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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Updates: Sollecito’s Trial For Vilipendio And Diffamazione, Knox’s Trial For Calunnia #2

Posted by Peter Quennell

Knox and Sollecito have each been indicted in Florence BY PROSECUTORS on charges that bear no resemblance to UK or US slander or libel cases.

They are each essentially charged for lying to poison public opinion against officials, and Sollecito against the system, to try to win themselves illegal breaks at their murder trial and appeals. Knox in court in 2009, and Sollecito in his book in 2012.

The weekly magazine Oggi is also on trial for jubilantly publishing some of Knox’s numerous lies. 

Yesterday in a Florence court a new court translation of the passages from Sollecito’s book fully quoted here were accepted by the presiding judge. They differed little if at all from what the prosecutor filed last year and brought the defenses no joy. Right now both the defenses seem stuck.

And on June 9th the calunnia trial against Knox will start in a Florence court. It would be smart for her to be there, as Sollecito usually is. As mentioned above, Knox is already indicted.

It is not clear who her lawyers will be. Sollecito had to field a new team. Ghirga and Dalla Vedova both helped Knox with her defamatory book and with her defamatory email to Judge Nencini in December 2013 in which Knox ludicrously claimed she had been tortured (for the mundane truth read here) and like Bongiorno and Maori they could feel they have conflicts here.

On June 16 Dr Mignini will testify in the Oggi trial in Bergamo north-east of Milan where Oggi is based against the editor Umberto Brindani and the reporter Giangavino Sulas for publishing illegal claims made in Knox’s 2013 book.

At that hearing Knox’s book may finally become the subject of charges on the same lines as Sollecito’s book. Italian legal opinion is not supportive of the pair or the sleazy moves that led to Cassation giving them a break

That break looks increasingly temporary now. Sollecito could face big fines and Knox could face up to six years. Brighter bulbs would have realized it is best not to confront Italian courts.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Knox Interrogation Hoax #18: The Final Pre-Trial Opportunities Which Knox Flunked

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

Image of Judge Micheli who presided over the hearings that remanded Knox to trial.

1. Overview Of The Interrogation Hoax Series

In Post #1 there’s a long summary of what various courts concluded in sentencing Knox for calunnia to three years. 

All 17 posts prior to this one are linked-to there. The first twelve posts cover the key parts of the trial testimony and evidence from investigators for the events at Perugia’s central police station on 5-6 November 2007.

The next six including this show how Knox failed to convince numerous magistrates at many hearings that she was ever interrogated or abused or made to lie. For the most part in fact she did not even try. 

2. The Six Pre-Trial Opportunities Which Knox Flunked

The previous five posts and this one cover the six hearings from late 2007 to late 2008, any one of which was a big opportunity for Knox. She could have been released if the evidence was weaker and the arguments of herself and her legal team stronger.

Knox blew all six opportunities. The judges were Claudia Matteini, Massimo Ricciarelli and two others, Torquato Gemelli and four others, and Paolo Micheli (this post). A total of 10 judges, and Dr Mignini. After the first two, one of Knox’s lawyers walked off the job.

Those ignorant of the reports of these hearings (all but one newly translated for this series with the Micheli to come) often demonize the prosecutor, Dr Mignini, as somehow taking a harder line than all those judges.


Read all of the reports and in fact every one of those judges took a harder line than Dr Mignini who worked very hard to be fair. His early version of the attack on Meredith was of an almost accidental death with sexual humiliation in the course of a hazing.

This went out the window, and all of the judges without exception adopted a harder position - that Knox’s anger had spiraled over Meredith’s difficulties with her, and a barbaric 15-minute torture-attack resulted in Meredith’s death which may have been premeditated in a timespan between minutes and days.

Judge Matteini, Judge Ricciarelli, and Judge Micheli (see below) all flat-out warned that they considered RS and AK to be dangerous to others and that they needed to be kept locked up pending trial.  Judge Gemmelli and other Supreme Court judges endorsed this.

Typically Knox was constrained by her lawyers to say little or nothing.

They were already wrestling to try to wind back the three problematic statements she demanded to make on 5-6 November - mainly by changing the subject and aggressively attacking Guede. 

She was allowed to be questioned by Judge Ricciarelli and she herself volunteered to be questioned by Dr Mignini three times, but her performances were shaky and erratic and once she seemed to break down in tears.

There was little or no hint of the inflammatory claims which cost her three years which Knox came up with when she had to take the stand mid-2009 to try to defend her framing of Lumumba.

3. Micheli Hearings September and October 2008

This Sky News report describes how prior to the Micheli hearings Knox’s lawyers seemed pretty desperate to change the subject.

Valter Biscotti and Nicodemo Gentile said they wanted Guede’s trial to be separate from that of Knox and Sollecito because they feared a pact against their client. Mr Biscotti added: “We feel the urgent need to have our trial heard independently of the other two suspects.

In recent weeks a lot of poison has been spread by the defence teams and we feel the necessity to find some form of serenity in a separate hearing.  That’s why we have asked for a fast-track hearing just for our client and we want that hearing as quickly as possible.  At this hearing we will prove that our client has absolutely nothing to do with the tragic death of Meredith Kercher.”

On 16 Sept 2008 Judge Micheli accepted the Guede team’s request for a fast-track trial and as the rules require moved all of the hearings behind closed doors.

A fast-track proceeding is closed to the public, unlike a full trial. It will be held before the same judge, who is expected to issue the verdict at the time he decides whether to indict Knox and Sollecito. The rulings are expected next month.

Judge Micheli had mountains of investigative reports and physical evidence to plow through. He heard witnesses in four hearings (with Meredith’s family present at several) on the DNA collection, on the character of Rudy Guede, and also on the three defendants acting menacing outside their house, which he heavily discounted.

Late on 28 October Judge Micheli issued a 17-page ruling which includes almost no mention of Knox implicating Patrick. He convicted Guede of murder and sexual assault, and sentenced him to 30 years. He also ordered Knox and Sollecito to stand trial on charges of murder and sexual assault.

As the UK Guardian and many other media reported, Judge Micheli assessed Knox and Sollecito as being dangerous. 

The suspected killers of Meredith Kercher were refused transfer from jail to house arrest last night while awaiting trial for her murder, because of the danger that they might flee and kill again.

After 12 hours’ deliberation in Perugia, the judge, Paolo Micheli, said there was a “concrete possibility” that Amanda Knox and her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito would run off if freed from prison.

In a written ruling to lawyers, he said he believed the murder of the British student was not premeditated, but the likely “absolute disregard” shown by Knox and Sollecito for the victim’s life meant they would be capable of murdering again….

Turning down their request for house arrest yesterday, Micheli agreed with prosecutors that more than one person took part in the sexual assault and murder, dismissing claims that the 47 bruises and knife wounds on Kercher’s body could have been made by a single attacker.

He upheld the testimony of a neighbour who heard more than one person fleeing Kercher’s house, adding that while footprints there might not definitely belong to Knox and Sollecito, they did indicate more than one attacker.

He stood by forensic evidence indicating Kercher’s and Knox’s DNA on a knife found at Sollecito’s house which investigators suspect is the murder weapon, and ruled Sollecito’s DNA on Kercher’s bra strap as reliable evidence.

On 30 October Judge Micheli was interviewed. No sign in this that any claim of unfairness to Knox was on his radar.

4. Apparent False Claim Of A Statement By Knox

Bearing in mind that these hearings were all behind closed doors, none of the Italian and English-language media reports including those of the New York Times make any mention at all of Knox testifying or answering questions. Nor do the books of Sollecito or John Follain.  We are still checking with Italy to make sure.

To jump the gun on the series a bit, a probable non-statement by Knox morphed in Knox’s 2013 book into this heated claim below, which we have already been told, based on court transcripts and Judge Micheli’s immediate 17 page report, was definitely not what was said, if anything, in court.

On October 28, the final day, I got to speak for myself. Since the judge understood English, I stood up without my interpreter and tried to explain what had happened during my interrogation. I told the judge that I hadn’t meant to name Patrick or to cause confusion but that the interrogation had been the most brutish, terrifying experience of my life. I’d been exhausted to begin with, and I had gotten so scared and confused that it was as though I went out of my mind. My interrogators told me that they had evidence I’d been at the villa, that Raffaele was no longer vouching for my whereabouts that night, that I had been through such a horrible trauma, I had amnesia. “I believed them! I’m innocent!” I cried.

Posts #1 to #12 have shown that Knox experienced no “brutish, terrifying experience”. Trauma was inflicted only by Sollecito and then by Knox on herself. With high confidence, we can conclude that as so often in her book Knox was simply making this up. So much for Linda Kulman’s fact checking.

5. The Micheli Sentencing Report Of January 2009

Finally three months later Judge Micheli issued a sentencing report of about 100 pages. While it has still not been fully translated we did summarise it in four posts here.

In the Italian original (which is equally firm to harsh on all three defendants) it is quite graphic about what the physical evidence says of the callous role of Knox and Sollecito in the torture-attack.

Judge Micheli does note how often Knox and Sollecito help to destroy one another’s stories which numerous witnesses confirmed helped to spark Knox’s conniption and framing of Patrick.

There is no mention at all of Knox taking exception to her “interrogation”.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Those Pesky Certainties Cassation’s Fifth Chambers May Or May Not Convincingly Contend With #1

Posted by Cardiol MD

The Italian Supreme Court is in the background

1. How Overload Can Overwhelm The Checks And Balances

The Italian Supreme Court (SCC) has 396 Judges in Rome and elsewhere.

Because of the enormous pro-defendant tilt in the system, the SCC hears about 80,000 appeals a year - more than all other Supreme Courts in the rest of Europe combined.

The SCC operates in panels, typically of 5 justices; that scales to about 4 appeals/panel/workweek, or about 1 appeal/panel/workday. A huge workload impinging on carefulness and promoting distraction and exhaustion.

Even with a law-clerk infrastructure, and the most ingenious exploitation of human concentrated-attention-span, highly questionable outcomes such as that for Meredith’s case would seem inevitable.

The four SCC judges panels (2008, 2010, 2013, 2015) which have ruled on various issues arising as Meredith’s murder case inched its way through the Italian legal system have been composed of different judge-combinations, with different skills, different knowledge, different education, and different experiences.

In many cases high-tech issues are an integral part of the evidence before the courts. This requires the enlistment of expert opinions because the judges may not be versant in the relevant high-tech issues. All sides, the defence, the prosecution, other interested parties, and even the judges, can cherry-pick experts for hire, who often use brazen sophistry to persuade the judges in the experts’ favour.

These facts may help to explain if not justify the unexpected conclusion of this current SCC judges panel which is now drafting the Motivazione.

2. Circumstantial Evidence And The Italian Requirement For Certainty

Near the start of the 2015 SCC hearings Judge Bruno, one of the 5 members of the Marasca SCC-Panel, was quoted as having said that the trials had “not many certainties beyond the girl’s death and one definitely convicted.”

As we await this particular Motivazione intended to explain its decision, we will review the Massei Motivazione, the Nencini Motivazione, and the several past SCC rulings to establish what do constitute the certainties - of which in fact as Italian law defines them there is actually a large number.

In order to be classified as Circumstantial Evidence in Italian Law an evidentiary circumstance or fact must be true to the level of being a certainty. Note that this rule does not supersede BARD, it applies only to the the acceptance of individual items of evidence as circumstantial, so it can mislead and confuse authors and readers.

As will be noted below, under this Italian requirement the unverifiable RS/AK broken water-pipe story can not be classified as pro-defense Circumstantial Evidence. Therefore it cannot legally be argued as corroboration of the excuses of Knox & Sollecito, including their mop claims.

Sollecito’s father, Dr. Francesco Sollecito, did say that RS had mentioned the alleged-leak of Nov. 1st, 2007, in the father’s 221 seconds, 20:42:56 call of Nov.1st, 2007.  Hellmann/Zanetti bought into this story, discussing it in their Motivazione.

AK is quoted by Nencini as referring to the alleged-leak in her testimony, but neither Galati nor the 2013 Hellmann/Zanetti-annulling SCC panel mentioned the alleged-leak. All seemed aware that there was no certainty.

3. An Explanation Of Why This Will Matter So Much In Future

In 2013 the SCC itself annulled most of the Hellmann-Zanetti verdict in part because there was an obvious parceling-out of the pieces of circumstantial evidence and a lack of assessment of each piece of circumstantial evidence. Hellmann-Zanetti had failed to check whether the possible flaws and lacks in the logical value of each single piece of evidence could be resolved by cross-checking them and taking in account the whole.

Have the SCC judges themselves now made this same mistake? It is especially at this level that informed legal analysis in Italy of the pending SCC Motivazione will concentrate, future books on the case will concentrate, and the final degree of legitimacy will be established.

Given the peculiarity that the case was not referred back down to Florence for adjustment, worries at this level especially could be driving the very obvious nervousness of all of the defense counsels, shushing and restraining their clients in the presumed hope that the SCC judges really can square the circle and achieve legitimacy.

4. Certainties And Certainly-Nots In The Circumstantial Evidence

1. Fracture Of Hyoid Bone?

The SCC-Panel for Guede’s Sentencing (English Translation) wrote on Pages 4-5:

c) The body presented a very large number of bruising and superficial wounds – around 43 counting those caused by her falling – some due to a pointed and cutting weapon, others to strong pressure: on the limbs, the mouth, the nose, the left cheek, and some superficial grazing on the lower neck, a wound on the left hand, several superficial knife wounds or defence wounds on the palm and thumb of the right hand, bruises on the right elbow and forearm, ecchymosis on the lower limbs, on the front and inside of the left thigh, on the middle part of the right leg, and a deep knife wound which completely cut through the upper right thyroid artery fracturing the hyoid bone, a wound which caused a great deal of bleeding from the vessels of both lungs.

This caused a haemorrhagic shock and asphyxiation by the presence of blood in the respiratory passages, an exitus [decease] placed at around 23:00 of Nov. 1 by the forensic pathologist.

The emphases are mine. The knife cut through the hyoid bone rather than fractured it (in the English version it should say that it severed the hyoid bone; this is a translation issue). A Certainly-Not then.

The wound certainly did not cause any bleeding at all from the vessels of either lung; this is not a translation issue. This is a factual error in the original Italian Sentencing Report. A Certainly-Not then.

(This shows how the SCC-Panel Reports are not infallible. Unfortunately the Marasca Panel will have to dredge-up some past, fallible SCC-Panel Reports in order to explain its own reasoning.)

2. Two Knives?

Massei Translation p377: “There must necessarily have been [405] two knives at the scene of the crime.”

Certainly! There were 2 major, penetrating knife-wounds into Meredith’s neck; one entering on the left-side, and one entering on the right-side, which was made by a pocket-knife of the size Sollecito customarily carried. The latter wound could not have been made by whatever knife entered on the left-side. Therefore 2 knives were Certainly used.

3. Single Blow?

Massei Translation p 371 ”…a single blow was apparently halted by the jawbone…”

Certainly Not.

The statement that a blow could be “apparently halted” by Meredith’s jawbone is at best a figure of speech, and the quotes of Prof Cingolani on page 152 of the Massei Translation clearly indicate that any cause and effect inference from the phrase “apparently halted”, “did not…. have elements of certainty to establish” it was “stopped by the jawbone.” Prof Cingolani “did not, however, have elements of certainty to establish that the blade which had caused the wound 4 centimetres deep had stopped at the said depth because [it was] stopped by the jawbone.”

Maybe there is a Judicial, translational, or typographical glitch and “by” the jawbone should have been “near” the jawbone. Skin is soft and bone is harder but there is no way that the knife striking the jawbone or hyoid bone would halt the knife in this case, they would just roll with the blow, depending on the angle of attack.

Furthermore, contact between the knife and jawbone or hyoid bone would not mark the knife because living-bone is softer than the knife. When your pet gnaws on a non-living cow-bone, neither the bone nor your pet’s teeth can bend; both your pet’s teeth and the bone can be broken, and the bone gets scratches on it because it is still softer than the teeth, but your pet’s teeth do not get scratches on them, because they are harder even than the non-living bone.

If someone is stabbed in the back with a kitchen carving knife, penetrating ribs on its way to the heart, the knife may have no scratches at all, nor show any signs of damage caused by that action. Any implication in the statement quoted above that stabbing Meredith’s neck with enough force to penetrate the layers of her neck and then strike bone would have the effect of signs of damage to the knife-blade, is a mistaken implication.

It is an old rule of materials-physics that a softer substance cannot mark a harder substance. [To some people this may be counter to their intuition, so I have passed it by an eminent MIT physicist, and he agrees with me that the knife blade would certainly not show signs of damage caused by the stabbing in this case.]

4. SMS Message?

It is Certain that at 20:18:12 on Nov.1st, 2007 Amanda Knox’s mobile-phone received the SMS sent to her by Patrick Lumumba, which let her off from having to go to work at the ‚Le Chic? pub on the evening of 1 November.

Remember that mobile-phones are equivalent to convicts’ ankle-monitor bracelets, their use creates with Certainty a record of the Times of cell-phone activities, the Location of the corresponding transmitter-cell, and hence the general location of the mobile-phone, especially Ruling-Out particular Locations e.g. Proving whether the carrier of the phone was in or out of the range of their home transmitter-cell. Call Verbal-Content is not publicly available.

Here the mobile-phone Record proves that Knox’s mobile-phone was Certainly-Not in Sollecito’s lodging-house at 20:18:12 on Nov.1st, 2007:

At the time of reception, Knox’s phone connected to the cell on Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector 3, whose signal does not reach Raffaele Sollecito’s house. Amanda Knox’s mobile phone, and therefore Knox herself, was therefore far [i.e. absent] from Corso Garibaldi 30 when the SMS reached her, as she was walking in an area which was shown to be served by the Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector 3 cell.

This point of her route could correspond to Via U. Rocchi, to Piazza Cavallotti, to Piazza IV Novembre, bearing in mind that Lumumba’s pub is located in Via Alessi, and that Amanda Knox would have had to travel along the above-mentioned roads and the piazza in order to reach the pub.

Knox was therefore Certainly Not at Sollecito’s Corso Garibaldi Lodging at that time, contrary to the allegation that she was, and Knox Certainly-Could have been at her Cottage.

5. SMS Reply?

At 20.35.48 on Nov.1st, 2007, Amanda Knox Certainly sent an SMS in reply to Patrick, at No. 338-7195723; the message was sent when her on Nov.1st, 2007 mobile phone was in Corso Garibaldi 30 or in the immediate neighbourhood. The cell used, in fact, was that of Via Berardi sector 7 - no other [use] was shown for the day of 1.11.07, noting that Amanda declared during hearings that she had switched her mobile phone off once she had returned 323 to Raffaele’s house, claiming she was more than happy she did not have to go to work and could spend the evening with her boyfriend.

(Knox may also have been LESS than happy that Lumumba preferred Meredith instead of Knox as an employee. This was perhaps humiliating enough to Knox for Knox to decide that the time to cut Meredith down-to-size was now.)

6. Bomb Threat?

Massei Translation page 25: On “the evening of November 1, 2007 at around 10:00 pm, someone called and warned Elisabetta Lana not to use the toilet of her dwelling because it contained a bomb which could explode. Mrs. Lana immediately notified the police of this phone call; and they came to the house but did not find anything….”

This call was Certainly received, the Police Certainly came to Mrs. Lana’s home, presumably not long after 10: pm on the evening of November 1, 2007 (Time & Duration of Police presence apparently not publicly-available).

The Courts must know those times accurately and precisely; reasonably assuming them to be after Meredith’s murder, and near the time of the Phone-Dump (Otherwise, the necessary combination of coincidences is too implausible).

It is most likely that the visible, and possibly audible, presence of Police triggered the panicked disposal of the Cell-Phones down the steep slope that falls sharply into the valley below.

There is no need to invoke any awareness by the phone-dumper[s] of the reason(the hoax-call) that the Police were near Mrs. Lana’s residence.

So if the killers saw flashing police-lights, or any other sign of police near Mrs. Lana’s place, that sign could be enough to explain panic phone-dumping - then and there (not considering whether the phones were switched-on or switched-off).

According to John Follain the slope is heavily overgrown with trees and bushes, an ideal place to dispose of evidence. If the phones had fallen just a few yards further, they would certainly have gone over the edge of the cliff, down into a 50m gully, straight into a thick scrub of nettles, and probably been lost forever….

7. Phone Dialings?

There were four dialings on Meredith’s mobile phones after her arrival home on the evening of 1 November ‘07:

    i. 20:56 hours on 1 November 07, attempted call to Meredith’s mother’s home in England.

  ii. 21:58 hours on 1 November 07, attempted call to mobile phone’s answering service, voicemail ‘901’.

  iii. 22:00 hours on 1 November 07, dial to Meredith’s London bank ‘ABBEY’.

  iv. 22:13:29 hours (9 seconds) on 1 November 07, attempted internet connection. Connection consistent with being attempted from cottage, but inconsistent with being attempted from Mrs.Lana’s.

These dialings are Certain with regard to Existence, Timings, and Location.

Massei Translation, page 331, attributes the above 4 dialings to Meredith absent-mindedly playing with the mobile phone in her hand, and her phone may well have still been in her hand when her attackers surprised her.

8. Phone Location?

Was Meredith’s Phone still in the cottage at Via della Pergola at 22:13:29 hours on 1 November 07? Yes. Certainly.

9. A Tow Truck?

At about 22:30 hours Car broken-down nearby. Tow-Truck called-for.

At about 23:00 hours Tow-Truck arrives to load car.

At about 23:13 hours Tow-Truck leaves with loaded car.

These events Certainly occurred, but those times are approximate.

10. Francesco Called?

@23:41:11 RS’s father attempts phone-call but makes no oral contact. Father leaves message which is not received until 06:02:59 on 2.11.07.

This 23:41:11 call was attempted during the very time-frame of the attack on Meredith, her murder, and the flight of her killers with her mobile telephones. Meredith’s Phone[s] were removed from her cottage by about Midnight, less than 20 minutes after this attempted call.

These phone calls are Certain wrt Existence, Timings, and Locations.

11. Phone Location?

For 2.11.07 the first record is that of MKP - [0]0:10: 31, (i.e. Very early in the a.m. 10 minutes and 31 seconds after midnight) “when it has been established as an incontrovertible fact that Meredith’s English mobile phone was no longer in Via della Pergola, the mobile phone having received the contact under the coverage from Wind signal [cell] ..25622, which is incompatible with the cottage.”

Was Meredith’s Phone still in the cottage at Via della Pergola at 00:10: 31, 2.11.07? No!

Therefore Meredith’s English mobile phone had been removed from her cottage between 10.13.39 p.m. on 1.11.07 (more likely about 11.13 p.m.  when tow-truck departed) and 0:10:31 on 2:11:07; about 10 ½ minutes after midnight – say Meredith’s Phone[s] Removed By About Midnight, allowing for the time-elapse before being dumped near Mrs. Lana’s place. (Hellmann falsified this time-span on page 14 of his report, stating it to be more than 10 hours after midnight rather than about 10 ½ minutes after midnight.)

12. Phones Stolen?

At some time before Meredith’s attackers fled, they had seized her mobile telephones, probably near the beginning of the attack, having started their attack with a pre-emptive strike to intimidate Meredith, remove all hope, surround her, display knives, seal all possible escape-routes, and remove any possibility of phone-calling for help.

Immediately after Meredith’s scream her attackers had silenced her with the fatal stabbing, and then fled immediately.

They fled with her already-seized but still switched-on mobile telephones, probably without locking anything, including Meredith’s door.

Their over-riding and 1st imperative was not-to-be-caught-at-the-crime-scene.

See item 6. above.

13. Crimescene Meddling?

Having accomplished the Phone-Dump, Meredith’s killers next re-model the crime-scene, minimising the evidences of their identities, cleaning-up the evidences that it was ‘an inside job’, and simulating the appearances that it was ‘an outside job’.

One should bear in mind that these killers should have still been overwhelmed by their having actually committed a crime beyond their wildest imaginings.

Their panic impaired their thinking, and their ignorance, immaturity, inexperience, lack of technical resources and their arrogance precluded their selecting deceptions more effective against knowledgeable, experienced professional crime-investigators with a large fund of resources. They probably think that throwing the stone from inside Filomena’s room was a brilliant deception.

They wish it had never happened.

They wish they could make it unhappen (Hellmann/Zanetti got close to fulfilling this wish, but got themselves unhappened by Cassation)

They wish they could prevent the discovery of Meredith’s murder.

They cannot prevent the discovery of Meredith’s murder.

They may be able to postpone its discovery, but not longer than the inevitable return of the cottage-mates, later that day.

They believe that the person who ‘discovers’ a murder may become 1st-suspect.

They may be able to manouevre others-than-themselves into being the ones that make the discovery – quite a wily aim.

It is beyond reasonable doubt that:

Meredith’s killers seized her mobile telephones, and that

Her killers did not switch-off these mobile telephones, and that.

Her killers threw the telephones into an apparent ravine, landing in Mrs.Lana’s garden, and that

This phone-dump was accomplished before 00:10: 31, 2.11.07, and that

Amanda Knox caused:

    i. the English phone to ring at 12:07:12 (16 seconds) and be discovered by Mrs.Lana’s daughter only because it rang , and

    ii. the other phone, registered to Filomena Romanelli, to ring, very briefly, at 12:11:02 (3 seconds) and,

    iii. the English phone to ring again, also very briefly, at 12:11:54 (4 seconds), after being brought into Mrs.Lana’s house. 6. Sollecito had more than 5 days, from about 11.30 pm on November 1st, 2007 until November 6, 2007, to remove from the killing-knife the traces of Meredith’s DNA.

In the opinion of the Court of Assizes (Massei Translation p.325), Amanda Knox’s call to Meredith’s phone was

...the first indispensible step before putting the [348] planned staging into action. The lack of a reply, since the poor girl was obviously already dead, gave a reason for reassurance about the fact that the young woman’s phone had not somehow been retrieved, [and] was therefore safe in the spot where it had been thrown, which, according to the expectations [in the minds] of the murderers was a precipice or some other inaccessible spot, rather than in the garden of a villa located barely outside the city, where the vegetation concealed it from view.

Knox may well have expected that she was safe from phone-discovery, but these calls turned out to be the very instrument of a phone-discovery.

Had Knox not made these obfuscatory stabs, in the time-frame she made them Meredith’s phone would not have rung when it did ring and would therefore not have been discovered by Mrs. Lana’s daughter when she did discover it.

14. Phone Switched On?

For the day of 2.11.07, when Meredith was already dead, the traffic registered for the Vodafone number was shown to be the following:

00:10:31; duration and caller unspecified, but Wind signal [cell] incompatible with cottage, but compatible with Mrs. Lana’s place.

Therefore, Meredith’s mobile cell-phone had already been taken away from the cottage by her killers. It is not possible to determine from this phone-record whether the phone was switched on or off, but this phone was discovered at Mrs. Lana’s place because it was ringing, and therefore was “on”.

12:11:02 (duration of 3 seconds): Knox’s phone call reached the phone and was diverted to the answering service. The Vodafone cell used by Meredith’s service provider was situated in Strada Vicinale S. Maria della Collina sector 1.

12:11:54 (4 seconds): another call is made by Knox’s phone towards Meredith’s English mobile phone number (the cell used is the one in Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector 3, thus compatible with Sollecito’s house)

Three more phone-calls Certain wrt Existence, Timings, and Locations.

15. Francesco SMS Received?

At 06:02:59 Raffaele Sollecito received the SMS from his father allegedly wishing Raffaelle a good night; from the evidence of the mobile phone record printouts of Dr. Francesco Sollecito, it was shown that the sending of the message occurred at, as has been said, 23:41:11 of 1.11.07. This was the last SMS sent from that mobile phone during the whole day of 1.11.07

3+ Hours after receiving his father’s message from 23:41:11 of 1.11.07:

At 09:24 Raffaele Sollecito received a phone call from his father lasting 248 seconds]

At this time RS’s consiousness would be dominated by his guilty knowledge, and probably far-advanced in the accomplishment of the 3rd imperative.

Did RS and father spend 4+ minutes discussing the weather?

This is the first father/son opportunity to formulate the two-pronged water-leak story.

Although AK had already been to the hardware store 2 hours before, they may well not have known the potential DNA problems with the knife, the need to scrub it vigorously, to clean-out, and repair the drain-pipes under the sink, and the need to return the knife to RS’s kitchen drawer.

As it turned-out, Sollecito had more than 5 days, from about 11.30 pm on November 1st, 2007 until November 6, 2007, to remove from the killing-knife the traces of Meredith’s DNA.

They probably did not know that incriminating stains could be invisible, but can be revealed by Luminol.

16. Francesco Calls Received?

At 09:29 another call was received lasting 38 seconds

At 09:30 (duration unspecified?) the father called Raffaele; the call connected to the Vial Belardi sector 7 cell.(the best server cell for Corso Garibaldi 30).]

These two calls, Certain wrt Existence, Timings, and Locations, were probably spent dotting ‘i’s, crossing ‘t’s, and exchanging options, such as enlisting sister Vanessa’s skills and contacts.

17. More Calls Later?

Another 2+ Hours later:

At 12:07:12 (duration of 16 seconds) Amanda calls the English phone number 00447841131571belonging to Meredith Kercher. The mobile phone connects to the cell at [346] Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector 9 (the signal from this cell is picked up at Sollecito’s house)

At 12.08.44 (lasted 68 seconds) Amanda calls Romanelli Filomena on number 347-1073006; the mobile phone connects to the Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector 3 cell (which covers Sollecito’s house)

Discovery will be inevitable when Filomena eventually arrives-back at the cottage.

AK/RS have accepted that they have to ‘stand-pat’ with their efforts so-far to accomplish not-to-be-the-“discoverers”-of-Meredith’s-body.

Amanda did not say a word in this phone-call to Filomena about Amanda’s phone call to Meredith, thereby withholding information that should have led Amanda to initiate discovery of Meredith’s body, and help Amanda to manouevre someone other than Amanda into being the one who ‘discovers’ Meredith’s body.

At 12:11:02 (3 seconds) the Vodafone number 348-4673711 belonging to Meredith (this is the one [i.e. SIM card] registered to Romanelli Filomena) is called and its answering service is activated (cell used: Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector3)

18. Yet More Calls?

For the day of 2.11.07, when Meredith was already dead, the traffic registered for the Vodafone number was shown to be the following 5 calls, Certain wrt Existence, Timings, and Locations:

    i. 12:11:02 (duration of 3 seconds): Amanda’s phone call reached the phone and was diverted to the answering service. The Vodafone cell used by Meredith’s service provider was situated in Strada Vicinale S. Maria della Collina sector 1.

    ii. 12:11:54 (4 seconds): another call is made towards Meredith’s English mobile phone number (the cell used is the one in Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector 3, thus compatible with Sollecito’s house)

    iii. 12:12:35 (lasting 36 seconds) Romanelli Filomena calls Amanda Knox (No. 348-4673590); Amanda receives the call connecting to the cell on Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector 3 (still at Raffaele’s house)

    iv. 12:20:44 (lasting 65 seconds) Romanelli F. calls Amanda, who receives the call connecting to the cell in Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector 9 (good for Corso Garibaldi 30)

    v. 12:34:56 (48 seconds): Filomena calls Amanda who receives it from the cottage on Via della Pergola 7 (the cell used is that on Piazza Lupattelli sector 7. As mentioned, Raffaele also used the same cell when he called the service centre at 12:35 hours to recharge [the credit of] his mobile phone)
19. RS Phone Location?

At 12:35: Raffaele’s mobile phone contacted a service centre for a phone [credit] recharge (the cell used was that of Piazza Lupattelli sector 7, which gives coverage to the little house on Via della Pergola 7. The signal in question does not reach Corso Garibaldi 30, which instead is served by the signal from Piazza Lupattelli sector 8)

At 12:38: Vodafone sent R.Sollecito a message of confirmation of phone [credit] recharge (Piazza Lupattelli sector 7 cell, good for Via della Pergola 7)

At 12:40: incoming call from RS’s father’s mobile phone (lasting 67 seconds; connection through Piazza Lupattelli sector 7 cell, compatible with the Sollecito’s presence near the little house)]

At 12:47:23 (duration of 88 seconds): Amanda calls the American (USA) number 00120069326457, using the cell on Piazza Lupatetlli sector 7; the phone call takes place prior to the one which, at 12.51.40, Raffaele Sollecito will make to ‚112?, connecting to the cell on Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector 1, which gives coverage to Via della Pergola 7]

In “Waiting To Be Heard” Knox can hardly deny having made this 1st call, acknowledges making the call, and purports, now, to recall its substance, providing the reader with her version of what was said.

At 13:24:18 (duration of 162 seconds): Amanda calls the same American number which corresponds to the home of her mother, Mrs Edda Mellas, using the same cell. It is obvious that the young woman is inside the cottage, where by this point, several minutes earlier, the Postal Police had shown up, [347] represented by Inspector Battistelli and Assistant Marzi, who were engaged in the task of tracking down Filomena Romanelli, who was the owner of the Vodafone phonecard contained in the mobile phone found earlier in the garden of the villa on Via Sperandio]

In “Waiting To Be Heard” Knox can hardly deny having made this 2nd call either, she acknowledges making the call, and provides the reader with her current version of what was said.

20. More Phone Locations?

At 12:50:34 outgoing call directed at mobile phone 347-1323774 belonging to Vanessa Sollecito, sister of the defendant; duration 39 seconds. Connection to Piazza Lupattelli sector 7 cell 320

At 12:51:40 Raffaele Sollecito called ‚112? to inform the Carabinieri of the presumed theft in Romanelli’s room (duration 169 seconds; connection to Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector 1 cell, which covers Via della Pergola 7)

At 12:54: a second call by Raffaele to ‚112? (57 sec.; connection to Piazza Lupattelli sector 7 cell)

Three more Sollecito calls Certain wrt Existence, Timings, and Locations.

21. More Phone Locations?

At 13:17:10 (lasting 1 second) to Meredith’s phone: the cell used was located in the same place, sector 7

At 13:27:32 (duration of 26 seconds): Amanda calls the American number 0012069319350, still using the cell at Piazza Lupattelli sector 7.

At 13:29:00 (duration of 296 seconds) Amanda receives [a call] from No. 075/54247561 (Piazza Lupattelli sector 7 cell)

Three more Knox calls Certain wrt Existence, Timings, and Locations.

22. Another Phone Location?

At 13:40:12: incoming call from his father to RS (94 sec.; Via dell’Aquila 5-Torre dell’Acquedotto sector 1 cell)

Another Sollecito call Certain wrt Existence, Timings, and Locations.

23. More Knox Calls?

At 13:48:33 (1 second): this is an attempted call to AK’s mother’s number

At 13:58:33 (1 second): this is an attempted call to her mother’s number

The above item is a faithful translation from the Massei Motivazione section on Amanda Knox’s mobile phone traffic, but is listed out-of-time-sequence; the assigned-time is probably a ‘typo’ – “13:48:33” is much more likely correct.

Two more Knox calls Certain wrt Existence, Timings, and Locations.

24. Francesco Call?

14:33: Sollecito’s father called Sollecito for 21 seconds (as above)]

Do RS and father exchange more caveats in their call Certain wrt Existence, Timings, and Locations?

25. More Knox Locations?

At 14:46:14 (102 seconds) Amanda receives a call from the German number 494154794034, most likely belonging to her aunt Doroty Craft

Call to Meredith’s phone at 15:13:43 (5 seconds) cell not indicated.

At 15:31:51 (1 second): Knox receives an SMS sent from the number 389/1531078; at this point the cell being used is the one on Via Cappuccinelli 5/A sector 2, where the Questura [police headquarters] is located.

Two more Knox-related calls Certain wrt Existence, Timings, and Locations.

In the hours that followed the [mobile phone record] printouts show that the answering service of Amanda’s number 348-4673590 was activated due to a lack of signal coverage.

Massei Translation p.324:

Finally, the analyses of the [phone record] printouts highlight that the first phone call made by Amanda on the day of 2 November was to Meredith Kercher’s English number.

The American student called her English flatmate even before contacting Romanelli Filomena to whom she intended to express, as she testified in court, her fears about the strange things she had seen in the cottage, which she had returned to at about 11 o’clock in order to shower in preparation for the excursion to Gubbio which she and Raffaele had planned.

It is strange that Amanda did not say a word to Filomena about the phone call to their flatmate, when the call, not having been answered, would normally have caused anxiety and posed some questions as to why Meredith did not answer the phone at such an advanced hour of the day.

26. Sollecito Locations?

At 17:01: RS’s father called RS for 164 seconds; cell used is that of Via Cappucinelli 5/A sector 2, corresponding to the location of the Perugia Police Station

At 17:42: RS’s father called RS for 97 seconds (as above).

With regard to Raffaele Sollecito’s landline home phone (No. 075-9660789)

The above 2 calls presumably covered final agreements on the Father/son stories.

For the entire day of 1 November and then of 2 November, Raffaele Sollecito’s fixed line was not affected by any calls, either incoming or outgoing.

This series continues here.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

In Big Complication For Cassation Guede Demands New Trial To Prove He Was Not “Accomplice Of Myself”

Posted by Peter Quennell

Above: Rudy Guede’s smart lead lawyer Walter Biscotti on another high profile case

The Fifth Chambers of the Supreme Court was the one that allowed Knox and Sollecito to walk free.

Sooner or later they must explain. Initial statements of their reasons has many Italian justice officials in strong disbelief.

If there were evidence problems (and we know of next to none and hundreds of evidence points suggesting guilt) the Florence appeal court was the correct court to put them to bed.  Cassation has no legal mandate for that.

It gets worse. Somehow the Fifth Chambers has to explain why the First Chambers ruled the other way on some very key points in 2010 and 2013 and why it confirmed Knox’s sentence for the felony of calunnia with no further possibility of appeal.

It gets worse. The five judges would seem to have to come down for either the highly discredited Lone Wolf Theory or for two other “missing killers” (for which there is zero evidence) to have attacked Meredith. 

From 2007 to 2015 two defense teams tried very hard but without conviction or success to do both of those things - even though Guede and his defense had no way to answer back as they were not even in court.

Those same two teams tiptoed away from much of the pesky evidence against all three which they were simply powerless to explain.

So Guede’s demand for a new trial reported today could not be timed worse from the Fifth Chambers judges’ point of view.

Chances are that this request will be ruled on by another Chambers of Cassation. It might take some time but they might have no compunction (especially if they are the First Chambers) about hanging the increasingly embattled Fifth Chambers out to dry.

No way Guede’s conviction ever gets reversed. He knows that. We all know that. The evidence is way too strong. But Guede could really rub it in that he was not the initiator of the 15-minute attack and could certainly not have done it alone. That he had no motive at all. That he was not a drug dealer or a burglar - no evidence for either exists.

That he was not the one who had a reason to clean up the house as his own trial ruled. And that he did not wield the final blow.


Added to the top post on Thursday, and amended Friday.

It looked briefly like his lawyers contradicted Guede. But legally Guede is the one with much at stake and gets to call the final shots.

And Biscotti merely added that while he didn’t know exactly what Rudy said, his words should not be considered as a public statement, he did not intend for them to go public.

Of course, Biscotti would want to keep their powder dry, and keep Guede out of harms way, and keep all possible options open in Cassation.

Smart legal, safety and financial tactics.

Posted on 04/08/15 at 08:44 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in The former defendantsRudy GuedeOfficially involvedSupreme CourtCrime hypothesesVarious scenariosAppeals 2009-2015Guede appealsMeredith-case hoaxesThe Guede hoax
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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Shaky Castle Of Cards At Best: The Long-Term Fight For Legitimacy Begins

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

1. Current State Of Play

As we so often hear, true justice has to be SEEN to be done.

At the end of the day it’s the legitimacy that counts - whether most informed people buy in - and the fight for this could play out over years.

Maybe that was on the minds of the tense Sollecito lawyers seen above after the surprise outcome was announced. Can those five judges make what seemed like a shoot-from-the-hip decision stick?

Back in 2009 the prosecution put on a very fine case, after Knox and Sollecito had failed six great opportunities in 2007 and 2008 to be let out. Prosecutors touched all the bases fast and, including what was presented in closed court, offered a very legitimate case for guilt which a unanimous panel of judges bought into.

Defense attorneys were rumored to be despondent and they never really hit a high point. Sollecito talks in his book about Maori having little conviction in him. Bongiorno was said to feel the same way and to not like Sollecito very much. Several times she was a surprise no-show in court. Ghirga was affable but uncomfortable, and sometimes he dozed off.

Was there under UK and US common law a strong case for an appeal? Under UK and US law an appeal must be requested, and a judge must decide. We have yet to read one opinion by a UK or US judge (and yes, they do write) that a case for granting an appeal was very strong.

In other words, under UK and US common law, the unanimous verdict and sentence would almost certainly have been it. All three would be serving their terms, and five years ago the whole world would have moved on.

In 2010 a clear case of judge-shopping occurred.  Dont take our word for it - the senior and very experienced criminal-law Judge Chiari openly said he had been pushed aside as he resigned. He had been one of Italy’s finest prosecutors, and mentally and in terms of the law and grasp of the facts he was a giant compared to the bumbling ill-qualified Hellman, a business judge with only one other murder trial (a fiasco) in his past.

Throughout 2011 legitimacy swayed this way and that. The prosecutors began to smell a lot of rats and Prosecutor Comodi publicly said so. The chief prosecutor Dr Galati (who had just arrived from the Supreme Court) maintained that it didnt altogether matter, because he just knew the Supreme Court would throw a bum outcome out.

He was right. In March 2013 the elite First Section of the Supreme Court threw the bum outcome out, except for the part about Knox framing Patrick for which she had served three years.

The elite First Section handed the case back down to a new court, the Florence appeal court.

The Florence courts are staffed with very fine prosecutors and judges as they often handle national cases. Right now that court is handling a major investigation into national government corruption on a grand scale, Knox adulator Rocco Girlanda is one of those named.

National politicians under the gun like to knock chips off the courts given half a chance. Ex PM Berlusconi’s allies were said to have this as a fairly consistent aim. Any outcome ever in Rome which takes the Florence courts down a peg (as now) gets a lot of close looks.

Rumors abound in Rome that the president of the group of five judges and maybe one other felt the outcome of the Florence appeal court was the right one. If this is true, they may have never bought in and may now be only going through the motions with a forced grin.

The president of the court already issued an explanation of sorts. This has many in their peer group - the Council of Magistrates (which edged Hellmann out - refused him a promotion so he had nowhere to go) and all of the other judges and prosecutors in Italy - scratching their heads and wondering how in the Sentencing Report the circle can be squared.

Meanwhile on other fronts legitimacy is now on the line. Sollecito is due back in court in Florence on false claims in his book on 30 April. Knox’s calunnia trial is due to resume again shortly in Florence with expanded charges targeting false claims in her book. The Oggi trial for quoting false claims in Knox’s book has a testimony session 16 June.

The final verdict and sentence maybe cannot be wound back and their chances of serving more time for murder and a sex crime are remote. (Knox could be sentenced to more time at her second calunnia trial).

But the circumstances in which they are walking around may come to look very odd. The Supreme Court actually can be sued now for an inexplicable outcome, and made to take another look.

The President of the Italian Republic (who is the ultimate head of the justice system) can be petitioned to step in. Political parties like Beppe Grillo’s astonishingly popular Five Star Movement (said to be already snooping) have a lot of power to make things come unstuck. .

So, in the months and even years ahead, this is clearly going to be a long game, with legitimacy as the ultimate prize. Sorry, Sollecito and Knox, but it aint over till the fat lady sings.

2. New Developments Indicate Concern

Seven developments in this race for legitimacy points suggest that the RS and AK camps are very concerned about it, and are not at all sure what to do.

1) Francesco Sollecito is quoted as asking Guede to endorse the outcome. Guede already said the opposite although his main statement was in the annulled Hellmann appeal. Aviello is still on trial by the way, in 2011 he pointed at the Sollecitos as not playing by the rules.

2) Francesco can be sure Guede wont actually speak out, as he will have his own legal action in the works to get his case reviewed. That could go to another section of Cassation and if they rule differently really open a can of worms.

3) Sollecito has spoken out heatedly and vengefully on Italian TV in effect wanting the Italian state to pay him off in a big way and everybody else to believe him or shut up.

4) Bongiorno publicly disagreed with him and she said such actions need to be considered with a cool head down the road.

Report on the Il Tempo website.

Lawyer Bongiorno. “In the coming days we will evaluate request for compensation,” announced Raffaele’s lawyer, Giulia Bongiorno, after the acquittal of the young man for the murder of Meredith Kercher.

“There are feelings of revenge in Sollecito’s soul,” added the lawyer today. “We will wait for the motivations. Not thrash/lambaste those who might have done [Sollecito] wrong.”

“We’ll see if there were errors and what measures and initiatives could be undertaken. Civil liability - she concluded - is a serious institution that should not be exercised in the spirit of revenge.” (Translation by Guermantes on Dot Net)

5) Barbie Nadeau quotes an Italian expert who says that because RS and AK both provably lied to the police and led them astray, any claim for compensation could be dead on arrival.

Bongiorno may already realise this. She may also realise that having a litany of lies read out hardly advances their quest for legitimacy points.

6) This is previous news. Bongiono passed on being the lead lawyer in Sollecito’s book case. Nothing could cost legitimacy points more than a loss at the Florence trial on the false claims in RS’s book.

Note that at the moment few Italians - including Cassation - know what is in the book. It is possible Bongiorno wants to make herself scarce before the legitimacy points just gained head down the tubes.

7) The Fischer disinformation group (see posts coming up) has moved from shrill to frantic harrassment mode.

Let’s guess. Bongiorno and the other Perugia lawyers would think that a really bad idea, as Knox and RS are still on trial and abuse wont make that go away. Legitimacy if any will come not from strongarming but from cool heads.

Here’s betting all 4 main lawyers and both families would like to keep RS and AK on a really short string. Nothing will screw them like yet another of their open spats.

Right up to last week RS was still distancing himself a mile from Knox.

Posted on 03/31/15 at 08:44 AM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedThe defensesSupreme CourtAppeals 2009-2015Cassation appeal 2
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Friday, March 27, 2015

Supreme Court Appeal By RS And AK Against Florence Court Rejection Of Their First Appeal #2

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

This was in 2009, Meredith’s family, not in court, may hear things came full circle today

Tweets from the court

New tweets from the court if any (we may have to wait for breaks) are being added under the various author’s names below. Numbering flows from Wednesday’s post.

Any breaking news

22. Reason for delay in the announcement is paperwork we believe, there were dozens of reasons for an overturn in the two written appeals, and they would have to be responded to one by one if appeal is denied. The Telegraph seems to be planning a live website feed though it may be from outside. .

21. Here is where Sollecito is headed if he makes it before any guilty verdict and the 2 police cars in his rear mirrors him stop him and take him in:  41°14’37.80"N 16°29’2.50"E Put that into Google Earth search and then descend to street view. Thats the gate for the compound, chez Sollecito is a couple of houses down on the left. Francesco Sollecito has addressed crowds of reporters there. 

20. Video here of RS and his sister Vanessa leaving by side entrance, possibly for Bari. As Florence prosecutors are in court, this may be his way of ensuring he is not photographed being frogmarched out of there.

19. Knox undercut her own defence by stiffing Florence court. Could in new Florence trial face more years for criminal defamation. Moore & Burleigh & Fischer & other PR shills may face citations too, as their excesses outnumber those of Gumbel and Sforza already in court. Tweeting stalkers too. Communication Police looking now.

18. Italian ANSA report is calling RS lawyer Giulia Bongiorno’s address to the court “Bye Bye Amanda” as she says only questionable DNA relates RS to scene of crime. [Oh? Several footprints? Opposing knife wounds? Multi alibis? Computer? Cellphone?]

17. Media, please get it right: Amanda Knox was not “tried in absentia” at Florence “trial”. IT WAS HER OWN APPEAL and Italian lawyers argued with her for a week that she really needed to be there. Having abused so many in Italy, and put drug dealer in jail, was her no-show really such a surprise?

16. Strong-arming unethical Gogerty-Marriott PR firm closes down in Seattle with a final dishonest thump of the chest. Said to be freaked by potential legal liability. Maybe Knox herself should sue as they made her plight much worse.

15. So NYC Sollecito advisor John Q Kelly shows his face again. He was wildly wrong on the hard facts late 2009 and promptly disappeared.

Tweets from journalist Andrea Vogt

17. Heavy media & police presence at Italy’s high court this a.m. for final hearing in #amandaknox case. Sollecito’s defense at 9.

18. Raffaele Sollecito’s Italian and American lawyers Giulia Bongiorno & John Q Kelly just greeted in hall outside Aula Magna

19. Giulia Bongiorno on the lack of DNA from #amandaknox and sollecito in murder room: only a dragonfly leaves no trace.

20. Bongiorno casting doubt on forensic police dna interpretation. “Maybe, in science, does not exist. Either it is Raffaele ‘s dna or not.”

21. High court judges in #amandaknox case are going into deliberations now. They will alert all one hour before they announce decision.

22. Court can: 1) call appeal [outcome] inadmissable 2) accept it 3) reject it 4) annul convictions & back to appellate 5) annul convictions.

23. Members of Florence prosecutor’s office are at Rome court today for decision on #amandaknox / Sollecito appeal of their convictions.

24. #amandaknox convictions have been completely overturned. She is a free woman.

25. Both raffaelle Sollecito and #amandaknox convictions have been fully overturned. Cries of joy in courtroom from sollecito’s family

Tweets from main poster Kristeva

15. Follow @andreavogt as she has better phone reception than me. I apologize

16. Much larger crowd today attending the final hearing for #amandaknox & #RaffaeleSollecito

17. The general feeling among reporters is that #RaffeleSollecito might get a second appeal. no chance 4 #amandaknox

18. Several reporters interested in and will call me to have more info in the next days

19. I was asked how the #MeredithKercher support website started and I gave the whole history

20. Spoke to Maresca to thank him and in return he thanked our volunteer work for 

21. Reporters were also interested in PR machine for #AmandaKnox and I referred them to

22. After Bongiorno, Maori will give his arguments and Judges with enter chambers to deliberate verdict

23. Timing of verdict for #amandaknox and #RaffeleSollecito unpredictable. May justice 4 #MeredithKercher prevail. My prayers for family

24. [6.15 am US east coast time] Maori finished. Judges have entered chambers to deliberate verdict.

25. No more appeals. Case over #amandaknox #RaffaeleSollecito acquitted for murder of #MeredithKercher #SHAME

26. I am shocked

Tweets from main poster Machiavelli

17. [no tweets yet]

Tweets from journalist Barbie Nadeau

4.  High court now deliberating fate of #amandaknox and #RaffaeleSollecito in #MeredithKercher murder case.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Supreme Court Appeal By RS And AK Against Florence Court Rejection Of Their First Appeal

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

Above: stock image on another day of the Supreme Court’s Great Hall

Tweets from the court

New tweets from the court are all being added under the various author’s names below. This will continue Friday for sure.

Any breaking news

13. Court is over for the day and will resume on Friday.

12. La Nazione reports: “The judgment of the Supreme Court on the murder of Meredith Kercher will not arrive before Friday 27, the day when the judges will meet in closed session. This was announced by the President of the Fifth Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court, Gennaro Marasca, during today’s hearing.”

11. We dont know the local telephone network capacity there. But many cellphone transponders can handle only 24 calls at a time. Demand for “outside lines” could number in the hundreds from the entire court. Maybe there’s an open WAN but we doubt.

10. Regardless of outcome Knox legal problems could go on for years. Since 2009 she has faced calunnia charges for lying on the stand. Possible sentence six years. Now Florence court has added calunnia charges for lying in her book, in Oggi, on her website, and on American TV. Perception going back to Ricciarelli is she is dangerous and hurts people, even if final murder verdict is not in.

9. Popper says of Dr Pinelli: “In his late 50s (a young man ref Cassazione average), a career both in Abruzzo region (Avezzano where he was born in 1957) and L’ Aquila, and then Naples in the Procura Generale; then promoted to Cassazione. Very much acquainted with murders and organised crime.”

8. Popper says of Dr Marasca: “Section President of Cassation [one of the few] and member of Consiglio Direttivo, a sort of Executive Board of the Supreme Court ... one of the most experienced magistrates in Italy, born in 1944. Since 1970 a magistrate.”

7. News service ANSA: “The head judge is Gennaro Marasca. The lead prosecutor is Mario Pinelli. After the prosecutor has spoken it will be the turn of Maresca (for the Kerchers). Then they’ll hear from Bongiorno and Maori, Ghirga and Dalla Vedova”.

6. New report with today’s date from Barbie Nadeau on the CNN Website. Seems CNN like most US media no longer solidly in Knox camp.

5. The Court has placed a ban on live tweeting from inside the courtroom, where mobile phone reception is poor anyway. Reports will come during the breaks.

4. Best guess at timing of decision is late PM US East Coast time. In 2013 it came the next day.

3. As with previous court outcomes, expect long-form analyses of outcome by Machiavelli etc within the next few days.

2. New York Times’s Elisabetta Povoledo provides a good overview of today’s context.

1. See our own scenario for today and coming weeks in the event the Florence verdict and sentences is confirmed.

Tweets from journalist Andrea Vogt

1. Raffaele Sollecito is here in court, speaking with his lawyer Giulia Bongiorno. #amandaknox lawyers and Patrick Lumumba also present.

2. Cannot tell how the court is leaning. Reviewer made hurtful and helpful comments to both sides. Still could go either way. #amandaknox

3. Court pres Gennaro Marasca calls break until 2:30. PG Mauro Pinelli has another hour of arguments. Arguments & ruling could be Friday

[break for lunch]

4. There is a sense among some observers that the Court is differentiating between positions of amanda knox and raffaelle Sollecito.

5. Maresca: I am representing the Kercher family in court for the 8th time. I hope this will be the last arguments I give on their behalf.

6. Maresca: It is time for the Kercher family to finally be able to remove this poor victim from the law courts.

7. Ghirga: “its not that we want to blame the poor black guy, its that you cannot rule out a single aggressor.”

8. Lawyer Luciano Ghirga: The scientific evidence favors #amandaknox (no trace of her in the murder room).

9. Carlo dalla Vedova has launched a blistering attack on the state of Italian justice system and the problem of “the neverending trial.”

10. Dalla Vedova for #amandaknox: How can we tolerate in Italy that trials can go on forever?

11. Hearing over for the day. Raffaelle Sollecito’s defense will continue Friday, march 27.

12. Ghirga: “its not that we want to blame the poor black guy, its that you cannot rule out a single aggressor.”

13. Lawyer Luciano Ghirga: The scientific evidence favors #amandaknox (no trace of her in the murder room).

14. Carlo dalla Vedova has launched a blistering attack on the state of Italian justice system and the problem of “the neverending trial.”

15. Dalla Vedova for #amandaknox: How can we tolerate in Italy that trials can go on forever?

16. Hearing over for the day. Raffaelle Sollecito’s defense will continue Friday, march 27.

Tweets from main poster Kristeva

1. I have arrived outside Section V. Sollecito, father and Greta. Poor [cellphone] reception.

2. Spoke to Avv. Maori & asked him who general prosecutor is and he doesn’t know yet. there are 2.

3. Andrea Vogt has just arrived and speaking to Avv. Ghirga

4. American British Journalists are all talking to Avv Dalla Vedova now.

[court session starts]

5. Relator Judge P. A. Bruno laughs once and while getting names wrong such as Hallowo instead of Halloween.

6. Prosecutor finds Rudy’s climbing up wall 4 numerous times “crazy”

7. Paolo Antonio Bruno knows the case extremely well without ever looking at his notes.

[court breaks for lunch]

8. Prosecutor has ended. He asked without remand 28.3 yrs #amandaknox and 24.9 for #raffaelesollecito

9. Bongiorno has asked to speak on Friday so most likely verdict will be then.

10. Pacelli now on civil case for Patrick Lumumba

11. Maresca has now concluded. Confirms all points made by Nencini, the general prosecutor and Galati

12. Maresca was brief and concise and said that after 8 years he hopes this is the last time he has to make same arguments

13. Maresca says that everything asked by #amandaknox and #RaffaeleSollecito has already been asked at Perugia and Florence trial.

14. Maresca makes a big point about pages re Conti & Vecchiotti and calls them on their lie.

Tweets from main poster Machiavelli

1. Reporting Judge at SC for the Meredith case is Antonio Paolo Bruno.

2. The Prosecutor General is Mario Pinelli. President Judge is Gennaro Marasca.

3. PG said the Florence sentence “respects the indications set by the Cassazione”

4. PG: says courts, based on findings “correctly established that the theft was staged”.

5. PG: court “pointed out correctly” that there was a staging “in order to side-track investigation”

6. PG: “3 people attacked the victim” and “there was no fight” unless you mean “attempts to defend herself by restrained victim”

7. PG: Florence decision not to repeat computer analysis on Sollecito’s laptop is “not censurable”

8. Sollecito reported nervous when PG observes computer data defence objections are irrelevant to alibi.

9. PG: Florence refusal to order anthropometric investigation on CCTV images is “adequately motivated”

10. Pinelli: phones removed because by “ringing in the home” may have caused early discovery of the crime.

11. Judge Bruno (like Zanetti) had said the trials had “not many certainties” beyond the girl’s death and one definitely convicted.

12. PG Pinelli said some minor charges have expired, thus Florence should re-assess penalties with slight reduction due time limitation laws.

13. Antonio Paolo Bruno is the Supreme Judge who was accused of conspiracy with Mafia by prosecutor DeMagistris in 2006.

14. Pinelli asked 3 months cut from both penalties (weapon carrying). But this cut may technically require intervention by Florence court.

15. Maresca says that everything asked by #amandaknox and #RaffaeleSollecito has already been asked at Perugia and Florence trial. Enough.

16. Maresca makes a big point about pages re Conti & Vecchiotti and calls them on their lie.

Tweets from journalist Barbie Nadeau

1. Judge confirms verdict will be Friday in #MeredithKercher case.

2. Prosecutor in #AmandaKnox case asks to trim 3 months off Knox’s 28 year 6 month sentence.

3. Reason for shaving 3 months off sentence in #AmandaKnox case is statute of limitations in theft charge.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Probable Final Cassation Ruling In 10 Days: Likely Scenario For The Immediate Future

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

Italian Justice Minister Andrea Orlando with Prime Minister Matteo Renzi

We reported previously that Prime Minister Renzi, the former mayor of Florence, has great trust in the court system there.

Cassation is expected to rule on Knox’s and Sollecito’s separate appeals against the Florence outcome (in which they yet again not-too-subtly edge one another between themselves and the flames) on Wednesday or Thursday of next week.

We have something of a consensus here upon what happens then and thereafter, with main inputs here from Italian watchers Popper and Yummi.

1. Cassazione will probably merely announce that the affirmation of conviction by the Nencini appeal court is legitimate from the point of view of Italian law and there will be nothing significant said on the merits of the case.

2. In final appeals Supreme Court justices simply confirm a sentence or not based exclusively on law points. The Cassazione motivation reports due within three months are not too important as they cannot be appealed anyway. A report may not be needed for extradition, the Massei + Nencini sentencing reports could be explanatory and legally correct enough in this case.

3. The execution of this decision would then be over to the Florence courts. If the Nencini confirmation of verdict and sentence is affirmed it will probably then be over to Prosecutor Crini and Judge Nencini, and an arrest warrant for Sollecito would be immediate.

4. There is a slight chance, perhaps 5% to 10%, that Sollecito might try to escape, as he seemed set on doing when he made it to the border on the same day as Judge Nencini’s 2014 ruling. On Italian TV he has been sounding very aggrieved with Amanda while not really winding back the strong case against himself. He lacks his passport and probably the secret stash of money to stay on the run indefinitely.

5. An arrest warrant for Knox, the other defendant, would normally be issued as soon as possible. If she is still located in the US she could be rapidly arrested and put in a holding cell. Based on other examples it is possible that her physical return to Italy could take as long as nine months, though the treaty promotes a fast-track meaning not upward of three months.

6. There is normally 45 days for the extradition papers/request from Dr Andrea Orlando, the Italian Minister of Justice, to be handed over by the Italian Embassy in Washington DC to the State Department, though there is allowance for that request time to be extended.

7. The evidence of course really is overwhelming and no single proof of foul play has ever been proven. Italian justice officials have relevant information they could share privately, such as the corruption of the Hellmann appeal alleged by Judge Chiari, Prosecutor Comodi and others, and such as Knox’s unsavory drug record which is normally a big no-no for the State Department. 

8. Comments made by the host and a magistrate on Italy’s Porta a Porta show last week suggests vagueness on the part of the Italian media and public about the Italy/United States extradition treaty. This treaty, which has always been faithfully observed previously by both countries, with no exceptions, is stark and minimalist and focuses on the paperwork and whether the national law was followed, as explained by lawyers James Raper and TomM. 

9. Assuming their final conviction, Sollecito’s arrest and return to prison will drive Italian public opinion, dormant for years but stirring as the Porta a Porta show suggested, to demand a quick extradition of Knox, who was the flatmate of Meredith the victim and without whom no murder would have taken place.

10. Probably very unlikely, but if there is sustained political resistance despite American media finally getting the facts right, the powers demanding extradition will build up immense pressure, and it will be world-wide pressure from the point of view of the US, not just Italy. All countries will be watching to see how the US behaves, and if their treaties are reliable or not.

The US relies heavily on the Italian government, which is currently a very strong one, on many other matters, and it has other extradition cases worldwide in motion or anticipated (think Snowden in Moscow) so it will be almost certainly be faithful to legality and precedent.

Knox smeared prison authorities in her book and directly caused the imprisonment of a drug-dealer which might be reasons she fears going back. Conceivably a negotiated outcome could result in Knox serving the rest of her time in an American prison to get round this. American prison? This would be nice for her family, but probably a lot less nice for Knox herself.

Knox has long been the pawn of an ugly family and bunch of parasites. Dont totally rule out her simply hopping on a plane to pay her dues and get away from them.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Rapidly Expanding Wiki Now Includes Precise Reasons For RS And Knox Arrest 6 Nov 2007

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

From the east. Foreground, Perugia’s main courts, background judges & prosecutors’ offices

1. The Events Prior To The Arrests

The ever-expanding Wiki can of course be found here.

The arrest statement in Part 2 below was signed by Dr Mignini at 8:40 am. It’s worth rehearsing all that had happened in the wee hours before this.

Knox had turned up at the central police station unannounced, apparently to keep tabs on RS. After a delay in finding something for her to do, and in getting the interpreter by her side, she sat with Rita Ficarra building a list of possible perps with phone numbers and residences on maps.

Having been told in a rather low-key way that Sollecito had just said she was not with him on the fateful night for several hours, and she had made him lie (see the post just below), there was a tension-filled pregnant pause while Knox apparently racked her brains for a Plan B.

By 1.45 AM, having explosively fingered Patrick when a message to him fortuitously showed up on her mobile phone, and after considerable spontaneous chatter, she had insisted on writing and signing this statement.

Three hours later Dr Mignini had arrived and discussed this development with others. Then he advised Knox of her rights, including the right to have her lawyer there.

Heedless of that advice, after more spontaneous chatter (actually referred to in the arrest warrant below), Knox insisted on writing and signing this statement while all the court officers sat idly by.

2. The Warrant For Three Arrests

This warrant was drafted and signed by Dr Mignini in the prosecutors’ offices in Perugia’s central courthouse (image at top) at 8:40 am. As already mentioned, it includes reference to Knox’s spontaneous chatter and her knowledge of the dynamics of the crime.


N. 19738/07 R.G. Mod. 44


(artt. 384, comma 1 c.p.p)


The public prosecutor Dr. Giuliano Mignini

Based on the records of the above-mentioned proceeding;

Having found that there are serious indications of the crimes of complicity in aggravated murder Article 576 n.5 c.p.e. and sexual assault for which we are proceeding, against DIYA Lumumba, born in Kindu (Zaire) on 5.05.1969, KNOX Amanda Marie and SOLLECITO Raffaele, already identified, for the following reasons:

Regarding KNOX and DIYA, the first made glaringly contradictory and not credible statements during the investigation. In particular KNOX claimed to have spent the night between November 1st and 2nd in the company of SOLLECITO Raffaele whom she met a few days before the event while he, after initially confirming the statements made by KNOX, confessed to have lied instructed by KNOX and made clear that he separated from KNOX at 21.30 of November 1st 2007, remaining at his house where he received a phone call from his father on the land line at 23:30.

Furthermore from the data relating to the phone traffic of the number 3484673590 in use by KNOX there emerges a lack of phone traffic from 20:35 of November 1st to 12:00 November 2nd. Same lack of phone traffic from 20:42 of November 1st to 06:02 of November 2nd is found in the phone traffic of 3403574303 in use by SOLLECITO Raffaele.

At 20:35 of November 1st it was found an outgoing text message from the number 3484673509 belonging to KNOX sent to 3387195723 belonging to the co-defendant PATRICK to whom she communicates “see you later” which confirms that in the following hours KNOX was together with DIYA in the apartment where the victim was.

KNOX, in the statement made today has, in the end, confessed the dynamics of the committed crimes against KERCHER: the accused, in fact, first claimed to have met with DIYA, as communicated to him with the text message found in the phone memory of her cell phone by the operating Postal Police, text message sent at 20:35 in reply to a text message from DIYA sent at 20:18, detected thanks to the analysis of the phone traffic related to KNOX.

This last text message is not present in the cell phone memory.

KNOX in her witness statement from today has then confessed that, meeting DIYA in the basketball court of Piazza Grimana, she went together with DIYA to Meredith’s house, where DIYA, after having sex with the victim, killed her.

The sexual intercourse must be deemed violent in nature considering the particularly threatening context in which it took place and in which KNOX has surely aided DIYA.

In addition to this it should be pointed out that KNOX, in her spontaneous declarations from today, has consistently confirmed to have contacted DIYA, to have met with him on the night between November 1st and 2nd and to have gone with him to the apartment where the victim lived. She then said that she stayed outside of Meredith’s room while DIYA set apart with her and also added that she heard the girl’s screams.

KNOX reported details that confirm her own and Sollecito Raffaele’s involvement in the events, like the fact that after the events she woke up in the bed of the latter.

As far as the essential facts against SOLLECITO there are numerous verifiable inconsistencies in his first declarations, in respect to the last ones and the fact that, from a first inspection, the print of the shoe found on SOLLECITO appears to be compatible in its shape with the one found on the crime scene.

Moreover, there is the fact that KNOX claimed to not remember what happened between the victim’s screams up until she woke up in the morning in SOLLECITO’s bed, who was also found in possession of a flick knife that could abstractly be compatible for dimension and type (general length of 18cm, of which 8,5 blade), with the object that must have produced the most serious injury to the victim’s neck.

Having considered all the elements described and all converging findings of the intense and detailed investigations conducted after the discovery of Kercher’s body and culminating with the confession and indicated complicity of DIYA, also known as “Patrick” by KNOX, there is substantial serious evidence of the crimes for which we are proceeding to allow the detention, given the limits of the sentence.

Likewise there must be considered a founded and valid danger of flight especially for DIYA since he is a non-EU citizen and in consideration of the specific seriousness and brutality of the crimes, especially that of sexual violence and the possibility of the infliction of a particularly heavy sentence.

In regards to KNOX she has shown a particular ruthlessness in lying repeatedly to the investigators and in involving in such a serious event the young SOLLECITO.

Having regard to Art.384 comma 1 c.p.p.


The detention of DIYA Lumumba, KNOX Amanda Marie and SOLLECITO Raffaele, already identified, and to be taken to the local District Prison.

We proceed to request validation of the detention in the separate document.

Forward to the Secretary area of authority with regard to recognition of Diya Lumumba and Amanda Marie Knox, born in Washington (USA) on 07/09/1987, based in Perugia, Via della Pergola 7, and Raffaele Sollecito, also already identified.

Perugia, November 6th 2007, h.8,40



Monday, March 09, 2015

The Meredith Case Wiki Now Has The Key Sollecito Statement 6 Nov 2007 In Full

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

Perugia’s central police station where Sollecito made the statement posted here

The ever-expanding Wiki can of course be found here.

A post follows soon with guidance to the numerous new documents it contains. This was an extremely well documented case with discussions carefully recorded and decisions explained every step of the way.

We have frequently noted for example that RS and AK were provided with an extraordinary total of SIX opportunities in 2007 and 2008 to head off a trial and to be released.

Each opportunity is very well documented (Matteini hearings, Ricciarelli hearings, Mignini hearings, Supreme Court rulings, and the two Micheli rulings) and the transcripts and reports make very clear why RS and AK failed each time.

Not one of those transcripts or rulings has been “explained” or rebutted by the RS and AK apologists. It is very clear now that their falsifying efforts are being left way back there in the dust.

Document after document after document proving the case is going live in English for which they have been able to create no response.  For example, the “brutal” Knox “interrogation” on 6 November is absolutely vital to their body of claims.

But document after document has shown that to be simply a huge hoax.  Dumb silence is the only response.

This new translation of Sollecito’s statement of 6 November 2007 in the central police station, complete for the first time, has just gone live on the Wiki here. As always, we sure appreciate the translation help.

It is also now a part of our Interrogation Hoax series.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Sollecito Trial For “Honor Bound” #6: Examining Gumbel’s Role In Biasing The Book

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

Andrew Gumbel seen in a shrill 2014 CNN report, perhaps the least balanced so far 

1. Bringing The News Up To Date

On 5 March the Florence court will replace the prosecution’s translation of the target claims in the book with its own translation.

And Sollecito and Gumbel will probably be ordered to stand public trial then.

Both the prosecution and the guiding magistrate have as usual in Italy played immensely fair in this case. Each gave Sollecito and Gumbel numerous opportunities over more than a year to try to explain and justify certain target passages in a way that gets them off the hook. In further fairness the hearings have all been closed.

What leaked out after the last hearing in Florence a couple of weeks ago suggested that Sollecito has yet to come up with any justification at all. He was said to look dazed and depressed.

Gumbel was not in court. But his lawyer apparently claimed that Gumbel was merely a sort of well-meaning sheep: Sollecito’s ghost writer, nothing more, who faithfully took down only what he heard from his client.

This has apparently not gone down at all well in the Sollecito camp.

The Sollecito family and legal team has long hinted rather publicly that Gumbel did a number on them, an end-run. Francesco Sollecito and the family and Sollecito’s lawyers Giula Bongiorno and Luca Maori had all claimed within several weeks of the book coming out that numerous passages in the book were malicious and untrue. Sollecito himself denied that he put them in.

The Sollecito family and legal team have also hinted ever since that Gumbel and some American Knox cronies with self-serving agendas (suggested on pro-Knox websites to have been Steve and Michele Moore, Frank Sforza, Bruce Fischer, maybe some more) had recklessly put dangerous unfounded claims in the final draft of the book.

Those claims (now the main subjects of the Florence trial) were seemingly never put into Italian and run carefully by them. No proper due diligence was done, and as a result they have been left holding the can. And all this under the cold eyes of the Supreme Court, which must rule in six weeks whether Sollecito makes things up. 

2. Smart Rules For Ghost Writers To Avoid Trouble

This is hardly the first time a ghost writer and their client have fallen out. It is a touchy trouble-prone profession not governed by formalised training or an established code of ethics, where getting sued or not getting paid is quite a frequent thing.

Some of those who do it full-time and have had their share of trouble and want no more of it and want to alert others have posted their own suggested groundrules online.

For example, both client and ghost writer are well served by spending a few days checking out each other. Then they make a contract where literally everything needs to be spelled out.

Ghost writers need to take extreme care with clients in legal trouble who might drag them in or who they might drag in further. They need to be clear whether they are to research on their own, and to whom they are permitted to talk.

They need to know whether their name will be on the cover or anywhere inside the book. They need to know whether they have a licence from the client to do related TV and print articles, especially if those pay a separate fee, and what they are allowed to say.

They need to try to capture honestly the client’s voice and not turn them into someone they are not. They need to know what facts to put in and to be clear what facts are consciously left out. They need to do due diligence on the drafts with the agent and publisher and lawyers, and if allowed check out dynamite claims with “the other side”.

And if any accusations of crimes are to be made they REALLY need to check those legal hot potatoes with the client and the lawyers and the publishers, line by line. 

Gumbel seems to have ignored pretty well all of these groundrules, and dug Sollecito in much deeper.

Knox’s ghost writer Linda Kulman (more experienced than Gumbel at this and with no axe to grind) seems to have followed some but not all of these guidelines. Her name is only in the Knox book once, in a short thankyou note by Knox at the back, and she remained low-key and made no separate statements.

Nevertheless, Linda Kulman had the Sollecito book as a (then) largely unchallenged model. She included in the book a number of false accusation of crimes and malicious ridicules of others, none of them properly checked out, which will have Knox in court for sure before too long. (Oggi is already in court for repeating some of her claims.)

Linda Kulman also included an entire chapter about Knox’s “interrogation” where every detail is made up. She included a lengthy claim that Mignini did an illegal interrogation of Knox, when in fact he wasn’t even there. And she left out numerous key facts, such as that Knox was having sex with a major drug dealer almost to the day of her arrest, and most of the evidence.

Linda Kulman certainly dd not capture Knox’s real voice or mode of behavior, which are notoriously brash and possibly the root cause of Meredith’s murder.

3. Flashing Warning Lights In Italy In 2012

If the Sollecito family and team did not know all of the above, it would seem to be Sharlene Martin’s fiduciary duty as book agent for Sollecito to make sure both they and any ghost writer they hired did know.

For their part, the Sollecito team should have done their own due diligence in Italy, and perhaps looked around for an experienced ghost writer in Italy who could converse with all of them and show them in Italian what would be in the book. And in particular known about and been respectful of this which was in our first post.

On 3 October 2011 Judge Hellmann told RS and AK they were free to go, despite the fact that no legal process for murder and some other crimes is considered final in Italy until no party pursues any further appeals or the Supreme Court signs off. Most still accused of serious crimes (as in the UK and US) remain locked up. Hellmann, pathetically trying to justify this fiasco ever since, was firmly edged out and still the target of a possible charge.

Other flashing warnings should have made Sollecito’s family and legal team and book writers very wary. They included the immediate strong warning of a tough prosecution appeal to the Supreme Court. They also included the pending calunnia trials of Knox and her parents, the pending trial of the Sollecitos for attempting to use politics to subvert justice, the pending trials of Spezi, Aviello, and Sforza, and so on. 

A major flashing warning was right there in Italian law. Trials are meant to be conducted in the courtroom and attempts to poison public opinion are illegal. They can be illegal in the US and UK too but, for historical reasons to do with the mafias and crooked politicians, Italian laws in this area are among the world’s toughest. So mid-process, normally no books are ever published

4. Warning Lights About A Hasty Gumbel Contract

Many of the problems in the book are associated with a strident anti-Italy tone.  Well over half the false claims taken apart in this May 2014 post are FACTUALLY wrong in areas where Sollecito has no known knowledge or point of view.

For example, it was claimed that the Italian justice institutions are both very unpopular and corrupt. Neither is true, and almost no Italians believe that.

Sharlene Martin was first mentioned as Sollecito’s agent in the NY Times on 5 December 2011 when Sollecito had been swanning around the US west coast in an apparent attempt to, well, get her back in the sack. He was in a weak mode.

On 10 January 2012 Francesco Sollecito was reported in the Journal of Umbria as saying this about the purpose of the book 

“I have not done the math [the lawyers etc costs]. For good luck. I will do it after the ruling of the Supreme Court. It will be painful because the figure of one million euro of which one speaks is not far from reality.” This was stated to the weekly Today, on newsstands tomorrow, by Francesco Sollecito, father of Raffaele.
According to [Francesco] Sollecito, in case of confirmation of absolution, then there will be 250-300,000 euro compensation provided for the unjust detention of his son, this money will be enough only to pay the fees of the 12 consultants “that we had to appoint to succeed to refute the allegations.”

In the interview with the weekly, Francesco Sollecito denies that Raffaele has a girlfriend, as reported after the publishing of photos while kissing a girl: “Annie, the girl who appears with him in photos on Facebook is just a friend, in fact a sorta of cousin… “The priorities of my son right now are otherise.” What? “Raffaele has signed a contract with the American literary manager Sharlene Martin for a book, it is a definite undertaking “.

Apparently at this point Sharlene Martin had not been to Italy or spoken face-to-face with Francesco or the legal team. Whether she had briefed herself on the warning lights described above so that she could properly warn the US team of writer, editors, publishers and publicists is not known. 

5. Gumbel’s Shrill Record Of Sliming Italy

On 12 February 2012 Andrew Gumbel is reported in the NY Times as having got the co-writer job. During that period due diligence (if any) on his background would have been done, seemingly mainly by Sharlene Martin (if any) as a complaint of Sollecito’s team is that they could not look him over before he came on board.

Andrew Gumbel is not a lawyer, and in fact our own lawyers have repeatedly found silly his pretentious and inaccurate legal claims. Nor as far as we know does he have a track record as a ghost writer. His main claim to the job seems to have been based on his having been based in Italy with the UK Independent for nearly five years in the 1990s.

The 1990s were a pretty good time in Italy.

There was okay growth and jobs availability, record tourism, relative political calm before Berlusconi grabbed political and media power, many successful farms and firms, and a really push against the mafias - for which many brave judges and prosecutors had died.  The Italian food and wine were great, the cars and luxury goods were great, and Italy was home to about half of the finest medieval art in the world.

We checked it out: foreign reporters in Italy at the time did a fair and balanced job reflecting all of this. With seemingly only one notorious exception: the British reporter Andrew Gumbel for the UK Independent.

Apparently Gumbel could find almost nothing to like about Italy. In 5 years almost nothing to write a positive report on.

Brits relying only on his shrill reporting in the Independent may have thought Italy to be a very corrupt, lawless, politically and economically dysfunctional place, with nothing about it to like and no reason to visit. If they were bigoted, this could have made them more-so. Nasty stuff, and for foreign reporters in any country anywhere very unusual.

Below are the headers for most or all of Andrew Gumbel’s shrill reports from Italy.

Fair and balanced? The right guy for a delicate project with his client in a delicate legal bind? You decide.  We have highlighted in yellow all the reports with a negative bias, maybe true, maybe not. Of the total of 62 reports only 4 seem to us neutral or nice. Were the Sollecitos or their Italian lawyers or HarperCollins made aware by Gumbel or Sharlene Martin of Gumbel’s emotional negative bias?

    1. Gumbel Articles On Italy’s Government + History (25)
  • A sick economy shakes out the fake invalids. (growing economic problems in Italy make corruption less acceptable)
  • Bickering while Venice sinks.
  • Can Italy survive Dini’s fall? (prime minister Lamberto Dini)
  • Chirac consigns Italy to Europe’s second division. (French president Jacques Chirac)
  • Corruption on an Olympian scale.(Rome, Italy, seeks to host Olympic Games)
  • Facing up to Italy’s crisis. (Italy’s economic problems)
  • Glitz takes a back seat on road to Rome. (Romano Prodi begins electoral campaign in Italy) (Interview)
  • How the kidnap and rape of Dario Fo’s wife was ordered by Italy’s right-wing rulers.
  • Illegal migrants reach EU havens via Italy.
  • Italy waits for the gravy train to be derailed. (problems facing Italian railway system)
  • Italy ready for mission impossible: intervention in Albania could bring instability to Rome.
  • Italy heads back into a political void.
  • Italy struggles to shake off the legacy of Mussolini.
  • Italy’s Olive Tree fails to bear fruit.
  • Italy’s rich city prays for fall of nation state. (citizens of Bologna, Italy, strongly in favour of European Union)
  • New wave of state corruption stuns the Italians.
  • Past demons threaten Italy’s bid for change. (Italy fails to move towards a SEcond Republic)
  • Prodi’s dilemma: let the left win or surrender Italy’s drive towards Emu. (Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi)
  • Rome’s magic circle. (deterioration of the Colosseum in Rome, Italy)
  • Scholars in a spin over Churchill link to the death of Mussolini. (claims that Mussolini was shot by British secret services)
  • Shouting could drown out Italian democracy. (serious political clashes damage reputation of Italian parliament)
  • So, were there offers he should have refused? (trial of Giulio Andreotti)
  • The Nazi and the protection racket. (controversy over trial of former Nazi Erich Priebke in Italy)
  • Venice’s grand opera descends to farce. (dispute hampers rebuilding of La Fenice opera house)
  • Why Italy cannot bring war criminals to justice.
  • 2. Gumbel Articles On Italy’s Scenery, Art, Music, Fashion, Culture (2)
  • Il Papa brings on Dylan for a taste of the devil’s rhythms. (Bob Dylan to perform for Pope)
  • Inside the Assisi basilica, a sight to make saints weep. (challenges involved in restoration of art treasures from Basilica of St Francis in Assisi, Italy)
  • 3. Gumbel Articles On Italy’s Economy + Business (8)
  • A nation that brings its style to the track. (many changes to Italian rail network)
  • All is not bene among the united colours. (problems facing Benetton)
  • Berlusconi consolidates his rule over the Italian air waves. (former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi)
  • Ciao Gianni, but now what? (Gianni Agnelli resigns as chairman of Fiat)
  • Climax of Italy’s TV war. (referendum on whether Silvio Berlusconi should sell his television channels)
  • Italy’s new crop stifled in the shadow of a paradise lost.(problems affecting the Italian motion picture industry)
  • Murdoch pursues Italian television. (News Corp seeks stake in Silvio Berlusconi’s media empire).
  • The dark world behind Versace’s life of glamour. (murder of fashion designer Gianni Versace)
  • 4. Gumbel Articles On Italy’s Justice, Crime, Corruption,  Mafias (24)
  • Accidental death of an anarchist comes back to scandalise Italy. (three men convicted of murder of police commissioner Luigi Calabresi in 1972)
  • A fashion label that really is to die for .... (murder of fashion designer Maurizio Gucci may have been instigated by his former wife)(Column)
  • After the suicide, a wall of silence. (new type of Mafia activity in Sicily)
  • Amnesty offers Italy chance to forget its years of terror. (Italian government pardons six people involved in Red Brigades terrorist group in 1970s)
  • Andreotti to face trial on Mob links. (former Italian prime minister Giulio Andreotti to stand trial for consorting with the Mafia)
  • Another black mark against Italy’s judges. (Italy’s anti-corruption magistrates lose their credibility)
  • Arrest us, but we’ll be back next week. (three Italians with Aids use legal loophole to rob banks)
  • Backlash threatens to silence informers. (controversy in Italy over Mafia informers)
  • Bloody end of a fashionable affair. (murder of Maurizio Gucci)
  • Fake invalids at heart of Italy’s postal scandal. (postal service employs many invalids, but some are fakes)
  • Fear and loathing in the Alto Adige. (serial killer murders six people in Merano, Italy)
  • Godfather’ village baffled by murders. (Sicilian town of Corleone)
  • God’s Banker: ‘He was given Mafia money and he made poor use of it.’ (investigation into death of Italian banker Roberto Calvi in 1982 may soon be concluded)
  • Gucci: hell for leather. (Patrizia Gucci convicted for contract killing of former husband Maurizio Gucci)
  • How Cosa Nostra’s cunning outfoxed the Italian state. (Mafia’s criminal network still operating in Italy)
  • How Italy failed to trap its Monster. (failure to bring serial killer in Florence, Italy, to justice)
  • Italy’s men of violence throw off the state’s chains. (revival of the Mafia in Italy)(includes details of murder of magistrate Giovanni Falcone)
  • Mafia trawls Venice’s dark lagoon. (organised crime in Venice, Italy)
  • Mysteries unravel as mafiosi spill secrets. (Italian gangsters make confessions)
  • One woman’s dangerous and lonely battle to break the Cosa Nostra. (challenges facing Maria Maniscalco, mayor of San Giuseppe Jato, Italy)
  • Rome turns a blind eye to Mafia’s killing spree.
  • Secret of why the Mafia has never shot a soul. (code of silence about Mafia in Sicily)
  • Street wars in Italy’s wild south. (high crime levels in Naples, Italy)
  • Who killed Pasolini? (new film about the murder of Pier Paolo Pasolini)
  • 5. Gumbel Articles On Italy’s Physical Disasters (3)
  • After the deluge (eruption of Mount Vesuvius in Italy will create chaos)
  • Assisi in mourning as quake shatters Basilica of St Francis.
  • Umbria shows the civilised way to cope with calamity. (effects of series of earthquakes in Italy)

6. Conclusion And Next Posts

This list was checked out with half a dozen posters resident in Italy at the time. All of their reactions were to the effect that, in lying by omission, Gumbel did not play fair with Italy back then. A trivial mind. One which should have been fought off with a stick.

The next posts seek to identify what Gumbel and the Knox misrepresenters (said to be primarily the Moores, Sforza and Fischer) were responsible for putting in the Sollecito book, and to describe Andrew Gumbel’s vigorous public media campaign. Whether authorized or not authorized, he made around 20 shrill damaging interventions.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Sollecito Trial For “Honor Bound” #5: Gumbel Really A Cowardly Defamatory Shill?

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

Above: “Neutral ghostwriter” Andrew Gumbel tweets…

1, Today In The Florence Court

Lately many of the chest-thumping PR shills have whined a lot more about themselves as victims than done anything to boost Sollecito and Knox.

Think of Preston, Burleigh, Dempsey, Sforza, Fisher, Moore, and a whole lot of other serial complainers. Now chest-thumper Andrew Gumbel seems to want to join their ranks. That is if the claim that he was ONLY a ghostwriter was made by his lawyer with his consent to the Florence judge.

2. Signs Gumbel Really Is A Shill

Note that Sollecito gave many signs during his US book promotion tour late in 2012 that he really didn’t know much about what was in his own book.

So did Gumbel really only hang on Sollecito’s every word? Or did he talk to a lot more people than that, and get very invested in nasty, dishonest propaganda to deny justice for Meredith via the courts?

Here’s Andrew Gumbel on 1 May 2014, providing the first media opinion in the UK on Judge Nencini’s appeal report. The nasty false claims highlighted suggest Gumbel has a very strong investment in Sollecito and Knox and not a little contempt for the Italian courts.

One truth in Gumbel’s article which he must really regret? That sentence in the thitrd paragraph: “Disclosure: I am the co-author with Sollecito on his memoir about the case.”

The longer the Italian courts consider the Meredith Kercher case – and we have now had three trials, six presiding judges, two hearings before the Italian high court and a third on the way – the more the country’s institutions of justice have covered themselves in shame.

Judge after judge has twisted the available evidence into extraordinary contortions of logic to assert, at different times, that Kercher – a British exchange student stabbed to death in her room in Perugia in 2007 – was the victim of a premeditated attack; that her murder happened spontaneously; that the motive was sexual; that the motive was a dispute over housework with Amanda Knox, the star defendant; that the trigger for the murder was the unseemly appetite Knox and her boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, had for sex and drugs; that the trigger for the murder was Rudy Guede, the Ivorian-born drifter everyone agrees was involved, knocking on the door to use the toilet.

By now, Knox and Sollecito have been convicted, acquitted and convicted again, and the underlying forensic evidence has been both exposed as a sham and, mystifyingly, reinstated. (Disclosure: I am the co-author, with Sollecito, on his memoir about the case.)

Still, the latest judicial document in the ongoing battle, a 337-page justification of the most recent convictions made public on Tuesday, marks a new low. Not only has Alessandro Nencini, the presiding judge of the Florence appeals court, apparently resorted to the same tortured logic as his predecessors; he has also stated things as fact that are manifestly and provably wrong.

That may be more than even the Italian justice system can stomach; judges, after all, aren’t supposed to do things like that. And it may provide Knox and Sollecito with unexpected – if still slim – grounds for hope at the very moment when Kercher’s death had seemed settled, at last, according to the law.

To read the new conviction report in detail is to enter a kind of alternate reality, where concrete facts appear ignored and alternate facts are seemingly plucked from the air. Kercher’s murder is reduced to a parlor game and all roads lead to the inevitable, if not also foregone, conclusion that Knox and Sollecito are guilty. For instance:

  • On page 63, Judge Nencini claims that a partial shoeprint found at the murder scene comes from a size 37 women’s shoe and must therefore belong to Amanda Knox. But this is not based on the available evidence. In the early days of the case, the prosecution sought to show that the shoeprint was from Sollecito’s Nikes; the pattern of concentric circles on the sole was later proven to come from a different pair of Nikes belonging to Guede.

  • On page 81, Nencini grapples with the question of how Knox and Sollecito could have participated in the murder but left no more than a single, hotly disputed trace of themselves at the scene. Extraordinarily, Nencini argues that Knox and Sollecito must have wiped the place clean of their DNA (but left an abundance of Guede’s) because no traces of Knox’s DNA were found anywhere in the apartment that she shared with the victim. But multiple samples of Knox’s DNA were found and presented at trial; they just weren’t found in the room where the murder took place.

  • Then, on page 321, Nencini writes that the blade of the purported murder weapon – a large kitchen knife found in Sollecito’s apartment – bore traces of both Kercher’s and Sollecito’s DNA. Again, this is at variance with the evidence. The most the prosecution ever asserted was that Kercher’s DNA was on the tip of the blade. Sollecito’s DNA has never been found.

The defense teams have reacted with consternation: Knox issued a formal statement decrying the lack of “credible evidence or logic” in this latest document, which arrived just ahead of the three-month deadline following her latest conviction; Sollecito’s lead lawyer, Giulia Bongiorno, denounced what she said were “at least ten clamorous mistakes per page”. (A Kercher family lawyer called the document “a version that we have always in some ways sustained”.)

This being Italy, however, the judicial errors are not necessarily a bad thing for Knox and Sollecito, because they give the Italian high court an opening – should the justices choose to take it – to overturn the latest conviction, and either dismiss the case, send it back to get the mistakes fixed, or order yet another trial in another court.

The high court justices will be aware, of course, that the longer the case drags on, the more suspect the process will look in the eyes of world opinion. Another trial would test the patience of even the most ardent believers in Knox and Sollecito’s guilt, and certainly of the Kercher family. But the process is starting to curdle – even without the spectacle of lawyers arguing, yet again, over the same controversies before a barrage of international TV cameras. That leaves the high court, which always has one eye on the integrity of the system, with a genuine dilemma.

Much has been written about Italian justice’s desire to save face in this much written-about case. To admit a miscarriage of justice, the argument runs, has become too difficult, because it would expose the mistakes of too many people, from the primary investigators to the Rome forensic lab to the prosecutors and judges.

However, as the case trudges toward the seven-year mark, one has to wonder how much appetite the institutions of justice still have to stand by what they have done. Will the high court really want to endorse Nencini’s report with all these evident flaws? Or will this finally be the moment when the justice system calls a halt to a travesty committed in its name and exonerates Knox and Sollecito, as it should have done years ago?

3. How Gumbel Got It Wrong

We responded by rebutting 20 of Gumbel’s malicious claims in just the first 7 pages of Honor Bound. And Pataz1, a TJMK main poster who also runs his own blog posted this rebuttal of Gumbel below

This letter was sent to the Guardian’s Reader Editor on 4 May 2014, and again on 3 June, 2014. The Reader’s Editor did not respond to either of the email submissions.

Gumbel’s May 1st, 2014 article in the Guardian is a thinly veiled advocacy piece for Sollecito and Knox. He left out a significant phrase from a Nencini passage he cites; this phrase he omitted undermines one of his main claims.

To the Guardian:

I’m writing to you about Andrew Gumbel’s “comment” on developments in the murder of Meredith Kercher case. Gumbel writes about the recently released Nencini court motivations document, which outlines the court’s reasoning for affirming Knox and Sollecito’s conviction for the murder of Meredith Kercher.

Gumbel waits until the end of the third paragraph in his article to provide his disclaimer: that he is a co-author of the book by one of the defendants. Its hard to understand why Gumbel waited so long to disclose his vested financial interest in the innocence of one of the defendants on trial. By this time, Gumbel has already levied allegations of impropriety upon the Italian courts and judges. For example, he alleges “the country’s institutions of justice have covered themselves in shame.” He continues specific allegations that “judge after judge has twisted the available evidence […]”.  If Gumbel had provided his disclaimer appropriately at the beginning of his letter, readers would have had a more appropriate understanding of Gumbel’s perspective and motivations for writing his letter.

Despite being a co-author of a book by one of the two still on trial for Meredith’s murder, Gumbel’s statements on the court process are wrong. Gumbel pushes the perspective that Knox’s reps have pushed in the US; that Knox and Sollecito have been “convicted again” after an acquittal. Gumbel leaves out any mention of the Italian Supreme Court ruling that overturned Knox and Sollecito’s acquittal and sent the case back to the appellate level. After the acquittal was annulled, the original 2009 conviction remained in place. Gumbel is no doubt aware that the Florence court is an appellate court.  (Curiously, Sollecito’s co-defendant Knox also wrongly claims on her website that the Italian Supreme Court “annulled all previous verdicts”; ref:

Gumbel’s omission of the Italian Supreme Court ruling is odd, because the entire point of his article is the integrity of the judicial decisions. Gumbel left out that the Italian Supreme Court has already made one ruling regarding the integrity of a judicial decision in this case. The Supreme Court’s ruling wasn’t in favor of Gumbel’s co-author and defendant Raffaele Sollecito;  perhaps this is the reason that Gumbel failed to mention the actual outcome of the acquittal.

Or perhaps Gumbel left out this information so he could present the evidence the way it is framed by supporters of Knox and Sollecito. Later in the the same paragraph, Gumbel expresses confusion about why evidence remains in the case. He states “the underlying forensic evidence has been both exposed as a sham and, mystifyingly, reinstated.” As the co-author of the book with Sollecito, Gumbel is again no doubt aware that after the appellate-level acquittal was thrown out, the original conviction (with all of the evidence) remained as a part of the case. Any decision made by Hellmann on the evidence was also thrown out of the case, including Hellmann’s conclusions on the knife DNA evidence and the Sollecito’s DNA on the bra clasp. Further, if Gumbel had indeed read the Nencini decision, he would have read the passage where Nencini takes to task the “independent experts” in the Hellmann trial (detailed here: Gumbel should be well aware after his reading of Nencini why the evidence still contributed to the Florence court upholding his co-author’s conviction.

In his second point on the Nencini decision, Gumbel leaves out a key phrase that completely undermines his claim. By this time in his article, one is forced to wonder if this omission is deliberate. Gumbel’s claim is that Nencini contradicted himself by writing that Knox and Sollecito only left a “single, hotly disputed trace of themselves” despite the other evidence that Nencini also talks about. But the start of the passage Gumbel cites is:

“Una peculiarità è, ad esempio, il rilievo che all’interno della villetta di via della Pergola quasi non sono state rinvenute tracce di Amanda Marie Knox – se non quelle di cui si dirà e riferibili all’omicidio – né di Raffaele Sollecito.”

The phrase Gumbel deliberately left out is this: “se non quelle di cui si dirà e riferibili all’omicidio”, which, roughly translated, is “except those which will be discussed and related to the murder.”  The Nencini Motivations document explicitly contains a clause that accommodates the other traces related to the murder. Gumbel’s point is provably false. As someone who arguably puts himself forth as an expert on the case, this omission is highly concerning.

In Gumbel’s third point he highlights what is a minor error in the Nencini report. Calling out one word in a longer passage, Gumbel points out the report states that Sollecito’s DNA was found on the knife that is alleged as a murder weapon. If Gumbel truly read the report, as he claimed in a twitter exchange with me, he would be aware that the rest of the section that is contained in makes it clear that the finding is Knox’s DNA on the knife, not Sollecito’s. This minor error is hardly cause to overturn the full conviction.

I could continue, but the rest of Gumbel’s article is largely a diatribe against the length of the trial and the Italian justice system. Gumbel cites an article written by Douglas Preston, another author who has financially benefited by being openly critical of the prosecutor in Knox’s case. Knox and Sollecito’s case has gone through three levels of the Italian court system, and back to appeals. Cases in the US that follow a similar path have not happened any faster than the one in Italy. For example, in the Scott Peterson case in the US his defense still filed appeals eight years after his first-level conviction.

That the Guardian has allowed itself to be used as a platform to push the defense’s perspective is not only a disservice to the family of the murder victim who lives in the UK, but is also a disservice to the victim of a violent, brutal murder.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Sollecito Trial For “Honor Bound” #4: Chimera Examines The Most Inflammatory Angles

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

[A far from joyful dad once again tries to knock sense into his loose-cannon offspring]

1. Overview Of This Series And Post

Tomorrow is the day when the wraps come off the prosecutions’ targets in the book.

This is also when Sollecito & Gumbel might try to justify themselves though they have a tough task ahead of them. For Sollecito and Gumbel (and also Knox and Kulman) their books actually constitute four kinds of problems;

(1) their defamations of the Italian courts and justice system;
(2) their defamations of many police, investigators and prosecutors who work within it,
(3) their numerous lies by omission, the pesky facts they never mention; and
(4) the unwitting truths and half-truths pointing to guilt, which the court may especially zero in on.

As mentioned in the previous post, a separate new TJMK pasge will soon take the book apart definitively. To this many posters have contributed.

Also we will have a new TJMK page on all of the lies of omission and who tends to avoid what area of evidence. .

2. Examination By Chimera Of Sollecito Book

In Part 1 Chimera addrresses problem (4) the truths and half-truths.

In Part 2 Chimera comes up with an alternative synopsis of the book.

In Part 3 Chimera Suggests why there could have been pre-meditation.

1. Examination Of RS’s Truthfulness

[page xv] ‘’....Often, they are more interested in constructing compelling narratives than in building up the evidence piece by piece, a task considered too prosaic and painstaking to be really interesting….’‘

A main criticism by the Supreme Court of Judge Hellmann was that he looked at the evidence piece by piece, rather than trying to make a story of all the evidence as a whole.

[page xvi] ‘’....She was Amanda the heartless when she didn’t cry over Meredith’s death and Amanda the hysterical manipulator when she did. Whatever she did—practice yoga, play Beatles songs, buy underwear—it was held against her.

Well, when someone does not seem upset that their ‘friend’ is murdered, and then behaves in this fashion, would police not at least have their curiosity piqued?

[page 20] ‘’... First, Guede could reasonably assume that the occupants of the house were either out for the night or away for the long weekend. Second, he had previously stayed over in the boys’ apartment downstairs—he fell asleep on the toilet one night in early October and ended up sprawled on the couch—so he knew the lay of the land. He had even met Meredith and Amanda briefly. And, third, since it was the first of the month, chances were good that the accumulated rent money for November was sitting in a pile somewhere in the house.

In the upstairs apartment, Filomena took responsibility for gathering everyone’s cash and handing it over to the landlady. And it was Filomena’s bedroom window that would soon be smashed with a large rock…’‘

This only makes sense if and only if:

(a) Rudy knew the schedules of all 8 people in the house
(b) Rudy may have slept downstairs, but implies he must have been upstairs at some point
(c) Rudy knew that Filomena had all the money (that she took charge of it)
(d) That rent would be paid in cash, not a cheque or bank automatic withdrawl. Which suggests…

A failure on those parameters points to an inside job.

[page 22] ‘’... My father took her advice, but because my cell phone was turned off, I didn’t receive the message until six the next morning.

It was a desperately unlucky combination of circumstances. If my father had tried my cell and then called me on the home line—which he would have done, because he’s persistent that way—I would have had incontrovertible proof from the phone records that I was home that night. And the nightmare that was about to engulf me might never have begun.’‘

First, it is an admission that the cell phone was turned off

Second, it is an admission that had Francesco called him, he would have an alibi, suggesting he did not…

[page 24] ‘’ ... Many Italians, including most of my family, could not fathom how she could go ahead with her shower after finding blood on the tap, much less put her wet feet on the bath mat, which was also stained, and drag it across the floor.’‘

So, Amanda showered, even with blood on the tap and on the bathmat, and no one, not even Raffaele, can make sense of it. Perhaps it is just an odd way of being quirky.

[page 26] ‘’... Then I pushed open Filomena’s door, which had been left slightly ajar, and saw that the place was trashed. Clothes and belongings were strewn everywhere. The window had a large, roundish hole, and broken glass was spread all over the floor.

Okay, we thought, so there’s been a break-in. What we couldn’t understand was why Filomena’s laptop was still propped upright in its case on the floor, or why her digital camera was still sitting out in the kitchen. As far as we could tell, nothing of value was missing anywhere….’‘

And this would be found to be suspicious by the police. An apparent break in, but nothing seems to be missing. And we haven’t even gotten to the spiderman climb yet.

[page 27] ‘’... Amanda went into the Italian women’s bathroom alone, only to run back out and grab on to me as though she had seen a ghost. “The shit’s not in the toilet anymore!” she said. “What if the intruder’s still here and he’s locked himself in Meredith’s room?”

Interesting. Perhaps Raffaele instinctively leaves poop in the toilet as well. Why would he not flush to make sure?

[page 27 contains the following lines:]

‘’ ....Don’t do anything stupid.’‘
‘’ ....Now what do we do?’‘
‘’ ....My sister is in the Carabinieri.’‘

These were supposedly in reference to the frantic attempts to see in Meredith’s room. Does anyone think there is some innuendo/hidden meaning?

[page 29] ‘’... “No, nothing’s been taken.” I didn’t know that for sure, of course, and I should have been more careful about my choice of words. At the time, though, I thought I was just performing my civic duty by passing the information along. The only reason I was on the line was because Amanda’s Italian was not good enough for her to make the call herself.’‘

This sounds innocuous enough, with the qualifiers, but without them:  ‘‘No, nothing’s been taken… I should have been more careful about my choice of words.”

[page 33] ‘’.... As things spiraled out of control over the next several days, a senior investigator with the carabinieri in Perugia took it upon himself to call my sister and apologize, colleague to colleague. “If we had arrived ten minutes earlier,” he told Vanessa, “the case would have been ours. And things would have gone very differently.”

This sounds eerily like an admission that things could have been tampered with, or ‘saved’, if only the ‘right’ people had been there in time.

[page 35] ‘’... Amanda didn’t understand the question, so I answered for her, explaining that she’d taken a shower and then come back to my house. “Really, you took a shower?” Paola said. She was incredulous…’‘

However, the book does not clarify why Paola was incredulous. Take your pick.

(a) Amanda didn’t look or smell like she had a shower
(b) Amanda showered in a blood soaked bathroom
(c) Both ‘a’ and ‘b’

[page 39] ‘’... In the moment, I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to make Amanda feel worse. The whole purpose of my being there was to comfort her. So I defended her, even beyond the point where I felt comfortable or could be said to be looking out for my own interests.’‘

This is arguably the most true part of the book. He does have to comfort her, so she doesn’t talk. And it probably was uncomfortable.

And ‘‘beyond the point where ... I could be said to be looking out for my own interests.’’ Notice that Raffaele does not say ‘‘beyond that point where I WAS looking out for my own interests. It only ‘looks’ like it, because it is very much in his interest - at that time - to pacify Amanda.

[page 40] ‘’.... Italian newspapers reporting ‘Amanda could kill for a pizza’.’‘

To most people, Raffaele could mean this signifies that killing and death did not affect her greatly, or that she is simply immature.

It could also be an admission: Meredith’s death was over something extremely trivial, and Raffaele knew it.

[page 40] ‘’...Why focus on her, and not on Meredith’s other friends? I wondered. She and Amanda were new acquaintances…’‘

Exactly. Compared to what has been portrayed, they were not close friends, or even friends

[page 41] ‘’... Amanda noticed the police’s sex obsession right away; they couldn’t stop asking her about the Vaseline pot and a vibrator they had found in the bathroom. The vibrator was a joke item, a little rubber bunny rabbit shaped to look like a vibrator and fashioned into a pendant, but the police seemed to find this difficult to accept. What about Meredith’s sex life? Amanda knew only that Meredith had left a boyfriend in England and was now involved with one of the men who lived downstairs, a twenty-two-year-old telecommunications student with a carefully sculpted beard and outsize earrings named Giacomo Silenzi. Amanda had helped Meredith out a couple times by giving her a condom from her supply. But Amanda had no idea how, or how often, Meredith had sex and didn’t feel comfortable fielding questions about it.’‘

This is creepily ‘Knoxian’ in that Raffaele is deliberately leaking extremely personal details about Meredith. Is this a desire they share: to humiliate her deeper, in the public domain, far beyond what they already have done.

[page 42] ‘’... A few days later, this episode would be distorted in the newspapers to make it seem as if the first thing we did after the murder was to buy sexy lingerie—specifically, a G-string—and tell each other how we couldn’t wait to try it out. The store owner, who did not speak English, corroborated the story in pursuit of his own brief moment in the spotlight. True, the surveillance video in the store showed us touching and kissing, but that was hardly a crime. I wasn’t making out with her in some vulgar or inappropriate way, just comforting her and letting her know I was there for her. Besides, there was nothing remotely sexy about Bubble. A much sexier underwear store was next door, and we didn’t set foot in…’‘

Interesting. Raffaele says that this was blown out of proportion, yet his defense is that we didn’t do anything sexual, but if we did, it is not a crime, and besides, there was a better place next door.

[page 43] ‘’... I realized I had not properly acknowledged my own discomfort with Amanda. I was not scandalized by her, in the way that so many others later said they were, but I shouldn’t have allowed her to climb all over me in the Questura, and I should have counseled her quietly not to complain so much. I understood the gallant side of being her boyfriend, but I could have given her better advice and protected myself in the process.’‘

Translation: Amanda, quit whining so much. And while boning you in the police station may be fun, it is seriously jeopardizing my interests.

[page 44] ‘’... She told them, quite openly, about a guy from Rome she went to bed with a few days before meeting me. She had no problem being open about her sex life, and that made her interrogators suspicious. How many men, they wondered, did she plan on getting through during her year in Perugia?

Probably true, except for the conclusion. More likely they wondered: Why does she have to bring this up now?

[page 46]’‘... My sister, Vanessa, made her own separate inquiries and felt much less reassured. The first time she called the Questura, they left her waiting on the line, even though she announced herself as a lieutenant in the carabinieri, and never took her call.
The second time, she had herself put through from the carabinieri’s regional switchboard, to make it more official. This time she got through, but only to a junior policeman clearly her inferior. (In Italian law enforcement, protocol on such matters is followed scrupulously.) “Listen,” the man told her impatiently, “everything is fine.”

“Is there someone I can talk to who is in charge of this case?” Vanessa insisted.

This sounds like a very detailed (if true) attempt at subverting justice. Way to drop Vanessa in it, Raffy.

[page 47] ‘’... The truth, though, was that the authorities were still clueless.’‘

Don’t worry, they will get a clue soon enough.

[page 48] ‘’... What did they have on us? Nothing of substance. But they did find our behavior odd, and we had no real alibi for the night of November 1 except each other, and we did not have lawyers to protect us, and we seemed to have a propensity for saying things without thinking them through. In other words, we were the lowest-hanging fruit, and the police simply reached out and grabbed us.’‘

So, what does Sollecito list in just this paragraph?

(a) Odd behaviour
(b) No real alibi except each other
(c) Saying things without thinking them through

Can’t see why this would attract police attention…

[page 49] ‘’... Not only did they have no physical evidence, they saw no need for any.’‘

Well, odd behaviour, no real alibi,conflicting stories, and saying things through without thinking them through… oh, right, and that very detailed account of Patrik murdering Meredith, Sollecito ‘might’ be there, and Raffaele telling a pack of lies.

I guess physical evidence would be overkill (pardon the pun). Sounds very Knoxian in the ‘there is no evidence’ denials.

[page 50] ‘’... Carrying a small knife had been a habit of mine since I was a teenager—not for self-defense, mind you, just as an ornamental thing. I’d use one occasionally to peel apples or carve my name on tree trunks, but mostly I carried them around for the sake of it. Having a knife on me had become automatic, like carrying my wallet or my keys.’‘

So the rumours of having a knife fetish are true? Thanks for confirming it.

[page 50] ‘’... Besides, what kind of idiot killer would bring the murder weapon to the police station?’‘

Wow - how to begin with this one…  Although, on a more manipulative level, was it not the other knife that actually delivered the fatal blow?

[page 51] ‘’... My words in Italian—stai tranquillo—were the last my father would hear from me as a free man.’‘

It could mean physically free. Could also mean not free as in forced to confront his actions.

[page 51]  “You need to tell us what happened that night,” they began.

“Which night?” I asked wearily. I was getting tired of the endless questioning. I don’t think they appreciated my attitude.

“The night of November first.”

I don’t think this is a drug haze. More just being arrogant and callous.

[page 56] ‘’... I had been brought up to think the police were honest defenders of public safety. My sister was a member of the carabinieri, no less! Now it seemed to me they were behaving more like gangsters.’‘

Another sign of entitlement showing. Surely, the little brother of a carabinieri officer should not have to be subjected to this nonsense.

[page 56] ‘’... Something was exciting the police more than my pocketknife, and that was the pattern they had detected on the bottom of my shoes. By sheer bad luck, I was wearing Nikes that night, and the pattern of concentric circles on the soles instantly reminded my interrogators of the bloody shoe prints at the scene of the crime, which were made by Nikes too.

I had no idea of any of this. All I knew was, the rest of the interrogation team piled back into the room and told me to take off my shoes.’‘

Shoeprints placing a person at a crime scene? Why would that possibly be considered evidence?

[page 59] ‘’... Then, at some point after midnight, an interpreter arrived. Amanda’s mood only worsened. She hadn’t remembered texting Patrick at all, so she was in no position to parse over the contents of her message. When it was suggested to her she had not only written to him but arranged a meeting, her composure crumbled; she burst into uncontrollable tears, and held her hands up to her ears as if to say, I don’t want to hear any more of this.’‘

Depending on whether or not you believe Amanda’s ‘version’ of events, this could either be corroboration of her events, or corroboration she faked her fit.

Minor detail: Sollecito was in a totally different part of the Questera, but hey, it’s just semantics.

[page 61] ‘’...When I first found out what Amanda had signed her name to, I was furious. Okay, she was under a lot of pressure, as I had been, but how could she just invent stuff out of nowhere? Why would she drag me into something I had no part of? It soon transpired, of course, that she felt similarly about me. “What I don’t understand,” she wrote, as soon as she began to retract her statements, “is why Raffaele, who has always been so caring and gentle with me, would lie. . . . What does he have to hide?”

It took us both a long time to understand how we had been manipulated and played against each other. It took me even longer to appreciate that the circumstances of our interrogations were designed expressly to extract statements we would otherwise never have made, and that I shouldn’t blame Amanda for going crazy and spouting dangerous nonsense…’‘

-If Amanda got me locked up, I would be mad too
-Yes, she did make stuff (about Patrik) out of nowhere
-I was angry when Amanda asked ‘what I have to hide’
-Yes, police tend to play suspects off each other
-Yes, suspects try to avoid implicating each other
-Yes, Amanda only spouted dangerous nonsense after you took her alibi

This section is almost 100% true

[page 62] ‘’... Even before dawn broke on November 6, the authorities had us where they wanted us. True, neither of us had confessed to murder. But what they had—a web of contradictions, witnesses pitted against each other, and a third suspect on whom to pin the crime—was an acceptable second best.’‘

Also true, and great police work.

[page 63] ‘’... I asked to talk to my family again. I said I needed at least to inform my thesis director where I was. “Where you’re going, a degree’s not going to do you any good,” came the answer.’‘

Curious, he has just been arrested for murder and sexual assault, and among his first thoughts is his thesis. And didn’t he end up doing his Master’s thesis ... on himself?

[page 64] ‘’... As soon as we walked into my apartment, a policeman named Armando Finzi said loudly that the place stank of bleach. That wasn’t correct. My cleaning lady had been through the day before and cleaned the tile floor with Lysoform, not bleach. Still, he insisted on mentioning the bleach a couple more times—the clear implication being that I’d needed something powerful to clean up a compromising mess.’‘

Perhaps overanalysing this, but could Raffaele be flippantly thinking to himself: Nope, the cleaning lady used lysoform to clean up the mess. Wasn’t bleach, dudes.

[page 77] ‘’... Even before Judge Matteini had finished reading the complaint against me, I blurted out that I didn’t know Patrick Lumumba and that any prints from my shoes found at Via della Pergola could only have been made before November 1. Immediately I ran into trouble because I had in fact met Patrick at his bar, on the night Amanda and I first got together. And I had no idea that the shoe prints in question were made in blood. In no time, I was flailing and suggesting, in response to the judge’s pointed questions, that maybe I picked up some of the blood on the floor when I walked around the house on November 2, the day the body was discovered. Even more unwisely, I speculated that someone might have stolen my shoes and committed the murder in them. It just did not occur to me that the shoe print evidence was wrong.

At Raffaele’s first hearing:

-He claims not to have met Patrick, (his co-accused), but admits later, that he has
-He suggests that he may have picked up blood on the floor
-He claims the shoes were stolen

Why would Judge Matteini have reason to doubt his story?

[page 78] ‘’... I felt like a fool describing my extensive knife collection and even described myself as a testa di cazzo, a dickhead, for having so many. My judgment and my self-confidence were sinking fast.

“Perhaps the worst moment came when I was asked, for the umpteenth time, if Amanda had gone out on the night of the murder. I still had no clarity on this and could not answer the judge’s repeated questions without sounding evasive.”

[page 80] ‘’... Matteini swallowed the prosecution’s story whole. The break-in was staged after the fact, she asserted—just as Mignini had. The murderer or murderers must therefore have got into the house with a set of keys, and Amanda was the only keyholder without a solid alibi for the night in question. Patrick Lumumba had the hots for.

Meredith, Matteini theorized, and Amanda and I tagged along to experience something new and different. From my testimony at the hearing, Matteini concluded I was “bored by the same old evenings” and wanted to experience some “strong emotions.” (She moved my blog entry from October 2006, the date marked on the document, to October 2007, just weeks before the murder, which bolstered the argument.) She didn’t ascribe a specific motive to Amanda, assuming only that she must have felt the same way I did. The bloody footprints “proved” I was present at the scene of the murder, and my three-inch flick knife was “compatible with the possible murder weapon.” The house, she wrote, was “smeared with blood everywhere.”

Substitute in Rudy Guede for Patrick, and this sounds somewhat plausible.

[page 83] ‘’... Amanda recovered her lucidity faster than I did. The day we were arrested, she wrote a statement in English that all but retracted what she had signed the night before. “In regards to this ‘confession,’ ” she wrote, “I want to make clear that I’m very doubtful of the verity of my statements because they were made under the pressures of stress, shock and extreme exhaustion.” She was still conjuring up images of Patrick as the murderer, but she added, “These things seem unreal to me, like a dream, and I am unsure if they are real things that happened or just dreams in my head.”

The next day, she wrote a second, more confident statement: “I DID NOT KILL MY FRIEND . . . But I’m very confused, because the police tell me that they know I was at my house when she was murdered, which I don’t remember. They tell me a lot of things I don’t remember.” Then she gave a substantially more accurate account of the night of November 1 than I was coming up with at the time.’‘

All this does is confirm that much of the confusing, manipulative statements from Amanda exist. Gee thanks Raffaele.

[page 86] ‘’... short story about date rape that Amanda had submitted to a University of Washington creative-writing class was held up as evidence of her warped criminal mind. A Myspace video of her boasting about the number of shots she had downed at a party became an excuse to depict her as an alcohol-fueled harpy. I was described as “crazy,” based on a line I’d written in a blog entry, and held up to ridicule for a photograph, taken during a high-spirited moment of fun in my first year in Perugia, in which I was wrapped from head to foot in toilet paper, brandishing a machete in one hand and a bottle of pink alcohol in the other.’‘

“Amanda does lots of alcohol, write rape stories, and I dress in toilet paper, wielding a machete. Nothing to see here, people.”

[page 87] ‘’... I knew a lot of the coverage of the case itself was flawed. It was reported, for example, that the police had found bleach receipts at my house, strongly suggesting I had purchased materials to clean up the crime scene. But my cleaning lady didn’t use bleach, and the only receipts the police found from November 1 onward were for pizza. I wouldn’t have needed to buy bleach, anyway, because I had some left over from my previous cleaning lady. It had sat untouched for months.’‘

“Nope, I didn’t need to buy bleach for the cleanup, I already had it.”

[page 88] ‘’... Then came Maori. He told me that he too carried pocketknives from time to time. But he didn’t seem too interested in connecting with me beyond such superficial niceties. I felt he didn’t entirely trust me. His game plan, which became clear over a series of meetings, was to dissociate me as much as possible from Amanda. And that was it. He did not have a clear strategy to undermine the prosecution’s evidence on the knife and the shoe print, because—as he indicated to me—he believed there might be something to it. ‘’

Which means: “I don’t really believe you are innocent, the evidence seems too strong. But for your sake, separate yourself from this mentally unstable woman.”

Sounds very likely.

[page 90] ‘’... I even allowed myself a little optimism: my computer, I decided, would show if I was connected to the Internet that night and, if so, when, and how often. Unless Amanda and I had somehow made love all night long, pausing only to make ourselves dinner and nod off to sleep, the full proof of our innocence would soon be out in the open.

According to the police, it showed no activity from the time we finished watching Amélie at 9:10 p.m. until 5:30 the next morning.

That sounded all wrong to me, and my defense team’s technical experts would later find reasons to doubt the reliability of this finding. But there would be no easy way out of the mess Amanda and I were now in.’‘

Wishful thinking to form a coherent alibi or defense. Indeed, if only it was that simple.

[page 91] ‘’...Still, there was something I could not fathom. How did Meredith’s DNA end up on my knife when she’d never visited my house? I was feeling so panicky I imagined for a moment that I had used the knife to cook lunch at Via della Pergola and accidentally jabbed Meredith in the hand. Something like that had in fact happened in the week before the murder. My hand slipped and the knife I was using made contact with her skin for the briefest of moments. Meredith was not hurt, I apologized, and that was that. But of course I wasn’t using my own knife at the time. There was no possible connection.’

I imagined this happened? Is amnesia or hallucinating contagious? I’m surprised he did not have a vision that he saw Patrik attacking Meredith.

On another note: giving a blatantly false account of how a victim’s DNA ended up on your knife seems a bit suspicious.

[page 93] ‘’... The nuts and bolts of the investigation, the hard evidence, kept yielding good things for us. We were told that my Nikes had tested negative for blood and for Meredith’s DNA. So had my car, and everything else I had touched around the time of the murder. Even the mop Amanda and I carried back and forth on the morning of November 2, an object of particular suspicion, was reported to be clean.

Well, I have no doubt that the AMERICAN media reported this to be the case….

And ‘the mop Amanda and I carried back and forth…?’

[page 94] ‘’... During a conversation with her mother in prison, they reported, Amanda had blurted out, “I was there, I cannot lie about that.” She seemed not to realize the conversation was being recorded, and the police picked up on it right away.’‘

Amanda again places herself at the scene, but again, there is a simple explanation. Amanda being Amanda?

[page 94] ‘’... his time the papers quoted what they said was an extract fromher diary. “I don’t remember anything,” the passage read, “but maybe Raffaele went to Meredith’s house, raped and killed her, and then put my fingerprints on the knife back at his house while I was asleep.”

Of course, Amanda writes that someone planted her fingerprints. Odd, as I think that no one ever claimed her prints were on the knife. Why would she think they were?

This needs to be said: What the hell is U of W teaching in their ‘creative writing’ program?

[page 97] ‘’... I remember watching the news of Guede’s arrest on the small-screen TV in my cell and seeing the Perugia police all puffed up with pride about catching him. If anything, I felt happier than they did, because Guede was a complete stranger to me. The relief was palpable. All along I had worried the murderer would turn out to be someone I knew and that I’d be dragged into the plot by association. Now I had one less thing to worry about. Not that I wasn’t still wary: so much invented nonsense had been laid at my door I was still half-expecting the authorities to produce more.’

The ‘real’ killer is caught, and you are worried more things may be invented? Interesting.

[page 98] ‘’...Lumumba had every right to be angry; he had spent two weeks in lockup for no reason. He had been able to prove that Le Chic stayed open throughout the evening of November 1, producing an eyewitness, a Swiss university professor, who vouched for his presence that night. One would expect his anger to be directed as much toward Mignini, who threw him in prison without checking the facts, as it was toward Amanda. But Lumumba and his strikingly aggressive lawyer, Carlo Pacelli, could find only vicious things to say about Amanda from the moment he got out of jail—even though he had not, in fact, fired her and remained friendly with her for several days after the murder.’‘

True, except why be mad at Mignini? It is Amanda who falsely accused him, not Mignini. But again, minor details.

[page 107] ‘’... Papà was spinning like a dervish to clear my name, but not everyone he hired was as helpful as he hoped. One consultant whom he asked to monitor the Polizia Scientifica demanded eight thousand euros up front, only to prove reluctant to make overt criticisms of the police’s work, the very thing for which he’d been hired. A forensic expert who also seemed a little too close to the police charged four thousand euros for his retainer with the boast, “I’m expensive, but I’m good.” He wasn’t. A computer expert recommended by Luca Maori didn’t know anything about Macs, only PC’s.’‘

That first line is a bit disturbing. ‘Not everyone he hired was as helpful as he hoped.’ This can be easily interpretted as shopping around for an expert of ‘hired gun’.

[page 110] ‘’... Amanda and I came in for what was by now a familiar drubbing. The judges said my account of events was “unpardonably implausible.” Indeed, I had a “rather complex and worrying personality” prone to all sorts of impulses. Amanda, for her part, was not shy about having “multiple sex partners” and had a “multifaceted personality, detached from reality.” Over and above the flight risk if we were released from prison, the judges foresaw a significant danger that we would make up new fantastical scenarios to throw off the investigation. In Amanda’s case, they said she might take advantage of her liberty to kill again.’‘

Most rational people would come to the same conclusions.

[page 112] ‘’... Since I had no such testimony to offer, I did the Italian equivalent of taking the Fifth: I availed myself, as we say, of the right not to respond.

I found some satisfaction in that, but also frustration, because I had at last worked out why Amanda did not leave—could not have left—my house on the night of the murder. She didn’t have her own key, so if she’d gone out alone, she would have had to ring the doorbell and ask me to buzz her back in. Even if I’d been stoned or asleep when she rang, I would have remembered that. And it didn’t happen.’‘

Hmm… I swear I am innocent, but plead the fifth ammendment. And I am not positive Amanda did not leave, but ad hoc have worked out that she must not have.

[page 112] ‘’...Obviously, I wanted to shout the news to the world. But I also understood that telling Mignini now would have been a gift to him; it would only have bought him time to figure out a way around it.’‘

“I could tell a certain version of events to the prosecutor, but if I did that now, he would only have time to discover the holes in that story.”

[page 113] ‘’... I knew the Kerchers had hired an Italian lawyer, Francesco Maresca, whom they picked off a short list provided by the British embassy. I addressed my letter to him, saying how sorry I was for everything that had happened and expressing a wish that the full truth would soon come out.

I was naive enough to believe that Maresca would be sympathetic.’‘

Knox was criticised for fake attempts to reach out to the victim’s family, and had been told to act more like a defendant. Interesting that it started so much earlier.

[page 115] ‘’... Regrettably, Guede’s shoes were not available, presumably because he ditched them; they were not at his apartment and they were not among his possessions when he was arrested in Germany.’‘

Very interesting. Raffaele believes that the ‘murderer’s shoes’ were not available, and may have been ditched. This seems to be more than just speculation on his part.

[page 117] ‘’... Mignini questioned Amanda again on December 17, and she, unlike me, agreed to answer his questions in the presence of her lawyers. She was more composed now and gave him nothing new to work with. She couldn’t have been present at the murder, she insisted, because she’d spent all night with me.’‘

How does this not sound incredibly incriminating? I refused to talk, though Amanda agreed to, but only with lawyers. And does this not sound like Amanda was better able to stonewall the investigation?

[page 121] ‘’... Instead, he tried to control the damage and talked to every reporter who called him. “The most plausible explanation,” he said to most of them, “is that the bra had been worn by Amanda as well, and Raffaele touched it when she was wearing it.”

There were two problems with this statement. First, it was so speculative and far-fetched it did nothing to diminish the perception that I was guilty. And, second, it showed that my father—my dear, straight-arrow, ever-optimistic, overtrusting father—still couldn’t stop assuming that if the police or the prosecutor’s office was saying something, it must be so.

There are 3 possibilities here, all bad.

(a) This entire scenario was made up, and like the ‘my shoes were stolen’, only leaves everyone shaking their heads in disbelief.

(b) Amanda actually had worn the bra BEFORE and returned it without washing it. Remember what this woman tends to think when she sees blood. Ew.

(c) Amanda wore the bra AFTER Meredith was murdered, and that she and Raffaele fooled around after. Not too farfetched when you remember that Raffaele kept the murder weapon as a souvenir.

[page 122] ‘’... Along with the Albanian, we had to contend with a seventy-six-year-old woman by the name of Nara Capezzali, who claimed she had heard a bloodcurdling scream coming from Meredith’s house at about 11:00 p.m. on the night of the murder, followed by sounds of people running through the streets.’‘

Yes, this confirms at least part of Amanda’s account that night. Yes, she seemed to vaguely remember Patrik killing Meredith, and wasn’t sure if Raffaele was there, but the scream detail is corroborated.

[page 125] ‘’... As my time alone stretched out into weeks and then months, I had to let go of everything that was happening and hold on to other, more permanent, more consoling thoughts: my family and friends, the memory of my mother, the simple pleasures I’d enjoyed with Amanda, the peace that came from knowing that neither of us had done anything wrong.

If they want to kill me this way, I remember thinking, let them go ahead. I’m happy to have lived life as I did, and to have made the choices I made.’‘

Hmm… so he finds peace being locked away for things he did not do?

More likely, Raffaele is coming to terms with the inevitable consequences of life in prison.

[page 129] ‘’... The one victory we eked out was a finding that we should have been told we were under criminal investigation before our long night of interrogations in the Questura. The statements we produced would not be admissible at trial.’‘

Do I really need to explain this one?

[page 150] ‘’... I talked about Amanda with Filippo, my cellmate, and he listened, just as I had listened to his problems. One day, though, he told me he was bisexual, and his eyes started to brighten visibly when he looked at me. Then he burst into tears and tried to caress my face.’‘

Given the overlap between Waiting to be Heard and Honor Bound, did the ‘authors’ collaborate?

[page 151] ‘’... My father hired a telecommunications expert to help resolve a few other mysteries from the night of the murder. The prosecution had given no adequate explanation for a series of calls registered on Meredith’s English cell phone after she’d returned from her friends’ house around 9:00 p.m., and many of them seemed baffling, assuming they were made—as the prosecution argued—by Meredith herself. We believed Meredith was dead by the time of the last two calls, and our expert Bruno Pellero intended to help us prove that.’‘

This sounds disturbingly like another attempt to subvert justice.

[page 154] ‘’... She also acknowledged that a contaminated or improperly analyzed DNA sample could, in theory, lead to an incorrect identification.’‘

Wait, weren’t those same people involved in the finding the evidence against Guede? Right, that evidence is clean.

[page 156] ‘’... Judge Micheli issued his ruling at the end of October. On the plus side, he found Guede guilty of murder and sentenced him to thirty years behind bars in an accelerated trial requested by Guede himself. Judge Micheli also accepted our evidence that it wouldn’t have been that difficult to throw a rock through Filomena’s window and climb the wall.

But, Spider-Man or no Spider-Man, he still didn’t believe Guede got into the house that way. He argued that Filomena’s window was too exposed and that any intruder would have run too great a risk of discovery by climbing through it. Therefore, he concluded, Amanda and I must have let him in. There seemed to be no shaking the authorities out of their conviction that the break-in was staged.’‘

So, Judge Micheli is a fine judge who saw Rudy Guede for who he is and convicted him, yet he is so poor a judge he ruled that Amanda and I had to be involved?

Didn’t Knox say very similar things in her December 2013 email to Appeal Court Judge Nencini?

[page 160] ‘’... Still, the prosecution jumped all over [Quintavalle] and later put him on the stand to bolster the argument that Amanda and I had spent that morning wiping the murder scene clean of our traces—but not, curiously, Guede’s. It was one of their more dishonest, not to mention absurd, arguments, because any forensics expert could have told them such a thing was physically impossible. Still, it was all they had, and they single-mindedly stuck to it.’‘

Depending on how you view this, it could be an ad hoc admission that yes, selectively cleaning up wasn’t really possible, as the evidence was all intermingled.

[page 167] ‘’... I was pushing for another sort of change, a single trial team to defend Amanda and me together. I was told right away that this was out of the question, but I don’t think my logic was wrong. The only way either of us would get out of this situation, I reasoned, was if we stuck together. If the prosecution drove a wedge between us, we would more than likely both be doomed.’‘

This seems to justify Guede’s suspicions that his co-defendants would team up on him.

[page 169] ‘’... Stefanoni and Mignini were holding out on that information, and we needed to pry it from them quickly before more damage was done. The shots would ultimately be called by the judge, and we hadn’t had a lot of luck with judges so far.’‘

Why would you need ‘luck’ from a judge?

[page 173] ‘’... No matter how much we demanded to be heard, no matter how much we sought to refute the grotesque cartoon images of ourselves and give calm, reasoned presentations of the truth, we never escaped the feeling that our words were tolerated rather than listened to; that the court was fundamentally uninterested in what we had to say.’‘

That is probably true. No one cares why Amanda’s vibrator is on full display.

And yes, you did demand to be heard. Perhaps, if you had agreed to full cross examination, you would know what the judges and prosecutors would be interested in hearing.

[page 173] ‘’... A week later, Meredith’s English friends took the stand and testified with such uniform consistency it was hard to think of them as distinct individuals. Robyn Butterworth, Amy Frost, and Sophie Purton all said that Meredith had been unhappy with Amanda’s standards of hygiene, particularly her forgetfulness about flushing the toilet. It sounded almost as if they were reading from a prepared script. Meredith, they agreed, had found Amanda a little too forward for keeping her condoms and what looked like a vibrator in their shared bathroom. And, they said, Amanda had acted weirdly in the Questura.

That was it. They mentioned nothing positive about the relationship. No word on Meredith and Amanda’s socializing together, or attending Perugia’s annual chocolate festival, or going to the concert on the night Amanda and I met.’‘

Yes, the prosecution case does seem stronger when their witnesses are consistent. Absolutely right.

Strangely, Meredith’s English friends also did not talk about how compassionate Amanda was at the memorial. Wait a minute….

[page 174] ‘’... Amanda arrived in court wearing a T-shirt with the words ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE emblazoned in huge pink letters, to mark Valentine’s Day. It seemed she wanted to find a way to defuse the English girls’ ill will toward her, but it didn’t work.’‘

No kidding.

[page 186] ‘’... Meanwhile, we had to worry about Amanda taking the stand. Her lawyers decided that the best way to refute the stories about her wayward personality was to have the court take a good, hard look at her up close. But my lawyers were deeply concerned she would put her foot in her mouth, in ways that might prove enduringly harmful to both of us. If she deviated even one iota from the version of events we now broadly agreed on, it could mean a life sentence for both of us.’‘

Amanda puts her foot in her mouth? Yup.

“The truth we agreed on”?? Come on, you actually put this in the book?

[page 193] ‘’... My father was all over the place. He knew exactly how bad the news was, but he wanted to shield me as best he could. “Whatever happens, don’t worry,” he told me. “There’s always the appeal. The work we’ve done won’t go to waste.”

And indeed, the first (now annulled) appeal did ‘save’ them.

[page 195] ‘’... Mignini had to scrabble around to explain how Amanda, Guede, and I could have formulated a murder plan together without any obvious indication that we knew each other. Guede, he postulated, could have offered himself as our drug pusher.’‘

“I can explain that. Amanda and I are admitted drug users. We smeared Guede as a drug dealer. Reasonable people might believe that there is some connection to drugs.”

[page 204] ‘’... The next piece of bad news came down within three weeks of our being found guilty. Rudy Guede’s sentence, we learned, had been cut down on appeal from thirty years to sixteen. The thinking of the appeals court was that if Amanda and I were guilty, then Guede couldn’t serve a sentence greater than ours. If I had supplied the knife and Amanda had wielded it, as Mignini and Comodi postulated and Judge Massei and his colleagues apparently accepted, we needed to receive the stiffer punishment.’‘

Yes, the thinking of the courts, and those pesky short-form trial sentence deductions that are mandatory.

‘’[page 204] ...I didn’t think I could feel any worse, but this was an extra slap in the face and it knocked me flat. Not only were Amanda and I the victims of a grotesque miscarriage of justice, but Meredith’s real killer, the person everybody should have been afraid of, was inching closer to freedom. It wasn’t just outrageous; it was a menace to public safety.’‘

Yes, it was a miscarriage in that Amanda and I didn’t get the life sentences Mignini called for, and that Meredith’s real killer, Amanda, would soon get her freedom via Hellmann.

[page 219] ‘’... My family was not beating up on Amanda entirely without cause. What I did not know at the time, because they preferred not to fill me in, was that they were exploring what it would take for the prosecution to soften or drop the case against me. The advice they received was almost unanimous:’‘

Although the deal itself is illegal, I have no doubt that the Sollecito family at least explored the option.

[page 258] ‘’... Judge Hellmann’s sentencing report was magnificent: 143 pages of close argument that knocked down every piece of evidence against us and sided with our experts on just about every technical issue.’‘

That is true, with one huge omission: the defense only cherry picked a few small pieces of evidence. Yes, it ‘knocked down every piece of evidence we chose to contest.’

2. Synopsis Of “Honor Bound”

(20) The robbery that night was perfect, assuming the perp had the inside info.

(22) My cellphone was turned off.

(22) If my father called the land line I would have an alibi.

(24) I cannot make sense of showering in a bloody bathroom.

(26) Despite the break in, nothing had been taken.

(27) Someone did not flush the toilet, and I won’t either.

(27) The following dialogue:

‘’ ....Don’t do anything stupid.’‘

‘’ ....Now what do we do?’‘

‘’ ....My sister is in the Carabinieri.’‘

(29) I should have been more careful about my choice of words when I said

‘’ .... Nothing has been taken.’‘

(35) The police were shocked/disbelieving Amanda just took a shower.

(39) Things would be okay if my Carabinieri sister had helped.

(40) I defended Amanda, beyond the point of looking after my own interests.

(40) Amanda could kill for something minimal, even a pizza.

(40) Amanda and Meredith were not friends, despite living together.

(41) Amanda and I share embarrassing sexual information about the victim.

(42) We weren’t misbehaving in the lingerie shop, but if we were, it was taken out of context.

(43) Amanda whined, and we fooled around in the police station. Maybe not a good idea.

(44) Amanda does not shut up about her sex life.

(46) Vanessa made inquiries on my behalf.

(47) Prior to our arrest, the authorities were clueless.

(48) We behaved oddly, had no real alibi, and said things without thinking.

(49) We are not guilty only because there is no physical evidence.

(50) I like to carry knives.

(51) I had trouble remembering the date Meredith was killed.

(56) My sister works for the carabinieri. Why am I even here?

(56) My shoes are similar to ones found at the crime scene

(59/60) Amanda gave the false statement regarding Patrik.

(61) The police got Amanda and I to say things against each other.

(62) Amanda and I spun a web of contradictions.

(63) This is going to mess up my graduation.

(64) The smell wasn’t bleach, it was lysoform

(77) I never met Patrik, my co-accused (or did I)? 

The shoes might have dragged blood, or might have been stolen.

(78) I collect a lot of knives, and don’t remember if Amanda left.

(83) Amanda made admissions she tried to retract.

(86) Amanda and I engage in alarming behaviour, such as writing rape stories, and taking photos with weapons

(87) I had access to bleach, receipts or not.

(88) My lawyer thinks the evidence is strong, and wants me away from Amanda.

(90) I hope there is evidence on my computer that clears me.

(91) I imagined that the DNA on the knife came from a cooking accident.

(93) Amanda and I carried a mop back and forth for some reason.

(94) Amanda, in a jail recorded call, places herself at the scene.

(94) Amanda writes that I may have planted her fingerprints on the knife.

(97) Rudy Guede is caught, but I fear I may get named in other things.

(98) Lumumba is released, angry at Amanda for false accusation.

(107) Dad tried to cherrypick experts who would get me out.

(110) The courts saw us as unstable and potential flight risks.

(112) I decline to answer.

(112) I don’t want the prosecutor checking my story

(113) I creepily tried to reach out to the Kerchers, despite being accused, just like Amanda.

(115) Rudy should have kept his shoes in order to exonerate Amanda and I.

(117) I still refused to talk.  Amanda did, with lawyers.

(121) Amanda has been wearing Meredith’s underwear and without washing it.

(122) A witness heard Meredith scream, just as Amanda described.

(125) I am at peace with everything.

(129) The courts threw out our statements at the police station.

(150) I had a memorable encounter with a bisexual inmate (same as Amanda)

(151) My dad tried to find an alternate explanation for the phone evidence.

(154) The evidence against Rudy Guede is rock solid. The evidence against me is contaminated.

(156) Micheli is a great judge. He convicted Guede.

(156) Micheli is an idiot judge.  He believes Amanda and I were involved.

(160) It was foolish to think we could selectively clean the crime scene.

(167) In order to save ourselves, Amanda and I teamed up against Rudy.

(169) We weren’t getting the judges we wanted.

(173) We did not shut up, but had nothing helpful to say.

(173) Meredith’s English friends gave consistent testimony that did not help us.

(174) the ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE t-shirt was a bad idea.

(186) I worried about Amanda testifying, saying dumb things, and deviating from our ‘version’

(193) We knew the trial was doomed, but there was the appeal. (Hellmann)?

(195) For all the ‘drug dealer’ and ‘drug user’ name calling, prosecutors seemed to think this might be about drugs.

(204) Guede’s sentence was cut from 30 years to 16.  What an injustice for us… I mean Meredith.

(219) Legally speaking, it would be better to split from Amanda.

(258) Hellmann’s report knocked down the evidence we chose to present.

3. Premeditation And Why RS Goes No Further

The real reason Sollecito goes no further could be in as in the title ‘‘Honor Bound’‘.  Many altruistic people may interpret this as behaving, or conducting themselves honourably. 

But take a more shallow and selfish view.  It could just refer to being SEEN as honourable.  I think everyone here would agree that RS and AK are quite narcissistic and arrogrant.  And how manly to be protecting the women in your life.

The truth does set you free - except only when the truth is much worse than what the assumptions are. I repeat, the truth sets you free, except when it is actually worse.

What could be worse? Premeditation. Far beyond what has been suggested.

1) Raffaele himself suggests that doing a robbery at the house at that time would be ideal.

This makes sense if:

(a) Rudy knew that Filomena had all the money (that she took charge of it)
(b) That rent would be paid in cash, not a cheque or bank automatic withdrawl.

So, by this reasoning, there would be over 1000 Euros in cash at that time. Of course, the average household does not carry that much, and normally, there would be no reason to think so. The date had to be planned. It also lends credence to the theory that this really was about money, and he had help.

2) The fact that Laura and Filomena were gone, as were the men downstairs. Really, how often does it happen, and how would an outsider know?

3) The trip to Gubbio. Does anyone know if either AK or RS were heavily into travel, or was this a one time thing? My point being that it could have been to establish an alibi, they just didn’t expect to still be there when the police showed up.

4) The fact that Rudy Guede was brought in, when he had no legitimate reason to be upstairs. RS could explain away DNA or prints, but not RG. Even if it really was just about stealing money, would there not be some trace of him left when the theft was reported.

And if murder was the plan all along, there would still be some trace of him.

5) Purchasing bleach. Everyone had assumed that it was done after the fact to clean up, but there is another thought. What if there already was bleach available in the home, and this purchase was merely a replacement as an afterthought?

6) The knife in Raffaele’s home. What if Amanda chose to bring a knife that Raffaele would not be able to ditch, simply so that should suspicion fall on them, there would be a knife to implicate Raffy? Remember, Amanda already made statements that point to him. Maybe those weren’t her first attempts.

Of course, I did make the suggestion that they were keeping the knives for trophies.

7) The ‘alibi’ email home. Sure, it could have been written on the spot. However, it seems too long and detailed for that. Yes, some details would need to be added (like the poop), but who is to say she didn’t start working on it BEFORE the murder?

8) Keeping the text to Patrik to say ‘see you later’. Amanda says she doesn’t keep messages on her phone, but she had this one, and several days after the murder. Could this have been saved as a ‘backup plan’ in case naming Rudy does not work for some reason. Besides, don’t all black guys look the same? (sarcasm).

9) Yes, there was a bloody shoeprint (believed to be AK), but I don’t recall anyone saying her shoes were missing, or any other clothes she had. And she supposedly did not have many clothes. So, did she have ‘extras’ for that night?

10) Wiping down the home (even if it was botched), would take time, and ‘supplies’. A chronic slob just happens to have all these cleaning supplies on hand, or were they acquired before?

So, I suspect the real refusal to talk is that the full truth is a lot worse than any game or drugged up prank. The time and location is chosen, no clothes are ‘noticed’ missing, and Amanda has at least 3 potential patzies: Rudy, Raffaele, and Patrik. Remember, Guede and Lumumba are on ‘the list’ Knox ended up writing for Rita Ficarra. And AK and RS are scheduled to go on a trip that would take them away with a plausible alibi. Cleaning supplies may already be there.

Call me cynical: but I see all the signs of staging, and premeditation. Yes, the act itself was messy, but there are very obvious marks of forethought.

So. What will the judges of Cassation be seeing?

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Sollecito Trial For “Honor Bound” #3: Targeted Claims On Which Sollecito & Gumbel May Fold

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

Dr Giuliano Bartolomei of the chief prosecutor’s office of the Florence court brings the case

1. The Court Contenders

Judge Dolores Limongi will preside over Sollecito’s new trial in Florence this thursday and Dr Giuliano Bartolomei will prosecute.

No word about whether the hapless bungler Andrew Gumbel will attend, but Sollecito has said he will be there.  Sollecito’s defense team seems rather weak. After Sollecito’s own lawyers for his murder trial publicly renounced the most damaging claims in his book (see below) his family turned to Alfredo Brizioli for help.

Brizioli is a Perugia lawyer who was accused of being one of those trying to disguise the murdered Narducci’s involvement in the Monster of Florence killings. That shadowy group has just taken another hit in Italian eyes - a Milan court has ruled that Narducci, the probable murderer in the Monster of Florence crimes, was indeed himself murdered and there exists powerful evidence for this.

2. The Specific Charges

Charges against Sollecito are of two kinds: criminal defamation of both the justice system itself and of some of those who work within it. In US and UK terms criminal contempt of court comes close.

Criminal contempt charges become separate charges from the underlying case. Unlike civil contempt sanctions, criminal contempt charges may live on after resolution of the underlying case.

One charged with criminal contempt generally gets the constitutional rights guaranteed to criminal defendants, including the right to counsel, right to put on a defense, and the right to a jury trial in certain cases. Charges of criminal contempt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

However, incarceration for contempt may begin immediately, before the contempt charge is adjudicated and the sentence decided. Depending on the jurisdiction and the case, the same judge who decided to charge a person with contempt may end up presiding over the contempt proceedings.

Criminal contempt can bring punishment including jail time and/or a fine.


In this case a guilty verdict can open the tidal gates to criminal prosecutions and civil suits against Sharlene Martin and the Simon & Schuster team and all those many who repeated ANY of Sollecito’s and Gumbel’s false claims as gospel in their own books and online in the US and UK.

3. Nature Of The Claims

Typically the modus operandi of Knox and Sollecito and their factions in their US campaign (this falls flat in Italy) is to make some very damaging core claims, while leaving hundreds of pesky truths ignored.

Pesky truths helpfully ignored by most of the US and UK media too who apart from freelance Andrea Vogt have still done almost zero translation of their own. The previous post below shows a good example of this. Sollecito makes 20 false claims in a few pages. Dozens of facts that would belie those claims are simply left out.

The false claims continue (with considerable duplication for emphasis) throughout the 250-plus pages of the book.

Sollecito’s claims were published only in English. That was in the apparent hope that things would be reversed by political pressure from the US. Perhaps the US would let Sollecito come and live and stiff the Italian courts.

The Italian flagship crime show Porta a Porta wrecked that unusual and in-itself damaging strategy only 10 days out - with Francesco Sollecito’s and Luca Maori’s help.

The three worst-case examples quoted here and some others became public when Andrea Vogt and Italian reporters pointed to them after an October hearing. Page numbers are for the hard-cover book. 

Raffaele Sollecito retained Alfredo Brizioli after he burned his trial lawyers in his book

4. Example Claim One

Our brief response to this for now is that this felony attempt to frame the prosecutor for a serious crime was entirely made up. His own father and both his trial lawyers publicly said so. There was never a police or prosecution bias against Knox or toward Sollecito. As was very obvious at trial in 2009 the case against both was equally strong (an example of a key fact left out). Knox herself would seem to have a reason to get mad with Sollecito for this shafting - and in fact she did.

[ Page 219-222] My family was not beating up on Amanda entirely without cause. What I did not know at the time, because they preferred not to fill me in, was that they were exploring what it would take for the prosecution to soften or drop the case against me. The advice they received was almost unanimous: the more I distanced myself from Amanda, the better. The legal community in Perugia was full of holes and leaks, and my family learned all sorts of things about the opinions being bandied about behind the scenes, including discussions within the prosecutor’s office. The bottom line: Mignini, they were told, was not all that interested in me except as a gateway to Amanda. He might indeed be willing to acknowledge I was innocent, but only if I gave him something in exchange, either by incriminating Amanda directly or by no longer vouching for her.

I’m glad my family did not include me in these discussions because I would have lost it completely. First, my uncle Giuseppe approached a lawyer in private practice in Perugia - with half an idea in his head that this new attorney could replace Maori - and asked what I could do to mitigate my dauntingly long sentence. The lawyer said I should accept a plea deal and confess to some of the lesser charges. I could, for instance, agree that I had helped clean up the murder scene but otherwise played no part in it. “He’d get a sentence of six to twelve years,” the lawyer said, “but because he has no priors the sentence would be suspended and he’d serve no more jail time.”

To their credit, my family knew I would never go for this. It made even them uncomfortable to contemplate me pleading guilty to something I had not done. It was, as my sister, Vanessa, put it, “not morally possible.”

The next line of inquiry was through a different lawyer, who was on close terms with Mignini and was even invited to the baptism of Mignini’s youngest child that summer. (Among the other guests at the baptism was Francesco Maresca, the Kerchers’ lawyer, who had long since aligned himself with Mignini in court.) This lawyer said he believed I was innocent, but he was also convinced that Amanda was guilty. He gave my family the strong impression that Mignini felt the same way. If true - and there was no way to confirm that - it was a clamorous revelation. How could a prosecutor believe in the innocence of a defendant and at the same time ask the courts to sentence him to life imprisonment? The lawyer offered to intercede with Mignini, but made no firm promises. He wasn’t willing to plead my cause, he said, but he would listen to anything the prosecutor had to offer.

Over the late spring and summer of 2010, my father used this lawyer as a back channel and maneuvered negotiations to a point where they believed Mignini and Comodi would be willing to meet with Giulia Bongiorno and hear what she had to say. When Papà  presented this to Bongiorno, however, she was horrified and said she might have to drop the case altogether because the back channel was a serious violation of the rules of procedure. A private lawyer has no business talking to a prosecutor about a case, she explained, unless he is acting with the express permission of the defendant. It would be bad enough if the lawyer doing this was on my defense team; for an outside party to undertake such discussions not only risked landing me in deeper legal trouble, it also warranted disciplinary action from the Ordine degli Avvocati, the Italian equivalent of the Bar Association.

My father was mortified. He had no idea how dangerous a game he had been playing and wrote a letter to Bongiorno begging her to forgive him and stay on the case. He was at fault, he said, and it would be wrong to punish her client by withdrawing her services when I didn’t even know about the back channel, much less approve it. To his relief, Bongiorno relented.

My family, though, did not. Whenever they came to visit they would suggest some form of compromise with the truth. Mostly they asked why I couldn’t say I was asleep on the night of the murder and had no idea what Amanda got up to.

5. Example Claim 2

Our brief response to this for now is that the case against Sollecito was being driven by Judge Matteini and Judge Ricciarelli and Judge Micheli, not Dr Mignini (an example of a key fact left out) and they got their information directly from the police. More than a year prior to Sollecito’s book coming out, a Florence appeal court had totally annulled a vengeance conviction against Dr Mignini [“there is no evidence”] and the Supreme Court had endorsed the result (an example of a key fact left out).

[2. Page 176-177] One of the reasons our hearings were so spread out was that Mignini was fighting his own, separate legal battle to fend off criminal charges of prosecutorial misconduct. He and a police inspector working on the Monster of Florence case stood accused of intimidating public officials and journalists by opening legal proceedings against them and tapping their phones without proper justification.

To Mignini, the case smacked of professional jealousy because the prosecutors in Florence resented his intrusion on a murder mystery they had struggled for so long to resolve. But Mignini’s behavior had already attracted international condemnation, never more so than when he threw the journalist most indefatigably devoted to following the Monster case, Mario Spezi, into jail for three weeks.

Spezi had ridiculed Mignini’s theories about Francesco Narducci, the Perugian doctor whom Mignini suspected of being part of a satanic cult connected to the killings. In response, Mignini accused Spezi himself of involvement in Narducci’s murder - even though the death had been ruled a suicide. It was a staggering power play, and the international Committee to Protect Journalists was soon on the case. Spezi was not initially told why he was being arrested and, like me, was denied access to a lawyer for days. Even Mignini, though, could not press murder charges without proving first that a murder had taken place, and Spezi was eventually let out.

I firmly believe that our trial was, among other things, a grand diversion intended to keep media attention away from Mignini’s legal battle in Florence and to provide him with the high-profile court victory he desperately needed to restore his reputation. Already in the pretrial hearing, Mignini had shown signs of hypersensitivity about his critics, in particular the handful of English-speaking investigators and reporters who had questioned his case against us early on. He issued an explicit warning that anyone hoping he would back off the Meredith Kercher case or resign should think again. “Nobody has left their post, and nobody will,” he said. “Let that be clear, in Perugia and beyond.”

Just as he had in the Monster of Florence case, Mignini used every tool at his disposal against his critics and adversaries. He spied on my family and tapped their phones. He went after Amanda not just for murder, but also for defaming Patrick Lumumba - whom she had implicated under duress and at the police’s suggestion. He opened or threatened about a dozen other legal cases against his critics in Italy and beyond. He charged Amanda’s parents with criminal defamation for repeating the accusation that she had been hit in the head while in custody. And he sued or threatened to sue an assortment of reporters, writers, and newspapers, either because they said negative things about him or the police directly or because they quoted others saying such things.

Mignini’s volley of lawsuits had an unmistakable chilling effect, especially on the Italian press, and played a clear role in tipping public opinion against us. We weren’t the only ones mounting the fight of our lives in court, and it was difficult not to interpret this legal onslaught as part of Mignini’s campaign to beat back the abuse-of-office charges. His approach seemed singularly vindictive. Not only did we have to sit in prison while the murder trial dragged on; it seemed he wanted to throw our friends and supporters - anyone who voiced a sympathetic opinion in public - into prison right alongside us.

6. Example Claim 3

Our brief response to this for now is that this was long ago revealed to be a hoax (an example of a key fact left out). Neither the police nor the prosecution were in any way involved. A fake positive for HIV turned up, Knox was warned not to be concerned, and she was soon told that a new test showed her fine. Her list of recent sex partners was her idea, and its leaking to the media was demonstrably a family and defense-team thing (an example of a key fact left out).

[Page 101-102] The prosecution’s tactics grew nastier, never more so than when Amanda was taken to the prison infirmary the day after Patrick’s release and told she had tested positive for HIV.

She was devastated. She wrote in her diary, “I don’t want to die. I want to get married and have children. I want to create something good. I want to get old. I want my time. I want my life. Why why why? I can’t believe this.”

For a week she was tormented with the idea that she would contract AIDS in prison, serving time for a crime she did not commit. But the whole thing was a ruse, designed to frighten her into admitting how many men she had slept with. When asked, she provided a list of her sexual partners, and the contraceptive method she had used with each. Only then was she told the test was a false positive

To the prosecution, the information must have been a disappointment: seven partners in all, of whom four were boyfriends she had never made a secret of, and three she qualified as one-night stands. Rudy Guede was not on the list, and neither was anyone else who might prove useful in the case. She hadn’t been handing herself around like candy at Le Chic, as Patrick now alleged. She’d fooled around with two guys soon after arriving in Italy, neither of them at Patrick’s bar, and then she had been with me. Okay, so she was no Mother Teresa. But neither was she the whore of Babylon.

To compound the nastiness, the list was eventually leaked to the media, with the erroneous twist that the seven partners on the list were just the men she’d had since arriving in Perugia. Whatever one thought of Amanda and her free-spirited American attitude toward sex, this callous disregard for her privacy and her feelings was the behavior of savages.

7. Looking Forward

More posts to come.  We are going to open the floodgates on our own analysis of the book if the court on thursday takes a significant step forward.

Note that Sollecito has to contend with negative Italian public opinion as his claims bitterly disparaging to Italy itself (see the post below) are finally repeated in translation by the media and so become better known - at a disastrous time for him and Knox, two months before Cassation decides on their failed appeal.

In late 2012 after the book came out the TV crime show Porta a Porta gave Dr Sollecito quite a roasting on the first claim here and anger continued for some days more. He and Sollecito’s sister may be in court but no surprises if they are not. Knox could also react - the second and third claims above also appear in her book. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Sollecito Trial For “Honor Bound” #2: False Accusations From The First Few Pages

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

Suggested cover for a followup book due to multiple attempted malicious framings in first books

Examples: 20 False Claims In Seven Pages

We count several hundred malicious claims throughout that can easily be proved wrong. These twenty examples all appear in the book’s preface, which is only seven pages long.

Such claims continue throughout the book at approximately the same rate. Many sharp eyes here set about identifying them and are credited in the TJMK Liewatch page for Sollecito which will be switched on again when the secrecy requirement described in Part #12 below is relaxed by the court next week. 

1. That Italian justice authorities took the easy way out

This is the story of two ordinary people who stumbled upon an extraordinary circumstance, the brutal murder of a British student in Italy. Neither Amanda Knox nor I had anything to do with the crime, but we came perilously close to spending the rest of our lives in prison because the authorities found it easier, and more convenient, to take advantage of our youth and inexperience than to mount a proper investigation.  It’s that simple. And that absurd.

No advantage was taken of them. The two stood themselves out very sharply from all the others of similar age, and of similar inexperience (whatever that means). They did and said dozens of things in the early days that set them sharply apart.

They were questioned quite fairly, the Italian media was not especially hard, Dr Mignini never ever leaked, and they had lawyers and family handy at every turn after they were arrested. They each gave the authorities less than zero help - they tried to lead them off on wild goose chases, for example the false claim AK made against Patrick and dozens of other false claims, and apparently tried to finger yet another north African, Hicham Khiri, in a conversation they clearly knew was being recorded.

A “proper” investigation was indeed done. Simply read through all the posts on the trial here in the first half of 2009, and the prosecutor’s excellent summations, and you will see what a smooth comprehensive job was done. And the Supreme Court concluded that THREE had to have been involved, from the recreation of the attack and all the wounds on Meredith’s body. Subsequent to Patrick, AK and RS and their lawyers never came within light-years of throwing real suspicion on anyone else.

2. That the preventive custody was very harsh

On November 1, 2007, Amanda and I were carefree students at the beginning of a cross-cultural love affair in a beautiful Umbrian hill town. Within days, we were thrown into solitary confinement in a filthy prison, without access to lawyers or loved ones, accused of acts so heinous and disturbing we may never be able to banish them from our thoughts, or our nightmares.

Raffaele was sent to preventative prison on Tuesday November 6. Capanne Prison was almost brand-new then, and far from crowded. Cells contain TVs and private bathrooms.

All questioning had been stopped early on 6 November until Sollecito could have a lawyer present. He himself wrote to his father in his “prison diary” on November 7:  “I may see you tomorrow, at least that is what I was told by Tiziano [Tiziano Tedeschi, his lawyer at the time], who I saw today and who defended me before the judge.”

Mr Tedeschi made no complaint about any delay in the first meeting with his new client. In Italy, a judge must determine within 48 hours whether to hold or release detained suspects. Judge Matteini did so meticulously with Tedeschi present and refused Sollecito’s release.

3. That the prosecution and Italian media demonized the pair

In the newspapers and on the nightly news, we were turned into monsters, grotesque distortions of our true selves. It did not matter how thin the evidence was, or how quickly it became apparent that the culprit was someone else entirely. Our guilt was presumed, and everything the prosecution did and fed to the media stemmed from that false premise.

In the real world, the prosecution fed nothing at all secretly to the media and publicly very little, none of it self-servingly biased. Italian reporting was sporadic and very mild compared to anything one can see said daily about possible perps in the US and UK newspapers and on US TV. Besides, any coverage, which was in part deliberate in the situation as dozens of students were fleeing Perugia, had no influence on anything, neither on the investigation nor the trial.

The Italian system is set up so media can have less influence than almost any other media on any other justice system in the world. The Micheli and Massei sentencing reports show the judges were not unduly influenced even by the lawyers right in front of them, let alone by mild media reports 1 or 2 years before that.

4. That four years were wasted showing where the prosecution went wrong.

By the time we had dismantled the case and demonstrated its breathtaking absurdity [in the bent and annulled Hellmann appeal] we had spent four of what should have been the best years of our lives behind bars.

“We” meaning the defense lawyers did very little in the bent and annulled Hellmann appeal that they hadn’t flailed uselessly against in the trial. Except of course shopping for an inexperienced and pliable business judge, and for DNA consultants who they could then spoon-feed.

The list of lies by omission is extremely long. Much of the hard evidence they simply kept well away from, both in the trial and annulled appeal. Such as the extensive evidence in the corridor and bathroom and Filomena’s room, which were all considered parts of the crime scene.

On the other hand, RS’s claim could well apply to what Dr Galati and Cassation did for the Hellman sentencing report. Dismantled the appeal verdict, and demonstrated its breathtaking absurdity.

5. That Knox was made a target because timid Italy was scared of her.

Amanda and I certainly made our share of mistakes. At the beginning we were too trusting, spoke too frivolously and too soon, and remained oblivious to the danger we were courting even after the judicial noose began to tighten. Amanda behaved in ways that were culturally baffling to many Italians and attracted a torrent of gossip and criticism.

An inaccurate and xenophobic remark originated by the American Nina Burleigh, who was having severe culture shock of her own and surrounded only by other foreigners with similar mindsets.

What EXACTLY was so baffling about Knox to the very hip Italians? That Knox was pushy, obnoxious, humorless, rather lazy, rather grubby, and not especially funny or pretty or bright?  That she slept with a drug wholesaler up to the day of her arrest and cost him a stint in prison? That she put off Patrick, Meredith, her other flatmates, the boys downstairs, the customers in the bar, and just about everybody else except for the distasteful druggie loner Sollecito?

Read this post by the Italian-American Nicki in Milan. To quote from it “As many of us were expecting, Amanda’s testimony has backfired. She came across not as confident but arrogant, not as sweet but testy, not as true but a fake who has memorized a script, an actress who is playing a part but not well enough to fool the public….. Amanda Knox is not on trial because she is American and therefore too “emancipated”....Italians don’t much like Amanda primarily because they perceive her as a manipulative liar, who is suspected of having committed a heinous crime for which there is a whole stack of evidence.”

6. That Knox and Meredith were really great, great friends.

We were young and naive, unthinking and a little reckless. Of that much we were guilty.  But what we did not do—and could not have done, as the evidence clearly showed—was murder Meredith Kercher.

Meredith was Amanda’s friend, a fellow English speaker in the house they shared with two Italian women just outside Perugia’s ancient city walls. She was twenty-one years old, intelligent, and beautiful. She and Amanda knew each other for a little over three weeks, long enough to feel their way into their new surroundings and appreciate each other’s interests and temperaments. I never heard about a single tense moment between them.

Plenty of other people did know of tensions. Meredith’s family and friends all knew Meredith was finding the noisy dirty lazy loud unfocused Knox and her one-night-stands hard to take.  Her other flatmates found her hard to take. Her employer Patrick found her hard to take. His customers in the bar found her hard to take.  The Lifetime movie got this strident angle of Knox pretty straight.

Remember, Meredith had enrolled for a full academic load at the main university. Knox in sharp contrast took only one undemanding language course - which anyone could walk into - requiring maybe 10 hours of study a week.  They increasingly did less together. In fact after several weeks, nobody was lining up to have anything to do with Amanda Knox.

Seemingly unable to reverse herself, Knox was headed to being among the least popular of students (or part-time students) in Perugia.  It should be recalled that the callous remarks by Amanda Knox about the death of her so-called friend Meredith included “Shit happens”, “She fucking bled to death”, and “‘I want to get on with the rest of my life”.

7. That an intruder knew about the rent money and so murder ensued.

Meredith, of course, suffered infinitely worse luck than we did: she came home, alone, on an ordinary Thursday night and had her throat slit by an intruder hoping to steal the household rent money.

There is zero evidence that this was the case. Knox herself ended up with a similar amount of cash that she has never been able to explain. There is zero possibility that Guede would know that any money was lying around - or not lying around, as it was concealed in Meredith’s drawer.

And take a look at the many images of the brightly lit house at night around 8:00 pm. There are several dozen other houses behind it in the dark which any smart burglar would have chosen first and entered hours later.  In 2008 two real break-ins occurred at the house - both were in the dark behind the house, which is by far the easiest place to break in.

So much for the spurious lone-wolf theory, which Judge Micheli first ruled out even before trial.

8. That the media got hysterical and portrayed heartless killers.

But the roles could easily have been reversed. If Meredith’s Italian boyfriend had not gone away for the weekend and if Amanda had not started sleeping over at my house, she—not Meredith—might have been the one found in a pool of blood on her bedroom floor. That reality was quickly lost amid the hysteria of the media coverage. But it continued to hover over both of us—Amanda especially—as we sank into the legal quagmire and struggled in vain to overcome the public image of us as heartless killers.

There was zero media hysteria. This silly claim was addressed above. Watch the Porta a Porta YouTubes and dozens of other Italian reports and try to find ONE that is not fair and cautious and mature.

How precisely did the two struggle in vain to overcome their public image? By coming up repeatedly with stories which didnt even tally with others of their own, let alone with one another’s? They never between them made even one helpful statement which actually helped the police.  And even their respective parents strongly suspected or knew of their guilt and were all caught incriminatingly on tape.

9. That Rudy Guede did it alone; ignore vast evidence that proves not.

This should not have been a complicated case. The intruder was quickly identified as Rudy Guede, an African immigrant living in Perugia with a history of break-ins and petty crimes. His DNA was found all over Meredith’s room, and footprints made in her blood were found to match his shoes. Everything at the crime scene pointed to a lone assailant, and a single weapon. Guede repeatedly broke into houses by throwing a rock through a window, as happened here, and he had been caught by the authorities in the past with a knife similar to the one that inflicted Meredith’s fatal wounds.

This is laughable. The room itself could not be checked for DNA as the choice was to fingerprint-check it instead. Sollecito’s footprint on the bathroom mat is a smoking gun all by itself. Crack national investigators demonstrated in numerous ways that the attack involved multiple assailants and this was endorsed by the Supreme Court.

Sollecito’s own lawyers never forcefully argued this. They produced two non-credible witnesses in the appeal trial (Alessi and Aviello) to actually prove that Guede had some other accomplices or that several others did it. Amanda Knox if anything diverted attention AWAY from Guede as he did in turn from her. He wasn’t quickly identified precisely because Knox had extremely credibly again and again on 5-6 Nov fingered Patrick.

There is no proof Guede intruded anywhere. The trial court concluded Knox invited him in. Guede had zero proven history of break-ins or petty crimes or drug-dealing, and late in 2008 at his trial Judge Micheli became angry at such claims. Guede had no prior criminal record at all. He had only been back in Perugia for a few weeks, after an extended stay up north.  His DNA was not found “all over” Meredith’s room. A major surprise, in fact, was how few traces of him were found.

The recreation of the crime scene and the autopsy both pointed AWAY FROM a lone assailant, not toward.  From Meredith’s wounds, it was quite evident that two and perhaps three knives had been used, and not a single weapon. What lone intruder carries or uses two or three knives?  And footprints in blood outside the door matched the feet of both RS and AK. This is why the Supreme Court confirmed Guede’s guilt only “in concorso” (with others).

10. That the cops could have caught Guede fast, despite Knox’s frame

Guede did not call the police, as Amanda and I did, or volunteer information, or agree to hours of questioning whenever asked. Rather, he fled to Germany as soon as the investigation began and stayed there until his arrest two and a half weeks later.

Guede’s apprehension and eventual conviction on murder charges should have been the end of the story. But by the time Guede was identified, the police and the public prosecutor’s office had convinced themselves that the murder was, incredibly, the result of a sexual orgy gone wrong, in which Amanda and I had played leading roles. Their speculations ignited a media firestorm, inspiring sensationalist headlines across the world about the evil lurking behind our seemingly innocent faces.

The authorities had no shred of evidence to substantiate this story line, only erroneous suppositions and wild imaginings. We had an alibi for the most likely time of death, and none of the initial forensic evidence tied us to the scene of the crime. Nothing in our backgrounds gave any hint of a propensity for violence or criminality. We were both accomplished, hardworking students known to our friends and families for our gentleness and even tempers.

Four more untrue claims. All three were convicted of a murder with a sex-crime element, and nobody was wrongly “convinced”. Which alibi is Sollecito talking about now? He himself admits in chapter 1 (Love and Death) that they had no “real alibi”. They still have no alibis at all for the second half of the evening, neither of them, when Meredith’s murder indisputably occurred.

Extensive forensic evidence within days tied them both to the scene. Not a single element of it has been discredited in the eyes of the Massei trial and Nencini appeal court. Not even one. Nothing was proven falsified, no item at all.

Neither of their backgrounds was squeaky clean. Both had long been into illegal drugs, the loner Sollecito had to be watched by his father and teachers, the increasingly disliked Knox had a history of doing and saying crass off-putting things. Both were lagging behind their brighter peers in their studies and Knox was in reality taking a year off.

11. That the prosecution fed the media a huge number of false claims.

Yet the authorities stuck to their guns. They fed the media a steady diet of sensationalist stories of how Amanda, the promiscuous American she-devil, and I, her sex-and-drug-addled Italian helpmeet, had tried without success to drag Meredith into our depravity and punished her by plunging an outsize kitchen knife into her neck.

Complete fiction. Again, in the real world, as the media reporters all confirm, the prosecution fed nothing at all secretly to the media, and publicly very little, none of it self-servingly biased.  Italian reporting was sporadic and very mild compared to anything one can see daily on possible perps in the US and UK newspapers and on US TV crime shows. There is zero sign this mild coverage mattered to the courts. As the media reporters all confirm, they were fed next to nothing by the police or prosecution on the case,

But whereas Mr Mignini famously never leaks, the defenses are widely claimed to have leaked throughout like sieves. So did Sollecito’s own family - they leaked an evidence video to Telenorba TV, for which they were considered for trial. Even we at TJMK and PMF received several offers of juicy leaks. Here is one example of where the Knox forces leaked - wrongly in fact - and then nastily slimed the prosecution and defenseless prison staff.

12. That the authorities had lots and lots and lots of scenarios.

It might have been funny if the consequences had not been so devastating. Listening to the tortured language of the prosecution—“one can hypothesize that . . . ,” “it is possible that . . . ,” “one can imagine that . . . ,” “this scenario is not incompatible with . . .”—it became clear that the authorities, like the media, were treating our case with the bizarre levity of an after-dinner game of Clue, or an Agatha Christie mystery. Everyone, even the judges in their black robes, had theories they were itching to air.

Have Sollecito and Gumbel ever before been in any other court in Italy or the UK or the US?  Every judge and/or jury seeks to zero in on a viable scenario on lines not unlike this. That is the whole POINT of having courts - to weight the probabilities in what happened in the crime.  The only difference in Italy is that the judges have to think their verdict through for weeks, and then write it all out, and then see it scrutinized by a higher court. Hardly a requirement to be sneered at.

Gumbel and Sollecito should have studied how US and UK juries arrive at their own scenarios. Very few US and UK lawyers think they do a better job. Ask those who watched the OJ Simpson and Casey Anthony trials and bitterly criticised the outcomes of those. And Italy has a vastly lower rate of false imprisonment than the US does, less than 1/6 of the US rate.

13. That Italy is a medieval country with a primitive justice system.

It could have been Colonel Mustard in the drawing room with the revolver; instead it was Amanda and Raffaele in the bedroom with the kitchen knife. How was it conceivable that a democratic country known for its style and beauty and effortless charm—the Italy of the Renaissance and la dolce vita—could allow two young people to be catapulted to international notoriety and convicted of a horrific crime on the basis of nothing at all?

This is not remotely what happened. There was very far from nothing at all. Convictions in the US and UK regularly result based on evidence 1/10 or 1/100 of that here - sometimes from one single evidence point. Any one or several of maybe 100 evidence points here could have convicted them in a US or UK court.

Italy gives defendants every possible break, and the justice system has become seriously loaded against victims and their families. Read here and here.

14. That the prosecutors office and media were in a grim embrace.

The answer has something to do with the grim embrace that developed between the prosecutor’s office and the sensationalist media. Like addicts constantly looking for the next fix, each fed the other’s insatiable appetite for titillation and attention. The casual cruelty of “Foxy Knoxy” and her Italian lover became too good a story line to abandon, even when it became apparent it was overheated and unsustainable. Our suffering was the price to be paid for the world’s continuing entertainment.

WHAT grim embrace? WHAT addicts? WHAT fix? WHAT insatiable appetite? WHAT titillation and attention? This is clearly defamatory if it can’t be proven, and we can turn up no evidence that any of it is true. It has to be one of the most foolish lies in the entire book, it is so easy to disprove. These who are being accused of crimes here are career police and prosecutors secure in their jobs, and perhaps some in the media, and none have the slightest gain to make from convictions arrived at through a hoax.

15. That in the justice system speculation and hearsay run rampant

The meandering complexities of the Italian legal system, where speculation and hearsay are allowed to run rampant and time invariably slows to a maddening trickle, did little to help our cause.

Total mischaracterization. First note that by comparison with any country in the world THERE IS NOT MUCH CRIME IN ITALY.  There is some minor corruption and still some minor mafia action, but thefts and burglaries and assaults are few and murders even fewer. The main crime if you can call it such is citizens not lining up to pay taxes.  Italy’s murder rate is 1/6 that of the United States and its prison system size is 1/30 that of the United States, so where IS all this crime about which the claimed speculation and hearsay are running rampant?

The legal process would have been fully over by the end of 2009 if (1) there was not the entitlement to two automatic appeals; in UK and US terms there was very little to appeal about;  and (2) the Hellmann appeal court had not been fixed to produce a corrupt outcome, as the displaced judge Sergio Matteini Chiari and Cassation and the Council of Magistrates have all made plain.

And compared to American police and prosecutors, their Italian counterparts are famously taciturn under their unusually firm rules. There is media interest, for sure, as there should be when there are crimes, but that also is comparatively restrained. Watch the various Porta a Porta shows on YouTube and you will see how sedate crime discussion tends to be.

The Constitution and the judicial code set out to achieve the exact opposite of speculation and hearsay affecting justice, and they do so.  Creating this restraint is a primary reason for the judges’ sentencing reports, and for all the magistrates’ checks of investigations along the way.

This whole series of dishonest claims about the the Italian system in the preface of the book and a later chapter have clearly not been read through or okayed by even one Italian lawyer. They would all know it is wrong.

16. That in Italy proof beyond a reasonable doubt scarcely exists

For reasons deeply embedded in the country’s history, the concept of proof beyond a reasonable doubt scarcely exists in Italy, and the very notion of undisputed fact is viewed with suspicion, if not outright aversion.

So Gumbel and Sollecito are historians and legal experts now? It would be nice, wouldn’t it, if either were able to explain the remark. This may be an ignorant swipe at the Napoleonic Code on which the law of a lot of continental Europe is based. Ignored is that Italy carried out its own reforms to the Code in 1990 and more subsequently. Much of that reform, it should be pointed out, was procedural or structural rather than substantive law.

There are two things wrong with “..the concept of reasonable doubt scarcely exists in Italy.”

    1. It is factually wrong. Italian jurists, the courts, and so on, are well acquainted with the concept as it has been a fundamental aspect of criminal proceedings in Italy as elsewhere for many decades if not centuries.

    2. It suggests that Italians are not intelligent enough to understand the concept anyway. That of course is an insult to Italians.  Actually they are no less intelligent than the rest of us elsewhere who strive to understand it.

Until the 1990 Reforms the relationship between criminal and civil proceedings in Italy were governed by the principles of unity of jurisdiction and the prevailing status of criminal proceedings. Hence, if the facts were the same then criminal proceedings (to punish the guilty) and civil proceedings (to render liable the guilty for damages) were heard at the same time and still sometimes are, as in the Meredith Kercher case.

What has changed (relevant to the above quote) is that civil cases can be and are more likely to be heard independently from the related criminal cases and, where not, the standard of proof in civil cases (the preponderance of evidence or, as we usually refer to it, the balance of probabilities) is to be applied to the civil case, and the civil case only, rather than be confused with or overriden by the criminal standard of proof (beyond reasonable doubt).

Not an easy task, admittedly, to apply different standards to different tasks, based on the same facts, in the same proceedings, but Italian judges are trained to do this because that is their system. No judge would EVER confuse “beyond reasonable doubt” with “the balance of probabilities” when the issue at stake is depriving an individual of his freedom.

17. That the Italian judiciary has vast, unfettered powers

Few in Italian society wield as much unfettered power as the robed members of the judiciary, whose independence makes them answerable to nobody but themselves.

Radically the opposite of the truth. The paranoid claim reads like it came from ex PM Berlusconi fearful of his own conviction or one of his parliamentary lackeys such as Girlanda.

The checks and balances on judges in the Italian system are enormous, perhaps the toughest checks and balances in the world. Read here and here about them.

All of the best judges in the world are independent and they all follow a demanding career path, not elected (as ex-Judge Heavey was) under zero criteria, or appointed under the political sway of politicians. We wonder if Gumbel and Sollecito have ever heard of the US Supreme Court? Do those judges answer to anybody? No? How unfettered. 

18. That the courts are the most reviled institution in Italy.

Many Italians retain a healthy skepticism about the reliability of their procedures and rulings. The courts—tainted by politics, clubbishness, pomposity, and excruciating delays—are the most reviled institution in the country.

As our Sollecito Book pages make clear again and again and again, the Italian system is remarkably NOT tainted by politics, as even the most surperficial watcher of the trials of ex Prime Minister Sylvio Berlusconi would know.

And on the issue of popularity we have previously posted this and this and also this.

Our Italian poster Machiavelli (Yummi), who posted our deep analysis of the appeal to the Supreme Court by Dr Galati, has provided these hard facts:

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.

19. That prosecutors can spin their cases into any shape they please.

Because the Italian legal system is almost completely blind to precedent and relies on a tangle of impenetrable codes and procedures, prosecutors and judges have almost boundless freedom to spin their cases into any shape they please and create legal justifications on the fly. Often, they are more interested in constructing compelling narratives than in building up the evidence piece by piece, a task considered too prosaic and painstaking to be really interesting.

Whoever wrote this either wasnt an Italian or a lawyer, and either way didnt have much of a clue. The entire Italian system under the post WWII constitution was designed to PREVENT what Sollecito & Gumbel claim it allows here.

There are checks and balances and reviews every step of the way. Magistrates (initially Matteini here) determine what a prosecutor may do in developing and presenting a case. Parties may appeal to the Supreme Court AT ANY TIME as Knox’s lawyers did over her second written confession - which she herself had demanded to make in front of Dr Mignini after he finished warning her of her rights.

Hard for Sollecito & Gumbel to believe, perhaps, but the defense is actually present in the same courtroom. They can raise points of order at any time. So can the defendants themselves, at any time, something maybe unique in the world.

And judges actually have minds of their own. And then there are the unique written sentencing reports, and the two automatic appeals if any parties want to pursue them.

Sollecito & Gumbel should have read the 2012 Galati appeal more closely. The Prosecution’s Appeal To The Supreme Court is available in English here.  Precedent has a section to itself - “The non-observance of the principles of law dictated by the Cassation Court in the matter of circumstantial cases (Article 606(b)) in relation to Article 192 paragraph 2 Criminal Procedure Code.”

Well, that’s precedent, via the Court of Cassation no less! How surprising from Gumbel/Sollecito that they should make that claim about ignoring precedent when in fact there it is, going right to the heart of the flawed Hellmann/Zanetti judgement on circumstantial evidence!  What else is a Code but in effect a codification, a gathering together, a rationalisation, of best law - and precedent? 

There is an absurd irony here, were they aware of it. Perhaps they are. Surely it is Hellmann and Zanetti who have displayed “a boundless freedom” in spinning the case “into any shape they please”, and who have “created legal justifications on the fly”?  As for prosecutors doing this, at least Dr Mignini followed the evidence, and American readers may recall the infamous Jim Garrison, the DA hero of Oliver Stone’s movie “JFK” but who in reality, unlike Dr Mignini, was a total and utter crackpot.

And what issue exploded the Porta a Porta TV show in Italy in September 2012? It was Sollecito’s false claim that the prosecution had secretly tried to offer him a deal if he would roll over on Knox.  NOBODY including his own father and his own lawyers confirmed him. Evidence against both was overwhelming. Nobody needed such a deal, and Italian prosecutors are highly rules-bound against ever offering such deals.

Sollecito was in effect accusing Dr Mignini of a felony with this much-repeated false claim in his book. (In her book Knox also accused Dr Mignini of a felony.)

20. That the prosecutors and judges in Italy are far too close.

Prosecutors and judges are not independent of each other, as they are in Britain or the United States, but belong to the same professional body of magistrates. So a certain coziness between them is inevitable, especially in smaller jurisdictions like Perugia.

Yes, prosecutors and judges in Italy belong to the same professional body of magistrates. But then so does the defense lawyer Ms Bongiorno. The claim that there is no independence between prosecutors and judges in Italy, in fact a coziness between them, is a bit rich.

Consider, say, the UK. It is true cases are prosecuted by the Crown Prosecution Service, a government body, but in serious cases the CPS will employ barristers from the Inns of Court. There is scarcely a judge in the UK, even up to the highest level, who was not and who is not still a member of one of the Inns of Court from whence barristers, for the prosecution or for the defence, ply their trade.

You can’t walk past an Inn without seeing the names of judges on the roll call on the plaques outside. A judge is still a barrister, just fulfilling a different function, although, of course, now paid by the State.  The old school boy tie? Corruption? No, the fulfilling of different roles by members of the same body is called professionalism. 

Judges and lawyers all belong to the American Bar Association in the US and attend the same conferences. No sign that this lack of “independence” ever affects trials.  This claimed excess of coziness is often ranted about online by the Knoxophile David Anderson who lives near Perugia. Nobody who pays him any attention can get where he derives this from. Maybe he heard it from Hellman?

Perugia prosecutors and magistrates are all known to do a fine job, and the national Olympics & earthquake relief cases involving powerful Rome politicians were assigned for competent handling to where? To Perugia… Defense lawyer Ghirga and Prosecutor Mignini have the reputation of being good friends. And Mignini and Massei would both draw their salaries from the State. But so what? Do not judges and DAs in the the USA do likewise? Are Gumbel and Sollecito impugning the professionalism of the counterparts of Mignini and Massei all over the world? It sure reads like it.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Sollecito Trial For “Honor Bound” #1: History Of How This Ill-Fated Saga Began

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

The “supertanker” the PR forces worked hard to turn has become a Titanic for them now

1. The Latest Legal Developments

A new phase of the Florence trial of Raffaele Sollecito and Andrew Gumbel is scheduled to start on Thursday of next week.

Why is this the iceberg in the Titanic’s path? Because Sollecito and later Knox made numerous demonstrably false and damaging claims that so many others then made, most usually worse.

See Sollecito go down here, or withdraw his claims, for lack of any proof, and the legal liabilities of all those others stretch to the horizon and beyond.

This trial puts Knox herself and her parents with her wild book and their wild claims at more risk. 

For reasons explained below, the investigation of the myriad claims by an Italian, beamed only at Americans, of official crimes and alternative “facts” couched in a jeering, sneering anti-Italy tone was taken behind the scenes by the Florence prosecution early in 2013.

The charges and target defamatory passages selected out of numerous passages falsely describing facts of the case and falsely accusing officials of crimes have not been formally reported even in Italy yet, except for a website update last October by the indefatigable journalist Andrea Vogt.

2. Chronology 2009-2011: The Trial And Appeal

In 2011 what is widely known in Italy to have been a bent Hellmann appeal court ran a cartoonish and illegal retrial of Sollecito and AK.

This illegal retrial, mostly annulled by the Supreme Court in March 2013, was lacking a few things. Such as most evidence, most witnesses, and all of the 2009 prosecution case and the compelling prosecution summations at the end. An illegal DNA consultancy which should never have occurred at appeal is also believed to have been bent.

3. Various Flashing Warning Lights

On 3 October 2011 Judge Hellmann told RS and AK they were free to go, despite the fact that no legal process for murder and some other crimes is considered final in Italy until no party pursues any further appeals or the Supreme Court signs off. Most still accused of serious crimes (as in the UK and US) remain locked up. Hellmann, pathetically trying to justify this fiasco ever since, was firmly edged out and still the target of a possible charge.

Other flashing warnings should have made Sollecito’s family and legal team and book writers very wary. They included the immediate strong warning of a tough prosecution appeal to the Supreme Court. They also included the pending calunnia trials of Knox and her parents, the pending trial of the Sollecitos for attempting to use politics to subvert justice, the pending trials of Spezi, Aviello, and Sforza, and so on. 

A major flashing warning was right there in Italian law. Trials are meant to be conducted in the courtroom and attempts to poison public opinion are illegal. They can be illegal in the US and UK too but, for historical reasons to do with the mafias and crooked politicians, Italian laws in this area are among the world’s toughest. So mid-process, normally no books are ever published

4. Chronology 2012-2013 The United States Track

Knox quickly headed back to the US West Coast and Sollecito soon came after her there.

After three-plus years of Sollecito and his camp being very iffy about Knox he suddenly - to his father’s open frustration - could not get enough of her.

Very quickly Sollecito found a book agent, Sharlene Martin,  who lives just a couple of miles from the Mellases and Knoxes, and she lined up a shadow writer, Andrew Gumbel, who lives in LA and had been based in Italy in the 1990s.

Both Sharlene Martin and Andrew Gumbel soon revealed that their “knowledge” of the case was paper-thin and dangerously biased.

Sollecito’s Italian lawyers seemingly did not have a clue what was going on on this book front - lately an angry Giulia Bongiorno made that plain enough.

Sollecito’s father and sister did have growing concerns (among much fallout in Italy of their own such as Vanessa losing a plum Carabinieri job) and in March they hopped on a flight to Seattle to try to ditch Knox and presumably the book and drag Sollecito home.

Even Knox at times seemed to want the clingy nuisance gone, and she produced a claimed new love-interest to help to keep him at bay.

Throughout 2012 the hubris of the Knox camp within which Sollecito had embedded himself was immense. David Marriott and Bruce Fischer both posted that it was their efforts that had got the two released, making no mention of a court the defenses had bent.

On 18 September Honor Bound hit the shelves. If Sharlene Martin or Andrew Gumbel or Simon & Schuster had done any due diligence on the book, such as reading court documents, or even run it in final draft in Italian past Sollecito’s lawyers in Italy, that due diligence sure did not show. (A legal case for the Sollecito family to pursue?)

Seemingly irresponsible or incompetent and not caring who in Italy they hurt, Sharlene Martin and Andrew Gumbel then assisted Sollecito in a triumphalist but mostly unconvincing sweep of the US crime shows.

The flagship interview was with Katie Couric on ABC right before the book came out. It really hurt. She had an advance copy and had done her homework. See our suggested questions and report and posts and Kermit’s great spoof here , here , here , here , and here.  The book promotion tour ended in Seattle thus..

Late April 2013 Knox’s book came out. Strong differences with Sollecito emerged both in the books and publicly in the media as described here and here.

Sharlene Martin later set up a panel of the useful idiots Michael Heavey and John Douglas and Steve Moore in a Congressional room for hire, an odd role for an agent of a book, which nobody of importance attended. Just as well. Truth was scarce.

Sollecito repeatedly visited the United States (and the Caribbean) though he was provisionally a convicted felon, not least in a desperate, cynical and hurtful attempt, after the sharp rebuff by Amanda Knox, to find an American wife.

You can read the rest of Sollecito’s US saga in the top posts here. His last visit to the United States was in late 2013.

5. Chronology 2012-2013 The Italy Track

The book was written and published only in English; Francesco Sollecito said no Italian publisher would touch it (surprise, surprise).

In Italy, from our post of 27 September 2012, this media explosion is what happened next.

In Italy Sollecito’s wildly inaccurate and hyper-aggressive book has already set himself up for two kinds of trouble

The Gumbel and Sollecito book was released in English on 18 September 2012 and within ten days all of Italy knew that the book was a crock.

Sollecito’s own father and own lawyer Maori have already been forced to admit the book contains serious lies. Prosecutors are considering whether there should be new charges

Sollecito’s own father Francesco was made to concede by the host and all other guests on the popular Porta a Porta TV show last week that Sollecito lied in claiming that the prosecution had sought a deal under which Sollecito would frame Amanda.

Such a deal would be illegal so Sollecito was falsely accusing prosecutors of a very serious crime. Francesco Sollecito backed down even more in some interviews later. One of Sollecito’s own lawyers, Luca Maori, also had to deny in frustration that the offer of any deal either way ever happened.

Now the prosecution has announced that they are weighing whether there should be new charges lodged against Sollecito.

Sollecito has suddenly claimed in the book, nearly five years after he said it happened, in face of vast evidence including his own writings to the contrary, that police interrogated him over 10 hours, and abused and threatened him.

But he was demonstrably not ever interrogated over 10 hours, and he folded fast when they showed him his phone records, which contradicted his earlier alibis, and so he promptly laid the blame on Amanda.

Prosecutors and police have all already stated that he simply lied here too, and again prosecutors are considering whether there should be new charges

Thereafter we posted a number of times about false claims others and we ourselves identified in the book -  one of three (with Preston’s and Knox’s) probably the most defamatory ever written about any justice system or justice officials anywhere. Our next posts will pick up that thread.

5. Italy Officially Reacts

Finally for now, we posted on 18 February 2013 on a formal move against the book by the Florence Courts, with a Breaking News addendum that (very unusually) the prosecution and supervising magistrate had taken the investigation behind closed doors.

That secrecy order to counter the toxic PR still persists, right up to now, and it will only be next Thursday that the results of the investigation and the charges against Sollecito and Gumbel become widely know.

Next post: selected examples of Sollecito’s and Gumbel’s false claims.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

That Supposed Tsunami Of Leaks That Supposedly Hurt The Alleged Perps: Who REALLY Leaked?

Posted by Peter Quennell

Curt Knox spins the day in court; prosecutors are forbidden to correct him or explain “their side”

1. How The Supposed Leaks Began

On 6 November 2007 investigators into Meredith’s death thought they had caught a big break.

That was when Knox herself snapped and claimed to be an eyewitness to Meredith’s killing on the night. From 1:30 am to about noon on 6 November Knox repeated that claim and staged her huge fright of Patrick Lumumba again and again. She proved hard to shut up though police did gently try.

Three times in those ten or so hours Knox herself insisted on writing her claims down, including a claim that she did go out alone. She was repeatedly warned she should have a lawyer present first but pressed on.

False claims to have witnessed a murder are rare, but not entirely unknown - there can be fame and big bucks in it, played right.

But in Knox’s case this did not seem to apply - she snapped explosively under no pressure except that just placed upon her by Sollecito who had claimed she made him lie and she had gone out alone from Sollecito’s on the night Meredith died.

And she had to some extent implicated herself - she said she saw a crime she did not report.

On 8 November supervising magistrate Claudia Matteini reviewed police and psychology reports and what Knox and Sollecito had claimed (including Sollecito’s writing that he never wanted to see Knox again).

Judge Matteini declared them both to be bad news. She ordered them to remain locked up. Judge Ricciarelli confirmed that that was all correct.

In coming months Knox was given repeated opportunities to clear herself, to put the evil genie back in the bottle, but she failed every time. In April 2008 Cassation ruled there was plenty of prima facie evidence, and that Judge Matteini had done the right thing.

Knox herself inspired these events of 6 to 8 November. They are what caused the voracious UK media and relatively mild Italian media to get their paid snoops to Perugia fast.

All of them were lobbying to get an edge. Investigators had some difficulty performing their tasks because they were getting so many calls and being crowded in the streets.

2. Did The Police Or Prosecution Ever Leak?

The Italian rules are quite clear. Unlike the US, cases for and against the accused must be fought only in court, and when the prosecutor or judge speaks, it will mostly be in a document that has been cleared.

How many proven examples do you think there are of police and prosecutors slipping reporters leaks and tips and inside tracks to advance their case?

In fact NONE. Not one.

Among the frustrations we picked up from the excellent Italian-speaking reporters who were actually there was how under Italian rules there was so little that police and prosecutors were allowed to share.

In the UK it is also a bit like this. But in contrast in the US there would typically be daily press conferences and prosecutors (85% of them are elected in the US) appearing on the cable-news crime shows like that of Nancy Grace.

And Dr Mignini himself famously never leaks. The few things he ever says are on the record and they always prove accurate, low-key, and very fair. From 2007 right up to today he continues to maintain that Knox had no advance intention to kill. A softer line than some of the judges settled upon.

3. Did The Defenses And Families Leak?

Sure. This case must have broken all records for defense-biased leaks. Finding themselves in a vacuum of police and prosecution information and pushback, the Knox PR grew to an angry and often abusive and dishonest roar.

The sharp-elbowed Knox-Mellas presence was constantly “available” in Perugia and Burleigh and Dempsey among others got totally taken in. Ann Bremner and Judge Heavey and Paul Ciolino became more and more shrill. Heavey wrote to the president of the Italian Republic on his official letterhead. Senator Cantwell issued many unfounded claims. 

And through 2008 and 2009 one can spot increasing leaks from each defense team, often to try to advantage their client against the other two. We were offered some of those leaks, among others “the truth” about the autopsy and “the knife”.

The Perugia Shock blog by PR shill Francesco Sfarzo (now on trial in Florence for making things up, and wanted by police in the US) came to be a main conduit for defense lies and misleading information, possibly some from a disgruntled cop. 

Here is one easily proven leak from the Knox defense that was intended to hurt the police and prosecution in the case.

But putting police so overtly on the spot was a dangerous game. More often each perp and their defense team took whacks at the other two as a Rome lawyer showed here and we showed here.  In the past few posts we have been showing how many things about Rudy Guede were made up (more to come).

4. Making Things Up For Profit And Fame

In 2007 and 2008 various unsavory characters surfaced in Perugia, to try to win fame and make a buck. This quote is from our post directly below.

Christian Tramontano, who had claimed someone threatened him in his house in the dark with a knife who looked like a shot of Guede in the papers two months later, was not even called, perhaps because at a hearing in October 2008 Judge Micheli denounced him as having made things up.

Tramontano is right now a jobless bouncer, as the mafia was found to have some involvement in his club. Judge Micheli scathingly repudiated his tale as his story did not ring true - he made no police report about it at the time.

But worse, he looked like one of quite a few around Perugia (and later in the US) who were seeking global fame and big bucks from the media for “inside knowledge” and claimed close connections to one or other of the alleged perps.

Despite this Tremontano’s self-serving claims are repeated as gospel by the PR shills all over the place. Those claims appear as gospel in every one of their books.

This is from Tom Kington of the Guardian in a report posted 27 September 2008:

The trial in Italy of Rudy Guede, one of the three suspects accused of sexually assaulting and murdering British student Meredith Kercher, was thrown into disarray yesterday when a judge stopped proceedings after learning that one of the main character witnesses had allegedly tried to sell his story to Italian television.

Abuker Barro, known as Momi, a Somalian acquaintance of Guede, was due in court in Perugia yesterday to repeat claims made to investigators that he had seen Guede rifling through women’s handbags in clubs in Perugia and making aggressive advances to women when drunk.

But the judge, Paolo Micheli, blocked him from completing his testimony after lawyers for Guede showed a video of Barro meeting journalists to allegedly negotiate payment of €2,000 (£1,588) for revealing his testimony on Italian television. Micheli will ask magistrates to decide whether Barro should be prosecuted for abusing his role as a witness, which could exclude his testimony.

The incident, described by Guede’s lawyer, Walter Biscotti, as ‘an assault by the media’, follows a series of leaks to the press of evidence and even jail diaries by suspects during the investigation into the brutal slaying of Kercher, 21… [bold added]

Few real reporters were unethical or incompetent enough to accept and report biased and unconfirmed claims like Tramontano’s or Barro’s. But you can find those false claims hyped pervasively throughout the pro-Knox books as if they were gospel.

Among others Dempsey’s, Burleigh’s, Moore’s, Preston’s, Hendry’s, Waterbury’s, and Fischer’s books come to mind.

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