speaking of the (I) trace, isolated by the consultants of the second Court on the knife (considered the weapon of the crime by the first Court) President Nencini said:” It necessary to underline that the independent consultants had found another trace but it was not analyzed”.

- 11:15 The President of the Court Nencini, at the end of the introductory report, said: “ This is a trial for matters of undeniable seriousness, beyond the spectacularization, there is the willingness of the Court to give all of the possible space for debate to all of the parties, because in origin there was a important verdict and the actions for which we proceed are of undeniable seriousness”

- 11.25 Raffaele Sollecito defense lawyer Giulia Buongiorno was the first to take the floor.

“Sollecito’s defense does not ignore the motivations of the Cassazione, and we are in favor of any kind of verification that the Court will order, with the following caveats. This proceeding has always been based on two types of evidences, the testimonial and technical.  We request that during this proceeding, we hope to be the last one, that the Court during the next hearings will concentrate only on the truly reliable evidences, putting aside the ones that are not nullified by the fact that it is a media proceeding.

Many witness have said things because they have read them or heard to them. So the proceeding was reopened,but not to collect this type of guesswork. We do not want to inflate this proceeding with new conjectures. We request to examine in depth the crime seen, as pointed out by the Cassazione.  In the crime scene room there are copious traces of two of the four presumably present persons, Rudy Guede that admitted to have been there, and none of the two indicted, except on the hook of the victim’s bra.

When the Prosecutor asserts that there are no traces because Amanda and Raffaele cleaned them, we think that it is impossible. For this reason we request to have a evaluation done in order to verify if it is possible to clean selectively”. “The Cassazione mistake has been that it didn’t noticed the entry in the crime scene room before the bra hook was found , so we request the acquisition of two reports. 

We want to understand if in a sealed place it is possible to get evidence even after the admission by the police of other searches .  We do not request to get the hook and to say that it is contaminated, I want to know if in that environment it was possible to collect some genuine evidences, because on the crime scene there were not ten traces of Raffaele but only that one”. 

A subordinate request by Giulia Buongiorno requests that experts , new ones or the ones of the second trial, will read the electropherograms.  Buongiorno requests even the analysis of both of Meredith Kercher cell phones that she consider the “black box” of the crime and that “ was never analyzed deep enough except from the Corte d’Assise di Perugia” The defense requests also the analysis of the presumed sperm trace on Meredith’s pillowcase.

- 12.15   Amanda Knox defense lawyer Carlo Della Vedova takes the floor and lifts up right away an exception to the Constitution.  “Are we today able to judge on matters that happened six years ago? Can a person be under proceeding for life? Are we sure that Amanda Knox is an accused as all the others. It is right for an indefinite postponement of this proceeding? For all of this I insist that the Court evaluate the constitutionality”

- 13.00 Kercher family’s lawyer produced a letter written by the family members of Meredith that read ”We are confident that the evidences will be reexamined and all the requests of more evidences will be granted, in a way that all the unanswered questions well be clarified and that the Court can decide on future way of action in this tragic case. The past six years have been the most difficult of our lifes and we want find an end and remember Meredith as the girl that she really was rather than remember the horror associated with her”.

-14.00 The General Prosecutor Alessandro Crini says he is against the request of the defense to hear anew from some witnesses, including Rudy Hermann Guede. The same judgment Crini used for the major part of the requests of the opening introductory presented by the defense. In conclusion, he asked for the the addition of the evaluation of the “I” trace, isolated by the independent experts, but never analyzed because it was believed to be a Low Copy Number. Furthermore the prosecutor asks that the witness Aviello be reheard.

-15:00 The lawyers of the civil part that represent the Kercher family adheres to the request of the General Prosecutor Crini, opposing the requests of the defense.  “ I – said the lawyer Francesco Maresca believe that one attempts to dress, with a new dress, evidence that are strong, resistant, and robust from the sentence of the first court and that where minimized by the second court. For example, the witness Capezzali.

Also there are newly dressed certain requests that are obsolete, that have already been done. Like the one of selective cleaning. In the bathroom next to the room of the crime, there were many mixed traces of DNA of Amanda and blood of Meredith. And if the genetic profile of Sollecito, besides the bra hook,  is present only mixed with that of, Amanda on a cigarette butt,  that was found; then how did it migrate, only that one,  from the cigarette butt to the bra hook”?

- 15:10 The defense of Raffaele Sollecito adheres to the request to analyze the “I” trace, but opposes that hearing the witness Luciano Aviello. Buongiorno also pointed out that it is not true that the independent experts of the second court decided automatically to not analyze certain traces, but did so in the presence of the defense experts Stefanoni and Novelli and those of the defense.  Carlo Dalla Vedova, for Knox defense said that Avelio will be heard only to demonstrate that the Police uses two different weights. Like when Avelio said he knew where the crime weapon was.

- 15.30 The Court retires in council chamber and announced that will not come out before 17.30

Thereafter the court convened again and the decisions were as outlined in the post below this one. Almost all of what the defense had argued - each of them a stretch if you know the full circumstances - was denied. 

And the two main requests from the prosecution - that Aviello be put back on the stand and the large knife be retested - were accepted. Ourcomes of these may or may not add to the strength of the prosecution’s case, but seem to offer no prospects of joy for the defenses.


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]


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]

 


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.


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. 


Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Questions For Sollecito: Did Your Father & Lawyers Pre-Approve This Rant?

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[Francesco Sollecito previously on Italian national TV trying to explain the weirdness of his son]


This is in response to your open letter to Italy’s TGCom website.

You are starting to sound eerily like the serial killer Ted Bundy in jubilant “catch me if you can” mode. Ted Bundy also thought he was the brightest guy on the block and the cops, prosecutors and judges were all a few bricks short of a wall.

Ted Bundy was of course caught, by smart cops, and put on trial, by smart prosecutors in front of a smart judge and jury. He made a terrible hash of his defence, he was unanimously found guilty, by a jury of smart peers, and he was made to pay his dues to society and the victims’ families - with his life.

You posted this to an audience in Italy which for the most part thoroughly dislikes you, when you are already in line for sentences that could cost you 30 years ranging up to life.

So. Did your father Francesco and your lawyers Bongiorno and Maori (and all of Knox’s people) give you the go-ahead for this seriously bizarre rant, or not?

Once upon a time, there was Amanda and Raffaele, she was an American student, studying languages and he studying Computer Science. They met at a classical concert and fell in love…  no wait like that it is too boring….Lets make it more intriguing, lets see…..I know!

The prosecution found a crazy drunk, and cocaine dealer, Kokomani, after a year the story becomes: Amanda and Raffaele met in August, no one knows how or when, and one day at a bar, where Kokomani would get drunk, Amanda’s uncle came from America, no one knows why or when, and introduces the fiancees ( about to get married, I would say at this point) to the ignorant (unknown) Kokmani (who maybe thought he was going to be the best man) it’s clear. UNDERLINING that he is Amanda’s uncle and the two young people are Amanda and Raffaele (famous at the time, after all)

Mmmm…...come on it’s not the best, but at least it is more interesting, it doesn’t matter that there is no confirmation to none of this, anyway it’s a movie, OK.  let’ s continue…..

Raffaele rents a house on Corso Garibaldi,  a five minute walk from Via della Pergola, where Amanda lives with three roommates, Meredith, Filomena and Laura. The two pass many days together, they cuddle, have fun, they have outings to towns close to Perugia, and a couple of times they have lunch at Amanda’s house with the other flatmates. They live enthusiastic days, smiling every time they look in each others eyes….. Halloween Day, Oct. 31 2007, Amanda goes to work at Patrick Lumumba’s pub, so Raffaele works on his thesis and late that night they meet up….. to be together as always, taking care of each other.

Uff! What a pain in the ass! Give this movie a bit of adrenaline, what the hell! O.K. O.K…...one day along comes a heroin addicted serial super witness brought by the prosecution who says that he saw Amanda and Raffaele in Piazza Grimana, by a small villa a few feet from via della Pergola, discussing vividly, no one knows what and no one knows what day, but it happened at 9:00p.m. to 11:00p.m. circa. It doesn’t matter that the night between the end of Oct. and beginning of Nov. was freezing cold, it doesn’t matter that Raffaele has a house where he can do what the hell he wants, but according to the heroin addicted serial super witness, the two were under the rain for three hours (if we are talking about Nov. 1, 2007) and the cold discussing who knows what, furthermore, the heroin addicted serial super witness of murders (who’s name is Curatolo) says that when he went back to Piazza Grimana the two contentious fiancees were no longer there and he saw the buses that go to the discos boarding the kids…..it doesn’t matter that the 1st of Nov. there is not a bus in this world because the night at the disco was on the night of Halloween, Oct.31, 2007…...for the Pubblico Ministero Giuliano Mignini, Curatolo was a credible witness. Even because heroin does not produce hallucinations while cannabis does.

In reality the two fiancees passed the evening and the night at Raffaeles’s house since it was free and they had an intensive week of commitments. The 1st of Nov. in particularly Amanda had to work at Patrick’s pub, but as the evening was not busy he did not need Amanda, and after a friend of Raffaele’s passed by to cancel an appointment to go to the bus station, suddenly the two fiancees had the night free and they passed the time watching the movie “il favoloso mondo di Ameliè”, then eating fish Amanda read Harry Potter in German to Raffaele and they made love all night…...

Il Giudice di Primo Grado, Giancarlo Massei took in full the version of the heroin addicted serial super witness tramp….. Come on Giancarlo we are still not satisfied! Come on! These two fiancees are cramming our balls!! You are all of us….

According to the reconstruction of Judge Giancarlo Massei, that sentenced Amanda and Raffaele to 25 and 26 years in prison, things went this way: Amanda and Raffaele after being 3 hours in the cold under the rain, the night of the 1st of November 2007, head toward Amanda’s house in Pergola street and go right away into Amanda’s room (a room that was smaller than Raffaele’s cell when he was in prison) and start making love to bother Meredith who was reading a book in the other room…doesn’t matter that more than 5 people had car trouble and were waiting for a tow-truck, in front of the house during that time, and they give testimony that nobody passed by

Sorry, but why didn’t Amanda and Raffaele go to Raffaele’s house that was free and nobody would have been bothered?.. .  Come-on! Why do you have to take into consideration this useless details, show us some firecrackers! Go Giancarlo!

Judge Massei continues: sometime during the evening, while the two were having sex in Amanda’s room, suddenly somebody knocked at the door… Amanda and gets up and gets dressed goes to the door and who does she see? ...Rudy Guede, a colored guy that didn’t know anybody except the guys of the lower floor and had met Amanda and Meredith one time but never in his life had he met Raffaele,. that urgently needed to take a shit.

But what?! What kind of plot is this? Where in the hell do you see that people go around knocking on doors because they need to take a shit?... Come on Giancarlo do not disappoint us! But judge Massei does not disappoint us…. Meanwhile Amanda opens the door to the poor black, victim of bewitched charm for Amanda, and goes inside to go to take a shit…. and Amanda as if nothing happen, goes back in the room and gets undressed again…

But why couldn’t Meredith go open the door while she was reading a book?..Oh, right! Otherwise Amanda loose the part of the main actress, sorry, you are right!

Practically , according to Judge Giancarlo Massei’s reconstruction the story goes on like this : while Amanda and Raffaele went back to have sex, Rudy Guede comes out of the bathroom, after listening to some songs on his ipod, he is overwhelmed by the SEXUAL VIBRATIONS that Amanda and Raffaele were relishing in the house hallway and the house room….

WTF Giancarlo, this is tough shit! Not even Dario Argento could come up with something like that…. “SEXUAL VIBRATIONS”....WTF you are a genius!! Give me five!...but the good part has still to come: when Guedé smells the SEXUAL VIBRATIONS, all of a sudden he is possessed and decides by all means that he has to have sexual intercourse with Meredith.. and ventures in her room and, being rejected, because poor soul he is ugly, Raffaele and Amanda get into the action and at that point dont help Meredith who is their friend, but, to the contrary and unexpectedly, they help Rudy Guede to rape Meredith and than finish her up cutting her throat…

All three had knives: Rudy has a past as thief, he used to burglarize offices and apartments with the same “modus operandi” that he used to get in in via della Pergola, moreover he has been captured while sleeping in a kindergarten in Milano with a knife in his bag.  Raffaele had always a little collector knife in his pocket: never mind that he never used it to hurt anybody in his life, there are no traces of anybody else on his little knife ….Amanda… and Amanda?  Judge Massei says that she used an enormous kitchen knife got from the “looser” Raffaele’s house and put it in her purse…. why?? because…YOU NEVER KNOW (a 15 cm knife can be always useful …).. Massei says.

But the poor Meredith was a small build girl, her wounds are not that big and that knife would have gone through the neck because of how big it is… there isn’t blood on that knife nor Meredith’s DNA because the analysis of the scientific police are completely unreliable , not having being compelled to observe the international protocols.  There are no bleach traces. What the police says are hypothesis never proved .

Come on, details! But there are no traces of Amanda and Raffaele on the crime scene, there are only Guede’s, everywhere.  How it is possible that they were cleaned, were are the traces of the cleaning??! Come on do not break our nuts! This is just details, let me see this movie!

What about that little bra hook? There are 5 different profiles…all on the iron part of the hook, nothing on the tissue: it has been found 46 days after the “polizia scientifica” swept the crime scene, and meanwhile even the police swept the scene with no anti-contamination precautions and put upside down the all apartment. There isn’t Raffaele profile on that hook: if that mix of traces is properly read you can find anybody’s DNA

Do you want to stop with these bothersome things?!! Lets finish to see this movie!! Massei concludes: we don’t know why Amanda and Raffaele choose to kill Meredith, but we have to accept their choice. THE EVIL CHOICE. Probably under the influence, because they didn’t despise her, taking into account that they said that they smoked a joint… unfortunately nobody tested to check if Amanda and Raffaele used heavy drugs or were in the habit of binge drinking. WTF! Great job! You weld The Exorcist and Lethal Weapon!! Giancarlo you are my idol!!!!


Sunday, June 23, 2013

A Summary Of The Cassazione Ruling On Annulment Of The Knox-Sollecito Appeal

Posted by Machiavelli (Yummi)



[Above and below: justice-themed artwork in Cassazione; motifs are used all over the world]

Introduction

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).

I had posted a summary of the recourse at the Cassazione by Prosecutor Generals Dr. Galati/Dr. Costagliola that demanded to annul the appeal verdict here, and a summary report from the March 25.-26 hearing, when the prosecution recourse was won at the Supreme Court here. 

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.

The first half of the report is a summary of judicial events and arguments made by the parties through the previous instances.  The second part basically dismantles all the points of reasoning of the Hellmann-Zanetti verdict, without spending too many words for each one of them. 

A premise about the concept of legitimacy judgment

The second part is introduced by an explanation about what a ‘legitimacy judgment’ is, about its scope and boundaries. The Court is called to assess 1) whether the judges of merit indicated reasons for their decisions, and 2) if reasons are logically argued and legally founded.

The meaning of “logically argued” is that the Court shall verify that the lower judge actually did take into consideration the evidence included in the trial file (“principle of completeness”), and if reasoning is consistent with them, and with the law. The Court – being a ‘court of legitimacy’ [decides on legitimacy of the process that lead to conclusions, not on the merit] – does not assess directly the existence or the quality of the pieces of evidence, but may well assess the quality of reasoning about it and its actual consistence with the evidence in the file.

So the legitimacy judges within their boundaries are not prevented from assessing whether the lower court followed logical criteria, meaning assessing if arguments used by the lower courts are plausible, as well as if their reasoning is ‘complete’ and truthful with respect to the evidence file.  The Supreme Court is also allowed to access the evidence trial documents for the parts that may conflict with the verdict conclusions.   

The Court states that the present case is obviously based on circumstantial evidence, but points out how circumstantial evidence is not less powerful or logically less valuable than direct evidence.

While remaining within the boundaries of the legitimacy judgment, the Court notes anyway that at first sight in the Hellmann-Zanetti verdict there is an obvious “parceling out” of the pieces of circumstantial evidence.  This means a lack of assessment also of each piece of circumstantial evidence, since the judge failed to check whether the possible flaws and lacks in the logical value of each single piece of evidence could be filled by crossing them and taking in account the whole set of them. 

The Court also notes however that the judges’ conclusions also openly contradicted some of the pieces of evidence: they neglected or ‘overlooked’ them in some cases, or dismissed some pieces on which the previous reasoning was based without offering adequate reasons. Moreover the pieces of evidence were also not “adequately elaborated”, and the pieces of reasoning about them were “not coordinated”.

The Amanda Knox calunnia

Reversing the order of topics from the Galati-Costagliola recourse, the Court deals first with the charge of calunnia for which Knox was convicted twice [obstructing justice by accusing a person who you know is innocent] (p. 41-44), since on this topic there is a converging of all recourses and unanimity by all judges. The appeal court had dismissed a possible link between the calunnia and the murder charges, but the explanation provided for that appears obviously illogical.

The Hellmann-Zanetti scenario - by which, they say, Knox may have voluntarily accused an innocent man just because she was pressed by investigators, thus for a purpose totally independent from the intent of obstructing the investigation on the charge of murder – is argued in a way that conflicts with and neglects the actual evidence documents.
 
While Hellmann-Zanetti argue solely based on a police interrogation scenario as if the false accusation was an event confined within it, the Cassazione does not see Knox’s calunnia as a single event nor as a behavior limited to the situation of the interrogation, but rather as a prolonged behavior extending over a time of many hours and days (perduranza in atteggiamento delittuoso).  Basically Knox goes on implicating Lumumba repeatedly, and she repeatedly provides false evidence, such as through her hand-written note – where she stands by what she declared – and by her subsequent behavior.

The Court also observes the evidence file contains evidence that was overlooked by Hellmann-Zanetti indicating Knox was aware that Lumumba was innocent, such as the recording of prison dialogues with her mother, where she says she feels guilty for having accused Patrick – a feeling of guilt implies an assumption that he was innocent. 

So the appeal court made mistakes because they lacked inference from pieces of evidence, mainly neglecting to argue elements like the discussion with her mother,  her written memoir including the repetition of pieces of false testimony and her court admissions that she wrote her memoir voluntarily. 

It points out (p.42) that Knox albeit young was a “mature” person – meaning she had an adequate cultural level and education and would be able to regain control of herself afterward even if she had suffered a coercion or a moment of emotional breakdown.  Knox would be basically able to understand the gravity of her declaration over a period of time.

If only one single event, such a false accusation caused by pressure, breakdown and stress could have been argued – in the abstract – in the way Hellmann-Zanetti did, considering the calunnia as a choice resulting from an episode of emotional breakdown, but the Hellmann-Zanetti reasoning neglects the actual documents and is not fit to explain the persisting and repeated false testimony. 

The Supreme Court reminds that ‘information about commission of a crime’ can be derived also from the interrogation of a police suspect, even from information released by a suspect who had not be read their rights under Art. 64, even from statements that are not usable for lack of defensive rights, and even that in the event the interrogation is to be nullified.

In all these cases the suspect commits a calunnia whenever he/she voluntarily and falsely accuses someone to defend himself/herself (so there can’t be any consequential link between the legal status of the interrogation, and the charge of calunnia or the collecting of information about a crime).

The Cassazione also points out that the Hellmann Zanetti rationale is illogical when it states that “the easiest way out” for one guilty “would have been to accuse the real author of the crime”. The inference obviously does not consider that she may be herself among the real authors of the crime (especially since she lived there and had access to the scene of crime). 

The Court also points out the failure to properly address the importance of the details contained in the Knox false testimony (the detailing of this is in subsequent chapter). 

The crime scene staging

The Cassazione accepts the Prosecution General point of recourse complaining about the failure to consider the evidence of staging a burglary, and says the recourse is “founded”. The pieces of physical evidence suggesting a staging are not satisfactorily argued or refuted by Hellmann-Zanetti.
 
The Hellmann-Zanetti appeal court also argued in favor of the “lone perpetrator scenario” by introducing some assertions which are unacceptable since they openly “collide” with the trial documents or are unfounded. Basically their reasoning was hinging on elements such as speculations about Guede’s personality, they introduced allegations like a purported habitual burglar profile, not backed by any evidence.

On the other hand they bring in arguments – like that about a glass shard in Meredith’s room – which have zero implications in their scenario (because they are equally good to argue in favor of a staging).

They should have argued – in favor or against – about evidence of burglary/staging based on the assessment of the pieces of physical evidence found on the scene, like argue against Massei’s reasoning about the ones mentioned in the first trial, say why it was not good. On the other hand the break-in scenario, as described by Hellmann-Zanetti, is affected by “multiple logical ruptures”, details are not explained consistently.

Moreover – the Court says – a scenario involving the issue of burglary/staging should be argued based on the overall evidence about Rudy Guede, meaning a scenario involving the whole of what he had done, like explain all the traces that show his movements, for example the trail of bloody shoe prints showing that he left the murder room straight away.

There are aspects of the reasoning that are ‘tautological’ (circular and begging the question).

The Hellmann-Zanetti reasoning on the same point is also neglectful of part of the file sources (is based on a ‘partial access to information’), for example it overlook testimonies concerning wounds on Guede’s hands, dismissal of glass on top of items. To sum up, the rationale employs inadequate inferential principles and incorrect information. 

Man in the park Curatolo’s testimony

Hellmann-Zanetti had dismissed the testimony of Antonio Curatolo.

Their statement about the reliability of Curatolo is totally ‘censurable’, since it is ‘apodictic’ [assumed as a premise ‘true in advance’ without explanation], and not based on thorough analysis of the data. In particular when they state that he tends to confuse days dates: such assertions are both unfounded and illogical since conflicting with the testimonies of himself and of others witnesses. The Court does not assess the reliability of Curatolo as a witness, but notes that the reasons brought by Hellmann-Zanetti are unacceptable.
 
The possibility to explain elements of the testimony by mistake of date by the witness, so placing his testimony possibly on Oct 31. is conflicting with the other evidence, namely the testimonies showing the defendants were elsewhere on the 31st. Moreover the elements used for the argument are logically weak compared to the strength of the elements showing Curatolo correctly “anchoring” his testimony to real events.

Then the lower court introduced – as further basis of reasoning – assertions in order to ‘jump’ across the whole of Curatolo’s testimony: they based their conclusion on the asserted “decaying intellectual faculties”, on his use of heroin, and on his modus vivendi.

However they do not offer any element of evidence about the alleged mental decay, they fail to show this through analysis of his testimony, and in fact they completely fail to analyze the actual content and consistence of his testimony (lack of “completeness”).  The use of heroin and his modus vivendi (as a “bum”) is also not acceptable as a reason for dismissing reliability of a witness, this would be an arbitrary judgment that violates the principles of witness assessment. 

Since the witness was very assertive, consistent and felt certain about his testimony, the court would need a logically strong argument – based on some other finding or certainty – in order to dismiss his reliability (dislikes about his lifestyle or disproven speculations about date mistakes are not).



Shopkeeper Quintavalle’s testimony

The Court pretty quickly dismisses the Hellmann-Zanetti conclusions about Quintavalle, on grounds that they are based on a ‘cherry picking’ and twisting of information from the documents, basically they misinterpret and neglect to consider the actual content of the Quintavalle’s testimony. 

In fact the summary description of Quintavalle’s testimony that was offered by Hellmann-Zanetti is basically a misrepresentation based on incomplete parts of the testimony and overlooking of others, and flatly contradicts the content of actual testimony (it is not what Quintavalle and witnesses actually said).

It is not true that Quintavalle remembered about recognizing Knox one year later, documents show that he was sure about her identity from the early investigation – the Cassazione quotes some of Quintavalle’s statements where he remarks her circumstances and features. 

Hellmann-Zanetti reported some bits of information in a fragmentary fashion without taking into account the explanations of Quintavalle and the answers he actually had given through the investigation.

The appeal court should have analyzed the whole of what the witness actually said, and crossed the statements with the existing information, instead of selecting cherry- picked bits and pinned on them a meaning out of context. 

The Cassazione is not interested in assessing the reliability of the witness Quintavalle, but they find “intolerable” that Hellmann-Zanetti give a false picture of the testimony, in a way disjointed from the true content of the trial documentation.

The failure to consider implications of Knox’s memoir

The Prosecutor General was right in blaming the Hellmann-Zanetti court for neglecting to evaluate the hand written note written by Amanda Knox as a piece of circumstantial evidence. The appeal court dismissed the memoir as useless on the sole basis that it does not have a substantial meaning (actually: that it did not represent the truth). 

But this argument is insufficient (and circular); it is also ‘structurally’ inconsistent because the same Hellmann-Zanetti court used the very same note as a piece of evidence in the calunnia charge, and cannot be logically linked to pressure because she wrote it alone on her own initiative and not during an interrogation.

The Court details the content of the note pointing out that in the hand written memoir there is a repetition of some of the details from her previous ‘spontaneous statements’, which are now only set in an oneiric [dream-like, surreal] frame (they ‘seem unreal’) but yet they are the same peculiar details from the false accusation.

The Court also highlights the new ‘sibylline’ [ambiguous and threatening] accusation by Knox against Sollecito (remembering blood on his hands, but probably from fish).

The next appeal court will need to build some actual arguments to explain these features, taking in account that – as for Hellmann-Zanetti – she wrote that while she was fully capable to understand and without any pressure from authorities.

The contradictory nature of the appeal court reasons on this point is ‘obvious’.           

Failure to consider judicial files from Guede’s definitive sentencing

The Court spends a bit more than one page to explain why the prosecution recourse is correct in their complaint on this point as well.  In fact Hellmann-Zanetti did accept the Guede verdict as a piece of circumstantial evidence, but argued that that piece was ‘particularly weak’.

However, the problem is that in reality they did not assess it at all in order to come to that conclusion, but they rather just completely ignored the whole content of the Guede verdict reports.

The court is not authorized to dismiss a piece of evidence which they formally entered without assessing it, just on ‘in limine’ reasons. Therefore the decision openly ‘violates the law’ (p. 55).

The Rudi Guede verdict motivations theoretically might be found ‘particularly weak’ as a piece of circumstantial evidence, but it can’t be ruled ‘particularly weak’ on the reasons declared by Hellmann-Zanetti. 

The appeal court did not try to argue the logical passages of the Guede verdict in order to assess it and explain why conclusions were weak, instead they decided to ignore it, not based on the analysis of its content but instead based on the legal nature of the document.  This is a patent violation of the law, and a conflict with the trial documents.

Thereafter the Hellmann-Zanetti court steered the discourse onto the alleged ‘habitual criminal’ profile of Guede (an interpretation based on speculation) without explaining the reasons for building a scenario about Guede so far-fetched compared to the findings in the trial’s files about Guede.
   
Moreover the appeal court adds a further, false and illogical argument when they state that, even if Guede was proven to be guilty of concurring with others, this does not have implications for Knox and Sollecito at all because those accomplices could have been other people.  The alleged lack of implication is false under logic, because determining that Guede acted together with others would additional information on the crime, which could be crossed with other information (such as about who had access to the apartment etc.).

The Court also remarks that the trials had found and explicitly declared Guede innocent of the crime of burglary, and the appeal court also fails to deal with this in their alternative scenario.

The appeal court also failed to consider other information from the findings of the Guede trial, and explicitly contradicted it without justification, for example they neglected to consider how the courts had determined through multiple witnesses that Guede actually did not have any injury on his hands on the night after the murder [Guede had cuts on his hand, but many days later, not the night after the murder]. 

Declarations of Rudy Guede at the Knox-Sollecito appeal

There is an open violation of the law in the Hellmann-Zanetti motivations, in the particular statement where they assert that Guede’s declarations in the courtroom were unreliable for the reason that he refused to undergo a questioning.
 
The reason brought by Hellmann-Zanetti to rule unreliability is illegitimate when referring to the specific declarations of Rudy Guede in the Knox-Sollecito appeal, and legally not true.

First, the Cassazione notes that the decision to refuse a questioning pertaining to a crime is within the rights of a witness who is implicated in the same crime. If the witness decided to invoke this right, the courts and the parties are bond to enforce it and limit their questions within topics unrelated to the crime,  and under the law, no conclusion about reliability/unreliability can be drawn solely from the witness’s decision to refuse to answer about a topic in which he was implicated as a defendant.

No court could conclude that a witness is unreliable on the sole ground that he enforces his rights.

Moreover, preventing an interrogation of the witness on such topics is just a duty of the Prosecution and the Court, not a ruling ‘in favor’ of the witness (and co-defendant).

The Prosecutor General had summoned Guede to testify only about the topic of things he said during conversation with inmates and letters he wrote from prison, and since the witness invoked his right as an ex co-defendant the Prosecutor General had the duty to enforce the limitations on his questioning.

It was the Sollecito-Knox defence attorneys who attempted to place questions directly on the topic of the events of Nov. 2, 2007, and they asked Guede to confirm the content of his letter directly pertaining the Kercher murder.  The defence asked him to confirm if one particular statement of the letter he wrote was true, and the statement of Rudy Guede confirming his Knox and Sollecito implication and accusing them of murder was only in response to this, stemming from the defence question.
 
The declaration of Rudy Guede might be considered irrelevant as a piece of circumstantial evidence; and the witness might be assessed as unreliable by a court, but this cannot be done based on the illegitimate grounds brought by Hellmann-Zanetti. You cannot have, as an argument for unreliability, the fact that Rudy Guede chose the legal option of not undergoing a questioning about the murder. 

The Cassazione also notes how the Hellmann-Zanetti report details some of Guede’s declarations in order to argue for his unreliability. However the cited statements from the Skype conversation with Giacomo Benedetti are used by Hellmann-Zanetti just to build an illogical argument: they say Rudy should have logically indicated the true culprits in that call, the fact that he does not accuse them is an indication that they were not there.

This argument is flawed (besides contradicting the very same claim about Guede’s unreliability). The Cassazione sees the weakness of reasoning about the Skype call as ‘symptomatic’ of the lack of logical consistence of the appeal court on the topic of Rudy reliability, and it also reveals that the criteria they are following are not compatible with logic.
 
The appeal reasoning is also contradictory on further points, as Hellmann-Zanetti consider some declarations of Guede ‘reliable’ without logical reason - like about the timing of death, where the appeal court considers Rudy’s statement reliable without considering that he had an obvious logical interest and an attitude of misleading the accusations by providing details that were conflicting with evidence. 

Paradoxically, had the Hellmann-Zanetti court followed the same criteria on other declarations, they should have considered Guede’s declarations ‘reliable’ when he says “Amanda is not implicated”, as well as when he says - talking about Sollecito -  “I don’t know, I think it’s him” . The appeal court did not follow the principle of completeness and they did not consider these. 

The Hellmann-Zanetti report also fails to consider that Guede was assessed as ‘totally unreliable’ by his trial judges (they could have used such finding in documents to argue unreliability of his statements instead; if they had only read the Guede verdict). In other words they worked inconsistent arguments out of on an incomplete set of data. 

The refusal to listen to the whole testimony of witness Luciano Aviello

The appeal trial was procedurally flawed also by the refused to call Luciano Aviello before the court again, as he was supposed to complete what was left out of his testimony. 

Luciano Aviello was called as a witness by the court in accepting a defence request; after his hearing, during the course of the trial, new elements emerged – new witness declarations – that created a necessity to put some further questions to the witness. 

The Hellmann-Zanetti court refuse to call back the witness to complete the questioning, despite that he had already been accepted as a witness by the same court. So the witness was basically prevented from completing his testimony.

The Cassazione does not argue about the reliability of Aviello as a witness (nor about the relevance of his testimony) but points the finger against the inconsistency of Hellmann-Zanetti’s ruling, which causes their decision to be illegitimate.

The refusal to call back the witness to complete his testimony at a second hearing was manifestly inconsistent, since that violates the principle of completeness (once you call a witness, you need to be ready to listen to all that he has to say).

The court’s decision was “unacceptable” (p. 58) also because it was based on arbitrary criteria – as Hellmann-Zanetti said “another hearing of the witness is not indispensable” on the ground that minutes of his interrogation were entered in the file: the decision violates the principles of usability of documents and the rules of witness hearing.

The appeal court completely ignored the reasons for and the new content of the topics Aviello was to be questioned about, and did not assess them. Instead, they violated articles 511, 511bis and 512 of the procedure code by ‘replacing’ it with non-usable minutes of his interrogation. 

The judgement of ‘non-indispensable’ was also unfounded, manifestly so compared to the importance of the topic which referred to the explanation and completeness of Aviello’s testimony. A plot concerning a secret agreement in order to offer false declarations in court is obviously a topic with some relevance.

There is also a violation of the principle of confrontation, because Aviello was a defence witness and the Prosecutor General had the duty of carrying on an assessment of the witness within the appeal trial by cross examination (Hellmann-Zanetti’s decision allowed only the piece of testimony that could be favorable to the defence, and they cut off the part that could be unfavorable).

The motivation is also incomplete as Aviello is ruled ‘unreliable’ a priori because of his retraction (which Hellmann-Zanetti apparently considered reliable) and irrelevant as a piece of evidence without actually listening to the content of his testimony, to what he had to say.

The testimony of Aviello could not be ‘cut off’ that way and could not be considered unreliable a priori without listening to it.


The re-framing of the time of death

The Court devotes four pages to explaining how Hellmann-Zanetti’s reasoning about re-location of the time of death is illogical. 

The appeal court refused to anchor the timing (and further features, noises etc.) of the screaming, to the time frame offered by two witnesses, Nara Capezzali and Antonella Monacchia. They also dismissed the testimony of Mrs. Dramis. Instead they accepted the defence idea of determining the time of death based on the statements by the ‘unreliable’ Rudy Guede. They put the time of death in relation to the phone calls, around 9pm.

As for the Cassazione, such an argumentation path is woven through with ‘conjecture and illusions’ (p. 61). The bases chosen for inference are devoid of any factual validity, as opposed to the elements of evidence which were discharged, which are instead extremely relevant.

The Hellmann-Zanetti report refutes the elements (testimonies of Capezzali, Damis, Monacchia) with arguments which are riddled with obvious, multiple inconsistencies [like the claim that a half-an-hour error would make the testimony unreliable, or that Nara’s looking unsure between the dates of Nov. 1. or 2. makes the scream attributable to something else, as if she was used to hearing blood-curdling screams every other day and as if the Monacchia confirmation testimony didn’t exist]. 

So the Hellmann-Zanetti rationale dismisses as ‘unreliable’ or ‘useless’ some very relevant and consistent testimonies (from witnesses they declare ‘credible’), while on the other hand, it accepts as ‘reliable’ a dictum by Rudi Guede and builds a theory of the time of death on it - despite the defence itself having pointed out how Guede was totally unreliable and was also very able at changing and twisting every detail of his story, all the time and on any occasion, from the earliest stages of the investigation. 

The Cassazione states - without any possibility of question – that it is manifestly obvious that things Guede consciously stated on the Skype conversation could never be used as the main credible source to build an inference about the time of death.

Moreover the Court points out that in fact the appeal court cherry picked just one statement by Guede, regarding the time of death, and considered it ‘credible’, while neglecting to note how within the same Skype conversation Guede also made a number of assertions about Knox

These included statements that place evidence against Knox and Sollecito. While in the same conversation Guede says “Amanda was not implicated”, he also states that Amanda was in the house; he states remembering that in Romanelli’s room the window appeared intact, and denied having broken it, he inferred that Knox and Sollecito must have done it; he also assumed that they must have altered the scene of the crime and the victim’s body; he also said he thought the man he saw was probably Sollecito.

The Hellmann-Zanetti court simply neglects to consider and deal with the whole information from the Skype call, which they instead elect to reliably source solely regarding Guede’s declaration about the time; so – besides illogicality in the unfounded dismissal of other testimonies – their method of processing information violates completeness and consistency.   

The appeal court is also extremely weak where they try to fill the logical gap by drawing further inference from Meredith’s phone records. The attempt to link a mistaken phone call with the time of death is simply inherently implausible, a wrong call is a trivial event and there is no reason to make such link; also the delay by Meredith who did not call her mother again within the next half an hour is a trivial element which doesn’t have a specific implication upon the time of death.
   
The worst Hellmann-Zanetti did on this topic is the downplaying and underestimation of the testimonies of the three witnesses – Capezzali, Monacchia and Dramis.

In fact Capezzali described the scream in detail, picturing it with a number of features - “harrowing“, “unusual”, “long”, “isolated” – and stressed its uniqueness and added additional information about noises (gravel path etc.) unequivocally linked to the cottage, she made clear that she never heard something similar before.

Monacchia was even more precise about the timing, since she went to sleep at 10.00 pm and slept for a while; Dramis came home back from the cinema at 10:30 pm. Their timings converge in placing the timing of an isolated scream later than 10:30 pm.

On the basis of Nara Capezzali’s testimony, it is absolutely unreasonable for the appeal court to assume that Nara could confuse the scream with the usual other “noises” of “junkies”. 

Dramis as well referred to having been awaken by some noise of a kind she never heard before. Hellmann-Zanetti ruled out the time frame offered by the testimonies of Monacchia and Dramis for no reason except that they gave their testimony one year later; this is a totally insufficient and illogical reason.

As for considering Rudy as a reliable source, instead it is acknowledged that Guede was obviously lying and following a pattern of behavior/strategy of providing a flow of false details to muddle investigation.
 
The Court adds that neglecting the importance of information about the scream seems even more stunning when you consider the fact that the scream coincides with a detail that was mentioned in an early testimony of Knox [and even in declarations of Guede]. 

The court appointing of new experts and their management

This point may be the most interesting because it is the only topic on which the Supreme Court doesn’t agree entirely with the Prosecution General.

The Prosecution’s complaint was ‘partly’ correct about objecting to the legitimacy of the appeal court appointing new experts.

The point of recourse is founded insofar as the appointing was insufficiently motivated in the rationale: the reason expressed –  basically addressing just the judge’s lack of scientific knowledge –  is inconsistent, and also inadmissible because it violates the principle of non-delegation of judgment. 

However, the judge’s decision of appointing experts itself should supposedly always be based on assessments of the merits of the evidence. The Cassazione cannot decide on the merits, so the decision about whether more expertise is necessary or not, which was supposedly taken based on the evidence available, is an exclusive competence of the judge of merit and the High Court can’t discuss it. 

The absence of consistent motivations for the appointing reveals an insecurity of the appeal court about the evidence, which they (rightly or wrongly) attributed to incomplete information.  However, the peculiar way the appeal court subsequently managed the experts is censurable.

The experts decided to not test the new DNA sample, despite the fact that the amount was 120 picograms [so much more than ‘5 picograms’ as declared by Vecchiotti in court, ed.], on an arbitrary decision by only one of the experts, on the ground that it was a ‘Low Copy Number’. Such a decision – itself unlawful – was subsequently subscribed to by the appeal court.

When the Prosecution General and consultant Prof. Novelli requested to go on testing the sample, since it was perfectly possible to do so, the court denied, arguing on the false assumption obtained by misquoting Novelli as saying the required techniques were “in the experimental phase”.

This was a misquote, a misinterpretation of a statement by Novelli, and the Court finds it to be false in the documentation: Hellmann-Zanetti incurred a gross misrepresentation of reality as they called the new technology “experimental”  and “unreliable”.

Beside this false claim, it was on principle unacceptable that the expert Carla Vecchiotti refused to carry out a test, and that the judge accepted such a decision.

The expert’s decision violated the judge’s previous ordnance, because the written order said that they must require the court’s opinion before taking any decision, not after; the judge’s change also violated their own ordnance, because it withdrew from the previous tasking. 

The modus operandi of the court therefore was to let an expert make decisions about their own mandate, based on their own judgment about the subsequent value of their finding in court.

But the experts had no authority to reduce or re-frame their own mandate, it is not up to them to preemptively decide whether their finding is reliable or not and anyway they cannot refuse to accomplish an order or to bring a finding into court; no matter if their finding is unreliable as a piece of evidence, they have to bring it anyway to court discussion, and its value will be determined through court discussion.

Hellmann-Zanetti were incomplete on documenting Novelli’s positions which were expressed during the experts’ testing and are in conflict with the Vecchioti-Conti decisions. They could have chosen Vecchiotti’s positions, but only after having dealt with the arguments expressed by the other side too.

The decisions by which Hellmann-Zanetti managed the experts’ work is also in violation of the principle of equality and the right of all parties to bring evidence, since they ordered a perizia [experts investigation] but then they prevented it from being fully accomplished: they only allowed the research activity by which the defence was seeking evidence, while they prohibited those activities requested by the accusation parties.   

Once they ordered new scientific tests, the order should have been completed without any a priori unjustified preclusion. Their unbalanced modus operandi was an alteration of the evidence information set, and a violation of the law (p.66), and cause their motivations to be manifestly illogical.


The DNA evidence

The appeal court passively accepted the new experts’ conclusions, while ignoring the opinions of the witnesses Novelli and Torricelli. Their arguments had a comparable degree of importance, and the witnesses had at least the same degree of expertise and authority than the judge appointed experts.

As the judges chose to believe the conclusions of some experts in disagreement with others, they are not obligated to demonstrate themselves that such conclusions are true, but nonetheless they are required to report the arguments made by the other side and they need to deal with them in a reasoning. 

This is especially necessary if the expert witnesses have a great expertise and credibility, at least comparable to that of the judge-appointed experts. 

Hellmann-Zanetti accepted the C&V report entirely and passively, without confronting it with the opposite arguments and objections. Such procedure is illegitimate, since objections and arguments were not even mentioned.

The Casssazione recalls, among the not-mentioned and not-dealt-with arguments, that Prof. Novelli had calculated a probability of misinterpretation of the alleles on the bra-clasp; and Dr. Torricelli analyzed the Y-haplotype on 17 loci and found no match except Sollecito. 

Novelli also testified that recommendations and protocols do exist, but the operator’s competence and common sense in scientific assessment is more important. He also said that the researcher should be always allowed to depart from standard procedures when single situations suggest so.

The judge-appointed experts themselves ruled out laboratory contamination. Novelli analyzed 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. 

Also Dr. Stefanoni testified that the knife was tested 6 days after an alleged contaminating and Vecchiotti confirmed that the time interval would lead to rule out laboratory contamination.

Hellmann-Zanetti also ignored or twisted information regarding the crime; it ignored the finding that no instance of Sollecito’s DNA was found on the scene as a possible contamination source despite may environmental samples; the High Court labels as false – going by the evidence file - Hellmann Zanetti’s statement saying that “everybody had walked around into the house”. 

Also Cassazione notes that deterioration of an evidence scene due to time would normally cause a loss of DNA information, not an appearing of new information not found elsewhere.

So Hellmann-Zanetti did not take in account nor cite a huge part of the credited opinions and information; the total failure to mention such a major chunk of information by Hellmann-Zanetti makes their judgment about the topic illegitimate, and shows their ‘unacceptable’ modus operandi. 

However the most surprising point of Hellmann-Zanetti – in the Cassazione’s view – is their uncritical accepting of the theory that contamination is “possible”, without linking the scenario of likeliness of contamination to any factual finding or datum. They actually built an axiom on a straining, a cherry picking and a falsifying of information.

The Court also reminds how Novelli testified that, in order to have a plausible scenario of contamination, you need to prove the existence of a source, of a vehicle of it. 

They note from the documentation that negative control did exist, and that Vecchiotti & Conti were ‘superficial’ in assuming they did not exist just because they were not included in the technical report.

The Supreme Court then points out that: 

(1) the collection of items was performed correctly contrarily to Hellmann’s suggestions, all activities of collection and laboratory tests were done before the eyes of defence experts, the environments were not contaminated, and the defence experts that were assisting did not raise any objection, they complained about things only much later;

(2) the arguments and explanations dr. Stefanoni subsequently gave were not adequately refuted;

(3) the picture of correctness in procedure causes the burden of proof in order to claim likeliness of contamination to rest squarely on the shoulders of those who claim it.

The law does not admit to set out the reasoning from a sheer “falsification” paradigm (meaning: it is wrong to assume that the prosecution has any burden to demonstrate the absence of contamination). Such an assumption would make it impossible to collect any piece of circumstantial evidence or do any scientific test at all.

The argument that the evidence should be dismissed as unreliable because contamination is ‘possible’ is totally illogical. You can’t dismiss pieces of evidence on the ground of a mere ‘possibility’ (or we should dismiss all pieces of evidence collected on all cases).

An alleged contamination event needs not to be only ‘possible’ (everything is possible), it needs to be ‘credible’. In order to consider if contamination was likely on a specific instance, some factual evidence of the specific causal circumstance is needed. 

To bring a claim about ‘contamination’, while you don’t need to actually prove that the event of contamination occurred, you do need to prove a factual and scientific datum that would cause that specific contamination event to be ‘credible’ (probable).

In order to claim a contamination likely occurred, pointing at issues about professionalism of forensics is not enough. The factual existence of a specific ‘vehicle’ of contamination needs to be proven [like presence of a source, evidence of contamination in other results, explanation of the dynamic etc.]. 

To refute the scientific finding you need something much logically stronger than a complaint referring to ideal practice and protocols and the absolute generic concept of ‘possible’.  The claim about a fact such as a specific instance of contamination requires ‘factual’ circumstances and data, ‘specific’ and ‘real’.

Analysis of prints and other traces

The objections by the Prosecution General on this topic are correct.  The appeal court motivations manifestly lacks logical rigor in multiple instances.

The Court cannot object about the attribution of the bathmat print since the topic is strictly in the merit. But the implied scenario where Guede’s left shoe comes off after he walked on the pillow is implausible: it doesn’t explain why an Adidas shoe would come off, and it doesn’t reconcile with the evidence documentation.

Guede using the small bathroom to wash himself, and then locking Meredith’s door, is in conflict with the trail of shoeprints only showing him walking straight out. It makes no sense to assume that he lost a shoe just because there are blood prints of the right shoe alone. 

About the luminol foot prints, it is implausible to assume that those prints were left on some other occasion, since – in the Court’s view - luminol basically indicates blood (and in no other circumstance could someone produce such a set of prints in blood). The Cassazione notes that the Massei scenario to explain the footprints was far more plausible, and Hellmann-Zanetti bring no reason to refute it.

The scenario described by the first instance trial court was also more complete, since it was able to connect the dots on several other details, including the ‘mixed traces’ of blood in the small bathroom, on the light switch, etc.

The only argument brought by Hellmann-Zanetti was the absence of Sollecito’s DNA from the blood/luminol stains. For the rest it was an “apodictic” assumption, so that they did not deal with the logical points that were made on the first instance.     

The declarations of Ms. Knox

The Hellmann-Zanetti verdict was ‘critically’ flawed, as claimed by the Prosecution General, also on this point. This topic area falls into the big picture of parceling out of the pieces of evidence which was done by the appeal court.

The Supreme Court notes that Hellmann-Zanetti just assumed that there was no circumstantial evidence in Knox’s declarations, but they falsely implied that it was about behavioral and emotional evidence. Instead it was about Knox’s revealing a knowledge of details from the crime scene. 

The Court mentions some of Knox’s statements conflicting with evidence and testimonies: she told Meredith’s friend of having found the body, she said it was before ‘a closet’, that it was covered, that Meredith had her throat cut and that she suffered a great blood loss. The first degree court reports Knox saying she didn’t see into the room, that she was far away in the corridor when it was opened.   

Hellmann-Zanetti fail to mention this set of elements or clues, and they also neglect to consider the issue of Amanda’s phone call to her mother in the middle of the night and subsequent calls.

The Cassazione observes that Knox was unable to ‘remember’ the 12:47 phone call and did not explain its content; but Hellmann-Zanetti mistakenly considered such a phone call as occurring ‘at the same time’ of Sollecito’s calls to her sister and to the Carabinieri. In fact – the Court notes – Knox called her mother three minutes before Sollecito called his sister, she was first person to make any phone calls.

So Knox’s ‘downplaying’ of her phone call – her suggesting a total vague content, a sense of confusion and nothing important – and the early time of it, are not considered details worth of mention by the Hellmann-Zanetti court, and they are not put in relation to Knox’s inside knowledge about details of the crime (if she didn’t know anything at all, why does she call her mother to express vague confusion, worried about something she doesn’t know?).
 
What the Court finds objectionable is that Hellmann-Zanetti simply made assertions and steered on, talking about the subjective emotional reactions, without confronting any logical argumentation made by the lower court, and they failed to do anything to demolish the first instance reasoning. 

Final indications

The Hellmann-Zanetti verdicts are annulled. The new appeal court will have to fix all the critical legitimacy flaws pointed out following the Cassazione indications.

The new appeal Judges will have to assess the pieces of circumstantial evidence in a global an unitary way, to assess whether the relative ambiguity of each piece of evidence can be overcome by the overall system between them.

The result of such an assessment will have to lead to a decision not only about the presence of Knox and Sollecito on the murder scene, but also about their possible roles in the crime, and to decide among an array of possible scenarios: from a premeditated intent to kill to possible scenarios that may involve a non-premeditated decision to murder as a departure from an original plan to have a non-consensual sex game, or involve a forced sex game that run out of control, or a similar situation.

The recourse submitted by Knox on the point of her conviction for calunnia is rejected. All points of recourse 1-10 by the Prosecution General are accepted, the appeal trial is annulled on grounds of manifest illogicality, inconsistence and violation of law for all conclusions of acquittal; instead, the conviction for the charge of calunnia stands, but the denial of aggravation in finding it not-linked to the murder is annulled.

Knox is condemned to pay the legal expenses sustained by the State and by Lumumba. If found guilty, Knox and Sollecito will have to pay also the expenses sustained by the Kerchers. 


Considerations arising from the report

My final thoughts. Since the appeal verdicts were annulled, the legal situation is that Knox and Sollecito stand currently convicted in first degree and awaiting the appeal, which they had launched against their convictions. 

They had already got a fair trial, before a court presided over by Massei; now they are appealing the verdict in a Florentine court. An appeal – under the Italian criminal procedure – can take the shape of a new trial – usually, partly – and so open again sessions where witnesses are heard and evidence are entered. 

However, in many cases this doesn’t happen, and the appeal doesn’t look like a full trial. Anyway, even if the trial phase is re-opened,  what may look like a trial de novo is in fact only an extension of the previous one; meaning: the trial de novo in fact doesn’t start from scratch, but starts from the documentation already existing and incorporates the previous proceedings. 

The main piece of documentation now incorporated is the 2013 Supreme Court verdict.

Whatever appeal court deals with the Knox-Sollecito proceedings,  they will have to set it within the guidelines, limitations and indications established by the Cassazione.

The Cassazione has dismantled and declared illegitimate all the procedural points by which Hellmann-Zanetti had come to verdicts of acquittals on the charge of murder. This shows how the appeal judgment was obtained only thanks to a dreadful series of procedure errors. 
 
Unfortunately, actually not all errors in the Hellmann-Zanetti rationale could fall under the radar of the supreme court.  The appeal court didn’t make only legitimacy errors, they also committed obvious mistakes in the merit of evidence assessment (and, not even all legitimacy issues were actually brought to the attention of the Supreme Court of Cassazione). 

Examples of mistakes in the merits by Hellmann-Zanetti:  they attributed the bathmat footprint on two unproven assumptions:

(1) The first was that the person who left it must have got his foot wet with blood by walking on a hard, flat surface smeared with blood; an obviously unfounded assumption, actually proven false since there was no hard flat surface covered in blood where anyone had walked (blood got on the murderers feet from soaked towels).

(2) The second – idiotic – ‘reason’ was the observation that Sollecito’s toe in the sample print looked more triangular (!) than the bathmat print’s (it is actually obvious that any object would leave a print with slightly more rounded shape on the bathmat compared to the sample paper, since the bathmat is a soft surface). 

Another one was the claim that the pattern of footprints in luminol could be found in any apartment and be produced in any innocent situation (in a non-blood substance) but somehow they ‘forgot’ to mention what kind of likely substance that could be, and what plausible dynamic - except shuffling on rags or mat – could have produced them. 

Flaws in the rationale and procedure are surreal, like maintaining that Knox’s written memoir is not evidence that she lied because its content is false. Or appointing experts to test DNA samples, then refusing to test the sample despite it’s being more than 120 picograms.

Even kids could spot the obvious logical errors on evidence assessment in the Hellmann-Zanetti rationale. 

The refrain of factual errors and legitimacy/procedure violations is so serious that I can hardly believe any Magistrate of the Republic can make such errors in good faith. 

Despite the sophisticated and formal language,  as you may have understood from this summary, the Cassazione arguments are actually very simple. In fact the errors were very clear and obvious from the beginning - to quote PMF poster Popper “even a child would notice them immediately”  - that in fact the Supreme Court looks like pointing the finger at a naked emperor.
 
The present Cassazione ruling does not leave any realistic hope for Knox and Sollecito to be acquitted on appeal. They have a right to appeal under Italian law. Though their appeal, when carried on within the rules and principles of law, looks – like most appeals – basically desperate.

Their actual chances of being acquitted by a Florentine court look essentially zero, because the court won’t be allowed to employ the key arguments and the path of reasoning followed by Hellmann-Zanetti to come to an acquittal verdict; all these logical tools are illegitimate, and hardly any judge could fix them,  nor come to a ‘not guilty’ verdict by following other logical ways. 
 
The only positive legal outcome in realistic terms for Knox and Sollecito now consists in seeking leniency or lesser charges based on claiming minor roles, maybe even by attempting to accuse each other.

Either that or testifying to the truth, seeking mitigating factors like psychological state and age, or showing remorse.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Amanda Knox Trainwreck: On Top Of Everything Else It Seems The Book Is Financially A Huge Flop

Posted by Peter Quennell





Bizarrely, Amanda Knox might have run into a bit of luck.

She will be able to point at upcoming court events to the fact that this seriously nasty and thoroughly dishonest blood-money book fooled a lot lot less book-buyers than had been hoped.

In The Week Andrea Vogt quotes confirmed publishing industry figures to show sales so far are a mere FIVE PERCENT of what was hoped. The book is not selling anywhere in Europe now. 

Even in the US, Publisher’s Weekly said the memoir “underwhelmed” and was “slow out of the gate”. As of last Friday, it had lost 30 per cent of its sales from its debut week, falling back to No. 5 on the non-fiction hardcover bestseller list despite Knox conducting dozens of interviews in the hope of boosting sales.

It was hard not to conclude that the more the interviews, the more the sales seemed to drop. They sure sent a lot of new readers over here. Knox has yet to do even one interview that is a clear win, and a lot of offputting jubilant ego has been creeping in.

The publishers would seem to be down $1 million to $2 million or more, and Knox and her people have probably received in the publishers’ advance all the royalties they are going to see.

Andrea Vogt is the first and still the only English-language reporter to describe the most serious (Bergamo) complaint. Did nobody think to take into account Knox’s new legal liabilities and possible large fines and defamation awards?

Bob Barnett has sounded a bit besotted by Knox. A siren call that many have come to regret. We could accept that she needs help, but failing her in due diligence is the worst possible kind.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Contrary To Reported Claim By Amanda Knox There Is Zero “Wave Of Defamation Suits”

Posted by Peter Quennell





No defamation suits have begun. But actually it is WORSE. And Knox would be suicidal to leave her story unchanged.

Bob Barnett and Ted Simon and anyone else presumably trying to give Knox good advice might like to take note. Canada’s National Post is reporting this:

Her book, which earned her an advance of almost $4-million, also risks inflaming Italian public opinion, offending the nation’s judges and triggering a wave of new defamation actions by the police and prosecutors she accuses of framing her.

“People asked me if I would change the book and I said absolutely not … I am not going to change my story just because someone is threatening to sue me but I mean … it sucks. It sucks and it sucks.”


Defamation, slander and libel refer to private, personal, civil suits against other persons who tell a malicious untruth. Knox and Sollecito are not (or not yet) facing anything like that.

Each through their unwise books and interviews has sparked a single investigation by a Chief Prosecutor (in Florence, Verona and Bergamo) into whether they are in contempt of court.

Those who would seek to undermine the due process of the Italian justice system and the proper functioning of the courts (very, very rare now) in this or the associated Monster of Florence case seem to include all of the following:

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

None of them are simply pro-Amanda. All of them have hidden agendas, and all are already under the eye of law enforcement. Fighting institutions that make the public safe can make for strange bedfellows.

It has also especially in Italy led to powerful if usually latent ways to push back. 

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

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

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

They esentially have no further role themselves except to provide true testimony in court.

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

Knox and Sollecito both seem to have point-blank accused a number of officers of the court of crimes. In Deputy Prosecutor General Mignini’s case, he has been accused by both of them. The most serious:

  • By Sollecito of offering an illegal deal to make him sell out on Knox. Both Mignini and Sollecito’s father categorically stated that this was a criminal lie.

  • By Knox of illegally interrogating her about Patrick with no defense lawyer present. But the trial record shows Mignini was not even in the room.

These seem to be about as open-and-shut as contempt of court cases can ever get. “Sollecito and Knox, did you make these false claims or not? Yes or no?”

If the answer is yes, they’ll lose any criminal case in the blink of an eye. Thereafter many private or civil defamation suits can be expected.


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