All our posts on Amanda Knox

Friday, May 03, 2013

The Amanda Knox Trainwreck: How TV And Book Suggest Knox Is Increasingly Far From Facing Reality

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding





Amateurism run amoke is what the unprecedented and unwise Knox extravaganza is starting to look like. 

Several TJMK posts below this one have already suggested that the book was rushed into print with very little fact-checking, with no restraint on damaging false accusations,  and with no strategic legal considerations.

The same thing seems to have happened with the TV appearances.

Knox had a year and a quarter under wraps to prepare herself and yet her many exaggerated and over-emotional TV claims contradict many things SHE HERSELF has said previously.

She seems to have been rehearsed by handlers with little or no grasp of the extensive fact record.

And where has all this amateurism left her? Open to slow erosion of her credibility by an increasing number of commentators while considerably upping her peril in Italy.

Because many of her claims falsely accuse officers of the court, she could be further indicted for contempt of court, and she could see the five years which was lopped off her sentence by Judge Massei for “mitigating circumstances” reinstated.

Those of us with psychology credentials may not have all been expecting the same thing from Knox when she finally surfaced. But none of us expected to be confronted so forcefully with a classic case of a personality in turmoil.

My first impression after getting through to the end of the book was that it shows such serious disturbance psychologically, so much being revealed in her own words.

It wouldn’t be possible to classify AK as clinically insane, the niceties of this being so precise - but an abnormal mind is clearly illustrated. So clear that it is actually sad - that she has been allowed and encouraged to do this.

The ghost writing, or/and her own expression is also painful to read in terms of quality of writing. These are the main points that have emerged for me, from a psychological perspective, after reading:

AK’s grip on reality (even without drugs) is tragically lacking. It seems that she doesn’t know what a ‘fact’ is. Every fact and event is seen through a lens of her own feeling or emotion - logical connection being absent - together with how she believes it is best to make it appear.

‘Her “best truth” is this over and over again. She doesn’t even understand that this is considered by normal minds to be lying. She doesn’t seem to have a concept of lying.

  • “their version of reality was taking over”... Does reality only come in versions?

  • “something didn’t feel right. it seemed made up”.  Does she not know?

AK continually refers to herself as “different”. She is, but not for the curious or trivial things she believes. She is also obsessively concerned to be seen and classified as a “good person”. This comes up over and over.

“I didnt want them to think I was a bad person”. Note, not: “I didn’t want to BE a bad person” but always “how will people think of me”. This is a continual theme. “I couldn’t believe anyone could think that of me”.

It does show a dissociative and non-integrated personality, with both deep roots and serious implications.  There are also indications that she is unable to ‘read’ people’s faces /expressions with any accuracy. (Emotion recognition).

A more sinister and disturbing facet to her personality connected to the above, which comes through in every chapter, is the automatic disparagement of anyone who displeases her (which of course happens frequently - whenever, in fact, someone has a different version to ‘her best truth’).

Someone is then ‘useless’, ‘betraying me’, ‘stupid’, etc etc. These words are all said matter-of-factly…. as if they really are facts.  Here are some more of these words, peppered within the text:

  • ‘Repellant, self-serving’, ‘hostile’, ‘insincere’, ‘abandoned (me)’, ‘uninterested’, ‘aggressive’, ‘spiteful’, ‘curt’, ‘disdainful’

  • ‘Old perv…lecherous’, ‘glared cruelly’, ‘idiotic’, ‘insidious’, ‘controlling’, ‘condescending’, ‘mean’, ‘hateful’, ‘ruthless’....

Note that it is not that AK finds these people to be these things, in her opinion- it is that they ARE these things.

The sub-text is: I am a good person, and they, having displeased or disagreed with me, are ‘bad’. Thus the mechanism for strong, unrestrained projection is at work.

Example: “The police couldn’t bear to admit they were wrong.”  Could she, though?

Her projections are so blatant, that I quake for her lack of self-awareness. I used to read literature as a window into self-awareness, insight, philosophical depths, and questions of morality.

Sadly this book is about as far from offering these as one could go. A PR machine missile is not a ‘book’ in the sense I used to know.

AK reveals a very strong inner anger, the control of which is difficult, and which it would seem she is frightened of, and frightened of revealing.

She would also seem to be based in a passive aggressive stance, which gives rise to a side seen as nice and even gentle. These two sides seem badly split.

This would be in keeping with the Envy hypothesis (I refer to Melanie Klein’s ‘Envy and Gratitude’). There are a few definite examples of the consuming anger which Amanda herself describes graphically.

She continually justifies it, also. Sometimes, of course, anger may be justified (‘just anger’) but as described here it is nearer to a rage or a tantrum when things aren’t going according to how she wants them to.

This speaks of manipulation, which would be part of the same profile, and is essentially destructive and spoiling, as well as something that wells up with a will of its own.

She often exposes her state of mind in certain phrases, without realising the implications of what she is saying. This is why I think the whole thing is so sad, as she has been used (seemingly mainly for money) in this foolish venture.

For example: “In that instant I snapped.” when the detective said “you know who killed Meredith.” It wasn’t the pressure/abuse from the police that made her snap, it was being confronted with the truth.

NOT her ‘best truth,’ but one that was simply unbearable to hear.  There are many other examples, littered throughout the book, of some of her inner chaos:

  • “This is my own fault. I caused the confusion”

  • “I wanted to disappear.  I didn’t want to be me anymore”.

  • “I didn’t know if I was allowed to keep my thoughts private…”

  • “Like a roller coaster ride….can’t get off. This is all my own fault”
  • .
  • ” I was furious for putting myself in this situation”.

  • Rafaelle - “He didn’t look at me. I wondered if he hated me”.  (Why should he?)

  • “We want justice. But against who? We all want to know, but we all don’t.”

There are many others.  Amanda Knox said she loved Italy and I believe her. With adjustment she could have been a lot happier there than she perhaps ever was in Seattle. Now she is in the position of demonizing Italy and its good people there, and in the worst possible way.

Italy was in fact very kind to Amanda Knox, and her treatment there was on the right lines to give her hope of enduring stability. What a pity that dirty PR and legal tricks and money grubbing may have pushed that out of sight forever.

Posted on 05/03/13 at 09:51 PM by SeekingUnderstanding. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Thursday, May 02, 2013

The Amanda Knox Book: Good Reporters Start To Surface Amanda Knox’s False Claims In Droves

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[American Ambassador to Italy David Thorne whose reports contradict Knox’s prison claims]

Did ANYBODY think to check Knox’s book for criminal defamations and false claims? Take this glaring “mistake” from page 248.

During the rebuttals, on December 3, each lawyer was given a half hour to counter the closing arguments made over the past two weeks. Speaking for me, Maria criticized Mignini for portraying Meredith as a saint and me as a devil

Really? Prosecutor Mignini said that? So why did the entire media corps report that it was said by Patrick Lumumba’s lawyer Carlo Pacelli? As the BBC reported:

[Mr Pacelli] added: “Who is the real Amanda Knox? Is it the one we see before us here, simple water and soap, the angelic St Maria Goretti?”

“Or is she really a she-devil, a diabolical person focused on sex, drugs and alcohol, living life to the extreme and borderline - is this the Amanda Knox of 1 November 2007?”

So even Mr Pacelli didnt compare Knox to Meredith, or simply call Knox a she-devil to her face. He asked rhetorically if she was a she-devil or a saint. Not exactly unheard of in American courts.

And remember he was addressing someone who would have been quite happy to see Patrick put away for life, cost him two weeks in a cell, entangled her own mother in a cover-up, destroyed Patrick’s business and reputation world-wide, still hasnt paid him money owed, and for lying about him served three years.

Prosecutor Mignini in fact never called Knox anything at all. We can find no record that he did. Again and again he has denied it. And he had no personal need to prosecute Knox, and certainly no need to frame her, despite many pages Knox devotes to trying to prove the reckless claim that he did.

Another false claim: Knox’s claim that Prosecutor Mignini invented the notion of a satanic cult to explain the Monster of Florence murders, also made by Sollecito, is totally untrue. 

Dozens of others had suspected and talked about a satanic cult for YEARS before he investigated one loose end in the case. And both that theory and that investigation are back on track - at the recent order of the Supreme Court.

Another false claim: Knox devotes pages to trying to make herself look good on the witness stand at the trial. But Italians who could follow in Italian in real-time ended up suspecting and despising her performance up there.  Read what they saw here and here.

Inspired by such conspicuous false claims as these, various reporters have begun to dig. We posted on Knox’s false claims about her prison time and the many disproofs. Italy-based reporter Andrea Vogt uncovers some more.

Knox’s memoir is a vivid personal account of the difficulties of prison life in Italy, complete with claims about inappropriate behaviour by staff. But Knox herself once painted a different picture.

Other documents - including writings Knox penned in her own hand while incarcerated, case files and state department records - conjure up quite another impression of a very different Knox, one who was more sanguine about her experience.


On the attitudes of the prison staff

“The prison staff are really nice,” wrote Knox in her personal prison diary, which was eventually published in Italy under the title Amanda and the Others.

“They check in to make sure I’m okay very often and are very gentle with me. I don’t like the police as much, though they were nice to me in the end, but only because I had named someone for them, when I was very scared and confused.”

She described Italian prisons as “pretty swell”, with a library, a television in her room, a bathroom and a reading lamp. No-one had beaten her up, she wrote, and one guard gave her a pep talk when she was crying in her cell.

Unlike the heavily-edited memoir, these are phrases she handwrote herself, complete with strike-outs, flowery doodles, peace signs and Beatles lyrics.


On the positive HIV result she was given

Both accounts also refer to the devastating but erroneous news from the prison doctor that she had tested positive for HIV, although her diary presents a more relaxed person at this point. “First of all, the guy told me not to worry, it could be a mistake, they’re going to take a second test next week.”

We also know that it was Knox’s own lawyers who leaked the HIV report and list of sex partners. Not the doctor or anyone else. No malice was intended, that is clear, despite her claims.

On her framing of her kindly employer Lumumba

[Knox] writes that she had a flashback to the interrogation, when she felt coerced into a false accusation. “I was weak and terrified that the police would carry out their threats to put me in prison for 30 years, so I broke down and spoke the words they convinced me to say. I said: ‘Patrick - it was Patrick.’”

In her memoir, she describes in detail the morning that she put that accusation in writing, and says the prison guard told her to write it down fast.

Yet in a letter to her lawyers she gives no hint of being rushed or pressured. “I tried writing what I could remember for the police, because I’ve always been better at thinking when I was writing. They gave me time to do this. In this message I wrote about my doubts, my questions and what I knew to be true.”


On her medical examination after arrest

“After my arrest, I was taken downstairs to a room where, in front of a male doctor, female nurse, and a few female police officers, I was told to strip naked and spread my legs. I was embarrassed because of my nudity, my period - I felt frustrated and helpless.”

The doctor inspected, measured and photographed her private parts, she writes - “the most dehumanising, degrading experience I had ever been through”.

But in the 9 November letter to her lawyers, she described a far more routine experience.

“During this time I was checked out by medics. I had my picture taken as well as more copies of my fingerprints. They took my shoes and my phone. I wanted to go home but they told me to wait. And that eventually I was to be arrested. Then I was taken here, to the prison, in the last car of three that carried Patrick, then Raffaele, then me to prison.”


On her persona and mood swings in prison

She says she was often suicidal, but recollections of prison staff and other inmates differ. Flores Innocenzia de Jesus, a woman incarcerated with Amanda in 2010 described Knox as sunny and popular among the children who were in Capanne with their mothers, and recalled her avid participation in music and theatrical events. She also held a sought-after job taking orders and delivering goods to inmates from the prison dispensary.

“Most of the time when we spoke during our exercise break, the kids would call her and she would go and play with them,” de Jesus told me.


And on what US officlals and her own lawyers perceived

State department cables, released through the Freedom of Information Act, show that between 2007 and 2009, three different high-level diplomats from Rome (Ambassador Ronald Spogli, Deputy Chief Elizabeth Dibble and Ambassador David Thorne) were among those reviewing Knox’s case.

Embassy officials visited regularly. Records show one consular official visited Knox on 12 November, soon after her arrest.  A few weeks later she wrote in her diary how the visits of embassy officials improved her experience….

In 2008 and 2009, she was visited by two embassy officials at a time, six times. Ambassador David Thorne, whose name appears at the bottom of cables in August, November and December of 2009, is the brother- in-law of US Secretary of State John Kerry (at that time chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee).

If the diplomats knew anything of the “harrowing prison hell” Knox was going through (as one paper put it), they are keeping those reports under wraps. Neither Kerry nor any other prominent US politician has made any public complaints. Even today, her Italian lawyers maintain she was not mistreated.

Half a dozen obvious false claims and defamations here. We estimate we will uncover well over one hundred more.

Posted on 05/02/13 at 06:59 PM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Diversion efforts byThe Knox-MellasesHoaxes about the caseKnox book hoaxesKnox interrog. hoaxReporting on the caseFine reportingAmanda Knox
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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Although The YouTube Trailer Suggests Diane Sawyer Wimped Out And Turned All Mushy…

Posted by Peter Quennell





It could still be wrong. Trailers have been misleading before.

The interview is tonight at 10:00 on ABC. Our Main Posters Kermit and Media Watcher both have tips that could still win Diane Sawyer Pulitzer Prizes.

  • Media Watcher: Diane Sawyer Interview With Amanda Knox: How To Push Back Against The False Claims And Emotion

  • Kermit Powerpoint:  Diane Sawyer’s Very Tough Interview With Amanda Knox: ABC Kindly Shares A Sneak Preview!

Here’s hoping. Even for Amanda Knox, our advice is usually the best. We’ll carry some sort of report on this tomorrow.

Posted on 04/30/13 at 07:21 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Public evidenceKnox's alibisDiversion efforts byThe Knox-MellasesHoaxes about the caseKnox book hoaxesReporting on the caseMedia newsAmanda Knox
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Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Amanda Knox Book: Could Her Book Legally Entangle These Four?

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[Image above: Curt Knox, Ted Simon, Robert Barnett, and David Marriott]


It seems probably that in every legal system on Earth, enabling or encouraging or inciting a crime may itself be a crime.

Could Amanda Knox’s forthcoming book be considered a crime, or more precisely a series of crimes? We wait to see what it says, but for starters its mere existence flouts Italian law. From our 22 April post:

Italy’s justice system so favors DEFENDANTS that it is perhaps the most pro-defendant system in the world. In fact many Italians feel its leniency has gone way too far. That is why there are these automatic appeals and why Knox could talk freely in court and have no cross-examination of her claims.

At the same time, officers of the Italian justice system are sheltered by huge powers hardly even needing to be invoked. The reason the law is so strong in this dimension is in part because a favored mafia tactic is to do what Sollecito and Preston and Burleigh have done in their books: slime the officers of the court.

Get that? Knox can talk her head off in court (as she did for two full days and many “spontaneous” interventions at the trial and annulled appeal) but because of a torrid history of false allegations against Italian courts, especially by the mafia and accused politicians, Italian law forbids her to do so outside in ways that misrepresent the evidence and impugn any officers of the legal system, prosecutors and prison staff counted in.

Sollecito’s book published six months ago made four kinds of mistake: (1) publishing for blood money while still accused; (2) including many false claims which contradict his own case at trial and will almost certainly contradict claims Knox makes; (3) defaming numerous officers of the court in freely accusing them of crimes - falsely, as his own dad admits; and (4) maligning the entire Italian justice system, the most popular and trusted institution in Italy with heavy protections at its disposal when it wants.

The criminal investigation into Sollecito’s book is under the wing of the same chief prosecutor in Florence who will oversee the re-run of the murder appeal. His investigation target is expected to be broad, and will certainly include the shadow writer and publisher and Sollecito’s own legal help. At the max, because Sollecito has impugned anti-mafia prosecutors and judges, he might face close to ten years.

PLUS the mitigating circumstances Massei allowed which brought his sentence down by five years will likely be disallowed by the Florence appeal court, adding five more years if the new appeal concludes guilt.

It seems an open secret in Perugia that Knox’s lawyers there have long shrugged off the US campaign and acted locally as if it really isnt there. They may or may not have attempted to forestall the book, though by now they certainly know it will make things far worse for Knox.

Sollecito’s lawyers have even more reason to know this as they are already under the gun, and they are probably sitting back and watching the trainwreck with ever-growing glee. 

Going forward, the prosecution is in a very sound and dominating position.

The evidence is very, very strong.  The Massei Trial Report is still unscathed. The Galati Appeal and the late-March Supreme Court decision absolutely destroyed the Hellmann appeal, and heavily implied that it had been bent. And the prosecutor who has been so unfairly maligned in the US has zero legal problems of his own, after Cassation nailed a rogue prosecutor for pursuing him and put his Narducci investigation back on track, and he was promoted and is set to be the Region of Umbria’s number one prosecutor very soon.

In contrast even without the albatross of the book Knox’s position was very weak.

She has already served three years for criminally lying to protect herself, and that sentence is subject to no further appeal. (Talk of taking it to the European Court is a joke.) Nobody in Italy will trust her word after that. As the post below this one shows, dozens of witnesses will speak up against any false claims. Who will testify on her behalf?

Also Knox seems intent on skipping the appeal, which is itself a contempt of court. And Sollecito, who has said he will be present, showed strong tendencies in his book to sell her short. If her book and her ABC interview are not roundly chastized on Italian TV as Sollecito’s was late last year, it will be a surprise. And complaints are already on their way to Florence - a prison guard she impugns in the book who earlier she herself had said meant no harm is moving forward. 

Curt Knox, Ted Simon, Robert Barnett, and David Marriott may end up in the crosshairs of the anticipated investigation for enabling or encouraging or inciting the book. And if Knox is handed extra years because of their zero due diligence, she may have a malpractice case against Simon and Barnett.

We hope their fingers are crossed.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Amanda Knox Book: Claims About Prison Traumas Widely Contradicted By Solid Sources

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[Above and at bottom: an animated Amanda Knox in red t-shirt at a prison rock concert]

“Amanda Knox’s trauma in an Italian hell-hole of sin and debauchery!”

That opening remark of a preview by the National Enquirer of Amanda Knox’s forthcoming book has been widely parroted in other American media reports.

Putting out new claims in the book like that is apparently considered to be worth the huge risk of extra years behind bars for contempt of court described in the post below this one.

Still, the US edition was sanitized after the annullment by the Supreme Court of the Hellmann appeal, and the UK publication of the book was canceled altogether.

So what are these remaining shock-horror claims? We intend to post commentary on them all.

Several concern Knox’s time in Capanne Prison where, it should be remembered, she actually served a three year sentence for lying. This was a sentence recently ratified by the Supreme Court, for criminal lying about the involvement of Patrick Lumumba in Merediths murder.

Main prison claim 1: sex advances by staff

One of the prison claims made public names a now-retired senior prison guard who Knox now claims asked her for sex. Actually this is hardly new news. Knox made the claim but in a far weaker form in 2011.

Then as CBS reported she had in fact concluded the guard was not even serious about sex. He was seeking to understand her.

Investigative journalist and CBS News Consultant Bob Graham, reading from Amanda’s letter to him: “‘He was fixated on the topic of sex, with whom I’d done it, how I liked it, if I would like to do it with him. When I realized that he really wanted to talk to me about sex I would try to change the subject.’”

Correspondent Peter Van Sant: “What does this letter say to you about what she’s been going through?”

Graham: “It says in a time when she was clearly traumatized by the events of the death, the murder of her flatmate, that there she was, an innocent abroad, because she was innocent, she is innocent… and here she was being pressured, further pressured in a prison system, a system that at least she should have had some degree of safety.”

Graham, reading Amanda’s letter: “I realize that he was testing me to see if I reacted badly, to understand me personally. He wanted to get a reaction or some information from me. I did not get the seriousness of the situation.’”

Knox’s claim seems to have left Italians contemptuous. “Yet more lies.” Here is a commentary on Knox’s claim of sexual harrassment in Il Giornale.

AMANDA: “THE WARDER WANTED TO HAVE SEX WITH ME”.

Nino Materi - Monday 15/04/2013 - 15:38.

And in the end do you want to see that we will have even have to compensate Amanda Knox for the “psycho-sexual” abuse suffered in prison in Perugia? By now we have become used to everything in the ugly story of the murder of poor Meredith Kercher.

But you really need a strong stomach to get used to the idea that the girl from Seattle should even be earning millions of dollars with true-story book (“true” in a manner of saying) which rummages in the trash of the Perugia thriller. A literary destiny which associates Amanda with the other key character at the crime scene: that Raffaele Sollecito author of a another true-story book (once again “true” in a manner of saying). Sollecito’s memoir is entitled Honour Bound: my Journey to Hell and Back with Amanda Knox, while Amanda’s “best-seller” is called Waiting to be Heard.

Pages in which Amanda – among other things – tries to make herself out to be an ingenuous, modest creature actually “molested” by the sexually implicit sayings of a supposedly dirty-minded prison warden. Amanda writes, or the ghost writer does, “The screw would ask me with whom I had had sex, he wanted to know how many boyfriends I had and whether I wanted to go to bed with him.” The period referred to is when the American student was in the Perugia prison following the first stage sentence for the crime of Meredith’s “friend”.

Then, on appeal, Knox (and Sollecito) were acquitted and now Cassation has ordered a new trial for them both. Meanwhile Amanda has gone back to Seattle (from where she will obviously never return to Italy) and she is enjoying the proceeds of her new career as a writer, not to speak of being a guest of agony TV, where between tears she tells how she was persecuted in our country. And the more she cries, the more the audience hits the roof and the more Amanda’s bank account grows. No talk of repaying her debt to Italian Justice…

In the 400 pages published by Harper Collins, the New York publishers which obtained the exclusive on the memoirs of Amanda after paying out about three million dollars, there is no lack of titillating details. A perfect location: the cells of Capanne Prison. Here Amanda tells about “continual requests from a prisoner to start a lesbian relationship with her”. In other pages she recalls how “she was informed of being HIV positive shortly after her arrival in gaol”.

Then the shock-revelation about a prison guard who is now retired. Knox accuses him of “ doing nothing but talk about sex with her from the day she arrived after her arrest”. In a message to a girlfriend, the girl from Seattle tells how the man in uniform accompanied her on every medical visit, twice a day, and in the evening how he would call her up to the third floor of the prison to an empty room to chat. “He was obsessed with sex, with whom I had done it, how I liked doing it, whether I wanted to do it with him,” she writes in the book. “I was so surprised and scandalised by all his provocations that sometimes I wondered whether I was not misunderstanding what he was telling me. When I realized that he wanted to talk about sex I tried to change the subject.”

The guard is now suing the girl for defamation after Amanda said that she had been abused during the questioning. In an interview with Bob Graham, an English journalist very close to the Knox family, the guard admitted talking about sex with Amanda, but claiming that she was the one who introduce the topic: “I talked to her a lot, but only to calm her down. I asked her how many boyfriends she had had, but it was always she had to start talking about sex.”

Anyone who wants to rummage in the garbage, buy the book by all means.


Main prison claim 2: malicious sex-partner humiliation

The second main claim against a prison official concerned the preliminary results of a routine HIV test required of all prisoners and a list of sex partners. The list of sex partners was reported in the media in 2008 as if the prosecutor and prison doctor had engineered the result and then leaked it to the public. 

What did we find when we looked closely into this?

Knox’s own diary made quite clear that she was the one who decided to create such a list, and the list in fact seems to have been leaked by Knox forces. Back then, Knox herself exonerates the doctor and prosecutor.

Main prison claim 3: Italian prison conditions are unbearable

Italian prison conditions and treatment, Knox claims, were so bad that they made her life miserable. She says that at times she became very despondent, and even claims to have imagined doing away with herself. 

However, Italian prison conditions except for occasional overcrowding are widely considered among the most humane, caring and rehabilitating in the world. Compared to US prison conditions, they are like night and day.

And this almost universal claim of every prisoner everywhere is contradicted by the media on which she and her family worked hard; by prison staff and official visitors, and even by the US Federal Government itself.

(1) Contradicted by the extensive media reporting

Occasional despondency is not all uncommon among those paying their debt to society. And there is scads of reporting that Knox had adjusted well to prison.

Here is a report by ABC News after Knox was found guilty in 2009.

Knox said that she felt “horrendous” the night that the verdict was delivered. “She said the prison guards did come in to hold her and make her feel better. She said the other prisoners were good to her,” Thomas said.

The reporter said the prison is “extremely clean.” Knox’s cell, which she shares with another American who has been sentenced on drug charges, is small. “It had a little bathroom with a door, a bidet, a sink, a shower…. better than some of the things I’ve seen at summer camp or boarding school.”

The women inmates are allowed to go to a hairdresser once a week.

The prison is a new facility, just opened in 2005. The women’s ward has an infirmary, an entertainment room with a pool table and ping-pong table, and a library. There is also a small chapel. Outside there is a little playground for children with benches and toys because there are cells specifically for women with children. Currently there are two women in Capanne with children.

It was very widely reported over four years that Knox was given the opportunity to do all these many things rarely encountered in American prisons: Learn the guitar. Read a lot. Watch TV. Study foreign languages.

Do artwork (colored pictures of hands). Attend rock concerts where she was seen leaping up and down (images here). Attend classical concerts. Attend Christmas parties.

Knox even played a major part in the creation of a rock video with a rock group. Unfortunately for her, that video appeared to many to come close to a taunting murder confession.

And on various occasions Knox was quoted as saying prison guards were kind to her.

(2) Contradicted by the US Embassy and State Department

US Embassy staff regularly monitored Knox’s treatment both during trial and thereafter. She was given chances again and again to lodge complaints with an Embassy officer.

But as we posted here in June 2010 and here in May 2011 cables from the US Rome Embassy to the State Department in Washington DC released to reporter Andrea Vogt contained ZERO complaints.

This matters incredibly because it constitutes the official take of the US Federal Government.

It will be front and center of State Department and Justice Department considerations when an arrest warrant for Knox is issued and extradition requested both of which could happen soon.

(3) Contradicted by Member of Parliament Rocco Girlanda

Mr Girlanda visited Amanda Knox in prison approximately 20 times for the specific purpose (or so he claimed) of checking her prison conditions. In fact that was the only way he could legally visit her, although oddly enough a book and a number of other pro-Knox actions emerged - even a complaint to the President about the Perugia prosecutors.

After Knox was released late in 2011 Mr Girlanda specifically praised the prison staff in this statement.

Perugia Prison Police The Example of Professionalism.

The PdL Party member of parliament Rocco Girlanda praises the officers of the Perugia prison.

“I’ve had the opportunity to describe to the Minister of Justice, Nitto Palma, the great professional behaviour shown by the Perugia Penitentiary Police with regards to the court case that saw Amanda Knox as protagonist, a behaviour that I had always observed during the course of my visits to the Capanne prison in the last two years.”  So says Rocco Girlanda, Umbrian deputy of the PdL, after the conclusion of the appeal trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.

“In recent months I have had the opportunity to make dozens of visits to the prison, which also included some of the petitions presented by the senior management of the premises and my commitment in this regard, always finding, that starting from the director Bernardina Di Mario, continuing with the Penitentiary Police commander Fulvio Brillo, up to the entire personnel employed, the helpfulness, the courtesy and their professionalism which allows me to say that Perugia is a model structure on the national landscape, managed and directed in the best way and with a large dose of humanity on the part of the staff employed.”


(4) Contradicted by Knox’s own Italian lawyers

Knox’s lawyers Mr Dalla Vedova and Mr Ghirga visited her again and again during the 2009 trial and 2010 hiatus and 2011 appeal. Knox once again had dozens of opportunities to lodge complaints with them - lawyers who could have initiated Supreme Court action in response.

When Knox was released late in 2011 Mr Dalla Vedova and Mr Ghirga were interviewed by the TV station Umbria 24:

The lawyers: “she never complained about the prison”.

Amanda Knox “has never complained about the conduct/behavior of the prison police supervisor” and “she has never mentioned his name”: to say so are the defenders of the American woman, lawyers Carlo Dalla Vedova and Luciano Ghirga, commenting on what was reported by the tabloid The Sun. “

Ghirga said: “In the diary Amanda never makes the name.”

Della vedova said: “We are grateful to the management staff of Capanne prison for their cooperation even given to the family’s requirements. Amanda has never reported violations against her.”

“She absolutely has received the correct treatment and the outmost solidarity, within compliance, especially in the prison’s female section.”


(5) Contradicted by prison guards and other inmates

In some interviews, the reporter Sharon Feinstein captures a view of a difficult, narcissistic, uncaring Amanda Knox which is very commonplace around Perugia. The real faults lie with Knox, in effect.

Our legal assessment

So does Amanda Knox’s book contain defamatory lies which could cost her considerable additional prison time? The book is not even out yet but, based on the first hints above, she’s in serious trouble. 







Posted on 04/25/13 at 04:20 PM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Monday, April 22, 2013

Lawyers Are Puzzled At Why Knox Seems So Intent On Risking Extra Prison Time

Posted by Peter Quennell





Knox doesnt need our legal advice. She has some pretty good lawyers of her own.

So what are they telling her now? The huge risks her book and interview run are all spelled out in the Italian legal code. Accused perps dont ever, ever take their case to the court of public opinion in Italy (try finding another example) because that is a very serious contempt of the court.

Italy’s justice system so favors DEFENDANTS that it is perhaps the most pro-defendant system in the world. In fact many Italians feel its leniency has gone way too far. That is why there are these automatic appeals and why Knox could talk freely in court and have no cross-examination of her claims.

At the same time, officers of the Italian justice system are sheltered by huge powers hardly even needing to be invoked. The reason the law is so strong in this dimension is in part because a favored mafia tactic is to do what Sollecito and Preston and Burleigh have done in their books: slime the officers of the court.

Those powers finally now HAVE been invoked, because of the extraordinary assault on the Italian system and judges and prosecutors and police (rejected even by his dad) by Sollecito in his book.

They are perhaps the strongest and most extensive attacks on the court system Italy has even seen.

This is under confidential investigation in Florence and charges expected this summer could cost Sollecito a sentence of five years or more. His book also just about kills his chances at the new appeal, because it makes several hundred wrong claims which to the prosecution will be like shooting fish in a barrel.

The defense lawyers surely know all of this. Unless they feel their chances at appeal are so bad (which could be the case) that they require desperate long-shot measures, they will surely tell Knox the same thing. 

Publishers’ necks and ghost-writers’ necks and ABC’s necks are on the line too. HarperCollins UK seem to have been very smart in yanking the book. Their lawyers must have figured all this out.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Powerpoints #18: Diane Sawyer’s Very Tough Interview With Amanda Knox: ABC’s Sneak Preview!

Posted by Kermit





Skilled reporter Diane Sawyer does a great job here in negotiating the Knox PR minefield and eliciting a telling response. 

No wonder Amanda Knox seems so set on not heading for the appeal court in Florence. There she might face immense pressure to answer the hundreds of open questions on the witness stand.

This time under full cross examination, which was so strenuously avoided in mid 2009.

For this sneak preview courtesy of ABC please click here. The Powerpoints should take maybe a minute to load. I recommend that you use the Page Down key to advance.

if you don’t have the Powerpoint Viewer program loaded there is a download here. Interesting viewing. Thanks ABC.

Some further reading?

Click here for the rest

Posted on 04/16/13 at 12:06 PM by Kermit. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Crime hypothesesKermit PowerpointsDiversion efforts byThe Knox-MellasesHoaxes about the caseKnox book hoaxesReporting on the caseMedia newsAmanda Knox
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Friday, April 12, 2013

Questions For Knox: Diane Sawyer, How To Push Back Against The False Claims And Emotion

Posted by Media Watcher





Dear Diane Sawyer:

Much of Italy and the UK and US will be curious to see how this interview works out on the ABC network on 30 April.

The extreme overkill of spin and false claims have not worked well for Knox lately. Now twin developments (the blunt and categoric ruling of the Supreme Court two weeks ago, and the ominous legal moves against Sollecito for his own rash public statements) have left Amanda Knox perched on a thin icy ledge.

We have dozens of lawyers and even judges read here. We do not know even one astute lawyer who really understands the case and the Italian system who, in light of those twin developments, considers this interview or Knox’s book as any longer a good idea.

The yanking of the book in Britain shows a creeping realization of this among those with their own necks on the line here.

The twin developments have changed this from the launch of a “promotional” book tour to a very serious inquiry into an ongoing murder trial, with very serious implications for U.S./Italian diplomatic relations.

We’re appreciative that you are the journalist who will be doing the first in-depth interview here. You have a solid reputation for balance and objectivity, and we’re looking forward to seeing your broadcast. 

From Seattle, it often seems as though Americans simply cannot comprehend that a young co-ed could be caught up in a case so violent.  Because the court proceedings were conducted in Italian, most Americans heard the story of what happened through a media filter, which in turn got much of its information from people who had a bias in support of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.

Repeatedly, we have heard reporters parrot the defense attorney’s claim that there is no evidence.”  However, the evidence presented was strong enough to convince Harvard Law School’s Alan Dershowitz that the conviction will likely be affirmed on appeal. 

Other legal experts who have said the evidence supports a guilty verdict include New England Law Professor Wendy Murphy, who was herself a former prosecutor, and Nancy Grace, a former prosecutor who now hosts a show on trials and legal issues for CNN.

Contributors to this site, who all work pro bono, have also concluded the evidence supports a guilty verdict. We have studied the evidence presented at trial (in many cases ourselves translating key court documents) and have monitored with growing alarm the huge disconnect here in the U.S. between what happened in court and what has been reported.

What motivates us now is seeing that the reporting of the trial here in the United States is objective and corresponds with the reality of what is happening in Italy and what Italians are seeing and reading. 

Ultimately, if the conviction of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito is upheld by the Appeals Court and then Italy’s Supreme Court, we expect that the United States will honor the extradition treaty that’s been in place for decades, because it shouldn’t matter whether a perpetrator is perceived as attractive or sympathetic. While everyone is entitled to a fair hearing and a fair judicial process, we also believe the victim’s family is entitled to justice.

Having said all of that, we’re looking forward to seeing your report and here are some of the themes we hope you’ll explore in the report that surrounds the interview:

    1) We believe it’s important to confront the “no evidence” claim head on by citing the actual evidence that is summarized in the Massei Report.  We believe it’s compelling and we hope you can lay it out– including the DNA, cell phone, witness statements, bloody footprint, the evidence of a coverup/cleanup, and the conflicting and shifting statements made by the defendants; all so that viewers can understand the full scope of what that jury heard and evaluated in making the original decision to convict.

    2) Many Americans seem to not understand the automatic three-stage trial process that is typical of the Italian judicial system - actually put in place to benefit defendants.  We hope you can provide an overview of Italy’s judicial process, and help viewers to understand the very limited scope of the contested evidence that was subject to review by the Appeals Court.  We also hope you’ll remind viewers of all of the evidence that was not subject to review during the appeal—again, the cell phone evidence, the conflicting statements from the defendants, the evidence that showed Amanda and Meredith’s DNA mixed together in the bathroom and hallway and Filomena’s room, the bloody (Sollecito) footprint, the evidence of a staged break-in and cleanup, and the witness statements about Amanda and Raffaele’s conduct at the time the murder was discovered and over the following days.

    3) Defenders of Amanda and Raffaele often claim that Rudy Guede acted alone.  Many viewers seem not to understand that the Supreme Court had earlier ruled that Rudy Guede was one of multiple attackers.  We believe it would be useful if you could review this for your viewers and cite some of the evidence that convinced the Supreme Court that Guede could not have acted alone.  Perhaps reminding viewers that Rudy Guede’s footprints lead directly from the murder scene to the outside door would be helpful, given that there was clearly mixed DNA evidence in the bathroom and a bloody footprint in the hallway, which had been cleaned up and later revealed through the use of Luminol (a chemical agent used by forensics specialists to detect trace amounts of blood left at crime scenes).

    4) We hope you’ll help viewers to understand a key point made in a recent NYTimes op-ed about the mathematical value of doing a second DNA test on the knife that was found in Sollecito’s apartment.  As you know, the Appeals Court Judge refused to allow a second test on the knife, even though a confirmation of the original result or a different result would likely have provided additional clarity.

    5) We hope you’ll address the issue of contamination – especially as the key issue on the bra clasp is not whether Sollecito’s DNA was on it, but whether Sollecito’s DNA could have gotten on the clasp through contamination.  Given that there was only one other piece of Sollecito’s DNA found in the apartment, and given that at the time it was analyzed, it had been more than a week since any evidence from the crime scene was reviewed in the lab, it might be useful to have someone address the chances of there having been contamination resulting in Sollecito’s DNA ending up on the clasp.

With respect to the interview itself, here are some of the questions many would like to see Amanda answer:

    • Why did you call your mother in the middle of the night Seattle time prior to the murder having been discovered?  What was it you wanted to tell her?

    • You tried calling Meredith the day after the murder took place and yet phone records show that two of the calls you made to her cell numbers lasted only three and four seconds and you left no messages.  How diligent were you in trying to reach her?

    • Why do you think you falsely accused your boss Patrick Lumumba? 

    • Why didn’t you withdraw your accusation against Patrick Lumumba in the light of day, once you’d had time to rest and reflect? 

    • You have said - though never under oath - that you were treated terribly – can you summarize for us what happened the night you voluntarily gave your written statement and very specifically, any circumstances in which you were treated poorly?

    • Were you given food and drink on the night you were questioned?

    • Were you bleeding on the night or morning of the murder in any way that could have left DNA in the bathroom or in Filomena’s room?  If so, why were you bleeding?

    • You’ve said that went back to your apartment to take a shower and to retrieve a mop to clean up some water at Raffaele’s apartment from the night before.  Why didn’t you simply use towels at Raffaele’s apartment to clean up the water - why wait until the next day?

    • Reports indicate that Rudy Guede was a frequent visitor to the flat below yours.  How well did you know Rudy Guede prior to the night of the murder? 

    • Do you stand by the statement you made on the day the murder was discovered that Meredith always locked her door? 

    • You emailed to friends and family that you were panicked about what might have happened to Meredith given the locked door.  Did the two of you try to break the door down?  If not, why not?  And if Meredith always locked her door, why did the fact that it was locked worry you?

    • Have you read the Massei report? 

    • Raffaele Sollecito said during his book tour that no one asked him to testify during the original trial.  Do you believe this is true? 

    • If your conviction is affirmed by the Supreme Court, do you think you should be extradited to Italy.  If not, why not?

Thank you for reading this letter, Diane.  Because of the PR fog around the case, we believe far more attention needs to be paid to the actual evidence that was presented at trial. 

We are confident that you’ll bring all of your considerable skill and experience to bear on this interview in ways that will leave viewers much better informed.




Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Knox Book Put On Hold In UK As Legal Implications Of Blood Money For Still-Accused Finally Sink In

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters





There have always been several huge problems in the promotion of Amanda Knox.

One problem is that Knox is not the real victim in the case and a great deal of compassion still resides for Meredith. Earning windfall blood money from the cruel death of a claimed close friend is hardly a classy way to go. 

A second problem is that we are still only at the end of the second act of a three act play in terms of the trials and appeals, and the Italian Supreme Court in the third act to come will almost certainly be no gullible pushover. And a whining or inaccurate book or movie demonising Italy and Italians (as her complaints about Capanne already have done) might not help her legal prospects one little bit. 

A third problem is that Italy’s officialdom and its population tend to maintain a hard and unblinking belief in the evidence against Sollecito and Knox, especially as the million dollar PR campaign largely flew below the radar there and they saw much of the hard case and a callous Knox live on TV. For example in Florence and Milan....

*******

Guess when we first posted those paragraphs above? Actually we posted them fifteen months ago on 6 January 2012.

And finally today fifteen months later HarperCollins UK suspended their publication of Knox’s book. Can the HarperCollins US suspension of the book be far behind?

We are not particularly given to directing legal advice to Amanda Knox - we think she should rethink and answer all the open questions - but the leeching of Knox-Mellas blood money going back nearly five years is absolute anathema to Meredith’s family.

So we have posted five subsequent times, pointing out to the Knox-Melasses and Robert Barnett and Ted Simon what should have been very, very obvious to them when they did their due diligence in Italy on the book:

Publishing to impugn Italian justice officials while still accused in an ongoing legal process is a contempt of court felony in Italy.

Ask Raffael Sollecito. He is now under investigation by the Florence chief prosecutor and could face millions in damages and further years in prison. So could his publishers Simon & Schuster and his shadow-writer Andrew Gumbel.

Not to mention that Sollecito is probably wrecking any chances he had at the repeat of the appeal. Does Amanda Knox REALLY want to be in the same boat? And do her shadow-writer and her publishers too?

Here are our other previous posts on her book:



Below: The HarperCollins US publicist Tina Andreadis (aka Tina Eleni) participated in the very very very odd Twitter exchange at bottom. She seems unfamiliar with the concept of “contempt of court” and the criminal and civil nightmares headed Simon & Schuster’s and Sollcito’s way.

Perhaps Tina Andreadis was out of the loop when her publishing company did its due diligence. 






Thanks to our main poster Bedelia for this astonishing catch.

Posted on 04/10/13 at 08:08 PM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Monday, April 08, 2013

Tips For The Media #3: There’s Far More Evidence Than UK/US Need For Guilt - See This Footprint

Posted by SomeAlibi




The false claim “there is no evidence”

Some amateur supporters of Knox and Sollecito have committed thousands of hours online to try and blur and obfuscate the facts of the case in front of the general public.

Their goal is simple: to create an overwhelming meme that there is “no evidence” against the accused, and thereby try to create a groundswell of support. Curt Knox and Edda Mellas and Ted Simon have all made this “no evidence” claim many times.

At least some some of the media have eagerly swallowed it.

The amateur PR flunkies make up myriad alternate versions of what created single points of evidence, often xenophobic scare stories designed to trigger emotional reactions, which they hope will be repeated often enough to become accepted as “the truth”.

And where things get really tricky, another time honored tactic is to go on at great length about irrelevant details, essentially to filibuster, in the hope that general observers will lose patience with trying to work it all out.

But time and again we have shown there is actually a great deal of evidence.

Evidence is the raw stuff of criminal cases. Let me speak here as a lawyer. Do you know how many evidence points are required to prove Guilt? One evidence point if it is definitive.

A definitive evidence point

If you’re new to this case or undecided, what is an easy example of ONE definitive evidence item that might stand alone? Might quickly, simply, and overwhelmingly convince you to invest more time into understanding the real evidence, not that distorted by the PR campaign?

In fact we have quite a choice. See the footprint which was second on that list.

Now see the table above. I recommend the use of this table of measurement to avoid the lengthy back and forward of narrative argument which so lends itself to obscuring the truth. I would like to present you with this single table of measurements to give you pause to question whether this line that there is “no evidence” is really true or whether it might be a crafted deception.

I present here a summarized view of critical evidence which suggests with devastating clarity that Raffaele Sollecito was present the night of the murder of Meredith Kercher. No lengthy text, no alternate versions, just measurements.

This FIRMLY places Sollecito in the very room where Meredith was attacked and killed.

In the small bathroom right next to Meredith’s bedroom was a bathmat. On it was found a bloody naked right footprint of someone walking straight towards the shower in the bathroom. The blood is that of Meredith.

The footprint is not Amanda Knox’s - it is too big - but we can compare it to the prints taken of Rudy Guede and Raffaele Sollecito.

In Judge Massei’s report the multiple measurements were detailed in the narrative over many sentences and, in that form, their immediate cumulative impact is less obvious. It is only by tabulating them, that we are forcefully hit by not one but two clear impressions:

The measurements are extremely highly correlated to the right foot of Raffaele Sollecito in twelve separate individual measurements. In themselves they would be enough for a verdict of guilt in all but a few court cases.

But they also show a manifest LACK of correlation to the right foot of Rudy Guede, the only other male in that cottage on the night. Have a look for yourself.

If you were the prosecution, or indeed the jury, and you saw these measurements of Raffaele’s foot versus the print, what would you think? Answer the question for yourself based on the evidence admitted to court.

Then, if you compare further, exactly how plausible do you find it that the measurements of the bloody imprint are Rudy Guede’s instead?

Not only are some of the individual measurements of Rudy’s imprint as much as 30% too small, but the relative proportions of length and breadth measurements are entirely wrong as well, both undershooting and overshooting by a large margin (70% to 150%).

Conclusions that must follow

Presented with those numbers, would you consider those measurements of Rudy Guede’s right foot to show any credible correlation to those of the footprint on the mat?

Supporters of the two have tried frantically to create smoke screen around this - the wrong technique was used they say (ruled not so by the court) / they are the wrong measurements (all 32 of them? that Raffaele’s are matching exactly or within a millimetre but Rudy’s are out by as much as -30% to +50%...?).

The severity of the impact on the defence is such that there was even a distorted photoshopped version circulated by online supporters of Raffaele and Amanda until they were caught out early on in coverage. But it is hopeless, because these are pure measurement taken against a scale that was presented in court and the data sits before you.

Have a look at the measurements and understand this was evidence presented in court. Whose foot do you think was in that bathroom that night? Rudy Guede? Or was it Raffaele Sollecito on twelve counts of measurement?

And if you find for the latter, you must consider very seriously what that tells you both about the idea there is “no evidence” in this case and who was in the cottage that night…


Sunday, April 07, 2013

Tips For The Media #2: In Fact Knox Extradition Is Likely To Be Readily Granted

Posted by James Raper



[[Above: a plane landing at Florence airport; most under arrest arrive via Rome airport]


This is the latest in our many posts nailing the myths perpetrated by the pro-Knox campaign,

We can already see that there is an attempt to generate a new myth in the media and on the internet.  This is that it is unlikely that Amanda Knox would be extradited to Italy. Talking heads appear by the dozen on US TV channel networks to say so. A plethora of internet articles add up to the same. They are all wrong, take it from me.

However the fact that the subject is even under discussion is an indication that the implications of the Italian Supreme Court’s annulment of the Appeal verdict are sinking in, in some quarters at any rate. I am sure that what Ted Simon says for public consumption is very different from the advice which (assuming he has been asked) is rendered privately to Amanda and her family. If not then the family is being seriously misled as to Amanda’s prospects of avoiding extradition.

There is, of course, an extradition treaty between the United States and Italy and it seems that the main issue as to whether extradition could take place would be Double Jeopardy.

Alan Dershowitz, Harvard Professor of Law, has written a good piece.  Sensible articles like this have been a long time in coming but even he gets some of it wrong and cannot resist creating a little air of uncertainty.

“Ms Knox would likely challenge any extradition request on the ground that she was already acquitted by the lower appellate court, so any subsequent conviction would constitute double jeopardy.

That is when the real legal complexities would kick in, because Italian and American law are quite different and both will be applicable in this trans-national case involving a citizen of one country charged with killing a citizen of another country, in yet a third country.

America’s extradition treaty with Italy prohibits the US from extraditing someone who has been “acquitted“, which under American law generally means acquitted by a jury at trial. But Ms Knox was acquitted by an appeals court after having been found guilty at trial.  So would her circumstances constitute double jeopardy under American law?

That is uncertain because appellate courts in the US don’t re-try cases and render acquittals (they judge whether lower courts made mistakes of law, not fact). Ms Knox’s own Italian lawyer has acknowledged that her appellate “acquittal” wouldn’t constitute double jeopardy under Italian law since it wasn’t a final judgement - it was subject to further appeal, which has resulted in a reversal of the acquittal.

This argument will probably carry considerable weight with US authorities, likely yielding the conclusion that her extradition wouldn’t violate the treaty. Still, a sympathetic US State Department or judge might find that her appellate acquittal was final enough to preclude her extradition on the ground of double jeopardy.”

“Final enough”?….hmmmmm. That doesn’t seem very legal language to me. And given the Italian three tier system how does one determine when an acquittal is final enough, other than at the end of it? Of course, if in doubt, the State Department or judge could read all the published court judgements in the case. That would help.

On the other hand, perhaps Dershowitz should read the 1984 Extradition Treaty between the USA and Italy more carefully.

Article VI states -

Extradition shall not be granted when the person sought has been convicted, acquitted or pardoned, or has served the sentence imposed, by the Requested Party for the same acts for which extradition is requested.

The Requested Party, in the case of a request for extradition from Italy, will of course be the United Sates.  Clearly this is no bar to extradition in the case of Amanda Knox as there has been no judicial process against her in the USA regarding the murder of Meredith Kercher .

And for the avoidance of doubt jeopardy Article I states - “The Contracting Parties agree to extradite to each other, pursuant to the provisions of this Treaty, persons whom the authorities of the Requesting Party have charged with or found guilty of an extraditable offense.” So an offense shall be an extraditable offense only if it is punishable under the laws of both Contracting Parties by deprivation of liberty for a period of more than one year.

(There are other circumstances under the treaty when extradition will not be granted, but these do not apply to Knox. They concern political and military offences.)

Furthermore the 1984 Extradition Treaty recognizes (as do all such treaties) the validity and fairness of the contracting parties’ respective judicial systems. Such treaties would not be possible otherwise. The USA has already extradited its citizens (when it had to) to countries where, as here, an appeal acquittal has been overturned on further appeal, the original conviction has been re-instated, and the process then continues to another appeal. This is in recognition of the fact that in some systems the State has a right of appeal as well as the accused. What’s wrong with that?

Is all of this likely to change on account of Amanda Knox?

Imagine, for a moment, that Knox fights the request for extradition through the US courts and secures a landmark decision from the Supreme Court that the request is a violation of double jeopardy. At a stroke the US government will be forced to negotiate a raft of new unequal treaty rights and obligations with a number of foreign states that will feel insulted, nonplussed and humiliated by the slight to the reputation of their judicial systems. Some may refuse to do so, and this will more likely disadvantage the USA than the other way around. It would create an enormous mess in US relations with such states.

I don’t think the Supreme Court would be that daft. It’s just not, given the circumstances, a runner.

Neither would the State Department, for the same reasons, be that daft. It is under a treaty obligation, the extradition papers being in order, to (a) grant the request or (b) if the request is challenged in the courts, to hand the matter over to the Justice Department for it to be pursued there on behalf of the Requesting Party.

The reality is that if Knox’s fresh appeal were to fail and the conviction were to be upheld finally by the Italian Supreme Court, then her opposing an extradition request from Italy through the US courts would be an exercise in futility, and an extravagant waste of legal costs that would cut deep into the alleged $4 million for her book.

There would be nothing left for her after that, and after paying off Marriott and numerous other creditors waiting in the wings.

Posted on 04/07/13 at 08:18 AM by James Raper. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Italian justice systemOfficially involvedAmanda KnoxAppeals 2009-2014ExtraditionsDiversion efforts byThe Knox-MellasesHoaxes about the caseNo-extradition hoax
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Tuesday, April 02, 2013

The Real Catastrophe For The Defenses That Was The Supreme Court Ruling Last Week

Posted by Machiavelli (Yummi)





On Tuesday March 26, the Supreme Court of Cassation quashed the previous acquittals of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito for the murder of Meredith Kercher.

The Supreme Court annulled almost the entirety of the 2011 Hellmann-Zanetti appeal verdicts, declaring the appeal outcome completely invalid on five of the six charges. The Court only upheld the sixth charge which made definitive Knox’s conviction for calunnia for which she had been sentenced to three years.

Calunnia is the crime of maliciously placing false evidence or testimony against an innocent person, something the Italian Criminal Code considers not as criminal defamation but as a form of obstruction of justice, a more serious offence. 

Worse for Knox, the Court annulled a part of the appeal verdict which had dropped the aggravation known as continuance, the aggravation that acknowledges a logical link between the obstruction of justice and the murder charge.   

Once the dust has settled, the defendants and pro-Knox and pro-Sollecito supporters and defences may finally realize how severe a defeat has been dealt to their side. 

Most American journalists were completely unprepared for and very surprised at the outcome. But most Italian commenters and a very few others elsewhere considered the outcome quite predictable (the criminologist Roberta Bruzzone for example hinted so in written articles, so did Judge Simonetta Matone, as well as John Kercher in his book, and many others too).

This really is a catastrophe for the defences. A complete annulment of an acquittal verdict is just not frequent at all. They do occasionally occur, though, and this one appeared easily predictable because of the extremely low quality of the appeal verdict report. 

For myself I could hardly imagine a survival of the Pratillo Hellmann-Zanetti outcome as being realistic.

I previously posted at length on the Galati-Costagliola recourse (that is an important read if you want to understand all angles of the annulment). I argued there that a Supreme Court acceptance of the verdict would have so jeopardized the Italian jurisprudence precedents on circumstantial evidence that it would have become impossible to convict anyone in Italy at all. 

The previous appeal trial obviously violated the Judicial Code as it was based on illegitimate moves such the appointing of new DNA experts for unacceptable reasons.  It contained patent violations of jurisprudence such as the unjustified dismissal of Rudy Guede’s verdict on a subset of the circumstantial evidence. Hellmann-Zanetti even “interpreted” the Constitution instead of quoting Constitutional Court jurisprudence.

They omitted a number of pieces of evidence, literally “forgetting” them or dismissing them without providing an argument (they should have, being an appellate trial based on the previous findings and arguments of the lower court). The appeal trial had obvious illogical contradictions on a macro level, such as the contradictory putting together of the conviction for calunnia and the acquittal on the murder charge (ignoring a logical link required by statute without introducing any reason at all). 

The Hellmann-Zanetti verdict was also based on an illogical processing of all pieces of evidence (such as the dismissal of Nara Capezzali’s evidence without logical reason, even after calling her “credible,” and that of Quintavalle; and attributing the bloody footprint to Rudy Guede on the basis of some ludicrous reasoning).

The appeal verdict basically ignored the concept of “a contrario” evidence, like concluding that the luminol footprints are probably not in blood but in some other substance and not related to the murder (despite failure to indicate any alternative substance nor any reasonable scenario).

The verdict was also biased with open prejudice in favor of two of the suspects in assuming they would be unlikely to even socialize or hang out together with the third, based on social or racial discrimination (two whites from good-looking families are called “good fellows” while the third is “different”). 

Beyond the glaring, major faux pas in procedure, the verdict’s low quality, unlawfulnesses, and hypocrisy in its reasoning tended to be pervasive and obvious through all its paragraphs, and possibly this also could have caused an aura of distrust toward the work of the Hellmann-Zanetti court. 

One could assess the strikingly low quality of the appeal verdict especially by comparing it to a sophisticated recourse such as the 100-page Galati-Costagliola Supreme Court appeal. While nobody could anticipate with total certainty the Supreme Court decision between the Galati-Costagliola appeal and the Pratillo Hellmann-Zanetti appeal verdict, to good legal eyes the outcome would be as uncertain as the result of an England versus San Marino football game!

EACH of the eleven single mistakes, plus EACH of the six “method” mistakes pointed out in the Galati-Costagliola recourse could by itself have been a sufficient cause for the annulment of the acquittals.

The redundancy of reasons and remarks by Cassation sheds light on the judgment shortcomings from many different angles, and all the reasons presented for the recourse were certainly assessed by the Supreme Court. 

But on the practical side, most probably the Hellmann-Zanetti verdict did not even survive beyond the first mistake. The appeal verdict most likely crumbled completely from the very beginning on reason #1, the illegitimate appointing of new experts by Hellmann-Zanetti to re-examine the DNA.   

But even given that the defences’ defeat could be foreseen, I never expected the defeat to pervade to this extent.

I thought the appeal verdict might be quashed entirely and a new appeal would start from scratch. But the Supreme Court went further and decided to “save” only the parts of the verdict that were unfavorable to Knox, and declared her conviction for calunnia definitive.

Meanwhile, the Court accepted the Calati-Costagliola reason #10, and quashed the part that denied a logical link between calunnia and murder.
 
The Supreme Court thus sends Raffaele Solecito and Amanda Knox back to appeal trial, but this time Amanda Knox will enter the trial as a felony convict with a definitive criminal record, which – the Supreme Court hints – is to be considered logically linked with the charge of murder. 

Moreover, judges in the appeal that will come next in Florence will have to follow the decisions set by the Supreme Court. Since the Supreme Court’s motivations report has not been issued yet, we still don’t know what points exactly Cassazione will make. But we can expect that several arguments used by Pratillo Hellmann-Zanetti that were “needed” to acquit Knox and Sollecito will be now declared illegitimate. 

This might mean that we will not see for a second time such faulty reasoning as “Knox’s statement can’t be used as evidence of lying because it is not true.” It may not be possible to dismiss the verdict that found Guede guilty of concurring in murder “with others” from the set of evidence just because it was “weak.” It may not be possible to deduce the time of death based only on declarations of Rudy Guede. 

We also may not have a chance to again see an expert declaring that contamination is “likely” on the sole basis that “everything is possible.” We also may not have another judge attributing footprints without talking about any measurements.






The Supreme Court session began on March 25, and it is only a rare event that a Cassazione session extends over into two days.

The first criminal division of the Supreme Court – scheduled to decide on this case – was a five-judge panel presided over by Dr Severo Chieffi. His name never did sound like a particularly favorable omen for Knox and Sollecito. Dr Chieffi is a 70-year-old judge, known for being the author of a famous 2008 verdict which definitively closed a notorious criminal case (“the first time a Cassazione hearing attracted massive live media attention”), a verdict among the most quoted in jurisprudence which is known as that “on reasonable doubt.” 

Dr Chieffi and his nine-judge panel explained reasonable doubt as to be intended as an “a contrario” concept, the concept used to formulate a logical reasonable alternative. That verdict pointed out the concept of “reasonable” and also stressed that the nature of evidence is “logical” – reasonable depends only on the plausibility of alternatives, not on how conclusive or reliable single pieces of circumstantial evidence are, and a piece of evidence does not require any specific “physical” element or conclusive quality.   

The rapporteur judge was Dr Piera Maria Severina Caprioglio. The rapporteur judge goes through the papers of the whole trial and summarizes their content to the other panel judges; the rapporteur and the president are the two who physically write the report (it may sound like irony that both judges have the adjective “severe” in their name). I was told Dr Caprioglio was a rather stiff judge, known for her scrupulosity in procedure matters, and she is also a specialist – and hard liner – about sexual crime (maybe that’s why she was chosen by Dr Chieffi as the one to do the research on this case). 

At the Supreme Court there is also an office known as the Office of Procurator General, which has more than 50 magistrates. The Procurator General appoints a magistrate (normally called the “PG”) to study cases and to make arguments on all cases dealt with in Supreme Court sessions. The PG is considered “neutral” in the sense that their office represents no party only the “precedents” of the court. While the rapporteur makes a description of the case, the procurator makes arguments about the recourses submitted by the parties. 

At 10:30 am on Monday, Judge Caprioglio begun her 90-minute speech summarizing the case. She detailed legal events that led to the first Massei-Cristiani verdict, and then the appeal trial led by Hellmann-Zanetti and their verdict. 

She sounded rather neutral; hers was a sheer summary with no comment attached. Nevertheless, it sounded most ominous for the defences: right from Dr Caprioglio’s speech, in fact, Knox and Sollecito’s attorneys understood that they were going to lose. 

This is because Dr Caprioglio devoted half of her rapporteur time or more to detailing Massei’s first degree trial and verdict, explaining the arguments and evidence used by the Massei court. Such attention was itself ominous to the defences. 

A main basis of the Pratillo Hellmann-Zanetti verdict is in fact a series of denials about the work of the lower court, in which plenty of evidence was simply ignored or dismissed without dealing with the first degree conclusions; while the strategy of Giulia Bongiorno was to entirely “replace” the details of the evidence set with a self-made narrative, quite unattached to actual trial events, which somewhat “worked” as rhetoric and in the media.

Yet Dr Caprioglio was not yet the biggest problem facing Knox and Sollecito. The defence was about to face a pincer front, because the Procurator General’s offices did not appreciate the appeal verdict at all.

A bomb went off with the speech of Procurator Riello which followed next. 

Dr Riello recalled the points of recourse submitted by Galati-Costagliola, which may sound technical or subtle to those unaccustomed to them. Dr Riello endorsed the radical censures made by Galati-Costagliola and made clear his own view in an overview of the whole verdict. His arguments had the subtlety of an anvil. 

To summarize, he basically maintained the appeal judges had conducted an appeal trial as if they were idiots, and followed the paths of logic, procedure and law like sailors without a compass.
 
Seen from the point of view of the Procurator General, their way of conducting the appeal trial itself was like a journey through a dreadful series of unlawful steps, decisions informally taken without deliberation, and arbitrary and unjustified ordinances. The court simply “lost their way.”

In the body of their findings, it seems they understood almost nothing about the evidence – in particular about how circumstantial evidence works. They did not deal with the findings and arguments of the first instance court as they should have, as if they didn’t exist, and they trivialized the previous legal material. 

In fact Dr Riello sounded almost sarcastic; outraged by the incredibly amateurish work of this appeal court, he tended to detail the merit of questions and was interrupted by the president asking him to stick to the discussion on the table. 

At the close of his speech, he called the appeal verdict “a rare concentration of law violation, a monument to illogicality.” He said “the judge of merit lost their way in this trial.” Dr Riello noted “they fragmented, they parceled out the pieces of circumstantial evidence.”

He implied not only incompetence but a kind of disingenuous attitude: “The Court employed a fair dose of snobbism for trivializing the first degree verdict, reducing it to four elements. A very imprecise and superficial synthesis.”

He went beyond the criticism expressed in the Galati-Costagliola appeal when he described an obvious bias of the appeal court “not in just a few passages of the second instance verdict – it’s as if the defendants should benefit from a kind of anthropological and cultural immunity, in relation to the events.”

He criticized Pratillo Hellmann’s dismissal of Amanda Knox’s handwritten memoir, and recommended that a new appeal trial must in part be based on that statement as “it is a usable document”; and he stressed that in his opinion “the scream heard by Amanda is a significant datum, of great importance.” The behavior claimed by Knox on the morning of November 2, 2007 in his view was “chilling” and her taking a shower in a cold bathroom is a “chilling detail.” 

Dr Riello concludes by saying: “These are all conditions for not letting the curtains close on an upsetting and extremely serious crime for which the only culprit found up to the present day is Rudy Hermann Guede, who has been addressed through a Lombroso-style assessment, either calling him a thief, a criminal or a drifter. He didn’t confess and he was not convicted by another court for concurring in a crime together with others, maybe with ‘ectoplasms.’” (A reference to Cassation’s previous decision that he did commit the crime with others, but Hellmann-Zanetti identified no other people; hence ‘ectoplasms.’)

The Prosecutor General also dealt with the DNA experts’ report which defined the previous results as “unreliable.” He implied that the report and its language were used as a pretext by the defences “as a tombstone, while in fact it is not.” It was used as a tool to focus the trial on the DNA and steer it away from the whole evidence set, to “bury the set of pieces of circumstantial evidence which all have their vital value.”

The rhetoric of the defences aimed to “blame everything on those involved in the scientific police who are almost depicted as bunglers; however they are not brigadiers playing with toy chemical sets, they are in fact a highly qualified department and they do employ cutting-edge technologies.” 

A severe legal bashing like the Riello speech is not at all common at the Cassazione. As I heard the news on the radio, law experts commented that the event was unusually serious, and they hinted that its consequences may lead to the setting of a historic jurisprudence precedent.

Francesco Maresca – who brought his mentor Vieri Fabiani with him – endorsed the recourse points and made points similar to Dr Riello’s. He pointed out that a major flaw of the appeal trial was to focus on two DNA instances as if the case was based on them. The court appointed experts to review items with no legitimate basis, they provided an inconsistent explanation for their steps, and then they refused to analyze and introduce further evidence, totally contradicting themselves and also violating the code.

Their criteria for choosing which piece of evidence to discuss or review were totally contradictory, and their series of steps egregiously violated a series of procedural conditions that any court is supposed to follow.

The analyzing of the knife DNA sample and bra clasp sample as pieces in isolation is a sort of device that serves a defence made-up narrative; the focus on “disputed” items and the re-make of a narrative about legal events is simply a defence strategy which is aimed at the media rather than official court proceedings. For the Kercher family, the evidence points to the guilt of Knox and Sollecito beyond reasonable doubt. 

The evidence, explained Maresca, consisted of numerous pieces of evidence and reasoning, that were simply not dealt with by the appeal court. The whole process was “non-transparent” and the result is also contradictory given that Knox is indicted by her own words on the crime of calunnia.

Maresca explained that the appeal verdict is riddled with many flaws and errors in the merit of the facts which cannot be assessed by the Cassazione court, but there are also patent violations of law which are “strong and obvious” and of the most serious kind.






Then it was the defence attorneys’ turn. Giulia Bongiorno knew she would need to apply the full power of her best rhetorical skills: she pointed out a factual error in the recalling of Prosecutor Riello and threw herself head-first into the merit of the evidence. 

She even made FOA-style overstatements on the number of Guede’s DNA instances: “So many genetic traces of Rudy Guede were found in the bedroom of the murder, Amanda and Raffaele’s DNA would have been found too if they had been there.” (Her claim is false: in fact, only four samples yielding Guede’s DNA were found in the bedroom, and some were very scant.)
 
Bongiorno focused on investigation mistakes and complained that Raffaele Sollecito “was put in jail because of a shoe print found beyond the duvet which covered the body, a print that was attributed to Guede.” She also commented on Knox’s handwritten memoir and again put forward the claim – already rejected by all the judges of all instances – that the statement should be “not usable” because there was a “blackout” of defendant guarantees. Apparently, Bongiorno did understand that the most dangerous threat, and the actual battleground, would be about the danger of having Knox now definitively convicted for calunnia. 

Bongiorno said “we do not want to put the scientific police on trial” but then said the point defence demonstrated was that they made “an infinite series of errors.” In fact, Bongiorno’s speech largely consisted of the well-known defense stance of pointing the finger at a list of supposed wrong-doings by the police.

Bongiorno’s argument of pointing out supposed “police mistakes” would probably ring true to Knox’s Amarican supporters, who may find these arguments convincing and effective. 

In fact, it was obvious that Bongiorno’s position was extremely weak, and that her arguments were not going to have any effect. The weakness of Bongiorno’s arguments was obvious from the start because she backed into arguing the case only on the merit of investigation techniques. 

Her arguments would maybe resonate effectively with uninformed spectators, but they had already failed in those courts that were legitimate, and they have no consequence from a legal standpoint. Talking about supposed mistakes during the investigation and supposed bad behavior of police are good to build a narrative for journalists, but they would have zero effect on expert judges. 

I think she knew she was going to lose, but besides being a lawyer, Giulia Bongiorno is also a smart public person, and she plays in the public arena as well as in a court of law at the same time. Her technical stances are all wrong, but she knows she will be remembered well for her good-looking performance. 

The president did not interrupt her, showing due politeness toward the defence attorneys. But no attorney would convince the Supreme Court by simply saying “we demonstrated that the investigators made mistakes.”

In order to seek to obtain some positive effect, she should have argued in favor of the Pratillo Hellmann-Zanetti appeal verdict on points of law, and put forward arguments for their legitimacy; for example, an argument in response to point #1 of Galati’s recourse claiming that the appointing of DNA experts was unmotivated.

Luciano Ghirga and Carlo Dalla Vedova had to take care of their own recourse against the conviction for calunnia on the false accusation of Patrick Lumumba. Their line of defence on this point was the same – and could be nothing else – than what they maintained though all the previous instances. Dalla Vedova deals with the handwritten note where he understands “Amanda says she is confused, she does not care about what she said.”

They reintroduced the myth that “she had been interrogated by the investigators for 54 hours.” They explain – almost a paradoxical argument – that the document was “a defensive paper” while then becoming one of the elements on which the charge of calunnia was built. They stressed that “she wanted to cooperate” with the investigation and that “she was a friend of Meredith.” 

A failure of their arguments was easily predictable because their recourse was built on points that had already failed at lower instances. Some time ago before this appeal, I posted this criticism of the Ghirga-Dalla Vedova recourse on Knox’s calunnia conviction to the Supreme Court:

Pages 3-11: The first argument is about the non-usability of the evidence for the crime of calunnia.

Such an argument is basically the re-proposal of the same argument that had been already dismissed by the Supreme Court in 2008, and subsequently by Massei-Cristiani in 2009 and also by Pratillo Hellmann-Zanetti. Therefore, it is an especially weak argument. Ghirga-Dalla Vedova do attempt to use it again at the Supreme Court because it is what they have.

Just like Giulia Bongiorno will likely recall it too, just like she attempted to request of nullification of Stefanoni’s testimony on procedure grounds before Massei, which was rejected again by Hellmann-Zanetti (the Knox supporters have such a spun perception of the proceedings, they apparently don’t see how some basic defensive claims were rejected by all judges).

Pages 11-14 complete the first argument, addressing the further requirements of the crime of calunnia (maliciousness and voluntarity). 

Basically, this point contends that the false accusation was not voluntary or not malicious. The only usable point in my opinion in this reasoning consists of one line, which recalls that Hellmann-Zanetti did not acknowledge the aggravation of continuance for the crime of calunnia. But this point has no consequence because it is a weak point in Hellmann’s verdict itself which violates jurisprudence and logic itself.

The other claims at this point are basically useless; they attack the Hellmann verdict in a way peculiar to the prosecution appeal with an opposite stance. But in fact “not knowing” that someone is factually innocent obviously cannot be extended to an absolute meaning; Hellmann is illogical on that, because he dismisses the logical link with the murder without explanation. 

Pages 14-18 speak about the alleged “extreme exhaustion” of Knox in order to exculpate her of her confusion and falsehood.

This argument tends to be a stronger attempt to use some of the contradiction in Pratillo Hellmann-Zanetti, using as a starting point the fact that H-Z did state that Knox was allegedly under excessive pressure. They convicted her for calunnia nonetheless. I think this argument won’t go too far, for two reasons.

First, because it’s basically on the merits; it quotes the whole writing of Knox and requests the SC to directly re-assess the sincerity of her words, something which the SC are unlikely to do.

Second, because while on the one hand there is a contradiction in H-Z as they accuse her of calunnia but do not use her writings as an evidence of lying on the other crime, and they reject the continuance despite the obvious link between the calunnia and the murder, on the other hand the contradiction addressed by Ghirga is weaker. There was in fact no factual finding about “excessive pressure,” neither in the H-Z appeal trial nor in previous Massei testimonies.

As for jurisprudence, pressure and “psychological alteration” itself is not enough to cause a loss of mental faculties to understand and will. Basically, most crimes are committed in a state of psychological stress or alteration, and people are responsible for themselves notwithstanding. The faculty to understand and will is not a psychological condition; it is something that affects the cognitive and decisional functioning of the brain on more basic functions, and requires a medical assessment.

So there is no way the argument of Ghirga-Dalla Vedova can overturn a conviction for calunnia based on an argument of psychological conditions: they have no basis; and there is no consistent ground to assert “excessive pressure” either. 

Pages 19-20 is a very short argument about two articles of the code that Ghirga puts in in relation to a case of defensive rights. 

This is an argument I am unable to assess clearly. This point basically claims Knox is somehow protected by the law because of an extension of her rights of defence. I have the feeling this point is wrong, because the boundaries of the right to defend oneself are already fixed and limited by a SC ruling of 2008, and because Article 51 only applies to what she declared as a defendant, but not to what she declared as a witness.

Pages 20-22 is only about the sentencing and not about innocence; it claims that, anyway, even if Amanda is guilty of calunnia, the punishment was too stiff and this severity was not logically motivated by Hellmann. This point is the only that could stand, in my opinion.

After the hearing of March 25 – which was the ninth case the Supreme Court panel dealt with that day – the panel deliberated for six hours, then adjourned the hearing and scheduled the final decision for the following morning.

The question whether to annul the verdict entirely, or to confirm the calunnia conviction, might have been the cause of some of the extra time needed. 

When the Supreme Court has to deal with scheduled cases the relator puts a mark – between 1 and 8 – indicating the difficulty of the case: 1 is the easiest and 8 is very complex. 

Almost all recourses are below 3, while a case like the one on the Narducci investigation a week earlier, involving Mignini, could have been closer to 8. The difficulty of this case is unknown. But because of some sensitive jurisprudence involved and because of the articulation of the recourses, this could have been around 6 or higher.

After retirement of the court, and adjournment to the subsequent day, at 10 am on March 26, the court’s dispositivo was the following:

ENDING THE RESERVATION FROM THE HEARING OF 03-25-2013, [THE COURT] DECIDES AS FOLLOWS: ANNULS THE IMPUGNED VERDICT, LIMITED TO THE CRIMES UNDER CHARGES:  A) (INTO WHICH CHARGE C) IS ABSORBED), B), D), E), AND TO THE AGGRAVATING CIRCUMSTANCE UNDER C.P. ART. 61 NO.2 IN RELATION TO CHARGE F), AND REMANDS [THE CASE] TO THE CORTE DI ASSISE DI APPELLO OF FLORENCE FOR A NEW TRIAL. REJECTS THE APPEAL OF AMANDA MARIE KNOX, WHOM IT SENTENCES TO THE PAYMENT OF COURT COSTS AS WELL AS REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES INCURRED IN THE PRESENT PROCEEDINGS BY CIVIL PARTY DIYA LUMUMBA, IN THE AMOUNT OF 4000 (FOUR THOUSAND) EUROS, IN ADDITION TO I.V.A. AND C.P.A., PLUS GENERAL EXPENSES ACCORDING TO LAW.

Thus, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are sent back to appeal trial in Florence on all charges related to the rape and murder of Meredith Kercher (a, b, c, d, e). And Knox is definitively declared guilty of the obstruction of justice charge known as calunnia, while the argument denying any logical link between the calunnia and the murder is quashed.

Resources used

The article above draws in part upon a translation into English of news information published by various Italian press sources, which our readers may like to look at directly. A good coverage of the case – including Riello’s speech – was broadcast by RaiNews 24 and they also have a lot of information on the website. Online updates were provided by Televideo. Commentaries and discussions were hosted on Radio1 - GR Rai. Dr Riello’s comments were reported by Il Fatto Quotidiano and Style.it. There were reports on Libero Italy.it. Also details and chronicles were reported at the end of the day by Il Giornale dell’Umbria. Coverage and the quotes for March 25 were provided by AGI. The dispositivo official document was obtained and published by Andrea Vogt.


Posted on 04/02/13 at 09:02 PM by Machiavelli (Yummi). Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Vital Must-Read PostsOfficially involvedAmanda KnoxRaff SollecitoAppeals 2009-2014Cassation appealFlorence appealDiversion efforts byThe wider contexts
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A Growing Number Of Commentators Are Objecting To Overexposure Of The Two Still Accused

Posted by Peter Quennell





We have a series of posts coming up that will describe in detail and analyze the outcome of the Supreme Court.

At least one post will be a roundup of the media. Noticeable this time was less of a tendency to lionize Knox and Sollecito. Some articles and TV reports flipped for Knox, but none did for Sollecito.

And some editors and reporters have weighed in strongly for better balance. David Barrett of the Daily Telegraph wrote this one.

The impending retrial for the murder of British student Meredith Kercher fills many court-watchers with dread, myself included.

Details of the crime are horrific enough. But during the lengthy court processes which we have already witnessed, my discomfort was intensified by the obsession with Amanda Knox.

The photogenic young American, now 25, was convicted and then acquitted of the 2007 murder. She received more sympathy than most suspects who have ever stood in the dock on such a serious charge.

The media pack which followed the Italian trial would often comment on Knox’s apparent frailty; the “stress” she was suffering or whether she looked “pale”. It made me gag.

It’s a difficulty with which any professional and humane court reporter is familiar: how do you keep the victim, who is absent, visible in the very human drama that is a murder trial?

Is it appropriate to pay more attention to the suspect than to the issue at hand; namely, securing justice on behalf of a person whose life has been taken from them? I say it is not, although I can understand why it happens….

When the Italian prosecutors again attempt to secure a conviction for that tragic murder in Perugia we will have to get used to seeing Knox’s face on a daily basis once more. But let’s ensure that Meredith remains at forefront of all our minds.

.

Posted on 04/02/13 at 02:55 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedAmanda KnoxRaff SollecitoDiversion efforts byThe Knox-MellasesThe SollecitosHoaxes about the caseSolleci book hoaxesKnox book hoaxes
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Monday, March 18, 2013

Like Amanda Knox, Jodi Arias Forgets, Sings, Jokes, And Does Headstands In Interrogation Context

Posted by Peter Quennell

Posted on 03/18/13 at 08:00 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedAmanda KnoxOther legal casesOthers elsewhere
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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Admitted Killer On The Witness Stand In Arizona Is Resonating And Polarizing In Familar Ways

Posted by Sailor





Something apparently unique in American legal history is now taking place in Phoenix, Arizona, complete wth realtime TV feed from the courtroom

It is the weeks-long examination and cross-examination on the stand of Jodi Arias, who is accused of killing her ex-boyfriend and continuing sex partner Travis Alexander with at least 29 stab wounds and a slashed throat. In a few days she could be stuck with a death sentence, or conceivably even walk free.

We have often wondered how Knox would perform unfettered on the stand, as she may feel compelled to do if Cassation requires a reworking of the appeal verdict and sentence arrived at at the end of 2011.

There are some similarities and some differences.

Similarities

The similarities involve her lying and her seeming callousness and attempted cover-up which suggest her mental acuity and balance are okay. The quotes below come from the ABC News account of Arias’ trial:

Arias “eventually confessed to killing her ex-boyfriend, but insisted it was self defense.”

And “the main reason (for lying) is because I was very ashamed of what happened. It’s not something I ever imagined doing. It’s not the kind of person I was. It was just shameful,” she said. “I was also very scared of what might happen. I didn’t want my family to know that I had done that, and I just couldn’t bring myself to say that I did that.”

The other parallel to Amanda Knox is Arias’ behavior after the murder.  To avoid calling attention to herself, Arias carried on as if nothing had happened.

“Arias drove on to Utah where she was supposed to meet up with friends and a new romantic interest, Ryan Burns, for the rest of her roadtrip, she testified. There, the pair kissed and cuddled on Burns’ bed just 24 hours after Arias had stabbed and shot Alexander.”

Differences

The differences involve her family and the nature of Travis’s connection with the fervent local arm of the Mormon Church, which is especially fervent about no sex before marriage. .

Unlike Knox, whose father shut her up when she seemed to be getting close to confessing in Capanne Prison soon after her arrest, Arias credits her loving family with giving her the support that allowed her to finally admit what she had done.

“My family remained very supportive, and told me ‘it doesn’t matter what happens, we love you anyway.’ I realized even if I told the truth they would still be there and wouldn’t walk away,” she testified.

“By the time spring, 2010, rolled around, I confessed. I basically told everyone what I could remember of the day and that the intruder story was all BS pretty much.”

Travis Alexander was not only a fervent mormon - he was an elder in his local church where any pre-marital sex would taint both partners for life.

Having secretly slept with Jodi Arias for a long time, he discarded her as a “tainted” girlfriend (who he himself tainted) in favor of a virgin Mormon girlfriend - but continued to chase Arias down for sex anyway. 

This is a take by an insightful reader calling herself Janine on the website Wild About Trial which seems to resonate with many, especially women.

Since Travis’s emails were read in court and the phone sex tape was heard in open court, it shows Travis’s personality in a dating situation. He had a Madonna Whore complex… the Mormon girls he would not touch because they were pure, then putting Jodi into the Whore category in which no form of sex or degradation was denied. IMO Travis should have paid for sex and not manipulating and degrading women who had fallen in love with him.

He treated her horribly. Her self esteem was obviously very low or she would not have permitted nor enjoyed being treated in this manner. He was chasing her as well, if only for a booty call. He was playing mind games when surely he must have known the person whose mind he was messing with was unstable. He didn’t care, as long as he could get the kind of sex he wanted when he wanted it and with no strings attached.

She slashed his tires, watched him, read his emails and he is still reeling her in and playing mind games a week before the murder. He messed with the wrong girl. She is guilty but not of murder one or two. I believe crime of passion or manslaughter. He had some culpability here even though I believe he did not deserve what happened. After a year of Travis’s form of abuse, she just snapped. He pushed her over the edge. And, yes, you would have to be unstable to be pushed over the edge but I believe he knew that she was.

She certainly gave him plenty of evidence that she was.

Even though Arias is now fighting to avoid the death penalty, she exudes a sense of peace that seems to have eluded Amanda Knox. The truth shall set you free!


First image below: this shot was taken by Jodi just minutes before Travis’s death









Posted on 02/21/13 at 11:42 PM by Sailor. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedAmanda KnoxOther legal casesOthers elsewhereOn psychology
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Wednesday, February 06, 2013

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

Posted by Peter Quennell





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

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

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

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

The sliding scales of all discussion of the case

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

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

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

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

Many here incline strongly to pariah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

However!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But how could they?

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

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

Our present conclusion

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

It is really incumbent upon the defense counsel in Italy (their lawyers’ code of ethics requires this) to push hard for this information, and if they think it relevant to present it to court at any rerun of the appeal trial.

Amanda Knox herself should want this.

Posted on 02/06/13 at 12:39 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedAmanda KnoxCrime hypothesesOn psychologyDiversion efforts byThe Knox-MellasesFrancesco Sforza
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Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Perugia’s Exceptional Uni And Economy May Have Left RS And AK Feeling Like Small Frogs In Big Pond

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Multi-millionaire success story Brunello Cucinelli and, below, his Perugia-area factory and a typical store]


Few crime specialists seem to see the pattern of the attack against Meredith as being absent of intense anger.

There is no way that attack represents the pattern of a lone burglar or for that matter of a single perp of any kind. The Supreme Court already KNOWS that and they know that at first appeal the Knox and especially Sollecito lawyers tried desperately to prove that two or three other perps were there, either with Rudy Guede (witness Aviello) or without (witness Alessi).

For months now, apparently unnoticed by the FOA sheep, the defenses have been sounding absolutely feckless in the face of the juggernaurt prosecution appeal submitted to Cassation by Perugia’s chief prosecutor Dr Galati.

We’re betting that if they had it all over they would have urged Knox and Sollecito to take the short-form trial and one of the olive branches offered by the prosecution (that it was a sex-based attack which went too far, not an intentional preplanned murder).

They could have entered known facts about Sollecito and Knox to show that at the least they had tin ears and had always been callous, jealous and quirky. They might have advanced a drug-based excuse - the other olive branch advanced by the prosecution was that they were on cocaine and not marjuana that night and cocaine can induce rages leading to murder.

They might also have advanced the notion that both AK and RS were being remorselessly frozen out by their peers, who increasingly looked down on them, not least of course Meredith whose sleep and studies were constantly disrupted by the thoughtless, sharp-elbowed Knox.

Consider first who were their peers. Perugia is a city of driven high performers and it may not be the most comfortable environment for low-performing layabouts. In its own small way it is about as hustling as Manhattan.

It is one of the brightest cities in Europe with an extremely high median IQ. It is one of the top-performing cities in the Italian economy, in part because of the advanced scientific research at the very large university, and in part because it is the home to some brilliant international entrepreneurs.

Both these faces of Perugia are constantly in the Italian news. A search of the past week’s news for the university turns up reports on medical and mathematical and space-science breakthroughs and as usual a number of international conferences in the works.

And a search of last week’s news for Perugian businesses turns up for example this report on Brunello Cucinelli the highly sucessful and innovative fashion-goods entrepreneur who is now talking of doubling his factory.

Sollecito was never really a part of either. He had few friends and no girlfriends, he was a year or two behind his age-group in his studies, and he needed his back watched at all times - though from his book it is obvious that he felt needled by his highly successful doctor-father.

And Knox arrived with poor Italian despite all the claimed studies back in Seattle, she took on only a light and unimpressive study-load (compare Knox’s to Meredith’s) and she was rapidly shedding friends and the goodwill of her tolerant, well-meaning employer.

Neither had a credible and impressive career path in mind, and for that matter, still don’t. It is tough enough to know you are not making it, that can induce in many quite a rage.

But it is even tougher when all your peers around you notice it, and in American street parlance you get to feel “dissed”.











Posted on 01/08/13 at 10:51 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedAmanda KnoxRaff SollecitoThe wider contextsItalian contextOn psychology
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