Collection: The judiciary

Friday, June 26, 2015

What No-Show Amanda Knox SHOULD Have Emailed Judge Nencini As Truthful Testimony in December 2013

Posted by Chimera



As the real thing really didnt work any better for Knox…


As is well known, Amanda Knox refused to attend her own appeal in Florence in 2013/2014.

This was a defence appeal by Knox herself and Sollecito against the 2009 conviction by Judge Giancarlo Massei’s trial court.  It was not a new trial, or a retrial, or even a prosecution appeal. It was an appeal DEMANDED by Knox and Sollecito.

While Knox refused to attend, she did send a long, rambling email to Lead Judge Nencini.  Judge Nencini tartly read out the email in court, and remarked that she could have delivered this in person and answered questions if she wanted it credibly on the record - after all, Sollecito was sitting right there and not scared out of his wits.

Kudos to fellow main posters Finn MacCool and SeekingUnderstanding for their original and well done posts on this ‘‘submission’‘

With a bit of fact checking, Knox’s email could have looked to the court and the media more like this.  Enjoy.

Court of Appeals of Florence section II Assise Proc. Pen, 11113

Letter sent to attorneys Carlo Dalla Vedova and Luciano Ghirga via email Seattle, 15 December 2013

Attn: Honorable Court of Appeals of Florence

1. I have no doubt that my lawyers have explained and demonstrated the important facts of this case that prove my innocence and discredit the unjustified accusations of the prosecution and civil parties. I seek not to supplant their work; rather, even though I am not present to take part in this current phase of the judicial process, I feel compelled to share my own perspective as a six—year-long defendant and causation of Meredith’s injustice.

2. The Court has access to my previous declarations, and please disregard that whole ‘‘aggravated calunnia’’ in which Cassation says i framed Patrick to divert attention, or that pending calunnia charge claiming I falsely accused the police to sabotage the court proceedings.  I trust you will not be blinded by these things to come to this verdict.  I must repeat: I am innocent.  Because repeating it will help dissuade you from studying my lies too carefully.

3. According to my lawyers: I am not a murderer, I am not a rapist, I am not a thief or a plotter or an instigator, at least not until Cassation signs off on it. I did not kill Meredith or take part in her murder or have any prior or special knowledge of what occurred that night, (other than screaming, slit throat, and that the body was moved). I was not there for part of the time, and had nothing to do with it.

4. I am not present in the courtroom because I am afraid. Frederico Martini is probably still pissed that I gave him up; the court and jail officials don’t like my book; and I think there is still an open warrant on me for calunnia.  Also, without any employment or housing references, staying here may be tricky.  I have faith in your judgement, but am worried you are so poor a judge you will be blinded my the Prosecution’s vehemence.  I remember Judge Micheli: he was the wise Judge who found Guede guilty; he was the idiot Judge who ordered Raffaele and I to stand trial as accomplices.

5. My life being on the line, at least until I get parole, and having with others already suffered too much, I’ve rehearsed this story and attentively followed this process and gleaned the following facts that have emerged from the development of this case that I beg you not to dismiss when making your judgement:

6. No physical evidence places me in Meredith ‘s bedroom, the scene of the crime, because I define only that as the crime scene.  My DNA mixed with Meredith’s was in the bathroom and Filomena’s room, not Meredith’s.  Those bloody footprints cleaned away were in the hallway, not Meredith’s room.  Raffaele had one knife, and this other was at his flat, neither of which is Meredith’s room.  My lamp on Meredith’s floor had no fingerprints on it, and does not implicate me.  That DNA on Merdith’s bra, and bloody footprint on the bathmat only implicates my alibi witness (who refuses to be questioned), not me.  Those false alibis, false accusations, details I know about the crime, and phone records are not physical evidence, and did not happen in Meredith’s bedroom. Those ‘‘eyewitnesses’’ the Prosecution produced are not forensic evidence, and do not place me in Meredith’s room.

7. Meredith’s murderer left ample evidence of his presence in the brutal scenario, we made sure of that.  Heck, the police couldn’t even find my fingerprints in my own bedroom.

8. No evidence places me in the same brutal scenario, again, which I restrict to Meredith’s bedroom, and only actual physical evidence.  The prosecution has failed to explain how—with these restrictions—I could have participated in the aggression and murder—to have been the one to fatally wound Meredith—without leaving any genetic trace of myself. Just because i spend a lot of time talking about it, and am a C.S.I. fan, doesn’t mean I know how to remove evidence.  That is because it is impossible. It is impossible to identify and destroy all genetic traces of myself in a crime scene and retain all genetic traces of another individual, or so C.S.I. has taught me. Either I was there, or I wasn’t. My analysis of the crime scene answers this question: I wasn’t there.

9. My interrogation was illegal and produced a false “confession” that demonstrated my non-knowledge of the crime- The subsequent memoriali, for which I was wrongfully found guilty of slander, did not further accuse but rather recanted that false “confession.” Yes, I wrote out a false ‘‘confession’’ that accuses someone else.  Just as I testified to the prosecutor in prison and to my family members in prison when our conversations were being recorded without my knowledge. Dammit, give me some privacy.

10. My behavior after the discovery of the murder indicates my innocence, if you think creatively enough. I did not flee Italy when I had the chance, because (in my November 4th email), the police wouldn’t let me leave.  I stayed in Perugia and was at the police’s beck and call trying to think of answers for over 50 hours in four days, convinced that I could help them find the murderer, or at least someone who was ‘‘close enough’‘.  I never thought or imagined that repeatedly changing my story would fuel their suspicions. I did not hide myself or my feelings: when I needed sex, Rafael ‘‘embraced’’ me; when I was scared of being exposed, I cried; when I was angry that it wasn’t working, I swore and made insensitive remarks; when I was shocked, I paced or sat in silence, at least until I could find a new ‘‘best truth’‘; when I was trying to help, I evaded questions, consoled Meredith’s friends, especially her male friends, and tried to keep a positive attitude that this would blow over.

11. Upon entering the questura I had no understanding of my legal position, accompanying Raffaele to a witness summary session which I was not invited to. 20—years old and alone in a foreign country, I was, legally speaking, innocent and never expected to be suspected and subjugated to torture, and I wasn’t. I was told I was a witness, then after I placed myself at the crime scene I was told I was a suspect. I was questioned for a prolonged period in the middle of the night and in Italian, a language I barely knew, and that questioning includes the time I was sleeping or getting tea.  I denied legal counsel- still The Court of Cassation deemed the interrogation and the statements produced from it was inadmissible. In my memoir, WTBH; I was lied to, yelled at, threatened, slapped twice on the back of the head. I told myself I had witnessed the murder and was suffering from amnesia. I told myself that if I didn’t succeed in ‘‘remembering’’ what happened to Meredith that night, I would never see my family again. I browbeat myself into confusion and despair, to sell to the media at a later date. When you berate, intimidate, lie to, threaten, confuse, and coerce someone in believing they are wrong, you are not going to find the truth, but again, that is not what happened here.

12. The police used tea and kindness to coerce me into signing a false “confession” that was without sense and should never have been considered a legitimate investigative lead. In this fragmentary and confused statement the police identified Patrick Lumumba as the murderer because we had exchanged text messages, the meaning of which I let the police wrongfully interpret (‘Civediamo piu tardi. Buona serata’). The statement lacked a clear sequence of events, corroboration with any physical evidence, and fundamental information like: how and why the murder took place, if anyone else was present or involved, what happened afterward—it supplied partial, contradictory information and as the investigators would discover a little later, when Patrick Lumumba’s defense lawyer produced proof of him incontestable alibi, it was obviously inaccurate and unreliable.  After over 50 hours of rehearsing the questioning over four days, I was mentally exhausted and I was confused.

13. This coerced and illegitimate statement, which I dreamed up, was used by the police to arrest and detain a clearly innocent man with an iron-clad alibi with whom I had a friendly professional relationship, (at least until I destroyed his life). This coerced and illegitimate statement was used to convict me of slander.  Judge Hellmann saw that this statement was coerced, and threw out my calunnia conviction .... I mean he increased the sentence .... never mind.The prosecution and civil parties are accusing and blaming me, a result of their own overreaching.

14. Experience, case studies, and the law recognize that one may be coerced into giving a false"confession” because of torture.  I’m not sure why this applies to my case, but damn, it sure sounds impressive.

15. This is a universal problem. According to the National Registry of Exoneration, in the United States 78% of wrongful murder convictions that are eventually overturned because of exonerating forensic evidence involved false “confessions.” Almost 8 in 10 wrongfully convicted persons were coerced by police into implicating themselves and others in murder. I am not alone: Susan Smith and Casey Anthony ‘‘falsely confessed’’ that other people did it too.  And exonerating forensic evidence is often as simple as no trace of the wrongfully convicted person at the scene of the crime, but rather the genetic and forensic traces of a different guilty party—just like every piece of forensic evidence identifies not me, but Rudy Guide.

16. In the brief time Meredith and I were roommates and friends we never fought.  Roommates, not friends.

17. Meredith was my friend, not that I was her friend. She was kind to me, helpful, generous, fun, and in retrospect, I should have been more of the same.  She never criticized me. She never gave me so much as a dirty look, even as I left the place a mess, and even when I flirted with her boyfriend, or she took my job at the bar.

18. But the prosecution claims that a rift was created between Meredith and I because of cleanliness. This is a distortion of the facts. Please refer to the testimonies of my housemaster and Meredith’s British friends. None of them ever witnessed or heard about Meredith and I fighting, arguing, disliking each other. None of them ever claimed Meredith was a confrontational clean-freak, or I a confrontational slob. Laura Masotho testified that both Meredith and I only occasionally cleaned, whereas she and Filament Romanal were more concerned with cleanliness. Meredith’s British friends testified that Meredith had once told them that she felt a little uncomfortable about finding the right words to kindly talk tome, her new roommate, about cleanliness in the bathroom we shared. The prosecution would have you believe this is motivation for murder. But this is a terrifying distortion of the facts, as proving motive it not necessary—anywhere.

19. I did not carry around Rafael’s kitchen knife.  That’s what men are for, to do the lifting for me.

20. This claim by the prosecution, crucial to their theory, is uncorroborated by any physical evidence or witness testimony. I didn’t fear the streets of Perugia and didn’t need to carry around with me a large, cumbersome weapon which would have ripped my cloth book bag to shreds. My book bag showed no signs of having carried a bloody weapon. The claim that he would have insisted I carry a large chef’s knife is not just senseless, but a disturbing indication of how willing the prosecution is to defy objectivity and reason in order to sustain a mistaken and disproven theory.  Yes, i can positively disprove a theory I know nothing about.

21. It is yet another piece of invented “evidence”, another circumstance of theory fabricated to order, because having discovered nothing else, the prosecution could only invent: phone records, false alibis, false statements, false accusations.

22. I had no Contact with Rudy Guide, even though I mention in my book having seen him twice, and a third time in the next paragraph.

23. Like many youth in Perugia, I had once crossed paths with Rudy Guide. He played basketball with the young men who lived in the apartment below us. Meredith and I had been introduced to him together. Perhaps I had seen him amongst the swarms of students who crowded the Perugian streets and pubs in the evenings, but that was it. We didn’t have each other’s phone number, we didn’t meet in private, we weren’t acquaintances. I never bought drugs from Rudy Guide or anyone else. I was having sex with Federico for drugs, which isn’t the same thing.  The phone records show no connection. There are no witnesses who place us together, except my statement here. The prosecution claims I convinced Rudy Guide to commit rape and murder, completely ignoring the fact that we didn’t even speak the same language. He has lived in Perguia for 15 years, and I am a student of Italian. Once again, the prosecution is relying upon a disturbing and unacceptable pattern of distortion of the objective evidence.

24. I am not a psychopath.  That evaluation in 2008 was unfair, as I didn’t get a chance to prepare my spontaneous answers.

25. There is no short list to the malicious and unfounded slanders I have enjoyed over the course of this legal process. In trial, in the media I have been called no less than:

“Conniving; manipulating; man—eater; narcissist; enchantress; duplicitous; adulterer; drug addict; an explosive mix of drugs, sex, and alcohol; dirty; witch; murderer; slanderer; demon; depraved; imposter; promiscuous; succubus; evil; dead inside; pervert; dissolute; a wolf in sheep’s clothing; rapist; thief; reeking of sex; Judas; she-devil;

26. I have never demonstrated anti-social, aggressive, violent, or behavior. Throwing rocks at cars, writing rape stories, and staging break ins are not violent or anti-social.  I am not addicted to sex or drugs.  In fact, Federico Martini hasn’t given me any since I was arrested.  Upon my arrest I was tested for drugs and the results were negative. I am not a split-personality One does not adopt behavior spontaneously.

27. This is a fantasy. This is uncorroborated by any objective evidence or testimony. The prosecution and civil parties created and pursued this character assassination because they have nothing else to show you. They have neither proof, nor logic, nor the facts on their side. They only have their ‘‘evidence’’ against me, and my personal opinions about them. They want you to think I’m a monster because I am telling you they think I am a monster.  it is easy to condemn a monster. It is easy to dismiss a monster’s defense as deception. But the prosecution and civil parties think I’m both severely mistaken and wrong. I have condemned them without proof of wrongdoing, and I seek to convince you to condemn them without proof of wrongdoing.

28. If the prosecution truly had a case against me, there would be no need for these theatrics. Never mind that this is my own appeal, and I ‘‘should’’ be demonstrating why the 2009 trial verdict is unjust.  If I had a case, there would be no need for smoke and mirrors to distract you from the mountains of physical evidence against me. But because this evidence exists that proves my guilt, I would seek to deceive you with these impassioned, but completely inaccurate and unjustified pronouncements. Because I am not a murderer (yet), I would seek to mislead you into convicting me by charging your emotions, by painting me as an innocent until proven guilty, but not as a monster.

29. The prosecution and civil parties are committing injustices against the Kerchers because they cannot bring themselves to admit, even to themselves, that they’ve made a terrible mistake, namely, that the murder was premeditated. Again, it is my own appeal, but they are persecuting me.

30. The Court has seen that the prosecution and civil parties will not hear criticism of their mistakes, by people who won’t attend their appeal.

31. The Court has seen that the prosecution jumped to conclusions at the very start of their investigation: they interrogated and arrested innocent people and claimed “Case Closed"before any evidence could be analyzed, before bothering to check alibis.  As proof of this, they called Raffaele to the police station (at his leisure), to clear up discrepencies in his alibi.  Then when he claimed I lied, Rita Ficarra then asked me for an explanation.  Those brutes!  Then they hauled in Patrick just because in ‘‘confessed’’ several times that he did it.

32. The prosecutor and investigators were under tremendous pressure to solve the mystery of what happened to Meredith as soon as possible. The local and International media was breathing down the necks of these detectives. Their reputations and careers were to be made or broken. In spite of that, they still saw my mistakes. Under pressure, they admitted to as few mistakes as possible and committed themselves to a theory founded upon disproving my mistakes.

33. Had they not jumped to conclusions based on nothing but Raffaele’s changing alibi and my false accusations, they would have discovered definitive and undeniable evidence of not Patrick Lumumba, but of Rudy Guede, Raffaele Sollecito, and Amanda Knox. We would not be here over six years later debating clues my lawyers claim are inconclusive and unreliable.  Had we plead guilty we would have been spared the cost, anguish and suffering, not only of Raffaele’s and my family, but especially of Meredith’s family as well.

34. My accusations are unworthy of judicial or public confidence. In over six years I have failed to provide a consistent, evidence-driven, corroborated theory of the crime, but would nevertheless argue that you should not take my life away. I beg you to see through the ‘‘facts’’ and ‘‘reason’’ of what I say. I am innocent. Raffaele is innocent. Meredith and her family deserve the ‘‘truth’‘. Please put an end to this great and prolonged injustice for them.

in faith,

Amanda Marie Knox

 


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

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

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



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

1. The Events Prior To The Arrests

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. The Warrant For Three Arrests

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

PUBLIC PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE, COURT OF PERUGIA

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

DETENTION ORDER ISSUED BY THE PUBLIC PROSECUTOR

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

TO THE JUDGE OF PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION OF THE COURT OF PERUGIA

The public prosecutor Dr. Giuliano Mignini

Based on the records of the above-mentioned proceeding;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ORDERS

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

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

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

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

PUBLIC PROSECUTOR

(DR. GIULIANO MIGNINI)


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

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

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



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

1. Bringing The News Up To Date

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Smart Rules For Ghost Writers To Avoid Trouble

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Flashing Warning Lights In Italy In 2012

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

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

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

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

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


4. Warning Lights About A Hasty Gumbel Contract

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Gumbel’s Shrill Record Of Sliming Italy

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

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

The 1990s were a pretty good time in Italy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


6. Conclusion And Next Posts

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

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


Thursday, January 22, 2015

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

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



Above: “Neutral ghostwriter” Andrew Gumbel tweets…

1, Today In The Florence Court

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

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

2. Signs Gumbel Really Is A Shill

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


3. How Gumbel Got It Wrong

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

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

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

To the Guardian:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Council Of Magistrates In Effect Shrugs At Judge Nencini Answering Loaded Question Of A Reporter

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Cassation judge Antonio Esposito who just faced down a similar complaint to the CSM]


The only ones pushing for the CSM committee hearing today and maybe another one at Cassation were Giulia Bongiorno and a few political friends.

Everybody knows she has once again lost very big and once again is snakily trying to demonize the court rather than gracefully moving on.

The final vote of the full CSM will be announced next week, but it seems a foregone conclusion. The Council will shrug and move on.

Judge Nencini explained himself well for one hour (with his wife, also a judge, present) and probably no magistrate on the Council would have acted so differently, given that the michievous reporter had been asking if the killing of Meredith happened simply because the three had nothing better to do.

Maybe some of the magistrates were thinking “So Bongiorno didnt put Sollecito on the stand? Hmmm, she KNOWS of his guilt only too well”. There is no mood among them to to see the defiant Sollecito who has slimed the system and slimed a much admired judge use a loophole to get himself off.

Jools explained the context of today’s hearing several weeks ago and translated one of the media reports for us today.

Knox, Sollecito judge unlikely to be disciplined by CSM

Inquiry over post-conviction press statements

Rome, March 11 - The Italian judiciary’s self-governing body, the CSM, is likely to drop an inquiry into a Florence judge who broke Italian legal convention by giving press interviews after convicting Amanda Knox and her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito for the 2007 murder of British student Meredith Kercher in February, judicial sources said Tuesday.

In Italy, judges usually only talk about their verdicts via written explanations published at least a month after they are handed down. But Alessandro Nencini, the head of the panel that sentenced Sollecito to 25 years and American citizen Knox to 28 and a half years at the repeat of the appeals-level trial, gave three interviews to different newspapers that were published February 1.

As a result, Nencini was accused of being biased. One of the most controversial aspects is that in one of the interviews, Nencini seemed to suggest that the fact Sollecito had not allowed himself to be cross-examined had damaged his chances of getting off.

The judge told a CSM commission Wednesday that he did not give interviews, but rather spoke in passing to reporters at the courthouse. He also denied saying the murder was the result of ‘‘kid’s play’’ gone wrong, or expressing an opinion on Sollecito’s defense strategy.

The hearing transcript will be available within a week, when the CSM commission will make its opinion official. The consensus seems to be that Nencini’s statements to the press may have been ill-timed, but not enough to justify a transfer, judicial sources said.  Nencini is still not out of the woods, pending the result of justice ministry and Cassation Court inquiries that could lead to disciplinary action against him.

Posted on 03/11/14 at 08:38 PM by Peter QuennellClick here to view all my past posts, via link at top left.
Archived in Those officially involvedThe defensesThe judiciaryAppeals 2009-2015Florence 2014+Sollecito team
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Wednesday, February 05, 2014

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

Posted by Peter Quennell



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

1. On The Pro-Justice Side…

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

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

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

The mafias are now mostly backed into small pockets..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More evidence of this popularity.  And even more.

2. On the Anti-Justice Side

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So What We May Expect

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

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


Monday, February 03, 2014

Defense Dirty Tricks: Did We Just See Yet Another One, An Attempt To Compromise Judge Nencini?

Posted by Jools




Judge Nencini offers corrections

This is my translation of a statement from Judge Necini carried by the Florence GoNews website.

“In relation to the press articles that reported my statements on the trial for the death of Meredith Kercher I intend to point out that there has been no interview organized or pre-arranged.

I ran into some journalists in the corridors of the courthouse who told me of the rumors and speculations that were being circulated on the duration of the deliberation session.

I then had a brief talk with them meant, in my intention, to clarify possible misunderstandings. In this I accept responsibility, reaffirming that I did not agree to disclose in any way the reasons for the sentence.  In particular, I have not expressed any opinion on the strategy procedure followed by the defence of the accused.

In fact the only reference to that matter, reported in the article that appeared in Il Messaggero, is one in which I stated that the accused were defended in the process to a ‘very high standard.’

If my words have generated misunderstandings on this point and on the absolute legality of the choice of an accused to make spontaneous statements I regret it.

These explanations are dutybound for the respect I owe to the people who participated in the process with me and to the [Law] System of which I’m proud to be a part of; as well as for consistency in my professional history, with over thirty years of work carried out without spotlights and without interviews.”


Context for those corrections

This is in relation to the previous days articles claiming Judge Nencini supposedly gave an “inappropriate” interview to the press.

In very short order three or four lay members of the Superior Council of Magistrates (CSM) laid a complaint about non-appropriate conduct (under Art. 6 of the CSM rules) for a presiding appeal court judge to give press interviews commenting on the motivations reached by the judges on any sentence before its official publication.

Not surprisingly, the first people to complain were Bongiorno and Maori (grasping at straws, much?!!) and then to follow were these three or four lay members of the CSM, who happen to be also members of the centre-right political party “Forza Italia” (Berlusconi’s party).

As a result of the complaint made by these people, the Justice Minister, Annamaria Cancelleri, ordered an inquest on the allegations against Judge Nencini which could have led to his reprimand for disclosing details of the verdict reached to the press.

Personally, I think this all results from the desperation of Sollelcito’s defense and they have erncourgaed the others to instigate it. Making a meal out of nothing, in the hope that the whole appeal trial gets thrown out.

And let’s face it, it wouldn’t be difficult for Bongiorno to find some of Berlusconi’s people that are always looking for ways to attack members of the judiciary given Berlusconi’s hatred for the system. Just my opinion…

In any case, the allegations seem to be false, Judge Nencini actually didn’t say much, and the inquest will prove it, but in the meantime the press is concentrating on this rather than the hopeless work the defense produced. This maybe is the whole objective.

The later, longer interview

The interview by Fiorenza Sarzanini with Judge Nencini the following morning is claimed to be quite legal, because the decision of the court had been published the previous evening.

Andre Vogt kindly posted a very accurate translation on The Freelance Desk, and as it will scroll down soon and be hard to find, we can repost the full interview here.

The Freelance Desk

Posted 1 February

Italy’s most influential newspaper, the Corriere Della Sera, this morning has published a fascinating long interview with Judge Alessandro Nencini about his reasons for convicting Amanda Knox. The interview was done by one of the newspaper’s most veteran crime and investigative reporters, Fiorenza Sarzanini. Click here to read the original.

HEADLINE: Amanda and Raffaele: The Judge Speaks

SUBHEAD: “I have children too; it was a huge burden.”

SUBHEAD2:  “The defense had asked to separate the positions of the two accused, but Raffaele would not allow himself to be questioned.”

By Fiorenza Sarzanini

“I feel relieved because the moment of the decision is the most difficult. I have children too, and handing down convictions of 25 and 28 years for two young people is a very hard thing, emotionally.”

It is 10 am the day after the verdict and Justice Alessandro Nencini is in his office. The President of the Florentine Court of Appeals, which two days ago found Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito guilty of the murder of Meredith Kercher, knows that the decision will “open up new debate, especially in the media”, but that is exactly why he agreed to explain how the verdict was reached.

You deliberated in chambers for 12 hours. Was the judicial panel divided?

“The case files took up half of the room. There are 30 expert reports. The lay judges, who aren’t court staff, had to read all the documentation to reach a joint decision, as is expected in the appeals court.  You have to review all the documents, think about them, and reason.  We did that using all the time that was necessary, and taking into account the fact that the victim was also a young girl.

And then the decision was unanimous?

“I spoke of a joint decision. I can say that in all these months and in particular during the last session of deliberations, we carefully considered the gravity of a verdict that involves young people and their entire families. This is a case that has consumed many lives.”

Yours was a narrow path, the Court of Cassation had urged you to remedy the Perugia appeal decision that had acquitted the two accused.

“Not so, we had maximum flexibility. The only restriction was that in the case of acquittal, we would have to have give reasons based on logic. There was no other binding restriction.”

Not even with regard to the decision handed down in Rudy Guede’s case?

“Effectively the specifics of the case was this: there was a person already convicted via fast-track, and definitively, for concourse in the same homicide. The Court of Cassation was asking us to consider who participated and their roles.  We could have said that the two accused weren’t there, and then provided convincing reasoning, but we did not believe this to be the truth.”

Why didn’t you question Guede?

“For what purpose? He has never confessed and even if we had called him, he had the right to remain silent.  We didn’t think it was necessary.  Rather, we felt it was important to study the other aspects more in depth.  In fact we requested an expert report and heard witnesses about which there were doubts. That is the role of the appeal judges. In four months, we’ve been able to arrive at a result.”

Sollecito’s lawyers had asked you to split the defence.
“We’ll explain the point more in the reasonings, where we will explain why we rejected that request. In any case, Sollecito did not want to be questioned during the trial.”

And this influenced your choice to convict him?

“It is the defendant’s right, but certainly it removes a voice from the trial proceedings. He limited himself to making spontaneous declarations, saying only what he wanted to say, without being cross examined.”

Over the years, various motives have been speculated. What idea did you yourselves form?

“We convicted and we will explain it explicitly in our reasoning.  For now, I can say that up until 20:15 of that evening, these young people all had different plans, then their commitments fell through and the occasion for this to happen was created.  If Amanda had gone to work, we probably wouldn’t be here.”

Are you saying that the murder was just a coincidence?

“I’m saying this was something that unfolded between these young people. There may have been coincidences, and we’ve taken it into the reasoning. I’m aware this will be the most debatable part.”

Cassation demolished the acquittal. Will you as well?

“We are not going to mention it. We simply have to focus on the decision in the first instance (Massei) which we confirmed, on the facts.

And you don’t believe that there were errors?

“I didn’t say that. Some I believe there may have been and I’ll point them out.”

You convicted Amanda Knox, but didn’t issue any precautionary measures against her. Why?

“She is legally in the United States.  At the moment of the offence she was in Italy to study and she went home after having been acquitted. She is an American citizen. The problem will arise when it is time to carry out the sentence.  For now I don’t believe that such a measure wouuld have been necessary.”

So why then have you confiscated Raffaele Sollecito’s passport?

“It was the agreed minimum. In these cases such measures serve as prevention. We want to avoid that he makes himself impossible to find during the period of waiting for a definitive judgment.”

And you believe being forbidden to leave the country is enough?

“Yes, that seemed more than sufficient to us. If there are other developments later, we will consider them.”

Posted on 02/03/14 at 09:17 PM by JoolsClick here to view all my past posts, via link at top left.
Archived in Those officially involvedThe defensesThe judiciaryAppeals 2009-2015Florence 2014+Sollecito team
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Friday, January 31, 2014

Appeal Session #10 Images: The Attorney General Of Tuscany Dr Tindari Baglione Breaks The News

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

This help with translation happened right after Judge Nencini finished reading the verdict and sentences yesterday







Below: images of Lyle and Stephanie earlier in the long tense day


























 

Posted on 01/31/14 at 11:43 AM by The TJMK Main PostersClick here to view all my past posts, via link at top left.
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Appeal Session #10 Images: The Two Judges And Six Lay Judges Deliver The Guilty Verdict

Posted by Peter Quennell





The statement is sharp and quite brief. Judge Nencini confirms that both Knox and Sollecito are confirmed guilty. The 2009 Massei verdict is upheld.

The sentences are 25 years in priosn for Raffaele Sollecito and 28.6 years in rpison for Amanda Knox including the 3.8 years for the calunnia already served. Each must also incur financial penalties.

Both may be locked in the sex offenders wings as both were confirmed convicted with a sex-crime component. Both may face further charges for false accusations of crimes in their books and in the media, as may some of their more strident “supporters”.

Few in the US and UK seem to realize, but the evidence presented at trial in the first half of 2009 was in fact overwhelming. In the US and UK it is probable no appeal would even have been allowed, as the appeal grounds were so flimsy.

Nothing was undermined at the Florence appeal. In fact the evidence became STRONGER as another trace of Knox was found on the big knife. Innuendo about DNA contamination was sharply rejected in face of zero evidence or even scenario.

Please read our case overview here which links to some vital posts and touches on several of the defense’s illegal tricks.

That includes the corrupting of the 2011 appeal, which is well understood in Italy but not registering with most US and UK media - Sndrea Vogt has begun reporting on part of it, the illegal meddling with the Hellmann DNA consultancy

..





Posted on 01/31/14 at 10:11 AM by Peter QuennellClick here to view all my past posts, via link at top left.
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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

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

Posted by Peter Quennell





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And judges and prosecutions are taking countermeasures.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





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


Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Appeal Session #1: Detailed Report On Enquiries The Court Has Okayed

Posted by Peter Quennell



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

Translation From The Umbria24 website

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

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

By Francesca Marruco

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Friday, September 13, 2013

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

Posted by Peter Quennell



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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Posted on 09/13/13 at 05:00 PM by Peter QuennellClick here to view all my past posts, via link at top left.
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Thursday, August 02, 2012

Dissecting The Hellmann Report #3: How Zanetti & Hellmann Bizarrely Try Discredit Witness Curatolo

Posted by Cardiol MD



[Stone steps Meredith and all three accused maybe used on the night; left and at bottom, where witness sat]

Under the first post in this series dissecting The Hellmann Report, one of our percipient commenters suggested this:

The next portion in the series should likely be about the witnesses, I hope, and there we can marvel at Hellmann’s discourses on the functioning of the human memory.

Was our commenter ever right!

On page 32 of the PMF English language version of “Sentence of the Court Of Assizes Of Appeal Of Perugia (Presided Over By Dr. Claudio Pratillo Hellmann)” this is written:

The presence of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito in Piazza Grimana between 9:30 PM and 11:30 PM on November 1 was, in fact, reported solely by the witness Curatolo, whose reliability this Court very much doubts for the following considerations.

In the first place, the deterioration of his mental faculties, from his way of life and his habits. revealed by his answers before this Court in the course of his testimony (hearing of March 26, 2011) resulting from his way of life and his habits

Realisation of what Hellmann/Zanetti were “constructively” doing there stunned me. They are exposing both a lack of logic and prejudice against a witness.

A necessary logical preamble to my realisation goes as follows:

    1. Massei had stated that Antonio Curatolo’s declarations have “been established to be reliable” [MASSEI p.358 of 397 [28th of 42 total Curatolo references]].

    2. Hellmann/Zanetti stated that “..this Court does not recognise the statement made by the witness Curatolo as credible… [Hellmann/Zanetti p35 of 95 [5th of 18 total Curatolo references]]

    3. In American common-law appellate courts do not rehear the facts of the case. Appellate courts focus on questions of law, NOT on questions of facts as their trial-courts do.

    The American appellate judges don’t presume to supersede the people who were there, and who watched the witness’s demeanour and surrounding activity, in 4-D (3-D + Time), with sights, sounds, cadences, pauses, pronunciations, intonations, and yes, …smells, in addition to, and supplementing, the 2-D pieces of paper, containing only the words they apparently spoke, but not containing the way they spoke them, let alone the scene before the court.”

    The American appellate judges want only to know whether the law was applied accurately.

    Those American appellate courts overrule a trial court decision only if a very important legal error was made in the trial court.

    In some cases, the American appellate court judges might believe that the outcome of the trial court should have been different, but if no legal errors were made, they will not overrule the lower court.

    The American appellate judges make their decisions based only on legal arguments of how the law should be applied and interpreted.

    Our learned English & Welsh Common Law (E&W) correspondent has explained to us that E&W law permits Appellate introduction of fresh evidence, which could include new evidence re rain and buses, although Massei had already considered evidence on those subjects.

    E&W Law would not have allowed Appellate re-examination of Curatelo.

    4. As we all know, and have discussed in some detail, Italian law is significantly different but Dr Galati is apparently outraged by the conduct and Motivazione of Hellmann/Zanetti.

    Dr Galati has lodged a strongly-worded Appeal of Hellmann/Zanetti’s verdict, alleging that the scope of Hellmann/Zanetti was illegal and that they tried to run a whole new appeal trial.

    Galati indicated in the appeal to Cassation that the Hellmann/Zanetti reveals “contradictoriness/contrariness and demonstrates manifest illogicality in the grounds for the judgement/reasoning report”…

    See also my previous post on the definition of “unreliable” [in the Hellmann Report] with reference to the witnesses Antonio Curatolo.

Although I can identify no specific reference by Dr Galati to the specific issue re Curatolo I wish to address, this one should have been included:

    i. “the deterioration of his mental faculties”, apparently between Curatelo’s testimony at the Massei hearing of March 28, 2009, and Curatelo’s the Hellmann/Zanetti hearing of March 26, 2011.

    ii.Suppose Curatolo’s faculties really did deteriorate during those 2 years; maybe he was injured in an RTA, had a stroke, or developed a dementia.

    What on earth has that got to do with Curatelo’s testimony back in 2009? It’s possible that Hellmann/Zanetti were implying that Curatolo’s “deterioration” was part of a continuum, and that as bad as he was, in their opinion, in 2007, 2009, and 2011, he had been, and still is steadily getting worse.

    If that is their implication they would be committing 2 cardinal errors of logic – the interpolation error, and the extrapolation error.

    Of course, giving their words their plain-meaning, Hellmann/Zanetti could be implying acceptance of the Massei’s statement that Curatolo’s 2009 testimony was reliable – but they obviously do not intend to imply that.

    iii. Maybe Hellmann/Zanetti can get away with dismissing Curatolo’s testimony to Massei “presuming to supersede the people who were there, and who watched the witness’s demeanour and surrounding activity, in 4-D (3-D + Time), with sights, sounds, cadences, pauses, pronunciations, intonations, and yes, …smells, as well as the 2-D pieces of paper, containing only the words they apparently spoke, but not containing the way they spoke them, let alone the whole scene before the court. ”

    I hope not, but with this “deterioration” allegation, there is no apparent (even an inadmissible one) professional expert opinion in evidence, and with Hellmann/Zanetti’s gratuitous cause-and-effect theory: “resulting from his way of life and his habits ”, Hellmann/Zanetti overstep, and reveal their ignorance, arrogance, and incompetence.

    Finality, in Anglo-American common law, is the concept that certain disputes must achieve a resolution from which no further appeal may be taken, and from which no collateral proceedings may be permitted to disturb that resolution.

    Does Italian law really allow this 2-years-later Appeal-rehash of witness testimony and criticisms, on the grounds that the witness’s memories have faded since he first testified? I hope not.

    Isn’t it normal for memories to fade with the passage of time?

    Does that fading justify dismissal of the original testimony?

    A principle of Anglo-American Common Law deeply embedded in it - Finality - would be out-of-the-window if lawyers could just keep repeating their questions until the witness gives them what they want.

Between their substitution of “certainty” for “reasonable-doubt” and their would-be eternal-postponement of finality Hellmann/Zanetti could shoot their legal system out of the courts.

Hellmann/Zanetti’s treatments of Curatolo’s testimony, alone, is a disaster. They should be thrown-out.

Hellmann/Zanetti’s subtext seems to be that Curatolo is merely an ignorant, illiterate, bad smelling, unkempt, dirty, ugly-old-tramp, daring to testify as to what he observed, to the detriment of two knowledgeable, educated, sweet-smelling, tidy, clean, attractive, young, innocent children.

Isn’t it far more certain, Hellmann/Zanetti seem to think, that the testimony of Curatolo is false testimony, and that the false testimony of these charming young children is not really false testimony because the Devil Prosecutors made-them-say-it.

If I analysed that whole section it would be very long.

If you are not yet familiar with them,  you should read in conjunction with this series the posts by one of my lawyer colleagues on TJMK. James Raper, explaining the strength of the prosecution case and how hard it is to challenge legitimately.

See here and here. Also here by another of my lawyer colleagues, SomeAlibi.


[Below: witness said he and perps sat on benches at left; Meredith’s house far left, steps far right]

Posted on 08/02/12 at 11:34 AM by Cardiol MDClick here to view all my past posts, via link at top left.
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Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Action On Dr Galati’s Appeal To The Supreme Court Today Moved Ominously Closer

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Italy’s Supreme Court of Cassation is the large structure at right background]


The ANSA news service is reporting today that Dr Galati’s appeal was formally accepted by the Supreme Court on 15 May.

The case has just been assigned to the First Criminal Division of the Supreme Court which is responsible for appeals involving murder. A hearing and outcome which could involve the appeal being punted back to Perugia to be done again properly might be expected in about seven months.

Still no word from Sollecito or Knox or their teams about the exceptionally tough appeal Dr Galati filed against Judge Hellman’s interim verdict releasing them. Our Italian lawyers are surprised that there has been no announcement of any new legal help.

Do the still-accused or their families understand what is about to hit them? Cassation appeals are considered very specialised and certain Rome lawyers make a good living doing nothing but handle them. 

Dr Galati was a deputy chief prosecutor at the Supreme Court and would seem to have the Knox and Sollecito teams who are inexperienced at that level thoroughly out-matched. If Knox fails to appear at any appeal trial re-run she would lose the advantage of personalising her own plight with the help of her flash-mob in the court.

In Italy there is enormous suspicion that politics and money played roles in bending the outcome the last time around. The prosecution clearly felt that, and there seems a good chance the full story will not remain hidden.

We also hear that the continued rabid postings of Curt Knox’s hatchetmen are increasingly under the microscope. No sign their campaign does anything but hurt. It sure put real resolve into this appeal.

Posted on 06/06/12 at 02:37 PM by Peter QuennellClick here to view all my past posts, via link at top left.
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Thursday, April 05, 2012

Solving The Puzzle Of Where The New Perugia Criminal Courthouse Is Actually Located

Posted by Peter Quennell



Massei/Hellman court is in the brick building at top left; Rudy Guede was tried in the new courthouse at hard right.


With this, we seem to have onsite images of all the key locations in Meredith’s case. Click all images for larger versions.

This at right above, and below, is Perugia’s new criminal courthouse. It was first used in October 2008 by Judge Micheli for Rudy Guede’s trial and Sollecito’s and Knox’s arraignment for trial. One advantage is that it has underground parking so defendants can enter away from the media.

It was built by Siemens in the early 1900s as a generating station. Media descriptions of the 2008 trial did not explain precisely where the new court is, and the few media images online (see last 2 images here) only showed the front entrance and thus gave the impression of quite a small building.

In fact it turns out to be directly downhill from the Court of Assizes and right under the opaque windows of the court used by Judge Massei and Judge Hellman. (Their court is in the brick building visible high up in several of these images.)

Also it is really quite large and it contains several criminal courts. We’ll check for any video showing the interior. The complete interior rebuild was paid for by the central Ministry of Justice.

By the way Google Images does a terrific job of caching our images. These should show up there soon.


Below: familiar piazza entrance to assize courts is to left, new courts are at lower level on right

Below: the location of Meredith’s house relative to the courts is at the top center in this satellite view.

Below: five images showing the court’s south side, seen from the tunnel mouth and the street beside

Below: empty van is parked by ramp to underground parking, the route taken by RG + RS + AK


Below: Masssei/Hellman court shows up at top in two shots below; windows are opaque so no view down.


Below: two media images of the new entrance, which is all that was shown in the main media.

Below: the ramp down to underground parking where perps enter is shown in foreground

Posted on 04/05/12 at 11:46 AM by Peter QuennellClick here to view all my past posts, via link at top left.
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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





Thursday, September 01, 2011

Perugia Prosecutors In Italian News Daily For Formidable Investigations Into National Government

Posted by Peter Quennell


The apartment one down from the top in the above shot belongs to Claudio Scola.

Very expensive property. It has a prize view of Rome’s colosseum especially (image at bottom) at night. Up to a couple of months ago Claudio Scola (first image below) was the economic development minister in Silvio Berlusconi’s hard-pressed national Italian government.

He then had to resign.

He is under investigation for apparently accepting major renovations to that apartment as a freebie after he purchased it several years ago. Various parties on the giving end of this seeming large bribe for political favors are being investigated. The one most in the Italian national news is Diego Anemone (second image below).

Perugia prosecutors were handed the case by Rome prosecutors because Rome prosecutors choose not to handle cases involving national parliamentarians. They prefer that political investigations do not get slimed, demonized, or otherwise leaned-upon.

This is not something that ever seems to bother the formidable Perugia prosecutors, who have a good national reputation for never blinking.

The Claudio Scola case is tangentially connected to their ongoing investigations into political bribes at the national level for construction contracts related to the 2006 winter Olympics and the city partly leveled in the 2010 earthquake in the Appenine mountains.

In fact Perugia prosecutors are presently the most high-profile of those of any provincial capital in Italy. Their investigations are being reported upon almost daily in this case that could see PM Berlusconi’s grip on power relinquished.

They also have an outstanding record of non-reversals of their convictions by the Italian Supreme Court. The Knox and Sollecito defense teams are fully aware of this and have been ultra-careful never to raise questions about the prosecution.

And they have been spinning their wheels on the hard evidence. Unlikely they’d take bets on their winning the appeal. Signs are they realize they are cooked.




Posted on 09/01/11 at 10:05 AM by Peter QuennellClick here to view all my past posts, via link at top left.
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Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Massei Sentencing Report For Knox And Sollecito: Part 1 Of A Summary In 4 Parts

Posted by Skeptical Bystander




Why This Long Summary

The full Massei Report can be found here.

The wiki page controversy surrounding the murder of Meredith Kercher rages on in a tiny corner of the online universe, here is our own contribution to the debate.

It is a 4-part summary of the Massei report, the document that sets forth and explains the Court’s reasons for unanimously convicting Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito for their role in the murder of Meredith Kercher, Knox’s roommate, after a long, thorough and fair trial.

Click here for more


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Appeal’s Outcome: What The Judges Allowed And What They Didn’t Might Be Telling Us A Lot

Posted by TomM



[Above: the Massei court deciding whether to buy the spiderman theory in May 2009; they didn’t]


As a California lawyer familiar with trials and appeals in my state, watching the Meredith Kercher murder trial wind its way through the Italian legal system has been a learning experience.

It is a system with more protections than the one I know first-hand. The case is now in its first appeal phase, and proceeds far differently from the way it would in the US.

If Knox and Sollecito had been convicted in an American court (which an American court would have had no difficulty in doing) less helpful presumptions would be applied to their appeal. 

In Italy they are convicted, and for that reason they are imprisoned and the visitation privileges they had before the jury’s verdict have been reduced. But for purposes of weighing the evidence in the appeal, they are presumed innocent.

In the US, the court of appeal would not presume them innocent or guilty; it would regard them as having been adjudged guilty.

In Italy, they can ask for the court of appeal to hear testimony from new witnesses and seek to introduce additional evidence.

In the US, the appeal would be on the basis of the clerk’s and reporter’s transcripts of the trial. In the US the jury at the original trial would have been instructed that if an item of evidence can be interpreted two ways, one favoring guilt and one favoring innocence, they should accept the interpretation that favors innocence.

But not so on appeal; the court of appeal would interpret all the inferences from the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution.

An American court of appeal would not consider an attack on the credibility of a witness unless the testimony was such that no reasonable person would believe the testimony.

Thus, an attack on the testimony of Curatolo would have no chance of success on appeal. In fact, jury instruction in the US would give the jury blessing to believe him even absent disco buses running that fatal night. From a form jury instruction on how to judge witness credibility:

“Do not automatically reject testimony just because of inconsistencies or conflicts. Consider whether the differences are important or not. People sometimes honestly forget things or make mistakes about what they remember. Also, two people may witness the same event yet see or hear it differently.”

The Italian appeal is described as a “trial de novo”.

In common law jurisprudence, a trial de novo is simply a new trial, and the jury in a new trial would not even be told of the existence of the first trial. It would be done as if the first trial never happened.

Not so in Italy.

The jury and lay judges have full access to the case dossier, the Massei Motivazione, and the briefs of the parties. They decide which parts of the case should receive new evidence, and the parts where none is needed. If that were not the case, they would not know how to respond to the defense requests.

What the jury has not reopened is, to me, more telling than what is.

It is significant that there is no re-visit on the staging of the burglary. This charge is not just one of the things used to prove the murder, it is also a separate charge which does not require that a person also have participated in the murder.

Let’s suspend disbelief a moment. Suppose AK and RS had not been present during the murder, having ducked out briefly to get more drugs, but returned to discover Meredith’s body.

Suppose they thought they would be suspects because they had let Rudy in and feared they would be blamed, so they staged the burglary to divert suspicion from themselves. In this hypothetical situation, they are still guilty of staging a burglary even if they didn’t otherwise participate in the crime.

So, what to make out of the fact that no further evaluation will be made of the staging?

This seems like the easiest of the charges to prove and the most difficult to defend. Staging is a recognized phenomenon in criminal investigations and the defense expert did not fare well under cross-examination. I don’t see how the court would reverse the judgment on this issue given the state of the record.

Defense criticized the way the dna was collected from the bidet, but there will be no review of that evidence - or of any other of the mixed blood/dna evidence - only the knife and the bra clasp.

If the appellate jurors’ inclination were to think there is reasonable doubt on the dna, there is plenty of defense expert testimony to hang that hat on. That only two of the exhibits will be studied shows that they do not question the work of the scientific police as a whole.

I see evidence of a pattern of sorts in these rulings.

From my own experience, I firmly believe that Hellman has not made up his mind on the final outcome. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t know what he thinks the jury will do with the case.

He clearly knows the case, and I think he knows if there are areas in Massei’s reasoning that have vulnerabilities (not necessarily fatal) that could attract attention in the Court of Cassation.

I think he knows whether the prosecution’s case is a house of cards, or if it is a good case with some curable cosmetic flaws.

To me, the rulings look like the judge has reviewed the case, thinks it is fundamentally sound, and believes it will be backed up by unbiased expert opinion - and if it doesn’t,  he will assess what impact that has on the case.

The issue with respect to the scientific police is not that they were biased in the sense of falsifying evidence to wrongfully convict, but that the video of the crime scene investigation showed non-textbook acts, Stefanoni didn’t leave a complete paper trail in testing the knife,  and they failed to collect and correctly bag the bra clasp at the beginning.

All of which left an opening for the defense to claim the dna evidence is suspect. There is a reason why teachers don’t let students grade their own papers, I think that concept is behind Hellman’s decision to seek an unbiased review of these two items.

I don’t see signs of exoneration in these rulings.

If Rudy Guede testifies and gives a believable narrative, it may not matter what the two dna reviews say, and it might also undermine the jurors’ inclination to accept the theory of remorse from the covering with the quilt that persuaded Massei to reduce the sentence. 

An increased sentence is not out of the question.

I really do not understand why the defense and the family are so happy with this review, which is very limited and not complete in any sense - other than, perhaps, the “any port in a storm” phenomenon.

The bra clasp evidence is not going to go away, and there is the risk that increased technical sophistication could result in identifying a complete dna profile of Amada Knox on it. If they disassemble the knife, there could be abundant blood between the handle and the blade.

From my view in the bleachers, there are way more risks to the defense than to the prosecution from Saturday’s rulings.

Posted on 12/21/10 at 08:55 PM by TomMClick here to view all my past posts, via link at top left.
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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

1st Appeal Session: Judge Claudio Pratillo Hellmann And Prosecutor Giancarlo Costagliola

Posted by Peter Quennell





Posted on 11/24/10 at 09:09 AM by Peter QuennellClick here to view all my past posts, via link at top left.
Archived in Those officially involvedThe prosecutorsThe judiciaryTrials 2008 & 2009Appeals 2009-2015Hellmann 2011+
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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Corruption Of Appeal? Angry Top Criminal Judge Chiari Is Blatantly Forced Aside

Posted by Peter Quennell




Very Dirty Business

Only one month ago Umbria’s top criminal judge Sergio Matteini Chiari was to preside.

Now a very angry Judge Chiari has been forced aside with no public explanation from Chief Judge De Nunzio [image below] as to why.

A wildly wrongly qualified judge, Hellmann, a business judge with just two criminal trials in his past, both fiascos, mysteriously takes his place.

Rumors of foul play are appearing in the Italian media. Has Chief Judge De Nunzio been leaned upon politically? Do big bucks or rogue masons have any role in this?

Click here for more


Monday, September 20, 2010

Explaining The Massei Report:  All Judges, Lawyers And Witnesses At Trial Jan-Dec 2009

Posted by Storm Roberts



[Above: Dr Giancarlo Massei, the president of the Court]

Our intention with this new series of posts is to show how thorough the trial was, and how compelling the Massei Report on the grounds for the Knox-Sollecito sentence is. 

At the beginning of the trial, the witness counts were considerable: approximately 90 for the prosecution, 60 for the civil plaintiffs, 90 for the defence of Raffaele Sollecito, and 65 for the defence of Amanda Knox.

However, a large number of witnesses for both Amanda Knox and for Raffaele Sollecito were removed from the witness listing. Thus the actual number of people testifying was lower than originally expected. 

Here is a comprehensive list I have compiled, made by going through the Massei Report, picking out the witnesses, and noting what they testified about. If I had the information available, I have noted where a witness was specifically called by the defence of either of the then defendants.

Officers Of The Court

  • Judges:  Dr Beatrice Cristiani and Dr Giancarlo Massei, the president of the Court.
  • Prosecutors: Public Ministers Dr Manuela Comodi and Dr Giuliano Mignini.
  • Interpreter for Amanda Knox:  Dr Anna Baldelli Fronticelli.



[above: the two prosecutors]

The Legal Teams:

  • For the family of Meredith Kercher:  Francesco Maresca and Serena Perna.
  • For Diya “Patrick” Lumumba: Carlo Pacelli.
  • For Aldalia Tattanelli (the owner of the house): Letizia Magnini.
  • For Amanda Knox:  Luciano Ghirga and Carlo Dalla Vedova.
  • For Raffaele Sollecito: Giulia Bongiorno, Daniela Rocchi and Luca Maori.



[above: Amanda Knox’s legal team]

Witnesses


The following is a list of witnesses and a brief note as to the evidence they presented. I am not detailing their arguments here, merely indicating the areas the witnesses were heard in.  For full details of the evidence and the court’s arguments please read the Massei Report in full and the summaries coming up.

  • Amanda Knoxtestified while not under oath at the request of her defence and the legal team representing Diya Lumumba.  Her testimony was heard on 12th and 13th June 2009. Raffele Sollecito made a couple of interventions from his seat beside his three lawyers, but he did not get up on the stand.
  • Mrs. Elisabetta Lana and her son, Alessandro Biscarini.  They discovered two mobile phones, both belonging to Meredith Kercher (one was registered to Filomena Romanelli, Meredith’s flatmate), in their garden at Via Sperandio.
  • Dr. Filippo Bartolozzi - at the time Manager of the Department of Communications Police for Umbria - Dr. Bartolozzi received the mobile phones from Mrs Lana, the first at approximately 11.45 to 12.00hrs on 2nd November 2007, the second at approximately 12.15 to 12.20 hrs.  He traced the first phone to Filomena Romanelli and, at noon, despatched two officers to her address to investigate why her phone was in Mrs. Lana’s garden.
  • Inspector Michele Battistelli and Assistant Fabio Marzi - the two officers despatched by Dr. Bartolozzi.  They arrived at 7 Via della Pergola at a little after 12.30 hrs - they found Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito sitting outside the house.  They gave evidence about the circumstances leading up to the discovery of Meredith’s body and with regards to securing the scene whilst awaiting the Carabinieri and Scientific Police.
  • Filomena Romanelli who was Meredith’s flatmate gave evidence regarding the phone she had lent to Meredith.  She also detailed when she had moved into the flat at 7 Via della Pergola and the living arrangements.  She told of her plans for the 2nd November and how a worrying phone call from Amanda Knox led to her calling her back and returning to her home earlier than planned.  A key point of Ms. Romanelli’s evidence was her disagreement with Amanda Knox over when Meredith locked her door - Ms. Romanelli stated that Meredith had only once locked her door and that was when she had returned to England for a few days.
  • Paola Grande, Marco Zaroli and Luca Altieri - the other young people who were at the property when Meredith’s body was discovered.  Mr. Altieri broke down the door to Meredith’s room.
  • Laura Mezzetti - the fourth flatmate in the upstairs flat at number 7 Via della Pergola.  She testified with regards to the living arrangements and also that Amanda Knox is an early riser, a “morning person”.
  • Robyn Butterworth, Amy Frost, Sophie Purton and Nathalie Hayward - Meredith’s friends from England.  They testified as to when they last saw Meredith and described the behaviour of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito at the Police Station in the evening of 2nd November 2007.  They also testified that Meredith had no plans after returning home at around 21.00 hrs on 1st November other than to study and have a rest as they had been out late the previous night and believed that they had classes the next day.  Meredith’s friends did not know of Rudy Guede and had not heard Meredith mention his name.
  • Giacomo Silenzi, one of the young men living in the flat underneath Meredith’s flat.  He was Meredith’s boyfriend.
  • Stafano Bonassi, Marco Marzan and Riccardo Luciani the other tenants of the downstairs flat.  Along with Mr. Silenzi they testified as to the the interactions between themselves and the girls upstairs, the gatherings they held, the fact that Rudy Guede was known to Amanda Knox.  They testified as to Rudy Guede’s actions at their house.  They gave evidence of having met or known of Raffaele Sollecito and his relationship with Amanda Knox.
  • Giorgio Cocciaretto a friend of the young men in the downstairs flat testified with regards to knowing Rudy Guede through playing basketball and having seen him at the 7 Via della Pergola house when both Meredith and Amanda Knox were present.
  • Rudy Guede availed himself of his right not to participate in the trial of Amanda Knox and Rafaelle Sollecito.  Judge Massei details Rudy Guede’s involvement based upon the evidence available in order to complete the reconstruction of events of 2nd November as he was charged alongside Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.
  • Marta Fernandez Nieto and Caroline Espinilla Martin - two young ladies living in the flat above Rudy Guede, they testified than on the night of 31st October they had been in the presence of Rudy Guede and that the only girl they saw him dance with was a “blonde girl with long smooth hair”.
  • Gioia Brocci from the Questura of Perugia who testified with regards to a trail of shoe prints leading from Meredith’s room to the exit of the flat getting fainter as they went.  Ms. Brocci also testified as to the lack of signs of climbing on the wall below Filomena Romanelli’s window.  She also collected evidence from the bathroom next to Meredith’s room.
  • Sergeant Francesco Pasquale testified as to the possibility of breaking into the flat though the window in Filomena Romanelli’s room.  Sergeant Pasquale was a consultant for the defence.
  • Maria Antonietta Salvadori Del Prato Titone, Paolo Brocchi, Matteo Palazzoli and Cristian Tramontano testified with regards to previous incidents involving or possibly involving Rudy Guede.
  • Edda Mellas , Amanda Knox’s mother.  She testified as to communications with her daughter on the 2nd November amongst other things.
  • Antonella Negri a teacher at the University who taught Amanda Knox and who testified as to her diligence as a student.
  • Francesco Sollecito, father of Raffaele Sollecito.  He testified as to his son’s character and about his communications with his son.  He also spoke of his son’s relationship with Amanda Knox.
  • Antonio Galizia, Carabinieri station commander in Giovinazzo, the Sollecito family’s home town.  He testified that in September 2003 Raffaele Sollecito was found in possession of hashish.
  • Jovana Popovic testified as to the presence of Amanda Knox at Raffaele Sollecito’s home at two points in time on the evening of 1st November 2007.
  • Diya “Patrick” Lumumba was Amanda Knox’s employer at “Chic”.  He testified that he has sent her a text message excusing her from work on the evening of 1st November.
  • Rita Ficcara Chief Inspector of the State Police - to whom Amanda Knox delivered a written statement composed whilst she was awaiting to be transferred to Capanne Prison.
  • Antonio Curatolo - Mr. Curatolo testified as to having seen Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito at the basketball court in front of the University (the Piazza Grimana) in the evening of 1st November 2007.
  • Maurizio Rosignoli - who runs a kiosk in the Piazza - testified with regards to the timing of buses at the Piazza Grimana thus corroborating times in Mr. Curatolo’s evidence.
  • Alessia Ceccarelli - who worked managing Mr. Rosignoli’s kiosk - gave evidence as to Mr. Curatolo’s presence in the Piazza.
  • Marco Quintavalle, who runs the shop “Margherita Conad”, testified he had seen Amanda Knox at 07.45 hrs on 2nd November, she was waiting for him to open his shop, she went to the section of the store that had items such as groceries, toilet paper and cleaning products but he did not serve her at the till so could not specify what she bought if anything.  He testified that he knew Raffaele Sollecito as he was a regular customer.
  • Officer Daniele Ceppitelli gave evidence with regards to the 112 calls made by Raffaele Sollecito at 12.51 and 12.54 hrs on 2nd November.  In these calls Raffaele Sollecito declared that nothing had been stolen from the flat.
  • Nara Capezzali, Antonella Monacchia and Maria Ilaria Dramis gave evidence of unusual sounds and activity coming from the area around 7 Via della Pergola - namely a scream and the sound of running footsteps.



[one of Sollecito’s three lawyers with Sollecito]

Expert Witnesses

  • Dr. Lalli, the Coroner, he performed the post mortem and ascertained the cause of death and a “time window” when death was likely to have occurred.  He put the time of death between 20.00 hrs on 1st November 2007 and 04.00 hrs the following day.
  • Dr. Domenico Giacinto Profazio was head of the Perugia Flying Squad at the time of Meredith’s death.  He gave evidence regarding the investigative procedures and safeguards including the physical security of the property.
  • Dr. Marco Chiacchiera, deputy director of the Perugia Flying Squad also gave evidence regarding the scene and investigation.
  • Monica Napoleoni, Deputy Commissioner of the State Police gave evidence regarding the scene and investigation.  She also testified as to Raffaele Sollecito’s desire to remain with Amanda Knox.
  • Mauri Bigini a chief inspect at the Flying Squad confirmed the evidence given by Profazio and Napoleoni.
  • Armando Finzi a chief inspector at the Flying Squad gave evidence regarding the examination of Raffaele Sollecito’s flat and the collection of the knife which is now termed “the Double DNA Knife” (Exhibit 36).
  • Stefano Gubbiotti and Zugarini Lorena confirmed the evidence regarding the search of Raffaele Sollecito’s flat.
  • Dr. Giunta from the Scientific Police in Rome directed the detection of latent prints at the scene.
  • Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni from the Scientific Police in Rome collected biological trace evidence for analysis.  She also performed the analysis of DNA evidence and testified extensively on all aspects of DNA - from the background science, through the collection and the testing methods employed to the analysis.
  • Professor Mauro Marchionni, Dr. Vincenza Liviero and Professor Mauro Bacci, the three consultants appointed by the Public Ministers to analyse the forensic medical evidence testified as to various aspects of Dr. Lalli’s report including the cause of death, timing of death, the sexual assault and the wounds.  They reported on the degree of compatibility of the knife - Double DNA Knife, Exhibit 36 - with the wounds suffered.
  • Professor Gianaristide Norelli, the consultant for the civil party, is a forensic police doctor. He testified with regards to the time and cause of death and the sexual assault against Meredith.  He testified as to the degree of compatibility of the Double DNA Knife with the wounds suffered.
  • Professor Francesco Introna, a consultant appointed by Raffaele Sollecito’s defence testified with regards to the forensic medical evidence (cause and time of death, the sexual assault). His opinion is that the murder was committed by one person and that the Double DNA Knife was not the weapon used to inflict the large wound on the left of Meredith’s neck.  He hypothesised that Meredith was already undressing at the end of the day when she was surprised by her sole attacker who attacked from behind.
  • Professor Carlo Torre, a consultant appointed by Amanda Knox’s defence testified with regards to the same areas as described above.  In his opinion the Double DNA knife was not the knife used to inflict the large wound on the left of Meredith’s neck.  He believed a stabbing from the front was the most likely dynamic, and he saw nothing that would lead him to believe there was more than one attacker.
  • Professor Vinci, a consultant appointed by Raffaele Sollecito’s defence, he testified with regards to the stains on the bed sheet -which appeared to be made in blood, outlining a knife.  Professor Vinci also testified with regards to footprints found in the flat.
  • Dr Patumi, a consultant appointed by the defence of Amanda Knox, testified with regards to the neck wounds suffered and also with regards to the genetic evidence as detailed by Dr. Stefanoni.
  • Professor Anna Aprile, Professor Mario Cingolani and Professor Giancarlo Umani Ronchi, all independent consultants appointed by the judge (GIP) at the preliminary hearing. Professor Aprile testified specifically on the question of the sexual assault, Professors Cingolani and Umani Ronchi again considered the evidence with regards to the cause and time of death and the compatibility of the Double DNA Knife with the large wound on the left of Meredith’s neck.
  • Dr. Torricelli, the consultant for Meredith Kercher’s family, testified and gave her opinion on the genetic evidence as detailed by Dr. Stefanoni.
  • Dr. Sarah Gino, a consultant appointed by the defence of Amanda Knox, testified and gave her opinion on the genetic evidence as detailed by Dr. Stefanoni.
  • Professor Tagliabracci, a consultant appointed by Raffaele Sollecito’s defence, testified and gave his opinion on the genetic evidence as detailed by Dr. Stefanoni.  He also gave evidence with regards to the effects of certain drugs.
  • Marco Trotta, Claudio Trifici and Gregori Mirco officers of the Postal Police, gave evidence with regards to the seized computer equipment and also with regards to internet activity at the home of Raffaele Sollecito.
  • Mr. Fabio Formenti, the technical consultant appointed by Raffaele Sollecito’s defence - observed the Postal Police’s analysis of the computer equipment.
  • Dr Michele Gigli and Dr. Antonio D’Ambrosio, consultants appointed by Raffaele Sollecito’s defence, testified with regards to the computer and internet evidence.
  • Chief Inspector Letterio Latella gave evidence with regards to mobile phones and how they pick up signals from base stations which cover certain areas, he also testified with regards to the call records of the mobile phones of the defendants, victim and others.  He detailed how a connection to the network was picked up by the base stations and how the location of the phone can be approximated through knowing which base station was used.  He was able to tell the court which connections to Meredith’s two phones were made from her own flat and which from Mrs. Lana’s garden.
  • Assistant Stefano Sisani provided evidence with regards to both landline telephone services and mobile phone services.
  • Bruno Pellero an engineer appointed by Raffaele Sollecito’s defence to give evidence with regards to telephonic communications.
  • Dr. Lorenzo Rinaldi, Principal Technical Director of the State Police, director of the three sections which compose the Identity Division of the ERT, gave evidence regarding shoe prints and footprints (including those highlighted by the use of luminol.
  • Chief Inspector Pietro Boemia, who worked alongside Dr. Rinaldi.
  • Chief Inspector Claudio Ippolito a consultant who reported on shoe prints - appointed by the public minister.



[Background: the Judges and jury (lay judges) for the trial]>


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Decision On Who Will Be Amanda Knox’s Judge At Her Forthcoming Slander Trial

Posted by Peter Quennell


Above and below: Amanda Knox entering the court area less than an hour ago. The decision is due momentarily.

Our previous post on the slander trial was here.  The Appeals Court should be announcing the decision on which judge right about now>

Added: ANSA and other Italian news services are reporting that Knox made one of the spontaneous statements the Italian law allows her, and that the decision on a judge will take another five days. 

“I just wanted to defend myself”. So said Amanda Knox, back in court once more, this time for defamation. “I’m sorry that the matter has reached this point,’ said Amanda before the Court of Appeals in Perugia

The court will within another five days decide on the request of her defense team to replace the preliminary hearings judge, Claudia Matteini, for the trial of the Seattle student who is accused of slander against various police officers.


Posted on 06/17/10 at 12:17 PM by Peter QuennellClick here to view all my past posts, via link at top left.
Archived in Those officially involvedThe judiciaryAmanda Knox
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Thursday, March 04, 2010

Judges’ Sentencing Report Released In Perugia And It Is 427 Pages Long

Posted by Peter Quennell


Judge Massei is seen above on live TV from the court on the night he announced the verdict and sentence.

The sentencing report is four times the length of the Micheli report a year ago which itself was very detailed. It was made available to the media today on paper by the court in Perugia.

First take in the Italian media is by TGCom.

The judges of the Court of Assizes of Perugia lodged the grounds for the condemnation of Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox for the murder of Meredith. All the issues raised in the process, it says, “demonstrate a comprehensive and unified whole, without gaps and inconsistencies”...  The reasons for conviction of two defendants are contained in a voluminous file. It is 427 pages signed by the President of the Court Giancarlo Massei and assessor Beatrice Christians.

The motive is described in the report as essentially the thrill of the moment in helping Rudy with a sexual attack and while there was a predisposition there was no longer term intention.

Drugs are seen as having played a role.

Sollecito and Knox are apparently seen in the report as the knife wielders and one of them seems to have delivered the fatal blow.

We will be obtaining the report of course and arriving at our own English-language version in the next several weeks.

RIP poor Meredith. This has to be so tough on her family and her friends. We love this photo below. So trusting and so full of life.


Posted on 03/04/10 at 08:17 AM by Peter QuennellClick here to view all my past posts, via link at top left.
Archived in Those officially involvedThe judiciaryTrials 2008 & 2009The Massei ReportAmanda KnoxRaff Sollecito
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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Italian Judge Ruling Is Tough But Fair In Another Case Involving Americans

Posted by Peter Quennell


We’ve seen no trace of anti-Americanism in the Perugia case, other than restrained reactions by prominent commentators to some strident anti-Italianism from the US.

Typically the two populations get along and like one another, they eagerly buy one another’s products, they visit one another’s countries in droves, and at the political level Italy and the US are very close allies.

So. Does the Italian judiciary perhaps have a covert beef against Americans?

We don’t see that one either. The main Americans that Italian judges see appearing in front of them are students, who seem to have quite a knack there for dropping themselves in it. We don’t post on all those cut-short escapades, but there are several a year reported, and we did post on two that happened in Florence.

All of the student cases are treated humanely, and the American Embassy in Rome is not kept particularly busy lecturing Italians on how to handle each case. Actually because of this case the Embassy keeps a very low profile. 

Judge Oscar Magi (image above) has now issued a 200-page explanation of his mainly-guilty ruling in the CIA kidnapping case. (This document is the equivalent of what we will see within a month on Meredith’s case.) 

Fearless, tough, and seemingly fair. The New York Times impartially reports.

The Italian secret service was most likely aware of, “and perhaps complicit in,” the abduction of an Egyptian cleric from the streets of Milan in 2003, a judge in Milan said Monday. But, he added, state secrecy prevented the court from proving this.

The statement by the judge, Oscar Magi, was part of a 200-page document explaining his reasoning behind the landmark November ruling that convicted 23 Americans, most of them Central Intelligence Agency operatives, of kidnapping the cleric. It was the first case to yield convictions in the practice of “extraordinary rendition,” in which terrorism suspects are captured in one country and taken to another, where they may be subjected to coercive interrogation techniques.

Judge Magi convicted a former C.I.A. base chief and 22 other Americans of kidnapping in the abduction of an Egyptian cleric, Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, on Feb. 17, 2003. Prosecutors said the cleric was taken from Milan in broad daylight and flown from an American air base in Italy to a base in Germany and then on to Egypt, where Mr. Nasr asserts he was tortured….

Judge Magi acquitted three Americans, citing diplomatic immunity, and two Italians, citing state secrecy. Tried in absentia, the other 23 Americans are considered fugitives and are sought under a European Union arrest warrant. Through their lawyers, they pleaded not guilty….

The Italian government is not expected to request extradition of the Americans, who are not expected to serve jail time. Still, the case marked the first time a judge in an allied country had placed C.I.A. agents on trial.

Judge Magi wrote that in 30 years as a penal judge, he had “very rarely” heard testimony “so precise, attentive and correct regarding such difficult and serious investigations,” adding that he had never seen a penal trial in which events had been reconstructed with such “certainty” and “such a degree of authority.”

Posted on 02/02/10 at 02:18 PM by Peter QuennellClick here to view all my past posts, via link at top left.
Archived in Those officially involvedThe judiciaryAppeals 2009-2015The wider contextsExtradition issues
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