Breaking news. The Cassation sentencing report has been released. Summary and analysis follow in the next few days. At first glance, the report is precisely what Yummi called it in this long preview: A Real Catastrophe For The Defenses. The US State Department and US Embassy in Rome despise the bigotted and dishonest Knox-Mellas PR campaign which harms the US image and interests with a key ally, so they are unlikely to lift a finger to prevent Knox being invited back. And Sollecito is already being sent back by the Swiss.
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Tuesday, October 04, 2011
Media Reaction Commences: What Is It About Amanda Knox…
Posted by Peter Quennell
Media can be a fickle friend. Big bucks may now be dictating a U-turn. One early indicator?
We should be happy for her, the innocent victim of this terrible miscarriage of justice.
Yet there is something disquieting about Amanda Knox, something that slightly chills the blood. Those piercing blue eyes, as cold as the steel of the knife that slit Meredith Kercher’s throat, have hardly flinched during her court appearances.
Not since Lindy-the dingo-did-it-Chamberlain was cleared of murdering her baby has a woman so divided public opinion.
Amanda’s prison diaries reveal an astonishing calmness and self-belief. While most 20-year-old girls falsely accused of a vile sex murder would be in pieces, she was planning her 21st birthday party, right down to the guest list.
There is hardly a mention of the brutal murder of her friend in the bedroom next to her. It’s all about Amanda.
Even The Independent’s Peter Popham is pouring cold water on the parade. Helping to find “the real killers” may be a way to help stem this tide.
Archived in Officially involved, Amanda Knox, The appeals, Hellmann appeal, Hellmann Report, Reporting on the case, Media news
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Monday, October 03, 2011
Knox And Sollecito Declared Not Guilty But With Angry Booing Outside The Courtroom
Posted by Peter Quennell
Archived in Officially involved, Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito, The appeals, Hellmann appeal, Hellmann Report, The wider contexts, Italian context
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Twentieth Appeal Session: Translated Transcript Of Amanda Knox’s Final Plea To The Court
Posted by Peter Quennell
Members of the court. Many times people have said I am some other person, people don’t understand whom I am. The only thing different from four years ago is what I have suffered. I lost a friend, a girlfriend, in the most brutal way in the most unexplained manner.
My trust in the police authorities has been betrayed. I have had to dealt with unfair and unfounded charges. I have paid with my life for things that I did not commit.
Four years ago I did not know what tragedy was. I have never faced so much anger before. I didn’t know how to interpret it. How did we react when we found out Meredith had been killed? I did not believe it. How was it possible?
Her bedroom was next to mine. She was killed in our home. If I had been there that night I would have died. The only difference is, I was not there. I trusted the police’s sense of duty and trust. I trusted them completely. I was betrayed on the night of November 5. I was manipulated.
I am not who they say I am. I am not violent. I don’t have a lack of respect for life. And I did not kill. I did not rape. I did not steal. I wasn’t there at the crime scene.
I had good relationships with everyone who lived in my flat. We all had good relationships. We helped each other. I shared my life, particularly with Meredith. We were friends. She was worried about me. She was very kind to me.
I have never run away from the truth. I insist after four desperate years, that our innocence is true and needs to be recognized. I want to go back home. I want to go back to my life. I don’t want my life and my future taken away from me for something that I didn’t do.
I am innocent. We do not deserve this. We never did anything to deserve this. I have the utmost respect to this court and the care that it has shown. Thank you.
Archived in Officially involved, Amanda Knox, Diversion efforts, Knox-Mellases, The appeals, Hellmann appeal, Hellmann Report
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Sunday, October 02, 2011
Is The Raffaele Sollecito Defense Team About To Separate Him From A Radioactive Amanda Knox?
Posted by Peter Quennell
First, the smartest and most influential of all the lawyers in MP Giulia Bongiorno. Second, a relatively attractive family which has run a low-key smiling campaign. Third, relatively little evidence (the bra clasp and footprint) placing him at the scene of the crime and unlike Knox no alibi that says he was there.
Fourth, no obvious motive for either the murder or the cleanup compared to the many possible motives for Amanda Knox. And fifth, a weak wishy-washy personality on which Bongiorno has already played, casting Knox as the lead player in the drama and Sollecito as either accidentally there or not at all.
The mood does seem to be moving against Amanda Knox now as the extreme arrogance of the million dollar campaign sinks in. And if her “spontaneous” remarks to the court tomorrow follow her usual pattern, they will yet again make her look callous and concerned only about herself.
Several reports are out now in Italian harking on these themes. This report by the Associated Press with a possible nudge from the Sollecito team gives a sense of what the Italian reports are saying.
Even in Sollecito’s native Italy, it is Knox who commands the most media attention. Two prominent celebrity and gossip magazines, “Oggi” and “Gente,” put Knox on their covers during the final week of arguments in the appeals trial, and newspapers characterize him as being in the background.
Not even prosecutors have portrayed Sollecito as the main protagonist in the murder of Meredith Kercher on Nov. 1, 2007. According to their version, Sollecito held Kercher from behind while Knox stabbed her and another man tried to sexually assault her. Ivorian immigrant Rudy Guede was convicted in a fast-track trial and saw his sentence cut from 30 years to 16 years on appeal.
Attention during the investigation focused intensely on the two young female roommates as the world and prosecutors searched for a motive. Knox was portrayed as sexually promiscuous and lacking inhibition, while at the same time working hard to support herself and trying to learn Italian; Kercher was depicted as more serious and studious, who had at the end of her life began to chafe at her American roommate’s sloppiness.
The good girl/bad girl dichotomy drove headlines across the globe, while Sollecito — the mild mannered boyfriend — was largely overlooked in a supporting role.
It’s a role that his defense lawyer plays up. Sollecito is the son of a wealthy doctor from southern Italy who hired a crack legal team to defend his son. It’s led by Giulia Bongiorno, who successfully defended former Italian Premier Giulio Andreotti on charges of mafia association.
“It’s not by chance that Raffaele arrived in this trial as the boyfriend. Nothing connects Raffaele to the crime,” Bongiorno said in her closing arguments last week. “With a girlfriend, you usually get a family. Raffaele got a murder.”
She said the few pieces of evidence in the “Amanda-centric” trial relate to Knox, not to Sollecito. “Nothing connects him to the crime,” Bongiorno said.
Archived in Officially involved, Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito, The defenses, Diversion efforts, Knox-Mellases, Sollecitos
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Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Pseudoinnocence: Is This Possibly The Predicament Of Amanda Knox?
Posted by Vivianna
In a dissertation titled Pseudoinnocence – An Invitation To Murder, Barbara Shore explores the phenomenon of “pseudoinnocence” in American culture as an inadequate response to the “conflagration of violence that encircles us today.” These are her introductory words:
“America is a country long haunted by its pseudoinnocence, by its blinding prolonged naivete. We are a culture that closes our eyes to all that is too painful to see, persuading ourselves that we have escaped, that we are neither interdependent nor vulnerable, or that we are victims.
We cannot come to terms with our own unwitting complicity in the destructiveness brought to ourselves or others. Capitalizing on such naivete, we fail to see how such ‘innocence that cannot include the demonic becomes evil’ (Rollo May 50).” (Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences Mar, 2001 Vol 61(9-A))
Ms. Shores’ words, although published six years before the murder of Meredith Kercher even took place, represent an eerily accurate description of Amanda Knox’s predicament, even reflecting some of the terminology employed in Attorney Carlo Pacelli’s exposition on September 26, during the closing portion of the first appeal trial. As a reminder, Pacelli, who represents Patrick Lumumba in his civil suit against Knox, pointed out that Knox “has a split personality, fresh-faced, the daughter everyone would like, Saint Maria Goretti, and then with her histrionic side [she is] an impostor, she is a she-devil, satanic, diabolic, addicted to borderline behaviour.”
Although Pacelli’s words have been seen by some as too harsh, they carry a heavy implication mirrored in the above quote from Shore – that “innocence that cannot include the demonic becomes evil”; in other words, that if Knox cannot reconcile her two sides and seek atonement, she has no hope of redeeming herself as a human being.
I have argued before, in a comment posted here on the TJMK board, that Knox is not likely to make a confession in the near future due to the pressures exerted by her family’s innocence campaign. The innocence campaign is, in my opinion, just one of the factors which prevent Knox from admitting her direct involvement in the crime against Meredith Kercher.
The other factors may include her failure to reconcile the two parts of her persona (innocent, carefree, kind, compassionate young woman versus “diabolical” murderer) and perhaps a culturally-engrained inability to accept involvement in a destructive act. The discussion of these latter factors is perhaps best left to someone with formal training in psychology or sociology. What I would like to enlarge upon is my conviction that there is a direct correlation between the strength of the innocence campaign and Knox’s unwillingness to admit guilt.
I would like to draw your attention to a conversation between Knox, her mother (Edda Mellas), and her father (Curt Knox) which took place in the early days of the investigation, when Amanda had already been detained. This conversation will be well-known to those who have been consistently following this case as evidence that, in the early stages, Knox may have been inclined to give a confession. I have chosen not to include it, but it is readily available on both TJMK and PMF.
The reason why I believe this conversation to be so important is not only because it might contain the beginning of the confession, but also because it highlights the involvement of her family in defining her position. I would argue that, had Knox been left to her own devices, she might have cracked in the early stages and given an accurate description of that night’s events, saving both herself, her family, the victim’s family, and anyone involved in the trial considerable grief, time, money, and effort.
At that particular point in time, she may not have been as psychologically divided and conflicted, and she may have had an easier time accepting her criminal side and perhaps moving on to experience positive changes. It is, however, her parents’ firm belief in her innocence and in her inability to commit such a heinous crime that has consistently mired her in a difficult position.
As we well know, the Knox-Mellas family hired a PR firm, Gogerty-Mariott, to clean up Amanda’s image after unflattering stories started appearing in European tabloids. The PR campaign has grown exponentially from a few stories about Amanda’s childhood, complete with baby pictures, to what I consider to be a falsification of public opinion.
On the one hand, there is a concerted effort to offer inaccurate information about existing evidence (limiting the crime scene to Meredith’s room, stating that there is no evidence linking Amanda and Raffaele to the murder, pushing Rudy Guede as the “lone wolf” assassin, etc.), which is then fed to news outlets unwilling to do their own research and pushed upon the unsuspecting public via books, blogs, and forums. Then comes the even more insidious effort to falsify the public’s response to these stories, by hiring posters to write positive reviews for FOA books, post positive comments to inaccurate stories, and shout down any reasonable opposition.
Of course, this entire effort does not come cheaply, and rumors say that the PR campaign’s tab is around one million. This is an enormous debt to place on the shoulders of a young woman who already needs to contend with the guilt of having committed an incomprehensible, heinous, violent crime. While it is difficult to feel sympathy for any of Meredith’s killers, I find it impossible not to feel a certain amount of compassion for Amanda, who most likely never asked for this campaign to be initiated. How could she admit her role in this crime when a million dollars has already been spent to trumpet her innocence?
In addition to the material aspects, there are social and psychological aspects to contend with. While many of the FOA members are paid for their public appearances and statements (and may not harbor any personal opinions about the case), there seem to be individuals who are supporting Amanda’s innocence out of personal conviction. Some of them may have even donated money to help her family. How could she disappoint everyone who invested money and time into supporting her, from her own family to charitable strangers? How could she look them in the eye, after four years of lies and obfuscation, and admit that she was terrified of being punished, or incapable of seeing herself as a murderer?
Peter Quennell has suggested to me that this may be an example of “path dependence,” a concept used in both economics and social sciences to describe a scenario in which current actions and decisions are inexorably determined by past decisions. While my personal knowledge of path dependence is limited, I think that it is certainly applicable in this case and that it can be traced back to the prison conversation discussed before. During the conversation, Amanda’s parents indirectly communicated to her that the course had been set – that the legal team would handle all questions and that she was not to communicate her thoughts without supervision; also that a confession would be unacceptable because she was undeniably innocent.
As to why her family took this position, I think we can find the answer in the concept of pseudoinnocence – the inability to accept responsibility for and involvement in a terrible event, accompanied by a forced distancing from anything that could be considered troubling.
It is not a coincidence that Amanda has been consistently portrayed as a victim of the supposedly corrupt, medieval Italian justice system, as someone who has been “railroaded” in a “third-world” country, as her supporters want us to believe. It is more comforting to become a victim than to accept responsibility and acknowledge that Amanda’s problems may have started at home, long before she was on a plane for Perugia. I believe that the innocence campaign is not only meant to exculpate Amanda, but to also exculpate her family from any perceived contributions to the formation of a murderer.
As long as Amanda’s family continues to invest so much money and effort into supporting her innocence, and to maintain so much publicity around her case, I believe that any professional attempts to help Amanda admit her involvement will prove ineffective. This entire undertaking, combined with her own psychological dividedness and any cultural influences, is placing an enormous amount of unnecessary responsibility on Amanda and displacing a more appropriate type of responsibility.
Amanda, at this point, should feel responsibility towards Meredith and Meredith’s family primarily. While the murder itself cannot be reversed and no true solace offered, a confession would offer a certain amount of closure to those who knew and loved Meredith. Instead, Amanda’s sense of responsibility is being artificially redirected to not disappointing her own family and supporters, and to not betraying the trust they have placed in her innocence. Aside from being hurtful to the victim’s family, this situation is also damaging for Amanda herself, as it’s setting her on a path of continued “evil” rather than one of heal
Archived in Officially involved, Amanda Knox, Psychology and motive, On psychology, The appeals, Hellmann appeal
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Monday, September 26, 2011
Sixteenth Appeal Session: Lawyers For Patrick Lumumba And Victim’s Family Weigh In
Posted by Peter Quennell
1) Lawyers for Patrick Lumumba
A translation of the Umbria24 TV station report kindly provided by main poaster Tiziano.
MEREDITH, LUMUMBA’S LAWYER: “AMANDA IS DIABOLICAL” PATRICK: “I HAVE RELIVED THOSE DAYS”
“PATRICK IS THE SECOND VICTIM IN THIS CASE”
By Maurizio Troccoli
The civil parties are playing the last cards too in the Mez trial, represented by the lawyers of Meredith Kercher’s family and those of Patrick Lumumba, the young man who ended up in gaol with Amanda and Raffaele, because he was accused of being the author of the murder by the young American.
A few days before the sentence, which should come on Monday, and the reconstructions of what happened that night between the 1st and 2nd November, 2007 in the cottage in via della Pergola in Perugia, go on stage. A bloody murder which has seen the two ex-lovers condemned to 26 years prison for Amanda, and 25 for Rafaele at the first stage [trial}.
Patrick Lumumba was set free after a few days of detention thanks to an “iron clad alibi” which put him in a different place from “the house of horrors”, that is to say in his night spot, together with a Swiss professor who witnessed to this, thus helping the young man to get back his freedom.
That testimony was sufficient to convince the magistrates - notwithstanding the accusations of Amanda - of his “complete non-involvement in the facts”, which originated in the questioning at the Perugia police headquarters on November 6th, 2007.
Patrick is still waiting for justice to be done, to be compensated for what was taken from him, for payment for the person who was stained by such a serious crime which sees him as “the second victim of this tragedy”, as his defender Claudio Pacelli said this morning. “Patrick has paid a lot, not only for his imprisonment but also for the damage to his image, said Pacelli. “My client ended up in the newspapers and on TV all over the world as the author of the murder of the young Englishwoman.”
“During the appearance of my lawyer - [Patrick] says – it is as though I had gone back, reliving that really sad period. We hope that justice is done. Today I relived those moments - the night when the professor came to the pub saying that he wanted to say good-bye because that next day he would be going back to Zurich,” Lumumba said, “However he came to save me, with neither I nor he realising this.”
“Amanda falsely accused an innocent person - lawyer Pacelli affirmed - exclusively to avoid being discovered. A classic scheme. Amanda is a consummate actress, a very intelligent girl, astute and cunning. One who really knows how to inspire the emotions of whoever is listening to her.”
And the fault of what happened to the damage of Patrick resides completely in “the young American, Amanda”, whose profile the lawyer drew in court, defining her “an explosive mixture of drugs, sex and alcohol.”
He added, “Quite the opposite of sweet, she has a split personality, fresh-faced, the daughter everyone would like, Saint Maria Goretti, and then with her histrionic side [she is] an impostor, she is a she-devil, satanic, diabolic, addicted to borderline behaviour.
What Amanda says when she claims that Patrick’s name was suggested to her by the police is a huge lie. She was the one to arbitrarily choose to point to Patrick as the guilty on, in order to distance herself from suspicion,” the lawyer said further.
2) Lawyers for the victim’s family
[translation to follow]
Archived in Officially involved, Amanda Knox, Public evidence, Other witnesses, The appeals, Hellmann appeal, The wider contexts, Perugia news
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Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Reflecting On Andrea Vogt’s Fine Report “Knox: Innocent Abroad Or ‘Getting Away With Murder’?”
Posted by Skeptical Bystander
Cross posted from my personal blog. Please click the image above for Ms Vogt’s new piece.
In this intelligent and well-written piece, Andrea Vogt wonders aloud how Italians would react to an acquittal of the Seattle woman who was convicted in December 2009 of taking part in the killing of her roommate, Meredith Kercher. She notes that an acquittal would be cause for celebration in Seattle.
It would certainly be cause for celebration among those who have taken up the cause and believe in Knox’s innocence despite the compelling evidence of her involvement in this horrific crime. But the fact is, most people in Seattle are simply not that interested. And among those who are, the consensus is certainly not that an innocent abroad got railroaded.
If it seems so, it’s because the local media has dutifully followed the lead of the national media and adopted the “innocent abroad” narrative concocted by David Marriott, whose PR firm was hired to manage Knox’s image shortly after she was arrested. In Seattle, Meredith’s murder has been played as a human interest story in which only the local protagonists matter. Meredith was British; it is assumed that Seattleites could not possibly give a toss about her.
Hence, local coverage has favored news of fundraisers for the accused local woman and then for the convicted local woman. Questions from local journalists to her supporters (family) have ranged from “How is she holding up in prison?” to “How is she holding up in prison?” And since there is no guilter movement, local or otherwise, except in the minds of a few shrill locals, there has been no local coverage of the movement’s “activities”. How can a non-existent movement have activities?
I have met many people in West Seattle who quietly shake their heads in disbelief at Steve Shay’s coverage for the West Seattle Herald. Yesterday, someone who works at a local business said “you’re skeptical bystander” when she handed me back my credit card. She told me she was a long-time lurker who reads perugiamurderfile.org and TJMK every day for information about the case. There are many people like her in Seattle.
I found it amusing, though sad, to read the comments that follow Andrea Vogt’s thoughtful piece for the First Post. Naturally, loud vocal supporter “Mary H” (this is her online pseudonym, and hiding behind it may be one reason she is so loud on the internet) was quick to condemn Vogt for merely pointing out the obvious. Mary H (fake name) asked Andrea Vogt (real name) how she could sleep at night!
It ain’t that hard, Mary, when you have the courage of your convictions and when you stand by the facts rather than getting sidetracked by the cause.
The fact at hand is that many people—in Seattle, in Italy, and elsewhere—would come away from an eventual acquittal with the feeling that justice had not been done for Meredith Kercher and her family and that at least two of those responsible for her death had gotten away with it. Mary H and others may not like to hear this, but it is a fact. And no amount of shaming on the part of Mary H or anyone else is going to make a bit of difference.
Yesterday, a lawyer friend and I were musing about what would have happened had this case been tried in the US. Many Knox supporters have said, repeatedly, that it would never have gone to trial here. My lawyer friend agreed, but for a different reason than the one implicit in this view (i.e. that there is supposedly no evidence). He said
I don’t think the case would have gone to trial in the US. First, they would not have had to stop questioning her when they did. They would have artfully gotten her to waive her Miranda rights. They would have told her they can’t help her unless tells her side of the story, been very sympathetic initially and built up her confidence that she could talk her way out of it. They would eventually hone in on the inconsistencies, and when she finally cracked there wouldn’t be a lawyer there to stop her. The death penalty would have been on the table, and her only sure way to avoid that would be to plead guilty in exchange for life.
He also thinks that this would not have been such a high-profile case had it happened in Seattle.
Let’s wait and see how this court weighs the two contested items in the overall scheme of things. As a poster on PMF (another lawyer) wrote last night, it all boils down to this: How many pieces of evidence… ‘consistent with, but not conclusive of’ guilt can stack up against someone before, as a matter of common sense, it is no longer reasonable to believe they are innocent?
Archived in Officially involved, Amanda Knox, The trials, RS + AK trial, The appeals, Hellmann appeal, Reporting on the case, Fine reporting
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Monday, September 12, 2011
As We Long Predicted Knox Will Not Face Cross Examination When It Really Matters
Posted by Peter Quennell
Majority opinion in Perugia has long inclined to the view that the right perps were convicted back in December 2009.
It is very hard to see the six jury members (the lay judges) bucking that trend without being given a great deal more red meat for them to convince their friends and neighbors (and for that matter most of Italy) than they have now.
And Judge Hellman has a reputation similar to Judge Massei’s for making sure all the bases are covered and for not arriving at trial or appeal outcomes based on a few outlying contradictory “facts” or a mere whim. He too has been given very little that is new.
Putting Knox and Sollecito on the stand now would seem the last best shot at taking care of that.
But there is no sign that either defense team has been eager to see their clients speak out at any time, and Knox was even publicly warned early on not to do so.
The teams quite possibly winced now and then (along with many others) at Knox’s performances in past spontaneous declarations and in her stint on the stand in July 2009 which did not really go over at all well.
Kermit in this December 2010 post explained the risks Knox would face on the stand. Kermit helpfully included 150 cross-examination questions to drive home the stark point.
So. Knox and Sollecito. Trapped by poor legal and PR strategy between the devil and the deep blue sea.
Archived in Officially involved, Amanda Knox, Diversion efforts, Knox-Mellases, The appeals, Hellmann appeal
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Saturday, September 10, 2011
Conspicuous By Their Absence Now: Legal Commentators For Sollecito And Knox
Posted by Peter Quennell
There is a marked sharp contrast now between how various reporters without legal backgrounds and various real lawyers are seeing the state of play in the appeal.
The post below shows how flavor-of-the-month reporters like Nick Pisa are still reporting happy talk from Knox and her entourage, while, within their professional constraints, we see more and more lawyers realisng Sollecito and Knox really are cooked.
Half a dozen of the main posters on TJMK who are lawyers (they identify themselves as such when they post) have explained how tough is the real case. Various Italian lawyers continue to offer us insights and tips from Perugia and Rome. And we continue to see maybe half a dozen lawyers a week getting in touch by email or signing up, a trend that shows no sign of fading out.
In contrast all of the lawyers and legal commentators who were once suggesting the process in Perugia had taken a wrong turn have gone quiet, and no new legal voices for Solllecito and Knox are speaking up. The CNN legal shows devote almost no air time to the appeal, and Geraldo Rivera, Dan Abrams, John Q Kelly, Lis Wiehl and others have wound down their commentaries to brief equivocations or nothing at all.
Ted Simon who is believed to be still on the Mellas-Knox payroll seems be operating only from very deep cover. Knox’s own lawyers pass on the (to us sad) happy talk from Capanne while themselves sounding very cautious and down.
And the former lawyer and political commentator Ann Coulter who does us the peculiar favor of including us in her definition of right wing is starkly declaring that the increasingly small number of increasingly shrill non-lawyers for Sollecito and Knox really should get a life.
By now, the only people who believe Knox and Sollecito are the usual criminal apologists and their friends in the American media.
Serial smearer and evidence incompetent Steve Moore as one of the usual criminal apologists?! That has to hurt.
Archived in Officially involved, Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito, Diversion efforts, Knox-Mellases, Sollecitos, Reporting on the case, Media news
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Monday, July 25, 2011
Tenth Appeal Court Session: Might Today’s Testimony Give Sollecito More Of An Advantage Than Knox?
Posted by Peter Quennell
There are at least three good reasons for this.
Italians sat through the trial and the talk shows on television in a way that other nationalities didn’t and saw it as a fair and open process where the prosecution did an excellent job and the defenses were often pretty bumbling. And several times in the past two weeks the nationally respected DNA expert Luciano Garofano has cautioned the nation that juries should not over-weight forensic evidence in comparison with all the rest.
Also Mr Maresca was shown on national TV after today’s hearing saying this:
In my opinion, they have not worked in a completely non-partisan way. Next Saturday we will explain to the judges who have not followed the whole discussion [in the 2009 trial] all that was presented in the first trial of experts’ findings.
In their review they have responded to only the requests of the defence and not of the prosecution, and I don’t know if an [impartial] expert should do this. In the expert’s report they have not even referred to a single request from the prosecution.
Still, after her dismal misfires over the testimony of Alessi and Aviello and Rudy Guede, Sollecito lawyer Giulia Bongiorno might tonight have some reason to be a bit pleased. At least until the end of next Saturday when she will have sat through a fierce rebuttal.
Today’s testimony clearly showed that the handling of the bra clasp has its problems - though the prosecution will point out that there is still no scenario for precisely how Sollecito’s DNA was present and pressed so hard into the clasp if he did not do it himself.
Knox’s position seems much more problematic.
She was the only one to have a reason to rearrange the crime scene, she was the one to finger Patrick Lumumba for no obvious reason if she was not guilty, she placed herself at the scene in her several so-called confessions, and her pattern of phone calls remains very incriminating. Those mixed-blood traces in the bathroom and corridor and Filomena’s room are of Knox’s blood mixed with Meredith’s, not Sollecito’s, and those appear to be her footprints revealed with luminol on the floor.
If the bra clasp evidence is discounted after next saturday, what physical evidence would then tie Sollecito to the house at the time of Meredith’s death?
Pretty well only the footprint on the bathmat which (for reasons we have never understood) the Knox camp has spent years discrediting. And Sollecito cut Knox adrift on 5 November 2007 when he presented an alibi in which he was at the house all night whereas she wasnt. He said at the time Knox had lied.
She was the one seen at the Conad supermarket at a time when she said she was asleep. And her phone was shown at the trial to have been elsewhere on the night Meredith died.
Stefanoni probably has her best shot in rebuttal in maintaining the knife evidence as credible, because at least one defense witness observed her one-time-only testing and saw Meredith’s DNA profile appear in front of his eyes. Her methods were not out of line with low-count DNA practices elsewhere in Europe, and the American comparisons seem suspect and irrelevant.
We still agree with the Supreme Court of Cassation’s finding at Guede’s final appeal that the forensic evidence in Meredith’s room and on her body points overwhelmingly to three assailants having been present.
But the appeal court might just buy the notion that there were actually only two.
Giulia Bongiorno has often gone her own way in defense of Sollecito (for example in calling Alessi and Aviello) and she is nationally respected for presiding over the justice committee in parliament. And the Sollecitos are said to not like the Knoxes and Mellases very much.
So in light of today’s bra clasp evidence she might now be tempted to bet the bank and put Sollecito on the stand. To claim he was not present when Meredith died.
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Saturday, June 25, 2011
A Partial Response For Now To The Personal Attacks by Curt Knox’s Leading Hatchet Man
Posted by Peter Quennell
When “Bruce Fisher of New York” first surfaced many eyebrows went up. Uh-oh! His early slobbering was exactly of this kind. Oddly this is the guy Amanda Knox’s father Curt Knox seems keen to have as his chief hatchet man.
Like others before him “Fisher” hurriedly switched away from this act (perhaps under the icy gaze of his wife) and set about trying to get some credibility on PMF in various ill-informed attempts at interpretation of the evidence.
Proving to be disastrously bad at this, he was soon laughed off the Perugia Murder File forum by the good lawyers and crime experts who post there. He had come across there as very full of himself while lacking judgment, skills and real powers to persuade.
Rejected, at this point he was coming across increasingly foaming at the mouth. A long series of very nasty posts followed. Upon some investigation, we get to see the deeper reasons why.
His real name turns out to be “Bruce Fischer” and well into middle age he is still a minor shop assistant at a small store, York Furriers, isolated at the back of a mall some 35 miles north-west of Chicago.
It gets worse.
Bruce Fischer doesn’t seem to have any friends willing to say that respect him. Apparently his educational attainments are very modest, and his economic success in life even less-so. Some regard him as a rather dim and angry redneck who has yet to make any positive contribution in life.
It gets worse.
We have been told that Fischer has declared personal bankruptcy to try to escape big debts not once but twice, and that when his house was repossessed for default on mortgage payments he was reduced to living back home with his mom.
It gets worse.
At first glance his unfortunate appearance - his large jug ears and the eyes far too close together - is said to make people secretly grin. See the image below for what one friend gave as the reason why. Probably not Amanda Knox’s average dream.
It gets worse.
It has been observed not least by our psychologists that the fur salesman’s hatred that boils up online is directed almost exclusively against women. A strange choice in fur-shop staffing for presumably dealing with women all day long.
Hmmm. This seems like a sure recipe for a mediocre thinker with deep anger issues and a lot of time on his hands to spend empty hours at the store sliming good professionals in Italy with real achievements way more impressive than his own.
Fischer along with Frank of Perugia Shock has duped many others into thinking there is no case against Knox - only a huge conspiracy in which half of Italy is involved. David Anderson, Karen Pruett, Saul Kassin, Michele Moore, Steve Moore, Michael Wiesner, on and on.
Humiliated, he has moved most of his personal attacks behind the closed doors of his low-volume site, but he still pushes his way into Knox’s life. Amanda Knox is considered quite snobby. Is this perpetual loser really her cup of tea?
Archived in Officially involved, Amanda Knox, Diversion efforts, Knox-Mellases, Sockpuppets
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Friday, May 27, 2011
Several Hundred Questions On The Hard Evidence Against Knox That Girlanda Postures To Avoid
Posted by The TJMK Main Posters
This Open Letter to Rocco Girlanda was first posted and sent to him in English on 9 November 2010. Six-plus months later, no response. We are now reposting it and mailing it in Italian, as Italian media and opposition MPs are interested in asking him these same questions.
Mr. Rocco Girlanda
Parliamentarian for Gubbio in Umbria
Chamber of Deputies
Parliament of Italy
Dear Mr. Girlanda:
Questions Concerning Your Hurtful Behavior Toward The Family and Friends Of Meredith Kercher
And Also Concerning Your Ethics, Your Politics, Your Legal Behavior, And Your Personal Behavior
Your book Take Me With You – Talks With Amanda Knox In Prison” is leaving readers with a number of disturbing questions as to your motives, timing and interests in writing the book and publishing it at this time.
These questions concern whether your book - or at least its publication right now, directly before the important first level of appeal - is in fact very unethical, and they also concern the appropriateness of the nature of your relationship with Miss Knox.
In order to put these these questions to rest, we are sure that you will be eager to know what they are, and to respond to them in your best way possible. We’d be pleased if you would reply to us through our return address, or - given the public nature of this discussion - email it for posting directly on the TJMK website.
Here are the questions we have assembled. Again, we thank you in advance for your replies:
- Do you believe in the separation of the executive, parliamentary and judicial branches of government? Since you are a parliamentarian (and, in particular, a member of the judiciary committee), do you think that the publishing of your book at this time could be seen as being inappropriate, given the calendar of Amanda’s appeal for her murder conviction, as well as the ongoing trial for slander (for having accused the Perugian police of hitting her during questioning)?
- When you visit prisons in your role as a parliamentarian, what is your main objective: perform an independent check and control over prison conditions, or befriend prisoners? After how many visits to Capanne prison did you realise that you had established a friendship with Miss Knox? How often do you visit prisons in Italy? Which other prisons have you recently visited? Do you visit men’s prisons? Do you regularly give gifts to prisoners, like the books or the computer you gave to Amanda? If you consider that the computer was not a personal gift but rather from the Italy-USA Foundation of which you are president, which other American prisoners in Italian prisons have received such gifts? Which criteria does the Foundation follow in deciding who receives gifts? (for example, prisoners who have expressed repentance, or prisoners who have to use free legal aid due to financial penury, or prisoners who contribute to awareness programs to help others avoid similar crimes in the future ....).
- As president of the Italy-USA Foundation, you have expressed concern that this case has strained relations between the two countries. Have you spoken with the US Embassy in Rome about your concern? Within the framework of Italian-US relations, are there any other issues which you think come close to your-perceived significance of Amanda’s involvement in murdering Meredith Kercher? (for example: Italy’s middle east policy concerning talks with Palestinian organisations, or discussions about the acceptance by Italy of Guantanamo inmates, or the ongoing state of Fiat-Chrysler relations and investments, or the rooting out of organised crime, or even Berlusconi’s joke about Obama being handsome and suntanned?)
- In your over 20 parliamentary privilege meetings with Amanda Knox, did she ever act in a bizarre manner, like performing cartwheels for you? Why didn’t you ever ask her about her murdered roommate, Meredith Kercher or in general about the crime? Can your book really be of any interest to anyone if it only contains bits and pieces of poetry and banal conversation, without linking Amanda to the case which has put her into jail? How can your book come close to one of its supposed objectives - that of trying to understand how a young person could be involved in a violent crime such as that of Meredith Kercher’s murder - it you make no reference to the crime?
- You have stated that you have daughters similar to Amanda Knox. In what ways are your daughters comparable to Amanda? Studies? Personal life and use of drugs, or social habits with the opposite sex? Some other way?
- Amanda wrote you a letter (amongst others) on 7 August 2010, where she tells you in Italian, “The only thing I can show you is my gratitude for your friendship and your support.” What is the extent and what are the characteristics of this friendship and support? Is Amanda’s gratitude one-sided, from the perspective of an emotionally weak prisoner who becomes dependent on any stranger who shows her the slightest kindness, or do you mutually share this friendship which she describes, between the two of you? Do you know if Amanda’s Italian legal team are aware of the extent of your friendship? Do you think that your friendship may actually somehow complicate her legal situation and strategy?
- You describe an affectionate hug between you and Knox: “I blush. She holds me, I hold her. It’s a never ending embrace, without a word. If I said I didn’t feel any emotion I would be lying. Maybe my face reveals that.” is what was quoted in the Daily Mail. Have you ever told a priest, psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker, drinking buddy or your wife about your physical contact with Amanda and your nocturnal dreams which involve her? If so, what advice have they given you?
- Did you attend any of the Knox-Sollecito trial sessions over the course of the year that it was held? (it would have been easy: you could have taken advantage of visits to your parliamentary constituency, just as you have found it easy to visit Amanda in jail). Are you familiar with the evidence? Are you aware that there are two other persons convicted for the same crime together with Amanda? Do you know if - like her - they write poetry and want to be parents when they are freed from prison (a number of years from now)? Do such desires for life under regained freedom make any convicted prisoner less guilty of the crimes they have committed?
- Do you feel that there were any specific errors or problems with the investigation in this case which you believe may contribute to an incorrect verdict and sentence for the three suspects? Did Amanda get a fair trial compared to any other similar crime investigation and legal process in Italy?
- Are you able to offer an explanation as to why not once have the Kerchers and their lawyer, Francesco Maresca, ever been worried about the trial outcome? After three years, why is it that Francesco Maresca still has no worries and is confident that the convicted will lose their appeals?
[Above: Mr Girlanda with images of herself by Amanda Knox released about simultaneously with his book]
- Do you believe that any of the investigation or judicial officials involved in this case are corrupt, or that any type of corruption played a role in their activities? Don’t be shy, please identify those who did wrong amongst Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini, Prosecutor Manuela Comodi, Judge Claudia Matteini, Judge Paolo Micheli, Judge Giancarlo Massei, Judge Beatrice Cristiani, the six lay judges, Appeals Judge Emanuele Medoro, Homicide Chief Monica Napoleoni, Inspector Rita Ficarrra, DNA expert Patrizia Stefanoni, or any other person involved in this complex case. Was there a conspiracy of corrupt officials who directed an evil campaign against an obviously innocent girl with no real evidence against her?
- As a followup to the prior question, do you know that not one credible international attorney or professor of comparative criminal law and procedure has taken the defense of Amanda Knox, claiming injustice in the Italian judicial system? Do you agree that the Italian criminal system is fair, balanced and completely pro-defendant?
- Do you know that Italian citizens constantly complain of their relaxed criminal laws and that criminals are constantly set free even after being sentenced on appeal while waiting for the confirmation of the Cassation Court? For example, little Tommy would still be alive if Mario Alessi had been kept in prison after being convicted on appeal for raping a minor. As a politician, don’t you think the law should be changed by keeping violent criminals in jail after being convicted on appeal, in order to guarantee the security of the citizens of the country you represent?
- Do you know that the Italian attorneys of Amanda Knox don’t approve of this media propaganda perpetuated by the Knox-Mellas clan, that seems intent on spreading falsehoods and misinformation, while at the same time blaming an entire country (the one you represent in parliament) for an alleged “wrongful conviction”?
- In promoting your book, you have stated that during your more than 20 meetings with convicted murderer Amanda Knox, a “friendship” has grown. Would you classify that as a friendship of convenience or a friendship based on caring for the interests of the other? We ask that because it truly shocks us that Knox’s Italian legal team was humiliated, and Knox herself was deprived professional legal advice and support through the publication of your book without it being vetted by her lawyers. “She is very worried,” said Knox’s lawyer Luciano Ghirga, declining to comment on the book which he said he has not seen. “She is not at her best. She is very worried” ahead of the appeal, he added. Although the book will likely change little in Knox’s legal predicament, I would have thought that a “friend” who was also a law-maker would realise the importance of consulting the other friend’s lawyers concerning the possible fallout of a personal literary initiative such as yours.
- Do you know that the American Embassy has followed this case from day one and reported to the State Department? Do you know that the Embassy stated that the trial was fair? Do you know that the State Department never expressed concerns about the outcome of the trial?
- Do you know that the only American politician that once spoke out regarding this trial was Mrs. Maria Cantwell from Seattle when she asked Mrs. Clinton to verify if Italy is a third-world country with a barbarian criminal system and if Amanda Knox was sentenced only because she is an American citizen?
- How did you and your associate Corrado Maria Daclon prepare his list of contacts that he met with in his trip to Seattle when you were writing your book? Did some person or persons arrange for meeting with these contacts? Was this person associated with the Knox-Mellas Entourage?
- Have you ever read the 430-page Sentence Motivation Report (“Dispositivo Della Sentenza Di Condanna”) written by Judge Massei who presided over the Knox-Sollecito trial? Do you know that there is overwhelming evidence against Amanda Knox and that the information spread out by the expensive PR team, hired by the Knox family, is neither a complete nor trustworthy story?
[Above: Giulia Bongiorno. Concern that Rocco Girlanda has gone way beyond what is appropriate to his parliamentary privilege to visit prisons “to inspect conditions” is further inflamed by his presence on the Italian parliament’s Judicial Committee. This committee, amazingly, is presided over by Raffaele Sollecito’s lead defense lawyer: Giulia Bongiorno. Is Giulia Bongiorno turning a blind eye to Mr Girlanda’s extraordinary number of visits, which seem highly abusive of his privilege, and exceed the quota of any family member?]
- Do you know that the vast majority of Americans have no idea of who Amanda Knox is? For example, if you look at the number of hits on videos posted by the Knox clan on YouTube, you would discover that few hundred people have visited the site. Also, do you know that the vast majority of Americans that have heard about this case think she’s guilty?
- Do you know who Steve Moore is? As President of the of the Italy-USA Foundation, do you, Mr. Girlanda, approve the insulting assertions of Mr. Moore when he says that the Italian police questioning of Amanda is typical of a “third world country”? That is was “something close to water-boarding”? Do you know that Steve Moore said that Amanda’s accusation of Patrick Lumumba, an innocent man, was “recanted by Amanda as soon as she had gotten some food”? Do you know that this weird individual said that “the court of final appeal is going to be the press. It’s going to be the public”?
- Have you ever read or seen Steve Moore on American national television? Do you know that he has been interview by all major American television news stations, spreading falsehoods and misinformation? Do you know that Mr. Moore has been accusing Italy as a whole as been responsible for what he calls a “wrongful conviction”, in a “railroad job” by a “psychopathic prosecutor”? Do you agree with him?
- Of the crime scene, Steve Moore said that “there was blood everywhere. There were foot prints, fingerprints, palm prints, hair, fluid samples, DNA of just one person: Rudy Guede”. Do you know that Rudy Guede left very little evidence for someone who has admitted been there and touching everything? Do you know that Guede left no hairs, no saliva, no sweat, no blood, and no other bodily fluid at the scene of the crime? Do you know that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito left plenty of DNA evidence and footprints all over the crime scene? Do you know that Steve Moore is telling falsehoods? Do you know that the motivation report clearly explains, without a minimal doubt, that more than one person was present during the murder of poor Meredith? (Please do read Judge Massei’s report)
- Steve Moore says that the interrogation of Amanda Knox at the police station “was the most coercive interrogation I have ever seen admitted into a court in the last 20 years”. Do you know that the interrogation at the police station on the evening of November 5, 2007, before the arrival of the prosecutor, was just 1 hour and 45 minutes and that Amanda was treated like any other witness that had just been caught lying?
- Have you ever visited Raffaele Sollecito or Rudy Guede in jail and are you planning to write a book on them as well?
- We have just heard that the bound edition of your Amanda Knox book has been pushed by the conservative publisher at least as far away as next spring. Could this be cold feet on the part of your publisher, who may not want to be associated with the public relations campaign of a convicted killer? Or of a disaster in terms of predicted sales? Your agent Patrick King seems in a furious rush now to get the book out one way or another for Christmas .... who on earth would want to give a Christmas gift to a friend or loved one which is composed of bizarre sweet talk with a convicted murderess?
- Are you even slightly aware of the deep hurt which you have caused to the Kercher family and Meredith’s many friends with your book? Do you know that some persons with great sympathy for them have words for you like “a pretty cruel heartless bastard”?
Finally, Mr. Girlanda - and we thank you for your patience in responding to these questions, which many concerned Americans and non-Americans have helped us compile - you have indicated that the proceeds from the sale of this book will go to the U.S.A.-Italy Foundation of which you are president.
If this budget injection is not used to make gifts of additional computers for more American prisoners in Italian jails beyond Amanda Knox, would you please consider applying part of the book proceeds to the new scholarship that the Perugia city council has established together with the University for Foreigners, in memory of Meredith Kercher?
It would be a wonderful gesture which would respond positively to those many Americans and non-Americans who are concerned that Amanda Knox’s conviction for the murder of Meredith should not be spinned into a money-grubbing show-business performance, where the only victim of this case - Meredith - is forgotten, and instead through some sort of twisted publicity campaign, one of the guilty parties is converted into a sympathetic Mother Theresa who escapes fully responding for her crimes.
The original of this letter in English and Italian has been emailed and sent in hard copy to your office in Rome. We greatly look forward to your various responses and will be happy to post them in Italian and English here.
Very many thanks in advance from people all over the world who are seeking true justice for Meredith
Signed in the original for the Main Posters Of TJMK
Who include a number of American and Italian lawyers
Archived in Officially involved, Amanda Knox, Diversion efforts, Knox-Mellases, Sockpuppets, Crime hypotheses, The wider contexts, Italian context
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Thursday, May 26, 2011
Now The Grandstanding Junior Politician Girlanda Attempts Political Interference In Judicial Process
Posted by Peter Quennell
He first rose to prominence when he dragged a parliamentary team into Capanne Prison right after the trial to make sure that Amanda Knox was quite comfortable. He emerged to make grinning self-congratulatory statements in front of every camera in sight.
Then he extended this privilege of politicians being allowed to inspect prisoner conditions into many more visits to Knox in Capanne, and a distinctly kinky book of Knox’s thoughts and his reflections emerged. That time-consuming process took him extensively away from the duties which Italy actually pays him for.
He also presided over two ill-attended panels for the Italy-USA Foundation of which he is the president (see here and here) and although he seemed to try very hard to insert emotional bias into the proceedings, both the panels equivocated and he emerged essentially empty-handed.
Girlanda is notorious for seeming to be unable to grasp even the simplest details of the evidence and repeatedly mischaracterizing it. Six months ago we posted an open letter addressed to him with an extremely comprehensive series of questions to try to finally make him think straight.
Apparently no such luck.
Here is Girlanda yet again raising grave but essentially spurious questions about Italian justice in this case, which in fact has been very well handled and which Italy can show to the world with real pride.
The letter is addressed to the president of the Italian republic and a similar letter went to the minister of justice signed by a dozen Berlusconi-party MPs. Translation is kindly provided by our main poster Clander who also attended and reported on the second panel.
Girlanda’s nasty charges play strongly into the overtones of xenophobia toward Italy which have repeatedly dogged the case. Nice move, Girlanda. Mission achieved?!
The President of Italy-USA Foundation, Hon. Rocco Girlanda, sent the following letter to the President of Italian Republic, Hon. Giorgio Napolitano, regarding the case of Amanda Knox.
I address you as President of the Italy-USA Foundation - that as you know is an international bipartisan institution to which dozens of parliamentarians belong, together with Italian scientists, journalists, diplomats, politicians - and as a parliamentary member of the Judiciary Committee in the Chamber of Deputies.
The event of the American student Amanda Knox’s detainment has provoked many discussions and debates, above all in the United States where even members of Congress and other influential institutional personalities are involved. I have been working personally for over a year to try to alleviate the tensions, both in Italy and in the United States, that this case has generated.
Also, in full respect of the trial process and of the role of the judicial magistrates, we must make note that the appellate trial has objectively opened more wide and resounding doubts on what was considered clear evidence in the first phase, in which further expertise and examination of testimony were not admitted, limiting the debate in fact to the only reasons of accusation.
After all, the same president of the Court of Appeals has opened the second level of trial with an eloquent clarification: “The respect of article 533 of the Penal Procedure Code (pronunciation of sentence only if the accused is guilty of the offense contested beyond any reasonable doubt) does not consent to share totally the decision of the Criminal Court from the first level”.
The question that I ask myself is who will compensate two young twenty-year olds, in the hoped for case that the appellate trial recognizes their innocence, of the four years of life and freedom that they have been unjustly depraved and for which no economic compensation could ever reimburse.
The use of preventative incarceration will unfortunately with time characterize our country. Even in the United States such measures are difficult to comprehend in so far as the varying rules from state to state. In the U.S. one can be detained from 48 to 72 hours, after which they are officially charged or are released.
Trials like that of Perugia could be celebrated with the charged in conditions of freedom, eventually with the restrictive measures about the ex-patriot regarding a foreign citizen. Still, the magistrate has adopted the possible reiteration of the offense as a reason for the detention in jail, a motivation that I limit myself to define as surreal for those like me whom for over a year in these parts have had the chance to get to know Amanda Knox.
I have in fact felt the obligation to write a book on Amanda Knox filled with many talks that I had with her in prison, in order to bring her justice and to explain to the world’s public opinion that the true Amanda is a girl completely different from the image that, with the contributions of the media, has emerged from the trials.
All of the Penitentiary Police personnel of the prison of Perugia, that have come to know her in the past three years, have confirmed her exemplary behaviour done with respect and kindness towards all of the other detainees and towards the personnel. Amanda is a girl of which today I am proud to call a great friend. She is an ideal girl with which I would send my five children on vacation.
Yet from the beginning, this case has pointed out some of the forceful and disturbing rule of law. During the investigation, a television and internet interview was conducted with a State Police officer that showed the corridor of the Roman Police offices, where there are framed photographs of such figures like the leaders of organized crime, serial killers, and other criminals convicted with severe crimes.
The officer in question also showed some of the successes of the Central Operating Services, and right after the portrait of Bernardo Provenzano, head of the mafia, there was a framed portrait of Amanda Knox. This portrait was displayed in the State Police offices even before the first trial, and it was accompanied by very serious declarations to the press of that ruling (which has never been sanctioned) where he argues that a “psychological” investigation without the help of science and technology has, “allowed us to arrive very quickly to identify the culprits”.
Is it not necessary to recall here that according to the legal principles of our country a defendant can only be found guilty at the end of three sets of hearings by the judiciary and not at the end of police interviews. It seems indeed rather curious and disturbing that in a democratic and liberal state, despite what is required by the Code of Criminal Procedure about the need for absolute and unambiguous evidence, it is possible to judge a citizen convicted only on “psychological” bases after a police interrogation.
Through the light findings from the appeal process, the so-called evidence and testimonies of the prosecution have proved to be at best considered contradictory and unreliable. All of these distortions have occurred in the various phases of the investigation by the out of place statements from the police and during the first trial; they been widely reported and distributed throughout United States, even in talk shows with tens of million viewers.
These distortions, not without reason, are fueling accusations against the administration of justice in our country. As Martin Luther King wrote in a letter from the Birmingham, Alabama prison, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere… Justice too long delayed is justice denied”.
In this light and with the hope of a different ruling on the Amanda Knox trial taking place in Perugia, I’m well aware of the feelings you have towards the American nation and towards the excellent, historic friendship between the two countries. I would make an appeal, Mr. President, because your authoritative intervention will help to reconcile and mitigate the many controversies that this incident has generated on both sides of the Atlantic.
In expressing my deepest gratitude, to the many citizens of Italy and America that the Italy-USA Foundation is honoured to represent, I take this time to express my utmost respects.
Pro-prosecution claims on talk shows in front of tens of millions? Really? All we have noticed 24/7/365 for over three years in the US is invented and seemingly libelous anti-police and anti-prosecution charges on the lines Girlanda is making.
No mention of course of Meredith, about whom, Girlanda doesn’t seem to give a damn.
Archived in Officially involved, Amanda Knox, Diversion efforts, Knox-Mellases, Sockpuppets
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Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Andrea Vogt Obtains New Rome Embassy Cables From State, Still Showing Zero Concern About Knox
Posted by True North
The State Department released seven cables a year ago. Click above for details of the further release.
They were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. These now provide a complete overview. The new cables are as bland and routine and unconcerned about Amanda Knox as ever.
There was no smoking gun among them, as the Knox PR campaign had so very much hoped for. The State Department will never move on this case based on how Italy handled it.
Remarkably, the increasingly bitter loser “Bruce Fisher” actually draws attention to the Knox PR campaign’s big disappointing loss with these bland new cables showing Italy has handled the case just fine in the Embassy’s eyes.
The poster of the first seven cables, History Buff, had hoped they would show the Rome Embassy was really concerned about Amanda Knox’s trial and sentence. No such luck. He seems to have hidden those cables now.
We still have them here
Archived in Officially involved, Amanda Knox, Diversion efforts, Knox-Mellases, The wider contexts, American context
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Friday, April 22, 2011
Will Savive On Amanda Knox On The Witness Stand On The Afternoon Of June 12 2009 (2)
Posted by Peter Quennell
Before questioning began, Mr. Dalla Vedova and Judge Massei asked Knox if she was too tired to continue. Knox stated that she was “ok to proceed.” Judge Massei advised Knox that being fresh and lucid is important while on the stand and that if at any time she feels tired and wants to stop to say “Basta” and the court will take a short recess. Knox thanked the judge and the questioning resumed.
Mr. Dalla Vedova began with a puzzling line of questioning that didn’t seem to have a purpose, but somehow he connected the questioning to Knox’s prison diaries and how she was told that she may have had AIDS—a ploy claimed to be a plot to extract from Knox how many sexual partners that she’d had.
Dalla Vedova began by asking Knox about her family and why she decided to come to Perugia. They then began discussing a particular writing course that she had taken at Washington State University. It was unclear, at this point, where Dalla Vedova was leading with this line of questioning; though prosecutors made no objections as the questioning was virtually irrelevant to the case and was not helping her defense anyway. One would assume that prosecutors would let this continue all day.
Mr. Dalla Vedova led the questioning to Knox’s writing, which she described as a way of expressing herself. Knox claimed that she often kept a diary, even back home, as a way to “let off steam” and to “understand herself.” While in prison, Knox kept a diary up until 29 December 2007, which at that time was confiscated by prison officials and held in her dossier.
Knox testified that she was faced with the choices of surrendering her diary willfully to prison officials or they would come retrieve it with a warrant; Knox gave it wittingly. The confiscated diary was at one point analyzed by one of Britain’s top criminal psychologists, Dr. David Wilson. In the diary Knox describes that when she first arrived in prison, blood was taken from her. Later, prison officials explained to her that the results of the blood test indicated that she may have AIDS.
She claimed he asked her to write down all of the men that she had slept with up to that point, which totaled “seven men.” Knox claimed to the court that for two weeks she was made to think that she had AIDS, but in fact, they were only trying to dig-out from her how many men she had slept with in order to paint her in court as a promiscuous woman. All of this was apparently done on the sly.
Also in that diary, Knox turned on Sollecito for the first time, speculating that he could have killed Meredith and framed her. “This could have happened: Raffaele went to Meredith’s house, raped her and killed her and then, having come back home, pressed my fingerprints—I was asleep—onto the knife,” Knox wrote.
Seeing how Mr. Dalla Vedova’s questioning was leading them nowhere, the more skilled Luciano Ghirga took over the questioning. Ghirga takes Knox back to her arrival in Perugia. They briefly discuss how well her Italian has gotten since she first arrived and what languages she spoke with some of her friends and roommates in Perugia. Knox claimed that she had been spending most of her time in prison studying, which is why her Italian has improved so much over the last two years.
Knox claimed that she was currently reading Hadrian’s Memoirs by Marguerite Yourcenar; a French writer, and she was reading the Italian version. Mr. Ghirga then asked Knox to describe her relationship with her three female roommates. Knox stated that Laura was a lawyer during the day and a free-spirited guitar player at night. They often played guitar together—Knox borrowing Laura’s second guitar—and practiced yoga.
With Meredith, Knox testified that they would often discuss literature, because Meredith was always reading. Ghirga spent the next several minutes establishing the relationship between Knox and Kercher. At some point the discussion turned to Meredith’s English friends who had testified on day four of the trial.
Luciano Ghirga: Did you also get together with Meredith’s English friends?
Amanda Knox: Yes, but not much. [Laughs] Not much, because in the end, after I got a job with Patrick, we didn’t get together much, because they didn’t go to my university, they went to Meredith’s university. So we didn’t meet there, and then I wasn’t going around having fun any more, I was going to work. But that was fine.
Luciano Ghirga: But you preferred to be with Italians or foreigners?
Amanda Knox: I preferred to be with Italians, because I wanted to feel Italian, I didn’t come to Italy to feel English.
Mr. Ghirga then asked Knox what she thought about the assertions of Meredith’s English friends. The question was intercepted by Judge Massei who wanted Ghirga to be more specific with his question: the reason for this is, as Italian law prescribes, the witness (Knox in this case) is not permitted to give his or her impressions on the testimony of others.
After a brief discussion Ghirga clarified, asking Knox what she thought of the assertions of the girls that there was friction between Knox and Kercher towards the end. Knox disagreed with these assertions, claiming that for her there was no friction in the house.
According to Knox, the reason why she hadn’t been hanging around with Meredith towards the end was because she was working at Le Chic and had no time to go out and socialize. Ghirga asked Knox if she had been aware of any “candeggina” (“bleach”) in the cottage at the time of the murder. “I didn’t know if there was any there, in the house,” Knox replied.
Knox stated in her testimony (which was confirmed by her cell phone records) that she had asked Meredith via text messaging to meet up with her on Halloween night. Oddly, Knox testified that she had met a male friend (not Sollecito) at Merlin’s Pub, but she did not go inside the pub. Meredith was at this pub with friends and Knox met the boy outside as he exited the pub, but she did not go inside to speak to Meredith.
Knox alluded that she did not know that Meredith was inside the bar, and that she only knew that Meredith had gone to dinner with friends. This may have been because Meredith had not replied to the last two text messages sent by Knox. Maybe there was a reason why Meredith did not want Knox to know where she was going for the evening? In any event, it was well known that Merlin’s Pub was Meredith’s favorite bar in the area and that she often frequented that establishment.
Mr. Ghirga then takes Knox back to the night of 1 November 2007. There was nothing new that came out of this questioning, just reiteration of information that had already been said. One can wonder what the good lawyer was trying to accomplish by this line of questioning. In fact, Ghirga was trying to go through the day of November 1st with Knox, but she could not remember the times that any of the events had occurred.
As Ghirga prodded into the day’s events, he made several suggestions—leading the witness. This was met by objections from Francesco Maresca. There was, however, one interesting piece of testimony to come out of this exchange; one that did not necessarily help the defense. Ghirga asked Knox if she usually turned her phone off at night. Knox responded, “Not usually, because I use it as a clock, an alarm clock, so usually I don’t, but on that night I did.”
Ghirga wisely left that response alone and moved on to November 2nd, but again there was nothing new or helpful to her defense. At several points during Ghirga’s questioning of Knox, it seemed as if he hadn’t ever met with her before. Usually in criminal cases such as this, the suspect’s lawyer will rehearse the questions with the defendant or at least ask questions that he is aware that his client can answer. Yet, as the questioning continued it became evident that this was not a well thought-out interview.
Mr. Ghirga then requested the judge’s permission to play the court an audio taped conversation between Amanda and Filomena on 5 November 2007, at 10:29p.m. The call—which originated from Knox’s phone—was intercepted by police. T
The two spoke mostly in Italian, then at one point Filomena switched to speaking English. Her English was hard to understand. Ghirga stopped the tape periodically to ask Knox a question or two then restarted the tape. At the time of the call Knox was in the police station.
Knox had gone with Sollecito to the police station and she was waiting by the elevators for him to reappear. During the call Filomena asks Knox her whereabouts. Knox responds, “At the police station.” Filomena seems surprised and asks, “So you’re there again today?”
The reason for the call was apparently to discuss where they were going to live. The remaining roommates (Laura and Filomena) were trying to get out of the contract with the agency that they had rented the cottage from and find another place. Filomena informed Knox that she had an appointment the following day (November 6th) with that agency to discuss the situation.
Again, the purpose of Ghirga playing the call was unclear, other than to show that Knox’s main preoccupation was where she was going to be living-out the rest of her days in Perugia. Following the ending of the conversation, Ghirga discusses why neither Knox nor her family were concerned about the continued questioning by police.
Luciano Ghirga: I see. So, in all these days, following the discovery of the body, did you ever think about turning to the American Embassy, or to a lawyer?
Amanda Knox: No.
Luciano Ghirga: Because they were calling you every day to the Questura.
Amanda Knox: No, no. More than anything, I thought they wanted to talk to me so much because I was the closest person to Meredith in the house. And then, I was the person who went back to the house and found the mess. I never thought I needed a lawyer or to talk to the Ambassador, because I thought, okay, I’ll just answer a couple of questions, and then I can get on with my life, I don’t know. And I still had to orient myself in the world around me; I never even thought of contacting someone like a lawyer.
Luciano Ghirga: And the fact that you were being called every day to the Questura, didn’t that worry you and your family?
Amanda Knox: [Sigh] For me, I didn’t understand why, but I really never, never thought that they suspected me; never.
Luciano Ghirga: When they arrested you, did they tell you why? When they put the handcuffs on your wrists, on the morning of the 6th?
Amanda Knox: If they told me, I didn’t understand it. Because in the end, when I found myself—
Luciano Ghirga: And what did you think, when they put the handcuffs on you?
Amanda Knox: I was surprised. I thought—they told me “Come on, it’s just for a couple of days, because we’re protecting you,” so I said “All right, fine, but actually, you’re not even listening to me.” And then in those following days, when I was like ah—when I was alone in the cell, in those days, I was suddenly brought in front of the judge, with two lawyers, and they said “Ah, you are accused of murdering Meredith,” and I just stood there with my mouth open with everybody staring at me like “Hmmm.”
Luciano Ghirga: On the morning of the 6th, you didn’t understand why they were arresting you.
Amanda Knox: No. No. I—they—I thought that, as I had understood from them, that it was a formality that they had to do because there was some testimony that I had been near the scene of the crime or something like that.
Luciano Ghirga: But in the days that you spent in prison before that, before you met the undersigned lawyer Ghirga, what were you thinking during those days? What did you think was happening?
Amanda Knox: In those days, I only wanted to clarify the things that I hadn’t understood before, those images that I had imagined, that contradicted the reality that I remembered. This was my main preoccupation. For me, those days were a big moment of crying and confusion, and fear, and cold. Really, it was freezing.
Mr. Ghirga then requests that the remainder of the defenses’ questioning be suspended until the following day because he sensed that Knox was getting tired. Judge Massei denied the request, citing that the following days proceedings were scheduled for cross-examination by the prosecution.
Knox’s defense had squandered precious time on irrelevant issues, and now they were feeling the pressure. Perhaps it was just that Knox didn’t really have much to offer in the way of her defense.
A discussion ensued, and Judge Massei conceded that he would allot time the next day—only in the morning—for the defense to continue if need be. In the meantime, Judge Massei ordered a ten-minute break.
The questioning recommenced at 5:16p.m., with Carlo Dalla Vedova again taking the floor. Dalla Vedova began by bringing Knox back to the 17 December 2007 interrogation. Conducting the seven hour interrogation was the public prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini.
Knox recalls that she had an interpreter—Australian born Giulia Clemish. Knox explained that she was quite frustrated with her because she was not a very good interpreter and this led to much confusion. Dalla Vedova interjected that they had to get a different interpreter to translate the translator.
Dalla Vedova then asks about how she got the nickname “Foxy Knoxy.” Knox explains that the nickname came out of the fact that she was a defender in soccer and that it also rhymed with her name, “fox,” “Knox.”
Alessandro Clericuzzio, the interpreter responsible for retranslating the whole December 17th interrogation, translated “Foxy Knoxy” to “Mean Fox.” Mr. Dalla Vedova was clearly trying to demonstrate how the phrase “Lost in translation” had applied to this situation, which then shows that this could have applied to things Knox had said during other interrogations.
Knox was asked if she knew that Meredith had taken out money prior to her death. Knox said she did not, and then she corrected herself. “Wait, one time she told this thing to Filomena that she could already give her the money and Filomena said no, let’s wait a little, but I didn’t know if she carried it around in her wallet or left it at home.”
As Knox indicated in earlier testimony, this conversation was in regard to the rent for November 2007, so Knox did have prior Knowledge to the fact that Kercher had already taken out money to pay the rent.
The final discussion of the day centered around Knox’s cell phone discussions with Filomena on the day that Meredith’s body was discovered. The final discussion also touched upon the time between when Knox first arrived at the cottage and when the first officers arrived.
Judge Massei took over the questioning at one point on the matter to get clarification on Knox’s story. His questioning continued for several minutes. Judge Massei asked Knox whether she knew if anyone was home the first time she claimed to arrive at the cottage on the morning of 2 November 2007 (allegedly after leaving Sollecito’s flat in the morning and returning to the cottage).
Knox told the court that she had called out the names, Filomena and Meredith, thinking that maybe they were home. She said that she knew Filomena was going to a party the previous night and she wasn’t sure if she had returned home by then or not. The brief segment that followed was just a reiteration of prior testimony, with Carlo Dalla Vedova retaking command of the floor.
At the conclusion of the defenses’ questioning of the witness, Judge Massei asked the prosecution if they wanted to begin their cross-examination. The prosecution seemed eager to get to questioning with Manuela Comodi saying, “We can start now or we can start tomorrow.”
Judge Massei asked Knox if she could continue, but Knox asked if questioning could be suspended for the day as she was tired. There was no doubt that the day had been long, drawn-out, and grueling for all present—particularly Knox. Realizing this, Judge Massei suspended the proceedings, announcing that they would continue the following morning at 9:00.
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Saturday, April 16, 2011
Will Savive On Amanda Knox On The Witness Stand On The Afternoon Of June 12 2009 (1)
Posted by Peter Quennell
The afternoon session began at exactly 1:38p.m., as declared by the presiding judge, Giancarlo Massei, who called Knox’s defense team for further examination. Knox took the stand again as her lawyer, Luciano Ghirga, stepped forward to begin his questioning.
Mr. Ghirga began by asking Knox the last time that she saw Meredith alive. Knox began by reiterating her previous version: which began around noon on November 1st, just before Meredith went to Robyn Butterworth’s apartment. This time, her answers were clear and concise. Knox further explained her first meeting with Raffaele Sollecito, the configuration of the living arrangements at the cottage (including who lived there with her and Meredith), and how the rent was paid.
Ghirga then began discussing Knox’s relationship with Meredith, trying to establish that there was no problem between them. Knox claimed that she and Meredith were close friends, but she did mention briefly that Meredith had expressed her discontent over her [Knox’s] cleaning habits; although she made excuses and downplayed the discussion. Knox snickered a bit and claimed that she “wasn’t the cleanest person in the house,” speaking of herself.
Going further into the night of the murder, Knox testified that she and Sollecito read a bit of the book Harry Potter, listened to music, watched the movie Amelie, and then ate a fish dinner around 9:30-10:00p.m. After dinner Knox told the court that Sollecito began doing the dishes. It was then that Knox claims that the sink began leaking water all over the floor. Sollecito was “displeased” she said, because he had recently had the sink fixed.
Sollecito didn’t have a mop, so they found some rags and let the water soak in, and Knox told him that she would go and get the mop she had at the cottage in the morning and bring it back to his place to clean the mess. Once that was determined, Knox says that they went into his room and smoked a joint (marijuana cigarette). After that she said that they had sex and then fell asleep.
From there Ghirga stepped back a few hours to the text message from Lumumba.
Knox said that she received his message “just before or right after” the movie had started. Knox claimed that she was so excited that she didn’t have to go into work that night that she jumped into Sollecito’s arms and screamed, “Woo!” Knox then reiterated her previous version in which she woke up the next morning around 10:00-10:30a.m etc (similar version in her November 4, 2007, email to family and friends).
Knox claims that they had plans to go to Gubbio, so she left his flat, went home to take a shower, and return to Raffale’s so that they could go to Gubbio. After noticing the blood in the bathroom and taking a shower, she returned to Sollecito’s flat.
There, Knox claims that they cleaned the floor in his apartment with the mop she retrieved from the cottage, and then ate breakfast and had coffee at Sollecito’s apartment. Knox then proceeded to testify that she called Meredith’s phone first, then she called Filomena, both from Sollecito’s apartment.
This varies from her 4 November 2007, email to family and friends, because in that email she wrote that she called Filomena first, and then Meredith. Also during her testimony, Knox never mentions running outside and banging on a neighbor’s door, which she writes about in her November 4th email.
Before the breaking of the door into Meredith’s room, Knox testified, “Yes, because I told them, look, the door is locked, and Filomena was going ‘Mamma Mia, it’s never locked, it’s never locked,’ and I said no, it’s not true that it’s never locked, but it is strange.” Knox testified that when Meredith’s door was broken down she was near the entrance.
Yet in her 4 November 2007, email to family and friends she claimed that she was “in the kitchen, having really done my part for the situation.” It also contradicts all other versions of those who were there at the time who claim that Knox was in the kitchen when the door was kicked-in.
Knox also claims that while in the car with Paola and her boyfriend, on the way to the police station, they informed her and Sollecito that Meredith’s throat had been cut. This statement is suspect, however, as Paola testified that because of the “penumbra” (or “lack of light”) in the room, only a foot could be seen, no blood or anything else.
Knox claims that after she was told that Meredith’s throat was cut she cried. According to Luca and Paola’s testimony, Knox did cry in the car, and they also testified that they told Sollecito and Knox what they knew about how Meredith had died before they had gotten to the police station.
The questioning then switched to 4 November 2007 questioning when Knox was brought back to the crime scene.
Knox explained that the police requested her presence at the police station. Knox testified that she had requested to meet them at the cottage, but police asked her to meet them at the station first. She was driven there by Sollecito and the police then took her over to the cottage.
To her surprise, her other roommates, Laura and Filomena, were there; but they arrived without a police escort. Knox then briefly discussed her mental breakdown at the cottage when she was shown the knives. She claimed that she was very scared when shown the knives and that she was in shock; she claimed that she was just beginning to understand what exactly had happened there.
Luciano Ghirga then shifted questioning to what Knox had told police on November 4th about a man nicknamed “Shaky.”
On that date police had asked Knox to remember if there were any males who had visited the cottage that seemed like they could be dangerous. She could only think of one man who had made a bad impression on her since she had been in Perugia and his name was Shaky. Knox said that they called him Shaky because of the way he danced.
Amanda Knox: one time I had a, he [Shaky] went for example to the place where I worked, at the time when I was supposed to go home, it was very late, and he offered me a ride home on his motorbike. But during the ride, he insisted that I go have some dessert with him, and I said, “Look, I really want to go home,” and he said “No, look, I’m giving you a ride, a bit of dessert is nothing,” and he took me to have it, and then he took me to his house, which to me…
I kept telling him again and again, “Look, I really want to go home, it’s really late, I’m really tired,” and he kept saying “No, no, relax, relax, come on, sit down on my bed, relax, make yourself comfortable.” I said “No, look, take me home.”
So he finally brought me home, and that was it, but it left me with an ugly impression because I thought he wanted to somehow try something, and he was the only person that had made an impression of strangeness on me, like he had intentions that were different from what I wanted. So he made that impression on me, but that’s all, because everybody else I met was nice.
Mr. Ghirga then switched question back to the November 4th, when police brought Knox to the cottage.
Mr. Ghirga asked Knox what conversations there were between her, Laura, and Filomena. Knox said that they discussed how stunned they were about what had happened, why nothing was stolen during the break-in, and the overall situation that had transpired thus far. Knox said that they also discussed future living arrangements, as the girls were staying with friends and Knox was staying with Sollecito.
On that day the three girls were talking about possibly moving-in together at a different location. Mr. Ghirga then said that he wanted to ask Knox about the evenings of the 5th and 6th, but he was cut-short by Judge Massei, who suspended the proceedings. The time was 2:30p.m., and judge Massei announced that they would have a break in the action and reconvene at 3:00p.m.
The trial picked-up again at 3:00p.m. Judge Massei called for silence and Luciano Ghirga resumed questioning. As Ghirga began to speak crowd noise could still be heard. Judge Massei again called for silence and Ghirga repeated his question, asking Knox about when she first came to Italy.
Amanda Knox had first moved into the cottage in Perugia in late September of 2007. She had previously been in Germany at her aunt’s house with her sister Deanna, and both Amanda and Deanna had gone straight to Italy afterwards.
Ghirga then asked Knox how many piercings that she had in her ear, as he pointed out that he counted eight on the left ear and four on the right ear; Knox agreed. It had appeared as though Mr. Ghirga was going to try to establish that the blood found at the scene of the crime that belonged to Knox came from the piercings. Yet, without warning, Ghirga said that he had exhausted the topic and went back to Knox’s interrogation on 5 November 2007.
Mr. Ghirga then asked Knox about her allegations that she was struck in the head by police:
Amanda Knox: So, during the interrogation, people were standing all around me, in front of me, behind me, one person was screaming at me from here [she points in front of her], another person was shouting ‘No no no, maybe you just don’t remember’ from over there [points to her left], other people were yelling other things, and a policewoman behind me did this to me [Knox mimics the sound of two whacks to the back of her head].
Luciano Ghirga: Once, twice?
Amanda Knox: Twice. The first time she did this, I turned around to her, and she did it again.
Luciano Ghirga: I wanted to know this precise detail.
Amanda Knox: Yes.
Luciano Ghirga: After all that, that whole conversation, that you told us about, and you had a crying crisis, did they bring you some tea, coffee, some cakes, something? When was that exactly?
Amanda Knox: They brought me things only after I had made some declarations. So, I was there, they were all screaming at me, I only wanted to leave because I was thinking that my mother was arriving, and I said look, can I have my telephone, because I want to call my mom. They said no, and there was this big mess with them shouting at me, threatening me, and it was only after I made declarations that they started saying “No, no, don’t worry, we’ll protect you,” and that’s how it happened.
Ironically, just moths earlier — at Rudy Guede’s trial — Luciano Ghirga undermined and contradicted his own client’s (Knox’s) story when he said, “There were pressures from the police but we never said she was hit.”
Knox then recalls being brought several papers to sign: arrest warrant, declarations, etc. She claimed that she wasn’t sure what the papers were, and that she just signed everything because she wanted to go home. However, these papers were brought to her after she had been informed that she was under arrest, which she doesn’t make reference to during this exchange.
After repeated questioning about her unpleasant interrogation—in an effort to show that she made the confessions out of exhaustion, intimidation, and miscommunication—Knox claimed to have asked for a piece of paper and a pen so that police could be sure that they understood her. “Look, I’ll give you a present,” Knox claims to have told police, as she lets out a small laugh.
Knox then speaks about the second letter which she wrote when she was first taken to jail.
Amanda Knox: So in prison I again asked for paper, because that’s how I’m used to expressing myself, the way I succeed best, also to organize my thoughts, I needed to write them down. I needed to reorganize all my thoughts, because at that point I was still confused, I still had these images in my memory that finally I understood were a mixture of real images in my memory from other days mixed with imagination. So I needed those pieces of paper, so I could take everything and put it in order.
Knox’s answer even seemed to confuse Ghirga, who responded by saying, “All right, I’ve finished the subject of the night in the Questura.”
Knox testified that she lost track of the hours and was unsure of any of the times involved. That is quite common when a suspect is initially confined. There had been some confusion after the murder as to why Knox did not leave the country when she had the chance. Knox claims that she had worked hard to get to Perugia and that she wanted to stay and finish her studies. However, she also said that she asked police if she could leave the country and they said “No.”
Mr. Ghirga then attempted to clear-up the statement made by Knox (on November 17th of 2007), which she made to her mother and father. The calls were from prison and were recorded by police.
There was a long pause as Ghirga flipped through the transcript of the calls and found the quote on page eight. Once he found the page, he read Knox’s comments aloud to the court. Knox said to her mother and father, “I was there. I can’t lie about this. I’m not scared of the truth. It would be stupid to lie about this because I know I was there.” Knox responded by claiming that when she said, “I was there,” she meant that she was at Sollecito’s flat during the murder, not at the cottage.
Mr. Ghirga then pulled out a letter that was written by Knox on 9 November 2007, which was addressed to him; Ghirga claimed to have received it on November 12th. In the letter Knox writes in English that she “felt upset about mentioning Patrick Lumumba’s name.” The letter was not known at the time by any other party and that along with the fact that it was written in English and transcribed into Italian by Knox’s other lawyer, Carlo Dalla Vedova, brought an objection by Prosecutor Manuela Comodi.
A small argument ensued over the translation of the letter from English to Italian. Prosecutor Comodi stated that she did not trust that the translation was accurate. Judge Massei settled the argument by letting the interpreter, who was there translating for Knox, translate the two lines in the letter that Mr. Ghirga was referring to.
After Ghirga had established that Knox had informed him that she was upset about falsely accusing Patrick Lumumba—which slightly clarified an earlier question posed by Lumumba’s lawyer—he then switched questioning to the morning after the murder.
Mr. Ghirga wanted to establish that Knox was not at the Conad Store on Sollecito’s street at 7:45a.m., the morning after the murder. These statements were made earlier in the trial by Mr. Quintavalle, who owned the store, and had testified that Knox was in his store at that time.
Knox denied being at the store at that time or on that day. She did admit to being in the store a couple of times on other occasions, but with Sollecito—never alone. Knox also denied ever owning a red coat or anything resembling a red coat, which Mr. Gioffredi had testified that she was wearing when he saw her.
The last questions from Mr. Ghirga were regarding the scratch on Knox’s neck, which was clearly visible in a picture of Knox outside the cottage just after Kercher’s body was discovered. As indicated by prior testimony, the scratch was also seen by two others who had testified to its presence. Knox told the court that it was a hicky from Sollecito.
In the background, Kercher family lawyer, Francesco Maresca, called out, “Is it a scratch from Meredith?” Knox responded, “A hickey from Raffaele.” With that, Mr. Ghirga said, “For now, I’ve finished,” and he took his seat.
From The Study Abroad Murder by Will Savive
Archived in Officially involved, Amanda Knox, The trials, RS + AK trial
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Sunday, April 10, 2011
Will Savive On Amanda Knox On The Witness Stand On The Morning of June 12 2009
Posted by Peter Quennell
Unlike Sollecito, who has exercised his right to silence, Amanda Knox had volunteered to take the stand. As we have seen, the Italian justice system has several differences from that of the United States Justice system. One of those differences is that in an Italian trial witnesses must swear to tell the truth. However, defendants do not.
Defendants can also interrupt the questioning at anytime or even choose not to answer certain questions, in theory of course, though in practice it would be a bad move (incriminating) if a defendant chose not to answer. One of Knox’s lawyers, Luciano Ghirga, told reporters a week earlier that Knox would be answering all of the prosecution’s questions.
Knox’s defense team, however, would offer-up objection after objection on even the simplest questions, and this came on the day that was scheduled just for defense questioning (aside from Patrick Lumumba’s lawyer). Every time Knox was caught in a contradiction, a fight would break-out between defense and prosecution. Knox’s vague answers along with her lawyer’s objections distracted lawyers and made it very hard for them to extract anything substantial out of her.
It was apparent early on that this was going to be a long drawn-out examination with nothing substantial provided toward her defense. Not only was Knox vague, but she seemed annoyed and not necessarily eager to tell her story; even using sarcasm on a few occasions and snapping at prosecutors. In the end, her testimony hurt her more than it helped her, because it did not help clear up her whereabouts at the time of the murder, and it lent to the notion that she was lying….
The schedule for the day was going to be questioning from her own defense team, along with questioning from Patrick Lumumba’s lawyer, Carlo Pacelli. Knox entered the courtroom with her hair tied back with a light-blue scrunchy, a white short sleeve collared top, pale trousers, and what appeared to be a large cold sore on her upper lip. She looked tired and pale as she took her seat, and looked around nervously as reporters jockeyed for position at the back of the courtroom.
The beginning of the session was held up a bit as Judge Massei discussed with lawyers whether to allow cameras in the courtroom. The final decision was to exclude cameras, allowing cameras to roll during only the first 20 minutes of Knox’s testimony. Questioning began with Carlo Pacelli, who would get the first crack at Knox as part of Lumumba’s civil lawsuit. Seated immediately to Knox’s left was a heavy-set, brunette interpreter. Knox understood most questions that were thrown at her and the interpreter mostly translated to the court what Knox was saying as opposed to what Knox was being asked by Italian litigators.
Mr. Pacelli started by asking Knox if she knew Rudy Guede. Knox admitted meeting Guede before the murder, claiming that she met him while she was mingling with the boys that lived in the apartment underneath her. Knox said that they were in the center, near the church, when the boys introduced her to Guede. On that occasion, Knox says that she spent most of her time with Meredith, as they all (including Guede) went back to the cottage and had a party on the first floor. This party apparently took place in mid-October of 2007, a little more than a month before the murder. Knox also admitted seeing Guede at Le Chic (Lumumba’s restaurant) at least once.
Knox said that at the party she and others smoked a “spinello” (“marijuana joint”). Pacelli then focused on Knox’s relationship with Lumumba. Knox testified that Lumumba never mistreated her, always treated her with respect, their relationship was good, and she was not scared of him. Mr. Pacelli then brought Knox back to the night of the murder, asking her if she knew what time it was when Lumumba sent her the first text message on 1 November 2007. Knox said “around 8:15-8:30p.m.”
When asked, “When you answered Patrick’s message, where were you?”
Knox replied, “In the apartment of Raffaele, I think, yes.” Pacelli indicated that Knox answered the message 25 minutes later from another location. “It seems from cell pings that you were out of the house when you answered, in the center. Where were you?” asked Pacelli. This question was met by a stream of objections and a heated discussion between defense and prosecution. When the dust cleared Knox stated that she was at Sollecito’s apartment when she responded to the message.
Knox had deleted all received text messages on her cell phone at some point after receiving the last message from Lumumba. Knox claimed that this was because she had limited space on her cell. When asked why she did not delete the text messages that she sent, she answered very sarcastically, “I’m not a technical genius, so I only know how to delete the ones that I receive when I get them.” Knox told the court that she didn’t have an appointment to meet Lumumba at the basketball court on the night of the murder.
When asked why she wrote in her statement to police that she met him at the court that night, Knox responded, “It was a complicated situation. I can explain it if you want me to go into it.” Knox then proceeded to explain her version of what occurred and why she wrote what she did in the spontaneous letter to police after her arrest. She proceeded to explain what she claimed was a long grueling interrogation where police began asking the same questions over and over.
Then, in a long, drawn-out, drab tone that only an American could understand (due to the prosodic — rhythmic, intonational aspect of human speech — nature of the tone), Knox said that they kept asking her questions such as “w-h-o k-i-l-l-e-d M-e-r-e-d-i-t-h,” that sounded as if she was down-playing the question, because she had heard it so many times. Knox began to show several glimpses into the bizarre behavior that was previously testified to by others.
Although it may sound trivial, the response was strange; and coupled with the multiple accounts her of odd behavior, it only added to the quandary. During this monologue, Knox stated that police called her a “stupid liar,” several times when she asserted that she had been at Sollecito’s flat all night. Knox then quoted her interpreter during the interrogation, claiming that she had said that Knox was “traumatized and couldn’t remember the truth.”
Knox then continued with her confusing explanation of what happened during her interrogation/arrest:
So what ended up happening was that they told me to try to remember what I apparently, according to them, had forgotten. Under the amount of pressure of everyone yelling at me, and having them tell me that they were going to put me in prison for protecting somebody, that I wasn’t protecting, that I couldn’t remember, I tried to imagine that in some way they must have had, it was very difficult, because when I was there, at a certain point, I just, I couldn’t understand why they were so sure that I was the one who knew everything.
And so, in my confusion, I started to imagine that maybe I was traumatized, like what they said. They continued to say that I had met somebody, and they continued to put so much emphasis on this message that I had received from Patrick, and so I almost was convinced that I had met him. But I was confused.
The next few questions were met with objections by Knox’s lawyer, Carlo Dalla Vedova, and banter between he, the judge, and Pacelli. More objections came when Pacelli asked Knox why she claimed to hear Meredith scream, with now several different lawyers arguing and trying to plead to the judge their reasons why the question should or should not be answered. The argument centered on what was and was not admissible according to the Supreme Court decision at the beginning of trial. Judge Massei then declared that they would take a short recess and he would consult with the lawyers in private on the matter.
When they returned, Judge Massei overruled the objections and stated that the question is permitted because it comes from Knox’s spontaneous statement, which was ruled as admissible during the first week of trial. Knox then switched to speaking Italian upon Judge Massei’s approval. Finally, Knox was able to answer the question, which she replied, “No,” I did not hear Meredith scream.
The following sequence occurred next:
Carlo Pacelli: In the interrogation of November 6, 2007, at 5:45, you declared that before she died, you heard Meredith scream. How could you know that Meredith screamed before she was killed? Who told you?
Knox: So when I was with the police, they asked if I heard Meredith’s scream. I said no. They said “But if you were there, how could you not hear her scream? If you were there?” I said “Look, I don’t know, maybe I had my ears covered.” So they said “Fine, we’ll write that down. Fine.”
Carlo Pacelli: [louder] But I can tell you that on November 6, the police did not know that Meredith screamed before she died, so why would they suggest it to you?
Knox: I imagine that maybe they were imagining how it might have been.
Knox asserted that police were not telling her what to say but suggesting paths of thought. “I kept following their suggestions,” Knox stated. “They asked me if I was in her room when she was killed. I said no. They said but where were you? I said I don’t know. They said, maybe you were in the kitchen. I said, fine.”
Knox testified that she went to the police station with Sollecito the night that they were arrested because she was scared and didn’t want to be alone. She verified that she was not called-into the station that night. Knox also confirmed that the spontaneous statement that she made was her idea, and not the result of pressure from police. Knox said that she asked for a piece of paper and a pen, and that she wrote it to explain her confusion to the police.
Knox then said several times that while at the police station after her arrest she “really wasn’t sure” what had happened on the night of Kercher’s murder. Knox told the court that she gave the written statement to the police freely, voluntarily, and that police did not suggest the content nor pressure her into writing the statement.
The following sequence occurred next:
Carlo Pacelli: Listen, in this memorandum, you say that you confirm the declarations you made the night before about what might have happened at your house with Patrick. Why did you freely and spontaneously confirm these declarations?
Knox: Because I was no longer sure what was my imagination and what was real. So I wanted to say that I was confused, and that I couldn’t know. But at the same time, I knew I had signed those declarations. So I wanted to say that I knew I had made those declarations, but I was confused and not sure.
Carlo Pacelli: But in fact, you were sure that Patrick was innocent?
Knox: No, I wasn’t sure.
Carlo Pacelli: Why?
Knox: Because I was confused! I imagined that it might have happened. I was confused.
Then the questioning turned to when Knox realized that Patrick Lumumba was innocent. Several fights and objections broke out over this line of questioning. The defense seemed to know that Pacelli was onto something and they were trying at all ends to block him or throw him off. Pacelli explained that in Knox’s 7 November 2007, memorandum, Knox wrote, “I didn’t lie when I said the murderer might be Patrick.”
However, Pacelli said that during a phone call with her mother on November 10th (three days later) Knox stated that she felt horrible because she (Knox) got him [Lumumba] put in prison and she knew he was innocent. Knox, then speaking like a politician, led Pacelli -and even the judge - around in circles; not giving a straight answer to the question: when did you inform police that Patrick Lumumba was not the killer?
Pacelli was trying to show that Knox had written that Lumumba was the killer on the 7th, told her mother that Lumumba was innocent on the 10th, but never informed the police at anytime after the 10th that Lumumba was innocent. He was subsequently released three weeks after his arrest, and at no time during the three weeks did Knox inform police that she falsely accused Lumumba. Knox’s final reply on the matter was, “I had explained the situation to my lawyers, and I had told them what I knew, which was that I didn’t know who the murderer was.”
So, Knox never really did answer the question why she never informed anyone - besides her mother on November 10th - that Patrick Lumumba was not the murderer. This was important because Pacelli already knew what Knox’s mother had told investigators about the call and what the basis of her testimony would be. Pacelli knew that her mother’s testimony was coming up the following week, and he wanted to get Amanda’s version on the record knowing that her mother would clarify and contradict - or at least not help - her (Amanda’s) story. Knox also revealed that she never actually said she was sorry to Patrick for her false accusations that put him behind bars for three weeks.
With that, Carlo Pacelli ended his questioning. Judge Massei then announced a break in the action and that the court would reconvene at 1:30p.m.
From The Study Abroad Murder by Will Savive
[Below: Falsely accused Patrick Lumumba and his lawyer Carlo Pacelli]
Archived in Officially involved, Amanda Knox, Public evidence, RS + AK alibis, The trials, RS + AK trial
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Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Amanda Knox To Be In Court In Perugia Tomorrow In Hearing About Stopping The Lifetime TV Film
Posted by Peter Quennell
Past posts on this mixed bag of a TV movie can be found here.
Late February Amanda Knox’s lawyers filed suit in Perugia to stop the airing of the movie (so far aired maybe half a dozen times in the US) and Raffaele’s Sollecito’s lawyers filed suit in Perugia and (or so they say - we can find no court record) also in New York.
The Perugia judge at the first hearing took a pretty relaxed view of the urgency of the matter and so it is only now that legal teams for Lifetime and Amanda Knox will face one another in court. The suit claims that the movie “violates the reputation” of Amanda Knox.
Very substantial payment for damages has been requested. If the New York suit also proceeds (unlikely as US law is not exactly favorable) the total asked appears to amount, converted from Euros, to over two hundred million dollars to compensate for sullied reputations.
As this is not Sollecito’s team’s suit, this is about the first time that one appellant will appear in court without the other. No word at all yet on the constitution of Lifetime’s legal team.
Archived in Officially involved, Amanda Knox, Crime hypotheses, The trials, The wider contexts, Movies on case, Media news, Associated trials
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Saturday, March 05, 2011
Thoughts On Meredith’s Tragic Case And Its Significance In The Bigger Scheme Of Things
Posted by Saskia van der Elst
As one of the regular commentators on this forum once pointed out, the question we all are trying to answer regarding the pointless murder of the talented and beautiful Meredith Kercher in Perugia is: What is it, that keeps on drawing us to this case?
We all have our own reasons. According to me, a murder case seldom has so much in common with an old school murder mystery, or ¨whodunnit¨. A victim that you instantly sympathize with, several suspects, each with their own particular background, ethnic origin and possible motives, a tragic event taking place on the day of the Death, a charismatic prosecutor, who himself is the center of some controversy, and all of this set in the stunningly beautiful medieval hilltop town of Perugia, with its two universities, its relatively small population and its many temporary residents, studying and partying in the small town center.
All are ingredients for a captivating story: a small universe, that can easily be explained to an outsider and once you heard the beginning of the story, you crave more. More information, more depth, more color. For those that have a normal, healthy brain, there comes a point in any murder mystery where you are convinced of the guilt of one or more of the characters in the story and as you near the end of the story, there might be an unexpected twist, but you can rest assured that you will find out who did it.
Of course, in real life stories don´t follow formulas, most of the time they don´t have a definitive ending and in the case of the murder of Meredith, the book is not closed. The three perpetrators of the crime have been convicted to a total of 67 years in jail between the three of them, but all three maintain their innocence. We all know that three cannot keep a secret, so it is a matter of time until one of them reveals more about the exact events that took place on the 2nd of November in 2007.
Each of the three perpetrators will go through a process of maturing in prison. Once they feel they have paid a significant price for their crime, they may realize the graveness of they crime and realize that they made bad decisions in their past. Not until that moment, they can find redemption and may feel the need to let the world know that they have changed as a person. All three perpetrators were immature in their own way when they committed their crime, so it might take a while for them to mature enough to be able to face reality.
Rudy might be the first one to reach that point, since he is more or less an orphan, with no controlling relatives, friends and others with vested interests in the lies that have masked the truth. Nobody will lose face if he decides to confess his participation in the crime. The same thing, but to a lesser degree, is true for Raffaele. Since he never even cared about clarifying all inconsistencies in his stories, he implicitly has already admitted his involvement. He too, doesn´t affect many people if he opens up and gets clean. The only close relatives he has are his father and sister and they have not publicly expressed a strong believe in his innocence.
Amanda is in a much more difficult position, because of the amount of people that was mobilized to defend her. By now she has been the income generator for quite some people and although nobody envies her parents, they have a clear mission, that keeps them occupied and that gives their lives meaning. The moment Amanda would confess her involvement, the parents would be forced to exchange the “free my innocent daughter” banner for one that reads “I raised a murderess that is serving two and a half decades in a foreign prison”.
On top of the above, the process of coming clean might be a slow one, because all three suffer from uncertainty about how the other two are doing. That uncertainty might cause postponing the advance, until they are forced to speak up, because one of the others did so first.
The result for those that are following the case is that we know we don´t have all information yet and for us to fill in all the blanks and be able to understand what exactly has happened to Meredith we need that information. Until we have it, we cannot accept the story as is as it leaves us unsatisfied. Of course we are talking about a true story here and not about a work of fiction, but for the rational part of our minds that doesn´t make a difference.
Archived in Officially involved, Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito, Rudy Guede, Psychology and motive, On psychology, Pondering motive, The wider contexts, Italian context, American context
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Monday, February 28, 2011
Andrea Vogt: Supreme Court Report Highlights Amanda Knox Mention To Mom She Was There
Posted by Peter Quennell
Andrea Vogt in the Seattle PI translates from the Cassation Report described in our two previous posts.
A sentencing report just released by the highest Italian appeals court sheds new light on why so many Italian judges have maintained Amanda Knox was involved in her roommate’s murder.
The document, among others, cites a conversation Knox had with her parents while under surveillance during a prison visit in which she said “I was there,” apparently referring to the night of the murder.
Amanda Kox’s remark was recorded at Capanne Prison and was long public knowledge, but that the Supreme Court listed it among other evidence of involvement in this report is significant. The report summarises what is the evidence against all three, especially that against Rudy Guede.
The court…said that based on the 43 wounds to Kercher’s body (and the time it would take to inflict them) that it was… probable that Guede and two others forcibly held Kercher down, threatened, taunted and eventually fatally stabbed her.
The Court’s quoted language is extremely hard and gives a sense that the judges were appalled. The Court’s report has been out in Italy for over four days now - but the Seattle PI’s is the first extensive US or UK media summary.
The US and UK media have a pretty consistent habit of ignoring these inconvenient reports.
Archived in Officially involved, Amanda Knox, Victims family, Diversion efforts, Knox-Mellases, Public evidence, Cellphone activity, The appeals, Hellmann appeal
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