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Friday, December 20, 2013
Multiple Provably False Claims About “Forced Confession” Really Big Problem For Dalla Vedova & Knox
Posted by FinnMacCool
The Breaking News
This post goes live just as the news breaks that it was Knox lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova who filed these patently false claims against the justice system of Italy with the European Court.
1. “There would be no need for these theatrics.”
Amanda Knox has not been present for any part her latest appeal against her own murder conviction. Nevertheless, she has made two meretricious contributions to the proceedings.
First, on the day that the prosecution opened its presentation of the case against her, she announced that her lawyers had filed an appeal against her slander conviction to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). ECHR hears only allegations of human rights abuses, which must be reported within six months of the alleged incident (or within six months after all local avenues have been exhausted; in this case none has even been explored).
This out-of-date application to an inappropriate body in pursuit of a groundless allegation is therefore bound to fail.
Knox’s second publicity stunt came on the day that her own defense lawyers began their own presentation. She sent a five-page email in English and Italian, with grammatical mistakes in each language, protesting her innocence and affirming that the reason she is not present in the court is because she is afraid of it.
There are many comments that could be made about the email, but perhaps its most grievous legal error comes in the aside where she claims that the “subsequent memoriali (sic), for which I was wrongfully found guilty of slander, did not further accuse but rather recanted that false ‘confession’.”
That singular document does not recant her previous statements (“I stand by what I said last night…”), but does contain further accusations against Patrick Lumumba (“I see Patrik (sic) as the murderer”), as well as seeking to cast suspicion on Sollecito (“I noticed there was blood on Raffaele’s hand”) and an unnamed “other person”.
However, by claiming that she has been “wrongfully found guilty” on that charge of calunnia, she is refusing to recognize the legitimacy of the Italian Supreme Court, which has definitively found against her on that count, and also of the Hellmann appeal court (the only court to date that has not found her guilty of the main charge of murdering Meredith Kercher).
Dr Alessandro Crini presented the prosecution’s case on November 25th/26th. It was not a particularly theatrical performance, but rather a very long summary of the many items of evidence against Sollecito and Knox.
The most theatrical element of the case so far has been when one of the defendants insisted that the judge should read out five vacuous pages of her email immediately before her own lawyers presented their case on her behalf.
This gives a certain dramatic irony to Knox’s claim, “If the prosecution truly had a case against me, there would be no need for these theatrics”.
Such ironies appear to be lost on Knox, however, since she seems incapable of reading back over her own work for solecisms or contradictions. (In the email itself, for example, in consecutive sentences she writes: “I had no contact with Rudy Guede. Like many youth in Perugia I had once crossed paths with Rudy Guede.”)
One of the many errors she makes in the email is to put in writing some of the wild claims that she and/or her supporters have previously made regarding the witness interview she gave on the night of November 5th/6th 2007.
The purpose of the current post is to consider that interview in greater detail, using as source material primarily Knox’s memoir “Waiting to be heard” (2013) and Raffaele Sollecito’s memoir, “Honor Bound” (2013), abbreviated here to WTBH and HB respectively.
2. “When we got there they said I couldn’t come inside.”
Amanda Knox was not even supposed to be at the police station on the evening of November 5th, 2007. She should have been attending a candlelit vigil, in which Meredith Kercher’s friends, classmates and supportive well-wishers met at eight o’clock at Corso Vannucci to process through to the Duomo, carrying candles and photographs of the victim.
A friend of Meredith’s – a young Polish student – texted Amanda Knox to invite her to this vigil, but Knox had better things to do. (WTBH: 82) She accompanied Sollecito to his friend Riccardo’s house for a bite to eat (HB: 29) where she absent-mindedly strummed a ukulele. (WTBH:82)
Knox writes of the vigil: “I wanted to be there but… the decision was made for me” because “Raffaele had somewhere else to be”. (WTBH: 82)
One consistent feature of her narrative is her refusal to accept responsibility for anything, including her failure to turn up for her murdered roommate’s vigil, but we should note also that the vigil (eight o’clock) and the dinner (nine o’clock) both take place within the timeframe of her supposed series of interrogations, which according to her email involved “over 50 hours in four days”.
By her own account, when she ignored the police’s request not to accompany Sollecito to the Questura and just came anyway, it was the first contact she had had with the police in well over 24 hours.
Let us consider what was happening in the early part of the evening of November 5th, 2007.
The police are at the station studying the evidence; Meredith’s friends are proceeding downtown with candles and photographs of the victim; and Knox is playing the ukulele at Riccardo’s house.
Far from taking part in a lengthy coercive interview, Amanda Knox had gone to her University classes as normal, had bumped into Patrick Lumumba, whom she would later accuse of Meredith’s murder, and had later skipped the vigil to have dinner with Sollecito. (WTBH:83)
Meanwhile, back at the Questura, the police could see that Raffaele Sollecito’s stories simply did not add up.
They therefore called Sollecito and asked him to come into the station for further questioning. They told him that the matter was urgent; that they wanted to talk to him alone; and that Amanda Knox should not accompany him. (HB: 29)
Sollecito responded that he would prefer to finish eating first. (The same meal is used as an excuse for not attending the vigil at eight o’clock, and for delaying their response to the police request at around ten.) By his own account, Sollecito resented being ordered what to do by the police (HB: 29), and so he finished eating, they cleared the table together, and Amanda Knox then accompanied him to the station. (HB:30; WTBH: 83)
Naturally the police were both surprised and disappointed to see her. Their civilian interpreter, who had worked flat out through the weekend accompanying not only Amanda Knox but also the rest of Meredith’s English-speaking friends, had gone home. The only person they were planning to speak to that night was Sollecito, and even he was late. According to Knox, the police were not expecting their interview with Sollecito to take very long:
When we got there they said I couldn’t come inside, that I’d have to wait for Raffaele in the car. I begged them to change their minds. (WTBH: 83)
The police were not prepared for an interview with Amanda Knox. They had asked her not to come, and they tried to send her away when she got there. It was late on a Monday evening and there were no lawyers or interpreters hanging around on the off-chance that someone might walk into the police station and confess.
However, that’s what happened. And it is on that basis that Amanda Knox is now claiming that the interview which she herself instigated was improperly presented by the police:
I was interrogated as a suspect, but told I was a witness. (Knox email, December 15, 2013)
But she wasn’t a suspect. In fact, she wasn’t even supposed to be there.
3. “Who’s Patrick?”
We will now examine Knox’s claim that “the police were the ones who first brought forth Patrick’s name” (Knox blog, November 25th, 2013).
She has already admitted in court that this is not true. In fact, it is clear from her own book that the police did not even know who Patrick Lumumba was, at that point.
If they had suspected him or anybody else, they would have brought them in for questioning, just as they had already questioned everyone else they thought might be able to throw some light on the case.
The police plan that evening was to question Sollecito in order to establish once and for all what his story was. They would perhaps have brought Knox back the following day (together with the interpreter) to see how far Knox’s story matched Sollecito’s. In the event, their plan was disrupted first because Sollecito delayed coming in, and second because when he finally arrived, he had brought Knox with him.
“Did the police know I’d show up,” Knox asks rhetorically, “or were they purposefully separating Raffaele and me?” (WTBH: 83) She does not offer a solution to this conundrum, but the answer is (b), as the patient reader will have noticed.
She thus turned up to the police station despite being expressly asked not to come. The police asked her to wait in the car and she refused, complaining that she was afraid of the dark. They allowed her inside.
Today, she might complain that she “was denied legal counsel” (Knox email, December 15th 2013) as she entered the Questura, but there was absolutely no reason for a lawyer to be present, since by her own account, all the police were asking her to do is go home.
Knox did not go home. According to WTBH, while Sollecito is in the interview room, she sits by the elevator, doing grammar exercises, phones her roommates about where to live next, talks to “a silver-haired police officer” about any men who may have visited the house (she claims to have first mentioned Rudy Guede at this point, identifying him by description rather than name) and does some yoga-style exercises including cartwheels, touching her toes and the splits.
It is at this point – somewhere between 1130 and midnight – that Officer Rita Ficarra invites Knox to come into the office so that they can put on record Knox’s list of all the men she could think of who might have visited the house.
Knox takes several pages (WTBH 83-90) to explain how she went from doing the splits to making her false accusation against Patrick Lumumba. Like much of her writing, these pages are confused and self-contradictory.
One reason for the confusion is that Knox is making two false accusations against the police, but these accusations cannot co-exist. First, she attempts to demonstrate that the police made her give the name of Patrick Lumumba. Second, she wants us to believe that Officer Ficarra struck her on the head twice.
This is denied by all the other witnesses in the room, and Knox did not mention it in her latest story about applying to ECHR. In her memoriale (WTBH: 97), she claims she was hit because she could not remember a fact correctly.
But in her account of the interview (WTBH: 88), Knox explains that Ficarra hit her because, the fourth time she was asked, “Who’s Patrick?”, she was slow in replying, “He’s my boss.” This is the exact opposite of not remembering a fact correctly. Knox is so keen to make both false charges against the police stick that she fails to notice that one contradicts the other.
Knox at least provides us with two fixed times that allow us to verify the start and finish times of the formal interview. It began at 1230, when Anna Donnino arrived to interpret, and ended at 0145 when Knox signed her witness statement.
Bearing in mind that this statement would have needed to be typed up and printed before she signed it, the interview thus took little over an hour, and was not the “prolonged period in the middle of the night” that her recent blog post pretends. (We might also remember that Knox’s regular shift at Le Chic was from 9 pm to 1 am, meaning that the interview began during her normal working hours.) (WTBH:31)
WTBH also flatly contradicts Knox’s own claim that her accusation of Lumumba was coerced by the police.
According to her own account, she first mentions her boss (although not by name) in the less formal conversation, before the interpreter’s arrival, telling the police : “I got a text message from my boss telling me I didn’t have to work that night.” (WTBH: 84)
The police appear to pay no attention to the remark (which undermines Knox’s argument that the police were pressing her to name Lumumba) but instead keep questioning her on the timings and details of what she did on the night of the murder. And Knox finds those details difficult either to recall or to invent.
Donnino arrives at half past midnight, and the formal interview begins.
Again, the focus is on the timings of Amanda Knox’s movements on the night of the murder, and again she is having difficulty remembering or inventing them. Ficarra picks up Knox’s cell phones and observes: “You texted Patrick. Who’s Patrick?” and Knox answers, “My boss at Le Chic.” (WTBH: 86)
There is a short discussion about this text message, and then a second police officer asks her: “Who’s Patrick? What’s he like?” This time Knox answers: “He’s about this tall… with braids.” They then continue to discuss the text message, and then the police ask her a third time, “Who’s this person? Who’s Patrick?” Knox again replies: “Patrick is my boss.” (WTBH: 87)
Donnino then makes the intervention about how traumatic events can sometimes affect memory. Such events certainly seem to have an effect on the memory of the police, because one of them asks Knox a fourth time: “Who’s Patrick?” At this point, Knox claims in her memoir that Ficarra struck her on the head. (WTBH: 87)
This is nothing to do with failing to remember a fact correctly, because the fact is correct: Patrick Lumumba is indeed her boss.
The police continue to believe that she is hiding something, and they ask her who she is protecting. After a few minutes of questioning along those lines, Knox has an epiphany in which she claims that the face of Patrick Lumumba appeared before her and she gasps: “Patrick – it’s Patrick.”
If we believe one of Knox’s other stories, that the police were cunningly trying to get her to name Patrick Lumumba, we might expect them to be quite pleased to have succeeded at this point. But according to Knox, their response is to ask her a fifth time, “Who’s Patrick?” The whole room must have wanted to chorus at this point, “He’s her boss!”, but according to Knox, it is she herself who simply repeats: “He’s my boss.”
4. “I was also hit in the head when I didn’t remember a fact correctly…”
Shortly after lunch on Tuesday November 6th, Knox wrote a piece of paper (known as her “memoriale”) in which she makes her first accusation that the police hit her. She hands this memoriale to Rita Ficarra, the very person she would later name as doing the hitting. We have noted above that in her account of the interview, the context Knox provides for this alleged blow is as follows:
This singularly repetitive catechism is supposed to have taken place at around one o’clock in the morning.
However, writing the following afternoon, Knox describes the event like this:
Not only was I told I would be arrested and put in jail for 30 years, but I was also hit in the head when I didn’t remember a fact correctly. I understand that the police are under a lot of stress, so I understand the treatment I received. (WTBH: 97)
This makes no sense as a reflection on the interview as she has earlier described it. In her version of the interview, she claims that the police kept asking her the same simple question, to which she keeps replying with the same factual answer, and the blows to the head take place in the middle of all that. Yet in her “memoriale”, she claims that the blow was because she could not remember a fact correctly.
In case two mutually contradictory accounts of that false allegation are not enough, Knox also provides a couple more explanations for why she was hit. Her third bogus claim is that the police said they hit her to get her attention, which makes for a dramatic opening to Chapter 10 of WTBH:
Police officer Rita Ficarra slapped her palm against the back of my head, but the shock of the blow, even more than the force, left me dazed. I hadn’t expected to be slapped.
I was turning around to yell, “Stop!”—my mouth halfway open—but before I even realized what had happened, I felt another whack, this one above my ear. She was right next to me, leaning over me, her voice as hard as her hand had been. “Stop lying, stop lying,” she insisted.
Stunned, I cried out, “Why are you hitting me?” “To get your attention,” she said. (WTBH: 80)
This is a direct allegation against a named police officer, and not surprisingly it has resulted in another libel charge against Amanda Knox. It is a strong piece of writing, too: on its own, isolated from context, it reads like a trailer for the movie version. The trouble is, that when Knox later tries to set it in context, it makes no more sense than “because I didn’t remember a fact correctly” as an explanation as for why the blow came.
They pushed my cell phone, with the message to Patrick, in my face and screamed,
“You’re lying. You sent a message to Patrick. Who’s Patrick?”
That’s when Ficarra slapped me on my head.
“Why are you hitting me?” I cried.
“To get your attention,” she said.
“I’m trying to help,” I said. “I’m trying to help, I’m desperately trying to help.” (WTBH: 88)
This makes no sense. They already have Knox’s attention, and she is having no difficulty giving them a factual response to their repeated question, “Who’s Patrick?”
It is difficult to explain any logical motivation for that slap in terms of any of the three suggestions Knox has made so far: (1) because she couldn’t remember a fact correctly; (2) because she failed to answer the repeated question “Who’s Patrick?” quickly enough; or (3) to get her attention. She’d got the fact right, she’d answered the question, and they already had her attention.
Knox then provides us with a fourth version of possible reasons for the alleged slap. She describes the following encounter between herself and Rita Ficarra on their way to lunch at around two o’clock on Tuesday afternoon:
With my sneakers confiscated, I trailed [Ficarra] down the stairs wearing only my socks. She turned and said, “Sorry I hit you. I was just trying to help you remember the truth.” (WTBH: 94)
Once again, this makes no sense in the context of a blow to the head while waiting for a reply to the question, “Who’s Patrick?” It is perfectly true that Patrick Lumumba was Amanda Knox’s boss, and she had already correctly answered the same question twice, by her own account.
These are the four main WTBH versions of how Amanda Knox was struck on the head by Rita Ficarra. Perhaps she hopes that readers will choose the one they like best and will ignore its discrepancies with the others.
When testifying in court, however, Knox provided three further versions of the same alleged incident.
First, when asked to explain why she had stated in her witness account that Meredith Kercher had had sex before she died, Knox answered that the police had suggested this to her and that they hit her to make her says so in her statement (Knox testimony, June 12 2009).
Second, a few minutes later during the same testimony, she claimed that the police hit her twice before she gave the name of Patrick, to make her give a name she could not give. (WTBH: 227-8; Knox testimony, June 12 2009)
Third, later still, she tells her own lawyer that the police were screaming at her “You don’t remember”, she was struck from behind, and when she turned around she was struck again. (WTBH:227; Knox testimony, June 12 2009)
These are seven different stories Knox has told about how she was hit during her interview. Even her most generous supporters would have to admit that at least six of them must be false. Everyone else in the room at the time has testified that it did not happen.
When Knox published her fantasy claim about appealing to ECHR last month, she neglected to mention that she was hit. This essentially confirms what has been obvious for some time: Rita Ficarra did not hit Amanda Knox during the interview.
Nobody did. All seven stories are false.
5. “She was screaming in Italian, ‘Aiuto! Aiuto!’”
However, Sollecito provides an ear-witness account of Knox’s traumatic interview, claiming that he could hear her shouting from where he was being interviewed in a nearby room. Here’s his version:
Then came a sound that chilled my bones: Amanda’s voice, yowling for help in the next room. She was screaming in Italian, “Aiuto! Aiuto!” I asked what was going on, and Moscatelli told me there was nothing to worry about. But that was absurd. I could hear police officers yelling, and Amanda sobbing and crying out another three or four times. (HB:33)
If Sollecito’s aim here is to invent a story even more ridiculous than Knox’s, he has succeeded.
For one thing, it does not match any of Knox’s seven stories about how her interview went. But even on its own terms, Sollecito’s story makes no sense. If we imagine for a moment an Italian witness or suspect being interrogated in Italian by Italian officers in an Italian police station, what possible motivation could such a woman have for shouting “Aiuto!”? Who could she be hoping might conceivably respond to her call?
How much more absurd, then, to suppose that an American woman accompanied by an interpreter would shout “Aiuto!” when by her own account she was trying to help the police with their inquiries at that point.
Perhaps Sollecito wants us to believe that Knox was offering to help the police with their inquiries, and Donnino was loudly translating it to “Aiuto!” at this point. Or perhaps, as is often the case with Sollecito, he has given so little thought to his lies that he has not made the slightest effort to make them believable.
There are other occasions when Sollecito is cavalier with the credibility of his explanations for the evidence against him. For example, when confronted with evidence that the victim’s DNA is on his kitchen knife, he suddenly remembers an occasion when he accidentally pricked her while cooking.
(Astonishingly, he repeats this absurd fiction on page 49 of Honor Bound, although he shifts the pricking to Via della Pergola and makes it a knife local to there, since it is obvious that the victim had never visited his own apartment.)
Or again, on being confronted with the (incorrect) evidence that his shoeprints have been found at the scene of the crime, he speculates to Judge Matteini that someone might have stolen his shoes and committed the murder in them. (HB:42)
Even today, Sollecito is currently making a public appeal for funds for his defense, pleading financial hardship, while taking lengthy vacations in the Caribbean, with photographs of his tropical lifestyle appearing in Oggi.
In his book, Sollecito also decides to make a claim of his own that the police struck him:
One of my interrogators opened the door noisily at one point, walked over, and slapped me. “Your father is a fine upstanding person,” he said. “He doesn’t even deserve a son like you, someone who would stand by a whore like Amanda.” (HB:36)
This is actually one of his more plausible stories. He has not named the officer, and he has created an incident to which there are no witnesses; he gives the impression that he was alone in the interview room when this officer came in.
Of course, he has made no formal complaint about this, nor has he mentioned it before publishing it in his book, nor has he named the officer or given any clue as to his identity. Nevertheless, these details simply stand in contrast to Knox’s libelous allegation, in which she named the officer, gives several contradictory accounts of how the blow occurred, and there are several witnesses all of whom deny that any such blow took place.
6. “Maybe a cappuccino would help.”
Finally, it seems only fair to speak up for Anna Donnino, the much-maligned interpreter who was given the task of accompanying Knox as she made her slanderous accusation of Patrick Lumumba.
Knox describes her arrival at the station like this:
The interpreter sat down behind me. She was irritated and impatient, as if I were the one who had rousted her from bed in the middle of the night. (WTBH:86)
While someone else must have done the rousting, by Knox’s own account it is indeed her fault that Donnino was called into the police station that night. Knox was the only English-speaker present, and she had ignored the police’s request that she stay home while they interviewed Sollecito.
Although Donnino must have had every right to feel irritable and impatient, Knox gives little evidence of it in her transcript of the interview. On the contrary, Donnino patiently volunteers an explanation that might attribute Knox’s self-contradictory stories to trauma and stress rather than deliberate lying.
Amanda Knox has often repeated her assertion that police called her a liar during that interview. For example, in the movie-trailer-type excerpt at the beginning of Chapter Ten, she writes:
They loomed over me, each yelling the same thing: “You need to remember. You’re lying. Stop lying!” (WTBH:80)
However, in the more detailed version that she gives on pages 83-90, she does not mention a single police officer calling her a liar. Only once do the police even ask her “Why are you lying?” (WTBH:88) The only person to call Knox a liar, in her account, is Anna Donnino, in the following passage:
“In English, ‘see you later’ means good-bye. It doesn’t mean we’re going to see each other now. It means see you eventually.”
In my beginner’s Italian, I had had no idea that I’d used the wrong phrase in my text to Patrick—the one that means you’re going to see someone. I’d merely translated it literally from the English.
The interpreter balked: “You’re a liar.” (WTBH:87)
The verb “balked” makes no sense here, and so let us charitably call it a printer’s error for “barked”. However, that is the only instance of Knox being called a liar her entire remembered account of the interview.
It seems that she is so reluctant to admit to having said anything that her readers might think sounds like a lie that she forgets this gives the police no context for calling her a liar. This in turn means that the only “lie” she can be accused of is her demotic interpretation of the English phrase “see you later”, in which she presents herself as correct and Anna Donnino getting it wrong.
Ironically, Anna Donnino’s next intervention, for which there are several witnesses including Amanda Knox herself, is clearly intended to suggest that failing to remember the details of a traumatic event properly may NOT be an indication of lying, but instead may be the result of the stress of the trauma:
The interpreter offered a solution, “Once, when I had an accident, I didn’t remember it. I had a broken leg and it was traumatizing and I woke up afterward and didn’t remember it. Maybe you just don’t remember. Maybe that’s why you can’t remember times really well.”
For a moment, she sounded almost kind. (WTBH:88)
“Kind” is a key word for Amanda Knox, and she continually judges people by whether they are kind to her. On this occasion, she is quite right: Anna Donnino does sound kind and helpful in volunteering this intervention. It is not a kindness that Knox would repay, however. On the contrary, in her later account of the trial, she is scathing of prosecutor Mignini’s description of Donnino as “very sweet”:
As for my interrogation at the questura, Mignini described the interpreter— the woman who had called me “a stupid liar” and had told me to “stop lying”—as “very sweet.” “I remember that evening how she behaved toward Amanda,” he said. (WTBH:244)
Knox has evidently forgotten that she has failed to mention anybody at all calling her a “stupid liar” during the interview, or that anybody told her to “stop lying”. Even her claim that Donnino called a liar over a translation error is illogical and is out of keeping with Donnino’s subsequent intervention.
Knox has also forgotten that the only other mention she makes of Donnino at the questura is in the following passage, from the day before the interview. While Knox is going over the events of the night of the murder in her mind, she reports:
“…the interpreter walked by, looked at me, and said, ‘Oh my God, are you okay?... You’re pale… Maybe a cappuccino would help. Come with me.” (WTBH: 76-77)
Once again, Knox unwittingly provides evidence that supports Mignini’s description of Anna Donnino, and undermines her own. Once again, she unwittingly provides evidence that her human rights were perfectly safe at Perugia police station.
7. “What does this say about my memory?”
The accounts of all three defendants in this case are so obviously fictitious that the subject should no longer be open for discussion. Any level of reasonable doubt that might have been acceptable to the Hellman appeal court has been removed not only by the Italian Supreme Court but even more so by the self-penned accounts published by Knox and Sollecito themselves.
Their bizarre and delusional writings will appear incredible to any objective reader who troubles to read them. The physical evidence against them - the DNA, the footprints, the knife, the faked burglary, and so on - only serves to confirm the most likely explanation for their wildly unbelievable stories - namely that they are lying to cover up their involvement in a brutal murder.
Given that his own account was patently fictitious, Guede has been fairly well advised to opt for a fast track trial which offers a reduced sentence and an abbreviated process. (Better advice might have been to plead guilty, but that is for him to choose.)
As a result, he will be eligible for parole relatively soon, even as the longwinded trials of Knox and Sollecito grind toward their conclusions. Whether or not it is right and fair for Guede to be given that parole is a separate question that will be considered in due course - even his expressions of remorse sound false and are undermined by his continuing refusal to give a plausible and honest account of what happened that night.
However justice systems all over the world are obliged to balance the rights of victims against the rights of defendants, with resultant compromises that are often uneasy and unsatisfying. Victims’ families may want the truth, but the perpetrators don’t always want to tell it.
The situation for Knox and Sollecito is different because their preposterous stories have been shored up by a coterie of supporters who in the long run have done the two defendants no favors whatsoever.
The pair have chosen the full trial process which may have postponed the final decision for several years, but which is also likely to result in much lengthier prison sentences.
It is too late now for Knox and Sollecito to opt for a fast track process, and everyone, no matter how ill-informed, can surely agree at least that the path they have chosen has been painfully slow and longwinded.
But there were many other options that, although previously open to them, have now been closed down by their supporters’ stubborn insistence that the case against them was first concocted by a vindictive prosecutor who took an early dislike to them and was subsequently supported by a vast conspiratorial network of police, judges, journalists, shopkeepers, students, friends and relatives of the victim, and so on.
This conspiracy theory is not only daft, but it provides no help at all for the two people at its core whose words and actions remain delusional and psychotic.
Amanda Knox wrote in her memoriale, “Is the evidence proving my pressance [sic] at the time and place of the crime reliable? If so, what does this say about my memory? Is it reliable?”(WTBH 98-9). These words are a clear cry for help.
Whether or not this cry was genuine, or was simply a cunning attempt to diminish punishment, is a matter that could and should have been determined at the time by a qualified psychiatrist. Instead, Knox was provided with a set of lawyers and a PR firm both of whom were set the task of claiming and proving their client’s innocence.
Her false allegation against an innocent man was then explained as resulting from a coercive police process - another ludicrous claim, contradicted by all the available evidence, including the self contradictory accounts published by the defendants themselves.
Knox and Sollecito are damaged individuals whose grip on reality is loose and whose delusional ramblings suggest that they need urgent psychiatric help. Instead, their fantasies have been cocooned by highly vocal supporters who have enabled the fantasists to maintain a series of fictions that, in the final analysis, will almost certainly fail to stand up to legal scrutiny.
Archived in The three defendants, Amanda Knox, Officially involved, The defenses, Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, Other cases, Others elsewhere
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Saturday, November 30, 2013
Note For Strasbourg Court & State Department: Knox Herself Proves She Lies About Her Interrogation
Posted by James Raper
If any of the busy, hard-pressed ECHR investigators do choose to press beyond the ECHR guidelines, they will almost instantly establish that in her voluntary interview on 5 November 2007 Knox was treated with complete fairness.
Also that her false accusation of Patrick (which she never retracted) was entirely of her own doing.
And also that she is not only trying to throw sand into the wheels of Italian justice during an ongoing judicial process (a felony in Italy) but she is trying to welsh out of paying Patrick his damages award of $100,000 (a contempt of the Supreme Court) thus foolishly risking two more charges of aggravated calunnia.
This post derives from a post of mine last May. In another post, we showed that Dr Mignini was not present for the interrogation that night, and Knox maliciously invented an illegal interrogation at risk of a third aggravated calunnia charge.
In fact Dr Mignini met with Amanda Knox only briefly, later, to charge her and to warn she should say no more without a lawyer. He asked her no questions.
I will compare the various accounts of the interrogation to demonstrate that Amanda Knox is indeed lying to the ECHR, just as she did repeatedly in her book this year and also on US and European television.
- There are two main bodies of truth about the interrogation: (1) all of those present at various times on that night and (2) Knox’s own testimony on the witness stand in mid 2009.
- There are two main bodies of lies about the interrogation (1) The Sollecito book and (2) the Knox book, which by the way not only contradict one another but also contradict such other accounts as those of Saul Kassin and John Douglas.
The police had called her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito in to the station for questioning and Knox had accompanied him because she did not want to be alone. They had already eaten at the house of a friend of Sollecito’s.
Knox’s interrogation was not tape recorded and in that sense we have no truly independent account of what transpired. The police, including the interpreter, gave evidence at her trial, but we do not yet have transcripts for that evidence other than that of the interpreter. There are accounts in books that have been written about the case but these tend to differ in the detail. The police and the interpreter maintain that she was treated well. Apart from the evidence of the interpreter all we have is what Knox says happened, and our sources for this are transcripts of her trial evidence and what she wrote in her book. I shall deal with the evidence of the interpreter towards the end of this article.
I am going to compare what she said at trial with what she wrote in her book but also there was a letter she wrote on the 9th and a recording of a meeting with her mother on the 10th November which are relevant.. What she wrote in her book is fairly extensive and contains much dialogue. She has a prodigious memory for detail now which was almost entirely lacking before. I am going to tell you to treat what she says in her book with extreme caution because she has already been found out for, well let us say, her creative writing if not outright distortion of facts. I shall paraphrase rather than quote most of it but a few direct quotes are necessary.
Knox arrived with Sollecito at the police station at about 10.30 pm (according to John Follain). The police started to question Sollecito at 10.40 pm (Follain).
In her book Knox describes being taken from the waiting area to a formal interview room in which she had already spent some time earlier. It is unclear when that formal questioning began. Probably getting on for about 11.30pm because she also refers to some questions being asked of her in the waiting room following which she did some stretches and splits. She then describes how she was questioned about the events over a period from about the time she and Sollecito left the cottage to about 9 pm on the 1st November.
Possibly there was a short break. She describes being exhausted and confused. The interpreter, Knox says, arrived at about 12.30 am. Until then she had been conversing with the police in Italian.
Almost immediately on the questioning resuming -
“Monica Napoleoni, who had been so abrupt with me about the poop and the mop at the villa, opened the door. “Raffaele says you left his apartment on Thursday night,” she said almost gleefully. “He says that you asked him to lie for you. He’s taken away your alibi.””
Knox describes how she was dumfounded and devastated by this news. She cannot believe that he would say that when they had been together all night. She feels all her reserves of energy draining away. Then -
“Where did you go? Who did you text?” Ficarra asked, sneering at me.
“I don’t remember texting anyone.”
They grabbed my cell phone up off the desk and scrolled quickly through its history.
“You need to stop lying. You texted Patrick. Who’s Patrick?”
“My boss at Le Chic.”
Stop right there.
How were the police able to name the recipient of the text? The text Patrick had sent her had already been deleted from Knox’s mobile phone by Knox herself and Knox hasn’t yet named Patrick. In fact she couldn’t remember texting anyone.
It is of course probable that the police already had a log of her calls and possibly had already traced and identified the owner of the receiving number for her text, though the last step would have been fast work.
In her trial testimony Knox did a lot of “the police suggested this and suggestd that” though it is never crystal clear whether she is accusing the police of having suggested his name. But she is doing it here in her book and of course the Knox groupies have always maintained that it was the police who suggested his name to her.
The following extract from her trial testimony should clear things up. GCM is Judge Giancarlo Massei.
GCM: In this message, was there the name of the person it was meant for?
AK: No, it was the message I wrote to my boss. The one that said “Va bene. Ci vediamo piu tardi. Buona serata.”
GCM: But it could have been a message to anyone. Could you see from the message to whom it was written?
AK: Actually, I don’t know if that information is in the telephone…………………..
GCM : But they didn’t literally say it was him!
AK : No. They didn’t say it was him, but they said “We know who it is, we know who it is. You were with him, you met him.”
GCM : Now what happened next? You, confronted with the message, gave the name of Patrick. What did you say?”
AK : Well, first I started to cry…....
And having implied that it was the police who suggested Patrick’s name to her, she adds….. that quote again -
“You need to stop lying. You texted Patrick. Who’s Patrick?”
“My boss at Le Chic.”
Here she is telling the Perugian cops straight out exactly to whom the text was sent. “My boss at Le Chic”.
But that does not quite gel with her trial testimony -
And they told me that I knew, and that I didn’t want to tell. And that I didn’t want to tell because I didn’t remember or because I was a stupid liar. Then they kept on about this message, that they were literally shoving in my face saying “Look what a stupid liar you are, you don’t even remember this!”
At first, I didn’t even remember writing that message. But there was this interpreter next to me who kept saying “Maybe you don’t remember, maybe you don’t remember, but try,” and other people were saying “Try, try, try to remember that you met someone, and I was there hearing “Remember, remember, remember…..
Doesn’t the above quote make it clear that the police were having considerable trouble getting Knox to tell them to whom her text message was sent? It would also explain their growing frustration with her.
But perhaps the above quote relates not to whom the text was sent but, that having been ascertained, whether Knox met up with that person later? Knox has a habit of conflating the two issues. However there is also the following quote from her trial testimony -
Well there were lots of people who were asking me questions, but the person who had started talking with me was a policewoman with long hair, chestnut brown hair, but I don’t know her. Then in the circle of people who were around me, certain people asked me questions, for example there was a man holding my telephone, and who was literally shoving the telephone into my face, shouting “Look at this telephone! Who is this? Who did you want to meet?”
Then there were others, for instance this woman who was leading, was the same person who at one point was standing behind me, because they kept moving, they were really surrounding me and on top of me. I was on a chair, then the interpreter was also sitting on a chair, and everyone else was standing around me, so I didn’t see who gave me the first blow because it was someone behind me, but then I turned around and saw that woman and she gave me another blow to the head.
The woman with the long hair, chestnut brown hair, Knox identifies in her book as Ficarra. Ficarra is the policewoman who started the questioning particularly, as Knox has confirmed, about the texted message. “Look at this telephone! Who is this? Who did you want to meet?” Again, surely this is to get Knox to identify the recipient of the text, not about whether she met up with him?
In the book though, it is all different.
In the book, the police having told her that the text is to someone called Patrick, Knox is a model of co-operation as, having already told them that he is her boss at Le Chic, she then gives a description of him and answers their questions as to whether he knew Meredith, whether he liked her etc. No reluctance to co-operate, no memory difficulties here.
Notwithstanding this, her book says the questions and insinuations keep raining down on her. The police insist that she had left Sollecito’s to meet up with - and again the police name him - Patrick.
“Who did you meet up with? Who are you protecting? Why are you lying? Who’s this person? Who’s Patrick?”
Remember again, according to her trial testimony the police did not mention Patrick’s name and Knox still hasn’t mentioned his name. But wait, she does in the next line -
“I said “Patrick is my boss.””
So now, at any rate, the police have a positive ID from Knox regarding the text message and something to work with. Patrick - boss - Le Chic.
Knox then refers to the differing interpretations as to what “See you later” meant and denies that she had ever met up with Patrick that evening. She recalls the interpreter suggesting that she was traumatized and suffering from amnesia.
The police continue to try to draw an admission from Knox that she had met up with Patrick that evening - which again she repeatedly denies. And why shouldn’t she? After all, she denies that she’s suffering from amnesia, or that there is a problem with her memory. The only problem is that Sollecito had said she had gone out but that does not mean she had met with Patrick.
Knox then writes, oddly, as it is completely out of sequence considering the above -
“They pushed my cell phone, with the message to Patrick, in my face and screamed,
“You’re lying. You sent a message to Patrick. Who’s Patrick?”
That’s when Ficarra slapped me on my head.”
A couple of blows (more like cuffs) to the head (denied by the police) is mentioned in her trial testimony but more likely, if this incident ever happened, it would have been earlier when she was struggling to remember the text and to whom it had been sent. Indeed that’s clear from the context of the above quotes.
And this, from her trial testimony -
Remember, remember, remember, and then there was this person behind me who—it’s not that she actually really physically hurt me, but she frightened me.”
In the CNN TV interview with Chris Cuomo, Knox was asked if there was anything she regretted.
Knox replied that she regretted the way this interrogation had gone, that she wished she had been aware of her rights and had stood up to the police questioning better.
Well actually, according to the account in her book, she appears to have stood up to the police questioning with a marked degree of resilience and self- certainty, and with no amnesia. There is little of her trademark “being confused”.
So why the sudden collapse? And it was a sudden collapse.
Given the trial and book accounts Knox would have us think that she was frightened, that it was due to exhaustion and the persistent and bullying tone of the questioning, mixed with threats that she would spend time in prison for failing to co-operate. She also states that -
(a) she was having a bad period and was not being allowed to attend to this, and
(b) the police told her that they had “hard evidence” that she was involved in the murder.
Knox has given us a number of accounts as to what was actually happening when this occurred.
In a letter she wrote on the 9th November she says that suddenly all the police officers left the room but one, who told her she was in serious trouble and that she should name the murderer. At this point Knox says that she asked to see the texted message again and then an image of Patrick came to mind. All she could think about was Patrick and so she named him (as the murderer).
During a recorded meeting with her mother in Capanne Prison on the 10th November she relates essentially the same story.
In her book there is sort of the same story but significantly without mention of the other officers having left the room nor mention of her having asked to see the texted message again.
If the first two accounts are correct then at least the sense of oppression from the room being crowded and questions being fired at her had lifted.
Then this is from her book -
In that instant, I snapped. I truly thought I remembered having met somebody. I didn’t understand what was happening to me. I didn’t understand that I was about to implicate the wrong person. I didn’t understand what was at stake. I didn’t think I was making it up. My mind put together incoherent images. The image that came to me was Patrick’s face. I gasped. I said his name. “Patrick—it’s Patrick.
It’s her account, of course, but this “Patrick - It’s Patrick” makes no sense at this stage of it unless it’s an admission not just that she had met up with Patrick but that he was at the cottage and involved in Meredith’s death.
And this is from her trial testimony -
GCM : Now what happened next? You, confronted with the message, gave the name of Patrick. What did you say?
AK : Well, first I started to cry. And all the policemen, together, started saying to me, you have to tell us why, what happened? They wanted all these details that I couldn’t tell them, because in the end, what happened was this: when I said the name of Patrick I suddenly started imagining a kind of scene, but always using this idea: images that didn’t agree, that maybe could give some kind of explanation of the situation.
There is a clear difference between these two quotes.
The one from her book suggests that she was trying hard but that the police had virtually brought her to the verge of a mental breakdown.
Her trial testimony says something else; that a scene and an idea was forming in her mind brought on by her naming of Patrick.
In her book she states that a statement, typed up in Italian, was shoved under her nose and she was told to sign it. The statement was timed at 1.45 am. The statement was not long but would probably have taken about twenty minutes to prepare and type.
The statement according to Knox -
... I met Patrick immediately at the basketball court in Piazza Grimana and we went to the house together. I do not remember if Meredith was there or came shortly afterward. I have a hard time remembering those moments but Patrick had sex with Meredith, with whom he was infatuated, but I cannot remember clearly whether he threatened Meredith first. I remember confusedly that he killed her.
The fact that the statement was in Italian is not important. Knox could read Italian perfectly well. However she does insinuate in the book that the details in the statement were suggested to her and that she didn’t bother to read the statement before signing.
Apart from what has been mentioned above, there are some other points and inferences to be drawn from the above analysis.
- 1. Knox’s account destroys one of Sollecito’s main tenets in his book Honour Bound. Sollecito maintains that he did nothing to damage Knox’s alibi until he signed a statement, forced on him at 3:30 am and containing the damaging admission that Knox had gone out. But Knox makes it clear that she had heard from the Head of the Murder Squad that he had made that damaging admission, at or shortly after 12.30 am. Or is Knox is accusing Napoleoni of a bare-faced lie?
2. It is valid to ask why Knox would not want to remember to whom the text had been sent. Who can see into her mind? Perhaps Knox realized that discussion of it would confirm that if she had indeed gone out then it was not to Le Chic, where she was not required. However even if she thought that could put her in the frame it’s not what an innocent person would be too worried about. Perhaps she did just have difficulty remembering?
3. If there was no fuss and she did remember and tell the police that the text was to Patrick, and the questioning then moved on to whether she met up with Patrick later that evening, what was the problem with that? She knew the fact that she hadn’t met up with him could be verified by Patrick. She could have said that and stuck to it. The next move for the police would have been to question Patrick. They would not have had grounds to arrest him.
4. Knox stated in her memorial, and re-iterates it in her book, that during her interrogation the police told her that they had hard evidence that she was involved in Meredith’s murder. She does not expand on what this evidence is, perhaps because the police did not actually tell her. However, wasn’t she the least bit curious, particularly if she was innocent? What was she thinking it might be?
5. I can sympathise with any interviewee suffering a bad period, if that’s true. However the really testy period of the interview/interrogation starts with the arrival of the interpreter, notification of Sollecito’s withdrawal of her alibi and the questioning with regard to the text to Patrick, all occurring at around 12.30 am. There has to be some critical point when she concedes, whether to the police or in her own mind, that she’d met “Patrick”, after which there was the questioning as to what had happened next. Say that additional questioning took 20 minutes. Then there would be a break whilst the statement is prepared and typed up. So the difficult period for Knox, from about 12.30 am to that critical point, looks more like about 35 to, at the outside, 50 minutes.
6. Even if, for that period, it is true that she was subjected to repeated and bullying questions, and threats, then she held up remarkably well as I have noted from her own account. It does not explain any form of mental breakdown, let alone implicating Patrick in murder. In particular, if Knox’s letter of the 9th and the recording of her meeting with her mother on the 10th are to believed, that alleged barrage of questions had stopped when she implicated Patrick. An explanation, for what it’s worth, might be that she had simply ceased to care any longer despite the consequences. But why?
7. A better and more credible explanation is that an idea had indeed formed suddenly in her mind. She would use the revelation about the text to Patrick and the consequent police line of questioning to bring the questioning to an end and divert suspicion from her true involvement in the murder of Meredith Kercher. She envisaged that she would be seen by the police as a helpless witness/victim, not a suspect in a murder investigation. As indeed was the case initially. She expected, I am sure, to be released, so that she could get Sollecito’s story straight once again. If that had happened there would of course remain the problem of her having involved Patrick, but I dare say she thought that she could simply smooth that over - that it would not be a big deal once he had confirmed that there had been no meeting and that he had not been at the cottage, as the evidence was bound to confirm.
At the beginning I said that we also have a transcript now of the evidence of the interpreter, Anna Donnino. I will summarise the main points from her evidence but it will be apparent immediately that she contradicts much of what Knox and her supporters claim to have happened.
Donnino told the court that she had 22 years experience working as a translator for the police in Perugia. She was at home when she received a call from the police that her services were required and she arrived at the police station at just before 12.30 am, just as Knox said. She found Knox with Inspector Ficarra. There was also another police officer there whose first name was Ivano. At some stage Ficarra left the room and then returned and there was also another officer by the name of Zugarina who came in. Donnino remained with Knox at all times
The following points emerge from her testimony :-
- 1. Three police officers do not amount to the “lots of people” referred to in Knox’s trial testimony, let alone the dozens and the “tag teams” of which her supporters speak.
2. She makes no mention of Napoleoni and denied that anyone had entered the room to state that Sollecito had broken Knox’s alibi. (This is not to exclude that this may have happened before Donnino arrived)
3. She states that Knox was perfectly calm but there came a point when Knox was being asked how come she had not gone to work that she was shown her own text message (to Patrick). Knox had an emotional shock, put her hands to her ears and started rolling her head and saying “It’s him! It’s him! It’s him!”
4. She denied that Knox had been maltreated or that she had been hit at all or called a liar.
5. She stated that the officer called Ivano had been particularly comforting to Knox, holding her hand occasionally.
6. She stated that prior to the 1.45 am statement being presented to Knox she was asked if she wanted a lawyer but Knox said no.
7. She stated that she had read the statement over to Knox in english and Knox herself had checked the italian original having asked for clarification of specific wording.
7. She confirmed that that she had told Knox about an accident which she’d had (a leg fracture) and that she had suffered amnesia about the accident itself. She had thought Knox was suffering something similar. She had also spoken to Knox about her own daughters because she thought it was necessary to establish a rapport and trust between the two of them.
The account in Knox’s book is in some ways quite compelling but only if it is not compared against her trial testimony, let alone the Interpreter’s testimony: that is, up to the point when she implicates Patrick in murder. At that point no amount of whitewash works. The Italian Supreme Court also thought so, upholding Knox’s calunnia conviction, with the addition of aggravating circumstances.
Archived in The three defendants, Amanda Knox, Officially involved, The defenses, Defense dirty tricks, Mafia playbook, Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases
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Thursday, October 03, 2013
Tomorrow Could See The Beginning Of The End Of The Rampaging “Public Relations” Campaign
Posted by Peter Quennell
Instead the court under a Supreme Court requirement will get into the myriad dirty tricks of the defenses, why such campaigns had to be run if the accused perps had no blame, how the mafia is infiltrating its way in, and maybe some hard evidence of real crimes.
The three shown above are of course defense lawyer Giulia Bongiorno, Judge Hellmann, and Francesco, Sollecito’s dad.
Bongiorno may have offered bribes for false testimony, tame judge Hellmann may have attempted to cover up evidence of crimes (those bribes), and Papa Doc may have been over-eager to get his son out of prison by any means fair or foul.
Except for Luciano Aviello’s photo, which has never yet appeared on the web, as he had that protection as a jailhouse snitch, we have had a pretty comprehensive series of posts about him starting back in June 2010. These seven are perhaps the most key.
- His initial claims about alternate murderers; and his life history.
- Prosecution disbelieves him, and searches his prison cell.
- Prosecution know a lot about Aviello, and are loaded for bear.
- How Aviello is expected to appear (or not appear) in court.
- Why Aviello wanted money: his cellmates explain all.
- Reports of suspected witness tampering by the Sollecito family
- Start of Aviello’s trial in Florence for perjury and contempt of court.
Note that NOBODY knows exactly what the prosecution has up its sleeves. The FOA wannabees still don’t realize what a huge jump the prosecution has on them. It plays its cards very close to the chest.
Going back a very long time the prosecution appear to have set a number of traps. Back in 2010 it knew Hellmann’s presence at the appeal had been quietly organized by the defense. It knew that the Supreme Court understood that Guede could not have killed Meredith on his own.
And it knew that Aviello was a walking time-bomb and knew how to set him off. And all of the three above seem to have unwittingly walked into that trap.
Of course there is no way that the court closes the book on Aviello tomorrow, because his own trial in Florence under the same prosecutor’s office is still going on. There is immense pressure on Aviello to come clean and not end up inside yet again.
All three above could be called to give testimony at his trial. And he could pave the way to all three facing trials of their own.
Archived in Officially involved, The defenses, The appeals, Florence appeal, Public evidence, Witness Aviello, Defense dirty tricks, Mafia playbook, Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, Sollecitos
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Saturday, August 24, 2013
Surprised? A Desperate Ghirga Urges Amanda Knox To Not Show Up At The Florence Appeal
Posted by Peter Quennell
[Above: Knox’s legal team with mom back when; even then it looked like they could use some sleep]
Amanda Knox is urged to stay away. A report from Italy here.
Clearly her lead defense lawyer Ghirga (who normally handles only small-time crime) thinks the presence of Knox and her entourage can only make things worse and now belatedly attempts to get a grip.
Worse?! How can they make things any worse?
Since the end of trial in 2009 Amanda Knox’s entourage and she herself appear to have broken law after law after law. Let us list some of the ways in which they are now foolishly dug in so deep.
The evidence in the case as presented at trial in 2009 remains rock solid to this day (the Massei outcome is the state of play) and if the large knife is retested, it could actually get way worse. Hundreds of open questions remain which Knox has strenuously avoided answering, either on the stand or in her book or on TV.
In Florence, how does she talk about that?
Every instance where Amanda Knox and any of her entourage alleged without hard proof that Italian police and prosecutors have committed crimes (and there have been literally hundreds of such accusations by Preston, Fischer, on and on, now all captured and preserved) could see any or all of them hauled into court with zero heads-up (ask Sforza).
In Florence, how does she talk about that?
In 2011 Knox was sentenced to three years (served) for the crime of framing Patrick Lumumba. So what does this slow learner do? Turn right around and commit the SAME crime in her nasty book, only this time she makes it worse. This time, she frames the chief prosecutor, in describing in detail a highly illegal interrogation that never took place.
In Florence, how does she talk about that?
There are perhaps 40 felony allegations against police and prosecution in Sollecito’s blood-money book and maybe another 20 in Knox’s own. Each of them will be put on trial separately for those claims and either one of them or both in desperation could take down all the writers, all the agents, all the publishers, all the wild-eyed conspiracists who helped write the books, and all those who made the illegal multi-million dollar deals, including their own two dads.
In Florence, how does she talk about that?
The contempt of court trial of Frank Sforza is about to start. He is desperate to stay out of jail, and all of his alleged felonies since 2008 in contempt of the court could put him there for up to ten years. Consider the list of precisely who in Italy and the US Frank Sforza might take down, to try to give himself something of a break. This list is nothing if not long (see next post).
In Florence, how does she talk about that?
Witness Luciano Aviello is now on trial and as this post explained Aviello could take down all of the defense lawyers (for illegal dealing over the “right” judge), all of the Sollecitos, if they offered bribes, and both of the judges, Hellmann and Zanetti, who presided over the annulled appeal.
In Florence, how does she talk about that?
Nobody with any sense flouts the Supreme Court, or the extremely important, powerful court in Florence, which has sent down some of the toughest perps in the land.
Both courts and both prosecution teams are well-know in Italy for being cold and relentless in their search for the truth. None of the four lead lawyers for Sollecito and Knox has ever won even one case either in Florence or before the Supreme Court.
This might well be a trial balloon, to see how the Florence prosecutors and courts react. An arrest warrant, maybe? As we have seen lately, they act fast, and suddenly at any time.
Archived in The three defendants, Amanda Knox, Officially involved, The defenses, Public evidence, Knox's alibis, Witness Aviello, Reporting on the case, Knox's book, Defense dirty tricks, Mafia playbook, Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, Other cases, Associated trials
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Monday, April 01, 2013
Alarm Bells Ignored: Overconfident PR And Lawyers May Have Led To That Shock At Cassation Outcome
Posted by The TJMK Main Posters
But we have been surprised in recent weeks at how the defense lawyers and spokesmen and especially Raffaele Sollecito and Giulia Bongoirno and Carlo Dalla Vedova and the PR flunkies were seemingly seeing the Supreme Court appeal as a forgone conclusion in their favor, a blip requiring no change in the end game.
Here are 20 warning bells that we think they might have missed or heard wrongly which contributed to a shocked and ill-prepared reaction to the Cassation ruling, and each of which a team of hard-nosed lawyers not befuddled by PR might have heard and responded to quite differently.
- 1. The Italian media in 2007-2008 in fact did not blow the case and Knox herself out of all proportion. Most of the lurid headlines appeared in the UK press where they had zero effect on the 2009 jury. There really was a hard case to answer.
2. The British and American media mostly came to be manipulated on the lines Barbie Nadeau’s book described, which meant a big contrast opened up between hard Italian reporting and fantastical UK and US reporting.
3. The Knox and Sollecito teams shrugged off a short-form trial in October 2008 at which point they might have pleaded that Meredith’s murder was not intended and drugs and mental quirks had resulted in a terrible but unintended outcome, perhaps providing relief both for themselves and Meredith’s family.
4. The prosecution part of the trial in 2009 was in fact, contrary to frequent illusory claims, fast and comprehensive and decisive, and it may have been at the end of that phase that the jury was already ready to vote guilty.
5. The defense part of the trial was far less successful with Amanda Knox on the stand suggesting to Italians that she was cold-blooded and uncaring, and from then on the defenses were desultory and dispirited with no strong points ever landed. Several days one or other of them failed to show.
6. The prosecution summation at end of trial was extremely powerful and included in it was a very convincing 15-minute crime-scene recreation video (never released to the public) which accounted for all the marks and stains in Meredith’s room and on her body by an attack group of three.
7. The Massei report, again contrary to frequent illusory claims later, was considered by those familiar with such reports a model of good logic and reasonable assumptions. It laid out and connected hundreds of evidence points which in a normal appeal process would have been unassailable.
8. The 2011 appeal did not happen because Massei was riddled with legal errors and wrong assumptions, which would have been the criteria for any British or American judge to agree to such an appeal. It happened solely because, unique to Italy, such appeals are automatic if demanded, resulting in a huge number of appeals on weak grounds.
9. Italy does not have a terrible record of trial reversals as some claim. It has a record of fine-tuning and adjustments of thousands of appeals by appeal juries seemingly wishing to prove that they are being diligent. Cassation is aware of this quirky systemic effect, and it often bounces back appeal outcomes to dead center.
10. It had appeared that the PR effort was joined by a lot of influential “heavies” including MP Girlanda, Judge Heavey, Senator Cantwell, Joel Simon of CPJ, and the billionaire Donald Trump. Most had limited positive effect in the US and less in Italy, and have been quiet since the Cassation ruling.
11. Judge Hellmann was a surprise replacement for Judge Chiari, then the able and experienced head of the criminal division. (He resigned over this.) Judge Hellmann, a good civil judge, had very limited criminal-case experience. Chief Judge De Nunzio has not explained why he replaced Chiari .
12. The scope of appeals is carefully laid out in the Italian judicial code, and they are not to be repeat trials with overall reconsideration of all evidence and al witnesses only absent the careful presentation process and cross-examination at trial. In the US or UK the defense grounds for appeal might simply have been rejected.
13. Prosecutor Mignini was provisionally convicted in March 2011 of abuse of office, but careful examination would have revealed that the grounds were spurious and he had no need of a conviction in this case. Cassation in the past month has killed his own case terminally and chastized those who brought it.
14. Incriminating DNA was found in Meredith’s room and also outside it in many locations, and also on a knife in Sollecito’s apartment. DNA consultants were “illegally” appointed who muddied the waters but decisively disproved none of it.
15. The Supreme Court is on record as deciding that three perpetrators attacked Meredith. The defenses never set out to prove Guede was a lone wolf attacker, for a long list of reasons, and they failed to prove that jailhouse witnesses Alessi and Aviello had pointed out credible alternatives.
16. The Hellmann-Zanetti report surprised a majority of Italian lawyers who read it for its passion and broad scope and tendentious logic, and for misunderstanding certain key legal concepts. Some instantly saw it as having feet of clay, and a pretty sure candidate for reversal.
17. The significance of Chief Prosecutor Dr Galati in the process seemed seriously discounted. UK and US media mostly ignored his appointment and where he came from, which was in fact Cassation in Rome where he was a highly effective Deputy Chief Prosecutor.
18. The Galati appeal itself was extremely competent and hard line and targeted the Hellmann appeal outcome in several levels or layers in a total of ten points. It is one of the toughest and most sweeping appeals ever filed in Italy, and in the US or UK alarm bells really would have gone off at this one.
19. Sollecito’s book was seemingly okayed by his lawyers, although it causes them major complications in three respects: it introduces new “facts” which contradict his own defense; it derides Italian officials and accuses them of crimes; and it looks like a seedy attempt to make money out of a crime for which the writer is still on trial.
20. While Sollecito had been acting happily oblivious and super-confident in recent months, he has added to Amanda Knox’s own problems by semi selling her out in his book, and by waking the new 800 pound gorilla of contempt of court prosecutions for not respecting the judicial process.
It may not surprise you to learn that Giulia Bongiorno has not had a very winning record at Cassation, and as far as we know the other lawyers have no experience of winning there at all.
Archived in Officially involved, The defenses, The appeals, Cassation appeal, Public evidence, Witness Aviello, Witness Alessi, Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, Sollecitos
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Saturday, January 12, 2013
How Much Or How Little To Blame Rudy Guede? The Defenses’ Immense Headache Coming Up #1
Posted by Cardiol MD
[Photo by Andrea Vogt as in December 2010 Supreme Court decides that Rudy Guede didnt act alone]
On a scale of 0% to 100% how much of the blame for the crime against Meredith has been heaped on Rudy Guede?
Well, it sure varies.
In trial court and first-appeal court it was never ever 100%. Seemingly very scared of the harm Guede could do to their clients, if they provoked him into telling all, defense lawyers have acted consistently since 2008 and more-so since December 2010 as if they walk on eggshells around him.
In fact among the defendants and their teams only ONCE was Guede ever blamed 100%.
Sollecito’s bizarrely-titled Honor Bound 2012 book, the factually unchecked one which now is causing him and his defense team so much trouble, was the first instance ever among those accused to try to blame Guede for the crime 100%.
Our next post will look at the categoric claims against Guede in that book. Meanwhile, here, let us start at the beginning.
Commencing from when they were arrested, Amanda Knox pointed decisively at a black man, but of course she pointed at the wrong one: Patrick Lumumba. Make that 0%. Not long after they were arrested, Knox and Sollecito were strongly questioning the role of one another. So 100% against each other, but still a zero against Mr Guede.
In his messages from Germany Guede blamed two hasty intruders though he had no choice but to say he was there. Perhaps 33% at this point. After Guede was captured, Sollecito implied that they were at the crime scene together because he was worried that Guede would implicate him. Make that 50%.
At Guede’s short-form trial In October 2008, Judge Micheli blamed Guede 33% too. In sending Knox and Sollecito to full trial he dismissed the lone wolf theory (never really to be revived in court again) and he tentatively believed the evidence pointed to their being equally guilty.
In fact Judge Micheli tentatively blamed Knox for instigating both the attack on Meredith and the rearrangement of the crime scene. In effect he allocated 50% of the blame to Amanda Knox and 25% each to Guede and Sollecito.
Throughout trial in 2009 the Knox and Sollecito defense teams seemed to take great care not ever to blame Guede 100%, perhaps because (for murky reasons not made public) Rudy Guede had refused to testify against their clients.
Judge Massei assigned Guede 33% of the blame as he concluded that Guede had initiated the attack but that Knox and Sollecito had wielded the knives and that one of them had struck the final blow.
During trial and thereafter, the defense lawyers for the three were often on Italian TV and as our main poster the Italian lawyer Cesare Beccaria exhaustively charted in a four-part series, each “gently” blamed the other two.
We can assume that is either 33% or 50% but never more than that.
On February 24. 2011, in the Supreme Court report, on its rejection of Guede’s final appeal of his sentence for involvement in killing Meredith, blamed Rudy Guede and two others equally. Some 33% of the blame each.
The Supreme Court relied upon three facts: the physical evidence of Guede’s presence at the flat, Guede’s actual admission of his presence, and Guede’s implicit admission of shared-guilt in his documented Skype InstaMessage to Giacomo Benedetti on Nov. 19, 2007 (“I was scared that they would say I was the only guilty person”).
In a nutshell, the situation at the start of the Sollecito and Knox appeal before Judges Hellmann and Zanetti in 2011 was this:
- The Supreme Court had decided that Rudy Guede acting ALONE could not have attacked Meredith with several knives over an estimated 15 minutes, left so little physical evidence upon her, staged the break-in via the absurd route of Filomena’s window while leaving zero DNA in her room, placed Sollecito’s DNA on Meredith’s bra clasp, engineered several traces of Knox’s and Sollecito’s footprints outside the room, and placed the mixed DNA of Meredith and Knox in several different locations outside Meredith’s locked door.
- But there remains zero evidence that perps two and three which the physical evidence strongly pointed to were anyone other than Knox and Sollecito. There’s really not one speck of hard evidence to the contrary. Defenses somewhat desperately tried to engineer some at first appeal from the seemingly perjured testimony of jailbirds Alessi and Aviello and some smoke-blowing over the DNA testing, but in terms of HARD evidence came up empty-handed. Alessi did a meltdown on the stand, while Aviello turned completely cuckoo, and Judges Hellmann and Zanetti had to invent arguments frantically to dig Knox and Sollecito out of that hole.
I have done a series of posts (to be read from the bottom upward) on the Hellmann-Zanetti outcome covering many other aspects of their strange arguments.
Back in late 2010 some of us at TJMK were impressed at the alacrity with which Judge Hellman selected Conti and Vecchiotti.
We were thinking that “he had already thought it all out” [we seem to have got that-much right], and that he was “being prudently responsive to the legal and political pressures bearing down on him, and knows the ruling also calls the defendants’ bluff.”
I had posted that the defenses of Knox and Sollecito seemed to be trying to exclude evidence that they themselves tried to destroy, essentially on the grounds that their destructive attempts failed to destroy all of it, and left behind only some of it. Their argument had boiled down to whether the disputed DNA evidence is more unfairly prejudicial than probative.
It was my opinion that because it was the defendants’ deliberate conduct that nearly succeeded in extinguishing all their DNA, any US and UK courts would admit this highly relevant evidence, and let the participants duke out its fairness, in open court, in front of a jury.
I had thought that was what the Massei Court had already done, and was what the Hellmann/Zanetti court was then doing. The Hellmann/Zanetti court was doing that - but that was not all it was doing, as we now know and regret.
I had believed that the defendants would bitterly regret their petition for such DNA Expert-Opinion Review. We should know in March 2013 if they regret it at all, let alone ‘bitterly’. So far they may not, but Sollecito’s current venture into special-pleading journalism in his book seems likely to accelerate their journey to a bitter and regretted destiny.
We were less impressed with how Judge Zanetti started the appeal hearings.
To his eternal discredit Judge Zenetti uttered words to the effect that “the only thing that is ‘certain’ in Meredith’s case is that Meredith is dead.” Nothing else. In effect, illegally promising a whole new trial at appeal level - very much frowned on by the Supreme Court.
Unless the word ‘thing’ is a mistranslation, that is not the only thing that was already certain in Meredith’s Case; Many Things were then certain in her case.
For example, it is certain that the first-ever documented references to Meredith’s scream just before she was killed had already come both from the mouth of Amanda Knox herself, and from the hand of Amanda Knox, in the case of her contemporaneous personal hand-written notes.
Guede, himself, had certainly already made a documented reference to Meredith’s scream.
It was also certain that Guede had made documented references to his actual presence when Meredith screamed.
Some of these already-certain facts inconveniently undermined Hellmann’s and Zanetti’s already-assumed conclusions, so they then proceeded in-turn to undermine the ‘reliability’ of those facts, e.g. ‘it is not certain that the scream was Meredith’s scream; it could have been someone-else’s scream’; or even Amanda’s scream?
The Massei court had exhaustively presented the evidence from all sources in their conclusion that Knox and Sollecito were the ones who shared Guede’s guilt. But Hellmann/Zanetti then contradicted ALL the previous finders-of-fact with regard to Guede, essentially using five ploys in arguing:
- That Guede was Unreliable: “for example, in the questioning before the Prosecutor, he denies being known by the nickname of Baron, ….so as to result in a version completely incompatible with the reality of the facts as perceived and heard…” [Is that ever giving birth to a mouse?], and
- That the Supreme Court had “held Rudy Guede to be an Unreliable person”, and
- That “therefore, among the evidence against the two accused, the testimony given at the hearing of June 27, 2011 by Rudy Guede cannot be included because it is Unreliable, nor can the contents of the letter written by him and sent to his lawyers”, and
- That concerning Guede’s documented Skype InstaMessage to Giacomo Benedetti on Nov. 19, 2007 “… the contents of the chat between Rudy Guede and his friend Giacomo Benedetti on the day of November 19, 2007, also listened to by the Police, can be considered in favour of the two accused”, because “he would not have had any reason to keep quiet about such a circumstance,”
- And that “So, in the course of that chat with his friend….. Rudy Guede does not indicate in any way Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito as the perpetrators…..” and “…..he would not have had any reason to keep quiet about such a circumstance….. he being…. certainly the perpetrator….. of the crimes carried out in via della Pergola, that if Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito had also participated, that he would at that moment have revealed this to his friend.”
So, summarising Hellmann and Zanetti, they have absurdly argued a contradiction:
- Because of Guedes notoriously unreliability, the public evidence in which he did accuse Knox and Sollecito cannot be considered as evidence of their guilt, but
- In spite of Guede’s notorious unreliability, because Guede did not accuse Knox and Sollecito in a private conversation this must be considered as conclusive evidence of their innocence.
We are not the audience to which Dr Galati’s appeal against Hellmann and Zanetti to the Supreme Court is directed. Most of us probably have some difficulty with its legalese, translated into English, so bear with it.
Dr Galati’s appeal against Hellmann and Zanetti refers to Guede’s documented Skype InstaMessage to Giacomo Benedetti on Nov. 19, 2007 as follows:
The Hellmann/Zanetti court, “has… made …. completely anomalous use of the Skype call, accepting it for the time of Kercher’s death, but not for other circumstances which are also extremely relevant for judgment purposes, but which have been totally ignored.
In fact, in the call, Guede recounts having heard Meredith complaining about her missing money and of her intention of asking Ms Knox, with whom she had quarrelled, for an explanation (p. 10 of the call [transcript]), of having seen Meredith look in vain for the missing money in her drawer (p. 18), then of having seen Meredith look, still in vain, for her missing money in Amanda’s room (pp. 18-19 of the call [transcript]), and of having heard a girl enter the house, who could have been one of the roommates, thus Amanda (p. 11 of the call [transcript]), while the Ivorian found himself in the bathroom, just before hearing Meredith’s terrible scream which would have caused him  to exit the bathroom, about five minutes after the girl’s ingress (p 12 of the call [transcript])”... .
The Court has, in practice, without reason thrown the responsibility onto Guede for throwing the rock and clambering in (see pp 121-122 of the appealed judgment): in the same Skype call, Guede, however, repeatedly denies having seen the broken window in Romanelli’s room during the whole time in which he was in the house at Via della Pergola on that evening (pp 8, 20, 34 of the call [transcript]). Not only that: Rudy Guede also said that he was at Knox’s many times‛ (pp 88 of the call [transcript]).
If the Court held the Ivorian citizen to be sincere in the tele-conversation with his friend Benedetti, then why not also believe him when he denies having broken in, or when he recounts Meredith having it out with Amanda, or when he says that he had been at the latter’s place many times‛?
Dr Galati’s appeal to the Supreme Court argues that the Hellmann/Zanetti appeal judgment, apart from being manifestly illogical, is manifestly contradictory with respect to the contents of the case file referred to (Article 606(e) Criminal Procedure Code). Here is what it says about their tortured interpretations of Rudy Guede.
And in the Skype call with Benedetti, intercepted unbeknownst to him, there emerge circumstances that confirm Guede’s court declarations. The Court takes the Skype call with his friend Benedetti into examination, valuing it ‚in favour of the two accused‛ both for what it does not say and also for what it does say, and this it does building from one, not only unexplained, datum but which would have taken little to deny: since Rudy was outside of Italy, he was in some sense safe‛ and thus could well have been able to tell the whole truth (p 40 of the judgment).
Not in the least does the Court depart from the presupposition that in this call Rudy would have been telling the truth and, because in this call he would not have named the current defendants, these have got nothing to do with the homicide. The Court does not explain, though, that even in this call Rudy was tending to downplay his responsibility and, if he had named his co-participants, that would have easily allowed, by means of investigations and subsequent interviews, the bringing out of his causal contribution and of his responsibility.
 Of the things said in this Skype call, the Court seems at one moment to want to value the chronological datum from 9:00 PM to 9:30 PM to affirm that this would therefore have been the time of death of Meredith; successively, though the appeal judges, following the principle of plausible hypothesis, in relation to the outgoing calls on the victim’s English handset, have moved it to 10:15 PM, but they have not altered the reliability of the time indicated by Guede.
In truth, during the course of the conversation, Rudy recounts having heard Meredith complain about the missing money and of her intention to ask Knox, with whom she had argued, for an explanation (p 10 of the call); of having seen Meredith look in vain for the missing money in her drawer (see p 18); of having seen her search, again in vain, for the missing money in Amanda’s room (pp 18 and 19 of the call) and of having heard a girl enter the house – who must have been one of the flatmates, thus Amanda (p 11 of the call), – while he was in the bathroom, a little before hearing Meredith’s terrible scream which would have induced him to exit the bathroom, about five minutes after the ingress of the girl (p 12 of the call).
And also, on the subject of the break-in in Romanelli’s room – thrown without explanation onto Guede’s back (see the judgment being appealed from, at pp 121 and 122) – can remarks by the Ivorian citizen be found in the transcription of the intercept. Guede repeatedly denies having seen the broken window in Romanelli’s room for the whole time in which he was in the house at Via della Pergola that evening (pp 8, 20, 34 of the call).
If the [Appeal Court] had held as reliable what Rudy narrated in the Skype call relating to the time in which Meredith was killed, it supplies no reason at all, on the other hand, for why it does not believe him as well when he denies  having committed the break-in or when he recounts the quarrel of Meredith with Amanda.”
None of this changes my own beliefs that there are even many more things in evidence that are ‘beyond any reasonable doubt’. For example:
- It is beyond any reasonable doubt that Meredith was restrained by hands other than the knife-wielding hand(s); and that Meredith was restrained by the hands of two, or three persons as she was killed.
- It is beyond any reasonable doubt that steps were taken to clean away smears made by Meredith’s blood in the place where she was killed, and tracks of Meredith’s blood transferred by her killers to other places.
- It is beyond any reasonable doubt that steps were also taken to simulate a break-in that never-was.
In the next post, we examine Dr Galati’s appeal further and the strident claims against Guede made in Sollecito’s own book which contradict some of the positions of HIS OWN LAWYERS. Note that Dr Galati has argued in the appeal that it was ILLEGAL for Hellmann and Zanetti not to have taken the Supreme Court’s ruling on three perps fully into account and having innored it or brushed past it.
Verrrry tough situation for defense counsel to be in.
Archived in The three defendants, Rudy Guede, Officially involved, The defenses, Public evidence, The two knives, Witness Aviello, Witness Alessi, Crime hypotheses, Spurious Lone-Wolf, Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, Sollecitos
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Thursday, December 20, 2012
Have The Raffaele Sollecito Defense Team Of Bongiorno And Maori Now Gone AWOL?
Posted by Peter Quennell
The lawyers are nicely credited (see below) in the book as eager helpers. They must just love that. Whoever feels that Sollecito defamed them may be able to require that those credited by Gumbel & Sollecito be cross-examined.
We do look forward to the possibility of seeing Giulia Bongiorno and Luca Maori (images above) sweat it out. Along of course with the “boundlessly generous” Steve and Michele Moore, and all those super-diligent publishers.
And of course Sollecito’s own father and sister, who were dedicated to “getting every detail just right”.
Of course the Sollecito book then turned around and whacked them. Maybe that is why Sollecito’s dad already admitted on national TV that his son’s claim that a prosecutor broke the law was simply made up. Not easy, being Pappa Sollecito.
Acknowledgments from page 266 of Sollecito’s book:
Andrew Gumbel would like to thank Dana Newman, who made a crucial introduction at the start of this project, the indefatigable Sharlene Martin, the ever gracious Gail Ross, the boundlessly generous Steve and Michelle Moore, my favorite pugliese Anna D’Elia, Peter Popham, Robert Adams, and of course the rocking, super-talented team at Simon & Schuster/Gallery who were never less than a pleasure and kept me sane against a tight deadline. Thank you, Jen Bergstrom, for believing in this book from the get-go, thank you Lisa Rivlin and Alex Lewis, and thank you, Trish Boczkowski, for your brilliant editing and infectiously good company. That’s amore!
This was a group effort all around. The Sollecito family, not just Raffaele, opened up their lives and their souls with remarkable candor. Thank you, in particular, to Francesco and Vanessa for days of fascinating conversation, for your dedication to getting every detail just right, for compiling exhaustive time lines, and making sure that material reached me promptly. Donatella Donati in Luca Maori’s office gave up many hours to make the official documentation available and to present it all in a cogent order. She’s a largely unsung hero in this story and deserves recognition for her extraordinary efforts on Raffaele’s behalf. Giulia Bongiorno, Luca Maori, and Tiziano Tedeschi answered questions and made comments on parts of the manuscript.
Archived in The three defendants, Raffaele Sollecito, Officially involved, The defenses, Reporting on the case, Sollecito's book, Defense dirty tricks, Mafia playbook, Diversion efforts by
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Saturday, December 01, 2012
Knox Defense Utters A Rather Hypocritical Whine About Lifetime TV Movie Airing In Italy Monday
Posted by Peter Quennell
Breaking news from Italy on the “legal threat” to the Lifetime movie airing tonight. Mediaset is the Italian agent for Lifetime here. From the Mediaset website our main poster Jools translated this:
MEDIASET: NO FORMAL NOTICE OR PETITIONS
“Mediaset has not received neither formal notice or petitions” from the lawyers of Amada Knox on the airing of the film of the same name. The company in Cologno Monzese [Milan] explains: “Mediaset has only received a letter with an invitation from the lawyers requesting to transmit the film in accordance with the requirements of the law. Which is something Mediaset does with every program that goes on air”.
Good grief. Are the Knox-Mellases paying good legal fees for this wimpish note?! Or is their PR/media effort as so often blowing smoke to hide the hard truth that they have yet again over-reached?
Sympathy for Amanda Knox seems in total meltdown these days.
Unlikely to turn around soon. The very ugly campaign run by Curt Knox’s hatchet men and the hyper-aggressive book we’re apparently promised next April seem to demonstrate a disastrous tin ear.
Knox has had almost a full year to do the patently obvious: get out in front of some TV cameras, and explain once and for all to everybody interested in truth and justice what really happened between her and Meredith in the house. She has had several years to answer the hundreds of open questions reflected on this site which she still ignores.
Kindly translated by our main poster Jools, this is the flailing Knox defense lawyers’ complaint about the airing on Italian TV of the Lifetime movie this next Monday.
Perugia- A formal legal notice not to air on Monday the film based on the murder of Meredith Kercher was sent to Mediaset [Lifetime] by Amanda Knox’s lawyers Carlo Dalla Vedova and Luciano Ghirga. The Seattle young woman’s name and surname forms part of the title of the fiction scheduled for evening prime time on Channel 5 on Monday December 3.
“There is an ongoing process” said Ghirga “and therefore we believe it is inappropriate to be aired”. “I do not like the film” meanwhile Knox said from the USA to her lawyer. In the United States in fact “Amanda Knox Murder on Trial in Italy” was aired often around a year ago, and the Seattle student has already seen it. “She asks us” said her lawyer Ghirga “to do what we can so it is not aired in Italy”. And furthermore, concludes the lawyer ironically “I don’t like the actor who plays me”.
Knox was convicted in the first instance with her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito for the Kercher murder, but they were both later acquitted on appeal and are now awaiting the decision in March 2013 from the Supreme Court on the appeal brought by the Prosecutor General of Perugia and the Kercher family.
Our Italian lawyers note that the EXACT SAME ARGUMENTS could be applied to the manipulative, innaccurate piece of fiction Honor Bound put out a few weeks ago by Raffaele Sollecito.
As that book parrots many of the spurious, puerile claims made by Curt Knox’s hatchet men, they seem to have had a major hand in it. But the Sollecito and Knox lawyers have issued NO complaint about that book - even though Sollecito’s own father admitted it is defamatory of the prosecution.
If there is a real difference between the legal implications of the Lifetime movie and the Sollecito book, we’d like to know what it is. Lifetime lawyers, please take note.
Archived in Officially involved, The defenses, Reporting on the case, Movies on case
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Friday, October 19, 2012
“So You Wanna Squish The Erratic Raff For Making His Defense So Much More Difficult?!”
Posted by Sara
More and more and more wrong facts and libels are being turned up in Sollecito’s pathetic book, both by us here and by an irritated officialdom in Rome and Perugia.
Amanda Knox is rumored to perhaps be mentally unstable and figuratively locked in the attic in Seattle. Now Sollecito seems to have been disappeared back in Italy for his own good as well.
Sollecito’s own lawyers (who have in the past threatened to walk) and his own family have already thrown him to the wolves on Italian TV over just one highly libelous claim and there are an estimated two dozen more still to surface.
Not really a good idea to write a shrill “I’m the real victim here” book unchaperoned, when you have the smug mentality of a 12-year-old. The facts strongly against you. A very bright prosecutor. And a ghost writer whose slobbering over a laughably fictional Sollecito suggests he has a something of a boy-crush.
Raffaele Sollecito has made many stupid claims in his book, but perhaps none is so obvious and more idiotic than his claims about the “lost” emails.
What is it with this guy and the emails? He seems to think (or perhaps, thinks that the readers are stupid enough to believe) that if a computer or a hard drive is destroyed, all the emails in it are lost as well. Come on already, surely they taught him the mechanisms of email in his computer classes.
Look at his statements regarding emails. In chapter 2 (Love and Death) of his book, he describes the morning after the murder -
I’d been up several times in the night—listening to music, answering e-mail, making love—and wanted only to go back to sleep
Right, so he got up many times in the night to answer e-mails. You’d think that this would be his biggest alibi for the night of the murder, right? No, wrong. Raffaele could not prove his alibi because, in his own words -
I did not yet know that the Polizia Postale—supposedly experts in handling technology issues—had seized two of my computers along with Amanda’s and Meredith’s and somehow wrecked three of the four hard disks while trying to decipher them. The bottom line was that the damaged disks were now deemed unreadable. That left just my MacBook Pro to provide an alibi for the night of the murder.
But modern emails DON"T EVEN RESIDE on local hard drives unless one DELIBERATELY downloads them. And even if one does (and hardly anyone ever does) there rarely is reason to completely delete the original, and here there seems about zero reason to do that.
And even if the original IS deleted Facebook and email services have shown under legal pressure that they maintain complete backups going back many months. No way Sollecito’s supposed emails on the night could have been made to simply no longer exist.
Again, when he talks about Amanda and Meredith’s friendship, he says -
If either Meredith’s or Amanda’s computer had survived the police examination, there might have been photographs, emails, and other evidence to point to a more meaningful interaction
Here we go with the elusive emails again. Will someone explain the point of email to this guy? What difference would the local computers surviving or not surviving make to any emails residing on his host’s servers?
He actually has the nerve to criticize the Polizia Postale’s technical competence after making a statement to the effect that he and Amanda could not retrieve their emails as the hard disks were damaged.
Whether the hard disks were destroyed or not, whether it was the Polizia Postale’s fault or not is hardly important here. Admittedly, Amanda is not a “technical genius” (After all, she does not know how to delete messages from her sent items).
But what is stopping this resident technical genius from simply accessing his email box from some other computer or iphone, and printing out a copy from his sent items? Why doesn’t he ask even one of the happy recipients of his emails - by the way, who were they? - to forward it back to him?
Did all of them delete his mails from their in boxes and trash too? Even if we defy all logic and accept that they did, what’s stopping at least one of them from coming forward and testifying that they received a mail from him that night? Did all of them get selective amnesia at the same time too?
Similarly, if any emails that proved the “close friendship” between Amanda and Meredith existed wouldn’t they still be retrievable from Amanda’s mailbox? She could have printed a copy any time. Did she go around deleting all of Meredith’s mails the minute they arrived as well as her own replies to them, and clearing her trash box and all her host’s backups as well, just to be doubly sure they can’t be retrieved?.
Ok, let’s say the emails were deleted. What about the photographs? If there had been any photographs that would establish their “close” friendship, wouldn’t they be there on the camera or phone from which they were taken? Or wouldn’t either Meredith or Amanda have sent them to someone or posted them on their Facebook?
How did EVERYTHING vanish without a trace? If neither of them ever sent the photos to anyone or posted them online anywhere, or even kept them on file, you really have to wonder what was the point of taking them at all.
No one is claiming that Amanda and Meredith were at loggerheads all the time, they might even have gotten along initially. Meredith was not a person who judged people harshly. By all accounts, she did try her best to get along with Amanda, trying to include her in outings and defending her when she got into trouble.
It was Amanda who pulled away saying she wanted to socialize only with Italians. But the fact is that there were clashes and there were differences between them. Trying to make out that they were the best of friends by claiming the destruction of non-existent proofs is not only unbelievable but also utterly stupid.
Like our main poster Hopeful summarized it: this claimed computer genius has never in four years been able to prove he sent an email? Ridiculous.
Archived in The three defendants, Raffaele Sollecito, Officially involved, The defenses, Reporting on the case, Sollecito's book, Defense dirty tricks, Mafia playbook, Diversion efforts by, Sollecitos
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Thursday, September 27, 2012
Dr Galati: How Giulia Bongiorno’s Client Tells America That You Are Incompetent In Italian Law
Posted by Peter Quennell
[Above: Sollecito’s father Francesco on Italian national TV being made to admit the book lied]
In Italy Sollecito’s wildly inaccurate and hyper-aggressive book has already set himself up for two kinds of trouble
(1) Sollecito’s own father Francesco was made to concede by the host and all other guests on the popular Porta a Porta TV show last week that Sollecito lied in claiming that the prosecution had sought a deal under which Sollecito would frame Amanda. Such a deal would be illegal so Sollecito was falsely accusing prosecutors of a serious crime. Francesco Sollecito backed down even more in some interviews later.
One of Sollecito’s own lawyers, Luca Maori, also had to deny in frustration that the offer of any deal either way ever happened. Now the prosecution has announced that they are weighing whether there should be new charges lodged against Sollecito.
(2) Sollecito has suddenly claimed in the book, nearly five years after he said it happened, in face of vast evidence including his own writings to the contrary, that police interrogated him over 10 hours, and abused and threatened him. He was demonstrably not ever interrogated over 10 hours, and he folded fast when they showed him his phone records, which contradicted his earlier alibis, and so he promptly laid the blame on Amanda.
Prosecutors and police have all already stated that he simply lied here too, and again prosecutors are considering whether there should be new charges
All this trouble flows from half a dozen pages of Sollecito’s book made public in Italy! Here now are several more pages not yet known about there (we will have many more) which our poster ZiaK has translated into Italian to help everybody to read. Sollecito ridicules both Dr Galati and his appeal. Let’s see:
- Dr Galati is recognised as one of the most brilliant lawyers in Italy, and he is a former Deputy Chief Prosecutor at the Supreme Court, specially assigned to Perugia because cases involving the central government are handled there when they are too hot to handle in Rome.
- Solllecito is of course a 28-year old student with a cocaine record and a long history of parental supervision who has never held a job in his life. He failed the entrance exam in virtual reality for the University of Verona but still has delusions of a career in computer games.
And yet somehow he thinks he beats Dr Galati on the law?!
These ill-advised pages below show Sollecito’s profound ignorance of Italian jurisprudence, a total incomprehension of the wide scope of the appeal, and his contempt toward advice from his lawyers. There are some notes below these box quotes on the legal issues Sollecito just doesn’t get.
Passages in bold are simply wrong, as shown further below.
1. English Version of the passage on the Cassation appeal from Sollecito’s book
Judge Hellmann’s sentencing report was magnificent: 143 pages of close argument that knocked down every piece of evidence against us and sided with our experts on just about every technical issue. It lambasted both the prosecution and the lower court for relying on conjecture and subjective notions of probability instead of solid evidence. And it launched a particularly harsh attack on Mignini for casting aspersions on the very concept of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
Mignini had dismissed it in one of his court presentations as a self-defining piece of linguistic trickery. Hellmann pointed out that reasonable doubt was now—belatedly—part of the Italian criminal code. A case built on probability alone, he said, was not sufficient and must necessarily lead to the acquittal of the defendant or defendants.
The prosecution’s rebuttal of the sentencing report, filed a couple of months later, was little short of astonishing.
It accused Hellmann of indulging in circular arguments, the old rhetorical fallacy known to the ancients as petitio principii—essentially, starting with the desired conclusion and working backward. The criticism applied much more accurately to what the prosecution and Judge Massei had done themselves; everything, even the absence of evidence, had been a pretext for them to argue for our guilt. But the author of the prosecution document, Giovanni Galati, chose not to dwell on such ironies. Instead, he attacked Hellmann—I wish I were joking about this—for resorting to deductive reasoning. Making yet more allusions to grand rhetorical principles, Galati said he had a problem with the appeals court taking the available evidence and seeking to make each piece follow on logically from the last. I take it he is not a fan of Sherlock Holmes.
Galati seemed incensed that Hellmann had found the “superwitnesses” unreliable. He argued that Hellmann’s problem with Antonio Curatolo, the heroin addict in Piazza Grimana, was not his failure to be consistent about the details of when and where he had supposedly seen us but rather Hellmann’s own “unwarranted prejudice against the witness’s lifestyle.” Galati even dared to embrace Curatolo’s argument that heroin is not a hallucinogen to insist he must have been telling the truth.
These arguments, to me, made a mockery of civilized discourse. I don’t honestly know how else to characterize them.
From my experience, I also know they are the bread and butter of the Italian legal system, the peculiar language in which arguments and counterarguments are formed every day. Not only do innocents go to prison with shocking regularity, while guilty people, equally often, win reprieve or acquittal; magistrates and judges who make the most howling errors rarely pay for their mistakes.
2. Italian Version of the passage on the Cassation appeal from Sollecito’s book
The translated version of Sollecito’s foolish remarks is now on our Italiano page toward which there is growing traffic. We now intend to post in Italian there several times a week.
Welcome if you are tuning in from Italy. Moat of us are not Italians, but we like what Italy stands for. We despise it being given a raw deal. Especially by this pathetic little traitor.
3. Some past posts correctly explaining these legal issues
(1) On the Italian system and the true strength of the case this post is a good place to start, as it links to around two dozen other posts.
Italy’s excellent justice system is in fact exceptionally pro defendant, and prosecutors have to jump through more hoops than any other system in the world. Major errors and framings of innocent parties never make it through to a final guilty verdict.
(2) There was nothing magnificent about the Hellman-Zanetti report, and these posts by Cardiol and James Raper show it was written by two biased judges out of their depth on the evidence and the law who were appointed in a very fishy fashion.
(3) And here is Machiavelli’s explanation of what Sollecito.doesn’t get. The required logic Sollecito is ridiculing is intrinsic to Italian jursprudence (and US and UK jurisprudence) and is REQUIRED by the Supreme Court.
In plain English, Dr Galati is saying that Hellmann-Zanetti ignored that requirement. Instead, they illegally went cherrypicking, with an extreme bias up-front. Bold text here is to emphasize that.
2. The failure to apply the inferential-inductive method to assess circumstantial evidence. This is a key point based on jurisprudence and is in fact a devastating general argument against Hellmann-Zanetti:
The appeal to Cassation’s jurisprudence on the circumstantial case originates from the fact that the Assize Appeal Court did not deploy a unified appreciation of the circumstantial evidence and did not examine the various circumstantial items in a global and unified way.
With its judgment it has, instead, fragmented the circumstantial evidence; it has weighed each item in isolation with an erroneous logico-judicial method of proceeding, with the aim of criticizing the individual qualitative status of each of them ..
Dr Galati accuses the appeal court of focusing on the quality of some pieces of circumstantial evidence, instead of their correlation to each other as the Supreme Court always requires. .
The appeal judges, in actual fact, deny that the probative reasoning and the decisive and cognitive proceeding of the court is to be found in the circumstantial evidence paradigm of the hypothetico-probabilistic kind, in which the maxims of experience, statistical probability and logical probability have a significant weight.
The court must reach a decision by means of the “inductive-inferential” method: it proceeds, by inference, from individual and certain items of data, through a series of progressive causalities, to further and fuller information, so arriving at a unification of them in the context of  the reconstructed hypothesis of the fact.
This means that the data, informed and justified by the conclusions, are not contained in their entirety in the premises of the reasoning, as would have happened if the reasoning were of the deductive type … (..) A single element, therefore, concerning a segment of the facts, has a meaning that is not necessarily unambiguous.
Dr Galati cites and explains further:
The Perugia Court of Appeal has opted, instead, precisely for the parceled-out evaluation of individual probative elements, as if each  one of them must have an absolutely unambiguous meaning, and as if the reasoning to be followed were of the deductive type.
This error emerges from the text of the judgment itself, but the gravity of the error committed by the Court in its decision derives from the fact that even the individual elements had been acquired by the cognitive-decisioning process in a totally partial manner, isolating the sole aspect that allowed the recognizing of doubts and uncertainties in the element itself..
So Galati-Costagliola concludes – and this by now is obvious – that the Hellmann-Zanetti court followed a “deductive only” paradigm on pieces in isolation, instead of the “inferential-inductive” paradigm prescribed by Supreme Court requirements (1995).
Moreover, Hellmann-Zanetti applied a deductive paradigm of assessment only to some cherry picked aspects of the single isolated pieces of evidence, overlooking other qualities of the single piece (an example – my own – is the possible “contamination” of the bra clasp found on the floor in the murder room.) Ordering an assessment of the quality of any element as if it was a proof in isolation from the rest of the evidence is itself unlawful.
But Hellmann–Zanetti also picked out of the evidence one aspect alone, for example it points to the theoretical possibility of contamination by touching from gloves, but does not consider the negative check results from the possible contamination sources. The interpretation of X-DNA from the bra-clasp by Vecchiotti in the conclusion is worded as if to ignore the results on the Y-haplotype, and so on.
So even single aspects/qualities of isolated items are further isolated from other aspects by Hellmann-Zanetti, and are assessed without looking for a relationship to the context. This is a core violation of the basics of jurisprudence in cases based on circumstantial evidence.
Archived in Officially involved, The prosecutors, The defenses, Diversion efforts by, Sollecitos, Raffaele Sollecito, Mafia playbook
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Friday, August 24, 2012
Giulia Bongiorno Loses A High Profile Case Watched All Over Europe And May Soon Lose Another
Posted by Peter Quennell
The real national pasttime is soccer as the thousands of YouTubes and Google images and news reports and hundreds of blogs attest. The case Giulia Borngiorno has just so publicly lost concerns the coach Antonio Conte (image below) of the crack Turin club Juventus.
The Juventus coach Antonio Conte is set to miss the whole of the Serie A season with the defending champions after losing his appeal against a 10-month ban over a match-fixing scandal.
Conte, who led an undefeated Juventus to the Italian title in his first season in charge, was banned on 10 August for failing to report two incidents of match-fixing in the 2010-11 season when he was coach of Siena.
The Italian federation (FIGC) said in a statement on Wednesday that Conte, whose hearing was heard on Monday, had lost his appeal.
Giulia Bongiorno seems to have a tendency to be a sore loser. La Gazetta del Sporto quotes her “the dog ate my homework” excuse thus:
Giulia Bongiorno said — “We were not given the opportunity to defend ourselves to the full. This is a violation of constitutional rights which go far beyond these issues. Negotiating sentences is becoming very attractive for those who falsely turn state’s evidence,” said Giulia Bongiorno, Antonio Conte’s legal representative.
“If you examine Carobbio and find him not credible, and if you take one of his crutches away (the charges regarding Novara v Siena, Ed), the other one will collapse too, because Conte is being charged with the same thing for Siena v AlbinoLeffe. Carobbio is a bit like Jessica Rossi at the Olympics, and the only clay-pigeon missed is Novara v Siena. And our intention was not to obtain a reduction in the sentence, if it had been we would have negotiated.”
This is the most public case Bongiorno has lost since the Andreotti mafia-connection appeal in 2002. She was on the defense against Prosecutor Dr. Sergio Matteini Chiari.
This is the same Dr. Sergio Matteini Chiari who as the highly competent head of the Umbria courts’ criminal division was first nominated to preside over the Sollecito-Knox appeal.
Giulia Bongiorno, who did some very odd things during the trial and appeal to ensure winning, at least one of which is being investigated, is also the powerful head of the justice committee in the parliament.
Is that the mother of all conflicts of interest or what?! We know of no parallel in any other country and it seems highly unconstitutional. Nevertheless, despite all the caution of the Italian justice system, this conflict is allowed to persist.
In November 2002 Prosecutor Chiari won his prosecution appeal, and the ex-PM Mr Andreotti was sentenced to 24 years (later reversed by the Supreme Court).
Giulia Bongiorno was widely reported as collapsing in court at the verdict, and seemed to take it very hard.
Fast forward to 2010. Suddenly Giulia Bongiorno is about to face Dr Chiari once again, as a judge in what was to be a very tough appeal. Under UK and US law, she would have had to be the one to step aside, or not even take the case back in 2008.
But she didn’t step aside.
Instead, all of a sudden, lo and behold, her nemesis back in 2002 is yanked off the 2011 appeal trial, and seemingly demoted to head the childrens’ branch of the court. Meanwhile, labor judge Hellmann is in effect promoted, into being the lead judge in the murder appeal.
Who made the call from Rome that fixed this suspicious judge rearrangement? Rumors around Perugia suggest that maybe it was made or inspired by the head of the justice committee in the parliament.
True or not, the seriously out-of-his-depth labor judge Hellmann joined the seriously out-of-his-depth civil judge Zanetti - and produced an appeal verdict and reasoning the chief prosecutor of Umbria Dr Galati sees as a complete fiasco.
Contending with the myriad illegalities of this reasoning is for Dr Galati like shooting fish in a barrel. Bongiorno may soon be facing yet another big loss if Cassation accept his prosecution arguments.
As they say, always be careful what you wish for. Wishing for Hellmann might have been a bridge too far.
Archived in Officially involved, The defenses, The appeals, Hellmann appeal, Hellmann Report, Diversion efforts by, Sollecitos, Other cases, Others Italian, The wider contexts, Italian context
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Thursday, March 29, 2012
Why Didn’t Giulia Bongiorno Fight A Lot Harder - For Meredith Kercher, The Real Victim Here?
Posted by Peter Quennell
Here she is captured by paparrazi while walking her baby son Ian around Rome. She is also in the news a lot for her political activities as a former senior member of the party of Silvio Berlusconi and possible future mayor of Palermo Sicily.
And she is fighting hard in court and the media for the interests of the passengers who were on the wrecked cruise ship Costa Concordia, and for the families whose loved ones died.
She also runs a group called Double Defense with Italian-speaking Swiss supermodel Michelle Hunziker (images of both above). Michelle just got engaged to the Italian fashion heir Tomaso Trussardi so she also is a lot in the news.
To raise funds for Double Defense they just co-hosted a glittering gala event in Milan. Many of Italy’s richest and most famous attended. Lots of money was raised.
So what is Double Defense?
Giulia Bongiorno and Michelle Hunziker founded Double Defense specifically to tilt the law and the courts more toward women who are the victims of violent crime. As Barbie Nadeau reports, that is much needed in Italy right now.
This description of Double Defense is from the Italian website Beautiful World.
Double Defense aims to help women who have suffered and are suffering domestic violence, physical or psychological, through assistance in the interpretation of the rules and regulations in force.
In addition to that the non-profit organization, born from a chance encounter between the Swiss showgirl and Bongiorno the lawyer, wants to raise awareness of this terrible phenomenon, promote a culture of nonviolence, and prevent passive acceptance and silence from being the only refuge of those who suffer such terrible and barbaric mistreatment.
There are many names known and loved who have decided to put their fame at the service of Double Defense. Anna Tatangelo, Federica Pellegrini, Francesco Totti, Nek, Ilary Blasi and Silvia Toffanin are some of the celebrities who support the non-profit organization which was created by the duo of Hunziker and Bongiorno. .
The Foundation has a new partnership with the Italian brand Pandorine. Co-promotion will include a new marathon and relay race in Piazza Castello, and a special type of bag that is symbolically called Women: completely white, perfect for summer, and bearing a meaningful and touching inscription…
We wonder. Did it never occur to Giulia Bongiorno that one of the most prominent women victims in many years was in fact Meredith Kercher? A victim of a cruel and gratuitous murder? Seemingly the MOST deserving victim for Bongiorno to wage a fight for?
Maybe the answer was yes - back at trial in 2009.
Sollecito’s father seemed to have wanted to retain Ms Bongiorno because of her political clout, from wiretap mentions made public which seem to show zero belief in Sollecito’s innocence. Ms Bongiorno often seemed disinterested at trial, and even disappeared or failed to show once or twice.
She seemed from photos in court to have poor chemistry with Raffaele Sollecito, and we heard that both she and Luciano Ghirga were so disbelieving in the innocence of their clients and so irritated at the PR that they might walk and leave Knox and Sollecito to find new defense counsel.
But in 2011 we saw something entirely different.
During the first appeal under Judge Hellman, Ms Bongiorno seemed to have other things on her mind than the truth of her client’s guilt or innocence, or the fact that the victim in this case was a woman.
She presumably could have used a win right about then against the justice system of Italy, in support of the beleagured PM Berlusconi, and she may have had (and still have) on her mind that run for the office of mayor in Palermo, Sicily.
Who knows what else might have been on her mind? But in 2011 she certainly mounted a scorched-earth, take-no-prisoners defense of Raffaele Sollecito, and female victim be damned..
She introduced the bizarre witnesses Alessi and Aviello to discredit Rudy Guede, and one of them (Aviello) openly claimed that he had committed perjury because bribes were being offered in his prison in exchange for testimony helpful to Sollecito. (That is still being investigated.)
Ms Bongiorno also went to remarkable lengths, with witness after witness after witness, to discredit Antonio Curatolo, the claimed observer of Knox and Sollecito in the park. Impartial lawyers think that Curatolo did still emerge as having seen something on the correct night, but he was now openly tarred as a heroin dealer, and in his report Judge Hellman displayed suspicion towards all of the witnesses.
Ms Bongiorno’s performances at trial and at appeal were like night and day.
So two people who Ms Bongiorno may have always disbelieved and had little time and respect for presently walk free. While the precise kind of victim Bongiono now claims to go to bat for is simply shrugged off, with absolutely no sign of her caring.
Obviously not all women victims in her eyes are equal. You’re a pious hypocrite, Giulia Bongiorno.
Archived in Officially involved, The defenses, Diversion efforts by, Sollecitos, The wider contexts, Italian context
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Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Crticism Of The Hellmann Verdict From Meredith’s Family’s Lawyer Francesco Maresca
Posted by ziaK
Mr Maresca made remarks last week critical of the verdict to various Italian media outlets. This is a translation from the Umbria Journal.
Maresca, on Mez: “They were acquitted for lack of proof, but the sentence takes a very one-sided approach”
“Only the defences’ expert witnesses were given any credence. It’s excessive to completely throw out the first instance case”.
The “reasoning report” of the Assizes court of appeal has confirmed that this is a case of an acquittal because of lack of evidence, rather than an acquittal with “formula piena” [approximately “proof of innocence without doubt”]
However it is also a sentence which is a result of a one-sided approach”.
This is the commentary of Francesco Maresca, who together with the lawyer Serena Perna, represents the young victim’s family, on reading of the “reasoning report” on the acquittal of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito on the charge of having murdered Meredith Kercher.
“This reasoning report”, he added, “leave us with an even more bitter taste in our mouths because we consider that the judges gave credence only to the defence-team experts, even on items of evidence of a scientific nature which were never the object of consultation”.
“For them to have completely tossed out the preliminary investigations and the first-instance trial seems excessive to me”....
“There are no great surprises”, said Prosecutor Manuela Comodi, who was prosecutor in the first and second-level trials. “It seems to me”, she added, “that there is a lot of room to challenge the sentence. That duty [however] lies entirely with the Attorney General.”
Archived in Officially involved, The defenses, The appeals, Hellmann appeal, Hellmann Report
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Sunday, October 02, 2011
Is The Raffaele Sollecito Defense Team About To Separate Him From A Radioactive Amanda Knox?
Posted by Peter Quennell
First, the smartest and most influential of all the lawyers in MP Giulia Bongiorno. Second, a relatively attractive family which has run a low-key smiling campaign. Third, relatively little evidence (the bra clasp and footprint) placing him at the scene of the crime and unlike Knox no alibi that says he was there.
Fourth, no obvious motive for either the murder or the cleanup compared to the many possible motives for Amanda Knox. And fifth, a weak wishy-washy personality on which Bongiorno has already played, casting Knox as the lead player in the drama and Sollecito as either accidentally there or not at all.
The mood does seem to be moving against Amanda Knox now as the extreme arrogance of the million dollar campaign sinks in. And if her “spontaneous” remarks to the court tomorrow follow her usual pattern, they will yet again make her look callous and concerned only about herself.
Several reports are out now in Italian harking on these themes. This report by the Associated Press with a possible nudge from the Sollecito team gives a sense of what the Italian reports are saying.
Even in Sollecito’s native Italy, it is Knox who commands the most media attention. Two prominent celebrity and gossip magazines, “Oggi” and “Gente,” put Knox on their covers during the final week of arguments in the appeals trial, and newspapers characterize him as being in the background.
Not even prosecutors have portrayed Sollecito as the main protagonist in the murder of Meredith Kercher on Nov. 1, 2007. According to their version, Sollecito held Kercher from behind while Knox stabbed her and another man tried to sexually assault her. Ivorian immigrant Rudy Guede was convicted in a fast-track trial and saw his sentence cut from 30 years to 16 years on appeal.
Attention during the investigation focused intensely on the two young female roommates as the world and prosecutors searched for a motive. Knox was portrayed as sexually promiscuous and lacking inhibition, while at the same time working hard to support herself and trying to learn Italian; Kercher was depicted as more serious and studious, who had at the end of her life began to chafe at her American roommate’s sloppiness.
The good girl/bad girl dichotomy drove headlines across the globe, while Sollecito — the mild mannered boyfriend — was largely overlooked in a supporting role.
It’s a role that his defense lawyer plays up. Sollecito is the son of a wealthy doctor from southern Italy who hired a crack legal team to defend his son. It’s led by Giulia Bongiorno, who defended former Italian Premier Giulio Andreotti on charges of mafia association.
“It’s not by chance that Raffaele arrived in this trial as the boyfriend. Nothing connects Raffaele to the crime,” Bongiorno said in her closing arguments last week. “With a girlfriend, you usually get a family. Raffaele got a murder.”
She said the few pieces of evidence in the “Amanda-centric” trial relate to Knox, not to Sollecito. “Nothing connects him to the crime,” Bongiorno said.
Archived in Officially involved, The defenses, Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, Sollecitos, Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito
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Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Seventeenth Appeal Session: Tough Day Ahead For Raffaele Sollecito’s Lawyers In The Minefield
Posted by Peter Quennell
Today it will be Giulia Bongiorno and Luca Maori for Raffaele Sollecito. Important considerations to bear in mind:
1) There are still all these open questions assembled by lawyer and main poster SomeAlibi and Sollecito chose not to address them on the stand.
2) The Supreme Court has definitively shut down the argument of a possible lone wolf perpetrator and Guede in court accused Sollecito to his face.
3) Attempts to show that Guede did it with others (Alessi’s testimony) or two or three others did it (Aviello) both descended into farce.
4) A staged attempt by Bongiorno using a staff member to try to scale the wall of the house to Filomena’s window descended into farce.
5) Sollecito referred to Amanda Knox as a liar in his third alibi and in effect implicated her by saying that on the night she was absent for four hours.
6) Solleito has still not explained his phone record or computer record or how his DNA could have got onto Meredith’s bra clasp.
7) Sollecito has still not explained the other physical evidence tying him to the scene: how his bloody footprint ended up on the bathroom mat.
His family faces a trial for releasing an evidence tape to a TV station, and for attempting to subvert justice by involving national politicians. And the family have still not rebutted Aviello’s charge that a bribe was waved at him to testify.
Not a pretty mess, by any means. Good luck, Bongiorno and Maori.
Archived in Officially involved, The defenses, The appeals, Hellmann appeal, Raffaele Sollecito
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Tuesday, September 06, 2011
Thirteenth Appeal Session: It Looks Like The Defenses’ Last Best Shot Might Have Fallen Short
Posted by Peter Quennell
Tuesday’s was an abbreviated court session because of a strike in Perugia.
It emerged in the time remaining that the DNA that was remaining on both the bra clasp AND the knife might have been re-tested if Carla Vecchioti and Stefano Conti had not come up with some contentious quibbles for not proceeding.
The prosecution may now call for those tests to actually be done, by a new set of independent experts. Hard to see this amounting to pivotal either way any more, and Judge Hellman might simply move the court on.
Seemingly no grounds left now for Judge Hellman to live up to the PR-instilled rumor that he is about to deny Meredith her justice.
The Italian reporting today as usual leaves the English reporting in the dust. It conveys a picture of more of the same tough rebuttal that we were seeing yesterday. There are some quick translations on PMF via the PMF link at the bottom of this post. .
Amanda Knox looked increasingly down today as she absorbed the trend in the testimony, and at one point she slumped on the table seemingly asleep. Serial over-promising by her suffocating entourage hasn’t done her any good.
Mr Mignini believes that at several points Amanda Knox wanted to confess and to pay her dues. Surely better this than a Caysey Anthony or OJ Simpson situation with their attendant huge overtones of illegitimacy.
Archived in Officially involved, The defenses, The appeals, Hellmann appeal, Conti-Vecchiotti
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Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Witness Tampering By Defenses? Two Investigations Apparently Already Launched In Rome And Perugia
Posted by Peter Quennell
The investigation was apparently sparked by the specific claims yesterday under oath before a magistrate in Perugia of Luciano Aviello (a serial defamer and perjurer whose credibility never has ranked high) that Vanessa Sollecito paid him 30,000 Euros for his testimony on June 18 with Sollecito’s counsel in the loop.
First, here is a summary of what Luciano Aveillo testified to on 18 June by our main poster Will Savive:
Another prison inmate Luciano Aviello  who has served 17 years in jail after being convicted of being a member of the Naples-based Camorra, testified today that his brother Antonio and his colleague had killed Meredith while attempting to steal a “valuable painting.”
Aviello said that the Albanian—who offered his brother “work” in the form of a robbery—had inadvertently jotted down the wrong address, and they instead went to the house where Kercher and Knox were living, and they were surprised by Meredith’s appearance. According to Aviello, his brother and the Albanian man then committed the murder and fled.
Aviello is from Naples, but was living in Perugia at the time of the murder. He claims that his brother, who is currently on the run, was staying with him in late 2007 and on the night of the murder he returned home with an injury to his right arm and his jacket covered in blood.
Flanked by two prison guards, Aviello described how his brother had entered the house Meredith shared with Knox and had been looking for the painting when they were disturbed by a woman “wearing a dressing gown.” So many convicts, which one to believe, if any?
“My brother told me that he had put his hand to her mouth but she had struggled,” Aviello testified. “He said he got the knife and stabbed her before they had run off. He said he had also smashed a window to simulate a break in.” Aviello said his brother had hidden the knife, along with a set of keys his brother had used to enter the house. “Inside me I know that a miscarriage of justice has taken place,” he asserted. Consequently, Aviello had been in the same jail as Sollecito and had told him: “I believe in your innocence.”
Luciano Aviello now claims that all of this above was fiction. There were no hidden keys or knife, and his brother was not living in Perugia at that time.
Here is a translation by our main poster ZiaK of one of the most comprehensive reports of what Luciano Aviello testified to yesterday under oath in Perugia. We have added the emphasis to key passages..
Meredith, Aviello: «I lied following agreement with Sollecito’s lawyers in exchange for money »
Aviello claims he received 30 thousand euros in exchange for his testimony
Scritto il 27/7/11 • Categoria: Cronaca
by Francesca Marruco
After having received notice that investigations had been completed by the Perugia prosecutor, the ex supergrass (state’s evidence), Lucian Aviello, requested and was granted a hearing with the Perugia prosecutors. Last Friday in Capanne prison, the witness who had been brought into the court case by Amanda Knox’s defence team admitted – in a roundabout way - to Dr Manuela Comodi that everything he had declared was false: that it was false and had been agreed with Raffaele Sollecito’s lawyers in order to create confusion in the case.
He denied all the statements he had made in court. Luciano Aviello, who had told the judges of the Assize court that Meredith had been killed by his brother and that he himself had hidden the knife with which she was killed as well as the keys of the via della Pergola house, told the assistant prosecutor, Manuela Comodi – who, together with her collegue Giuliano Mignini, was in charge of the investigations into the death of Meredith Kercher – that he recanted everything he had previously declared. His brother had nothing to do with it, he had never hidden any knife nor any bunch of keys. Just as he had never lived in Perugia – as he had stated in court before the judges.
Aviello: «Nothing is true, and it was all by agreement» As to why he had told this sea of whoppers, he gave his explanation in fits and starts in over 80 pages of court records. From the desire to help someone he had met in jail, and whom he loved – Raffaele Sollecito – by means of his lawyers, some of his family, and one of Amanda Knox’s lawyers who apparently went to the Alba jail to hear him in order to deflect suspicion from Sollecito’s team. Aviello heavily accused Sollecito’s lawyers and sister. He said that it had been she [the sister] who had delivered the 30 000 euros to an acquaintance of his in Naples, who was to act as a go-between. The money was to be found in an apartment in Turin which the Perugia police will check. Aviello declared himself as being willing to appear in court and repeat everything before the appeal judges of the court of Assizes.
His first motives and his current ones The reasons for which he had agreed to tell these lies was that, according to what he told the prosecutor, he had been assured that the Perugian prosecutors would not investigate him – contrary to what had in fact happened – and that he was fond of Raffaele Sollecito, and also because he was to receive in counterpayment those 30 000 euros which he would use for a sex-change operation, as he himself had declared several times. But now that he had received notice that the investigations were finished, and since (he claims) he no longer hears from Raffaele any more because otherwise no-one would believe him [translator’s note: I assume Aviello means he doesn’t hear from Raffaele because Raffaele is concerned that if he stayed in touch with Aviello no-one would believe Raffaele any more], he no longer has any reason to continue lying, whereas he has plenty of reasons to try and lighten his own position as someone under investigation for calunnia (slander).
Aviello: Raffaele told me that it was Amanda and that he was also there Around the middle of the interrogation, Aviello said – referring to something that Raffaele apparently told him – that «the murderer, in fact, was not him: it was Amanda, during an erotic game». Raffaele apparently also declared «I actually know that it’s true that Amanda did it, but I didn’t do it: it wasn’t me that did the murder; I didn’t do it». This is what [Aviello] declared between one allegation and another, and he also declared that he was prepared to repeat everything before the judges. Before those very judges to whom, on 18 June last, he so shamelessly lied.
What has changed? The repercussions which these new declarations – made by a man who has already been convicted 8 times previously for slander [calunnia] – might have cannot be conjectured. Or at least, not all of them. The lawyer Giulia Bongiorno has already declared that she will defend her honour in court against anyone who might accuse her of having paid a convict to create confusion in the case. It is foreseeable that Luca Maori and Carlo Dalla Vedova will take the same stance. What the Prosecution will do is more difficult to determine. The investigations on Aviello’s slander against his brother may have ended, but how many others may be instigated as a result of these declarations? In the meantime, everyone will return to court on Saturday to discuss the genetic evidence, which might truly decide the path that this case will take.
Presumably a beeline is now being made to that apartment in Turin where the 30,000 Euros if it exists might be hidden. Early announcements might also be expected from the Sollecito family, who did meet with Aviello in prison, and from Giulia Bongiorno who chose to put Aviello on the stand.
There is also a second investigation, we are told. Several sources understand that the independent DNA consultants Carla Vecchioti and Stefano Conti might now be under investigation for possible contact or collaboration with one or several defense DNA experts.
Our main poster Fly By Night already suggested that the geographical location and published views of experts quoted by Carla Vecchioti and Stefano Conti looked pretty fishy. And the lawyer for the family of Meredith, Francesco Maresca, complained on Monday that a request endorsed by Judge Hellman for them to make sure to use European resources on the state-of-the-art of low-count DNA testing had been ignored.
A note on Italian law here. If the prosecution or defense come to believe that an element of the appeal is not being thoroughly and objectively examined they are entitled to appeal instantly to the Supreme Court of Cassation for a ruling.
Amanda Knox’s defense already took that route, before she ever went to trial, to request that her statement made without counsel present in the wee hours of November 6 2007 should be put aside. The Supreme Court so ordered.
We are sure Judge Hellman will want only the full truth and he may put all parties back on the stand. Still, the power of upward appeal is available to the prosecution in both these instances.
Archived in Officially involved, The defenses, The trials, Associated trials, Hellmann appeal
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