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Tuesday, March 24, 2015
So Is James Moninger The One Moonlighting As Anonymous Spokesman For Dept Of State?
Posted by Ergon
Above: the unfavorable context which persuades Sec of State John Kerry to stick most carefully to the rules
ThIs morning’s report noted an increasing flow of anonymous claims that Knox’s extradition is not in the cards
Also there is a certain sameness in all of the news reports of secret State Department agreements and assurances alleged to save Amanda Knox from extradition. This is a very typical one.
Paul Thompson in The UK Express for Sunday 22 March 2015 2015
US officials: Amanda Knox will never go back to Italian jail
AMANDA KNOX will never be extradited from America, even if an Italian court this week upholds her conviction for the murder of British student Meredith Kercher, according to US sources.
“Lawyers for Knox, 28, are confident she will remain free even if Italy asks for her to be sent back to resume a 28-year jail sentence.
US State Department sources say the uncertainty of the case against Knox means they will not agree to any extradition request.
Knox also has a huge amount of public sympathy in the US where she is seen as a victim of a miscarriage of justice by a foreign court.
A source at the State Department said: “There is a feeling that the whole case is flawed and that a US citizen should not have to go to jail because of that. If there is an extradition request from Italy it will be denied.”
This question, who is the State Department source (Burleigh calls him ‘American diplomat’), came up in my previous post.
- Former US Ambassador David Thorne?
- Some low level employee at State or Justice?
- Completely made up by Anne Bremner and co?
So I reached out to my sources and this is what they told me informally for general background.
They considered it extremely unlikely that Ambassador Thorne or any one in Rome would pass on such assurances to Anne Bremner or even the likes of Nina Burleigh. While they could not confirm whether high level talks had taken place they did point out that John Kerry, as Secretary of State would respond differently now than when he was in the Senate and pointed to his statement “he would do his duty”.
And Italy had a new government and foreign secretary, so the latest news reports seemed entirely made up. State and Justice had been following the case quite closely and they were not going to risk offense to Italy for this case. Not to say they hadn’t been nervous when Knox went back to the US and got such heavy hitters in the media go to bat for her, but, also duly noted that public support for her was really paper thin.
This left either a made up story or some low level civil servant speaking out of turn with personal opinions … we know that The FOA lie, but also, they sometimes seize on a wisp of rumour, or some ‘source’ whose importance they tend to exaggerate.
We know about retired Justice Department lawyer J. Michael Scadron who’s been saying State and DOJ would never allow extradition. There’s even a photo of him at the Vashon Island gathering, in all his fan boy glory.
But then another person showed up on my radar. Take a look.
I’m so tired of debating with the kooks, but when some members asked me to help them out on a closed Facebook Page (275 members) Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito Roundtable which was run and overrun by FOA I joined to help out.
It turned out one of the admins was a State Department employee called James Moninger who is indeed, a ‘diplomat’, working in some role for State in Hawaii. Consular, maybe.
His Facebook friends are the entirety of the FOA it would seem (see some below), and he is an active member and admin of several other pro Knox groups. Quite the fan boy too, it seems.
He hemmed and hawed about my inclusion but within the course of a few hours I was bounced out of the group twice. He wrote to me:
“I am writing to confirm that I removed you from the Amanda Knox Roundtable group. This was my decision, and I have advised the other administrators accordingly.
Earlier in the day I received a plea from one of the group members who claimed that you have harassed her in the past and contacted her employer. I have no opinions on this issue, but as site owner I am unwilling to take on a potentially significant liability.
Please don’t feel that this action was in any way predicated on the opinions you expressed in the forum.”
Here is my reply:
“It’s your group and you’re welcome to do as you wish. That you didn’t give a chance to respond to the (false) allegation is par for the course and no loss for me. As you know, I have far bigger platforms to present my views; it was YOUR group that invited me to participate in the first place.
I already know the source of that slander from other forums and will respond appropriately.
You should also know I’d contacted the State Department previously concerning the Daily Mail and Express articles that “sources in the State Department” have said “Amanda Knox will never be extradited to Italy”.
Imagine my surprise to see you are the owner of this pro-Knox debate site, and membership in several others, which you have every right to. However, since your bio says you are a State Dept. employee, and your rather lengthy list of friends and followers have been actively advocating that Knox would never be extradited, with all sorts of references to internal department sources it is my responsibility to ask for comment:
1. Have you in any way told them the State Department would deny an extradition request?
2. Have you advised the Amanda Knox campaign in any way how to lobby the State Department or how it would respond to an extradition request?
3. Please explain the following comment on the Amanda Knox blog on February 7, 2014 at 20:38.
“Concerns about this case would more appropriately be directed to the US Department of State; not to Congress. There is little or nothing the legislative branch of the government can do to affect treaties that are already in place. (Senate hearings, etc. are not the way the federal process works.) Using profanity with senior members of Congress can never be helpful.
I am hopeful that the State Department is watching this case carefully and is prepared to choose the correct path, whatever that may eventually entail, to protect a US citizen from any further violations of human and legal rights.”
Are you, as a State Department employee, stating that Amanda Knox’s human and legal rights were violated? In a G7 country? Would you like to retract it?
I will be writing my story in 48 hours or so. Please reply at your earliest”.
He never replied, and it’s been a while though he did agree with someone else who called us “haters” ?
Conclusion: I will end with this. PMf/TJMK member Odysseus wrote to UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, expressing his concerns. He got a reply from the North America Department of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office:
“If the Italian authorities were to make an extradition request to the US Government, we would expect that it would be considered in accordance with US laws.”
Funny sort of a coincidence, but. I sent a list of questions three days ago to the Kerchers through an intermediary. Q. 4 was “Will they call for extradition Amanda Knox if she’s convicted?”
I know they haven’t received it yet, but, in The Sunday Times the Kercher family say Knox must be extradited
Tom Kington Rome
March 23 2015
“Amanda Knox must be extradited from the US if her conviction for murdering Meredith Kercher is upheld by Italy’s supreme court this week, the family of the British student have urged.”
“Meredith’s family hope that the sentence is upheld and the law is carried out to its fullest extent,” said Francesco Maresca, a lawyer representing the family. “If that means extradition for Knox, that’s what they want.”
Archived in All the nefarious hoaxes, The wider contexts, American context, Knox extradition, Knox-Mellas team, Sollecito team, More of the same
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Monday, March 23, 2015
Did The State Department Really Offer Assurances To Amanda Knox She Never Would Be Extradited?
Posted by Ergon
1. The Current Italy/US Extradition Treaty
As repeatedly explained here by posting lawyers the Italy/US treaty is deliberately written to exclude any politics.
If either nation has arrived at a guilty verdict of someone currently in the other nation by following its own laws, then the other nation deliberately has no legal option but to extradite them to serve their term.
So far neither nation has ever refused to do what the treaty says and so far politics has never intervened. That helps both nations in pursuing other extradition cases around the world.
2. Claims By An Anonymous Source
“Will Amanda Knox Be Dragged Back to Italy in Murder Case?” This was by Nina Burleigh in a cover story in Newsweek on March 19, 2015 quoting an anonymous source.
A State Department source tells Newsweek that diplomats in both Italy and the U.S. expect an extradition request to be denied: “I don’t think either Italy or the U.S. wants a major burr under our saddle in terms of relationships between our countries, and this would be that, if the Italians pushed it.” If they do, the source adds, there “is not any way” the U.S. will arrest Knox, nor will it have her declared a fugitive.
The elected Italian government in Rome is separate from the judiciary, and traditionally the two branches do not have warm relations. “I know the Italian government was rolling its eyes” over the prospect of the case reaching this phase, the State Department source says, adding that Rome faces “a real political problem” if the judiciary requests extradition. The American diplomat predicts the Italian court won’t ask to extradite.
It seems that ever since Amanda Knox was wrongfully acquitted by the Hellmann appeals court of Perugia in 2011 we have been inundated with unsourced reports that “the United States would never extradite Amanda Knox.
Going back several years to the Daily Mail, Guardian, The Express and various American media, they all seemed to be reading from the same script:
- She hadn’t received a fair trial.
- American public opinion would ‘never allow her to be sent back’.
- The Secretary of State would quietly prevail upon his counterpart in Italy to not request extradition.
And, as the final appeal of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito came up to the last stretch it seemed that these same hacks were repeating the same talking points, even though much has changed since 2011.
These were the basic points, reported over and over in the main stream media till it almost seemed like a guarantee. So I have been looking for the last three years to verify the truth of that. And, who made that promise, if any were made? These were the basic parameters of my search, and I had to tune out the background noise of ‘double jeopardy’ and ‘dueling extradition experts’.
Then I had to look for the ‘unnamed source’ quoted in all the news reports.
These possibilities came up:
- WA US Senator Maria Cantwell spoke to her colleague Sen. John Kerry of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who spoke to his brother in law David Thorne, the former US Ambassador to Rome, who passed on a quiet message to the Italian Foreign minister. But would they ever speak on or off the record to reporters or like it very much if it was going to be bruited about?
- Mid-level Friends Of Amanda Knox like Anne Bremner and Judge Heavey had received vague assurances from Senator Cantwell; somehow extrapolated as iron clad guarantee that Knox would never be extradited, never mind there has not been any precedent I can find that would apply to a similar case like this.
- Someone in the Department of Justice and/ or State is feeding them shite.
- The FOA are making it all up. That last was my favourite, given that they are led around by people like Steve Moore, Bruce Fischer, and J. Michael Scadron.
3. My Search For The Truth
This has been an interesting journey, and as always, things seem to just come together at the last moment. It has helped that I have been watching diplomatic activity up-close all my life.
My father was in the Pakistani Foreign Service stationed in London, so, shortly after I was born, lived in the UK from age 0-3, then with the Pakistan Embassy in Tokyo from age 3-8. We were a cosmopolitan group of embassy brats going to St. Mary’s International School. My friends were American, Iranian, Turk, Indian, East German, Canadian, New Zealand, points all over. Their parents were all diplomats and I made lifelong friends. My father could have received a posting as assistant to the ambassador to Washington D.C. after that but fate prevailed as he’d been stationed out 8 years and had to be rotated back to Pakistan.
Since that time I kept in touch with my friends and also developed this passion for International Relations and Geopolitics. Travelling to the US and other countries but also meeting over the internet, made many more friends at various levels of the State Department. Saw the changes there as respected career diplomats got replaced by interest groups and major donors to political parties. Such only went to choice postings, of course, but not second or third world countries, so I had many interesting discussions with them over the years.
The Wikileaks cables were a revelation as Embassy intercepts showed the thousand different ways diplomacy led to but also tried to prevent, war. I’d been reading them ever since they first came out so started searching for links to secret discussions with Amb. Thorne. Couldn’t find anything except what already was reported, so reporter Andrea Vogt’s FOI request find was a goldmine:
NEWLY RELEASED EMBASSY CABLES SHED LIGHT ON STATE DEPT HANDLING OF AMANDA KNOX CASE
By Andrea Vogt
FEBRUARY 13 “Newly released state department documents show the U.S. Embassy in Rome declared the Amanda Knox matter “Case Closed” in a cable to Washington just days after the American’s clamorous 2011 acquittal. The memo reveals wishful thinking on the part of some U.S. diplomats, who were only too eager to see the thorny case come to a clean close.”
In Update March 23, 2015 posted today, Andrea Vogt says this:
In a 2011 Italian embassy cable released as part of several Freedom of Information Act requests I’ve filed on this case (first published Oct 11, 2011) [US] diplomats in Italy mistakenly thought Knox’s acquittal in 2011 would bring to a close this complex and divisive international case. Italy’s Court of Cassation would prove them wrong, overturning her Perugia acquittal and ordering a second appeal in a different venue (Florence) which ended last year with a guilty verdict.
So is a political fix being attempted or already in? See my Conclusion, Part II to be posted tonight.
Archived in All the nefarious hoaxes, Knox book hoaxes, Reporting on the case, V bad reporting, Knox extradition, Knox-Mellas team, More of the same
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Thursday, February 26, 2015
Paul Ciolino Hit With A $40 Million Suit For Real Railroad Job From Hell
Posted by Peter Quennell
1. Paul Ciolino And Meredith’s Case
Investigator Paul Ciolino provides expertise for the CBS Network’s 48 Hours crime unit.
The staffing of that unit are all obsessively supportive of Amanda Knox and all unquestioningly channel the PR. Despite claims such as “16 months of investigation” they seem to have never settled down to do reality checks or due diligence of their own.
They include the talking head Peter Van Sant (from Seattle), producers Doug Longhini, Sara Ely Hulse, and Joe Halderman (fired for attempted blackmail) and the serial fabricator Doug Preston who with major CBS help has perpetrated various damaging hoaxes
In late 2008 Paul Ciolino helped to get the Perugia reporting by CBS off to a very unpromising start.
As Kermit showed Ciolino made a huge mistake in a gotcha attempt upon witness Nara Capezzali.
She had reported to the police that she heard footsteps on gravel by the house and directly below her window on the top deck of the parking facility and then clanging footsteps on the steel stairs a few yards to her right. She also reported seeing several figures on the run.
She would not talk with Ciolino, who got the locations very wrong and also ignored altogether what Madame Nara saw. His replication of the footsteps was by runners down on the bitumin street, which is about three times as far away as Madame Nara heard some steps, with a surface nothing like the gravel drive by the house. Then Ciolino reported that he couldnt hear anything. Hardly a surprise.
In 2009 Ciolino was the main speaker at the infamous Knox fundraiser at Salty’s in West Seattle. His presentation was shrill even by their standards. He was apparently the first ever to describe the case as a “railroad job from hell”.
That inspired this extended rebuttal by Kermit.
Included in Ciolino’s presentation at Salty’s was an angry demonizing rant about Dr Mignini’s sanity. This rant was widely reported, not least in Italy.
In April 2009 CBS 48 Hours with biased takes by Ciolino and Preston aired American Girl, Italian Nightmare, the most misleading major US TV report as of that point, and Peter Van Sant aired his own misleading take.
In 2011 CBS 48 Hours aired the so-called untold story of Knox. CBS 48 Hours also aired numerous other short segments (you can find them on YouTube) simply regurgitating the tales by Knox and her PR gang whole, absent any checking of facts.
CBS attempt no balance, nobody with a deep knowledge of the case ever appears. No Italians are ever interviewed. PR shills repetitively appear without being introduced as such. Almost all hard facts are simply left out; the lies by omission are huge.
CBS has done zero translation of major documents, or even reported on them in summary when released. Peter Van Sant and Doug Longhini have posted several dozen of the nastiest and least truthful analyses of the case on the CBS website. A really huge effort, simply channeling the PR.
Although quieter now, Paul Ciolino didnt quite dry up on the case. After the Nencini appeal in Florence he was quoted as saying:
Amanda is a political football, and not so much a murder suspect….They know she didn’t do it. Anyone with half a brain knows she and Raffaele weren’t involved in this thing. This is about national pride, about showing who’s boss in Italy. They are sending the message that, ‘You cannot bigfoot us. You can’t outspend us. We’re going to show you who runs this country and it’s not some little American twit from Seattle.
Italy really awoke to the Knox PR and the biased reporting of CBS etc only late in 2011 in conjunction with the highly evident hijacking of the Hellmann appeal and moreso in 2012 with the defamatory Sollecito book.
2. The $40 Million Lawsuit Against Ciolino And Protess
The news video above and this Chicago Sun-Times report explain the main thrust of the $40 million lawsuit which Ciolino along with Northwestern University’s journalism school and a former professor now faces.
Prosecutors in 2014 in releasing an innocent man after 15 years in prison blamed that group for false evidence and a false confession and for letting the real murderer walk free. Here thanks to our main poster Jools is the lawsuit document itself, an amazing read if you need more proof of how sleazy Amanda Knox’s help can be.
Here are the lawsuit’s opening paragraphs.
1. In 1999, Plaintiff Alstory Simon was wrongfully incarcerated for a double-murder he did not commit. Arrested at the age of 48, Simon spent more than 15 years in prison before he was ultimately exonerated on October 30, 2014.
2. The horrific injustice that befell Simon occurred when Defendants, Northwestern University Professor David Protess, Northwestern University private investigator Paul Ciolino, and attorney Jack Rimland, conspired to frame Simon for the murders in order to secure the release of the real killer, Anthony Porter.
3. As part of a Northwestern University Investigative Journalism class he taught in 1998, Protess instructed his students to investigate Porter’s case and develop evidence of Porter’s innocence, rather than to search for the truth. During that investigation, Northwestern, through its employees and/or agents Protess and Ciolino, intentionally manufactured false witness statements against Simon and then used the fabricated evidence, along with terrifying threats and other illegal and deceitful tactics, to coerce a knowingly false confession from Simon.
CBS is mentioned half a dozen times. It helped in the framing with nationally broadcast segments. In paragraph 85 we are told CBS got an exclusive. What a real surprise THAT is… The lawsuit document paints Ciolino’s behavior as dishonest and ruthless and possibly criminal as well.
Protess, Ciolino and Northwestern Medill students repeatedly attempted to get the eyewitness to change his testimony, with Protess offering him $250,000 and 20% in “upfront” money for his rights in a book and movie deal;
Protess also told the eyewitness that he could have sex with either of two Northwestern Medill students if he would change his testimony.
Quoted in the lawsuit is this about Ciolino. It is actually written by Protess.
On March 15, Charles McCraney’s appearance was anxiously awaited at a Kentucky Fried Chicken in Kankakee, Illinois. Paul Ciolino’s hair was slicked back. The private investigator wore a sharkskin suit and white-on-white shirt with gold cuff links, his tie secured by an ornate pin. Sitting opposite him were David Protess and Rene Brown, dressed down for the occasion… Protess introduced himself [to McCraney] and then Brown. ‘And this is Jerry Bruckheimer, the Hollywood producer I was telling you about,’ said Protess as Ciolino extended his hand….
In paragraph 94 Ciolino’s alleged threatening of Simon into a confession is described as follows. .
Ciolino and a fellow private investigator “bull rushed” (in the words of Ciolino) Simon in his home with their guns drawn;
Ciolino told Simon that he was a police officer;
Ciolino showed Simon a videotape of a man, who is now known to be an actor, falsely claiming that he saw Simon commit the murders;
Ciolino threatened Simon that they could do things the “easy way or the hard way” and mentioned that he would hate to see Simon have an accident;
Ciolino showed Simon what Ciolino described as a “devastating” five minute CBS-TV broadcast of Protess and Inez claiming Simon committed the murders;
Ciolino falsely told Simon that he was facing the death penalty and that the Chicago police were on their way to Simon’s house to arrest him;
Ciolino told Simon he could avoid the death penalty by providing a statement that he shot the victims in self defense but that Simon had to act quickly because Ciolino could no longer help him once the police arrived;
Ciolino promised Simon that he would be provided a free lawyer if he agreed to give a statement;
Ciolino promised Simon that Protess would ensure he received a short prison sentence if he agreed to give a statement;
Ciolino promised Simon would receive large sums of money from book and movie deals about the case if he agreed to give a statement.
Believing he had no other viable option, and acting under extreme duress and the influence of narcotics, Simon was knowingly and intentionally coerced into providing a false statement implicating himself in the murders.
It is this supposedly forced confession that above all cost Simon 15 years.
There is so much more. This may be a very tough lawsuit for Ciolino to beat as well as a career-killer. Northwestern University is no friend of Ciolino and may choose to go hard against him.
They do have a favorable track record. The students of the journalism school had for years been questionably used by Protess’s arm of Barry Sheck’s Innocence Project to gather defense evidence slanted to getting supposed innocent prisoners released.
Protess was fired for this by the university several years ago as hangers-on tried to defend him.
The Innocence Project again… This is all too reminiscent of Greg Hampikian in Boise, Idaho, who corrupted Hellmann’s DNA consultants to try to frame people, and misrepresented hard evidence to try to allow guilty people to walk free.
And all broadcast by your local CBS station.
Archived in Other legal processes, Others elsewhere, Reporting on the case, V bad reporting, Media news, The wider contexts, American context, Knox-Mellas team, More of the same
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Wednesday, January 21, 2015
The Sollecito Trial For “Honor Bound” #4: Chimera Examines The Most Inflammatory Angles
Posted by The TJMK Main Posters
1. Overview Of This Series And Post
Tomorrow is the day when the wraps come off the prosecutions’ targets in the book.
This is also when Sollecito & Gumbel might try to justify themselves though they have a tough task ahead of them. For Sollecito and Gumbel (and also Knox and Kulman) their books actually constitute four kinds of problems;
(1) their defamations of the Italian courts and justice system;
(2) their defamations of many police, investigators and prosecutors who work within it,
(3) their numerous lies by omission, the pesky facts they never mention; and
(4) the unwitting truths and half-truths pointing to guilt, which the court may especially zero in on.
As mentioned in the previous post, a separate new TJMK pasge will soon take the book apart definitively. To this many posters have contributed.
Also we will have a new TJMK page on all of the lies of omission and who tends to avoid what area of evidence. .
2. Examination By Chimera Of Sollecito Book
In Part 1 Chimera addrresses problem (4) the truths and half-truths.
In Part 2 Chimera comes up with an alternative synopsis of the book.
In Part 3 Chimera Suggests why there could have been pre-meditation.
1. Examination Of RS’s Truthfulness
[page xv] ‘’....Often, they are more interested in constructing compelling narratives than in building up the evidence piece by piece, a task considered too prosaic and painstaking to be really interesting….’‘
A main criticism by the Supreme Court of Judge Hellmann was that he looked at the evidence piece by piece, rather than trying to make a story of all the evidence as a whole.
[page xvi] ‘’....She was Amanda the heartless when she didn’t cry over Meredith’s death and Amanda the hysterical manipulator when she did. Whatever she did—practice yoga, play Beatles songs, buy underwear—it was held against her.
Well, when someone does not seem upset that their ‘friend’ is murdered, and then behaves in this fashion, would police not at least have their curiosity piqued?
[page 20] ‘’... First, Guede could reasonably assume that the occupants of the house were either out for the night or away for the long weekend. Second, he had previously stayed over in the boys’ apartment downstairs—he fell asleep on the toilet one night in early October and ended up sprawled on the couch—so he knew the lay of the land. He had even met Meredith and Amanda briefly. And, third, since it was the first of the month, chances were good that the accumulated rent money for November was sitting in a pile somewhere in the house.
In the upstairs apartment, Filomena took responsibility for gathering everyone’s cash and handing it over to the landlady. And it was Filomena’s bedroom window that would soon be smashed with a large rock…’‘
This only makes sense if and only if:
(a) Rudy knew the schedules of all 8 people in the house
(b) Rudy may have slept downstairs, but implies he must have been upstairs at some point
(c) Rudy knew that Filomena had all the money (that she took charge of it)
(d) That rent would be paid in cash, not a cheque or bank automatic withdrawl. Which suggests…
A failure on those parameters points to an inside job.
[page 22] ‘’... My father took her advice, but because my cell phone was turned off, I didn’t receive the message until six the next morning.
It was a desperately unlucky combination of circumstances. If my father had tried my cell and then called me on the home line—which he would have done, because he’s persistent that way—I would have had incontrovertible proof from the phone records that I was home that night. And the nightmare that was about to engulf me might never have begun.’‘
First, it is an admission that the cell phone was turned off
Second, it is an admission that had Francesco called him, he would have an alibi, suggesting he did not…
[page 24] ‘’ ... Many Italians, including most of my family, could not fathom how she could go ahead with her shower after finding blood on the tap, much less put her wet feet on the bath mat, which was also stained, and drag it across the floor.’‘
So, Amanda showered, even with blood on the tap and on the bathmat, and no one, not even Raffaele, can make sense of it. Perhaps it is just an odd way of being quirky.
[page 26] ‘’... Then I pushed open Filomena’s door, which had been left slightly ajar, and saw that the place was trashed. Clothes and belongings were strewn everywhere. The window had a large, roundish hole, and broken glass was spread all over the floor.
Okay, we thought, so there’s been a break-in. What we couldn’t understand was why Filomena’s laptop was still propped upright in its case on the floor, or why her digital camera was still sitting out in the kitchen. As far as we could tell, nothing of value was missing anywhere….’‘
And this would be found to be suspicious by the police. An apparent break in, but nothing seems to be missing. And we haven’t even gotten to the spiderman climb yet.
[page 27] ‘’... Amanda went into the Italian women’s bathroom alone, only to run back out and grab on to me as though she had seen a ghost. “The shit’s not in the toilet anymore!” she said. “What if the intruder’s still here and he’s locked himself in Meredith’s room?”
Interesting. Perhaps Raffaele instinctively leaves poop in the toilet as well. Why would he not flush to make sure?
[page 27 contains the following lines:]
‘’ ....Don’t do anything stupid.’‘
‘’ ....Now what do we do?’‘
‘’ ....My sister is in the Carabinieri.’‘
These were supposedly in reference to the frantic attempts to see in Meredith’s room. Does anyone think there is some innuendo/hidden meaning?
[page 29] ‘’... “No, nothing’s been taken.” I didn’t know that for sure, of course, and I should have been more careful about my choice of words. At the time, though, I thought I was just performing my civic duty by passing the information along. The only reason I was on the line was because Amanda’s Italian was not good enough for her to make the call herself.’‘
This sounds innocuous enough, with the qualifiers, but without them: ‘‘No, nothing’s been taken… I should have been more careful about my choice of words.”
[page 33] ‘’.... As things spiraled out of control over the next several days, a senior investigator with the carabinieri in Perugia took it upon himself to call my sister and apologize, colleague to colleague. “If we had arrived ten minutes earlier,” he told Vanessa, “the case would have been ours. And things would have gone very differently.”
This sounds eerily like an admission that things could have been tampered with, or ‘saved’, if only the ‘right’ people had been there in time.
[page 35] ‘’... Amanda didn’t understand the question, so I answered for her, explaining that she’d taken a shower and then come back to my house. “Really, you took a shower?” Paola said. She was incredulous…’‘
However, the book does not clarify why Paola was incredulous. Take your pick.
(a) Amanda didn’t look or smell like she had a shower
(b) Amanda showered in a blood soaked bathroom
(c) Both ‘a’ and ‘b’
[page 39] ‘’... In the moment, I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to make Amanda feel worse. The whole purpose of my being there was to comfort her. So I defended her, even beyond the point where I felt comfortable or could be said to be looking out for my own interests.’‘
This is arguably the most true part of the book. He does have to comfort her, so she doesn’t talk. And it probably was uncomfortable.
And ‘‘beyond the point where ... I could be said to be looking out for my own interests.’’ Notice that Raffaele does not say ‘‘beyond that point where I WAS looking out for my own interests. It only ‘looks’ like it, because it is very much in his interest - at that time - to pacify Amanda.
[page 40] ‘’.... Italian newspapers reporting ‘Amanda could kill for a pizza’.’‘
To most people, Raffaele could mean this signifies that killing and death did not affect her greatly, or that she is simply immature.
It could also be an admission: Meredith’s death was over something extremely trivial, and Raffaele knew it.
[page 40] ‘’...Why focus on her, and not on Meredith’s other friends? I wondered. She and Amanda were new acquaintances…’‘
Exactly. Compared to what has been portrayed, they were not close friends, or even friends
[page 41] ‘’... Amanda noticed the police’s sex obsession right away; they couldn’t stop asking her about the Vaseline pot and a vibrator they had found in the bathroom. The vibrator was a joke item, a little rubber bunny rabbit shaped to look like a vibrator and fashioned into a pendant, but the police seemed to find this difficult to accept. What about Meredith’s sex life? Amanda knew only that Meredith had left a boyfriend in England and was now involved with one of the men who lived downstairs, a twenty-two-year-old telecommunications student with a carefully sculpted beard and outsize earrings named Giacomo Silenzi. Amanda had helped Meredith out a couple times by giving her a condom from her supply. But Amanda had no idea how, or how often, Meredith had sex and didn’t feel comfortable fielding questions about it.’‘
This is creepily ‘Knoxian’ in that Raffaele is deliberately leaking extremely personal details about Meredith. Is this a desire they share: to humiliate her deeper, in the public domain, far beyond what they already have done.
[page 42] ‘’... A few days later, this episode would be distorted in the newspapers to make it seem as if the first thing we did after the murder was to buy sexy lingerie—specifically, a G-string—and tell each other how we couldn’t wait to try it out. The store owner, who did not speak English, corroborated the story in pursuit of his own brief moment in the spotlight. True, the surveillance video in the store showed us touching and kissing, but that was hardly a crime. I wasn’t making out with her in some vulgar or inappropriate way, just comforting her and letting her know I was there for her. Besides, there was nothing remotely sexy about Bubble. A much sexier underwear store was next door, and we didn’t set foot in…’‘
Interesting. Raffaele says that this was blown out of proportion, yet his defense is that we didn’t do anything sexual, but if we did, it is not a crime, and besides, there was a better place next door.
[page 43] ‘’... I realized I had not properly acknowledged my own discomfort with Amanda. I was not scandalized by her, in the way that so many others later said they were, but I shouldn’t have allowed her to climb all over me in the Questura, and I should have counseled her quietly not to complain so much. I understood the gallant side of being her boyfriend, but I could have given her better advice and protected myself in the process.’‘
Translation: Amanda, quit whining so much. And while boning you in the police station may be fun, it is seriously jeopardizing my interests.
[page 44] ‘’... She told them, quite openly, about a guy from Rome she went to bed with a few days before meeting me. She had no problem being open about her sex life, and that made her interrogators suspicious. How many men, they wondered, did she plan on getting through during her year in Perugia?
Probably true, except for the conclusion. More likely they wondered: Why does she have to bring this up now?
[page 46]’‘... My sister, Vanessa, made her own separate inquiries and felt much less reassured. The first time she called the Questura, they left her waiting on the line, even though she announced herself as a lieutenant in the carabinieri, and never took her call.
The second time, she had herself put through from the carabinieri’s regional switchboard, to make it more official. This time she got through, but only to a junior policeman clearly her inferior. (In Italian law enforcement, protocol on such matters is followed scrupulously.) “Listen,” the man told her impatiently, “everything is fine.”
“Is there someone I can talk to who is in charge of this case?” Vanessa insisted.
This sounds like a very detailed (if true) attempt at subverting justice. Way to drop Vanessa in it, Raffy.
[page 47] ‘’... The truth, though, was that the authorities were still clueless.’‘
Don’t worry, they will get a clue soon enough.
[page 48] ‘’... What did they have on us? Nothing of substance. But they did find our behavior odd, and we had no real alibi for the night of November 1 except each other, and we did not have lawyers to protect us, and we seemed to have a propensity for saying things without thinking them through. In other words, we were the lowest-hanging fruit, and the police simply reached out and grabbed us.’‘
So, what does Sollecito list in just this paragraph?
(a) Odd behaviour
(b) No real alibi except each other
(c) Saying things without thinking them through
Can’t see why this would attract police attention…
[page 49] ‘’... Not only did they have no physical evidence, they saw no need for any.’‘
Well, odd behaviour, no real alibi,conflicting stories, and saying things through without thinking them through… oh, right, and that very detailed account of Patrik murdering Meredith, Sollecito ‘might’ be there, and Raffaele telling a pack of lies.
I guess physical evidence would be overkill (pardon the pun). Sounds very Knoxian in the ‘there is no evidence’ denials.
[page 50] ‘’... Carrying a small knife had been a habit of mine since I was a teenager—not for self-defense, mind you, just as an ornamental thing. I’d use one occasionally to peel apples or carve my name on tree trunks, but mostly I carried them around for the sake of it. Having a knife on me had become automatic, like carrying my wallet or my keys.’‘
So the rumours of having a knife fetish are true? Thanks for confirming it.
[page 50] ‘’... Besides, what kind of idiot killer would bring the murder weapon to the police station?’‘
Wow - how to begin with this one… Although, on a more manipulative level, was it not the other knife that actually delivered the fatal blow?
[page 51] ‘’... My words in Italian—stai tranquillo—were the last my father would hear from me as a free man.’‘
It could mean physically free. Could also mean not free as in forced to confront his actions.
[page 51] “You need to tell us what happened that night,” they began.
“Which night?” I asked wearily. I was getting tired of the endless questioning. I don’t think they appreciated my attitude.
“The night of November first.”
I don’t think this is a drug haze. More just being arrogant and callous.
[page 56] ‘’... I had been brought up to think the police were honest defenders of public safety. My sister was a member of the carabinieri, no less! Now it seemed to me they were behaving more like gangsters.’‘
Another sign of entitlement showing. Surely, the little brother of a carabinieri officer should not have to be subjected to this nonsense.
[page 56] ‘’... Something was exciting the police more than my pocketknife, and that was the pattern they had detected on the bottom of my shoes. By sheer bad luck, I was wearing Nikes that night, and the pattern of concentric circles on the soles instantly reminded my interrogators of the bloody shoe prints at the scene of the crime, which were made by Nikes too.
I had no idea of any of this. All I knew was, the rest of the interrogation team piled back into the room and told me to take off my shoes.’‘
Shoeprints placing a person at a crime scene? Why would that possibly be considered evidence?
[page 59] ‘’... Then, at some point after midnight, an interpreter arrived. Amanda’s mood only worsened. She hadn’t remembered texting Patrick at all, so she was in no position to parse over the contents of her message. When it was suggested to her she had not only written to him but arranged a meeting, her composure crumbled; she burst into uncontrollable tears, and held her hands up to her ears as if to say, I don’t want to hear any more of this.’‘
Depending on whether or not you believe Amanda’s ‘version’ of events, this could either be corroboration of her events, or corroboration she faked her fit.
Minor detail: Sollecito was in a totally different part of the Questera, but hey, it’s just semantics.
[page 61] ‘’...When I first found out what Amanda had signed her name to, I was furious. Okay, she was under a lot of pressure, as I had been, but how could she just invent stuff out of nowhere? Why would she drag me into something I had no part of? It soon transpired, of course, that she felt similarly about me. “What I don’t understand,” she wrote, as soon as she began to retract her statements, “is why Raffaele, who has always been so caring and gentle with me, would lie. . . . What does he have to hide?”
It took us both a long time to understand how we had been manipulated and played against each other. It took me even longer to appreciate that the circumstances of our interrogations were designed expressly to extract statements we would otherwise never have made, and that I shouldn’t blame Amanda for going crazy and spouting dangerous nonsense…’‘
-If Amanda got me locked up, I would be mad too
-Yes, she did make stuff (about Patrik) out of nowhere
-I was angry when Amanda asked ‘what I have to hide’
-Yes, police tend to play suspects off each other
-Yes, suspects try to avoid implicating each other
-Yes, Amanda only spouted dangerous nonsense after you took her alibi
This section is almost 100% true
[page 62] ‘’... Even before dawn broke on November 6, the authorities had us where they wanted us. True, neither of us had confessed to murder. But what they had—a web of contradictions, witnesses pitted against each other, and a third suspect on whom to pin the crime—was an acceptable second best.’‘
Also true, and great police work.
[page 63] ‘’... I asked to talk to my family again. I said I needed at least to inform my thesis director where I was. “Where you’re going, a degree’s not going to do you any good,” came the answer.’‘
Curious, he has just been arrested for murder and sexual assault, and among his first thoughts is his thesis. And didn’t he end up doing his Master’s thesis ... on himself?
[page 64] ‘’... As soon as we walked into my apartment, a policeman named Armando Finzi said loudly that the place stank of bleach. That wasn’t correct. My cleaning lady had been through the day before and cleaned the tile floor with Lysoform, not bleach. Still, he insisted on mentioning the bleach a couple more times—the clear implication being that I’d needed something powerful to clean up a compromising mess.’‘
Perhaps overanalysing this, but could Raffaele be flippantly thinking to himself: Nope, the cleaning lady used lysoform to clean up the mess. Wasn’t bleach, dudes.
[page 77] ‘’... Even before Judge Matteini had finished reading the complaint against me, I blurted out that I didn’t know Patrick Lumumba and that any prints from my shoes found at Via della Pergola could only have been made before November 1. Immediately I ran into trouble because I had in fact met Patrick at his bar, on the night Amanda and I first got together. And I had no idea that the shoe prints in question were made in blood. In no time, I was flailing and suggesting, in response to the judge’s pointed questions, that maybe I picked up some of the blood on the floor when I walked around the house on November 2, the day the body was discovered. Even more unwisely, I speculated that someone might have stolen my shoes and committed the murder in them. It just did not occur to me that the shoe print evidence was wrong.
At Raffaele’s first hearing:
-He claims not to have met Patrick, (his co-accused), but admits later, that he has
-He suggests that he may have picked up blood on the floor
-He claims the shoes were stolen
Why would Judge Matteini have reason to doubt his story?
[page 78] ‘’... I felt like a fool describing my extensive knife collection and even described myself as a testa di cazzo, a dickhead, for having so many. My judgment and my self-confidence were sinking fast.
“Perhaps the worst moment came when I was asked, for the umpteenth time, if Amanda had gone out on the night of the murder. I still had no clarity on this and could not answer the judge’s repeated questions without sounding evasive.”
[page 80] ‘’... Matteini swallowed the prosecution’s story whole. The break-in was staged after the fact, she asserted—just as Mignini had. The murderer or murderers must therefore have got into the house with a set of keys, and Amanda was the only keyholder without a solid alibi for the night in question. Patrick Lumumba had the hots for.
Meredith, Matteini theorized, and Amanda and I tagged along to experience something new and different. From my testimony at the hearing, Matteini concluded I was “bored by the same old evenings” and wanted to experience some “strong emotions.” (She moved my blog entry from October 2006, the date marked on the document, to October 2007, just weeks before the murder, which bolstered the argument.) She didn’t ascribe a specific motive to Amanda, assuming only that she must have felt the same way I did. The bloody footprints “proved” I was present at the scene of the murder, and my three-inch flick knife was “compatible with the possible murder weapon.” The house, she wrote, was “smeared with blood everywhere.”
Substitute in Rudy Guede for Patrick, and this sounds somewhat plausible.
[page 83] ‘’... Amanda recovered her lucidity faster than I did. The day we were arrested, she wrote a statement in English that all but retracted what she had signed the night before. “In regards to this ‘confession,’ ” she wrote, “I want to make clear that I’m very doubtful of the verity of my statements because they were made under the pressures of stress, shock and extreme exhaustion.” She was still conjuring up images of Patrick as the murderer, but she added, “These things seem unreal to me, like a dream, and I am unsure if they are real things that happened or just dreams in my head.”
The next day, she wrote a second, more confident statement: “I DID NOT KILL MY FRIEND . . . But I’m very confused, because the police tell me that they know I was at my house when she was murdered, which I don’t remember. They tell me a lot of things I don’t remember.” Then she gave a substantially more accurate account of the night of November 1 than I was coming up with at the time.’‘
All this does is confirm that much of the confusing, manipulative statements from Amanda exist. Gee thanks Raffaele.
[page 86] ‘’... short story about date rape that Amanda had submitted to a University of Washington creative-writing class was held up as evidence of her warped criminal mind. A Myspace video of her boasting about the number of shots she had downed at a party became an excuse to depict her as an alcohol-fueled harpy. I was described as “crazy,” based on a line I’d written in a blog entry, and held up to ridicule for a photograph, taken during a high-spirited moment of fun in my first year in Perugia, in which I was wrapped from head to foot in toilet paper, brandishing a machete in one hand and a bottle of pink alcohol in the other.’‘
“Amanda does lots of alcohol, write rape stories, and I dress in toilet paper, wielding a machete. Nothing to see here, people.”
[page 87] ‘’... I knew a lot of the coverage of the case itself was flawed. It was reported, for example, that the police had found bleach receipts at my house, strongly suggesting I had purchased materials to clean up the crime scene. But my cleaning lady didn’t use bleach, and the only receipts the police found from November 1 onward were for pizza. I wouldn’t have needed to buy bleach, anyway, because I had some left over from my previous cleaning lady. It had sat untouched for months.’‘
“Nope, I didn’t need to buy bleach for the cleanup, I already had it.”
[page 88] ‘’... Then came Maori. He told me that he too carried pocketknives from time to time. But he didn’t seem too interested in connecting with me beyond such superficial niceties. I felt he didn’t entirely trust me. His game plan, which became clear over a series of meetings, was to dissociate me as much as possible from Amanda. And that was it. He did not have a clear strategy to undermine the prosecution’s evidence on the knife and the shoe print, because—as he indicated to me—he believed there might be something to it. ‘’
Which means: “I don’t really believe you are innocent, the evidence seems too strong. But for your sake, separate yourself from this mentally unstable woman.”
Sounds very likely.
[page 90] ‘’... I even allowed myself a little optimism: my computer, I decided, would show if I was connected to the Internet that night and, if so, when, and how often. Unless Amanda and I had somehow made love all night long, pausing only to make ourselves dinner and nod off to sleep, the full proof of our innocence would soon be out in the open.
According to the police, it showed no activity from the time we finished watching Amélie at 9:10 p.m. until 5:30 the next morning.
That sounded all wrong to me, and my defense team’s technical experts would later find reasons to doubt the reliability of this finding. But there would be no easy way out of the mess Amanda and I were now in.’‘
Wishful thinking to form a coherent alibi or defense. Indeed, if only it was that simple.
[page 91] ‘’...Still, there was something I could not fathom. How did Meredith’s DNA end up on my knife when she’d never visited my house? I was feeling so panicky I imagined for a moment that I had used the knife to cook lunch at Via della Pergola and accidentally jabbed Meredith in the hand. Something like that had in fact happened in the week before the murder. My hand slipped and the knife I was using made contact with her skin for the briefest of moments. Meredith was not hurt, I apologized, and that was that. But of course I wasn’t using my own knife at the time. There was no possible connection.’
I imagined this happened? Is amnesia or hallucinating contagious? I’m surprised he did not have a vision that he saw Patrik attacking Meredith.
On another note: giving a blatantly false account of how a victim’s DNA ended up on your knife seems a bit suspicious.
[page 93] ‘’... The nuts and bolts of the investigation, the hard evidence, kept yielding good things for us. We were told that my Nikes had tested negative for blood and for Meredith’s DNA. So had my car, and everything else I had touched around the time of the murder. Even the mop Amanda and I carried back and forth on the morning of November 2, an object of particular suspicion, was reported to be clean.
Well, I have no doubt that the AMERICAN media reported this to be the case….
And ‘the mop Amanda and I carried back and forth…?’
[page 94] ‘’... During a conversation with her mother in prison, they reported, Amanda had blurted out, “I was there, I cannot lie about that.” She seemed not to realize the conversation was being recorded, and the police picked up on it right away.’‘
Amanda again places herself at the scene, but again, there is a simple explanation. Amanda being Amanda?
[page 94] ‘’... his time the papers quoted what they said was an extract fromher diary. “I don’t remember anything,” the passage read, “but maybe Raffaele went to Meredith’s house, raped and killed her, and then put my fingerprints on the knife back at his house while I was asleep.”
Of course, Amanda writes that someone planted her fingerprints. Odd, as I think that no one ever claimed her prints were on the knife. Why would she think they were?
This needs to be said: What the hell is U of W teaching in their ‘creative writing’ program?
[page 97] ‘’... I remember watching the news of Guede’s arrest on the small-screen TV in my cell and seeing the Perugia police all puffed up with pride about catching him. If anything, I felt happier than they did, because Guede was a complete stranger to me. The relief was palpable. All along I had worried the murderer would turn out to be someone I knew and that I’d be dragged into the plot by association. Now I had one less thing to worry about. Not that I wasn’t still wary: so much invented nonsense had been laid at my door I was still half-expecting the authorities to produce more.’
The ‘real’ killer is caught, and you are worried more things may be invented? Interesting.
[page 98] ‘’...Lumumba had every right to be angry; he had spent two weeks in lockup for no reason. He had been able to prove that Le Chic stayed open throughout the evening of November 1, producing an eyewitness, a Swiss university professor, who vouched for his presence that night. One would expect his anger to be directed as much toward Mignini, who threw him in prison without checking the facts, as it was toward Amanda. But Lumumba and his strikingly aggressive lawyer, Carlo Pacelli, could find only vicious things to say about Amanda from the moment he got out of jail—even though he had not, in fact, fired her and remained friendly with her for several days after the murder.’‘
True, except why be mad at Mignini? It is Amanda who falsely accused him, not Mignini. But again, minor details.
[page 107] ‘’... Papà was spinning like a dervish to clear my name, but not everyone he hired was as helpful as he hoped. One consultant whom he asked to monitor the Polizia Scientifica demanded eight thousand euros up front, only to prove reluctant to make overt criticisms of the police’s work, the very thing for which he’d been hired. A forensic expert who also seemed a little too close to the police charged four thousand euros for his retainer with the boast, “I’m expensive, but I’m good.” He wasn’t. A computer expert recommended by Luca Maori didn’t know anything about Macs, only PC’s.’‘
That first line is a bit disturbing. ‘Not everyone he hired was as helpful as he hoped.’ This can be easily interpretted as shopping around for an expert of ‘hired gun’.
[page 110] ‘’... Amanda and I came in for what was by now a familiar drubbing. The judges said my account of events was “unpardonably implausible.” Indeed, I had a “rather complex and worrying personality” prone to all sorts of impulses. Amanda, for her part, was not shy about having “multiple sex partners” and had a “multifaceted personality, detached from reality.” Over and above the flight risk if we were released from prison, the judges foresaw a significant danger that we would make up new fantastical scenarios to throw off the investigation. In Amanda’s case, they said she might take advantage of her liberty to kill again.’‘
Most rational people would come to the same conclusions.
[page 112] ‘’... Since I had no such testimony to offer, I did the Italian equivalent of taking the Fifth: I availed myself, as we say, of the right not to respond.
I found some satisfaction in that, but also frustration, because I had at last worked out why Amanda did not leave—could not have left—my house on the night of the murder. She didn’t have her own key, so if she’d gone out alone, she would have had to ring the doorbell and ask me to buzz her back in. Even if I’d been stoned or asleep when she rang, I would have remembered that. And it didn’t happen.’‘
Hmm… I swear I am innocent, but plead the fifth ammendment. And I am not positive Amanda did not leave, but ad hoc have worked out that she must not have.
[page 112] ‘’...Obviously, I wanted to shout the news to the world. But I also understood that telling Mignini now would have been a gift to him; it would only have bought him time to figure out a way around it.’‘
“I could tell a certain version of events to the prosecutor, but if I did that now, he would only have time to discover the holes in that story.”
[page 113] ‘’... I knew the Kerchers had hired an Italian lawyer, Francesco Maresca, whom they picked off a short list provided by the British embassy. I addressed my letter to him, saying how sorry I was for everything that had happened and expressing a wish that the full truth would soon come out.
I was naive enough to believe that Maresca would be sympathetic.’‘
Knox was criticised for fake attempts to reach out to the victim’s family, and had been told to act more like a defendant. Interesting that it started so much earlier.
[page 115] ‘’... Regrettably, Guede’s shoes were not available, presumably because he ditched them; they were not at his apartment and they were not among his possessions when he was arrested in Germany.’‘
Very interesting. Raffaele believes that the ‘murderer’s shoes’ were not available, and may have been ditched. This seems to be more than just speculation on his part.
[page 117] ‘’... Mignini questioned Amanda again on December 17, and she, unlike me, agreed to answer his questions in the presence of her lawyers. She was more composed now and gave him nothing new to work with. She couldn’t have been present at the murder, she insisted, because she’d spent all night with me.’‘
How does this not sound incredibly incriminating? I refused to talk, though Amanda agreed to, but only with lawyers. And does this not sound like Amanda was better able to stonewall the investigation?
[page 121] ‘’... Instead, he tried to control the damage and talked to every reporter who called him. “The most plausible explanation,” he said to most of them, “is that the bra had been worn by Amanda as well, and Raffaele touched it when she was wearing it.”
There were two problems with this statement. First, it was so speculative and far-fetched it did nothing to diminish the perception that I was guilty. And, second, it showed that my father—my dear, straight-arrow, ever-optimistic, overtrusting father—still couldn’t stop assuming that if the police or the prosecutor’s office was saying something, it must be so.
There are 3 possibilities here, all bad.
(a) This entire scenario was made up, and like the ‘my shoes were stolen’, only leaves everyone shaking their heads in disbelief.
(b) Amanda actually had worn the bra BEFORE and returned it without washing it. Remember what this woman tends to think when she sees blood. Ew.
(c) Amanda wore the bra AFTER Meredith was murdered, and that she and Raffaele fooled around after. Not too farfetched when you remember that Raffaele kept the murder weapon as a souvenir.
[page 122] ‘’... Along with the Albanian, we had to contend with a seventy-six-year-old woman by the name of Nara Capezzali, who claimed she had heard a bloodcurdling scream coming from Meredith’s house at about 11:00 p.m. on the night of the murder, followed by sounds of people running through the streets.’‘
Yes, this confirms at least part of Amanda’s account that night. Yes, she seemed to vaguely remember Patrik killing Meredith, and wasn’t sure if Raffaele was there, but the scream detail is corroborated.
[page 125] ‘’... As my time alone stretched out into weeks and then months, I had to let go of everything that was happening and hold on to other, more permanent, more consoling thoughts: my family and friends, the memory of my mother, the simple pleasures I’d enjoyed with Amanda, the peace that came from knowing that neither of us had done anything wrong.
If they want to kill me this way, I remember thinking, let them go ahead. I’m happy to have lived life as I did, and to have made the choices I made.’‘
Hmm… so he finds peace being locked away for things he did not do?
More likely, Raffaele is coming to terms with the inevitable consequences of life in prison.
[page 129] ‘’... The one victory we eked out was a finding that we should have been told we were under criminal investigation before our long night of interrogations in the Questura. The statements we produced would not be admissible at trial.’‘
Do I really need to explain this one?
[page 150] ‘’... I talked about Amanda with Filippo, my cellmate, and he listened, just as I had listened to his problems. One day, though, he told me he was bisexual, and his eyes started to brighten visibly when he looked at me. Then he burst into tears and tried to caress my face.’‘
Given the overlap between Waiting to be Heard and Honor Bound, did the ‘authors’ collaborate?
[page 151] ‘’... My father hired a telecommunications expert to help resolve a few other mysteries from the night of the murder. The prosecution had given no adequate explanation for a series of calls registered on Meredith’s English cell phone after she’d returned from her friends’ house around 9:00 p.m., and many of them seemed baffling, assuming they were made—as the prosecution argued—by Meredith herself. We believed Meredith was dead by the time of the last two calls, and our expert Bruno Pellero intended to help us prove that.’‘
This sounds disturbingly like another attempt to subvert justice.
[page 154] ‘’... She also acknowledged that a contaminated or improperly analyzed DNA sample could, in theory, lead to an incorrect identification.’‘
Wait, weren’t those same people involved in the finding the evidence against Guede? Right, that evidence is clean.
[page 156] ‘’... Judge Micheli issued his ruling at the end of October. On the plus side, he found Guede guilty of murder and sentenced him to thirty years behind bars in an accelerated trial requested by Guede himself. Judge Micheli also accepted our evidence that it wouldn’t have been that difficult to throw a rock through Filomena’s window and climb the wall.
But, Spider-Man or no Spider-Man, he still didn’t believe Guede got into the house that way. He argued that Filomena’s window was too exposed and that any intruder would have run too great a risk of discovery by climbing through it. Therefore, he concluded, Amanda and I must have let him in. There seemed to be no shaking the authorities out of their conviction that the break-in was staged.’‘
So, Judge Micheli is a fine judge who saw Rudy Guede for who he is and convicted him, yet he is so poor a judge he ruled that Amanda and I had to be involved?
Didn’t Knox say very similar things in her December 2013 email to Appeal Court Judge Nencini?
[page 160] ‘’... Still, the prosecution jumped all over [Quintavalle] and later put him on the stand to bolster the argument that Amanda and I had spent that morning wiping the murder scene clean of our traces—but not, curiously, Guede’s. It was one of their more dishonest, not to mention absurd, arguments, because any forensics expert could have told them such a thing was physically impossible. Still, it was all they had, and they single-mindedly stuck to it.’‘
Depending on how you view this, it could be an ad hoc admission that yes, selectively cleaning up wasn’t really possible, as the evidence was all intermingled.
[page 167] ‘’... I was pushing for another sort of change, a single trial team to defend Amanda and me together. I was told right away that this was out of the question, but I don’t think my logic was wrong. The only way either of us would get out of this situation, I reasoned, was if we stuck together. If the prosecution drove a wedge between us, we would more than likely both be doomed.’‘
This seems to justify Guede’s suspicions that his co-defendants would team up on him.
[page 169] ‘’... Stefanoni and Mignini were holding out on that information, and we needed to pry it from them quickly before more damage was done. The shots would ultimately be called by the judge, and we hadn’t had a lot of luck with judges so far.’‘
Why would you need ‘luck’ from a judge?
[page 173] ‘’... No matter how much we demanded to be heard, no matter how much we sought to refute the grotesque cartoon images of ourselves and give calm, reasoned presentations of the truth, we never escaped the feeling that our words were tolerated rather than listened to; that the court was fundamentally uninterested in what we had to say.’‘
That is probably true. No one cares why Amanda’s vibrator is on full display.
And yes, you did demand to be heard. Perhaps, if you had agreed to full cross examination, you would know what the judges and prosecutors would be interested in hearing.
[page 173] ‘’... A week later, Meredith’s English friends took the stand and testified with such uniform consistency it was hard to think of them as distinct individuals. Robyn Butterworth, Amy Frost, and Sophie Purton all said that Meredith had been unhappy with Amanda’s standards of hygiene, particularly her forgetfulness about flushing the toilet. It sounded almost as if they were reading from a prepared script. Meredith, they agreed, had found Amanda a little too forward for keeping her condoms and what looked like a vibrator in their shared bathroom. And, they said, Amanda had acted weirdly in the Questura.
That was it. They mentioned nothing positive about the relationship. No word on Meredith and Amanda’s socializing together, or attending Perugia’s annual chocolate festival, or going to the concert on the night Amanda and I met.’‘
Yes, the prosecution case does seem stronger when their witnesses are consistent. Absolutely right.
Strangely, Meredith’s English friends also did not talk about how compassionate Amanda was at the memorial. Wait a minute….
[page 174] ‘’... Amanda arrived in court wearing a T-shirt with the words ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE emblazoned in huge pink letters, to mark Valentine’s Day. It seemed she wanted to find a way to defuse the English girls’ ill will toward her, but it didn’t work.’‘
[page 186] ‘’... Meanwhile, we had to worry about Amanda taking the stand. Her lawyers decided that the best way to refute the stories about her wayward personality was to have the court take a good, hard look at her up close. But my lawyers were deeply concerned she would put her foot in her mouth, in ways that might prove enduringly harmful to both of us. If she deviated even one iota from the version of events we now broadly agreed on, it could mean a life sentence for both of us.’‘
Amanda puts her foot in her mouth? Yup.
“The truth we agreed on”?? Come on, you actually put this in the book?
[page 193] ‘’... My father was all over the place. He knew exactly how bad the news was, but he wanted to shield me as best he could. “Whatever happens, don’t worry,” he told me. “There’s always the appeal. The work we’ve done won’t go to waste.”
And indeed, the first (now annulled) appeal did ‘save’ them.
[page 195] ‘’... Mignini had to scrabble around to explain how Amanda, Guede, and I could have formulated a murder plan together without any obvious indication that we knew each other. Guede, he postulated, could have offered himself as our drug pusher.’‘
“I can explain that. Amanda and I are admitted drug users. We smeared Guede as a drug dealer. Reasonable people might believe that there is some connection to drugs.”
[page 204] ‘’... The next piece of bad news came down within three weeks of our being found guilty. Rudy Guede’s sentence, we learned, had been cut down on appeal from thirty years to sixteen. The thinking of the appeals court was that if Amanda and I were guilty, then Guede couldn’t serve a sentence greater than ours. If I had supplied the knife and Amanda had wielded it, as Mignini and Comodi postulated and Judge Massei and his colleagues apparently accepted, we needed to receive the stiffer punishment.’‘
Yes, the thinking of the courts, and those pesky short-form trial sentence deductions that are mandatory.
‘’[page 204] ...I didn’t think I could feel any worse, but this was an extra slap in the face and it knocked me flat. Not only were Amanda and I the victims of a grotesque miscarriage of justice, but Meredith’s real killer, the person everybody should have been afraid of, was inching closer to freedom. It wasn’t just outrageous; it was a menace to public safety.’‘
Yes, it was a miscarriage in that Amanda and I didn’t get the life sentences Mignini called for, and that Meredith’s real killer, Amanda, would soon get her freedom via Hellmann.
[page 219] ‘’... My family was not beating up on Amanda entirely without cause. What I did not know at the time, because they preferred not to fill me in, was that they were exploring what it would take for the prosecution to soften or drop the case against me. The advice they received was almost unanimous:’‘
Although the deal itself is illegal, I have no doubt that the Sollecito family at least explored the option.
[page 258] ‘’... Judge Hellmann’s sentencing report was magnificent: 143 pages of close argument that knocked down every piece of evidence against us and sided with our experts on just about every technical issue.’‘
That is true, with one huge omission: the defense only cherry picked a few small pieces of evidence. Yes, it ‘knocked down every piece of evidence we chose to contest.’
2. Synopsis Of “Honor Bound”
(20) The robbery that night was perfect, assuming the perp had the inside info.
(22) My cellphone was turned off.
(22) If my father called the land line I would have an alibi.
(24) I cannot make sense of showering in a bloody bathroom.
(26) Despite the break in, nothing had been taken.
(27) Someone did not flush the toilet, and I won’t either.
(27) The following dialogue:
‘’ ....Don’t do anything stupid.’‘
‘’ ....Now what do we do?’‘
‘’ ....My sister is in the Carabinieri.’‘
(29) I should have been more careful about my choice of words when I said
‘’ .... Nothing has been taken.’‘
(35) The police were shocked/disbelieving Amanda just took a shower.
(39) Things would be okay if my Carabinieri sister had helped.
(40) I defended Amanda, beyond the point of looking after my own interests.
(40) Amanda could kill for something minimal, even a pizza.
(40) Amanda and Meredith were not friends, despite living together.
(41) Amanda and I share embarrassing sexual information about the victim.
(42) We weren’t misbehaving in the lingerie shop, but if we were, it was taken out of context.
(43) Amanda whined, and we fooled around in the police station. Maybe not a good idea.
(44) Amanda does not shut up about her sex life.
(46) Vanessa made inquiries on my behalf.
(47) Prior to our arrest, the authorities were clueless.
(48) We behaved oddly, had no real alibi, and said things without thinking.
(49) We are not guilty only because there is no physical evidence.
(50) I like to carry knives.
(51) I had trouble remembering the date Meredith was killed.
(56) My sister works for the carabinieri. Why am I even here?
(56) My shoes are similar to ones found at the crime scene
(59/60) Amanda gave the false statement regarding Patrik.
(61) The police got Amanda and I to say things against each other.
(62) Amanda and I spun a web of contradictions.
(63) This is going to mess up my graduation.
(64) The smell wasn’t bleach, it was lysoform
(77) I never met Patrik, my co-accused (or did I)?
The shoes might have dragged blood, or might have been stolen.
(78) I collect a lot of knives, and don’t remember if Amanda left.
(83) Amanda made admissions she tried to retract.
(86) Amanda and I engage in alarming behaviour, such as writing rape stories, and taking photos with weapons
(87) I had access to bleach, receipts or not.
(88) My lawyer thinks the evidence is strong, and wants me away from Amanda.
(90) I hope there is evidence on my computer that clears me.
(91) I imagined that the DNA on the knife came from a cooking accident.
(93) Amanda and I carried a mop back and forth for some reason.
(94) Amanda, in a jail recorded call, places herself at the scene.
(94) Amanda writes that I may have planted her fingerprints on the knife.
(97) Rudy Guede is caught, but I fear I may get named in other things.
(98) Lumumba is released, angry at Amanda for false accusation.
(107) Dad tried to cherrypick experts who would get me out.
(110) The courts saw us as unstable and potential flight risks.
(112) I decline to answer.
(112) I don’t want the prosecutor checking my story
(113) I creepily tried to reach out to the Kerchers, despite being accused, just like Amanda.
(115) Rudy should have kept his shoes in order to exonerate Amanda and I.
(117) I still refused to talk. Amanda did, with lawyers.
(121) Amanda has been wearing Meredith’s underwear and without washing it.
(122) A witness heard Meredith scream, just as Amanda described.
(125) I am at peace with everything.
(129) The courts threw out our statements at the police station.
(150) I had a memorable encounter with a bisexual inmate (same as Amanda)
(151) My dad tried to find an alternate explanation for the phone evidence.
(154) The evidence against Rudy Guede is rock solid. The evidence against me is contaminated.
(156) Micheli is a great judge. He convicted Guede.
(156) Micheli is an idiot judge. He believes Amanda and I were involved.
(160) It was foolish to think we could selectively clean the crime scene.
(167) In order to save ourselves, Amanda and I teamed up against Rudy.
(169) We weren’t getting the judges we wanted.
(173) We did not shut up, but had nothing helpful to say.
(173) Meredith’s English friends gave consistent testimony that did not help us.
(174) the ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE t-shirt was a bad idea.
(186) I worried about Amanda testifying, saying dumb things, and deviating from our ‘version’
(193) We knew the trial was doomed, but there was the appeal. (Hellmann)?
(195) For all the ‘drug dealer’ and ‘drug user’ name calling, prosecutors seemed to think this might be about drugs.
(204) Guede’s sentence was cut from 30 years to 16. What an injustice for us… I mean Meredith.
(219) Legally speaking, it would be better to split from Amanda.
(258) Hellmann’s report knocked down the evidence we chose to present.
3. Premeditation And Why RS Goes No Further
The real reason Sollecito goes no further could be in as in the title ‘‘Honor Bound’‘. Many altruistic people may interpret this as behaving, or conducting themselves honourably.
But take a more shallow and selfish view. It could just refer to being SEEN as honourable. I think everyone here would agree that RS and AK are quite narcissistic and arrogrant. And how manly to be protecting the women in your life.
The truth does set you free - except only when the truth is much worse than what the assumptions are. I repeat, the truth sets you free, except when it is actually worse.
What could be worse? Premeditation. Far beyond what has been suggested.
1) Raffaele himself suggests that doing a robbery at the house at that time would be ideal.
This makes sense if:
(a) Rudy knew that Filomena had all the money (that she took charge of it)
(b) That rent would be paid in cash, not a cheque or bank automatic withdrawl.
So, by this reasoning, there would be over 1000 Euros in cash at that time. Of course, the average household does not carry that much, and normally, there would be no reason to think so. The date had to be planned. It also lends credence to the theory that this really was about money, and he had help.
2) The fact that Laura and Filomena were gone, as were the men downstairs. Really, how often does it happen, and how would an outsider know?
3) The trip to Gubbio. Does anyone know if either AK or RS were heavily into travel, or was this a one time thing? My point being that it could have been to establish an alibi, they just didn’t expect to still be there when the police showed up.
4) The fact that Rudy Guede was brought in, when he had no legitimate reason to be upstairs. RS could explain away DNA or prints, but not RG. Even if it really was just about stealing money, would there not be some trace of him left when the theft was reported.
And if murder was the plan all along, there would still be some trace of him.
5) Purchasing bleach. Everyone had assumed that it was done after the fact to clean up, but there is another thought. What if there already was bleach available in the home, and this purchase was merely a replacement as an afterthought?
6) The knife in Raffaele’s home. What if Amanda chose to bring a knife that Raffaele would not be able to ditch, simply so that should suspicion fall on them, there would be a knife to implicate Raffy? Remember, Amanda already made statements that point to him. Maybe those weren’t her first attempts.
Of course, I did make the suggestion that they were keeping the knives for trophies.
7) The ‘alibi’ email home. Sure, it could have been written on the spot. However, it seems too long and detailed for that. Yes, some details would need to be added (like the poop), but who is to say she didn’t start working on it BEFORE the murder?
8) Keeping the text to Patrik to say ‘see you later’. Amanda says she doesn’t keep messages on her phone, but she had this one, and several days after the murder. Could this have been saved as a ‘backup plan’ in case naming Rudy does not work for some reason. Besides, don’t all black guys look the same? (sarcasm).
9) Yes, there was a bloody shoeprint (believed to be AK), but I don’t recall anyone saying her shoes were missing, or any other clothes she had. And she supposedly did not have many clothes. So, did she have ‘extras’ for that night?
10) Wiping down the home (even if it was botched), would take time, and ‘supplies’. A chronic slob just happens to have all these cleaning supplies on hand, or were they acquired before?
So, I suspect the real refusal to talk is that the full truth is a lot worse than any game or drugged up prank. The time and location is chosen, no clothes are ‘noticed’ missing, and Amanda has at least 3 potential patzies: Rudy, Raffaele, and Patrik. Remember, Guede and Lumumba are on ‘the list’ Knox ended up writing for Rita Ficarra. And AK and RS are scheduled to go on a trip that would take them away with a plausible alibi. Cleaning supplies may already be there.
Call me cynical: but I see all the signs of staging, and premeditation. Yes, the act itself was messy, but there are very obvious marks of forethought.
So. What will the judges of Cassation be seeing?
Archived in Those who were charged, Raff Sollecito, Those officially involved, All the nefarious hoaxes, Italian justice hoax, Sollecito book hoaxes, No-evidence hoax, The Dr Mignini hoax, Leading pompous frauds, Sollecito team, More of the same, Other legal processes, Sollecito diffamazione
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Monday, January 19, 2015
The Sollecito Trial For “Honor Bound” #3: Targeted Claims On Which Sollecito & Gumbel May Fold
Posted by The TJMK Main Posters
1. The Court Contenders
Judge Dolores Limongi will preside over Sollecito’s new trial in Florence this thursday and Dr Giuliano Bartolomei will prosecute.
No word about whether the hapless bungler Andrew Gumbel will attend, but Sollecito has said he will be there. Sollecito’s defense team seems rather weak. After Sollecito’s own lawyers for his murder trial publicly renounced the most damaging claims in his book (see below) his family turned to Alfredo Brizioli for help.
Brizioli is a Perugia lawyer who was accused of being one of those trying to disguise the murdered Narducci’s involvement in the Monster of Florence killings. That shadowy group has just taken another hit in Italian eyes - a Milan court has ruled that Narducci, the probable murderer in the Monster of Florence crimes, was indeed himself murdered and there exists powerful evidence for this.
2. The Specific Charges
Charges against Sollecito are of two kinds: criminal defamation of both the justice system itself and of some of those who work within it. In US and UK terms criminal contempt of court comes close.
Criminal contempt charges become separate charges from the underlying case. Unlike civil contempt sanctions, criminal contempt charges may live on after resolution of the underlying case.
One charged with criminal contempt generally gets the constitutional rights guaranteed to criminal defendants, including the right to counsel, right to put on a defense, and the right to a jury trial in certain cases. Charges of criminal contempt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
However, incarceration for contempt may begin immediately, before the contempt charge is adjudicated and the sentence decided. Depending on the jurisdiction and the case, the same judge who decided to charge a person with contempt may end up presiding over the contempt proceedings.
Criminal contempt can bring punishment including jail time and/or a fine.
In this case a guilty verdict can open the tidal gates to criminal prosecutions and civil suits against Sharlene Martin and the Simon & Schuster team and all those many who repeated ANY of Sollecito’s and Gumbel’s false claims as gospel in their own books and online in the US and UK.
3. Nature Of The Claims
Typically the modus operandi of Knox and Sollecito and their factions in their US campaign (this falls flat in Italy) is to make some very damaging core claims, while leaving hundreds of pesky truths ignored.
Pesky truths helpfully ignored by most of the US and UK media too who apart from freelance Andrea Vogt have still done almost zero translation of their own. The previous post below shows a good example of this. Sollecito makes 20 false claims in a few pages. Dozens of facts that would belie those claims are simply left out.
The false claims continue (with considerable duplication for emphasis) throughout the 250-plus pages of the book.
Sollecito’s claims were published only in English. That was in the apparent hope that things would be reversed by political pressure from the US. Perhaps the US would let Sollecito come and live and stiff the Italian courts.
The Italian flagship crime show Porta a Porta wrecked that unusual and in-itself damaging strategy only 10 days out - with Francesco Sollecito’s and Luca Maori’s help.
The three worst-case examples quoted here and some others became public when Andrea Vogt and Italian reporters pointed to them after an October hearing. Page numbers are for the hard-cover book.
4. Example Claim One
Our brief response to this for now is that this felony attempt to frame the prosecutor for a serious crime was entirely made up. His own father and both his trial lawyers publicly said so. There was never a police or prosecution bias against Knox or toward Sollecito. As was very obvious at trial in 2009 the case against both was equally strong (an example of a key fact left out). Knox herself would seem to have a reason to get mad with Sollecito for this shafting - and in fact she did.
[ Page 219-222] My family was not beating up on Amanda entirely without cause. What I did not know at the time, because they preferred not to fill me in, was that they were exploring what it would take for the prosecution to soften or drop the case against me. The advice they received was almost unanimous: the more I distanced myself from Amanda, the better. The legal community in Perugia was full of holes and leaks, and my family learned all sorts of things about the opinions being bandied about behind the scenes, including discussions within the prosecutor’s office. The bottom line: Mignini, they were told, was not all that interested in me except as a gateway to Amanda. He might indeed be willing to acknowledge I was innocent, but only if I gave him something in exchange, either by incriminating Amanda directly or by no longer vouching for her.
I’m glad my family did not include me in these discussions because I would have lost it completely. First, my uncle Giuseppe approached a lawyer in private practice in Perugia - with half an idea in his head that this new attorney could replace Maori - and asked what I could do to mitigate my dauntingly long sentence. The lawyer said I should accept a plea deal and confess to some of the lesser charges. I could, for instance, agree that I had helped clean up the murder scene but otherwise played no part in it. “He’d get a sentence of six to twelve years,” the lawyer said, “but because he has no priors the sentence would be suspended and he’d serve no more jail time.”
To their credit, my family knew I would never go for this. It made even them uncomfortable to contemplate me pleading guilty to something I had not done. It was, as my sister, Vanessa, put it, “not morally possible.”
The next line of inquiry was through a different lawyer, who was on close terms with Mignini and was even invited to the baptism of Mignini’s youngest child that summer. (Among the other guests at the baptism was Francesco Maresca, the Kerchers’ lawyer, who had long since aligned himself with Mignini in court.) This lawyer said he believed I was innocent, but he was also convinced that Amanda was guilty. He gave my family the strong impression that Mignini felt the same way. If true - and there was no way to confirm that - it was a clamorous revelation. How could a prosecutor believe in the innocence of a defendant and at the same time ask the courts to sentence him to life imprisonment? The lawyer offered to intercede with Mignini, but made no firm promises. He wasn’t willing to plead my cause, he said, but he would listen to anything the prosecutor had to offer.
Over the late spring and summer of 2010, my father used this lawyer as a back channel and maneuvered negotiations to a point where they believed Mignini and Comodi would be willing to meet with Giulia Bongiorno and hear what she had to say. When Papà presented this to Bongiorno, however, she was horrified and said she might have to drop the case altogether because the back channel was a serious violation of the rules of procedure. A private lawyer has no business talking to a prosecutor about a case, she explained, unless he is acting with the express permission of the defendant. It would be bad enough if the lawyer doing this was on my defense team; for an outside party to undertake such discussions not only risked landing me in deeper legal trouble, it also warranted disciplinary action from the Ordine degli Avvocati, the Italian equivalent of the Bar Association.
My father was mortified. He had no idea how dangerous a game he had been playing and wrote a letter to Bongiorno begging her to forgive him and stay on the case. He was at fault, he said, and it would be wrong to punish her client by withdrawing her services when I didn’t even know about the back channel, much less approve it. To his relief, Bongiorno relented.
My family, though, did not. Whenever they came to visit they would suggest some form of compromise with the truth. Mostly they asked why I couldn’t say I was asleep on the night of the murder and had no idea what Amanda got up to.
5. Example Claim 2
Our brief response to this for now is that the case against Sollecito was being driven by Judge Matteini and Judge Ricciarelli and Judge Micheli, not Dr Mignini (an example of a key fact left out) and they got their information directly from the police. More than a year prior to Sollecito’s book coming out, a Florence appeal court had totally annulled a vengeance conviction against Dr Mignini [“there is no evidence”] and the Supreme Court had endorsed the result (an example of a key fact left out).
[2. Page 176-177] One of the reasons our hearings were so spread out was that Mignini was fighting his own, separate legal battle to fend off criminal charges of prosecutorial misconduct. He and a police inspector working on the Monster of Florence case stood accused of intimidating public officials and journalists by opening legal proceedings against them and tapping their phones without proper justification.
To Mignini, the case smacked of professional jealousy because the prosecutors in Florence resented his intrusion on a murder mystery they had struggled for so long to resolve. But Mignini’s behavior had already attracted international condemnation, never more so than when he threw the journalist most indefatigably devoted to following the Monster case, Mario Spezi, into jail for three weeks.
Spezi had ridiculed Mignini’s theories about Francesco Narducci, the Perugian doctor whom Mignini suspected of being part of a satanic cult connected to the killings. In response, Mignini accused Spezi himself of involvement in Narducci’s murder - even though the death had been ruled a suicide. It was a staggering power play, and the international Committee to Protect Journalists was soon on the case. Spezi was not initially told why he was being arrested and, like me, was denied access to a lawyer for days. Even Mignini, though, could not press murder charges without proving first that a murder had taken place, and Spezi was eventually let out.
I firmly believe that our trial was, among other things, a grand diversion intended to keep media attention away from Mignini’s legal battle in Florence and to provide him with the high-profile court victory he desperately needed to restore his reputation. Already in the pretrial hearing, Mignini had shown signs of hypersensitivity about his critics, in particular the handful of English-speaking investigators and reporters who had questioned his case against us early on. He issued an explicit warning that anyone hoping he would back off the Meredith Kercher case or resign should think again. “Nobody has left their post, and nobody will,” he said. “Let that be clear, in Perugia and beyond.”
Just as he had in the Monster of Florence case, Mignini used every tool at his disposal against his critics and adversaries. He spied on my family and tapped their phones. He went after Amanda not just for murder, but also for defaming Patrick Lumumba - whom she had implicated under duress and at the police’s suggestion. He opened or threatened about a dozen other legal cases against his critics in Italy and beyond. He charged Amanda’s parents with criminal defamation for repeating the accusation that she had been hit in the head while in custody. And he sued or threatened to sue an assortment of reporters, writers, and newspapers, either because they said negative things about him or the police directly or because they quoted others saying such things.
Mignini’s volley of lawsuits had an unmistakable chilling effect, especially on the Italian press, and played a clear role in tipping public opinion against us. We weren’t the only ones mounting the fight of our lives in court, and it was difficult not to interpret this legal onslaught as part of Mignini’s campaign to beat back the abuse-of-office charges. His approach seemed singularly vindictive. Not only did we have to sit in prison while the murder trial dragged on; it seemed he wanted to throw our friends and supporters - anyone who voiced a sympathetic opinion in public - into prison right alongside us.
6. Example Claim 3
Our brief response to this for now is that this was long ago revealed to be a hoax (an example of a key fact left out). Neither the police nor the prosecution were in any way involved. A fake positive for HIV turned up, Knox was warned not to be concerned, and she was soon told that a new test showed her fine. Her list of recent sex partners was her idea, and its leaking to the media was demonstrably a family and defense-team thing (an example of a key fact left out).
[Page 101-102] The prosecution’s tactics grew nastier, never more so than when Amanda was taken to the prison infirmary the day after Patrick’s release and told she had tested positive for HIV.
She was devastated. She wrote in her diary, “I don’t want to die. I want to get married and have children. I want to create something good. I want to get old. I want my time. I want my life. Why why why? I can’t believe this.”
For a week she was tormented with the idea that she would contract AIDS in prison, serving time for a crime she did not commit. But the whole thing was a ruse, designed to frighten her into admitting how many men she had slept with. When asked, she provided a list of her sexual partners, and the contraceptive method she had used with each. Only then was she told the test was a false positive
To the prosecution, the information must have been a disappointment: seven partners in all, of whom four were boyfriends she had never made a secret of, and three she qualified as one-night stands. Rudy Guede was not on the list, and neither was anyone else who might prove useful in the case. She hadn’t been handing herself around like candy at Le Chic, as Patrick now alleged. She’d fooled around with two guys soon after arriving in Italy, neither of them at Patrick’s bar, and then she had been with me. Okay, so she was no Mother Teresa. But neither was she the whore of Babylon.
To compound the nastiness, the list was eventually leaked to the media, with the erroneous twist that the seven partners on the list were just the men she’d had since arriving in Perugia. Whatever one thought of Amanda and her free-spirited American attitude toward sex, this callous disregard for her privacy and her feelings was the behavior of savages.
7. Looking Forward
More posts to come. We are going to open the floodgates on our own analysis of the book if the court on thursday takes a significant step forward.
Note that Sollecito has to contend with negative Italian public opinion as his claims bitterly disparaging to Italy itself (see the post below) are finally repeated in translation by the media and so become better known - at a disastrous time for him and Knox, two months before Cassation decides on their failed appeal.
In late 2012 after the book came out the TV crime show Porta a Porta gave Dr Sollecito quite a roasting on the first claim here and anger continued for some days more. He and Sollecito’s sister may be in court but no surprises if they are not. Knox could also react - the second and third claims above also appear in her book.
Archived in Those who were charged, Raff Sollecito, Those officially involved, All the nefarious hoaxes, Italian justice hoax, Sollecito book hoaxes, No-evidence hoax, The Dr Mignini hoax, Other legal processes, Sollecito diffamazione, Sollecito team, More of the same
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Friday, January 16, 2015
The Sollecito Trial For “Honor Bound” #2: False Accusations From The First Few Pages
Posted by The TJMK Main Posters
Examples: 20 False Claims In Seven Pages
We count several hundred malicious claims throughout that can easily be proved wrong. These twenty examples all appear in the book’s preface, which is only seven pages long.
Such claims continue throughout the book at approximately the same rate. Many sharp eyes here set about identifying them and are credited in the TJMK Liewatch page for Sollecito which will be switched on again when the secrecy requirement described in Part #12 below is relaxed by the court next week.
1. That Italian justice authorities took the easy way out
This is the story of two ordinary people who stumbled upon an extraordinary circumstance, the brutal murder of a British student in Italy. Neither Amanda Knox nor I had anything to do with the crime, but we came perilously close to spending the rest of our lives in prison because the authorities found it easier, and more convenient, to take advantage of our youth and inexperience than to mount a proper investigation. It’s that simple. And that absurd.
No advantage was taken of them. The two stood themselves out very sharply from all the others of similar age, and of similar inexperience (whatever that means). They did and said dozens of things in the early days that set them sharply apart.
They were questioned quite fairly, the Italian media was not especially hard, Dr Mignini never ever leaked, and they had lawyers and family handy at every turn after they were arrested. They each gave the authorities less than zero help - they tried to lead them off on wild goose chases, for example the false claim AK made against Patrick and dozens of other false claims, and apparently tried to finger yet another north African, Hicham Khiri, in a conversation they clearly knew was being recorded.
A “proper” investigation was indeed done. Simply read through all the posts on the trial here in the first half of 2009, and the prosecutor’s excellent summations, and you will see what a smooth comprehensive job was done. And the Supreme Court concluded that THREE had to have been involved, from the recreation of the attack and all the wounds on Meredith’s body. Subsequent to Patrick, AK and RS and their lawyers never came within light-years of throwing real suspicion on anyone else.
2. That the preventive custody was very harsh
On November 1, 2007, Amanda and I were carefree students at the beginning of a cross-cultural love affair in a beautiful Umbrian hill town. Within days, we were thrown into solitary confinement in a filthy prison, without access to lawyers or loved ones, accused of acts so heinous and disturbing we may never be able to banish them from our thoughts, or our nightmares.
Raffaele was sent to preventative prison on Tuesday November 6. Capanne Prison was almost brand-new then, and far from crowded. Cells contain TVs and private bathrooms.
All questioning had been stopped early on 6 November until Sollecito could have a lawyer present. He himself wrote to his father in his “prison diary” on November 7: “I may see you tomorrow, at least that is what I was told by Tiziano [Tiziano Tedeschi, his lawyer at the time], who I saw today and who defended me before the judge.”
Mr Tedeschi made no complaint about any delay in the first meeting with his new client. In Italy, a judge must determine within 48 hours whether to hold or release detained suspects. Judge Matteini did so meticulously with Tedeschi present and refused Sollecito’s release.
3. That the prosecution and Italian media demonized the pair
In the newspapers and on the nightly news, we were turned into monsters, grotesque distortions of our true selves. It did not matter how thin the evidence was, or how quickly it became apparent that the culprit was someone else entirely. Our guilt was presumed, and everything the prosecution did and fed to the media stemmed from that false premise.
In the real world, the prosecution fed nothing at all secretly to the media and publicly very little, none of it self-servingly biased. Italian reporting was sporadic and very mild compared to anything one can see said daily about possible perps in the US and UK newspapers and on US TV. Besides, any coverage, which was in part deliberate in the situation as dozens of students were fleeing Perugia, had no influence on anything, neither on the investigation nor the trial.
The Italian system is set up so media can have less influence than almost any other media on any other justice system in the world. The Micheli and Massei sentencing reports show the judges were not unduly influenced even by the lawyers right in front of them, let alone by mild media reports 1 or 2 years before that.
4. That four years were wasted showing where the prosecution went wrong.
By the time we had dismantled the case and demonstrated its breathtaking absurdity [in the bent and annulled Hellmann appeal] we had spent four of what should have been the best years of our lives behind bars.
“We” meaning the defense lawyers did very little in the bent and annulled Hellmann appeal that they hadn’t flailed uselessly against in the trial. Except of course shopping for an inexperienced and pliable business judge, and for DNA consultants who they could then spoon-feed.
The list of lies by omission is extremely long. Much of the hard evidence they simply kept well away from, both in the trial and annulled appeal. Such as the extensive evidence in the corridor and bathroom and Filomena’s room, which were all considered parts of the crime scene.
On the other hand, RS’s claim could well apply to what Dr Galati and Cassation did for the Hellman sentencing report. Dismantled the appeal verdict, and demonstrated its breathtaking absurdity.
5. That Knox was made a target because timid Italy was scared of her.
Amanda and I certainly made our share of mistakes. At the beginning we were too trusting, spoke too frivolously and too soon, and remained oblivious to the danger we were courting even after the judicial noose began to tighten. Amanda behaved in ways that were culturally baffling to many Italians and attracted a torrent of gossip and criticism.
An inaccurate and xenophobic remark originated by the American Nina Burleigh, who was having severe culture shock of her own and surrounded only by other foreigners with similar mindsets.
What EXACTLY was so baffling about Knox to the very hip Italians? That Knox was pushy, obnoxious, humorless, rather lazy, rather grubby, and not especially funny or pretty or bright? That she slept with a drug wholesaler up to the day of her arrest and cost him a stint in prison? That she put off Patrick, Meredith, her other flatmates, the boys downstairs, the customers in the bar, and just about everybody else except for the distasteful druggie loner Sollecito?
Read this post by the Italian-American Nicki in Milan. To quote from it “As many of us were expecting, Amanda’s testimony has backfired. She came across not as confident but arrogant, not as sweet but testy, not as true but a fake who has memorized a script, an actress who is playing a part but not well enough to fool the public….. Amanda Knox is not on trial because she is American and therefore too “emancipated”....Italians don’t much like Amanda primarily because they perceive her as a manipulative liar, who is suspected of having committed a heinous crime for which there is a whole stack of evidence.”
6. That Knox and Meredith were really great, great friends.
We were young and naive, unthinking and a little reckless. Of that much we were guilty. But what we did not do—and could not have done, as the evidence clearly showed—was murder Meredith Kercher.
Meredith was Amanda’s friend, a fellow English speaker in the house they shared with two Italian women just outside Perugia’s ancient city walls. She was twenty-one years old, intelligent, and beautiful. She and Amanda knew each other for a little over three weeks, long enough to feel their way into their new surroundings and appreciate each other’s interests and temperaments. I never heard about a single tense moment between them.
Plenty of other people did know of tensions. Meredith’s family and friends all knew Meredith was finding the noisy dirty lazy loud unfocused Knox and her one-night-stands hard to take. Her other flatmates found her hard to take. Her employer Patrick found her hard to take. His customers in the bar found her hard to take. The Lifetime movie got this strident angle of Knox pretty straight.
Remember, Meredith had enrolled for a full academic load at the main university. Knox in sharp contrast took only one undemanding language course - which anyone could walk into - requiring maybe 10 hours of study a week. They increasingly did less together. In fact after several weeks, nobody was lining up to have anything to do with Amanda Knox.
Seemingly unable to reverse herself, Knox was headed to being among the least popular of students (or part-time students) in Perugia. It should be recalled that the callous remarks by Amanda Knox about the death of her so-called friend Meredith included “Shit happens”, “She fucking bled to death”, and “‘I want to get on with the rest of my life”.
7. That an intruder knew about the rent money and so murder ensued.
Meredith, of course, suffered infinitely worse luck than we did: she came home, alone, on an ordinary Thursday night and had her throat slit by an intruder hoping to steal the household rent money.
There is zero evidence that this was the case. Knox herself ended up with a similar amount of cash that she has never been able to explain. There is zero possibility that Guede would know that any money was lying around - or not lying around, as it was concealed in Meredith’s drawer.
And take a look at the many images of the brightly lit house at night around 8:00 pm. There are several dozen other houses behind it in the dark which any smart burglar would have chosen first and entered hours later. In 2008 two real break-ins occurred at the house - both were in the dark behind the house, which is by far the easiest place to break in.
So much for the spurious lone-wolf theory, which Judge Micheli first ruled out even before trial.
8. That the media got hysterical and portrayed heartless killers.
But the roles could easily have been reversed. If Meredith’s Italian boyfriend had not gone away for the weekend and if Amanda had not started sleeping over at my house, she—not Meredith—might have been the one found in a pool of blood on her bedroom floor. That reality was quickly lost amid the hysteria of the media coverage. But it continued to hover over both of us—Amanda especially—as we sank into the legal quagmire and struggled in vain to overcome the public image of us as heartless killers.
There was zero media hysteria. This silly claim was addressed above. Watch the Porta a Porta YouTubes and dozens of other Italian reports and try to find ONE that is not fair and cautious and mature.
How precisely did the two struggle in vain to overcome their public image? By coming up repeatedly with stories which didnt even tally with others of their own, let alone with one another’s? They never between them made even one helpful statement which actually helped the police. And even their respective parents strongly suspected or knew of their guilt and were all caught incriminatingly on tape.
9. That Rudy Guede did it alone; ignore vast evidence that proves not.
This should not have been a complicated case. The intruder was quickly identified as Rudy Guede, an African immigrant living in Perugia with a history of break-ins and petty crimes. His DNA was found all over Meredith’s room, and footprints made in her blood were found to match his shoes. Everything at the crime scene pointed to a lone assailant, and a single weapon. Guede repeatedly broke into houses by throwing a rock through a window, as happened here, and he had been caught by the authorities in the past with a knife similar to the one that inflicted Meredith’s fatal wounds.
This is laughable. The room itself could not be checked for DNA as the choice was to fingerprint-check it instead. Sollecito’s footprint on the bathroom mat is a smoking gun all by itself. Crack national investigators demonstrated in numerous ways that the attack involved multiple assailants and this was endorsed by the Supreme Court.
Sollecito’s own lawyers never forcefully argued this. They produced two non-credible witnesses in the appeal trial (Alessi and Aviello) to actually prove that Guede had some other accomplices or that several others did it. Amanda Knox if anything diverted attention AWAY from Guede as he did in turn from her. He wasn’t quickly identified precisely because Knox had extremely credibly again and again on 5-6 Nov fingered Patrick.
There is no proof Guede intruded anywhere. The trial court concluded Knox invited him in. Guede had zero proven history of break-ins or petty crimes or drug-dealing, and late in 2008 at his trial Judge Micheli became angry at such claims. Guede had no prior criminal record at all. He had only been back in Perugia for a few weeks, after an extended stay up north. His DNA was not found “all over” Meredith’s room. A major surprise, in fact, was how few traces of him were found.
The recreation of the crime scene and the autopsy both pointed AWAY FROM a lone assailant, not toward. From Meredith’s wounds, it was quite evident that two and perhaps three knives had been used, and not a single weapon. What lone intruder carries or uses two or three knives? And footprints in blood outside the door matched the feet of both RS and AK. This is why the Supreme Court confirmed Guede’s guilt only “in concorso” (with others).
10. That the cops could have caught Guede fast, despite Knox’s frame
Guede did not call the police, as Amanda and I did, or volunteer information, or agree to hours of questioning whenever asked. Rather, he fled to Germany as soon as the investigation began and stayed there until his arrest two and a half weeks later.
Guede’s apprehension and eventual conviction on murder charges should have been the end of the story. But by the time Guede was identified, the police and the public prosecutor’s office had convinced themselves that the murder was, incredibly, the result of a sexual orgy gone wrong, in which Amanda and I had played leading roles. Their speculations ignited a media firestorm, inspiring sensationalist headlines across the world about the evil lurking behind our seemingly innocent faces.
The authorities had no shred of evidence to substantiate this story line, only erroneous suppositions and wild imaginings. We had an alibi for the most likely time of death, and none of the initial forensic evidence tied us to the scene of the crime. Nothing in our backgrounds gave any hint of a propensity for violence or criminality. We were both accomplished, hardworking students known to our friends and families for our gentleness and even tempers.
Four more untrue claims. All three were convicted of a murder with a sex-crime element, and nobody was wrongly “convinced”. Which alibi is Sollecito talking about now? He himself admits in chapter 1 (Love and Death) that they had no “real alibi”. They still have no alibis at all for the second half of the evening, neither of them, when Meredith’s murder indisputably occurred.
Extensive forensic evidence within days tied them both to the scene. Not a single element of it has been discredited in the eyes of the Massei trial and Nencini appeal court. Not even one. Nothing was proven falsified, no item at all.
Neither of their backgrounds was squeaky clean. Both had long been into illegal drugs, the loner Sollecito had to be watched by his father and teachers, the increasingly disliked Knox had a history of doing and saying crass off-putting things. Both were lagging behind their brighter peers in their studies and Knox was in reality taking a year off.
11. That the prosecution fed the media a huge number of false claims.
Yet the authorities stuck to their guns. They fed the media a steady diet of sensationalist stories of how Amanda, the promiscuous American she-devil, and I, her sex-and-drug-addled Italian helpmeet, had tried without success to drag Meredith into our depravity and punished her by plunging an outsize kitchen knife into her neck.
Complete fiction. Again, in the real world, as the media reporters all confirm, the prosecution fed nothing at all secretly to the media, and publicly very little, none of it self-servingly biased. Italian reporting was sporadic and very mild compared to anything one can see daily on possible perps in the US and UK newspapers and on US TV crime shows. There is zero sign this mild coverage mattered to the courts. As the media reporters all confirm, they were fed next to nothing by the police or prosecution on the case,
But whereas Mr Mignini famously never leaks, the defenses are widely claimed to have leaked throughout like sieves. So did Sollecito’s own family - they leaked an evidence video to Telenorba TV, for which they were considered for trial. Even we at TJMK and PMF received several offers of juicy leaks. Here is one example of where the Knox forces leaked - wrongly in fact - and then nastily slimed the prosecution and defenseless prison staff.
12. That the authorities had lots and lots and lots of scenarios.
It might have been funny if the consequences had not been so devastating. Listening to the tortured language of the prosecution—“one can hypothesize that . . . ,” “it is possible that . . . ,” “one can imagine that . . . ,” “this scenario is not incompatible with . . .”—it became clear that the authorities, like the media, were treating our case with the bizarre levity of an after-dinner game of Clue, or an Agatha Christie mystery. Everyone, even the judges in their black robes, had theories they were itching to air.
Have Sollecito and Gumbel ever before been in any other court in Italy or the UK or the US? Every judge and/or jury seeks to zero in on a viable scenario on lines not unlike this. That is the whole POINT of having courts - to weight the probabilities in what happened in the crime. The only difference in Italy is that the judges have to think their verdict through for weeks, and then write it all out, and then see it scrutinized by a higher court. Hardly a requirement to be sneered at.
Gumbel and Sollecito should have studied how US and UK juries arrive at their own scenarios. Very few US and UK lawyers think they do a better job. Ask those who watched the OJ Simpson and Casey Anthony trials and bitterly criticised the outcomes of those. And Italy has a vastly lower rate of false imprisonment than the US does, less than 1/6 of the US rate.
13. That Italy is a medieval country with a primitive justice system.
It could have been Colonel Mustard in the drawing room with the revolver; instead it was Amanda and Raffaele in the bedroom with the kitchen knife. How was it conceivable that a democratic country known for its style and beauty and effortless charm—the Italy of the Renaissance and la dolce vita—could allow two young people to be catapulted to international notoriety and convicted of a horrific crime on the basis of nothing at all?
This is not remotely what happened. There was very far from nothing at all. Convictions in the US and UK regularly result based on evidence 1/10 or 1/100 of that here - sometimes from one single evidence point. Any one or several of maybe 100 evidence points here could have convicted them in a US or UK court.
14. That the prosecutors office and media were in a grim embrace.
The answer has something to do with the grim embrace that developed between the prosecutor’s office and the sensationalist media. Like addicts constantly looking for the next fix, each fed the other’s insatiable appetite for titillation and attention. The casual cruelty of “Foxy Knoxy” and her Italian lover became too good a story line to abandon, even when it became apparent it was overheated and unsustainable. Our suffering was the price to be paid for the world’s continuing entertainment.
WHAT grim embrace? WHAT addicts? WHAT fix? WHAT insatiable appetite? WHAT titillation and attention? This is clearly defamatory if it can’t be proven, and we can turn up no evidence that any of it is true. It has to be one of the most foolish lies in the entire book, it is so easy to disprove. These who are being accused of crimes here are career police and prosecutors secure in their jobs, and perhaps some in the media, and none have the slightest gain to make from convictions arrived at through a hoax.
15. That in the justice system speculation and hearsay run rampant
The meandering complexities of the Italian legal system, where speculation and hearsay are allowed to run rampant and time invariably slows to a maddening trickle, did little to help our cause.
Total mischaracterization. First note that by comparison with any country in the world THERE IS NOT MUCH CRIME IN ITALY. There is some minor corruption and still some minor mafia action, but thefts and burglaries and assaults are few and murders even fewer. The main crime if you can call it such is citizens not lining up to pay taxes. Italy’s murder rate is 1/6 that of the United States and its prison system size is 1/30 that of the United States, so where IS all this crime about which the claimed speculation and hearsay are running rampant?
The legal process would have been fully over by the end of 2009 if (1) there was not the entitlement to two automatic appeals; in UK and US terms there was very little to appeal about; and (2) the Hellmann appeal court had not been fixed to produce a corrupt outcome, as the displaced judge Sergio Matteini Chiari and Cassation and the Council of Magistrates have all made plain.
And compared to American police and prosecutors, their Italian counterparts are famously taciturn under their unusually firm rules. There is media interest, for sure, as there should be when there are crimes, but that also is comparatively restrained. Watch the various Porta a Porta shows on YouTube and you will see how sedate crime discussion tends to be.
The Constitution and the judicial code set out to achieve the exact opposite of speculation and hearsay affecting justice, and they do so. Creating this restraint is a primary reason for the judges’ sentencing reports, and for all the magistrates’ checks of investigations along the way.
This whole series of dishonest claims about the the Italian system in the preface of the book and a later chapter have clearly not been read through or okayed by even one Italian lawyer. They would all know it is wrong.
16. That in Italy proof beyond a reasonable doubt scarcely exists
For reasons deeply embedded in the country’s history, the concept of proof beyond a reasonable doubt scarcely exists in Italy, and the very notion of undisputed fact is viewed with suspicion, if not outright aversion.
So Gumbel and Sollecito are historians and legal experts now? It would be nice, wouldn’t it, if either were able to explain the remark. This may be an ignorant swipe at the Napoleonic Code on which the law of a lot of continental Europe is based. Ignored is that Italy carried out its own reforms to the Code in 1990 and more subsequently. Much of that reform, it should be pointed out, was procedural or structural rather than substantive law.
There are two things wrong with “..the concept of reasonable doubt scarcely exists in Italy.”
- 1. It is factually wrong. Italian jurists, the courts, and so on, are well acquainted with the concept as it has been a fundamental aspect of criminal proceedings in Italy as elsewhere for many decades if not centuries.
2. It suggests that Italians are not intelligent enough to understand the concept anyway. That of course is an insult to Italians. Actually they are no less intelligent than the rest of us elsewhere who strive to understand it.
Until the 1990 Reforms the relationship between criminal and civil proceedings in Italy were governed by the principles of unity of jurisdiction and the prevailing status of criminal proceedings. Hence, if the facts were the same then criminal proceedings (to punish the guilty) and civil proceedings (to render liable the guilty for damages) were heard at the same time and still sometimes are, as in the Meredith Kercher case.
What has changed (relevant to the above quote) is that civil cases can be and are more likely to be heard independently from the related criminal cases and, where not, the standard of proof in civil cases (the preponderance of evidence or, as we usually refer to it, the balance of probabilities) is to be applied to the civil case, and the civil case only, rather than be confused with or overriden by the criminal standard of proof (beyond reasonable doubt).
Not an easy task, admittedly, to apply different standards to different tasks, based on the same facts, in the same proceedings, but Italian judges are trained to do this because that is their system. No judge would EVER confuse “beyond reasonable doubt” with “the balance of probabilities” when the issue at stake is depriving an individual of his freedom.
17. That the Italian judiciary has vast, unfettered powers
Few in Italian society wield as much unfettered power as the robed members of the judiciary, whose independence makes them answerable to nobody but themselves.
Radically the opposite of the truth. The paranoid claim reads like it came from ex PM Berlusconi fearful of his own conviction or one of his parliamentary lackeys such as Girlanda.
All of the best judges in the world are independent and they all follow a demanding career path, not elected (as ex-Judge Heavey was) under zero criteria, or appointed under the political sway of politicians. We wonder if Gumbel and Sollecito have ever heard of the US Supreme Court? Do those judges answer to anybody? No? How unfettered.
18. That the courts are the most reviled institution in Italy.
Many Italians retain a healthy skepticism about the reliability of their procedures and rulings. The courts—tainted by politics, clubbishness, pomposity, and excruciating delays—are the most reviled institution in the country.
As our Sollecito Book pages make clear again and again and again, the Italian system is remarkably NOT tainted by politics, as even the most surperficial watcher of the trials of ex Prime Minister Sylvio Berlusconi would know.
Our Italian poster Machiavelli (Yummi), who posted our deep analysis of the appeal to the Supreme Court by Dr Galati, has provided these hard facts:
For comparison, in 2011 the percentage of Italians who declared they trust the justice system “a lot” or “enough” was 53.3%. By comparison, the percentage of Italians who declared they trust the government “a lot” or “enough” were 14.7%, and those who trust the parliament were only 15%.
In 2012, the percentage of Italians who trust the parliament is now only 9.5%, and those who trust the Mario Monti administration are only 21.1%.
Over the eight years from 2004 to 2012 the percentage of Italians who trust the justice system was always bigger than those who trust parliament or government by at least ten points, and in some years we can see a spread of 20, 30, even 39 percentage points achieved by the judiciary over the parliament and government.
However, some cases of corruption (such as our Hellmann-Zanetti case, but also several others indicated by the Rapporto Italia 2012) do hamper trust.
The most trusted institutions in Italy above all are the Carabinieri (74% of Italians trust them) and the Polizia di Stato (71%).
Which means the most trusted institutions are precisely those law enforcement instruments which are deployed to enforce the orders of prosecutors.
19. That prosecutors can spin their cases into any shape they please.
Because the Italian legal system is almost completely blind to precedent and relies on a tangle of impenetrable codes and procedures, prosecutors and judges have almost boundless freedom to spin their cases into any shape they please and create legal justifications on the fly. Often, they are more interested in constructing compelling narratives than in building up the evidence piece by piece, a task considered too prosaic and painstaking to be really interesting.
Whoever wrote this either wasnt an Italian or a lawyer, and either way didnt have much of a clue. The entire Italian system under the post WWII constitution was designed to PREVENT what Sollecito & Gumbel claim it allows here.
There are checks and balances and reviews every step of the way. Magistrates (initially Matteini here) determine what a prosecutor may do in developing and presenting a case. Parties may appeal to the Supreme Court AT ANY TIME as Knox’s lawyers did over her second written confession - which she herself had demanded to make in front of Dr Mignini after he finished warning her of her rights.
Hard for Sollecito & Gumbel to believe, perhaps, but the defense is actually present in the same courtroom. They can raise points of order at any time. So can the defendants themselves, at any time, something maybe unique in the world.
And judges actually have minds of their own. And then there are the unique written sentencing reports, and the two automatic appeals if any parties want to pursue them.
Sollecito & Gumbel should have read the 2012 Galati appeal more closely. The Prosecution’s Appeal To The Supreme Court is available in English here. Precedent has a section to itself - “The non-observance of the principles of law dictated by the Cassation Court in the matter of circumstantial cases (Article 606(b)) in relation to Article 192 paragraph 2 Criminal Procedure Code.”
Well, that’s precedent, via the Court of Cassation no less! How surprising from Gumbel/Sollecito that they should make that claim about ignoring precedent when in fact there it is, going right to the heart of the flawed Hellmann/Zanetti judgement on circumstantial evidence! What else is a Code but in effect a codification, a gathering together, a rationalisation, of best law - and precedent?
There is an absurd irony here, were they aware of it. Perhaps they are. Surely it is Hellmann and Zanetti who have displayed “a boundless freedom” in spinning the case “into any shape they please”, and who have “created legal justifications on the fly”? As for prosecutors doing this, at least Dr Mignini followed the evidence, and American readers may recall the infamous Jim Garrison, the DA hero of Oliver Stone’s movie “JFK” but who in reality, unlike Dr Mignini, was a total and utter crackpot.
And what issue exploded the Porta a Porta TV show in Italy in September 2012? It was Sollecito’s false claim that the prosecution had secretly tried to offer him a deal if he would roll over on Knox. NOBODY including his own father and his own lawyers confirmed him. Evidence against both was overwhelming. Nobody needed such a deal, and Italian prosecutors are highly rules-bound against ever offering such deals.
Sollecito was in effect accusing Dr Mignini of a felony with this much-repeated false claim in his book. (In her book Knox also accused Dr Mignini of a felony.)
20. That the prosecutors and judges in Italy are far too close.
Prosecutors and judges are not independent of each other, as they are in Britain or the United States, but belong to the same professional body of magistrates. So a certain coziness between them is inevitable, especially in smaller jurisdictions like Perugia.
Yes, prosecutors and judges in Italy belong to the same professional body of magistrates. But then so does the defense lawyer Ms Bongiorno. The claim that there is no independence between prosecutors and judges in Italy, in fact a coziness between them, is a bit rich.
Consider, say, the UK. It is true cases are prosecuted by the Crown Prosecution Service, a government body, but in serious cases the CPS will employ barristers from the Inns of Court. There is scarcely a judge in the UK, even up to the highest level, who was not and who is not still a member of one of the Inns of Court from whence barristers, for the prosecution or for the defence, ply their trade.
You can’t walk past an Inn without seeing the names of judges on the roll call on the plaques outside. A judge is still a barrister, just fulfilling a different function, although, of course, now paid by the State. The old school boy tie? Corruption? No, the fulfilling of different roles by members of the same body is called professionalism.
Judges and lawyers all belong to the American Bar Association in the US and attend the same conferences. No sign that this lack of “independence” ever affects trials. This claimed excess of coziness is often ranted about online by the Knoxophile David Anderson who lives near Perugia. Nobody who pays him any attention can get where he derives this from. Maybe he heard it from Hellman?
Perugia prosecutors and magistrates are all known to do a fine job, and the national Olympics & earthquake relief cases involving powerful Rome politicians were assigned for competent handling to where? To Perugia… Defense lawyer Ghirga and Prosecutor Mignini have the reputation of being good friends. And Mignini and Massei would both draw their salaries from the State. But so what? Do not judges and DAs in the the USA do likewise? Are Gumbel and Sollecito impugning the professionalism of the counterparts of Mignini and Massei all over the world? It sure reads like it.
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The Sollecito Trial For “Honor Bound” #1: History Of How This Ill-Fated Saga Began
Posted by The TJMK Main Posters
1. The Latest Legal Developments
A new phase of the Florence trial of Raffaele Sollecito and Andrew Gumbel is scheduled to start on Thursday of next week.
Why is this the iceberg in the Titanic’s path? Because Sollecito and later Knox made numerous demonstrably false and damaging claims that so many others then made, most usually worse.
See Sollecito go down here, or withdraw his claims, for lack of any proof, and the legal liabilities of all those others stretch to the horizon and beyond.
This trial puts Knox herself and her parents with her wild book and their wild claims at more risk.
For reasons explained below, the investigation of the myriad claims by an Italian, beamed only at Americans, of official crimes and alternative “facts” couched in a jeering, sneering anti-Italy tone was taken behind the scenes by the Florence prosecution early in 2013.
The charges and target defamatory passages selected out of numerous passages falsely describing facts of the case and falsely accusing officials of crimes have not been formally reported even in Italy yet, except for a website update last October by the indefatigable journalist Andrea Vogt.
2. Chronology 2009-2011: The Trial And Appeal
In 2011 what is widely known in Italy to have been a bent Hellmann appeal court ran a cartoonish and illegal retrial of Sollecito and AK.
This illegal retrial, mostly annulled by the Supreme Court in March 2013, was lacking a few things. Such as most evidence, most witnesses, and all of the 2009 prosecution case and the compelling prosecution summations at the end. An illegal DNA consultancy which should never have occurred at appeal is also believed to have been bent.
3. Various Flashing Warning Lights
On 3 October 2011 Judge Hellmann told RS and AK they were free to go, despite the fact that no legal process for murder and some other crimes is considered final in Italy until no party pursues any further appeals or the Supreme Court signs off. Most still accused of serious crimes (as in the UK and US) remain locked up. Hellmann, pathetically trying to justify this fiasco ever since, was firmly edged out and still the target of a possible charge.
Other flashing warnings should have made Sollecito’s family and legal team and book writers very wary. They included the immediate strong warning of a tough prosecution appeal to the Supreme Court. They also included the pending calunnia trials of Knox and her parents, the pending trial of the Sollecitos for attempting to use politics to subvert justice, the pending trials of Spezi, Aviello, and Sforza, and so on.
A major flashing warning was right there in Italian law. Trials are meant to be conducted in the courtroom and attempts to poison public opinion are illegal. They can be illegal in the US and UK too but, for historical reasons to do with the mafias and crooked politicians, Italian laws in this area are among the world’s toughest. So mid-process, normally no books are ever published
4. Chronology 2012-2013 The United States Track
Knox quickly headed back to the US West Coast and Sollecito soon came after her there.
After three-plus years of Sollecito and his camp being very iffy about Knox he suddenly - to his father’s open frustration - could not get enough of her.
Very quickly Sollecito found a book agent, Sharlene Martin, who lives just a couple of miles from the Mellases and Knoxes, and she lined up a shadow writer, Andrew Gumbel, who lives in LA and had been based in Italy in the 1990s.
Sollecito’s Italian lawyers seemingly did not have a clue what was going on on this book front - lately an angry Giulia Bongiorno made that plain enough.
Sollecito’s father and sister did have growing concerns (among much fallout in Italy of their own such as Vanessa losing a plum Carabinieri job) and in March they hopped on a flight to Seattle to try to ditch Knox and presumably the book and drag Sollecito home.
Even Knox at times seemed to want the clingy nuisance gone, and she produced a claimed new love-interest to help to keep him at bay.
Throughout 2012 the hubris of the Knox camp within which Sollecito had embedded himself was immense. David Marriott and Bruce Fischer both posted that it was their efforts that had got the two released, making no mention of a court the defenses had bent.
On 18 September Honor Bound hit the shelves. If Sharlene Martin or Andrew Gumbel or Simon & Schuster had done any due diligence on the book, such as reading court documents, or even run it in final draft in Italian past Sollecito’s lawyers in Italy, that due diligence sure did not show. (A legal case for the Sollecito family to pursue?)
Seemingly irresponsible or incompetent and not caring who in Italy they hurt, Sharlene Martin and Andrew Gumbel then assisted Sollecito in a triumphalist but mostly unconvincing sweep of the US crime shows.
The flagship interview was with Katie Couric on ABC right before the book came out. It really hurt. She had an advance copy and had done her homework. See our suggested questions and report and posts and Kermit’s great spoof here , here , here , here , and here. The book promotion tour ended in Seattle thus..
Sharlene Martin later set up a panel of the useful idiots Michael Heavey and John Douglas and Steve Moore in a Congressional room for hire, an odd role for an agent of a book, which nobody of importance attended. Just as well. Truth was scarce.
Sollecito repeatedly visited the United States (and the Caribbean) though he was provisionally a convicted felon, not least in a desperate, cynical and hurtful attempt, after the sharp rebuff by Amanda Knox, to find an American wife.
You can read the rest of Sollecito’s US saga in the top posts here. His last visit to the United States was in late 2013.
5. Chronology 2012-2013 The Italy Track
The book was written and published only in English; Francesco Sollecito said no Italian publisher would touch it (surprise, surprise).
In Italy Sollecito’s wildly inaccurate and hyper-aggressive book has already set himself up for two kinds of trouble
The Gumbel and Sollecito book was released in English on 18 September 2012 and within ten days all of Italy knew that the book was a crock.
Sollecito’s own father and own lawyer Maori have already been forced to admit the book contains serious lies. Prosecutors are considering whether there should be new charges
Sollecito’s own father Francesco was made to concede by the host and all other guests on the popular Porta a Porta TV show last week that Sollecito lied in claiming that the prosecution had sought a deal under which Sollecito would frame Amanda.
Such a deal would be illegal so Sollecito was falsely accusing prosecutors of a very serious crime. Francesco Sollecito backed down even more in some interviews later. One of Sollecito’s own lawyers, Luca Maori, also had to deny in frustration that the offer of any deal either way ever happened.
Now the prosecution has announced that they are weighing whether there should be new charges lodged against Sollecito.
Sollecito has suddenly claimed in the book, nearly five years after he said it happened, in face of vast evidence including his own writings to the contrary, that police interrogated him over 10 hours, and abused and threatened him.
But he was demonstrably not ever interrogated over 10 hours, and he folded fast when they showed him his phone records, which contradicted his earlier alibis, and so he promptly laid the blame on Amanda.
Prosecutors and police have all already stated that he simply lied here too, and again prosecutors are considering whether there should be new charges
Thereafter we posted a number of times about false claims others and we ourselves identified in the book - one of three (with Preston’s and Knox’s) probably the most defamatory ever written about any justice system or justice officials anywhere. Our next posts will pick up that thread.
5. Italy Officially Reacts
Finally for now, we posted on 18 February 2013 on a formal move against the book by the Florence Courts, with a Breaking News addendum that (very unusually) the prosecution and supervising magistrate had taken the investigation behind closed doors.
That secrecy order to counter the toxic PR still persists, right up to now, and it will only be next Thursday that the results of the investigation and the charges against Sollecito and Gumbel become widely know.
Next post: selected examples of Sollecito’s and Gumbel’s false claims.
Archived in Those who were charged, Raff Sollecito, Those officially involved, All the nefarious hoaxes, Italian justice hoax, Sollecito book hoaxes, No-evidence hoax, The Dr Mignini hoax, Other legal processes, Sollecito diffamazione, Sollecito team, More of the same
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Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Calling Planet Knox: Maybe Chris Mellas And Bruce Fischer Need To Rein In Their Crackpot Brigade
Posted by Peter Quennell
Here is some chest-thumping babble on the reliably dishonest website GroundReport by one of Chris Mellas’s crackpot gang, the singularly foolish crackpot Jay.
Today I examine the role of the Italian judiciary in the framing of Amanda Knox and Raffaelle Sollecito for the murder of Meredith Kercher, the skillful way Giuliano Mignini used the Italian media to hold the entire judiciary hostage to his career ambitions, and why I believe the Italian judiciary may finally be ready to fully exonerate Amanda and Raffaelle of any involvement in the murder of Ms Kercher.
This case has been out of the hands of Dr Mignini for over five years - if it ever was fully in his hands. He initially took a decidedly mild stance against Knox, who he thought, through drugs and mental problems, had got in over her head and Meredith’s death was not planned.
In fact from the day after Knox’s arrest the no-nonsense Judge Matteini and Judge Ricciarelli led the case all the way to trial. They got all their information directly from THE POLICE. In light of hard evidence and a psychological report they insisted a potentially dangerous Knox be kept locked up. In April 2008 Cassation very strongly agreed.
Pretty bizarre to see a Mignini witchunt in this, or a judiciary about to reverse itself on years of meticulous work.
At the time of the Meredith Kercher murder on November 1, 2007, the Italian judiciary was was locked in a struggle with the Perugian prosecutor Giuliano Mignini. Mignini was facing charges for abuse of office, relating to his ‘Narducci Trail’ investigations.
This is more chest-thumping babble by the crackpot Jay. Dr Mignini rarely even talks to the media and he is regarded by good reporters as especially careful with the truth. The Italian justice system is not only one of the world’s most careful and most pro-victim-rights, it is very popular and trusted in Italy second only to the President who is also the Justice System’s top dog.
Dr Mignini’s past caseload as a prosecutor was quite mundane as Kermit’s meticulous and powerful Powerpoint showed. Perugia and its region of Umbria are among the most prosperous and least crime-ridden in Italy toward which the very popular Dr Mignini contributed a great deal over the years.
Dr Mignini rose to his present seniority of Deputy Prosecutor-General in Umbria because on his merits he consistently excelled. He is often on national TV (among other things ridiculing conspiracy theories and the too-ready blaming of crimes on satanism) and has high-level professional friends and supporters throughout Italy, not least in Florence where he has known senior colleagues since law-school.
Mignini and his colleague Michele Giutarri had both been indicted after Mignini had Mario Spezi arrested and briefly imprisoned, in connection with the Monster of Florence crimes. Spezi was released just three weeks later, after an intense media campaign by his writing partner the American author Douglas Preston.
But rather than back off of his satanic sect Narducci trail investigations, Mignini instead plowed ahead with still more satanic sect cases. At the time of the Kercher murder, Mignini had a case unravelling in Florence against a pharmacist and friend of Spezi’s named Francesco Calamandrei.
When the Calamandrei case was dismissed in 2008, Mignini pressed his next ‘satanic sect’ case against the 20 innocent people in Florence, including Spezi and members of the Narducci family. Mignini had also tried at first to link the Kercher murder to “rites related to Halloween”.... It is these two convictions, these two false convictions, which the Italian judiciary is in my view trying so desperately to protect.
More chest-thumping babble by the crackpot Jay. The vast majority of Italians believe the truth of the Monster of Florence case is as set out in the exceptional book Il Mostro by Michele Giuttari in which there really was and is a shadowy group. It was for proving this that a desperate Florence prosecutor took Mignini and Giuttari to court.
We have shown repeatedly that the fading fiction-writer Preston often does not tell the truth. After his near-arrest for falsifying evidence to seek to make Spezi and himself world-famous for “solving” the MOF case, Preston took off out of Italy like a terrified rabbit and has tried to prove he actually has a backbone ever since.
Italians know that in his one brief formal interview with Dr Mignini Preston melted down. He blubbered and wailed while he lied and lied, and was considered so incompetent and naive he might as well be given a break.
Here from a public document arguing for custody of Mario Spezi (the “brains” of the two, if that is not a stretch) is a conversation between the publicity-hungry Inspector Clouseaus (through public sources we have also obtained the tapes) thinking here that they have made the cops look like foolish dupes:
[The word “passeggiata” (leisure walk) in the context of these statements makes little sense literally; in fact, it is a code word by which both Spezi and Preston mean the police visit to Villa Bibbiani that Spezi and Zaccaria are plotting to trigger by way of a letter they wrote reporting false incriminating testimony, and by way of which they expect the police to find the false pieces of evidence contained in six boxes that they are going to place in the villa. Preston is aware of this intended fraud, and he is happy about it, because he presumably expects that from such an operation their “Sardinian track” theory would gain visibility as a media scoop and he and Spezi would become world-famous from it, sell a lot of books, and make a lot of money out of it. So “passeggiata” is really the police eating their bait, going there, and finding their forged false evidence in the house.]
In conversation n. 17077 of Feb. 18. 2006, PRESTON calls Mr. SPEZI, who informs him, expressing satisfaction:
“We have done everything.. I mean… we went and we did it… you know my telephone is ugly [sic]…”
and Mr. PRESTON, still in a chummy and allusive tone:
“Oh yes, I understand perfectly, yes, hey… the… the… the ‘passeggiata’ isn’t that… isn’t that… we have … someone has done the ‘passeggiata’?”
and the journalist pointed out, interspersing that with chuckles of satisfaction: “No, no, no, but… they are going to do it!!”
and Mr. PRESTON: “Yes, yes… but… isn’t that interesting wow….”
and Mr. SPEZI: “…. We told them to do it !”
At PRESTON’s question about when they would be going to do the ‘passeggiata’, SPEZI answers: “Well… I don’t know but I hope soon” and at a further question by PRESTON, he says: “In.. within.. within the 24th”
SPEZI again answers: “I hope yes”, laughing.
Then, Mr. Preston adds: “It’s fantastic!... Oh the end maybe, I don’t know but…”
and Mr. SPEZI: “That would be beautiful!” still sniggering, and Mr. PRESTON agrees enthusiastically.
After his charging, in conversation n. 17231, Mr. PRESTON calls SPEZI and tells him that they need to speak about it in person.
The criminal operation stands out even more egregiously in conversation n. 16950 of February 13. 2006, between Mr. SPEZI, the deviser of the plot, and his right hand man Nando Zaccaria; and when RUOCCO gives Mr. SPEZI “information” about the name of the person who allegedly attended the villa, Mr. SPEZI himself calls Mr. ZACCARIA, and, while making him understand that Mr. Gianfranco Bernabei had already been contacted and the report-complaint had been given to him, he adds: “So he called me.. not him Gianfranco… the other guy, we have an appointment at 2:30pm, because he knew about the name”; and ZACCARIA cries out: “Beautifullllll!” with satisfaction.
In conversation n. 17095 of February 19. 2006, Mr. SPEZI calls Mr. ZACCARIA again and urges him to explain him (to the Flying Squad chief) thoroughly about the “six small boxes”, that is to convince him that the objects are related to the murders. Mr. ZACCARIA tells him that he already explained it to the other guy and says: “If they go there they must look very well.. at everything…”, and Mr. SPEZI: “What I mean to say… if he finds a hairpin this doesn’t mean anything to him…”, making him understand that he will need to “work” him out.
Mr. ZACCARIA adds in the end: “Then I told him, well while we go… when it’s… when you are going… he says anyway he advises us”. Mr. SPEZI says he agrees and Mr. ZACCARIA reassures him saying he [Bernabei] doesn’t know anything about the case and never dealt with it, then he complains about that the nowadays officers are incapable of doing their job. Thus the chief of the Flying Squad, Dr. Fillippo Ferri, will need to be led by “malicious” Mr. ZACCARIA. Then Mr. SPEZI asks Mr. ZACCARIA to advise him when he goes there (to the Villa). Anyway we remand to the unequivocal content of the conversation, at pages 6, 7 and 8 of request n. 114/06 G.I.De.S.
Back to analysing more from the crackpot Jay.
And Mignini, by continuing to file ‘Narducci trail’ cases, and invoking the same ‘satanic sect’ conspiracy theory, was holding the judiciary hostage to his unprincipled career ambitions. The challenge Mignini presented to the Italian judiciary, was how to stop Mignini’s witch hunt of innocent citizens, without also discrediting the ‘satanic sect’ convictions of Vanni and Lotti in the Monster of Florence cases.
The task of acting as a kind of judicial baby-sitter to Mignini, fell to Judge Paolo Micheli [who] presided over Rudy Guede’s fast track trial in 2008 – which was also the pre-trial hearing against Amanda Knox and Raffaelle Sollecito, to certify the case against them as warranting a full trial. The challenge for Judge Micheli, was to walk Mignini back from the edge, but without so completely devastating Mignini’s reputation, that the public might begin to question the validity of the satanic sect theory which had been used in the convictions in the Monster of Florence murders.
This is 180 degrees wrong. Judge Micheli is believed to have been leaned on but ultimately the courts at all levels came round to confirming that Dr Mignini had no choice but to act and he acted quite right. The notion of a satanic sect goes way back and Dr Mignini was more doubtful about it than most.
Judge Micheli’s ruling was scathingly overturned by Cassation, and some of the cases against malicious meddlers were resumed. Spezi has been in court after court - just a couple of weeks ago, he lost yet another defamation case brought by Michele Giuttari.
But Judge Micheli allowed Mignini’s case against Knox and Sollecito to go forward to trial. Had Judge Micheli simply done his job, properly heard and investigated Mignini’s case, the only fair outcome would be full dismissal. What Mignini has pulled off is a kind of blackmail. Mignini wanted his promotion at all costs, and was willing to convict and imprison dozens of innocent people to get his way. Amanda and Raffaele are only two of Mignini’s more recent victims, but there are scores of damaged lives left behind in the wake of Mignini’s lust for career advancement.
The crackpot Jay has defamed American prosecutors too? Probably not. Typical of the cowardly Mellas-Fischer gang he writes in English in the United States in a language and from a distance which makes him feel safe. Dr Mignini has zero record of overzealous or wrongful prosecution, and very, very few cases reversed on appeal, and nobody at all in Italy would buy this defamatory crap.
After Michelli dismissed the case against the Florence 20 in 2010, Judge Hellman’s appeal court fully acquitted Amanda Knox and Raffaelle Sollecito for any involvement if the murder of Meredith Kercher in October of 2011.
Hello?! Hellman’s verdict was ANNULED for terrible law, and for illegally trying to repeat the complete trial (absent the witnesses, who he ridiculed) instead of sticking to the few points that had been appealed. Cassation annuls very, very few cases, and reversing this corrupted overstretch was universally seen in Italian law circles as right.
Extraordinarily, Judge Micheli waited over one year to release his motivation report, only doing so about two months after the Hellman court released its motivation report in favor of acquittal. Motivation reports in Italy, are normally due in 90 days. I believe Judge Micheli’s delay in releasing his motivation report, was to allow him the opportunity to conform his report to that of Judge Hellman.
Good grief. What is the crackpot Jay on about here? Judge Micheli was leaned on, and he knew he had got the law wrong, and he presumably expected to be overturned - which Cassation very scathingly did. No wonder his homework was not handed in on time; he feared losing his job and serving time.
The Narducci trail case of the Florence 20, was sent back down absent the element of criminal conspiracy among the defendants. In essence, the case was rigged for dismissal, a fact confirmed by Michele Giutarri in a magazine interview earlier this year. Whereas the case against Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito was rigged for conviction.
A previous cassation ruling against Rudy Guede in his fast track process where Guede’s defense waived the right to challenge the evidence, determined that Guede had killed Meredith along with others. Cassation ruled that Knox and Sollecito’s trials should be bound by that finding, which is grossly and patently unfair.
There was nothing unfair. This is a foolish meme. Cassation simply ruled that two others had been involved and that had been proved. It was proved in the 1/4 of the trial that was held behind closed doors where two recreations connected all the dots of the vicious 15-minute taunting attack on Meredith. Both defenses without argument accepted this.
As irrational as the cassation ruling overturning the Hellman acquittal may seem, there may be a deeper reason behind it. In an article from CBS news earlier this year, Doug Longhini writes: “Following the verdict, judge Hellmann didn’t pull punches. He declared: “the evidence was nonsense.” Suddenly, several prosecutors and judges became the targets of criticism claiming they had mishandled the case from the beginning.” ...
For his part, Berlusconi and his party were at war with Italy’s prosecutors and judges. The Prime Minister was trying to reign in their investigative powers. Prosecutors, for their part, were trying to put Berlusconi in jail.” Seen in this light, the court of cassation reversing the acquittal of judge Hellman is not an act of judicial wisdom, but one of self preservation. To avert a political investigation among their own members, Italy’s court of cassation had to reverse Judge Hellman’s acquittal.
The addled Doug Longhini is consistently out to lunch both on the excellent Italian system and the Perugia case as have been the entire CBS team - no wonder they have said very little for several years.
The courts at all points have simply done the right thing and public opinion has been very solidly behind them. Almost every Italian knows that RS and AK carried out the attack. The courts are not in self-preservation and charges against the toothless Berlusconi still stand.
One can sense the political pendulum swinging first in favor of conviction, then back towards acquittal, then back again towards conviction. And events that unfolded just this year, cause me to believe that the Italian judicial-political pendulum is once again swinging back in favor of acquittal. Giuliano Mignini has received his promotion. In his new role, he will never again prosecute a case or lead an investigation, he is only allowed to sit with other judges on appeals courts. So the judiciary can be confidant there will be no more Mignini led witch hunts.
Only recently in the past few weeks, the last of the criminal charges against Mignini have been allowed to languish, due to statute of limitations. So Mignini is out of legal jeopardy. Despite the fact that the only trial on the merits resulted in a conviction and jail sentences for both Mignini and Giutarri, neither will be going to jail, or being held accountable for the crimes they were found to have committed at their first level trial. In the end, it may be said that the Italian judiciary found it easier to promote Mignini, then to jail him
More babble. Dr Mignini was NEVER in legal jeopardy as everyone in Perugia knew - a judge had signed the wiretap of the prosecutor who unwittingly confirmed a Florence cabal and Dr Mignini and his boss and all his colleagues KNEW he would overturn the spurious conviction on appeal.
Dr Mignini did overturn the verdict in Florence on appeal - the appeal judge’s ruling was the hardest-line “there is no case” - and as with ex-Judge Hellmann, both the rogue prosecutor and the rogue trial judge are now out.
Dr Mignini commendably kept pushing back and he won and won and won against the malicious meddlers in the MOF case. On 3 December the great reporter Andrea Vogt posted this:
Those following the side trials that have spun off or become entangled in the Amanda Knox trial might be interested to know that the now infamous and often-cited abuse of office investigation against Perugia prosecutor Giuliano Mignini, which once made such big headlines in the U.S. and UK media, has officially resulted in no charges, and the investigation has been closed.
An initial conviction stemming from 2006 wiretaps and the Monster of Florence investigation was overturned and annulled in Florence on appeal [in 2011]. The court ordered that the case be transferred to Turin for any future investigation. Earlier this year he was acquitted of nearly all the accusations. The Turin court on Tuesday chose to shelve the last remaining question regarding the wiretapping of a La Stampa journalist earlier this week, ruling it was time barred.
The court’s ruling finally settles the long debated question of Mignini’s record: He has no abuse of office conviction, and there is no longer any active investigation into such allegations.
The other protagonist, Mario Spezi, on the other hand, still has quite a few problems on his hands. His 2006 arrest eventually resulted in the high court (cassation) ruling No. 865/2013 deeming that the following crimes occurred: aggravated interfering with public investigation from Febuary 2004 to summer 2006, aggravated attempted judicial fraud between February and May 2004 and aggravated slander and defamation for naming Antonio Vinci as linked to the Monster of Florence homicides in 2006.
For this last charge, Spezi could be held liable in civil court. But he will never be sentenced for any of these crimes, because after the cassation sent it back down for trial at the appeal level, the appeals court in Perugia shelved the case, ruling that the statute of limitations had passed for any further prosecution. And once again, true justice grinds to a halt, caught up in the gears of Italy’s slow and messy system.
In the meantime, Spezi’s faulty thesis on the Monster of Florence case has landed him in court in several other jurisdictions, where ex-Florence homicide cop Michele Giuttari has been pressing forward with slander and defamation charges related to accusations made about him in his now discredited Monster of Florence yarn that Spezi and his American co-author, Douglas Preston made into a bestseller, pinning the blame on an innocent man in the process. [Bold added here]
And so the plot thickens. Giuliano Mignini was made into a convenient media villain when a high-profile American was being tried across the courtroom from him . . . on trumped up allegations that have since fallen unceremoniously to the wayside. Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, who Mignini initially prosecuted, await the decision of their final appeal before the court of cassation in March 2015.
Back to analysing more from the crackpot Jay.
In short and to sum things up: Mignini has gotten his promotion which he valued above the liberty of the innocent; Mignini’s Narducci Trail investigations are over for good; the Monster of Florence convictions against Vanni and Lotti claiming their participation in a non-existent satanic sect are safely in the past; and the war between the Italian judiciary and Burlesconi is in a state of a truce.
For all of these reasons, I believe the pendulum of Italian politics has again swung in the direction of acquittal, and the Italian judiciary is once again in a position to finally recognize, and exonerate, Amanda Knox and Raffaelle Sollecito.
It may be a good idea for the crackpot Jay to not hold his breath on this. Cassation and the Florence appeal court have been the most hardline on this. And it was Judge Matteini with the police not Dr Mignini who drove the case forward in 2007 and 2008. As explained above, Dr Mignini had almost no guiding hand, and on 17 December 2007 gave Knox a real break. A shot to get herself off - which she herself tanked.
Prior to that long conversation with Knox on 17 December at her request, where Dr Mignini played eminently fair and she had to be stopped as she was incriminating herself, they had barely spoken any words. Once briefly at the house on the day of the crime, once briefly when Knox was shown the knives, and once briefly when Dr Mignini presided over the reading of her rights on 6 Nov. That was it. From the post directly below, see also this:
In a move serially misinterpreted by the dimwits of the Knox brigade, the prosecution, suspecting she was both mixed up and high on hard drugs, in effect offered Knox and her team a way to a lesser count, when they said that the murder could have been a taunting attack which spun out of control.
As explained near the top here, from 7 November it was Judge Matteini and Judge Ricciarelli, not Dr Mignini, in the saddle, and they got all of their information directly from the police. Prior to the Guede and Knox/Sollecito trials Dr Mignini did not guide the process, impossible though that seems for the Mellas/Fischer crackpots to believe.
These facts, and in conjunction with the ECHR soon to take up the conviction of Ms. Knox for Calumnia in the European Court of Human Rights, provides the Italian Court of Cassation, in March of 2015 when they hear the appeal from conviction of Knox and Sollecito, with the opportunity and incentive to quietly discharge the case, and reinstate the verdict of Judge Hellman, finding that Knox and Sollecito are innocent of any involvement in the murder of Meredith Kercher, and innocent of the crime of ‘staging a crime scene’ because the crime does not exist.
Reinstate Judge Hellmann?! He is being investigated for his suspect role in bending the 2011 appeal right now! Again, it may be a good idea for the crackpot Jay to not hold his breath on this.
The appeal to the ECHR in Strasbourg is dead in the water because Knox herself made up all the claims of the supposed violations of her human rights. She has ZERO case. Read this series here.
By the way, for his wild defamations and his contempt of court, Crackpot Jay opens himself to the exact-same charges Knox and Sollecito and Knox’s parents and Sforza all still face.
Archived in Those who were charged, Amanda Knox, Those officially involved, All the nefarious hoaxes, Italian justice hoax, Guede good guy hoax, The Dr Mignini hoax, Knox-Mellas team, Preston & Spezi, Michael Heavey, Steve Moore, Bruce Fischer, More of the same
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Thursday, July 10, 2014
Are The Rank-Amateurs With Their Hooks In Knox Dividing Into Two Flocks Of Sheep?
Posted by Peter Quennell
Confusion Increasingly On Display
Publicly berating the Sollecitos, Kerchers, Italy and Europe has had a detrimental effect on Knox’s public persona?
So says Sophie in the forum text above. Smart take. But Clive Wismayer himself has posted some pretty wild accusations against Italian officials which absolutely dont help Knox at all. People like him should go.
Click here for more of those postings by those supposedly helping Knox. (Guede did it alone? Really?) The postings are a month old, but we hear the internal disputes are now way worse. Three obvious problems stand out.
1. The Sollecito Headache
They dont know as a group whether to try to hug Raffaele Sollecito and his family closer, or to nuke them, in the FOA’s usual mode. Some now incline one way, some the other, and it is splitting them apart.
The Sollecito backlash almost certainly isnt done yet. They dont like Knox at all, and further talk of resisting extradition and further demonizing of Italy and justice officials hardly helps them, and will see them back in front of the press.
In no circumstances will Bongiorno ever again let Sollecito get attracted back to the people who have their hooks in Knox - Bongiorno took the harder line at the press conference, and burying the very damaging claims stuffed by the Knox people into Sollecito’s book is sure on her radar now.
2. The Bloodmoney Headache
There’s rarely much money to be made legally out of trashing murder victims and their families and justice officials as the Bruce Fischers have set out to do. Amanda Knox did get a windfall payment out of her hapless book - but is THAT turning into a two-edged sword…
There’s nothing like a huge pot of money unfairly distributed to make people who feel used and unrewarded walk off. So says Clive Wismayer in the text. Knox is clearly acting cheap, maybe because she sees no career ahead, and may have squirreled much of her bloodmoney away for the reasons given here.
Some like Ted Simon seem to have had a very big payday, the lawyers and experts and Marriott and travel and hotels have all had to be paid-for. Media sources tell us that none of their reporters get within miles of Sollecito or Knox without a greedy hand coming out.
And Knox still has to pay the damages awarded to Patrick for maliciously wrecking his life, or risk more time inside.
Knox is to be charged for the false claims in her book on the same lines as Sollecito and the damages awarded could be huge. Knox’s publishers have their own liability, but may have been misled, and if they are made to pay damages, they could set their lawyers on Knox.
3. The False-Labels Headache
That “guilters” smear used freely in the text above is an albatross around their necks. It stops them seeing straight and being fully informed and (especially) trying to convince in reasonable terms.
Competent American lawyers and PR would have stopped Knox supporters painting themselves into such a corner long ago on the grounds that it just doesnt work. They dont know their enemy as a result.
What they are really up against is not only people posting translations and analyses on websites (people much more qualified than themselves) but also all the forces of justice in Italy and 90 percent of the population who clearly can see guilt.
The pro-Knox conspiracists are in fact a very small faction. The in-group at the core is a dozen or two at most. Perhaps a few hundred now who might lift a finger for Knox.
In contrast, those who see a case for guilt - and who revere the victim and Italy and its officials and system - are not a mere faction at all. Between them, they are huge. Good smart reasonable people who are very well informed and are certainly not driven by hate.
A lot of what websites like this do, in a media-created vacuum of hard facts, is to simply pass on reliable information from Italy in competent translations of key documents and timely and comprehensive reports.
This “guilters” smear has blinded them to that, and so “garbage-in-garbage-out” and paranoid suspicions and ranting language have become their plagues.
And with no real help, Knox faces 28-plus years.
Archived in Those who were charged, Amanda Knox, Those officially involved, All the nefarious hoaxes, Italian justice hoax, Knox book hoaxes, No-evidence hoax, The Dr Mignini hoax, Knox-Mellas team, More of the same
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Sunday, May 11, 2014
The Knox Interrogation Hoax #1: Overview Of The Series - The Two Version of the 5-6 Nov 2007 Events
Posted by The TJMK Main Posters
1. Court-Accepted Events Of 5-6 November 2007
This is an overview of Knox’s so-called “interrogation” at Perugia’s central police station, the subject of the first ten posts.
It led to her arrest and three years served. To make this picture really firm we will quote a lot of the testimony at trial. The Case Wiki carries all of these transcripts, many in English translation, and more.
Senior Inspector Rita Ficarra testified that she arrived back at the police station late on 5 November, and finds her way blocked by a cartwheeling Knox.
She rebukes Knox, who testily responds that she is tired of the investigation. Rita Ficarra tells Knox to go home and get some sleep. Knox testily refuses, and remains there.
Shortly after, Ficarra suggests to Knox that if she really wants to help, she could add to the list of possible perps - men who Meredith knew and who might have visited the house.
As the defenses themselves acknowledge during their cross-examinations of key investigators present on the night, this was an informal recap/summary session, a simple checking of facts with someone who might or might not be of help.
This could have been done on a street corner or in a house by a single officer. It was not a witness or suspect interrogation.
Knox eagerly agrees. So they begin on the list.
This goes slowly because of language problems, until an interpreter, Anna Donnino, arrives. In total only Knox and four others (three of them women) are present.
Knox builds a list of seven people and adds maps and phone numbers (placed in evidence) in a calm proceeding. These were the names: Peter Svizzero, Patrick, Ardak, Juve, Spiros, Shaki and “a South African [Guede]” who played basketball near the house.
At several points in the evening Knox is provided with refreshments. No voices are ever raised, no bathroom breaks are refused.
Inspector Napoleoni and a couple of colleagues are seeking facts from Sollecito in a separate wing. Shown conflicts between what he has said and what his phone records show, Sollecito backtracks and declares that Knox went out alone, and made him lie.
Knox is gently informed of this, and nobody reports any immediate reaction. Knox defense lawyers in cross examination do not go there at all.
Suddenly, to the considerable surprise of all present, Knox has a yelling, head-clutching conniption (the first of several that night) when they observe a text she had denied sending, saying she would see that person later.
Knox explains that it was Patrick, who they had never heard of, along with a torrent of yelled accusations. As described at trial, various efforts are made to try to help Knox to calm down.
Despite warnings she should not do so without a lawyer, Knox insists on a recorded statement which says she headed out to meet Patrick that night after he texted her. She accuses Patrick of killing Meredith.
Knox is put on hold, given more refreshments, and made comfortable on some chairs so she might try to get some sleep.
A second session ending at 5:45 is intended as merely a formal reading of Knox’s legal status and her right to a lawyer, with Dr Mignini presiding.
Having again been strongly warned that she should not do so without a lawyer present and no questions can be asked, Knox nevertheless insists on a spontaneous statement culminating in a second recorded statement.
This also says she went out to meet Patrick that night, also accuses Patrick of killing Meredith, and now also hints Sollecito may have been there.
Just before noon, now under arrest and about to be taken to Capanne Prison, Knox insists on writing out at length a third statement this time in English.
She gleefully hands it to Rita Ficcara who of course cannot read it as she as no English. In the statement, Knox included this damning remark without any mention of having been coerced: “The questions that need answering, at least for how I’m thinking are… 2. Why did I think of Patrik?”
Knox’s lawyers have never ever substantially challenge this version. At trial they accept that there was no interrogation, leave standing that Knox insisted on all three statements, and dont ever pursue Knox’s claims that she was coerced.
In July 2009 at trial Knox herself tried to challenge this scenario in face of days and days of prior testimony. Of course she was disbelieved. For the calunnia framing of Patrick Lumumba Judge Massei sentenced her to a year more than Sollecito, later amended by Judge Hellmann to three years served.
The Supreme Court overruled her appeal. For her false claims she is a felon for life with the possibility of more years inside.
2. The Knox-Promoted Alternative Version
This will be the subject of many later posts. Though her precise claims vary and often contradict one another, Knox herself has on and off since November 2007 tried to portray otherwise the cause of her conniption and her false accusation of Patrick for the death of Meredith.
For example read this post of 11 February 2009 which was about two weeks before the Knox “interrogators” were cross-examined at trial, and several months before Knox herself took the stand.
Her defense team furthered this version in the annulled appeal in 2011, and she did so in for example her April 2013 book, her December 2013 email to Judge Nencini, her appeal to EHCR Strasbourg, some TV and newspaper interviews, including one with the Italian weekly Oggi and now her further appeal to the Supreme Court.
This version has been blown up by a number of others in internet posts, articles, TV interviews, and books. Among others propagating it have been Raffaele Sollecito (in his book), Doug Preston, Saul Kassin, John Douglas, Jim Clemente, Paul Ciolino, Michael Heavey, Greg Hampikian, Chris Halkidis, Mark Waterbury, Doug Bremner, Candace Dempsey, Nina Burleigh, Steve Moore, Bruce Fischer, and many posters on the Knox sites and on Ground Report.
- Here is Steve Moore claiming that around a dozen cops in rotating tag teams of two assaulted a starving and sleepless Knox over 20/30/40 hours, threatened her, and refused her a lawyer throughout.
- Here is Saul Kassin claiming that Knox was interrogated over the entire night of 5-6 November, until she was finally broken and a coerced “confession” emerged - even though the “false confession” actually framed Patrick and was in reality a false accusation. That Kassin ignores.
- Here are several former profilers actually expanding upon the same claims in a book with (today) 60 five-star reviews.
And yet Knox’s own Italian lawyers specifically denied her accusations! No complaint against the police was ever lodged.
And of course Judge Massei, the discredited Judge Hellmann, and Cassation all disbelieved the claims and Knox served her three years.
But still the hoax keeps rolling on, on TV and books and websites.
3. The Intended Course Of Our Interrogation-Hoax Series
Hopefully we will get this done in 20 posts. Starting in the next post is trial testimony, the first from Inspector Ficarra, newly translated by the professional translator ZiaK.
Rita Ficarra presided over the first recap/summary with Knox (again, a recap/summary is not an interrogation) on 5-6 November and was later present when Knox was read her rights.
We’ll then post more newly-translated trial testimony of other police present at the central police station on the night, and what the magistrates in 2008 and 2008 and trial and appeal judges from 2009 to 2014 made of this.
Then we enter the alternative universe of the numerous conspiracy claims, extending to Sollecito’s 2012 book and Knox’s 2013 book, her lengthy email to Judge Nencini in 2014, and so to her appeal to Cassation, pending as of this date.
4 A Guide To Posts In The Series
This list of posts is updated each time a new post in the series is added.
Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #1: Overview Of The Series - The Two Version of the 5-6 Nov 2007 Events
Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #2: Trial Testimony From Rita Ficcara On Realities 5-6 Nov
Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #3: More Defense Pussyfooting Toward Rita Ficcara, Key Witness
Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #4: More Hard Realities Fron Rita Ficcara, More Nervousness From Defense
Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #5: Key Witness Monica Napoleoni Confirms Knox Self-Imploded 5-6 Nov
Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #6: Sollecito Transcript & Actions Further Damage Knox Version
Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #7: Testimony Of Witness Lorena Zugarini On The Knox Conniption 5-6 Nov
Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #8: Testimony Of Interpreter Anna Donnino On Events Night Of 5 November
Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #9: Officer Moscatelli’s Recap/Summary Session With Sollecito 5-6 Nov
Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #10: Challenge To Readers: Spot The Two Landmines For Lawyers & Knox
Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #11: Why Prosecution And Defenses Never Believed Knox’s Version
Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #12: Proof Released That In 5-6 Nov Session Knox Worked On Names List
Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #13: The First Two Pre-Trial Opportunities Which Knox Flunked
Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #14: The Third Pre-Trial Opportunitty Which Knox Flunked
Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #15: Dr Mignini’s Knowledge Of Knox “Interrogation” Explained To Media
Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #16: The Fourth Pre-Trial Opportunity Which Knox Flunked
Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #17: Sollecito April 2008 Before Supreme Court Again Coldsholders Knox
Archived in Those who were charged, Amanda Knox, Those officially involved, Police and CSI, All the nefarious hoaxes, Knox interrog hoax, Knox confession hoax, Florence MOF hoax, Leading pompous frauds, Knox-Mellas team, Steve Moore, Bruce Fischer, More of the same
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Friday, December 06, 2013
After 6 Years Heavey Is Still Heedless Of His Errors Pointed Out Again & Again & Again
Posted by pat az
Overview of this post
This post corrects an error-filled letter to President Obama and the Congress dated 16 May 2011.
First, note that Michael Heavey has a considerable record of interventions that seriously mislead. Often corrected, he gravitates no closer to the truth.
Prior misleading Heavey interventions in 2008
During this year Heavey (then still a judge, though one who was merely elected - nothing compared to the rigorous process Italian judges must go through) sent three erroneous open letters (posted on the web and widely copied) to senior justice officials in Italy about the case.
TJMK posted on the errors in December 2008.
Prior misleading Heavey interventions in 2009
By way of interviews in the media, Heavey continued his campaign. He has claimed that his motives really are noble: in effect, Knox could have been his own daughter, though his daughter has distanced herself from this campaign.
Prior misleading Heavey interventions in 2010
One of the 2008 letters to Italy was sent on official judicial letterhead, as if he was speaking for the State of Washington. In 2010 the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct disciplined Heavey although it was only for an illegal use of the official letterhead, not for wrong claims.
Prior misleading Heavey interventions in 2011
In April 2011, one month prior to his misleading letter, Heavey was a droning presence on a panel before an audience of 35 at Seattle University. His familiar talking points were again repeated.
It is cross-posted from my own website here. Links to previous posts about Heavey on TJMK for the period 2008 to 2011 appear at the bottom of this post.
The 16 May 2011 letter to President & Congress
On May 16, 2011, Judge Heavey (now retired) apparently sent US President Barack Obama a letter regarding the Amanda Knox case.
This document was retrieved from the King5.com news site under a search result for “Amanda Knox.” The subject of Judge Heavey’s letter was ”Re: Failure of Rome Consular Officials to protect the rights of U.S. Citizen Amanda Knox.”
The new Heavey letter was written on letterhead “From the chambers of Judge Michael Heavey.” The address given is his house address.
The Judge charged that the State Department absolutely failed to look out for the rights of Amanda Knox. Nowhere in the letter does Judge Heavey actually address any of the evidence in the case.
Ten times in his letter, he charges consular officials failed to take action when they should have.
However, many of his points are false or misstate the events. In many instances, Judge Heavey is proven wrong by statements from Amanda Knox herself.
This letter, full of errors, was carbon copied to Members of Congress AND the Secretary of State (at the time, Hillary Clinton).
These mistakes would have known at the time Judge Heavey wrote his letter by using the interviews and documents available at that time. This did not stop Judge Heavey from writing an error-laden letter to the President and Congress. These errors are detailed below.
Additional signatories to the letter (on letterhead from “from the chambers of Judge Michael Heavey”) include Friends of Amanda representative Thomas L. Wright, and author of “The Framing of Amanda Knox” Dr. Mark C. Waterrbury.
Judge Heavey had been admonished for using court resources and stationary as a part of his advocacy in the Amanda Knox case, as well as his public speeches while he was a sitting judge.
The admonishment only covered the letters written to Italian court officials and prosecutors, using court stationary and court staff. The letter he apparently sent to Obama and congress was not included in the admonishment.
The following is a point by point review and rebuttal of the by-now admonished Judge Heavey’s Letter to President Obama and Congress
False brutal interrogation claims
The letter opens up with a summary of the argument- that this case was a prosecutor’s vendetta against Amanda Knox, and that her rights were violated, and Consular officials did nothing. The letter is arranged as a series of points, which are discussed below.
Judge Heavey writes: “Amanda Knox was arrested for the murder of her roommate after an all-night interrogation [...]. The Perugian Police denied her food and water, cuffed her on the back of the head, and, most importantly, prevented her from sleeping.”
However, Amanda Knox was not the one called into the station. Raffaele was; and they went right after having dinner!
A UK based paper had published the day before an article with quotes from Raffaele. Raffaele said he and Amanda went to a party on the night of the murder. Police were likely calling in Raffaele due to the conflicting stories.
Amanda’s “interrogation” didn’t start until at least 11pm. Police have testified she was offered food and water. She went to sleep after signing her second statement, at 5:45 am. There was a break between signing her first statement at 1:45 am and signing her second statement (after being warned by Dr Mignini to say nothing further without a lawyer) at 5:45 am.
Here is Amanda Knox:
“Around 10:30pm or 11pm Raffaele and I arrived at the police station after eating dinner at the apartment of one of Raffaele’s friends. It was Raffaele who the police called, not me, but I came with him to the Questura anyway while he was to be questioned for support, as he had done for me many times.” -Amanda Knox, letter to lawyers, 9 Nov 2007
“I signed my second “spontaneous declaration” at 5:45 AM [...]. I asked permissions to push two metal folding chairs together, balled myself into the fetal position, and passed out, spent. I probably didn’t sleep longer than an hour before doubt pricked me awake… ” -Amanda Knox, Waiting to be Heard
To this day, Raffaele Sollecito has not corroborated Amanda Knox’s alibi in court.
False no-lawyer claim
Judge Heavey writes: “When a witness becomes a suspect, the police are obligated to appoint a lawyer”
Knox was not a suspect and the interview was merely a recap/summary session with someone who might have information as the defenses themselves agreed. Knox herself twice declined a lawyer before insisting on writing three statements out.
Prosecutor Mignini was interviewed by CNN ten days before Judge Heavey wrote his letter. In the interview, Mignini describes the questioning of Amanda:
“And thus her interrogation as a person informed of the facts was suspended by the police in compliance with Article 63 of the Italian Code of Criminal Procedure [c.p.p. - Codice di Procedura Penale], because if evidence appears that incriminates the person, the person being questioned as a person informed of the facts can no longer be heard, and we must stop. “Everyone stop! There must be a defense attorney [present]”. And thus the police stopped and informed Amanda” -
Prosecutor Mignini, CNN interview, May 6 2011 (Ten days prior to Judge Heavey’s letter)
Thus, it was known on national television in the US what the sequence of events was. This did not stop Judge Heavey from writing an error-laden letter to congress.
False no-recording claim
Judge Heavey writes: “Article 141 of the CCP requires that every interrogation of a person in custody (for any reason) must be fully recorded by audio or audiovisual means”
However, Amanda Knox was not in custody during her questioning on Nov 5th & 6th. She was not a suspect, and this was not a suspect interview. She merely eagerly listed seven names. She was only at the station because Raffaele was called:
“It was Raffaele who the police called, not me, but I came with him to the Questura anyway while he was to be questioned for support, as he had done for me many times. ”
-Amanda Knox, Letter to Lawyers, 8 Nov 2007
False no-interpreter claim
Judge Heavey writes: “Amanda spoke little Italian, yet was not allowed to have an interpreter to assist her with understanding the questions put to her, the charges against her, or anything else.”
Two sources refute Judge Heavey’s point- official court records of the questioning, and Amanda Knox’s own statement on trial and in her book:
From Court documents
“…assisted by the English-speaking interpreter Anna Donnino” -Signed 1:45 AM statement.
“….assisted by the English-speaking interpreter Anna Donnino” -Signed 5:45 AM statement.
And from Amanda Knox:
November 2nd: “…they brought in an english-speaking detective for hours two through six.” -Waiting to be Heard
November 4th: “AK: So, it seems to me that Laura and Filomena were there, but they had arrived with other people, while I was in the car with the police and an interpreter, that’s it.” -Trial Testimony
November 5th/6th: “The interpreter, a woman in her forties, arrived at about 12:30 A.M.” -Waiting to be heard
False vengeful prosecutor claim
Judge Heavey simply engages in a character assassination of Prosecutor Mignini:
“[...] Mignini was well known in Italy for a bizarre theory [...] under investigation for abuse of office [...] previously driven American journalist, Douglas Preston out of Italy[...]“
Judge Heavey, Dr. Waterbury, and FOA representative Thomas Wright conclude point five with:
”Consular officials knew Mr. Mignini was prosecuting Amanda Knox. They knew he had been charged with abusing his office. They knew of the bizarre theory that he pursued, from which the charges arose. They also knew he was under tremendous pressure to achieve some vindication to save face. Why did consular officials do nothing?”
The trumped-up charges against Prosecutor Mignini pursued by a rogue prosecutor ad rogue judge in Florence were overturned by the Florence appeal court and sacthingly roasted by the Supreme Court. Dr Mignini (now Deputy Attorney General for Umbria) was under no pressure at all. See this post here.
False satanic myth claim
Heavey and others raise the satanic ritual myth quoting Prosecutor Mignini as stating at the October preliminary hearing, “the crime was a sexual and sacrificial ritual in accordance with the rites of Halloween.”
The ONLY source for this quote is a defense lawyer for Sollecito who made it up. Judge Heavey then turns around and uses this metaphor himself:
“these and other statements should have shouted to consular officials that Amanda was a defendant in what had become a witch trial, being prosecuted by a delusional prosecutor. Why did consular officials do nothing?”
False US Embassy claim
Despite Heavey’s claims, US consular officials WERE monitoring the case, as revealed in FOI-released documents requested by journalist Andrea Vogt. She released these documents in a May 2013 post on her website.
This is clear: consular officials regularly visited Knox and tracked case developments. The following diplomats’ names appear on the cables: Ambassador Ronald Spogli, Deputy Chief Elizabeth Dibble and Ambassador David Thorne, U.S. Embassy Rome.
Consular staff visited Amanda Knox on November 12 2007, and noted her lawyers had already visited with Knox. The charges against Amanda Knox as stated by the US Embassy were:
* Participation in Voluntary Manslaughter with aggravating circumstances of cruelty
* Participation in sexual assault
* Simulated robbery
* Possession of weapons
* Aggravated theft.
Archived in Italian justice v others, Public evidence, Knox's alibis, All the nefarious hoaxes, Knox interrog hoax, Guede good guy hoax, The Dr Mignini hoax, The wider contexts, American context, Michael Heavey, More of the same
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The Rise And Fall Of “Frank Sfarzo” And How “Sfarzogate” Ripples On And On
Posted by Ergon
[Image is from Francesco Sforza’s early days in Seattle last year when he felt he was riding very high]
December 06, 2013. Francesco Sforza also known as Frank Sfarzo is due to appear today in a Florence criminal court.
He is charged with aggravated defamation (art. 595 of the Italian Criminal Code) against the Deputy Prosecutor General for Umbria (Perugia’s region) Dr Giuliano Mignini, because he is a very senior officer of the court, with the alleged intention of obstructing justice on Knox’s behalf.
The charges refer to multiple accusations of criminality Sforza made online on his now hidden or defunct blog “Perugia Shock”. A prison term is unlikely if found guilty at this one trial, but the problem is that he faces a trial for violence against police in Perugia as well.
Who is Frank Sfarzo? Is he “a Perugian blogger and investigative journalist” and “personable black haired man with intense brown eyes”? (Candace Dempsey, who relied extensively on his personal contacts and blog for her book “Murder In Italy”)
Or as journalist Andrea Vogt wrote in a May 27, 2009 Seattle PI article,
Dempsey was one of the first U.S. bloggers to post key court documents. (Sourced from Sfarzo) She is now writing a book on the case. The other defense site is Perugia Shock, the first blog about the case, which started Nov. 2, 2007. Perugia Shock’s comment threads are home to some of the most heated Knox-related exchanges online.
Perugia Shock is hosted on a California server and financed by an American firm, according to the Perugia-based blogger who covers the case and operates the site under the alias “Frank Sfarzo.
“Also known as Frank Sfarzo, this home-spun blogger set up his blog “Perugia Shock” the day after (sic) Meredith’s body was found. The Knox family initially relied on his local intelligence, and he exchanged videos and information with pro-Amanda Seattle blogger Candace Dempsey”. Source: Darkness Descending page 324.
The journalist Barbie Nadeau has this to say about Sforza in “Angel Face” pages-89-91:
The first blog dedicated to the crime, Perugia Shock, was set up on November 02, 2007, the day Meredith’s body was discovered. The blogger, Frank Sfarzo, a skeletal man with a waxed crew cut, ran a student flophouse in town and believes that he missed a call from Meredith while she was looking for lodging.
When I later asked him in an e-mail why he started the blog, he explained the connection and described how Meredith had looked at the coroners: “Seriously, she was so beautiful and sweet, she seemed to be alive, with the mascara on her eylashes (sic), just like ready to go out.
“Sfarzo hid behind the handle, “Frank the blogger,” and he would never confirm whether he actually saw Meredith on the autopsy table or simply saw the coroner’s photos. (He saw the photos, and obtained copies) He ingratiated himself with several clerks and cops around town and, curiously, often had a document no one else could get or a scoop that beat out the rest of the press.”
He started out as an objective observer, slightly sympathetic to Meredith, but became a rabid proponent of Amanda’s innocence. He was the quintessential blogger—a smart, cryptic, insomniac. Even the chief prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini, read his posts.
Mignini always believed that Frank’s blog was intellectually inspired and financially subsidized by Mario Spezi, the Italian journalist who covered the Monster of Florence serial killer for La Nazione. During the 1970’s and 80’s, several couples were murdered as they made love in their cars in the foothills around Florence. Spezi followed the investigation for years and pinned his reputation on a theory of the case that Mignini disputed. Eventually, Mignini had Spezi jailed for obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence.
Note: this is how the American fiction writer Douglas Preston got involved with Spezi, and latched on to the Meredith Kercher murder case as a way of getting back against Mignini, also supporting Frank Sfarzo behind the scenes.
Why is Frank Sfarzo so important to this case? It is about public perception about the guilt, or innocence of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, and how he was the source of many of the myths about the case and prosecutor Giuliani Mignini that have made it into the mainstream media. Yes, he had many police files, improperly obtained, and insecurely kept.
This article is the first of a series of posts about his activities in that regard, the true story of his so called ‘persecution’ by Dr Mignini, and the financial and other support he received from the supporters of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, and their families. He even hid his relationship with OGGI magazine.
It reveals why he really fled Italy to America, attempting to get a green card in the process, and the many cases of assault that are still outstanding against him. It details the story of his arrests for assault in Perugia, Hawaii, and Seattle, and the circumstances of his expulsion from Canada.
It will tell how he received tens of thousands of dollars in ‘donations’ from prominent supporters of Knox and Sollecito funneled through Bruce Fischer’s organizations “Injustice in Perugia” and “Injustice Anywhere” as well as his and other people’s PayPal accounts (I have the details) And it will detail the behind the scenes efforts to influence the case using Frank Sfarzo as a source for the allegations against Mignini through websites like IIP and Ground Report, which then made its way into the media.
This series will also reveal much about Frank Sfarzo, the man. Someone who believed primarily in Knox’s guilt (with Sollecito as the roped in sex-slave) it shows a flawed being willing to compromise himself to make money, and also, fulfill his long held dream to have ‘books written and movies made’.
In the course of this investigation, I met with and interviewed many previous supporters who now wish they had never met him, and some, who even, conclude that his reporting on the case was based on self-serving lies. The behavior of those that enabled him also comes under scrutiny, and, their attempts to intimidate people into not speaking up about his actions.
They indeed, had much to hide.
This report is based on the hundreds of posts I made on him at PMF dot Net, with much help from the posters and editors there and at PMF dot Org. It was heartening to see the cooperation between the two sites and thanks are due to them, and also to Peter Quennell, who first invited me to join the Meredith Kercher community three years back (I’d been posting on the case at Huffington Post previously)
What will happen to Frank in court? I do not know, but it does appear, that the falsehoods he spread are beginning to unravel. I see he has surfaced again, after hiding from the authorities for so long. Reporting on Bruce Fischer’s blog, he writes “they attack me for speaking up”. No, I’m sorry. In this, as it always has been, the blogger Francesco Sforza, also known as Frank Sfarzo, is the author of his own misfortune.
Part II of the series, “The Sfarzo~Gate Papers”, will be published here next week. ~Ergon
[Below: This picture has a story behind it. Frank Sfarzo stayed almost two months at the Mellas household, and was later shunted off to various supporters when he made a sexual move on Amanda Knox.]
Archived in Other legal processes, Sollecito diffamazione, Knox-Mellas team, Francesco Sforza, Michael Heavey, Steve Moore, Bruce Fischer, More of the same
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Monday, October 28, 2013
Some Hard Truths Sollecito PR Shill Sharlene Martin Omitted In Her Misleading Invite To The Congress
Posted by The TJMK Main Posters
Dear Sharlene Martin:
You might well be advised to head to higher ground. The US Congress and the Administration will soon be left in no doubt about the correct facts of the case against Sollecito and Knox, as Italian law enforcement start to reach out to their counterparts in the FBI, and as they charge mischief-makers with obstruction of justice in the case, and as more and more reporters in the US and UK media wisen up.
- 1) Senator Cantwell was already burned by associating too closely with your radioactive group. She spoke out daffily for Amanda Knox several years ago - and then, duly warned, she went quiet again. Ask her congressional staff for the story to that. And read our past heads-ups for Senator Maria Cantwell here and here.
2) Your client Raffaele Sollecito wrote the most defamatory and misleading book about an Italian case in many years. Key claims have been repudiated by his own father on Italian TV. As his case is ongoing Sollecito is meant to fight it in the (very fair) Italian courts, not poison public opinion to lean on those courts. Sollecito is being considered for charges of obstruction of justice for the book and much else in the media, and you and the publishers may be charged too.
3) This is NOT a third trial. It is a re-run of a first appeal. If the very well-run and highly decisive Massei trial of 2009 had been run in the US or UK it is hard to see what grounds if any, any appeal judge would accept for appeal. Your client would be near the end of his sixth year in prison. And it is known that the Hellmann Appeal and the DNA consultancy were both bent by Sollecito’s and Knox’s own teams (corrective measures have been taken with more to come) so the 6-year process is essentially your own team’s fault.
4) John Douglas’s highly self-serving chapters on the case are among the silliest ever written in a crowded field. The very vain Douglas starts with the totally false premise that Knox was forced to confess after many many hours, and from there on out it is all downhill. He takes a faux position essentially identical to that of Saul Kassin. Read about Kassin’s own spurious and highly self-serving take on Knox’s “forced confession” here and here and here.
5) Steve Moore lacks the correct expertise to analyse this case and he was never the ace crime scene investigator you claim. A dozen or more posts here show how unreliable and rambling he is. Among other things he appeared on a disastrous panel (with a team almost identical to yours - and an audience that peaked at 35) at Seattle University a couple of years ago. Read what two very astute lawyers thought of his man-in-a-bubble performance here and here.
6) The hapless Michael Heavey was officially reprimanded for his bizarre intervention in the case. He was also on the disaster of a panel at Seattle University. He has got the basic facts wrong again and again and again. Here he is getting the facts wrong five years ago. Here is his association with Frank Sforza, a key mis-stater of the key facts of the case and serial defamer of the Italian officials involved, who he was financially supporting - and who now faces three separate trials of his own.
7) And the hapless John Q Kelly? This is a tough field in which to come out ahead but John Q was perhaps the silliest talking head for Knox and Sollecito on TV. He babbled on in the media about a railroading that never took place. Read how even his own colleagues considered him to have been duped here and here.
Archived in Raff Sollecito, Sollecito team, Michael Heavey, Steve Moore, More of the same
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Sunday, October 06, 2013
Pushback Against Mafia Playbook Gathers Speed With Denial Of False Accusation of “Satanic Theory”
Posted by Peter Quennell
[Preston left, Spetzi center, and George Clooney who is at legal risk for his option on their defamatory book]
Previously on the mafia playbook:
As we have posted previously, the mafia and their handmaidens strive constantly to bring the Italian justice system down a peg or two. When not using dynamite, as they often have, they especially favor the weapon of character assassination.
The vilification campaign being run in the United States by David Marriott, Chris Mellas, Doug Preston, Bruce Fischer, Steve Moore, Michelle Moore, Nigel Scott, and David Anderson (and from Italy by Frank Sforza) seems to be right out of the mafia playbook, whether all of them know it or not.
How the mafia have been using the public relations campaign to their own advantage seems set to emerge further in at least five of the associated trials coming down the pike: those of Luciano Aviello, Frank Sforza, Mario Spezi, Raffaele Sollecito (his book trial) and Amanda Knox (her book trial)
And now Mario Spetzi, obviously a real glutton for punishment, once again piles on. Spetzi has had incessant run-ins with the Italian law - and now he seems to have entered some kind of self-immolation end-game.
With Doug Preston, Spetzi published several editions of their Monster of Florence scenario. These are widely discredited in Italy, not least because they are such obvious attempts to apply lipstick to a pig (half of the text is about an obviously red-handed and very very scared Preston trying to prove he did not actually melt down under interrogation for his probable felony interference in a case.)
Spetzi has been charged with interfering with and hampering both the Monster of Florence investigations and the related investigation (which involved Dr Mignini) into the Narducci drowning - a clear murder (the body was found bound and another substituted) though a nefarious group worked very hard to deny that. (They were all charged as well, and the Supreme Court has recently confirmed the correctness of that.)
In recent weeks the Supreme Court has given a firm order for both prosecutions against Spetzi to go ahead. How Spetzi stays out of prison if he is found guilty is anyone’s guess. Doug Preston came up with a calamity of an explanation for the arrest of Frank Sforza for domestic violence, but presumably his assistance wont be sought this time around.
So in face of impending prison Spetzi really watches his tongue, right?
No, in fact in a move bizarre even by his own standards, Spetzi on 29 September published a surreal “interview” with Amanda Knox in Florence Corriere. It once again repeats the felony claim that the prosecution charged Knox and Sollecito in the first place based only on some “satanic theory”.
The Perugia prosecution has never never NEVER claimed that. The Florence prosecutor has already moved into felony-investigation mode (this could cost Spetzi more years in prison) and on 3 October Florence Corriere published this correction below by the defamed prosecution (translation is by Yummi).
This unequivocal statement (far from the first but the most prominent) has its own legal status. It is a clear legal warning to the likes of Chris Mellas and Bruce Fischer that if they sustain the libel they are at risk of felony charges also.
The statement has already had a strong ripple effect in Italy. Many former allies - some of them not very savory - now feel that Spetzi has lied to and betrayed them for his own ends.
To the editor of Florence Corriere
I am Giuliano Mignini, the magistrate who performed the investigation and trials of first instance and appeal in Perugia against the people accused of the murder of Meredith Kercher, as well as the investigation into the death of Francesco Narducci linked to the one performed by the Florence Prosecution Office in relation to the masterminds of the “Monster of Florence” murders.
I saw reported the interview that the journalist Mario Spezi – a person accused in the Narducci case – did with Amanda Knox, a main defendant in the appeal trial that will start today – published in the Corriere Fiorentino on Sep. 29.
In two recent cases the Court of Cassation has annulled verdicts, which acquitted Knox and Sollecito, and which decided [by Judge Micheli] a dropping of charge against Spezi (the parts regarding ‘lack of certainty about malice’ were annulled too).
Therefore I don’t need to add anything further on that point. Instead, I need to point out the falsehood of an assertion which Mr. Spezi makes at the beginning of his article, as he tries to explain the reason for a link which, in his opinion, allegedly exists between the two cases, the one related to the Monster murders and Narducci’s death, and the one about the Kercher murder.
Mr. Spezi’s text says: “… a strangely similar background, for two different cases, behind which the magistrate thought he could see satanic orgies on the occasion of Halloween for Amanda, and ritual blood sacrifices as a worship to the Devil in the Monster of Florence case…”.
This is an assertion that Mr. Spezi and crime-fiction author Douglas Preston have been repeating for years, but does not find the smallest confirmation in the documentation of the two trials, nor in the scenario put forward by the prosecution in which the Meredith murder (which didn’t happen on Halloween but on the subsequent night) was the consequence of a sex hazing to which Meredith herself did not intend to take part, and, above all, it was the consequence of a climate of hostility which built up progressively between the Coulsdon girl and Amanda because of their different habits, and because of Meredith’s suspicion about alleged money thefts by Knox.
Furthermore the object of the proceedings in the Narducci case is the scenario about the murder of the same Narducci and the attempt, by the doctor’s father and brother, to conceal the cause of his violent death, and this included the background within which the event – which was a homicide in my opinion and in the opinion of my technical consultant, coroner Prof. Giovanni Pierucci of the University of Pavia – had developed and taken place.
I had already denied several time assertions of such kind, but Mr. Spezi and Mr. Preston, and some people connected to them, go on repeating a lie, apparently hoping that it will become true by repeating it.
Another astonishing fact is that, despite that I was the prosecutor in the Kercher trial together with my colleague Manuela Comodi and then subsequently with my colleague Giancarlo Costagliola [at annulled apeal], and despite that I limited myself to formulating judicial requests which were all agreed to by a multitude of judges and confirmed by the Supreme Court, I am still considered as the only one responsible for an accusation against Ms. Knox and Mr. Sollecito, by twisting its content in various ways.
In the Narducci case, in the same way, I simply limited myself to performing the investigation and requesting the remands to trial, and the trial will have to start again now because the Supreme Court has annulled the dropping of charges [by Judge Micheli] and sent back the trial to another preliminary judge in Perugia.
The purpose – quite overt – of such endlessly repeated lies, is to defame the investigator, picturing him as a magistrate who is following alleged personal obsessions rather than sticking at facts, as instead he is.
The hope that such conscious misrepresentation of reality could bring advantage to the defences (foremost that of Spezi himself) is consistent with a bad habit which has all along flourished in Italy but is now also copied abroad.
Therefore I ask you to please publish my rectification against false and seriously defamatory information.
See also this overview of the two cases requested by our poster Kmcvick.
Archived in Appeals 2009-2015, Florence 2014+, All the nefarious hoaxes, The Dr Mignini hoax, Florence MOF hoax, Other legal processes, Sollecito diffamazione, Knox diffamazione, Knox-Mellas team, Sollecito team, Francesco Sforza, Steve Moore, Bruce Fischer, More of the same
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Thursday, May 23, 2013
The Very Appropriate Casting Of Doug Preston As The Fredo Corleone Wannabe
Posted by Kermit
Preston as Fredo
In the image above, from the first Godfather movie, Michael’s brother Fredo watches his father Don Corleone get into a Mafioso tussle.
Fredo, after fumbling, juggling, and dropping his revolver without firing a single shot, proves himself useless and incapable of achieving the basic objective of taking care of his kindred souls.
In the same manner, as Douglas Preston fumbles about protecting the interests of his “Family” (and taking care of his own income), he shows the public that the sci-fi writer can’t load his own pen with Truth - or even Believable Lies.
Whenever I see an article published by the sci-fi thriller novelist and pro-Amanda Knox “point-of-view journalist” (his own words) concerning either the murder of Meredith Kercher or the Monster of Florence case, I can’t avoid being reminded of “Fredo” the bumbling brother who lets his family down.
Whoever set Douglas Preston up for his histrionic defense of Amanda Knox, or his attacks against the personal and professional integrity of Deputy Prosecutor General Giuliano Mignini, or his defense of his hapless friend Mario Spezi’s curious “investigative” techniques in uncovering “dirt” on the decades old “Monster of Florence” case should have found a much better soldado than Preston.
Preston’s histrionic pamphlet
Douglas Preston has recently posted an article on The Slate website, promoting a pamphlet that in the end he had to self-publish through Kindle since no one else would publish it (he had told me at the end of last year in an unsolicited email that he was hoping The New Yorker or The Atlantic would print it as an article).
I seriously thought of writing this TJMK post as a self-published Kindle article that could be downloaded for 99 cents, but I refrained from doing so for two reasons:
- 1) I wanted it to get more exposure than Preston’s nickel-and-diming effort has
2) I will never want to earn any blood money off the backs of crime victims, even if it’s only the grand total of 99 cents from the Kindle copy my mother buys
Preston’s The Slate article and Pamphlet are basically an attempt to undermine the PMF and TJMK websites which have taken a pro-victim posture in the online discussion concerning the murder of Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy, in November 2007.
As such he stumbles and fumbles with the Truth in promoting his “Family” causes, with as much dexterity and morality as the low-grade Mafioso “Fredo” from The Godfather, unable to load his writer’s gun properly, in a comic show of futility.
Preston’s Weird “Truths” and Fumbling Propaganda – Technique #1: Tell Favorable, Out-of-Date news from the Past
Novelist Preston starts telling his unconvincing twisted half-truths before he even finishes the title and subtitle of The Slate promotional article:
Burn Her at the Stake - Amanda Knox was acquitted of murder. Why do so many people still hate her so much? (Source: The Slate)
That title has as much truth as Preston writing another self-promotional article today announcing to the world “I turned 21 years old” … it may be true that years ago in the past he was 21 years old, but that is hardly a current truth for readers.
While it may be the case that accused murderer Amanda Knox was acquitted of that charge in 2011, it is now an old truth, after the Supreme Court of Italy in March chastised the appeals verdict of Judge Hellman (now forcibly retired from the judiciary) and annulled that acquittal, putting her status back to the conclusion of her initial murder trial.
(Later in the article Preston makes a brief mention that she will be retried, barely associated with the headline message he sends to the world in the title to his article. Knox’s current situation is the polar opposite of being acquitted; rather, she is still fully charged with murdering Meredith.)
Preston, the public wants you to start broadcasting the truth, the current, real truth, in messages that are for once free of highly misleading insinuations.
Preston’s Weird “Truths” and Fumbling Propaganda – Technique #2: Use Weak Statistics To Support Insinuations
Preston does a number of Google searches and becomes shocked, shocked that he gets hundreds of thousands of hits with combinations like “Amanda Knox” and “pervert”, or “Amanda Knox” and “slut”.
Preston knows full well, as do the readers of The Slate (and the handful of persons who have read the long version of The Slate article, paying 99 cents for the 10 minute read), that you always get hundreds of thousands or millions of Google hits for just about any Google search, however shocking the search terms may be.
Preston says “The extreme viciousness of the anti-Amanda commentariage is startling”.
Here are two public figures: Knox on the left has been in the news for 6 years … she would probably be a forgotten figure, just another semi-anonymous American abroad with problems if it hadn’t been thanks to the expensive corporate PR campaign that her own family has waged. That PR campaign has propelled the number of overall appearances of her name, and has pushed Internet commenters of all types to opine on her.
Hillary Clinton on the right has been in the news for 3 decades or so, as reflected in the proportionally higher number of Google hits on her name. In spite of not being accused of sexual assault and murder, she still receives a relatively high number of sexual/sexist descriptors.
Knox is not in the news because she has worked on public health reform, or because she has been a Secretary of State, or because she lived in the White House with her husband. Knox is accused of sexual assault and murder. She is also a convicted felon, having served 3 years in an Italian prison (no further appeals) for falsely accusing her boss of murdering Meredith, in Knox’s presence.
Knox outdoes Hillary in percentage of hits for “bitch” and “slut”, but Hillary betters her for “pervert”. Who cares? In Internet, any public person can get Google hits for just about any descriptor, especially if you are accused of a sexual crime.
Let’s extend our test a moment, and do an additional Google search: “Douglas Preston” “slut” –“Knox” . By eliminating references to “Knox” we eliminate any testing contamination from Amanda’s Perugia murder charges and the ensuing online discussion and reporting. Preston shouldn’t be surprised to learn that compared to Amanda Knox’s 380,000 “slut” hits, Preston has 73,400 of his own “slut” hits. Not bad. Of course, all of these results require analysis, which is exactly what Preston doesn’t provide in his pamphlet.
Here’s one of Preston’s “slut” Google returns, his own sci-fi novel texts:
“The town slut. She was in this cell just last month, wasn’t she, on a drunk and disorderly. Like mother, like daughter. Guess the apple never falls far from the tree. Or in your case, the shit never falls far from the asshole … the murderer might be local. Maybe a devil worshiper. You fit the bill, with that fucked-up purple hair and black eye makeup. Is that what you do at night? Go out and do mumbo-jumbo? … Bitch,’ Brad muttered … ‘no man would ever want to screw you, you freak.’” … (Poor tormented Preston; that’s from his book Still Life with Crows that he curiously dedicated to Mario Spezi.)
Preston’s Weird “Truths” and Fumbling Propaganda – Technique #3: Tell Contrasting Stories About Personal Suffering at the Hands of An Abusive Prosecutor
In an interview in The Atlantic in 2006, well before Meredith’s murder, Douglas Preston was asked about Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini:
Question: “Judge Giuliano Mignini, the public prosecutor who interrogated you, is another important player in the case. Was Mignini just doing his job? How much weight do you give to the idea that Mignini had it in for Spezi and you?”
Preston: “…. As for Mignini himself, I think he’s a sincere man and an honest and incorruptible judge. I don’t think that he’s a bad man …. I think he was doing his job the best he could. I think in many ways he was badly misled by Giuttari, the police officer who was running the investigation.”
At that point in time, the Bad Guy for Spezi and Preston had been and still was Police super-inspector Michele Giuttari. But that didn’t seem to sell. They needed something to spice up their tales about the Monster of Florence, which weren’t achieving whatever objective they may have set themselves. The breakthrough for Preston and Spezi came with Meredith’s murder. Preston today with his Pamphlet admits to being recruited early on by the pro-Amanda Knox movement just after Meredith’s murder:
“A few days after Amanda Knox was arrested for murder, I got a call from a man named Tom Wright … a well-known filmmaker … (who) knew her family … (he) begged (Spezi and me) for help …. I felt like I had to become involved.” (Source: Preston’s Pamphlet on Kindle)
[Image above: Thomas Wright’s “famous” screenplay skills seem to rival only Preston’s writing skills that we’ve seen.]
Preston has never admitted this early recruitment contact before. In his Afterword to the English-language version of their tale The Monster of Florence, Preston writes about a different call that he got just after Meredith’s murder:
“A few days after the crime, I got a call from Niccolò Capponi … ‘My dear Douglas … I bet you a bottle of ’97 Chianti Classico that before the week is out someone will connect this poor girl’s murder with Monster of Florence’”.
Capponi, whose relation with Spezi and Preston deserves its own tome, couldn’t have been more astute. The Friends of Amanda movement didn’t need anyone other than Douglas Preston to crow out to the world that Mignini wasn’t actually a benign, “sincere”, “honest” and “incorruptible judge” (Preston’s own prior words up until then). Instead, Preston rewrote his own storyboard and retroactively turned the Mignini of early 2006 into one really nasty guy:
“The police then picked me up on the streets of Florence and hauled me in before Mignini, where he interrogated me for hours, with no attorney or interpreter present. He demanded I confess to a string of crimes, including being an accessory to murder, and when I refused, he indicted me for perjury and obstruction of justice and suggested I leave the country.” (Source: Preston’s Pamphlet, on Kindle)
Preston has changed his tune about how his Perugian questioning in 2006 was arranged. In his earlier book from five years ago he described a different ambience that pleasant day on his way to Perugia, with a notable absence of jackboots “hauling him in”, originally stating that it was actually a family-outing:
…. “The next day I drove to Perugia with Christine and our two children, passing the shores of Lake Trasimeno on the way. Perugia, a beautiful and ancient city, occupies an irregular rocky hill in the upper Tiber valley ... Christine planned to sightsee with the kids and have lunch while I was interrogated”. (Source: Preston and Spezi, The Monster of Florence)
Driving down to Perugia with your wife and family contrasts with being “hauled in” after being picked up in the streets of Florence, yet Preston, it seems, adapts the truth and insinuations to the required needs and circumstances.
By the way, Mr. Preston, what murder did Prosecutor Mignini accuse you of being an accessory to? You keep repeating it, and we’re still waiting to hear. What murder?
Preston’s Weird “Truths” and Fumbling Propaganda – Technique #4: Use illogical deduction and dodgy Internet sources for your facts
Preston makes some amazing logic relationships in his pseudo-scholarly study of pro-victim Internet voices. When describing a book that the pro-Knox forces seem to find against their interests, Preston says:
“While the book included no footnotes or bibliography, it appears to have used information sourced from anonymous bloggers — identifiable as such because it was incorrect.” (Source: Preston’s 99 cent pamphlet)
I don’t think that the reasonable public out there requires any analysis of this fatally flawed “if-then” logic. Preston-Fredo needs to go back to school, either to grade school to do basic maths, or to the Daisy Hill School of Influencing People and Spreading Convincing Propaganda.
This is an important lesson for Preston, who often relies on the daisy-chaining, circular, internal feeding of “facts” amongst pro-Knox promoters. Preston himself, like a post-modern journalistic alchemist, turns wishful opinion into “fact”, using as raw material the opinion posts of “Friends of Amanda” anonymous bloggers who use various identities.
Let’s take a look at three of the most active and factually flawed pro-Knox bloggers who people like Preston have helped turn into Knox-Urban-Legends, dragging along their pro-Knox fictions.
The photo below comes from a FOA-Fest last summer on Vashon Island where Amanda could thank all her limited number of close supporters for their help in springing her from prison. On the left is Bruce Fisher, or Bruce Fischer (depending on the day). One of his most hilarious affirmations which he vehemently defended until it was impossible to continue to do so, was that a box of Dixan detergent that he spotted in a photo of Sollecito’s sink would explain why Sollecito’s cutlery may have smelled of bleach … except that Dixan is clothes washing detergent!
The hilariousness of Fisher/Fischer’s Internet postings can also take on sinister results when passed on to the hands of either an inexperienced or ethically challenged journalist or a “point-of-view” journalist. Preston refers to a post by Fischer as if it were fact when he publishes in his 99 cent Kindle pamphlet that a prominent pro-victim blogger “had a restraining order placed against him” for a non-existent harassment of a ballet dancer.
Why doesn’t Preston also say that the web-site where this post was placed by Fisher/Fischer quickly removed it when it received the corresponding complaint? Why didn’t Preston ask Fisher for any proof of the “restraining order”? Why didn’t he cross check his facts/falsehoods?
Why should a best-selling sci-fi novelist stoop so low? Money? Anger? Envy?
Another of Preston’s anonymous or multi-alias bloggers whom he has quoted or protected is Francesco (“Frank”) Sfarzo / Sforca / Sforza. Take your pick of the last name as he has used them all in public documents.
“Frank’s” supposed beating at the hands of a squad of goon cops beholden to Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini was curiously covered by the Committee to Protect Journalists in prominent website posts and a public letter to the President of Italy, with no effort whatsoever to investigate the claims or speak with the local Italian authorities.
CPJ’s reputation remains tarnished as they refuse to this day to recognize their massive screw up. Shame on Joel Simon, director of the CPJ! Is there no governance in that organization?
Should a financial contributor to CPJ such as Preston also be permitted to be a figure in the anti-Italian judicial lobbying that CPJ has consciously or unconsciously ended up participating in?
Preston’s role in this laughable attempt to frame Mignini is only made all the more tragic by the fact that “Frank’s” arrest in Italy (which Mignini had nothing to do with) was related to a complaint of domestic violence.
He left Italy, and – staying at Amanda’s family home in Seattle for a couple of months, then travelling to Canada, Hawaii, then back to a shared residence in Seattle - racked up an impressive set of arrests and police interviews related to further domestic violence complaints during his travels.
[Image above: Preston’s pet blogger “Frank” is not at all a victim of violence, but rather to the contrary, has an arrest warrant out to face charges for instigating it]
Amongst “Frank’s” contribution to the “point-of-view” journalism supporting Amanda Knox has been his visit to Piazza Grimana, the square near the cottage crime-scene, where “Frank” took a photo that supposedly demonstrated that Knox and Sollecito could not have monitored the entrance to the cottage from there on the night of the crime, since you can’t see the cottage gate according to “Frank”.
Any person who goes to Piazza Grimana in Perugia knows perfectly well that if you step just a couple of metres to the left, you have a perfect view of the cottage gate, barely hidden in “Frank’s” photo behind the corner of the house on the right.
Yet another case of the danger of Preston using pro-Knox bloggers and friends as sources of unreliable information is that of the G-Man, ex-FBI agent and ex-college security guy, Steve Moore.
In the sake of honesty, of the three pro-Knox bloggers referred to in this post (we could go on forever about the menagerie of Knox Internet personalities), Moore is the least anonymous, although it should be said that his “G-Man” aura he promotes is perhaps self-deprecating humour (think of an adult guy using a nickname like “GI Joe”).
G-Man has developed an elaborate tale of how he became interested in the case and began to study detailed documentation and images to come to the forensic conclusion in his living room that the Italian investigation into Meredith Kercher’s murder was flawed and that Amanda Knox was innocent. (Moore’s experience before he left the FBI as far as I’m aware is escorting suspects to court, sniper training, and flying helicopters … I don’t believe he has worked as a forensic specialist.)
Like in the case of Bruce Fisher/Fischer, there are semi-comical aspects to G-Man’s appearances on the Internet supporting Amanda Knox. This happens when you get someone who is not a forensics specialist looking at photos and making conclusions:
Unfortunately, Steve Moore was analyzing an image that was not “Amanda and Meredith’s sink”! This example of errors in G-Man’s contributions to FOA finding Amanda innocent is far from being the only one.
In Preston’s Pamphlet, he presents the anecdote of a pro-victim Internet commenter who made what Preston claims is a “threatening” comment concerning the quality of G-Man Steve Moore’s daughter’s song lyrics. In the light of honesty and telling all the truth, Preston should have stated that after Mom and Dad Moore, the next most prolific pro-Knox poster of the Moore family is their daughter, who has made posts on both pro-Knox and pro-victim sites, on Twitter and on Facebook, including posts with coarse language.
She seems to be an adult, but if she isn’t, then Mom and Dad Moore should start acting like better parents, being aware of their offspring’s internet activity, putting a filter on their home router and telling her to not make posts on sites that deal with a sexual assault and murder case. Nor should they allow their daughter to leave her own pages open for comments and or to post videos about the murder. And if their daughter is an adult, then Preston shouldn’t insinuate to his few readers otherwise.
By the way, the “threatening” post was a return of a phrase used by a pro-Knox poster that “Steve Moore plays for keeps” after a playful criticism of the quality of lyrics written by Miss Moore.
This is a lesson to Douglas Preston: any journalist, even that special lobbyist category of “point-of-view journalist” such as himself, is only as credible as his sources.
Preston’s Weird “Truths” and Fumbling Propaganda – Technique #5: Claim That You Have Already Made Any Needed Explanations
Preston says in his Slate article: “Like a fool I waded into the (Internet) fray, defending Amanda and myself. I attacked my attackers and countered their criticisms.”
(Why does Preston have to “defend” Amanda? I thought he was now presenting himself as a journalist. Oh, I forgot, he wrote that he now considers himself a “point-of-view journalist” – his terminology - which sounds a lot like “lobbyist”.)
Actually, Preston has never countered any serious criticism. I ask readers to take a fast look at the Committee to Protect Journalists’ comment page concerning the CPJ’s fiasco accusing Prosecutor Mignini of directing a vicious, violent attack on “Frank” the blogger by a squad of rogue police beholden to the prosecutor.
Preston went wacko when he saw the Internet world laughing out loud at the CPJ’s allegations, and when he saw that the Internet provided different proofs to show that the now fugitive blogger was at best making up his story, or had other persons close to the action making it up for him.
Take a look at Preston’s emotional replies to CPJ readers’ comments.
[Image above: on the left we see CPJ’s director Joel Simon, who accused Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini of sending a police squad to beat up “Frank” the blogger (second from left). “Frank” is a family friend of the Knox-Mellas families, taking care of much of their logistics in Perugia, setting up photo shoots, etc. “Frank” stayed at the Mellas home (Chris Mellas, second from right) for a couple of months during his arrest-ridden trip out of Italy, when his domestic violence trial started up there. On the right, Preston, the glue that links “Frank” to the CPJ.]
On the web pages of CPJ, we see that not only does Preston not reply to the contradictions and lies that the Internet world points out in his words and actions, but he also puts conditions on doing so.
The best “countering” of criticism that Preston provides online is pretty pathetic. He says that the demonstrated errors in his and the CPJ’s texts “are distortions, falsehoods, and crackpot opinion presented as settled fact.” Period. No explanations of why he says one thing in one place and something completely different in another. No transparency concerning his documented relationship with the CPJ. No honesty concerning the real, sad domestic violence case that “Frank” has had before him, brought on by his own family in Italy (in addition to his U.S.A. problems).
We’re still waiting for any real clarifications of Preston’s serious problems with the truth, the whole truth, the current truth and nothing but the truth.
I personally don’t need to see more verbiage from Preston, but I would have thought that he would be concerned about the public’s view of his credibility. It will probably help future “True Story” book sales if he were to clear up the confusion he causes about both the Monster of Florence case and aspects of the investigation and trials related to the murder of Meredith Kercher.
Preston’s Weird “Truths” and Fumbling Propaganda – Technique #6: Write Any Incorrect Gibberish That Doesn’t Get Error-Checked If You Think that Unknowledgeable People Will Swallow Your Errors
Preston once crowed concerning the quality of his texts:
Before publication, it was minutely vetted by no less than five attorneys in two languages in Italy, the U.K., and the United States. Since publication, it has been read by millions of people in many European languages. In all that time, and with all the millions who have read the book, not one significant error of fact came to light. Mario Spezi and I stand by every single assertion of fact in that book today just as strongly as we did when it was first published three years ago.” (Source: Preston on CPJ)
I once suggested to Preston that he ask his five error-checking lawyers for his money back, after the multiple mistakes and falsehoods of The Monster of Florence came to light and it became apparent that it should be reclassified to “Fiction”.
It seems that both Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox used the same error-checking lawyers in their memoirs, and that once again Preston and Spezi have employed them for their underwhelming, unknown tome in German Der Engel Mit Den Eisaugen (The Angel With Icy Eyes). No other market seems to have wanted to hear more from the Dynamic Duo of murder “point-of-view journalism”. As you can expect, their book about the murder of Meredith Kercher is not about the victim, but about the star, from their point of view, Amanda Knox.
[Image above: Preston and Spezi are sure bets for winning The Novelists’ Error Marathon, especially given the finish line they’ve set for themselves. (By the way, I will state the obvious here, that this satirical image is the only photo that has been “photoshopped” in this TJMK post)]
In the Forward to their limited market book, Preston kicks off the marathon, asserting first of all that Perugia is surrounded by … the hills of Tuscany (“In der schoenen alten Stadt Perugia, umgeben von del Huegeln der Toskana”). Where’s a smiley when you need one? To all readers of this post, I ask you that we keep the secret, and let Preston and Spezi figure out by themselves what’s wrong with their statement. I guess the Duo were in a hurry to get the book to market.
Slightly further down the same first page, Preston falsely asserts that the Prosecutor Office (“Staatanwaltschaft”), understood to be Mignini, called a triumphant press conference where “case closed” was victoriously declared to the microphones of the Press.
Of course, neither Mignini nor any other prosecutor held such a press conference, nor was he present at any other press conferences at that time. My only explanation for this error by Preston is that he is so obsessed to assign just any supposed bad behavior to Mignini that he sees visions of the prosecutor doing wrong and turns those visions into “True Story” words.
The problem with that explanation of “visions” is that it is how Amanda Knox justified her false accusation against Patrick Lumumba for murdering Meredith, and that false accusation got her three years in the Capanne Prison Spa.
Just another 4 lines below that, Preston claims that within those immediate days after the arrests, Prosecutor Mignini put forward a scenario of Satanic sexual rites for describing the human dynamics on the night of the crime (“das eine amerikanische Studentin namens Amanda Knox mit zwei anderen Personen in den Mord verwickelt sei, den die Staatsanwalt als eine Art sexuelles-satanisches Ritual unter Drogeneinfluss bezeichnete”).
Again, Preston got confused. Or, maybe he wrote exactly what he was wanting to write, even if it was wrong.
Let’s not leave Mario Spezi out of the Novelists’ Error Marathon. Spezi tries to keep up with Preston in the home stretch, in Chapter 1: when emphasizing how isolated he feels that Perugia is from the outside world, he describes Umbria as “the only Italian region that does not border with the sea”. Spezi must have had a football scholarship at school, because it seems that he forgot about Lombardia, Piemonte, Val d’Aosta and Trentino & South Tirol. These regions account for about a quarter of Italy’s population and include large cities such as Milan and Turin.
We’ve barely started looking at their Icy Eyes book, but we’ll leave a more exhaustive review for the future.
Maybe Preston and Spezi hope that the few German readers of the book (who may have received their copies as free review copies) won’t know or care. It’s possible that they won’t even finish the book.
Preston’s Weird “Truths” and Fumbling Propaganda – Technique #7: Apply Your Own Words to Others in Order to Distract from the Central Issue
Preston claims in The Slate article about pro-victim Internet posters: “Almost all the nasty comments about (Knox) follow a pattern. Even though she did nothing to them, they are all demanding her punishment.”
Personally, I don’t “demand Knox’s punishment”. Preston and the rest of FOA know that by now. What the pro-victim Internet posters want is for the Italian Justice system to be left to do its job, without any outside interference by a corporate, multimillion dollar public relations campaign, or – if we get to the point where Italy asks for Knox’s extradition – non-juridical or non-treaty political interventions to interrupt this normal administrative procedure.
Of course, those persons who are found guilty of sexually attacking and murdering Meredith should get the punishment that the Italian legal system foresees in such cases.
The pro-Knox camp has been outraged that Rudy Guede may be released from prison as early as 2014, insinuating that he has struck a deal to frame Knox. Any honest and informed opiner on this case would know that Rudy has only followed the well established legal and penitentiary procedures in Italy that apply to all convicts, and had Knox followed the fasttrack trial as he did, she also could have been looking at early freedom.
If the pro-Knox camp is so outraged that Guede may get free in 2014, I would suggest that they lobby that sentence reduction procedures be changed so that murder convicts serve their whole prison sentence. Somehow, I don’t think that the pro-Knox camp will undertake such lobbying.
Preston’s Weird “Truths” and Fumbling Propaganda – Technique #8: Don’t be transparent or precise
Preston describes in his Pamphlet how in 2000 he moved to Italy with his family and soon after became fascinated with the Monster of Florence serial killings case and teamed up with journalist Mario Spezi to investigate the case and write a book.
“Giuliano Mignini did not like our investigation”, he states as the start of a series of supposed abuses they suffered at the hands of the prosecutor.
Maybe Preston should state that after moving to Italy in 2000, he didn’t meet Spezi until 2001, and up until 2004, over the course of three years, it seems he drank a lot of coffee with Spezi, drove to a couple of the decades old Monster crime sites in the country roads around Florence, spoke to the mother of one of the victims, kept a scrap book of what the real, active reporters on the case were doing … and not much more.
Only after almost four years following his arrival in Italy, does it seem that Preston’s active “investigation” suddenly started and kicked into high gear in January of 2004 when Spezi’s friend Francesco Calamandrei, the pharmacist of San Casciano, was drawn into the Monster of Florence investigation. Spezi woke up on the Monster case, did an interview with Calamandrei, and got it published in La Nazione within 24 hours on 23 January 2013. Without mentioning that he was a friend of Calamandrei.
It should be noted that the prosecutor who ordered this “wake-up call” for Spezi wasn’t Prosecutor Mignini from Perugia, but rather Prosecutor Paolo Canessa from Florence, the central prosecutor for the Monster of Florence case.
Preston’s rewriting of history and intertwining fiction and half-truths related to the Monster of Florence case and fiction and half-truths related to Meredith Kercher’s murder in Perugia has brought him time and time again to present Mignini as the key figure in the Monster of Florence case:
Mignini theorised that this satanic cult consisted of powerful people – noblemen, pharmacists, journalists and freemasons – who ordered the Monster killings because they needed female body parts to use as the blasphemous wafer in their black masses. Putting himself in charge of the investigation, Mignini became so obsessed that he crossed the line of legality, wiretapping journalists and conducting illegal investigations of newspapers. (Source: The Guardian)
(It should be said that Preston really should clean up his old message, and tell readers that any and all abuse of office accusations against Mignini were thrown out: he has neither been found, nor now even been accused of any wrongdoing in relation to the Monster of Florence case - quite the opposite, the rogue Florentine prosecutor who initiated the cancelled proceedings against Mignini may have some questions to answer).
Again, Preston’s own words belie his transformation of Prosecutor Mignini. Remember that before Meredith’s murder, Preston’s Bad Guy with satanic theories wasn’t Mignini, but Police Inspector Michele Giuttari.
You can imagine that had Mignini not been the prosecutor of Meredith’s murder case, but Giuttari had been involved in the police investigation into Meredith’s murder, that Preston and Spezi could have saved their whole effort in demonizing Mignini, because they were already halfway there with Giuttari.
Why did Spezi and Preston suddenly get on the case and start sculpting their Monster of Florence tale in early 2004 following Calamandrei getting caught up in the police investigation? I would love to know.
Why did they apply a pre-existing Monster of Florence theory developed by English fiction writer Magdalen Nabb many years before?
Nabb was referred to as “Ethel”, a Belgian writer, in the Italian version of Spezi and Preston’s tale, while Nabb was still alive. Preston simply eliminated Nabb completely by the time they translated and published the tale in English, after Nabb’s death. In an eerie and weird manner, some of the years-old Nabb-Spezi, Master-Apprentice conversations in the Italian version of MoF seem to be transformed into current Spezi-Preston Master-Apprentice conversations in the English version of their “True Story” tale, almost as if they took on her personality.
I guess they weren’t too worried about presenting as their own, current “investigation”, ideas and theories (correct or not) that had been floating around for a decade and developed by other – now unacknowledged - much better writers.
[Image above: In Preston’s and Spezi’s English language book The Monster of Perugia they morphed English author Magdalen Nabb’s Carabinieri contacts, as well as Nabb’s theories and conversations concerning the MoF into their own, with neither direct nor indirect recognition of Nabb’s existence, nor her work done nearly 10 years earlier. Maybe they felt that since she had passed away, the world wouldn’t notice their intellectual theft.]
Preston’s Weird “Truths” and Fumbling Propaganda – Technique #9: Use corporate media as a means to legitimize false claims
The CPJ’s false and unverified accusation against Mignini for supposedly sending a goon squad to beat up the Perugian blogger is exactly the sort of feed that the Friends of Amanda and the Gogerty&Marriott corporate PR campaigns needed. These groups repeated the invented injustice wherever they could within the ongoing campaign.
That’s where we find a link between the PR campaign and the “mainstream” American media and showmen. If you Google “Doug Longhini” and go to the CBS News site associated with him, you’re not quite sure at first glance if he’s an ethical traditional journalist, a “point-of-view” journalist, a CBS producer, or an external businessman. What is clear is that it seems that most of whatever it is that he does at CBS is dedicated to Amanda Knox and, in second place, in general the crime in Perugia.
However, when you start reading some of his articles or news reports, like the one below, you realize that he’s not a traditional journalist who checks his facts and tries to get all angles on a news story.
I used to be impressed with the effort that went into the 48 Hours type of investigative programs. Not any more. Describing “Frank” Sforca/Sforza/Sfarzo as an “independent journalist” when this pro-Knox blogger acted as the logistics manager for the Knox-Mellas clan in Perugia, including organizing photo shoots for the daughters, stayed with the Knox-Mellas family a couple of months in Seattle, and was the beneficiary of ongoing funding from pro-Knox circles even after he was a no-show for his latest court session last December in Seattle, is stretching the definition of “independent”.
This Longhini article almost reads as if Douglas Preston had written it … I would have hoped that Longhini might have made some reference to his sources for his description of “Frank” being handcuffed and beaten, or that Longhini would have looked into the true reports of “Frank” being arrested, not on orders of Mignini, but simply because he bit a police officer who was responding to a domestic violence complaint.
Doug Preston is no stranger to Longhini’s CBS 48 Hours pro-Knox shows, having appeared together with another shared acquaintance, a certain Paul Ciolino. Paul’s role in the Knox CBS shows was supposed to be the implacable investigator who knows the truth that the Italian authorities want to hide.
However, Ciolino’s on-screen antics for many viewers are in detriment to the argument he tries to make.
For example, what serious television detective in the world, not speaking the local language, would go calling at the door of unsuspecting murder witnesses at nighttime, vehemently exhorting them to reply to questions? Paul did:
Where does this leave the state of modern megamedia journalism in America? It has been transformed into entertainment, into a vaudeville show. The confirmation comes in Paul Ciolino’s own self-advertising:
The only thing missing is Liza Minnelli singing “Cabaret” in her black stockings.
Back in America, Preston’s friend Ciolino smears the good name of Signora Nara Capezzali, the elderly lady who he tried to interview under the cloak of darkness (if he really needed to interview her, couldn’t he have arranged to meet her through prior arrangement, during the daytime?):
After describing Prosecutor Mignini as a “convicted felon”, Paul Ciolino speaks of Signora Capezzali at the 1h42’47” mark of a Seattle University pro-Knox forum on 4 April 2011: “The crazy woman (Capezzali) who had ... I don’t think she ... did she ever testify? They never did bring her in because she is crazy.” (Source: Seattle University FOA panel video.) Ciolino’s speech was notable if only for the almost complete absence of any truths.
In fact, yes, Signora Capezzali did testify in court in Knox’s and Sollecito’s murder trial, two years earlier in March 2009 (Source ABC News ). It’s not necessary to add that in spite of Ciolino’s vaudeville show affirmations, witness Signora Capezzali is not crazy.
My Concluding Suggestions
1. To Joel Simon, the director of the Committee to Protect Journalists:
Rather than doing false posts that are never retracted or corrected about benign regional Italian prosecutors in Italy, the CPJ should realize that there is a much, much greater, real and true threat to journalists and journalism due to the transformation of the profession in America into a concentration of commercial enterprises with links to lobbying groups, who use vaudeville-style “entertainers” to wake up murder witnesses in the dark of night and then publicly call them “crazy”.
Mr. Simon, really, it’s time for you to implement some governance in your organization. Here are some common sense suggestions that I humbly submit:
- 1) Don’t allow your financial benefactors to be part of the cases that you take special interest in, except with independent review of your analysis and claims.
2) If you’re a journalism organization, follow basic journalistic ethics by checking your facts and contrasting allegations, especially when you are making claims that seriously affect the reputations of persons.
3) When you realize that you have made a terrible mistake and have falsely accused someone of sending a goon squad to beat up someone else, then be man enough to admit it and correct your false accusation. Start now and apologise to Prosecutor Mignini for the slanderous gift you made to Amanda Knox PR campaign.
4) Take some time as a collective representative organization, to consider and reconsider whom you represent and why … are self-described “point-of-view journalists” (lobbyists) part of the body of professionals you wish to represent? Will they cause you a conflict of professional or moral interest at any point? Do you want these people giving money to your organization?
2. To Douglas Preston, an amateur crime fighter obviously out of his league.
My impression from what we’ve seen is that your attempts at playing in the big lobbying leagues have all ended up with pie in your face, or a “kick-me, I’m stupid” yellow Post-It on your back:
- 1) As we have seen in this post, ethical, traditional journalism gives way in your recent The Slate post and Kindle 99 cent pamphlet, to obvious and ineffective pro-Knox lobbying. In my opinion, the propagandistic shots you’ve fired have neither been convincing nor contain real, true facts unfettered from insinuation and half-truths and falsehoods.I
2) In prior TJMK posts, we’ve seen how you have told two completely different beginnings to your Monster of Florence tale, complete with quoting different persons at different times in different places. You have ended the story with a confusion of errors and falsehoods. See my posts on this here and here.
3) It seems you’re famous in Italian judiciary circles for having lost control of your sphincter in your questioning in Perugia years ago. Is that one of the reasons you’re so mad at Prosecutor Mignini and say just about anything about him, regardless if the message to your readers is true?
4) Like Fredo, you were always the last member of the gang to find out what was going on. Your supposed “5 year” investigation with Spezi into the Monster of Florence seems more like a rehash of old theories developed by others, done in a short period of time by Spezi only from 2004 onward (notwithstanding your scrapbook of other reporters’ work), who would inform you at the last minute of his larvae studies, his TV appearances, or of his “A-Team” investigative squad comprising an ex-con and an ex-cop, who you realized existed only when their months of work had finished.
Fumbling Fredo’s handlers in The Godfather realized the terrible damage he was doing to the Corleone Family’s interests. Is Preston damaging the true, long-term interests of Amanda Knox?
What about his other interests, in the Monster of Florence case … is he truly aware of all of the interests in that case, beyond his own – repeatedly voiced – hope of seeing George Clooney play Preston?
Archived in Reporting on the case, V bad reporting, Francesco Sforza, More of the same
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Saturday, March 23, 2013
The Hellmann-Zanetti Appeal Court’s DNA Consultancy Looks Even Worse In Face Of The Latest Science
Posted by Fly By Night
[Above: images of typical modern analysis DNA facilities similar to Dr Stefanoni’s in Rome]
The Galati appeal to Cassation comes down very strongly against the work and conclusions of the appeal court’s DNA consultants Vecchiotti and Conti.
Dr. Galati argues that the consultancy should never have happened at appeal level, that its methods were slipshod and out of date, that its conclusions were mainly innuendo that left the prosecution case untouched, and that the consultants should not have refused to test a remaining sample from the large knife collected at Sollecito’s place.
In July 2011, about the midpoint of the appeal trial, I took strong issue with the C&V science and essentially mirrored in advance what Dr. Galati would argue to Cassation nearly a year later. Many other TJMK posters including our legal posters James Raper and Cardiol took issue with legal and other aspects.
With a Supreme Court ruling on the 2nd level (first appeal level) outcome scheduled for early next week, it’s the perfect time to re-examine the role of DNA in that outcome against the latest science. I want to include some excellent observations from our contributing poster “Thoughtful” as expressed in her recently published book Math on Trial.
I’ll start off with an overview of the science of DNA analysis and describe recent developments in analysis approaches, techniques and capabilities. Incidentally, one of my resources for this information is a chapter in “DNA Electrophoresis Protocols for Forensic Genetics” published shortly after the Hellmann verdict for the first appeal (circa early 2012); a chapter in which Carla Vecchiotti is cited as providing technical assistance.
Given Vecchiotti’s involvement in recent academic publications we can be certain that at the time of the Hellmann verdict Vecchiotti was well aware of the rapidly evolving and improving nature of DNA testing procedures and capabilities. And in contrast to her courtroom allegations that Dr. Stefanoni had not followed “internationally established forensic science standards” in her DNA analysis techniques, Vecchiotti has recently contributed to sources claiming that today’s critical challenge is to develop general guidelines for DNA evaluation and promulgate clear and universal laboratory practices while recognizing that a multitude of labs exist, each with its own specific protocols and personnel.
We will return to the Conti-Vecchiotti report shortly, but first let’s have a quick look at the history and state-of-the-art of DNA analysis.
Brief History of DNA Testing
The literature reveals that the USA has never been at the forefront of forensic DNA analysis. The first court cases to successfully employ DNA “fingerprinting” techniques occurred in England during the mid 1980s. A case involving a double rape/homicide of teenage girls in 1986 turned out to be prophetic in that it involved the first use of DNA to exonerate an innocent suspect and also was the first to apply DNA “databases”, issues which still give rise to disputes nearly 30 years later.
Over time, a variety of procedures were developed to extract DNA from biological samples but all worked on the same basic principle of breaching individual cell walls, removing the protein surrounding the DNA, isolating the DNA, and finishing with the purification and quantification of the DNA.
An important milestone in DNA fingerprinting was the development of the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) in 1985. The PCR quickly became an important analytical method for forensic samples because of its sensitivity, specificity, rapid analysis, and ease of automation. PCR amplification technology permitted the analysis of forensic samples with low quantities (less than 1 ng) of extracted DNA, unlike earlier methods that required at least 50 ng.
While PCR was far more sensitive than earlier procedures, problems with mixed DNA samples and DNA degradation led to the use of genetic markers known as Short Tandem Repeats (STR). STR analyses were fast and reactions could be multiplexed permitting multiple loci to be amplified in a single run.
In 1997 the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Laboratory in the USA launched an effort to establish a set of 13 core STR loci for use within a national DNA database known as CODIS (Combined DNA Index System). Similar sets of STR markers had already been selected by the European Union and elsewhere but, in general, a DNA profile obtained using 12 or more STR loci was found to yield a composite genotype frequency of less than 1 in a quadrillion. This high degree of accuracy results from the hereditary nature of STR distribution and enables a very powerful method for biological identifications.
STR typing of extracted DNA has traditionally been very sensitive to the quantity of input DNA with ideal levels ranging from 0.5 to 2 ng. Either too little or too much DNA could produce imbalanced amplification results resulting in incomprehensible outcomes. The STR process is further complicated by “stutter” in the interpretation of multiple contributor DNA samples. Stutter is an artifact of the PCR process that produces “false alleles” one repeat shorter than a primary allele.
In recent years DNA analysis techniques have evolved rapidly as equipment manufacturers upgrade STR systems to tolerate even the smallest of samples and samples that have been highly degraded. The improved sensitivity of today’s STR kits along with the development of new strategies for the amplification of low levels of DNA now allows samples which previously could not be analyzed to produce viable results.
Low-level DNA samples often contain mixtures of DNA, which has complicated the detection and interpretation process due to stochastic sampling effects that include peak imbalance, enhanced stutter, allele loss (allele drop-out), and un-attributable alleles (allele drop-in). With this in mind, strict guidelines have been developed including a careful determination of analytical thresholds and the use of replicate analyses in a profile to properly interpret low-level mixed-DNA samples. More importantly, new analytical techniques such as laser micro-dissection and fluorescence in-situ hybridization have been developed enabling the identification, capture, and amplification of DNA from individual cells prior to “electrophoresis”, eliminating the problem of mixed profiles altogether.
In addition to today’s far more precise DNA analysis machines and methods there are also compelling arguments for the use of statistical or probabilistic models within the DNA analysis process to augment traditional “consensus allele” electropherogram evaluation approaches. In short, the efforts of both scientists and statisticians are now creating powerful next generation approaches to DNA analyses as we progress through a second decade of highly successful STR typing methodologies.
Logic and Science on Trial
In my 2011 report I challenged Carla Vecchiotti’s contention that Dr. Stefanoni had not followed “internationally established forensic science standards” in her DNA analysis techniques. Vecchiotti herself has conceded to the challenge through her contributions to publications that clearly describe a need to develop generally accepted guidelines for DNA evaluation and to create clear and universal laboratory practices that can be accepted by the diverse population of analytical labs currently operating under divergent operational protocols, all under the direction of professional and expert personnel.
In her excellent and recently published Math on Trial book, contributing poster “Thoughtful” accurately describes how DNA analysis expert Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni proceeded in her laboratory analysis of a small DNA sample found on the blade of a knife confiscated from Raffaele Sollecito’s apartment. Not having what she felt was a sufficient sample to divide for replication of her analysis Dr. Stefanoni took the chance of running her entire sample in a single run.
As is typical of all DNA analyses, Stefanoni proceeded to amplify the results to a point where an electropherogram would reveal meaningful “peaks” and found that a resultant 13 pairs of peaks corresponded precisely to peaks derived from a known sample of Meredith Kercher’s DNA!
In this case it is pointless to attempt to argue that Stefanoni somehow exceeded the amplification limits of her equipment. As outlined in the DNA discussion above, the typical problems associated with an amplification of low levels of DNA are related to peak imbalances, enhanced stutter, allele drop-outs, or allele drop-ins. In this case there was nothing but a perfect match for Meredith that even Carla Vecchiotti and Stefano Conti could not deny in court.
Stefanoni had clearly identified an identical match for Meredith’s DNA on the blade of Sollecito’s kitchen knife, leaving Vecchiotti and Conti no other option than to argue for “contamination” in court. However, it was convincingly demonstrated by Stefanoni and all evidence handlers that from knife collection through laboratory analysis no reasonable opportunity for contamination with Meredith’s DNA existed.
In the first appeal trial, Judge Hellmann was thus presented with exceptionally compelling evidence that Meredith’s DNA was in fact found on the alleged murder weapon that had been confiscated from Raffaele Sollecito’s apartment. Astonishingly, Hellmann rejected this evidence on an expressed assumption of non-compliance with testing techniques established by international scientific community standards; compliance standards that Vecchioti herself admits do not exist via recent academic and scientific publications as discussed above.
As “Thoughtful” carefully explains in Math on Trial, Hellmann’s faulty reasoning in excluding the knife evidence did not end there. Hellmann provided Vecchiotti and Conti with an opportunity to retest any remaining DNA on the knife if they felt it was warranted. Vecchiotti and Conti declined to perform any retests on the basis that that only a few cells might still exist on the knife, thus invalidating any potential results according to a false assumption that “international testing standards” somehow prohibited such low-level DNA tests even though, as outlined in the DNA discussion above, single-cell DNA analysis had at that time already become an acceptable possibility and Vecchiotti knew it.
Hellmann, however, accepted Vecchiotti and Conti’s reasoning by essentially stating that repeating an “invalid” DNA analysis procedure twice can do nothing towards resolving a DNA identification problem because two wrongs do not make a right. In Math on Trial, “Thoughtful” artfully explains the complete failure of logic of Hellmann’s line of reasoning. Hellmann claims that running an experiment independently two separate times and obtaining the same result each time can do absolutely nothing towards increasing the assurance of reliability for an event.
However, “Thoughtful” describes how successfully repeating Stefanoni’s low-level DNA analysis technique could easily carry a probabilistic result from a “not beyond a reasonable doubt” percentage range to a highly convincing 98.5% or higher probability. “Thoughtful’s” arguments in Math on Trial are completely in line with today’s efforts to embed statistical and probabilistic models within the DNA analysis process for a much higher precision and accuracy standard.
In 2011 I concluded that Vecchiotti and Conti’s expert report findings actually boiled down to two primary debates: (1) Issues surrounding the small sample (Low Copy Number – LCN) DNA analysis techniques employed by Dr. Stefanoni, and (2) Issues surrounding the probability of excluding all possible sources of contamination from the evidence.
In 2013, on the eve of the Court of Cassation ruling on the first appeal outcomes of the Meredith Kercher murder trial, it appears to me that all issues related to DNA analysis and contamination have been powerfully addressed by both the prosecution and “best available science” considerations.
The errors in Judge Hellmann’s logic and reasoning that set Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito free have been shown to be plentiful and astounding, as evidenced by the few DNA related examples that have been examined in this report. In light of all of the above and the powerful legal arguments raised by the Galati appeal to Cassation, it seems that there can be no other option than to send this appeal outcome back for a thorough lower court re-evaluation.
Archived in Public evidence, DNA and luminol, The two knives, Appeals 2009-2015, Hellmann critiques, Leading pompous frauds, More of the same
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Saturday, January 05, 2013
We Mean You No Harm. Please Take Us To Your Leaders… Oh Yes, But Of Course…
Posted by Kermit
- Scammer Number One is physically absent without officlal leave. He may be hiding out in or near Perugia, probably broke and without a good lawyer as his lawyer walked off the job, facing court dates starting later this month and possible imprisonment in two countries and now also a further defamation suit - he in effect already lost one defamation suit last year when a court ordered Google to take down a site it hosted for him for all the defamation it had contained.
- Scammer Number Two is also physically absent without official leave, and may be hiding out in or near Verona, attempting on Facebook to make out that he is free and relaxed as a bird after nipping across to Manhattan for the New Year. Also that he is and always was loyal as hell to Amanda (give us a break) and that the devastating prosecution appeal and the devastating row of defamation suits about to hit him and his publisher and team sparked by his overheated book dont bother him or his dad a bit.
- Scammer Number Three is mentally absent without official leave. He is to be found squealing and blubbering these days in the stock-room of a fur-store on the north-west outskirts of Chicago, running low on new people to blame, his money-grubbing scams now publicly revealed for the toxic dishonesties on which they were based, his obergruppenführer presence on his internet boards despised now by many who had once gone along with his act, with the biggest defamation target of all on his own back as his vitriolic personal rants still populate the web, and with no Curt Knox or other deep-pockets any longer on his side.
First, here is an understanding word or two for the FOA sheep.
Dear sheep. Of course we dont mean to be unkind or unsympathetic in implying that the broad body of your movement which was elevating these three to gods in their own minds were simply sheep. Many FOA seem to us to be very nice and very well-meaning, if maybe a tad naive. The jaw-dropping revelations of the sums of money that you have been shelling out suggests that the myths you had been made to swallow had stirred your kind hearts to the core.
As a way of disengaging from the flock, and to fill the deliberate vacuum of hard facts, we would highly recommend that you now read all these posts and especially all of these posts here. Our strongest advice to any ex-sheep would definitely be this.
Don’t shell our any more of your hard-earned cash to those three imposters listed here at the top. They all face suits now for going way too far. Dont get mixed up in that.
Okay. Back to Number One.
We are told that Frank may not even have made it to the viza section of the American Embassy in Rome. But let’s say it were true that Frank actually made it across the Atlantic and he showed up at the international arrivals zone of an American airport hours before his date with American justice last December 31.
Then any honest attempt to justify Frank’s non-appearance in court would take into account that Frank knew he wasn’t coming as a tourist, and that as someone with an arrest record (and seemingly having way overstayed a prior visa waiver for a visit limited to 90 days), he would have lots of paperwork to request a visa.
Yet, going back to the end of November when he was being released on bail from the Seattle jail , Frank and his pro-Knox handlers were in a huge hurry to hustle him out of the country following his latest arrest and questioning by police for domestic violence incidents, probably knowing that this might affect whether he could return.
The world waits for some coherent and direct explanations from this cornerstone of the public image defence of Amanda Knox.
Meanwhile, there’s absolute silence from Knox’s corporate PR firm Gogerty Marriott who continue to use the Knox contract as a showcase example of how successfully they work (they are joking, right?).
Many public figures and sheeples have been photographing themselves with Frank over the months presuming that he was in the US on a tourist visa for goodwill. Meanwhile, he was carrying on what the Committee to Protect Journalists has insisted is his money-making and therefore taxable profession, and also earning at the same time “donated” income and gifts maybe up into the tens of thousands of dollars.
Mr Taxman please note.
Meanwhile, the vacuum left by Frank, a god in his own mind in the woven fabric of the Knox PR image, is turning that fabric into tatters. Someone will have to tie up the loose ends, and in particular give an explanation on where Frank’s absence leaves the very serious accusations of improper and abusive treatment by Prosecutor Mignini and the Flying Squad (neither were involved in his arrest).
Those false accusations all stem from Frank and Doug Preston and similar accusations of abuse are the main components of just about every explanations for Knox’s many conflicting alibis and her bizarre reactions to Italian investigators following the murder of Knox’s roommate Meredith Kercher.
As you may know, Frank claimed to have been beaten up by officers of the Flying Squad beholden to the “rogue” Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini because Mr Mignini was allegedly sufficiently upset by “Frank’s” many blog posts in favour of Knox to have sent his henchmen over to Frank’s house.
After promoting this fiction for months and now years, even many pro-Knox commenters are admitting bashfully that in fact the person who complained to Italian police about abuse by “Frank” was actually a female family member in his own home.
Mr Mignini was NOT involved, the Flying Squad was NOT involved, Frank was NOT beaten up (the wounds in evidence were on the cops) and he was NOT taken to a hospital to have him certified as mad. One big body of lies.
This line of physical abuse and malicious fabrications after the fact certainly fit with Frank’s more recent episodes of being arrested and/or questioned for complaints of domestic violence in Canada, Hawaii, and, now, Seattle. Looks like, by his own hand, Frank is finally cooked.
More news in future posts about Scammers Two and Three.
Archived in Knox-Mellas team, Sollecito team, Francesco Sforza, Steve Moore, Bruce Fischer, More of the same
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Tuesday, January 01, 2013
Might Frank Sforza Already De Facto Be Banned From Ever Reentering The United States?
Posted by Kermit
If the disastrous last few hours of 2012 are any indication, 2013 will be a nightmare year for the Amanda Knox PR campaign and their associated income streams.
As regards the latter, with Knox’s memoirs book set for going on sale next April, there will have to be some serious rewriting or respinning if any mention is made of her family’s stalwart friend and logistics handler in Perugia. The man of many aliases, amongst which is his blogging name of “Frank Sfarzo”.
“Sfarzo” (real name Sforza) did not show up yesterday – New Year’s Eve 2012 - in court in Seattle for his preliminary hearing for a double charge of Assault 4-Domestic Violence related to his latest arrest associated with violence (domestic violence or against law enforcement officers) in different countries and continents.
Already the few remaining “Friends of Amanda” spinners on Bruce Fischer’s TrashForCashVictimsAnywhere forum not yet chilled by his escalating legal comeuppance are desperately justifying “Frank’s” bouts with domestic violence arrests as being the fault of the alleged victims.
One of the victims, Peter H in Canada, who had trustingly contributed to Sforza a very large sum, has now said “enough is enough” and bit the bullet in terms of personal embarrassment and posted a highly abusive and dishonest email from Sforza which passes for truth in his pathological world.
This is reposted with thanks from PerugiaMurderFile.net and deep appreciation to Peter H.
Yes, unlike you, abandoned and avoided like pest by everyone, I’m having fun. And anyway it’s not your business if I’m having fun or not, since the idea of you making my business makes me puke, as everyone who looks at you can only be disgusted by your scary appearances and, if they know you, even more by your person.
You are a zero, in BC nobody knows you, you never produced anything in your life, you just live out of a disability check, you have no money, you save on the electricity, you calculate how much water your victims, who accept to reach you in that barn, consume.
Your “friend” Bill Gates doesn’t have any idea who you are as well as your other “friend” Steve Jobs didn’t.
It’s only your imagination of mythomanic, paranoid, perverted, drunkard, old fool, as you rightly define yourself.
You are a disturbance for every one who has the bad luck to come across you, or who falls in the traps in which you attract them. You harassed Betttina, you harassed me, you are violent, dangerous, you have hallucinations because you are crazy, you are a snitch and a slanderer at once, you called the police at 4am while I was in bed telling them that I had stolen your wallet and cellphone. And that’s in the records of the police of BC. You were so clever to call the police after having made crimes against me, exactly as the other drunkard did. That’s the proof that you are stupid. You are so stupid you are not even able to make up an accusations against your victims. How can someone who has to stay in your house steal your cellphone and wallet, what does he do with your cellphone and your wallet if he’s staying in your house out of the world?
Uh? What? You don’t understand? If you were able to understand you would have produced something in your life, you would have someone close to you instead of having to pay people to get there.
Old disgusting drunkard and fool, remove immediately all my contact information from your email and cellphones. Remove within 48 hours the emails to me or from me you have been publishing online (because you are a nobody mythomaniac who wanted to show to the world that you were my friend). I never authorize you to publish my emails,I told you that you could post them only on the private discussion of IIP, where there are my friends, not on the public one. Remove those emails withing 48 hours or I’m gonna sue you. Never contact me again. You can’t answer this email, you can’t talk about me or say anything about my person with anyone. Next email or any attempt of communication in any form from you towards me will be evidence of your further disturbance to me, I’ll pass the border and I’ll report you to the police, who luckily know you very well.
We checked and Sforza’s malicious description of Peter H is not remotely akin to the truth. Many others can testify that, in terms of Sforza’s endless stream of threatening and abusive emails, that one is very much par for the course. Could Michael Heavey be next?
No wonder more and more one-time supporters of “Frank” and the Bruce Fischer forum TrashForCashVictimsAnywhere and in general the Amanda Knox cause are becoming more and more revolted with an immoral and borderline illegal campaign.
On New Year’s Eve, “Frank’s” Seattle court appointed lawyer initially tried – do give her credit – to arrange a week’s delay in the hearing, alleging “customs” problems that “Frank” was said to be suffering. However, Judge Ed Mckenna probably believed that with a month to prepare for any such problems, the blogger known as “Frank” should have foreseen them and been in court on schedule.
In reality, Frank likely had no problems with the American Customs. There are only three or four grounds. See the form below.
It is doubtful that even he would fly to the US for a domestic violence preliminary hearing and at the same time tried to introduce those prohibited or restricted goods into the country. Given “Frank’s” dependence on other peoples’ earnings, it is unlikely he introduced excessive levels of cash into the US. It is unlikely he tried to introduce livestock, vegetables, or disease agents.
Instead of being allowed a week for Sforza to make it through Customs, the judge gave Sforza’s lawyer only three and a half hours delay in starting the proceedings against him on New Year’s Eve. However, by 1:30 p.m., she had to concede that she couldn’t ensure that Frank could be anywhere in particular at any particular time. She did not even know where he was.
As a result, Judge McKenna had no other option than as prosecution requested to issue a bench warrant for “Frank’s” arrest.
Click for a larger image. That shows that the Amanda Knox PR asset known as “Frank” is now officially wanted under an arrest warrant covering any jurisdiction in the United States. If spotted any police can arrest him on sight. Anyone with any information concerning his whereabouts may inform the nearest law enforcement agency.
However! He may still be in Italy, or he made already be in some other country, indeed even under cover in the United States. In fact, his personal Facebook page currently lists a visited location in the New York area, although given his track record of deception that may or may not be where he really is.
One is the basis on which “Frank”, a foreigner with a recent record of domestic violence arrests, could be released on bail last November following his arrest for attacking two housemates in Seattle.
Just as Amanda Knox was held in preventive prison in Italy to avoid her entourage of fulfilling their promise to get her out of prison and Italy in whatever possible way, why was “Frank” – a foreigner with arrest and legal issues growing around the world – allowed out on only $2,000 bail when it was very likely that what could happen has actually happened: he left the country and hasn’t returned on time for his court preliminary hearing in Seattle. Who facilitated this questionable decision to offer him bail in November?
Having left the country, both the judge who freed “Frank” on bail in November and “Frank” himself should have been more than aware that should “Frank” leave the country – exactly as he seems to have done hours after getting his bailed freedom in November - that he could have serious and lengthy paperwork to prepare should he want to return and face the American justice system?
A justice system that Fischer’s TrashForCashVictimsAnywhere and the Amanda Knox PR campaign has so often favourably compared to what they paint as a corrupt, abusive Italian justice system.
Entering the US if you have an arrest record – as is definitely the case of “Frank” – is difficult and requires much more extensive paperwork than simply filling out the ESTA VWP forms online like an average tourist. Anyone in “Frank’s” situation should have been responsible enough to identify potential problems in returning to the US to face his Domestic Violence charges …
- ...unless the entourage around him (I’m not referring to his court appointed lawyer) felt that in fact the best option of those available is to not have “Frank” go through a difficult trial that could further damage the Knox PR campaign and have a negative impact on upcoming sales of Knox’s memoir “tell all” book and her odds on appeal.
or unless the US Rome Embassy or Immigration decided (not at all for the first time) that it would be way cheaper and safer for everybody concerned to simply keep him out.
The final question is: where actually is “Frank”?
He has an upcoming trial in Italy for biting a police officer who responded to a domestic violence complaint phoned in by a female member of “Frank’s” own family. A prison term is a real possibility. He has an American arrest warrant issued against him. A prison term is a real possibility. He’s certainly not wanted back in Canada.
His attempted point of entry into the USA if there was one is not publicly know. He has not been seen publicly in Perugia for some weeks.
Archived in Other legal processes, Others elsewhere, The wider contexts, Seattle context, Knox-Mellas team, Francesco Sforza, More of the same
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Judge Ed McKenna Issues A Bench Warrant For The Arrest of Court No-Show Frank Sforza
Posted by Peter Quennell
Before the afternoon session began, Frank’s court appointed lawyer and the court bailiff informed interested parties that he would not be making an appearance. The KING5 cameraman decided to leave before hearing the adjudication. With court in session, the lawyer apologized to the judge for wasting the court’s time on her no-show client by requesting the half-day delay.
In the morning session the lawyer initially requested a one week delay due to Frank having “customs” problems, but could provide no further information for the court regarding Frank’s absence in the afternoon session. The judge was aware of Frank’s legal issues in Hawaii, but could find nothing in Frank’s record that would have prevented him from making it to court and therefore disregarded the claims of “customs issues”.
The judge was willing to entertain any additional excuses or suggestions on Frank’s behalf, but unfortunately there were no supporters to be found, leaving his lawyer to state, “I have no further suggestions, your honor.”
The judge then asked the prosecution for a recommended course of action. The response was, “issue a bench warrant for Mr. Sforca’s arrest”, and the judge agreed, issuing a bench warrant for Frank’s arrest on New Year’s Eve 2012.
Hmmm. Unfortunate that there was not even one supporter to be found…
Frank Sforza has apparently not been seen in Perugia either since his flight out of Seattle a month ago. He also failed to attend a court hearing in Perugia on his (more serious) resisting-arrest charge there.
If he fails to appear in court on the new date next month a Perugia judge is expected to issue a warrant for his arrest. Its is possible that he could be declared an international fugitive if there are more no-shows.
Oddly, Frank Sforza is apparently still sending out his trademark abusive emails to his former fans and financial helpers. Will that come to include Judge Heavey and Curt Knox?
Archived in Other legal processes, Others elsewhere, The wider contexts, Seattle context, Knox-Mellas team, Francesco Sforza, More of the same
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Wednesday, December 19, 2012
False Allegations Against Italian Officialdom Sparking Increasingly Tough Legal Reaction
Posted by The TJMK Main Posters
Maybe none of the above. But whoever came up with the hairbrained idea that a pedal-to-the-floor assault on the officlals handling the case would lead to a tranquil outcome for the accused was maybe not thinking very well on that day.
The Italian System
It is a very fair, carefiul and painstaking system, staffed by well-trained professionals all the way up from cops through investigators through prosecutors through judges through the Supreme Court to the President of the Italian Republic himself.
The Italian system may be the least likely justice system IN THE WORLD for rogue police or rogue prosecutors or rogue judges to hijack it and bend things their way. Even ex-PM Berlusconi tried but his charges still plague him.
Prosecutors again and again see their cases tested in front of administrative magistrates, and those magistrates make all of the decisions. Everything is very public, and judges explain how they decided (ask a typical US or UK jury to do that!) and how they arrived at their theory of the crime.
In the Perugia case the judge for Guede developed one theory of the crime, the judges for Knox and Sollecito at trial a second, and the the judges for knox and Sollecito at first appeal a third. In fact none of them swallowed the tentative prosecution theory wholesale, though many of our lawyers found it quite sound.
Those Who Attack
Now we have three Italians either already facing charges or soon to face charges - Mario Spezi, Frank Sforza and Raffaele Sollecito, each in several suits. These are in addition to the three Americans who have already been charged - Amanda Knox, Edda Mellas, and Curt Knox.
So the present total is six.
Spezi is the Italian sleuthing partner of the American fictionalist Doug Preston who for his uninvited interference in what was an ongoing police investigation of the Monster of Florence case has faced legal woe after legal woe in recent years.
Spezi has already lost one defamation suit to the former MOF investigator and prominent novelist Michele Giuttari, he must in February face another, and he may have to face up to another half dozen more after that. We don’t expect Spezi’s losing streak to end any time soon.
Sforza hides behind the name Frank Sfarzo as an intemperate and rarely accurate blogger on the case. He brings no known professionals skills to the task. He is reported to be the target of criminal charges relating to alleged abuse of the sister and mother with whom he lives. His unsavory reputation and desperate finances mushroomed openly the other day, when he was reported in personal confrontations while visiting Canada and Hawaii.
Sforza now faces a defamation suit as well, for claiming to the whole world via Doug Preston and Joel Simon of the Committee to Protect Journalists in New York that he was being persecuted by a prosecutor back in Perugia. The prosecutor was not even involved. Seems to us an open and shut case.
Sollecito still stands accused in Meredith’s death unless and until the Supreme Couirt signs off. It may not do that any time soon.
Flowing from his new book, Sollecito will apparently face a ton of defamation woes in the next few weeks. These may come to ensnare his defense team (who are credited with helping put together the book) and his shadow writer, his Seattle supporters, and his publishers Simon & Schuster of New York.
Our emerging book corrections page shows how riddled with wrong claims we find Sollecito’s book. We estimate up to 300 wrong claims. If and when Sollecito sees all the defamation charges filed, we will know from court filings who among Italian officialdom claims passages in the book defame them.
Maybe the cases against these six could eventually all dry up and then there will be no more. But we sure wouldn’t lay any bets. Do an Internet search and you’ll instantly turn up plenty more defamatory idiocy. Many media sites may be very vulnerable and may be sued to retract and pay up.
Italian anger is riding high - and it sure ain’t against the prosecutors or cops.
Archived in Other legal processes, Sollecito diffamazione, Knox diffamazione, Others Italian, Reporting on the case, The wider contexts, Knox book hoaxes, Sollecito book hoaxes, Knox-Mellas team, Sollecito team, Francesco Sforza, More of the same
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Saturday, November 17, 2012
Fervent Knox Supporter Tom Wright Seemingly Strongarms Knox High School Into “Honoring” Her
Posted by brmull
One thing is for sure. Not many schools - maybe none, ever - have accepted the creation of a scholarship to honor a convicted felon who, until the Supreme Court signs off, still stands accused of a very cruel crime.
Seattle Preparatory School is a fee-paying Jesuit Catholic school about a mile north of Seattle downtown, on the south side of Portage Bay from the main campus of the University of Washington. See Google Earth image at bottom. The school’s student role is estimated at around 650.
This announcement of a new scholarship in the name of Amanda Knox was recently published: “The fund, established by past parent [and co-founder of the advocacy group Friends of Amanda Knox] Tom Wright, will provide tuition assistance to students in need.”
Early in 2011 Tom Wright [seen reading a statement in a black shirt below] presided over a seriously loopy panel presentation at Seattle University, attended by a sparse crowd of about 35, which garbled all the hard evidence in the case and accused Italian officialdom of a number of crimes. See for example our reports here and here.
For him this is certainly a labor of passion, since Knox with her book advance has more than enough resources of her own to set up an endowment if she wished, though to date we have seen no indication that Knox has made any charitable donations. Tom Wright seeks to make it look noble.
Sara [his daughter] and Amanda were good friends at Prep… With this fund our family wants to honor the courage of Amanda and her family. They displayed great dignity and fortitude enduring a wrongful prosecution on foreign soil. During years of unjust incarceration, the school supported Amanda through prayers and letters of support. Prep acted in the Jesuit spirit by seeking social justice and helped to win a fight worth remembering.
According to the announcement applicants should demonstrate the same “moral courage, strength of character under duress and a sincere desire to help others in need” that was supposedly exhibited by Amanda Knox.
Claims of “wrongful prosecution” and “years of unjust incarceration” are way premature, and contradicted by all these posts here.
“Moral courage” means taking a risk in order to do what one believes is right. Put aside for a moment the overwhelming evidence that Knox did murder Meredith Kercher. To what instance of moral courage could the school possibly have been referring? We don’t have a clue.
“Strength of character under duress” is pretty much expected of any upstanding member of society. But if there’s one person to which it surely doesn’t apply, it’s someone who was convicted of falsely accusing her kind boss of murder and wrecking his business. Billions of people have a “sincere desire to help others in need.” What makes Knox notable here?
Why else might Knox have been deserving of a scholarship in her name? It’s often said that she was an “honor student” but we wonder why she wasn’t wearing any honor cords at her graduation while other students had them. Author and Knox innocence proponent Nina Burleigh wrote that she “almost flunked” a religion class and was made to take summer school.
Knox has also been described as a “star soccer player.” The team she played for, however, endured “four bleak, losing seasons” according to Nina Burleigh’s book.
A few teachers and students spoke up rather listlessly and doubtfully for Knox after she was arrested and put on trial. Several are believed to have said that they were really not too surprised to hear of the mess she was in.
Tom Wright seems to have been motivated above all by his desire to memorialize “a fight worth remembering.” As much as anything else, that fight consisted of himself and a small group of like-minded diehard parents appropriating the school’s good name and resources for the purpose of a nasty, bigoted, defamatory, strong-arming campaign which played fast and loose with the facts.
Dr Kent Hickey [image directly above] became president of Seattle Prep two years after Knox graduated. He didn’t know her at all, and he may not even have met her face to face before the school accepted a scholarship in her name. Nonetheless, he described her to the media as “a good and thoughtful girl”.
He defended the school’s decision to raise funds for her by saying “We can’t pick and choose the graduates we help.” Yet Seattle Prep DOES indeed pick and choose, all the time. The school routinely punishes and expels students for everything from minor insolence to felonies. We can’t find any other instance in which it has held fundraisers for any alum—let alone a convicted felon—despite 8,000 alums living in the Seattle area.
And so Seattle Prep parents and onlookers might be forgiven for thinking that Dr Hickey is grasping at straws to justify his school’s very strange action.
[Above: scholarship creator Tom Wright]
One angered parent commented on the PR campaign as follows in an excellent investigative report by James Ross Gardner in the local magazine Seattle Met late in 2010:
It is true some of the Seattle Prep families have allowed their students to support Amanda Knox. I do not believe that it is a 100%. A number of families have felt their students were pressured into supporting Knox without having a choice. That is not the Seattle Prep I knew from my years there as a student, nor is it what my husband experienced.
In our years as Prep students we were allowed choice rather than pressure. Because of the pressure, a number of family are not making their annual donations to Seattle Prep. I, for one, will be glad when the verdict in the appeal is handed down so perhaps we can all move past this event. Yes, event.
Seattle Prep has made it into an event and it takes away from the students discussing other news and issues. I do not wish Knox ill but my children did not go to school with her and do not know her. They have no idea if she is guilty. They are more worried about their close friend that is fighting cancer. It is time to un-focus on Knox. That’s just my opinion.
I went to Seattle Prep, and did a full year in Italy. I learned Italian and the culture and saw a lot of Americans and Italians from the South that studied in Central and Northern university towns go a little nuts with all the freedom away from home.
Since I started following this trial, I could totally see how immoral behavior could lead to Amanda doing what she was accused of doing. Drug use, jealous roommates, and illicit sex are not a good mix, especially when people need money to support such habits. Amanda seems to have a lobby of easily-swayed-by-propaganda lab rats who bought in to the PR agency story and don’t bother following the case in its entirety.
I do not know the background of the Seattle Prep Principal, but I think he is getting in way over his head by getting into this case, and as a prior poster mentioned, he is putting a lot of pressure on people to get on the pro-Amanda bandwagon. So sick to sway young students’ minds on what to think.
This sounds like our post-modern decaying American mentality of choosing sides and voicing misdirected-emotions in forming opinions. The Principal does not sound like a well educated, worldly individual to put the Academic Institution and its students, employees and graduates in the middle of this fiasco. It reeks of “We Support Our Troops,” military campaigns to coerce and intimidate people into believing in a “popular” movement.
It’s a cruel joke that needy students who are not in a position to turn down financial aid will be forced to associate themselves with Amanda Knox and an ignominious campaign of bigotry, defamation and intimidation.
It is to them and the real victims, Meredith and her family, that Seattle hearts should go out.
Archived in Those officially involved, The wider contexts, Seattle context, Amanda Knox, Knox-Mellas team, More of the same
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Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Amazingly, Wrong Facts And Defamations Of Italian Officialdom Show NO Sign Of Being Reigned In
Posted by devorah
The assumption made in standard cases is that the defendants are the clients, as it is their necks on the line, while the lawyers and any PR effort work at their command. In effect RS and AK would exercise all control, and courts would hold them responsible for what they did or should have controlled.
In unusual contrast, here we have a situation where it seems like a bunch of clowns is driving the bus.
The hard facts of the forthcoming Supreme Court appeal and the legal strength of the prosecution team seem to be absolutely damning, while the two defendants and/or their surrogates are out there in high profile playing a childish “catch me if you can” game.
Then read TJMK’s recent posts (scroll down) on Sollecito and the frenetic promotion of his bizarre book. And TJMK’s dissection (not yet complete) of its several hundred faults and 20-plus serious defamations.
Then Google the recent confused and nasty utterings on Knox’s and Sollecito’s behalf (very unwisely tacitly endorsed or unconstrained by either AK or RS) by Saul Kassin, Seth Chandler, Michael Heavey, Doug Preston, Michele Moore, David Anderson, Nigel Scott, and on and on.
Fortunately the media websites allowing anonymous drive-by hatchet jobs under their reporting seems to have dwindled sharply, and are now more or less confined to the hapless low-traffic Ground Report and occasionally the Huffington Post.
Perhaps in consequence, the nasty wildly inaccurate drive-by hatchet jobs in the book reviews on the Amazon website and their reader comments continue to mount up more than ever.
I want to use as an example of this trend the furious comments below this one-star book review of Raffaele Sollecito’s book on Amazon.
The many passages I have put in bold highlight the claims that we here and officialdom in Perugia have long KNOWN to be inaccurate and often defamatory.
This series of comments displays perfectly the nasty and bullying strategy, circular arguments, and wrong facts that the anonymous supporters of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito still deploy, to ensure that their PR points get across and drown out alternative viewpoints.
The strategy of the Solllecito-Knox hit team here at work seems to be as follows:
- 1. Numerous people register anonymously and review ONLY Sollecito’s book or ONLY books about the Meredith Kercher case. These people have no other online presence on Amazon and are obviously deeply immersed in the case as they review books only about it (a more sinister explanation is that these are mostly fake reviewers posting shill reviews under different aliases).
2. They post numerous positive reviews about the slanted pro-defense books.
3. They post numerous negative reviews about the objective pro-prosecution books. For example, John Kercher’s book about his murdered daughter has numerous 1- and 2-star reviews. They were written by individuals who reviewed ONLY books on this case and who gave 5-star reviews to pro-defense books.
4. They respond to opposing viewpoints with hostile and intimidating taunts, threats, ridicule and name calling (in the Amazon thread I linked to above, you can see that those who deviate from the story that Knox and Sollecito are innocent and post alternative viewpoints have actually been called lunatics, idiots and perverts).
5. They repeat known lies and mistruths as though they are facts, using the Knox team’s PR talking points. For example, “there is ZERO evidence in this case” and “there was absolutely NO DNA evidence linking Knox or Sollecito to the crime.”
6. When someone responds with facts to the contrary and links to the evidence, they are bullied, called names, or derisively dismissed.
7. Eventually, when trying to win the argument by logic alone fails, they may finally report their opposers to Amazon so that un unknowing Amazon blocks them from making further comments in the book reviews.
Is this working? I think not. Especlally in Italy but also in the US and UK, there is a growing pool out there that is no longer fooled.
On media sites below stories, the level of skepticism is generally very high these days. After all, the truth “got” to Katie Couric and the guests on Jane Velez Mitchell’s show, so Sollecito’s book at least got poor promotion.
Legal commenters and professional reporters like Wendy Murphy, Nancy Grace, Barbie Nadeau and John Follain have all hinted or outright stated that Knox and Sollecito just might have blood on their hands.
Could that be why the campaign has turned to Amazon.com book reviews penned only by people with brand new screen names?
Knox and Sollecito’s supporters must be worried about the extremely strong appeal case the prosecution is moving forward with. Currently, the defense has NO lawyers publicly saying they were framed and NO good experts going public any more.
While their hotheaded surrogates are still out there (see above!) Knox is out of sight and Sollecito probably is too now. Also the Sollecito book is proving a considerable millstone around their own necks as it is so riddled with wrong facts and obvious calunnia.
Two of Sollecito’s key claims have already been denounced on Italian national TV by Sollecito’s own father and his lawyers. Objectively it looks like they are in a heap of trouble.
Please read the review linked to above to see some of Knox and Sollecito’s most strident supporters in action. Want to fight back? Respond back if you wish, write your own book reviews, and direct people to TJMK and PMF, and to the Massei Report and other factual sources of information. Tweeting would be especially helpful.
And do make sure that people remember that Meredith Kercher was the real victim in this case.
Archived in Reporting on the case, Knox book hoaxes, Sollecito book hoaxes, Knox-Mellas team, Sollecito team, Michael Heavey, Steve Moore, Bruce Fischer, More of the same
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Monday, September 24, 2012
Strong Trend: Increasingly The Good Lawyers Are On One Planet And The PR Shills Are On Another
Posted by Peter Quennell
This may surprise you. Jane Velez Mitchell is not herself a lawyer. In fact, she has only a possible journalism degree awarded by New York University.
She claims she was hooked after she “read his book until 2:30” and encountered him in some elevator - we have been puzzling over which elevator and when, for if it was an elevator in the Time Warner building in New York why was he not right there in the studio?
Of the three lawyers she had on the show, the two who did know the case (Wendy Murphy and the crime blogger Levi Page) came down very decisively against Sollecito. The third (Joey Jackson) knew nothing about the case, though even he thought the book was terribly timed.
In effect, Jane Velez Mitchell was carrying on like another PR shill. She really wasn’t any less amateurishly invested than Saul Kassin. Another non-lawyer - Saul Kassin is actually a psychologist.
Where ARE the lawyers for Knox-Sollecito?
All of them seem to have gone awol. Our main poster James Raper, himself a lawyer, sent out this invitation to speak up. In the five months since he posted that, not ONE lawyer has come forward.
Well, except for one strange burble from Anne Bremner, about RS and AK watching Amelie and that being their alibi - though the watching of Amelie took place three to four hours earlier. Even RS and AK didnt claim that.
Knox family legal advisor Ted Simon sounds rattled every time he talks, which he hasnt done since late in 2011. And poor lost Michael Heavey still can’t get to grips with the facts.
In contrast, we now have two of the foremost legal talking heads in the US - Wendy Murphy (a former prosecutor) and Nancy Grace (a former prosecutor) - saying the evidence is overwhelming.
In Italy the Sollecito lawyer Giulia Borngiorno, in face of the Galati appeal and possible legal trouble of her own over Aviello and judge-shopping, has become seriously silent. And Sollecito lawyer Luca Maori just had to distance himself from Sollecito, in conceding that Sollecito in his book had been lying.
Where are the PR shills for Knox-Sollecito?
Though they seem to have shadow-written much of the Sollecito book ostensibly shadow written by the real shadow writer, Andrew Gumbel, Curt Knox’s hatchet men have become so nasty and so distanced from the real facts that they now repel classy media company.
To her great credit, a week ago Katie Couric was repelled - and she showed it.
However there are still a few out there shilling for Knox and Sollecito. We would include in the active shill group Andrew Gumbel, Sollecito book agent Sharlene Martin, and maybe the publisher’s own promoters (if any).
Also Jane Velez Mitchel of course now. Saul Kassin (a flagship shill who may have gone silent). And the shrillest of all the shills, David Anderson, Bruce Fischer, Frank Sforza, Nina Burleigh, and Candace Dempsey.
They all seem to have big chips on their shoulders, and of course financial stakes. Maybe that is what it takes to be a shill here? Sort of the opposite of a degree in law?
[Below Two Sollecito shills: ghost writer Andrew Gumbel and literary agent Sharlene Martin]
Archived in Reporting on the case, V good reporting, V bad reporting, Knox-Mellas team, Sollecito team, Francesco Sforza, More of the same
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Friday, July 27, 2012
Heads-Up To The Amanda Knox Forces: A Case Showing How Closely The US and Italian FBIs Co-operate
Posted by Peter Quennell
Meet Doctor Mark Weinberger.
That report about his arrest in Italy was broadcast in 2009. We last posted on him here.
Weinberger was apparently a wildly successful doctor who ran a sinus clinic in Indiana and lived a wildly affluent lifestyle a few milers north outside Chicago. In 2004 he disappeared off his large yacht which was then anchored at a Greek marina, and for six years his (very impressive) wife Michelle presumed he was dead.
In the meantime she had found out that he had actually been running a huge fraud, scamming health insurance and the US government via false billing and unnecessary surgery (often botched) for many millions. And that far from being left comfortably off, she was financially wiped out.
In 2006 in absentia she divorced Weinberger and started over.
In 2009 Weinberger was captured in the Alps by the Italian equivalent of the FBI and returned to the United States as soon as his extradition was requested. In perhaps 99 percent of all US-Italian extradition cases, the fugitives are handed over by both governments very promptly. This sure wasn’t any exception.
Weinberger began to lose the first of numerous civil suits a year ago, and on wednesday he pleaded guilty to 22 criminal charges in federal court.
His prison term is set at ten years.
One moral of the tale apparently still not learned by Steve Moore and Bruce Fischer and their hapless ship of fools, so desperate for approbation, is this: much or most of the time it is the fine Italian equivalent of the FBI that they are misrepresenting and defaming.
In the past two weeks alone, we have seen new ramblings by Saul Kassin and Nigel Scott (engineered by Bruce Fischer) that to any informed lawyer are quite crazy. Kassin and Scott clearly didnt have the slightest idea WHO they were defaming or accusing of crimes.
Or how much more determined thier defaming makes the Italian FBI and other law enforcement agencies and the courts to give Amanda Knox (or Curt Knox or Edda Mellas) no special breaks.
The daffy Steve Moore first introduced this confusion way back here. And of course Bruce Fischer, Curt Knox’s hotheaded chief hatchet man, sustains it up to this day.
Eighteen months ago, Chris Mellas (whose business in Seattle is doing well) sensibly recommended from Perugia that the Knox campaign should finally acquire some cool heads and some REAL experts, and toss the trouble-making grand-standers they had acquired over the side.
Perhaps predictably, Curt Knox (whose business in Seattle is doing badly) reacted red-faced and steaming, and shot this seemingly quite smart idea down. So the abrasive, misleading, very amateur campaign goes on.
Added. We are now told that Frank Sforza and David Anderson are in Seattle, and Sollecito will be there soon, to actually jack up the level of defaming in the RS and AK “we were the victims” books being written.
Wow. THAT is Curt Knox’s end-game?l He ran that one past Chris Mellas? It seems universally believed in officialdom in Rome and Perugia that Curt Knox KNEW all along that Amanda did it. Apparently with good evidence.
Archived in Those officially involved, Police and CSI, Appeals 2009-2015, Other legal processes, Others elsewhere, Extradition issues, Amanda Knox, Knox-Mellas team, Francesco Sforza, More of the same
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Wednesday, May 09, 2012
Dr Galati: Seems One Of Curt Knox’s PR Operatives Who Has Been Bullying Meredith’s Father Online
Posted by Glinda The Good
We have long heard that the PR run for Curt Knox by David Marriott in Seattle controls all the pro-Knox anti-Italy message everywhere. David Marriott unwisely claimed this, in fact, right after Amanda Knox returned to Seattle. See here.
The PR is said to abuse reporters who dont go along, reward those that do, and fan out nasty commenters around the web to post selling points under various false names. It presumably does that to make the movement look spontaneous and big. An expanding but questionable technique which goes by the name astroturfing.
Every month more evidence piles up, suggesting that online comment threads and forums are being hijacked by people who aren’t what they seem.
The anonymity of the web gives companies and governments golden opportunities to run astroturf operations: fake grassroots campaigns that create the impression that large numbers of people are demanding or opposing particular policies. This deception is most likely to occur where the interests of companies or governments come into conflict with the interests of the public. For example, there’s a long history of tobacco companies creating astroturf groups to fight attempts to regulate them.
After I wrote about online astroturfing in December, I was contacted by a whistleblower. He was part of a commercial team employed to infest internet forums and comment threads on behalf of corporate clients, promoting their causes and arguing with anyone who opposed them.
Like the other members of the team, he posed as a disinterested member of the public. Or, to be more accurate, as a crowd of disinterested members of the public: he used 70 personas, both to avoid detection and to create the impression there was widespread support for his pro-corporate arguments. I’ll reveal more about what he told me when I’ve finished the investigation I’m working on.
The Knox PR astroturfing operation now has Meredith’s father John Kercher and his fine new book in its crosshairs, and for some days it has been raining contemptuous abuse. .
Officialdom in Perugia and Rome and the Italian Supreme Court all seem to know that the Knox-Mellases KNEW Amanda Knox was involved in the crime against Meredith almost as soon as they arrived in Perugia, and that they have been trying to cover that up ever since.
The PR scheme had already swung into operation by then, but the Knox-Mellases made the fateful choice to stick with it regardless, instead of maybe more wisely switching off the PR and turning to a good American lawyer to spread the word instead. Curt Knox recently claimed, before Amanda’s “innocent” persona started to implode, that using PR was one of the best choices he ever made.
This image above is of Seth Chandler, the managing director of Axolotl AB, a public relations firm linked to David Marriott’s which does the usual advertising, copy doctoring, social media campaigning, and so on. The image was captured online before it was hurriedly disappeared.
Seth appears to be the same chap caught red-handed the other day propagating the all-too-familiar FOA selling points while sliming the family of Meredith, who is the real victim here. Under an article on Worldcrunch which reported the imminent release of John Kercher’s book “Meredith” Seth Chandler was observed repeatedly posting that John Kercher (and others there trying to explain the truth) should simply STFU..
With only a couple of exceptions, real names of identifiable people are not used by the PR. We’ve seen them, we’ve read them, but this appears to be only the second time (after “Bruce Fisher of New York”) that one of the anonymous PR operatives/contractors has been exposed for what and where he is. Perhaps we might expect a few more.
For four years in the US and the UK, with big money at stake, the operatives have bashed Italy, the Italian justice system, Italian culture, and the Italian law enforcement agencies involved in the case. The operatives have slimed the Scientific Police, the prosecutor Mr Mignini, the prosecutor Ms Comodi, the British press, the Italian press, the Kerchers’ lawyer Mr Maresca, and all the prosecution witnesses. In various postings they have accused many of these people of crimes, an imprisonable felony in the US.
They have bashed the lay judges in the court because they wear their tricolour sashes routinely as a badge of office. They have claimed that this is an anti-American display. They have decried the Italian courtroom because behind the lead judge a crucifix hangs there.
The operatives have thrown mud at anyone they perceive as dangerously surfacing any hard truth about the case. Respected journalists have received exceptional abuse. Any perceived enemy not so much of Amanda Knox herself as the defense narrative of the murder and the legal processes can expect to get roughed up.
So it’s quite a game-changer when Seth Chandler, or “Seth C” as he now wants to be known, the managing director of Axolotl PR, is apparently caught red-handed telling John Kercher to STFU. Seth Chandler has claimed as he tried to wriggle off the hook that “no one paid” him to say STFU, and that anyway PRs would never say such a thing. Really? But the abuse was right there in his name.
Seth Chandler also works for Electrolux. Its competitors are are Dyson, and LG. I wouldn’t imagine that he employs the same tactics for firms, though I haven’t yet checked his Amazon customer reviews.
Shame on Seth Chandler - and on Curt Knox, whose vile temper reverberates throughout this case and some increasingly believe sent Amanda Knox over the top.
Archived in Those officially involved, All the nefarious hoaxes, Amanda Knox, Knox-Mellas team, More of the same
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Friday, May 04, 2012
Dr Galati: Please Check Out What Looks Like A Mischievous Defense-Inspired Global Hoax
Posted by The TJMK Main Posters
Throughout the trial which began back in January 2009 the defense teams often seemed down or depressed or distracted or floundering.
Reports surfaced in Italy that one or two of them might even have considered walking. Knox defense counsel Luciano Ghirga was reported as nodding off or distracted. Sollecito defense counsel Giulia Bongiorno was photographed seemingly showing some exasperation with Sollecito and at zero notice she missed several days in court.
Amanda Knox’s testimony over two days on the stand in June 2009 was widely seen in Italy as a disaster. From then on many in the court and throughout Italy believed this seemingly callous, evasive, forgetful girl had to have had a role in Meredith’s death.
Having failed to attend to observe any of the key forensic tests at the Scientific Police labs in Rome, the defenses were able to introduce some forensic witnesses who testified that there might, possibly, somehow, be contamination in the collection and tests which they chose not to witness, but they never came close to showing how.
By the summations in November 2009 both defenses seemed to be seriously floundering.
2. Fast forward to Friday 20 November 2009
What happened on 20 November might well have made it the defenses’ very worst day.
On that day during their summation the prosecution BEHIND CLOSED DOORS devoted an entire day to reconstructing how Meredith died and the events in the few hours before and since.
The presentation was closed because Judge Massei had ruled in favor of Meredith’s family to close the court to the media when any upsetting material was being presented. For example the results of the autopsy had been presented in closed court.
This resulted in the Massei judges and jury receiving a much more disturbing picture than the Italian public and especially the foreign publics ever did.
The Italian media pieced together what had been presented behind the closed doors on 20 November and Il Messagero and several other Italian newspapers published it several days later. You can read a combined summary in this post here.
To our knowledge none of that summary of events ever appeared in the US or UK media, so the full impact of the reconstruction felt by the jury and to a lesser extent by the Italian public was never felt at all by the US or UK publics.
This excerpt is from that post:
We have left out the depiction of the final struggle with Meredith, which is extremely sad and disturbing. In the evidence phase this was testified-to behind closed doors at her family’s request and we have never posted anything from those sessions….
23:21 - Amanda and Raffaele go into Meredith’s bedroom, while Rudy goes into the bathroom.
23:25 - A scuffle begins between Amanda, helped by Raffaele, and Meredith. The English girl is taken by the neck, then banged against a cupboard. Rudy Guede enters and joins in.
23:30 - 23:45 Depiction in the timeline and computer simulation of a horrific struggle with Meredith
23:50 - Amanda and Raffaele take Meredith’s mobile phones and they leave the apartment. Guede goes into the bathroom to get several towels to staunch the blood, then puts a cushion under Meredith’s head.
That simulation video was a second-by-second depiction of what the crime-scene specialists from the Scientific Police in Rome had concluded, from the position of Meredith’s body in the room, evidence traces and the placing of various objects, and the many wounds described in the autopsy.
It was extremely difficult and laborious to get just right, and every tiny movement of the four that it depicts in three-dimensional space had to be able to stand up unchallenged - as they did.
The fight with Meredith took a horrific fifteen minutes. It only ended when she was lying bleeding on the floor, her hands grasping her neck. She was locked in her room to die, with her keys and phones removed to make sure she could not save her own life.
This was not a minute or two of hazing and a slipped knife. The evident intention was to see her dead - and in the reconstruction it required THREE ATTACKERS to explain all the evidence points.
The prosecution never entered the video into evidence so it could not be leaked to the public (the Sollecito family already stood accused of leaking one video) but the effect on the jury seems to have been profound and the defenses could do nothing to blunt it.
The lone wolf theory was well and truly dead in that courtroom and a perception of three attackers was well and truly alive. The defenses did what they could in their summations but they were unable to shake the perception of a depraved three-against-one attack.
A few days later a verdict was announced. By a UNANIMOUS verdict Sollecito and Knox were found guilty.
3. Fast forward to the first-level appeal before Judge Hellman in 20011
Judge Sergio Matteini Chiari, the most senior judge in the criminal division, was appointed to preside over the appeal.
He was very experienced at presiding over murder trials and appeals. What happened next surprised many among the judges and prosecutors and Italian reporters and the Italian public generally. From the Italian Wikipedia:
Although the Assize Court of Appeal was to be chaired by Dr. Sergio Matteini Chiari, Chairman of the Criminal Division of the Court of Appeal in Perugia, in circumstances not well understood Dr. Claudio Pratillo Hellmann, who chairs the Labor Chamber of the Court, has been called on to preside over the appeal court,
The judge to the side of the main judge, Dr. Massimo Zanetti, came from the Civil Section, and both had had limited experience with criminal trials both rather remote in time (only the cases of Spoleto and Orvieto).
Judge Hellman readily consented to the defense requests. First to re-examine several witnesses previously heard on the stand during trial (primarily Mr Curatolo) and two new ones (Alessi and Aviello) intended to show that Guede or Aviello’s missing brother could have attacked Meredith with unknown others.
And second to appoint two independent experts who would re-examine the DNA on the large knife found in Sollecito’s apartment and the DNA for which traces were collected in Meredith’s room and the methods used for processing them.
The examination of the witnesses seemed to end indecisively, but the vague suggestions of the independent consultants that there COULD have been DNA contamination - never proven - was accepted readily by Judge Hellman.
The reconstruction and the showing of the simulation which the trial jury sat through in later 2009 was not repeated by the prosecution at the first appeal in late 2011. Judge Hellman showed no inclination to sit through the full depiction of the day or the horrific 15-minute attack on Meredith.
So the explanation of all the evidence points in the room and on Meredith’s body was never solidly brought home solidly to Judge Hellman or his jury. In his verdict he overturned the outcome of the first trial, provisionally pending any Supreme Court ratification, and he handed Amanda Knox a three-year sentence for framing Patrick Lumumba.
Having refused to see the reconstruction, he could very torturously argue that the attack on Meredith could have been carried out by a single person. If he and his jury had actually watched the video, they could never have argued that.
4. Fast-forward to the grounds of Dr Galati’s appeal to the Supreme Court
The Umbria Chief Prosecutor’s grounds for appeal were spelt out by him at a new conference in Perugia on Monday 13 February 2012. The PMF translation team will soon have the full document ready in English.
The summary of the grounds for appeal below is translated from the Umbria24 report and to our knowledge NO English-language website except this one and PMF has ever reported what are the full grounds.
Meredith case: the prosecution appeals to Cassation: the acquittal verdict should be “nullified”.
For the Chief Magistrates of the [Umbria] Prosecution, “it was almost exclusively the defence arguments which were taken heed of”
By Francesca Marruco
The first-level conviction verdict was “complete and thorough” while the verdict of the second-level is “contradictory and illogical”. For this reason, the General Prosecution of Perugia asks the Cassation to revoke or invalidate it.
“We are still extremely convinced that Amanda and Raffaele are co-perpetrators of the murder of Meredith Kercher” said the Chief Prosecutor of Perugia, Giovanni Galati and the Deputy Chief Prosecutor, Giancarlo Costagliola.
Verdict that should be revoked “The second-level verdict should be annulled/revoked…. There are precise reasons for revoking it”, Mr Galati went on to say. In the Hellman reasoning report on the verdict with which the second-level judges acquitted the ex-boyfriend and girlfriend “there are so many errors, and many omissions. There is inconsistency in the grounds for judgement, which brings us to nothing.”
“It is as if they had ruled ex novo [anew] on Meredith’s murder” added the Deputy Prosecutor, Giancarlo Costagliola, “basing their decision solely on the arguments of the defence.”
“Normally the appeal judge evaluates the reasoning procedure of the first-instance judge and compares it to new elements. But this one missed that out altogether: there is no comparison between the checks carried out in the first and second instances. Only what was carried out during the appeal was evaluated.”
Only defence arguments were taken heed of For the magistrates, in fact, the second-level judges “took heed, almost exclusively, of the arguments of the defence consultants or the reconstruction hypotheses that were largely to the benefit of the defense theses”.
The prosecutors who authored the appeal [to Cassation] also criticized the “method used”. “The first-instance verdict”, they wrote, “was summarized in just a few lines”,
“The verdict [which we] challenge completely ignored all the other aspects which corresponded with the accusation’s hypothesis, all the aspects which, on the contrary - as was seen in the reasoning report of the first-instance verdict - had been rigorously pointed out and considered by the Assizes Court [trial court] in its decision.”
“In examining the individual [items of] evidence, the challenged sentence has fallen into consistent procedural error in the weaknesses and evident illogicality of the grounds for its decision.”
Prejudice For the General Prosecution magistrates, the second-level [first appeal] judges appear to have shown “a sort of prejudice” with the “infelicitous preamble of the judge [the author], who is supposed to be impartial”, when he declared that “nothing is certain except the death of Meredith Kercher”, which to the others [Mr Galati and Mr Costagliola] is nothing more than “a resounding preview/forecast of the judgement” and a “disconcerting” affirmation.
The ten points The reasons for the appeal to Cassation which Perugia’s General Prosecution presented today against the acquittal verdict of Amanda and Raffaele are based on ten points of the second-level verdict.
The first is the lack of grounds for the decision, in the decree of 18 December 2010, to allow the forensic testimony/expert witness in the appeal judgement.
The second, in contrast, concerns a contrary decision: the decision to not allow a new forensic investigation requested by the prosecution at the end of the ruling discussion. In the appeal to Cassation it is written that the Appeal Court’s rejection reveals “contradictoriness/contrariness and demonstrates manifest illogicality in the grounds for the judgement/reasoning report”.
The other points deal with the decision by the Appeal court of Assizes of Perugia to not hear the witness Aviello, also the definition of “unreliable” [in the Hellman Report] with reference to the witnesses Roberto Quintavalle and Antonio Curatolo, also the time of death of Meredith Kercher, also on the genetic investigations.
As well as the analyses of the prints and other traces, also the presence of Amanda and Sollecito in via della Pergola, also the simulation of a crime [the staged break-in], and also the exclusion of the aggravating circumstance of the crime of “calumny”.
Missing assumption/acceptance of decisive evidence In the appeal to Cassation there is also mention of the “missing assumption/acceptance of a decisive proof”
In other words, of that proof [presented at trial court] which consisted of “the carrying out of the genetic analysis on the sample taken from the knife by the experts appointed by the Court during the appeal judgement, who did not carry out the analyses of that sample, thus violating a specific request contained in the [orders given to them] when they were assigned to the expert-witness post”
“In the second-level [Hellman] verdict”, the magistrates said, “the judges sought to refer to this in their own way, by speaking of an “experimental method” by which these tests/checks could be carried out.
But this is not the case”, said Deputy Chief Prosecutor Giancarlo Costagliola: “Dr Novelli [the prosecution’s DNA consultant at appeal] spoke of cutting-edge technology, not of experimental methods”.
So Dr Galati, himself formerly a deputy chief prosecutor at the Supreme Court who for years handled nothing but Supreme Court cases and knows what constitutes a sound appeal argument, argued that Judge Hellman had made ten serious mistakes. (Aviello claimed in court that he had been bribed; instead of investigating, Judge Hellman very quickly move on.)
But even worse, that Judge Hellman had illegally vastly expanded the scope of the appeal. And he had illegally appointed the independent DNA experts.
Because of Hellman’s alleged sloppiness and overreach, the defenses now stood to lose EVERYTHING they thought they had gained - and had been so noisily jubilant about, especially to the media in the US. An arrogance not taken kindly to in Italy at all.
5. Fast forward to English language press reports of the past few days.
Nick Squires may have been the first to carry the report quoting unnamed sources in the Daily Telegraph.
Two prosecutors in Perugia, where Miss Kercher was murdered, face accusations of wasting 182,000 euros (£150,000) of public money by commissioning a controversial 3D video which purported to show how the murder unfolded.
The contentious video, which defence lawyers said was based on circumstantial evidence, showed Miss Kercher being held down and stabbed to death by Miss Knox and her two co-accused.
The Leeds University student and her alleged murderers were represented in the 20 minute film by animated ‘avatars’. It was played on a big screen to the judge and jury in the original trial in 2009.
The National Audit Office is now investigating the prosecutors, Giuliano Mignini and his deputy, Manuela Comodi, on whether the video was a necessary part of their case.
If found culpable they could have to pay the money back to the prosecutors’ office.
Really? Accusations? Wasting? Controversial? Purported? Contentious? Now investigating?
Note that Nick Squires didnt name his sources. He didnt explain why he claimed the video simulation was controversial. (It wasn’t at all controversial at trial in 2009.) He didnt seem to know who had made the accusations or how or when they had been made or to who.
He failed to mention that the video was played behind closed doors, and that the defenses had no comeback to it. He said it depicted Knox, though in fact it deliberately didn’t. He didn’t explain that the depiction of the fight lasted 15 minutes. He didn’t explain that the depiction of three attackers was overwhelmingly convincing to Judge Massei and his jury.
Nick Squires’s report was nevertheless comparatively brief and restrained in contrast to that of Michael Day which came next. His very much embroidered version was published in the UK Independent. The accusatory tone and serious charges in Nick Squires’s and Michael Day’s reports were then picked up without checking by a large number of American and European media outlets.
Note that not one of these reports was checked out in Italy, and that all these reports slam Mr Mignini (yet again) and indicate that this was an OFFICIAL accusation of “wasting public funds”. Many US reports wrongly state that the British audit office is investigating.
Michael Day claimed that “Agostino Chiappiniello has said he suspects the two of inappropriately spending €182,000 (£148,000) on a crude and cartoonish 20-minute video,”
Really? Agostino Chiappiniello, did you tell Michael Day precisely that?
Michael Day then states that “In both trials [Mr Mignini’s ] interventions were notable for the outlandish motivations and personality traits he attributed to the defendants. He promoted the idea that the murder was the result of a sex-game that got out of control, despite having little or no evidence to support the theory.”
Really? Actually Guede and Knox and Sollecito were all CONVICTED of a sex crime at trial, because to their judges and juries that is what the evidence inescapably pointed to.
And Michael Day concludes with yet another misleading statement (see above on Dr Galati’s appeal for the correct facts which he seriously garbles here.):
Judges at the Cassation court may only overturn the first-appeal verdict on technical grounds. Thus, no new evidence may be introduced and the prosecution’s room for manoeuvre is limited. The pair could not be retried for the same crimes.
Really? But nobody is talking about the pair being retried for the same crimes. This does not arise. Under Italian law they STILL stand accused of the same crimes as they were before trial back in 2009 until the Supreme Court signs off on their case.
6. Fast-forward to the ITALIAN reports of the past two days
Translation by our main poster Jools from an Umbria24 report, posted on Wednesday, which tells a very different story.
[There was several months ago]… a complaint from “a group of private citizens” who did not sign their names and surnames about an alleged misuse of public money….
No comment from the two prosecutors of Perugia, no comment on this news.
As we have learned the prosecutors have not received any legal papers regarding the investigation and they heard of the news from the press.
Who will pay? To decide if the expense was adequate for the State coffers will be the task of the prosecutor at the Court of Audits of Umbria.
Meanwhile if the Supreme Court were to overturn the judgment of the Perugia appellate court, the costs would be paid by the two accused [Knox and Sollecito].
If instead the Supreme Court were to confirm the acquittal, the bill for 182 thousand euros would be borne by the Italian State.
7. In summation
Quite a fizzle. The prosecutors are NOT quaking in their boots. They didnt even know about it. And the full force of Italian justice does NOT have them under the microscope.
- The anonymous complaint was filed over two months ago. Nick Squires and Michael Day sure did not make that clear.
- If the enquiry is actually pursued (not at all certain) then it is Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito who could in fact be stuck for the costs (plus VAT) of producing the video. Nick Squires and Michael Day sure did not make that clear.
- The Corte dei Conti is not the equivalent of a criminal or civic court, it is essentially an investigating tribunal. Nick Squires and Michael Day sure did not make that clear.
- The Corte dei Conti has so far not accused anyone of anything, and it may never do so. It sure doesn’t seem to regard the matter as urgent. Nick Squires and Michael Day sure did not make that clear.
- In fact it has taken over two months to, well… not even assemble the evidence or bother to get in touch with Mr Mignini or Ms Comodi. Nick Squires and Michael Day sure did not make that clear.
On the same basis Judge Hellman could in theory be accused of incurring TWO huge cost over-runs.
- One for running his appeal court only on saturdays to suit just one defense lawyer, when the overtime costs to Italy became huge - substantially more than the cost of the video. Nick Squires and Michael Day sure did not make that clear.
- And one for (according to Dr Galati) illegally appointing the two DNA consultants - the costs of that investigation to Italy became much more than the cost of the video. Nick Squires and Michael Day sure did not make that clear.
The reconstruction video is so powerful and accurate that it could, if it is watched by the Supreme Court in Rome or a new appeal court in Perugia, be quite devastating to the defense of the two accused. This is because it depicts the full cruelty of the attack on Meredith - and it shows that THREE people had to have attacked her.
So who filed the anonymous complaint against Mr Mignini and Ms Comodi? And who used Nick Squires and Michael Day as puppets to make a private claim look official, and make that hoax go viral? We are sure Dr Galati will have all the answers before many days go past. Calunnia charges might apply.
Someone must REALLY fear that Sollecito and Knox will be cooked if that video reconstruction ever gets shown again. Case closed? At one stroke.
[Below: Knox and Sollecito, who could be billed over $300,000 for the reconstruction video]
Archived in Those officially involved, The prosecutors, All the nefarious hoaxes, The Dr Mignini hoax, Knox-Mellas team, Sollecito team, More of the same
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Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Perugia Prosecutors Arrest The No #2 Political Leader Of Umbria From Rocco Girlanda’s Home Town
Posted by Peter Quennell
Mr Orfeo Goracci (left above) is the elected Vice President of the Regional Council of Umbria which sits in Perugia. He and eight others have been charged with serious crimes.
Mr Goracci is the former mayor of Gubbio half an hour north of Perugia and he runs the political machine there. The other eight arrested are all Gubbio officials. Mr Goracci is a friend of the Knoxaholic MP Rocco Girlanda who is the Member of Parliament in Rome for the same town.
Gubbio is in the Guinness Book of Records for annually creating the world’s largest christmas tree (image at bottom). A pretty and historic place on a hillside, it is where Knox and Sollecito had planned to go on the day after Meredith died.
Mr Girlanda is from an opposing party to Mr Goracci’s and has been quick to distance himself, but it is being remarked by commenters on Italian websites that there is no way he would have been elected MP if Mr Goracci’s machine had not given him a strong assist.
Last year, Mr Girlanda, who is married with five daughters, tried to intervene to tilt the Knox-Sollecito appeal in four different ways.
He wrote a book rhapsodizing the thoughts of Amanda Knox, using his parliamentary right to check prison conditions to access her. He ran several panels at his US-Italy friendship association in Rome. He attempted in parliament to cut police budgets for wiretapping.
And he petitioned the President of the Italian Republic to order an investigation of the Perugia prosecutors. This was ignored by the President. How ironic now that Mr Girlanda risks being at their receiving end.
This is a translation of the report by Emanuele Ciogli on Avanti Online.
The “Czar” of Gubbio is arrested for criminal conspiracy and charged with sexual assault
I wonder how Don Matteo would deal with the case, the fictional cycling detective in his cassock who is very popular with Italians.
The news these days brings us right to Gubbio, setting of the famous fiction and no longer only fiction: the former mayor of Gubbio, Orpheus Goracci, current vice-president of the Regional Council of Umbria, known for his despotic behavior as “Czar” or “King” or “The Boss”, has ended up in custody along with eight others of his “group”, all politicians, directors or officers in charge of the city.
The charges against him are serious: conspiracy aimed abuse of office, bribery, falsification of public documents, and removal of government records. But especially sexual violence.
He is accused of conspiracy since 2002 and “an undetermined number” of crimes: abuse of office, bribery, falsification of public documents and deletion of public acts. All this in creating “a climate of intimidation and fear in the city of Gubbio.”
According to one of the key witnesses of the prosecution to the Perugia investigation, conducted by the police and the carabinieri, Goracci when mayor “within the administration was acting like a dictator, treating the city as his own thing, refusing any advice that does not conform to his will, and penalizing or favoring at will employees, particularly women. “
Women were “advantaged” in exchange for sexual favors, and friends of friends were backed by virtue of rampant cronyism.
To understand the logic of the former mayor of Gubbio just listen to the testimony given to investigators by one witness, a policewoman with a fixed term contract, who was unlawfully excluded from a permanent contract because she was deemed “unfriendly” to the alleged conspiracy promoted by the former mayor.
“The logic was clear: either you were a woman and relented to the advances of Mayor Goracci; or you were a man and had political connections or friendships with Goracci or persons inside his group. Or you were out of the game.”
The woman’s statements describe a “permanent stop placed on her” say the investigators, confirmed by statements of her friend and colleague: she was unlawfully excluded from the competition for municipal police officer indefinitely after rejecting the alleged advances of the mayor (who in this episode is also accused of sexual assault).
Mayor Goracci on one occasion according to the papers of the investigation “attracted her to him, kissing her shoulder, and trying to kiss her on the lips.” But the woman “extracted herself and had managed to leave the office.”
This episode would be followed by another similar… She told him “to lay off, reminding him that he had a wife and a daughter.”
In the first image below you can see Mr Goracci with the Regional Council leadership. After his arrest there is an empty seat. His buddy Mr Girlanda will face a tough election later this year or next.
Uncharacteristic quietness from him meanwhile might thankfully become the norm. Shades of Amanda.
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Monday, February 20, 2012
HarperCollins: Perhaps This Explains Why Jonathan Burnham Was Inspired To Take Such A Seeming Risk
Posted by Peter Quennell
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp vehicles have had a history of racy reporting and and right-wing-party support, and now both are rather on the outer. The investigations in London into phone tapping and bribing of police for stories seem only to be getting worse.
As a result NYC-based News Corp and its minions, perhaps including HarperCollins (Jonathan Burnham is one of Rupert’s talented British imports to New York) might be making some risky or unwise moves.
Okay. Back to the stock charts once again to see what the collective voting wisdom of informed investors may be telling us about this.
News Corp cannot be compared directly to Lagadere the parent company of Hachette which is soon to publish John Kercher’s “Meredith” as the Paris-based Lagadere is not listed on the New York exchange,
So here above we show the stock for Penguin Publishing’s parent company Pearson instead. It is a good surrogate as Lagadere and Pearson are the world’s two most successful and fastest-growing publishing groups.
What does the chart above tell us? (Click it for a larger version.) The green curve is the Dow Jones index, which is the stock exchange’s large-company average.
- Over the five years shown Penguin’s parent Pearson (red curve) is UP around 20% compared to the average.
- Meanwhile HarperCollins’s parent News Corp (blue curve) is DOWN an amazing 30 percent compared to the average.
That 30 percent down represents a drop of over FIFTEEN BILLION DOLLARS in five years in the market value of the parent company. Very worrisome for the hard-pressed Mr Murdoch and the increasingly edgy News Corp stock holders.
And who knows? Maybe it helped inspired Mr Burnham in his office a few blocks away (he surely owns the News Corps stock and wants the whole company to gain) to go for broke on the Knox book with $4 million down.
Did any of the main media reporting on the book (over 200 hits on Google News) happen to mention this?!
Archived in Those officially involved, Reporting on the case, Media news, Amanda Knox, More of the same
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Friday, February 17, 2012
Were Prospective Knox Publishers Given The Full Score On The Likely Legal Future Of This Case?
Posted by Peter Quennell
[Above: the seemingly hornswoggled Jonathan Burnham and Claire Wachtell of the HarperCollins house]
One publisher who passed on the Amanda Knox book then came here to read and told us he was rather shocked.
All the publishers going in to the auction were apparently not briefed by the Knox huckster team about the legal minefield this case still continues to represent. It may not have mattered to HarperCollins of course. It was HarperCollins that published OJ Simpson’s notorious “If I Did It” and they seem to have come out ahead.
One of the quirky outcomes of the Simpson venture the Amanda Knox team might like to draw a lesson from is that the “If I Did It” book (written by a ghost writer for Simpson, and as one Amazon reviewer said “chock full of omissions”) directly fueled the public anger that helped to put Simpson behind bars for a long time.
Typical of the hyper-cautious Italian system, this case is passing through three automatic phases like a three-act play. The Knox team can beef now about harassment and double jeopardy, but they have filed their own Supreme Court appeal, and it is written into the Italian constitution that no verdicts and sentences that are appealed are final until the Supreme Court signs off.
Act One started early in 2009 three months after Guede’s trial and we all saw as reported here on TJMK a very speedy and precise presentation of the prosecutions’ case. This was followed by the spectacle of Amanda Knox doing herself considerable harm in her two days on the stand. Thereafter through autumn and well into winter 2009, a weak and faltering defense was presented, with several court days simply cancelled because the defense could think of nothing more to say.
Judge Massei’s jury then quickly came to a unanimous verdict and he wrote up the reasons for it in an excellent 425-page report. He differed in only one major respect from Judge Micheli who in October 2008 concluded that Amanda Knox had organized and led the pack against Meredith and that Rudy Guede was unwittingly or accidentally drawn in to her torture and murder. (He still handed Guede 30 years.)
Judge Massei didnt cover the Rudy Guede evidence in nearly the same depth as Judge Micheli (Guede was only briefly in the Massei courtroom, and because Mr Mignini would not do a deal he barely spoke). In rather a stretch, Judge Massei argued that Guede set the escalation in motion which resulted in Meredith’s death. Few of us believe that.
UK and US lawyers have told us that under US and UK rules it is very unlikely that any judge would have then allowed the case to go to appeal. Knox and Sollecito would have served out their time and possibly emerged much better off for it - you can see the ugliness flowing back into them now..
Act Two in 2010-11 saw the playing field becoming increasingly tilted. Mr Mignini happened to catch on tape a Florence prosecutor lamenting that the Monster of Florence cabal for which Doug Preston is such an eager beaver was tying his hands. The Florence prosecutor then sought to get his own back by taking Mr Mignini to court.
All sorts of amateur second-guessers on the evidence now got into the act, and few outside Italy any more had a firm command of the actual hard facts. It is rumored that Judge Hellman may have had a bias even before he ever got involved with the case. Mention of Meredith was almost nowhere to be found, and there was a constant drumbeat for Sollecito and Knox kept alive by their families and the US media and the MP Rocco Girlanda.
Helping the defenses was that soon after Meredith’s death the defenses played one huge trick. They failed to show up when Dr Stefanoni did her DNA tests. That then allowed them to impugn and slur her and her work with no hard evidence to hand. This rose to a crescendo when Judge Hellman’s two under-qualified consultants reported at appeal.
Amanda Knox still ended up being handed three years in prison, but with time served Judge Hellman released the two “young people” which was a verdict that to very few informed Italians made sense.
Act Three starts with legal terrain that looks very different. Dr Galati has set the stage for a very, very tough third act, and he is making quite sure this time that the playing field is not tilted by any further monkey tricks. No wonder the publisher mentioned up top is surprised though. .
- NOT ONE non-Italian media source has made it clear that the Umbria regional prosecution office has a very special and prestigious status in Italy as the prosecution office that takes on cases against officials and politicians in the Rome government, so that the Rome police and prosecutors avoid conflicts of interest..
- NOT ONE non-Italian media source has explained who Dr Giovanni Galati really is. He could rightly be described as the most experienced and respected and capable of all Italy’s 24 regional chief prosecutors. He was a Deputy Attorney General with the Surpreme Court in Rome before his assignment just over a year ago to Umbria, and unlike the main Knox and Sollecito lawyers he knows the internecine Supreme Court rules and ways of addressing Italian law like the back of his hand.
- NOT ONE non-Italian media source has explained what we have reported in the four posts just below: that Dr Galati is stating that Judge Hellman BROKE ITALIAN LAW in two make-or-break respects. Judge Hellman is seen to have extended the appeals court’s terms of reference in ways that he is forbidden to do. And he introduced the DNA consultants which (as Mr Mignini several times argued) he was also forbidden to do.
Amanda Knox and Raffaele Solecito now face the fights of their lives. The last thing they need in this shark tank is a couple of biased self serving books “chock full of omissions” and anti-Italy smears.
They will almost certainly have to get up on the stand under oath and cross-examination and try to explain their scenario in a context where they each have contradicted and even accused one another. Their lawyers may be okay at trial or first appeal level but they are very outclassed by Dr Galati at this third level and it would seem the Knoxes, Mellases and Sollecitos would be best served to find new (very expensive) Supreme Court teams
Italians on the whole are angry and humiliated at the ill-argued first-appeal outcome. Judge Hellman seemed to show biases that he really should not have. Dr Mignini is back to being in the clear in his case as it was ruled (rightly) that the Florence prosecutors did not have jurisdiction over him. The Supreme Court took a very firm position in December 2010 that Rudy Guede did not act alone. The defense star witnesses Alessi and Aviello that might help accomodate to this have imploded, and both may face trials of their own.
A pretty grim portrait of Amanda Knox both prior to Meredith’s murder and while Knox was in Capanne prison is not hard to find in Perugia from multiple sources. If a devastating “Real Amanda Knox” book is not inspired by the HarperCollins book, we will be surprised, and it could sell more than hers. And if the slightest defamation about anyone in Perugia appears in the AK book, then HarperCollins will have the great joy of finding out what “calunnia” means.
President Obama and Senator Cantwell both have tough elections on their hands and Hillary Clinton and the Rome Ambassador David Thorne (an Obama political appointee) will need to be in ultra-careful mode this time around. Amanda Knox and her parents and Sollecito’s parents all face separate trials coming up. Rabid books will not help any of them there.
And in April the likeable book “Meredith” by her father John will be published - by a global publisher (Hachette) five times HarperCollins’s size.
Archived in Those officially involved, Reporting on the case, Media news, Knox book hoaxes, Florence MOF hoax, Amanda Knox, Knox-Mellas team, More of the same
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Wednesday, November 09, 2011
Why The Analysis Of Evidence, Open Questions, Scenarios, And Bigger Issues Won’t Go Away At All Soon
Posted by Peter Quennell
[Above: Raffaele Sollecito, facing Meredith, giving his weak best shot at explaining what “really” happened]
Poor David Marriott. He seems to be embarked on some mind-numbing attempts to try to correct a real mess that is very largely of his own making.
The campaign’s demonization of Italy and the police and prosecution and objective media and internet supporters of justice seem to have painted Knox and Sollecito into an impossible corner. Media sources are telling us that a large minority in the US and UK and a large majority in Italy believe RS and AK still have explaining to do, and that the open questions are far from going away. And that new people have begun digging.
Innocent people when freed from prison are expected to be putting themselves out there brightly on TV almost daily, showing us how seriously attractive and compelling they are, and putting to bed the many open questions. And their online buddies would be presumed to be equally warm and compelling.
Instead, Sollecito’s major appearance on Italian TV last week consisted of a narcissistic hour-long whine which answered none of the tough questions and seems to have won him no new converts. And Knox is giving the appearance of remaining very tightly chaperoned and deeply tongue-tied while the weeks before she actually speaks out turn into months.
Both families seem extremely jittery about what bad things could happen if the two ever connect up again. Perhaps especially if unscrupulous media arranged for the conversations to be bugged. And their online supporters seem as over-the-top as ever - perhaps more-so if they feel they deserve some quality time with Amanda.
The hard evidence and open questions and scenarios we continue to explore on PMF and TJMK are not driven by a hatred of AK or RS.
No very popular websites flourish for years based mostly or entirely on hate. Here on TJMK we very rarely post exclusively on either AK or RS and we post far more often on the much more exceptional person that was Meredith. All of us think the slamming of Italy has been unfair, and the huge majority of our posts concentrate directly on the hard evidence and scenarios and open questions and wider contexts affecting the case.
Our takes on possible motive and psychology continue to presume that Judge Micheli essentially got it right (and Judge Massei who may have blinked rather less-so): that what culminated in Meredith’s cruel death started out as a vicious hazing, for any of various possible reasons: jealousy and competitive rage, fear of being displaced as a waitress, an argument over drug-dealing in the house, use of skunk cannabis or cocaine which causes psychotic episodes, an argument over theft of money, an assumed Halloween night snub, untreated mental illness, and so on. And that the forced-sex aspects were most likely to pour on the humiliation and to aid the cover-up.
Lawyers posting on PMF and TJMK and some others who don’t but talk with us are suspecting that Judge Hellman, in his blunt refusal to allow the prosecution any DNA re-testing, in his jury briefing, in his garbled announcement of the appeal verdict, and in his contradictory comments in the next several days, may have made enough legal mistakes for a 75% probability that the Supreme Court will insist on a major revisiting of the case or even a complete new appeal trial.
We now have on PMF and TJMK over 1,000 pages of translation which is absolutely vital for people in the US and UK to understand the case as Italians have always seen it. That includes both the Micheli and Massei sentencing reports. The massive hard evidence and massive suspicious behavior and highly contradictory alibis and literally hundreds of open questions are described under the various headings in our right column.
And the many scenarios in which prosecutors, judges and our own posters have sought to create a complete narrative to explain what resulted in Meredith’s death are all set out here. In the last few days, many of our members have been doing a terrific job in the comments, filling out some of those scenarios.
Yesterday one of our commenters, Martin, added a post-liberation scenario as his take on what is really going on, and he okayed us to post it here.
I’d like to take a brief moment to parse the present situation and the reports that come to us from various sources, and to consider the message behind the headlines and beneath the surface. We have photos and abundant reports of the Defendant with her latest victim in Seattle. Both her absence of moral restraint and her familiar pattern of seeking immediate gratification remain unchanged. The familiar pattern is aptly described by Sollecito:
“She lived her life like a dream, she was detached from reality, she couldn’t distinguish dream from reality. Her life seemed to be pure pleasure; she had a contact with reality that was almost non-existent.”
The message that she sends to Sollecito is “stay away”; or, if you do come for a brief visit, I am not interested in anything romantic because I already am with someone else; so sorry. There briefly was the possibility that she would fake the continuing romance with Sollecito for the purpose of a TV appearance and profit, but those offers never came in.
And why is she so eager to get out of the houses of her parents? While they attained some form of victory, it is pyrrhic in nature. Though they have the admiration of many, the bankers who have loaned them money for their PR firm, their legal dream team, and for other purposes, are not all smiles; they are, after all, businessmen who have made loans and now want a return on their loans, and they want it now. Pressures have been rising within the households, money is low, and offers are not pouring in as expected. She wants out of the houses.
So, what of her new lover? Beyond sending a message to Sollecito and escaping from the unpleasantness of her home life, she is with him to ride out the pending legal appeal and quite possibly is considering having a child with him, although she will tire of him quickly; if he has a friend on the face of the earth, he should advise him to get away, and fast. She may want a child because in her mind she may think it would make it more difficult for the US to agree to deport her if she has a child, in the event that her conviction is reinstated. However, if the present verdict of not guilty is sustained on appeal, the present boyfriend will become history.
There are yet more reasons for these events. Even among some of her supporters, it’s beginning to sink in that she does not have clean hands. She has kept a low profile among the Cult in Seattle. Among the hundreds of supporters who dug deep into threadbare pockets and worked hard for her, at least a few of them have begun to ask questions. Why hasn’t she come clean with them as to exactly what was her role, how did things actually unfold, what really happened?
And some of them have begun to figure things out and now are feeling taken advantage of. Watch out for the wrath of a man or woman who discovers that their bona fides have been taken for a chump. There are a few of these people out there, and if they ever hook up with one another, or even decide to come out singly, there will be serious trouble. Foxy already knows that she must do what she can to avoid this eventuality, and so she is doing all that she can to stay away from them, to lay low, and to pretend she’s very, very busy. And this means that the best option for her is the safety of a familiar romance, back to school and, I think, the real possibility of surreptitious planning for a child.
There is a reasonably good chance that her conviction will be reinstated on appeal, and she knows it. The evidence remains, hard blood evidence, and overwhelming circumstantial evidence remains, evidence proved to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt. And now the DNA may be able to be retested with newer and more accurate methods. If the criminal conviction is not reinstated, there may be civil claims with a good chance of succeeding, in one forum or another, that will drag on for years. There is no statute of limits on murder, and, there may be no double jeopardy in Italy.
The sharp sting of the photos of Foxy with her newest Boy Toy alone won’t push Sollecito to do it, but there are purely practical reasons that may make it compelling for him to confess. At some point, Sollecito may find it in his best interest to come clean and to cut a deal with prosecutors to spend 3 or 4 more years in prison so as to be able to pay his penalty and to lead a clean life thereafter. If he doesn’t confess, this will drag him under for the rest of his life. Italy is a much smaller fishbowl than the US, and Italians overwhelmingly feel there is culpability; he may come to see that he will be unable to escape without a just penalty.
If Sollecito confesses, which logic and evidence suggest that he and his family would be wise to consider, he will be seen as an honorable man and will be able to hold his head high.
Archived in Those officially involved, Reporting on the case, Media news, Amanda Knox, Knox-Mellas team, More of the same
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Friday, October 28, 2011
A Famous Black Widow Confirms What MP Girlanda Told Us First: Italian Prisons Are Pretty Nice Places
Posted by Peter Quennell
Florence is 70 miles north of Perugia along a winding roller coaster of an autostrada which everyone drives at great speed.
If you take more than 1/2 an hour you are a sissy. (Just kidding.) The global luxury goods empire House of Gucci with stores in New York, Shanghai, and many other main cities was founded in Florence in 1921.
In 1998 Maurizio Gucci the grandson of the founder who was then aged 46 was executed by a hit man in Milan.
He had sold financial control of the empire he had managed to greatly expand to a Bahrain group in 1993 and then turned to doing other things. That included several girlfriends or mistresses which greatly distressed his wife.
Patrizia Reggiani was subsequently tried for initiating the hit and she was sentenced to 29 years which was reduced on appeal to 26. Nick Squires in the Daily Telegraph picks up the story from there.
Patrizia Reggiani has been in jail ever since being convicted of the killing in 1998. More than a decade later, she was the prospect of day release from Milan’s San Vittore prison, if she will accept a menial job such as working as a waitress.
But the 63-year-old, whose extravagant tastes included spending 10,000 euros a month on orchids, told a court in Milan: “I’ve never worked in my life and I’m certainly not going to start now.”
Her peremptory refusal of the day release deal echoed one of her more famous quotes: “I would rather weep in a Rolls-Royce than be happy on a bicycle.”
Instead she intends to serve the rest of her 26-year sentence in her jail cell, where she reportedly lavishes affection on a collection of pot plants and a pet ferret.
She will continue to be allowed to make twice-monthly visits to her ageing mother, who lives in a lavish palazzo in central Milan – a reminder of the cosseted lifestyle Mrs Reggiani used to enjoy.
A not-unpopular figure in Italy, she may soon be depicted by Angelina Jolie in a new Ridley Scott film to be called “Gucci” with Leonardo di Caprio as the hapless Maurizio.
The description of Patrizia’s prison life comes with no surprises. If you are going to be a prisoner anywhere in the world, Italy does seem the place of choice. .
The prison population is very small (proportionally only 1/6 that of the US) and prisoners often get their own bathroom and even a kitchen attached to their cell. They can watch TV and walk outside (in many prisons cell doors are kept open all day) and get their hair done professionally and attend rock concerts and plays. They can learn a trade if they lack skills, study for a degree, and even work on a computer all day.
Knox and Sollecito are believed to have done all of these things. Not least because the Italian MP Rocco Girlanda often visited Knox in Capanne and publicly told us all so. Mr Girlanda regularly visited to inspect conditions and then he declared Knox to be very well off. (He in return ended up with enough material for a book which nowhere depicted prison life as hell.)
These sob-stuff stories on torrid life at Capanne suddenly emerging from Seattle sure smack of an instant rewrite of history. Perhaps Angelina Jolie could check them out.
[Image at bottom: the Gucci museum in Florence which recently had a celebrity opening]
Archived in Those who were charged, Amanda Knox, Those officially involved, All the nefarious hoaxes, Nasty-prison hoax, Leading pompous frauds, Knox-Mellas team, More of the same, Other legal processes, Others Italian
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Saturday, October 22, 2011
Knox Public Relations Manager Starts Premature Crowing Many Many Months Before It’s Really All Over
Posted by Skeptical Bystander
Cross-posted from my personal website.
Premature exultation in the land of David Marriott
Click on the image above and you will be taken to the Land of Marriott as described by Heidi Dietrich in the Puget Sound Business Journal.
Now that the supertanker has pulled into port, the story about the creation of the narrative can finally begin to be told. We live in a world that needs an endless supply of stories. Just ask Scheherazade - whatever gets you through the night is all right.
In the land of Marriott as Button notes the media operates on the assumption that the American Public can’t remember the day before yesterday.
And in the business journal treatment of the Marriott PR Triumph (aka The Snow White Job), someone has forgotten that the script a month ago stated that there was no PR campaign and that anyone who believed there was one was nothing but a guilter and a hater.
But now all that is swept aside so that Mr. Marriott, who looks like a cross between Colonel Sanders and a dumpling, can lumber up to the stage and accept kudos from one and all. After all, he was hired three days after Knox was arrested, for financial terms neither side will disclose.
Let’s look at how the business journal spins the yarn:
Marriott was as important a player in [Knox’s] ordeal as anyone in the courtroom. As Knox’s publicist, beginning three days after her arrest, Marriott worked to convince the international public that she did not murder her British roommate while studying in Perugia.
“Hiring him was one of the smartest things we ever did,” said Curt Knox, Amanda’s father.
The partnership between the Knox family and Marriott illustrates the potential of a public relations campaign to shift sentiment — and possibly even influence a verdict.
Like I said, if you have the right publicist, anything is possible! The right publicist can make water flow uphill and, once that has happened, can advise you on the best way to make the money you will need to pay for his services. That’s the phase we’re in now, folks. If you ever get in trouble, this is the guy you want working for you, feeding chicken shit to the masses and calling it chicken delight.
More from the Business Journal version of The Story:
Then, there’s the need for money. Curt Knox and Amanda’s mother, Edda Mellas — they are not married to each other — have each said they’ve drained their retirement funds, taken out second mortgages and accrued credit card debt to pay for Amanda’s defense. So, in this new phase, lucrative media deals will be a consideration.
At Marriott’s downtown Seattle office, he fields inquiries from book agents, screenwriters, news shows and movie studios. All want the Amanda Knox saga for their own. Some are offering big bucks. Marriott and the Knox family will be considering the offers, Marriott said — likely in a couple of weeks.
“There will be financial opportunities,” Marriott said. “I’ll be there to walk them through the opportunities.”
Vargas edits darkness out of the story where it suits her
If you have only watched morning television and the truly disgustingly bad mainstream network telling of the Marriott Fairy Tale, you will be excused for not realizing that Curt and Edda are no longer married to one another. They put on such a united front, and Elizabeth Vargas never once uttered the word “divorced” (focus groups show this does not resonate with viewers in a key demographic).
Ah, Elizabeth Vargas. Button has her number. Noting that ABC in particular had descended into “absolute Sleazeville” in its coverage, she makes a telling observation:
Did you happen to notice that Vargas tried to edit Meredith’s mother entirely out of the press conference following the announcement of the verdict? As if she weren’t even there. As if she didn’t even exist.
Archived in Those officially involved, All the nefarious hoaxes, The wider contexts, Seattle context, Amanda Knox, Knox-Mellas team, More of the same
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Friday, October 21, 2011
Who Is Behind Repeated Attempts To Make False Claims Of Kercher Suit Against Knox Go Viral?
Posted by Peter Quennell
[Jeanne Sager tweeted and posted “Delusional Kerchers Think Amanda Knox Owes Them $12 Million”]
Is somebody trying very hard to juice the fast-ebbing sympathy for Amanda Knox? Who after three weeks has still not started to explain?
The UK’s Sun (see Google hit below) seems to have been the first to swallow and publish the malicious claim about the Kerchers. Quickly yanked. The UK’s Daily Mail ran a similar report on the malicious claim on the same day. Quickly yanked.
Several other second-tier media websites ran the false story very briefly, and then they yanked it.
Oblivious, the hack reporter Jeanne Sager of The Stir put the malicious claim on steroids with her post “Delusional Kerchers Think Amanda Knox Owes Them $12 Million”. She added some shrill ugly opinions of her own.
It was finally yanked along with hundreds of hate comments Jeanne Sager had managed to provoke.
The Christian Post’s corrections page is here. Both posts have Facebook commenting open below.
Archived in All the nefarious hoaxes, Knox-Mellas team, More of the same
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Tuesday, October 04, 2011
One Good Take On Italian Justice: Interesting Thought Not Neccessarily Entirely Ours
Posted by Peter Quennell
Click above for Tobias Jones’s take in the Guardian which seems to be trying to report evenly on the case..
Here are our most-read posts on first trials by Italian poster Nikki and the two appeals by Italian poster Commissario Montalbano and often-overlooked victims’ rights about Italian campaigner Barbara Benedettelli.
All explain better than Tobias Jones does the many hoops that prosecutors have to jump through for victims’ interests to come out ahead..
We can agree with Tobias Jones on this below - the elaborate, expensive and slow automatic first appeals complete with lay judges who don’t see the first pass of the evidence at first trial and often act as a wildcard in the process.
It’s one of the many failings of Italian justice that it never delivers conclusive, door-slamming certainty. What usually happens is that the door is left wide open to take the case to the next level, first to appeal and then to the cassazione, the supreme court. The score in the public imagination, at the moment, is simply one-all.
It’s always been that way. There’s barely one iconic crime from the post-war years that has persuaded the country that, yes, justice has been done: the murder of Pier Paolo Pasolini, the Ustica crash, the Bologna railway station bombing, the Piazza Fontana atrocity, the Monster of Florence murders, the murder of Luigi Calabresi, the “caso Cogne” … none has ever been satisfactorily, convincingly resolved. Instead the country seems to split into innocentisti and colpevolisti (those who believe in the innocence or guilt of the accused) and the heated debates continue for decades.
But we’d agree less-so, at least from an American perspective, with the Italian uniqueness of this below.
Dietrologia – literally “behindery” or conspiracy-theorising – is a national pastime precisely because the courts don’t offer convincing verdicts. It allows every journalist, magistrate and barfly to try their hand. The result is that everyone with an active imagination has a go at explaining the truth behind the mystery, and inevitably the truth only gets further buried beneath so many excited explanations. The media plays an active role in keeping the circus going: in no other country are cronache nere – “black chronicles” – so much the mainstay of the evening news. There’s always a case on the go.
Tobias Jones should watch the urbane elegance of the Porta a Porta shows, which are reminiscent of human games of chess, and then visit the US and watch all the cable news channels devoting many hours a day to legal talking heads debating one another over high-profile crime cases. CNN and MSNBC could probably not survive without them (Casey Anthony was a godsend) and they go back to the OJ Simpson trial when it seemed half the country joined in.
He probably has a good point about subjudice (blackouts on court news in the UK) but there’d seem more chance of a wrong outcome driven by public opinion in the US with its elected judges and police chiefs and prosecutors angling for news exposure than in Italy. (Judge Michael Heavey is an elected judge.)
Local public opinion in the US is very much behind the high execution rate in several American states and the difficulties non-whites often have in getting off.
Archived in Reporting on the case, V good reporting, The wider contexts, Italian context, More of the same
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Monday, October 03, 2011
Million Dollar Campaign And American Media Come Under Intense Ridicule By An Influential Italian
Posted by Tiziano
Vittorio Zucconi is the US editor of the major daily La Republicca and lives in Washington. He has more influence over Italian perceptions of America than any other. This is translated from the Italian.
A few hours from the verdict, America is in a trance over Baby Amanda - she is the girl from the golden west, an innocent victim of the wicked witches of the east, the ones wearing the robes of the Perugian judges - now awaiting the happy ending that everyone is expecting, which legions of correspondents and American TV cameras talk about and recount, as if the fate of the west depended upon her release from prison on appeal or on the confirmation of the guilty verdict
By Vittorio Zucconi per la Repubblica
She is the “Girl from the Golden West”, the innocent victim of the wicked witches of the east, the ones who wear the robes of the judges from Perugia. It is a melodrama, sung, played and staged for an American audience which relishes it and avidly follows it like a soap opera or one of those legal thrillers which have made the fortune of of authors like Grisham, Turow and before them Earl Stanley Gardner.
Amanda like Puccini’s Minnie, is the snow-white, naive, extremely innocent girl imprisoned on the wild frontier of the Italian justice system, now awaiting the happy ending which everyone expects, which legions of correspondents and TV cameras tell of and which are preparing to recount as if the fate of the West depended on her release form prison on appeal or on the confirmation of her guilty verdict. And which networks like the ABC are already selling for $7.99 to be downloaded to I-pads and tablets.
Such a show of strength, such a shelling out of money on the part of “news organisations”, all now very careful down to the last cent in bad times, about a legal case the like of which has probably not been seen on the other side of the Atlantic since the trial of historic importance of Adolf Eichmann.
Yes, the monster of the SS, the brain and the accountant of the Jewish genocide. Live satellite coverage is expected for the imminent sentence to be pronounced by the Appeal Court and daily services will broadcast, especially those for the morning shows, those desperate housewives, for mothers who have children anxious to escape from the boredom of suburbia, the same old routine of high school parties to fly far away for new experiences, as Amanda dreamed.
The one whom the British tabloid press straight away stained with the nick-name given to her by her soccer team friends, in the football she played as a little girl: Foxy Knoxy, in which foxy means agile, cunning, escaping tackles and not for that “foxy” which, as in Fellini’s Amarcord evokes the arts of an enchantress and insatiable desires. Because while the USA was barracking for Knox, the English cousins were against her.
As well, other than those irresistible ingredients thrown into the cauldron of the morbidity which gains circulation and titillates the worst in every consumer of garbage TV with bombs and horror reconstructions, sex, blood, satanism, the woman with sacrificial lamb and the butcher, in the fury of the American media who throw themselves against this “court peopled with provincial lawyers” (still Rolling Stones which dedicated an extremely lengthy inquest) there is a great repressed and secret desire for vengeance.
There is the repressed rage against that Europe which is always ready with finger raised to accuse American justice of monstrous errors, of inexplicable acquittals (the O J Simpson case), of “puritanical” persecution as is said precisely on our shores, (Clinton crucified for oral sex), of horrible shows, like the arrest and the world-wide shame of Strauss Khan, or the details of the “panties cover-up” - inside or outside? - of the victim of Willy Kennedy Smith, raped on the beach of the Kennedy villa in Florida.
American justice which triumphantly boasts that it is the best in the world, but refuses to recognise that it has sent, and still sends, innocent people defended by useless bar-room lawyers to be executed.
Now swallow this, you supercilious and presumptuous Italians and Europeans. The frenzy of the specials about Amanda is pursued by the satellite nets which have to recuperate their expenses.
CNN, once the authoritative queen of the satellite, yesterday showed a long special on the four years of torments and injustice, with Amanda on show on the site, with her face in the shadow, her fresh-face and prison profile, the “girl next door”, quite different from the she-devil, the satanic female painted by the “baroque” closing arguments (here is another expression which appears in all the reports on the prosecutor, next to “mediaeval”, all that is missing are the Borgias and Machiavelli.)
On the site her face figures in double format in respect to the pallid and sinister image of the jihadist Anwar al-Awaki, killed yesterday, one of the infinite number of aspiring candidates for the succession of Osama Bin Laden. The number of listeners and hits motivates CNN: Amanda is in first place and is beating the terrible terrorists, as well as news on the economy and the stock market, disastrous again.
We are possibly on the way to a second recession, but there is no match, in the ratings, for that travesty, that parody of justice, put in place against the girl from the golden west, martyred in Perugia.
It is a thought that will print books, burn DVDs, work video-recorders to see once more the specials of CNN, Fox, ABC, CBS, MSNBC, local broadcasters, which have exalted as a hero, the blogger from Perugia who was sceptical from the first day. And the first network which succeeds in obtaining - or buying - the truth from Amanda, the “accidental murderer” who was dreaming of the view of Umbrian cypresses and who saw the prison bars of Italian justice, will be transported to the stars.
‘Is it true that you are always dreaming of sex?” the prison guards would ask the girl, according to her diaries, also printed greedily by Time. True, false, it doesn’t matter. Amanda is a victim, a woman, a little girl, and the verdict has already been issued here. An America, year in year out accused of being an executioner by anti-Americanism, even when its own symbols are collapsing, can finally call itself, this time, the victim. Today, here, we are all Amanda.Knox.
Archived in All the nefarious hoaxes, Reporting on the case, Media news, Knox-Mellas team, Sollecito team, More of the same
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Friday, September 16, 2011
Slate’s Katie Crouch Comes Across Like A Callous And Ill-Informed Sock Puppet
Posted by Peter Quennell
For a slightly trapped Umbrian tourist with a 16-month-old on her hands, this case seemed a gift. Finally, something to talk about in my broken Italian with the locals! Do you think she’s guilty? My pension owner, a jolly man with two kids, said yes, definitely. Hadn’t I been to college? It was an orgy with a knife! An American expatriate friend over cappuccinos at Sandri’s: Guilty. It’s a known fact that the girl had sex with three men in two months. Need we say more?
She seems to rely only on ill-informed gossip from bar-flies to conclude that Amanda Knox is innocent and, yes, she should be set free. Even a remotely competent reporter would have managed to find out and report on these basic facts.
- Italy’s is one of the most cautious and painstaking justice systems in the world. It is so careful and so reluctant to conclude guilt that its incarceration rate is less than one-sixth that of the United States. Italy has less than 100,000 prisoners behind bars. The US with a population less than five times that of Italy has 2.7 MILLION.
- Part of every trial and appeal process in Italy as required by the constitution is an exhaustive report explaining every verdict and sentence. In this case there are FOUR such documents amounting to nearly 700 pages. Two for two trials and two for Guede’s two appeals. One of those is by the Supreme Court and it confirms three people attacked Meredith on the night.
Had Katie Crouch read Judge Micheli’s sentencing report for Rudy Guede (linked to in our right column) and Judge Massei’s sentencing report for Knox and Sollecito (linked to in full and summary above) here’s betting she would never have concluded as she did. These claims for example would never have been made.
After naming Knox and Sollecito as co-killers, Guede’s time was reduced to 16 years.
Rudy Guede has never named Knox and Sollecito as “co-killers”. He named them as the only two killers, only once, to their faces, in the appeal. His sentence was automatically reduced solely because he opted for the fast track process which Italy allows. It was not a reward and he did not testify at Knox’s and Sollecito’s trial.
During the trial, Knox and Sollecito were accused of planning and carrying out a sex crime that ended in the slow sawing open of the victim’s throat…. Then there was the prosecutor’s theory of a bullying four-way sex game gone wrong.
The sex crime idea is not so farcical as Katie Crouch suggests. Meredith had been sexually molested, and her body had been re-arranged some time after her death to point to a sex attack. It was reasonable that the prosecutor put this to the court. Judge Micheli named Knox as the probable initiator in sending her to trial. Judge Massei named Guede as the probable initiator. Guede, Knox and Sollecito were all convicted of a sex crime. Two trials and two appeals have all concluded that three people had to have participated in Meredith’s attack.
For one thing, during her interrogation, Amanda named her boss, a bar owner named Patrick Lumumba, as the killer, and herself as present in the cottage. But Lumumba had an airtight alibi of tending his bar, Le Chic, that night. Why this bogus accusation implicating herself?
This is fully explained by Judge Massei. The interrogators were checking Knox’s recent calls and Lumumba’s name came up. Knox was in an apparent panic at the time as she had just been told that Sollecito had just destroyed her first alibi. Naming Lumumba (which she did not recant until he was released) was an apparent panic attempt to create another.
Meredith Kercher’s blood was on the murder weapon, a knife found in Sollecito’s kitchen. But no it wasn’t, the experts who testified at the appeals said.
This is simply incorrect. The scientific police expert who conducted the original test invited defense experts to be present. One did appear, and he witnessed Meredith’s DNA profile emerging from the machine. One prosecution witness at the appeal said there was enough material for a retest and the prosecution asked Judge Hellman for this. After a consultation with the jury he said what they had heard already was enough.
OK, well, what about the fact that Knox bought bleach at 7 in the morning after the murder? Wait, but she didn’t. A witness later said her co-worker was coerced into saying that by a reporter. (Plus, after a violent diaper emergency, I myself can tell you that no store in Perugia is open at seven in the morning.)
This is an absurd mis-statement of the relevant evidence. The manager of the Conad testified that Knox was waiting for the store to open when he arrived. Nobody testified that she bought bleach. The real significance of this evidence is that it destroys Knox’s claim that she slept in until after 10:00.
I got up at 5 in the morning and crept to the cottage where the murder happened, staring in the window that the prosecutor argued no one could climb into, meaning the killer had to have keys. But the window didn’t look that high. I could probably climb up there.
A tall and very agile defense staff member tried this and after getting his hands up to the windowsill he had to give up. Judge Massei describes extensively the evidence below the wall, on the wall, on the window sill, and in the room itself to prove that nobody entered by that route. The only DNA found in the room was Knox’s mixed with Meredith’s DNA. No DNA of Guede or any other possible perpetrator was found there.
Knox and Sollecito turned off their phones that night not so they couldn’t be tracked, but because they didn’t want their parents bothering them during sex.
They had never simultaneously turned off their phones before. Sollecito’s final alibi has it that Knox was away from his place for four hours which is hardly conducive to a claim that they were having undisturbed sex.
Knox named Lumumba as the murderer because it was 5 in the morning and she’d been interrogated all night in a language she didn’t, at the time, understand very well.
It was not 5 in the morning. She made the claim soon after midnight and then repeated it in writing at her request for Mr Mignini. At the witness interview (which she volunteered for and could have refused) she had a translator present. Knox mentioned the translator in her testimony at trial.
She had only been in Italy about six weeks, and she hadn’t had any food or water for hours.
Knox herself confirmed at trial that she was given refreshments and treated well. Her own lawyers have never backed up such claims or filed an official complaint. For making claims of abuse against the interrogators both Knox and her parents face calunnia suits by those who consider themselves defamed.
Amanda’s DNA is mixed with Meredith’s blood on the bathroom sink because she brushed her teeth every day.
Not even Knox herself made that absurd claim. Katie Crouch should read this post on the various traces of mixed blood which the defenses have kept well away from disputing.
The knife the police had didn’t match Meredith’s wounds because it wasn’t the right one.
A defense witness at trial conceded that the large knife did match one of Meredith’s wounds. Good grief. Is there ANYTHING that Katie Crouch did get right?
Archived in Reporting on the case, V bad reporting, More of the same
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Wednesday, September 14, 2011
A New Book Explains The Unfruitful Emergence Of More And More Conspiracy Theories
Posted by Peter Quennell
Conspiracy theorists have dismally failed to come up with a plausible alternative theory of how Meredith died.
However, they do keep trying. So do the proponents of literally hundreds of other conspiracy theories, constituting vast amounts of effort probably better spent elsewhere - conspiracy theorists very rarely achieve very much, or do well economically, or rise to the top jobs.
In Mr. Shermer’s view, the brain is a belief engine, predisposed to see patterns where none exist and to attribute them to knowing agents rather than to chance—the better to make sense of the world. Then, having formed a belief, each of us tends to seek out evidence that confirms it, thus reinforcing the belief.
This is why, on the foundation of some tiny flaw in the evidence—the supposed lack of roof holes to admit poison-gas cans in one of the Auschwitz-Birkenau gas chambers for Holocaust deniers, the expectant faces on the grassy knoll for JFK plotters, the melting point of steel for 9/11 truthers—we go on to build a great edifice of mistaken conviction….
Mr. Shermer offers a handy guide for those who are confused. Conspiracy theories are usually bunk when they are too complex, require too many people to be involved, ratchet up from small events to grand effects, assign portentous meanings to innocuous events, express strong suspicion of either governments or companies, attribute too much power to individuals or generate no further evidence as time goes by.
The increasingly shrill posts appearing daily on the website Ground Report seem to mark pretty high against that list. Could the Evil Mignini have engineered even this?
Oops. Another conspiracy theory in play.
Archived in Reporting on the case, Media news, The psychology, Knox-Mellas team, Sollecito team, More of the same
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Tuesday, September 06, 2011
Twelfth Appeal Session: Prosecution Start To Undermine The Independent Experts’ More Tenuous Claims
Posted by Peter Quennell
[Above: Dr Stefanoni head of the Scientific Police’s Rome DNA labs with her prosecution interrogator Ms Comodi]
Monday’s Italian reporting suggests that Dr Stefanoni is coming across as highly competent and very objective.
Her team’s DNA handling and testing seems to have cut no corners. Her testimony will spill over into Tuesday. The AGI News Service describes Dr Stefanoni on Monday running through her procedures and precuaions and denying that contamination could have taken place.
She hit point by point on all the complaints made by the consultants of the Assize Court of Appeal at Perugia about the police work in the context of scientific investigations into the murder of Meredith Kercher. She strongly defended the specialist work done by her laboratory. Stefanoni has categorically ruled out a possible contamination of the findings, pointing out that “the contamination is not ‘a thing that comes out of something abstract.”
The expert then recalled that the DNA of each operator that operates within the laboratories of the scientific police is ‘duly filed and that any possibility of contamination, whether by a person or from sample to sample, is tested on a regular basis. Dr Stefanoni also described how the “wet samples” collected on the first day of the murder investigation were kept in the refrigerator of the house and then brought to Rome.
And La Nazione in describing the same testimony adds that the defenses are taking quite a gamble in their all-or-nothing approach where a full acquittal seems increasingly unlikely and where the prosecution are asking for tougher sentences for Knox and Sollecito based on a waiver of Judge Massei’s mitigating circumstances.
The huge volume of evidence not being re-examined in the current appeal (about 95% of all evidence including a majority of the forensic evidence) is highlighted in many of the reports. Rudy Guede’s direct accusation of Knox and Sollecito to their faces in one appeal session is also recalled.
No mention of the position of the no-nonsense Supreme Court of Cassation position but that gorilla has to loom large in Judge Hellman’s mind. Judge Hellman does not have the final word on this appeal in Italian law, and a final outcome may take another 18 months. And if there is any funny business suspected, appeals can always be made to Cassation instantly.
In light of these two circumstances, the defense teams are still much more pussyfooting in Italian in the appeal court than the shrill PR claims in English-language media, while still not making the smartest move in Italian courts when defendants seem cooked and evoking some sympathy for them.
Knox’s best chances seem to be falling between those two stools.
Archived in Public evidence, DNA and luminol, Appeals 2009-2015, Hellmann 2011+, More of the same
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Sunday, July 24, 2011
Is the Conti-Vecchiotti DNA Review Defamatory? Stefanoni Believes So and May Sue
Posted by Peter Quennell
This looks like really bad news for Amanda Knox and Raffaelle Sollecito. The last straw.
TJMK main poster Fly By Night already described in great detail how suspect and heavily biased is the Conti-Vecchiotti report.
He predicted fireworks by the Scientific Police and prosecution expert witnesses who were seriously and without proper bases impugned. He predicted the fireworks would start tomorrow in court.
But already the fireworks have begun. The Guardian’s Tom Kington (who himself has often seemed to show a pro-Knox bias) reports quoting the UK’s Sunday paper The Observer:
A prominent forensic scientist, whose DNA evidence helped to convict the US student and her former boyfriend, has vowed to overturn the findings of an independent report that says much of her work in the case was unreliable.
Written by two independent experts from Rome’s Sapienza University, the 145-page DNA review rubbishes the work of Patrizia Stefanoni, the police forensic scientist who found Knox’s and Kercher’s DNA on a kitchen knife at Sollecito’s house and identified DNA belonging to Sollecito on a torn bra clasp found beside Kercher’s semi-naked body.
The report claims Stefanoni ignored international DNA protocols, made basic errors and gave evidence in court that was not backed up by her laboratory work, rendering the knife and bra strap worthless as evidence. But Stefanoni has vowed to fight back during three hearings devoted to the DNA reviews.
“I am angry about the false statements in this report and ready to come to court to highlight the past record of these experts,” she told the Observer. “I am also looking into taking legal action against them. What international DNA protocols are they talking about? The Italian police is a member of the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes (ENFSI), while they are not.”...
After discovering there was no DNA left to check on the knife or the bra clasp, the experts retraced the steps taken by Stefanoni, concluding that the DNA trace of Kercher on the blade was so weak it could not be reliably matched – or was at best the result of contamination – and quoted Stefanoni admitting in court she should have double-tested her result to be more convincing.
Stefanoni claimed she had no need to repeat tests since the experts for the defence were on hand to witness her work. “And it was good enough to show it was Kercher’s DNA,” she said. “A small amount, but good quality.”...
The experts quote numerous US police and FBI experts on the risk of low DNA results and poor evidence handling, prompting one Italian police source to claim they were being fed information by Knox’s defence team. (Emphasis added.)
More attempted manipulation behind the scenes that now turns out to be heavy-handed overreach? Good luck to Judge Hellman tomorrow. He appointed the two “independent experts.” And he already almost lost control of his court once.
He will already be getting anxious to protect his good name before the Supreme Court. Unlikely now to buck any trends.
Archived in Those officially involved, Police and CSI, Public evidence, DNA and luminol, Appeals 2009-2015, Hellmann 2011+, More of the same
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Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Analysis Suggests The Conti-Vecchiotti DNA Review Is Weak, Tendentious, Cites Non-Existent Standards
Posted by Fly By Night
In light of the huge fanfare two weeks ago over the release of the court-ordered independent expert review by Carla Vecchioti and Stefano Conti (image above, more in post below) on the forensic science methods and findings of Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni as part of the Knox/Sollecito appeal, we start this analysis of that report by summarizing a few hard facts:
- The DNA samples currently under review by the court are NOT the only DNA samples used to convict Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. In fact, the five mixed samples (not just DNA – there was the fresh blood of both women in four of them) of Amanda Knox and Meredith Kercher constitute the strongest, most damning physical evidence of the case. This is why they have not been subjected to independent review during the appeal, along with the great majority of the evidence Judge Massei and the jury considered in convicting Knox and Sollecito of the murder of Meredith Kercher.
- In reviewing the findings of Dr. Stefanoni, Technical Director/Principal Biologist with the Polizia Scientifica in Rome (image below), the expert report is also critiquing the findings and opinions of an entire well-regarded forensics agency along with the personal views of many prominent forensics experts. They include Dr. Renato Biondo, Professor Francesca Torricelli, and the nationally prominent General Luciano Garofano who in support of Dr. Stefanoni’s own open descriptions have provided lengthy statements describing in great detail their reasons for agreeing with Stefanoni’s methods and findings.
- The use and acceptance of LCN DNA analysis techniques in the USA lags behind that of other countries in the world, as documented in the numerous publications on the topic now seen in US professional journals. Enhanced typing methods for LCN DNA are routinely relied upon in forensic DNA laboratories across Europe to provide sound evidence for courtroom arguments. So the expert report’s overbearing reliance upon AMERICAN sources including the controversial opinions of Bruce Budowle (image below) of the University of North Texas, in questioning Stefanoni’s LCN DNA testing techniques, is highly questionable. Budowle has been strongly criticized by a number of distinguished researchers including Theresa Caragine and John Buckleton for his non-scientific opinions and for allegedly engaging in unethical practices and maintaining serious conflicts of interest.
- Claudio Pratillo Hellman, the judge presiding over the Knox and Sollecito appeal trial, appointed Vecchioti and Conti to provide an independent assessment for the court regarding the handling and analysis of several pieces of evidence that played a role in the conviction of Knox and Sollecito. Using the expert report as a focus, on Monday July 25th these independent experts will appear in court along with various expert witnesses for the prosecution, the defense teams, and the Kercher family to discuss the only pieces of DNA-related evidence that have been subjected to review in the appeal trial. They are (1) the DNA on the kitchen knife accepted by the Massei court to be the murder weapon, and (2) the DNA on a bra clasp torn from Meredith’s body.
The findings of the expert report itself in all their 145 pages of depth appear to boil down to two primary debates: (1) Issues surrounding the Low Copy Number (LCN) DNA analysis techniques employed by Dr. Stefanoni, and (2) Issues surrounding the probability of excluding all possible sources of contamination from the evidence.
The Expert Report
When the supposed findings of the independent expert report were first leaked, international media ballyhooed them as a sure sign that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito would soon be cleared of murder charges, claiming that the prosecution’s DNA arguments had now been shown to be based upon substandard DNA testing practices, and that the evidence might have been contaminated. Knox herself was said to have sung and danced with joy upon hearing the news.
But a closer look at actual contents of the report, and its supporting documents, suggests that such celebrations are premature and ill-advised. The expert report exists to serve only as the focal point for upcoming courtroom arguments, including arguments over the validity of Dr. Stefanoni’s claim to have identified Meredith Kercher’s DNA on the blade of the kitchen knife. The report explains why a complete repeat of the testing Stefanoni performed on both the knife and bra clasp was not possible and how DNA on the bra clasp had deteriorated beyond testability.
The expert’s attempts to perform repeat tests on the knife were unsuccessful in identifying cellular material on the blade. This was not a surprise, considering that Stefanoni had previously reported that additional testing would be impossible due to the minimal amount of DNA originally found there. The expert’s testing did, however, firmly conclude that Amanda Knox’s DNA was located on the handle of the knife.
The expert report will steer upcoming courtroom debates towards a complete review of Stefanoni’s crime scene management practices, the DNA analysis methods she employed, and the reasoning and protocols she used to reach her conclusions. The expert report provides one of several frames of reference for these debates and in part focuses upon criticisms not only of Stefanoni’s use of LCN DNA testing techniques to identify Kercher’s DNA on the knife blade but the entire LCN DNA analysis methodology itself. As noted above, Vecchioti and Conti confirmed the presence of Amanda Knox’s DNA on the handle of the knife but suggest that the very small sample of Meredith’s DNA located on the blade, identified by LCN DNA testing, is the result of contamination.
The Potential For Contamination
Contamination of evidence might occur in the evidence collection phase of an investigation, or it might occur as the result of improper laboratory testing procedures once a sample has arrived securely at the forensic laboratory. Before digging deeper into laboratory contamination potential, including associated LCN DNA analysis issues, we first take a look at the expert report’s evaluation of evidence collection protocols and the potential for contamination in that phase of the criminal investigation.
The expert report attempts to establish that international standards for crime scene management practices exist. However, their approach raises the same question raised by the assignment of Bruce Budowle, a controversial and opinionated LCN DNA commenter, as the foundation for their DNA analysis critiques. Namely, why does the expert report find it necessary to over-rely upon inappropriate and highly questionable American resources to support its most critical arguments?
As strange as it may seem, the Italian expert report references quite a few relatively obscure, and often outdated, editions of American resources. They include the State of Wisconsin Crime Laboratory Manual, the Missouri State Highway Patrol Handbook, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation Evidence Guide, the Louisiana State Police Crime Laboratory Manual, the New Jersey State Police Evidence Manual, and even introductory college textbooks covering criminal investigations at the level of “please wash your hands.”
If the intent of the expert report was to establish that a standard set of international protocols exists, and then to compare that set of protocols to protocols used in the Meredith Kercher murder case, then why not cite the international body that establishes and upholds such standards, if that body actually exists?
Instead, the approach taken by the expert report only serves to underscore the notion that there may, in fact, be no such thing as international standards for evidence collection and handling. What the report actually establishes is that they are citing from a selected list of extremely diverse regional “best practices” manuals in support of theoretical and abstract concepts or points. In doing so the expert report authors its own set of ad hoc “international standards” as it moves along.
It would have been far more effective to put the focus on creating an objective and fair analysis of the real-world crime scene management procedures employed in this case, and then comparing and contrasting those findings with the successful, or unsuccessful, management practices of other similar case-study investigations providing appropriate citations from relevant literature along the way.
As a result of the independent experts’ approach, the contamination risk concerns cited in the expert report during the evidence collection phase appear to be largely a rehash of arguments over protocol that were thoroughly vetted during the course of the trial itself, such as how often investigators changed their gloves.
What we are left with is a report that only theoretically suggests that contamination cannot be ruled out, while completely failing to provide concrete examples of precisely when and how contamination could have entered into the evidence management chain. For the appeal, this will result in a repeat of the same attacks upon investigative methods and processes, and all of the related arguments, that the court entertained during the trial, albeit this time with a new judge and jury.
The expert report apparently confirms that Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA was found on the bra clasp in an amount that would be difficult to attribute to contamination. Dr. Stefanoni found about 4 nanograms of Sollecito’s DNA on the bra clasp, which is a substantial amount of DNA considering that research suggests that contaminated samples usually contain sub-picogram amounts of DNA, or around 1000 to 10,000 times less DNA than attributed to Sollecito on the bra clasp.
That fact that Raffaele’s DNA on the clasp appears to be mixed with additional DNA should NOT lead to conclusions that his profile cannot be effectively isolated and identified, or must be the result of contamination. In fact, Italy’s premiere forensic science expert Luciano Garofano testified that Stefanoni’s analysis of the bra clasp was “perfect.” It is also not plausible to suggest that contamination is the source for Sollecito’s abundant DNA on the bra clasp in the absence of significant environmental traces for Sollecito anywhere else in or around Meredith’s home, or in the Rome laboratory for that matter.
LCN DNA Testing
LCN is a DNA profiling technique employed when available DNA is limited to very small quantities. A DNA sample might be as small as a millionth the size of a grain of salt, amounting to only a few cells of skin or sweat left in a fingerprint.
Using LCN testing techniques the small sample can be successfully evaluated and attributed to an individual. LCN DNA testing has been in use since 1999 and is rapidly gaining worldwide acceptance in both legal and forensic science communities. For example it has now been used in more than 21,000 cases in the UK since being approved for use in criminal cases in 2008, following a period of stringent testing and evaluation.
The increased sensitivity of LCN testing techniques does increase the potential of contamination to impact analyses of small DNA samples in the laboratory. Since LCN techniques can accurately amplify DNA samples having as little as just a few cells it has been suggested that even breathing on such a small sample has the potential to render the resulting profile useless. Contamination is particularly problematic for LCN samples because both sample and contaminant DNA are amplified, resulting in a complex mixed profile with related stochastic effect impacts.
But, as evidenced in the expert report itself, Dr. Stefanoni is well-versed in the appropriate methods for dealing with these concerns, since she is quoted as already having admonished the court experts Vecchioti and Conti for not making use of a fume hood to ensure the absence of contamination as they conducted their retests on the evidence.
In recent years numerous professional publications have addressed the scientific, technical, and legal issues surrounding LCN DNA sample testing, outlining the stochastic effects and artifacts such as peak imbalances between alleles and loci, as well as allele and locus drop-out, or allele drop-in, along with making a variety of suggestions for both avoiding contamination and making error-free evaluations of stochastic effects.
On the basis of these publications, including the proceedings of the biannual world congresses of the International Society of Forensic Genetics, it is clear that enhanced typing methods for LCN DNA are now routinely in use in forensic DNA laboratories across Europe. This is strong evidence that the scientific community is now actively engaged in an effort to document all LCN DNA methods in use and is working towards developing standard biostatistical tools for evaluating LCN DNA typing results.
It also appears as though the USA is lagging behind other regions in research, practice, and acceptance in this discipline.
In this relatively new field of study it is not surprising that researchers have yet to establish anything approaching standards for LCN DNA testing and analysis. Even so, this has not prevented the results of LCN DNA testing from being successfully and routinely introduced as viable evidence in courtroom arguments.
For example, on February 8, 2010, Judge Robert Hanophy of the Supreme Court of Queens County, New York ruled that results of LCN DNA testing, as performed by the Office of Chief Medical Examiner in New York City, is now generally accepted as reliable in the forensic scientific community, it consistently yields reliable results, it is not a novel scientific procedure, and it is therefore admissible at trial (People v. Megnath, Supreme Court of New York, Queens County, 2010 NY).
Although the current Wikipedia article on the topic maintains that LCN DNA has only been adopted for evidential purposes in the UK, the Netherlands, and New Zealand, this unreferenced claim stands in ignorance of the fact that inquisitorial court systems in numerous European countries do not typically require formal publication and peer review of analytical methods in scientific journals as a justification for their methods.
And as we have seen in the current Knox/Sollecito trial, in Europe it has become customary to have independent experts attempt to convince the court of the validity, or invalidity, of the LCN typing results that have been presented in a trial. To be successful, it is essential that an independent expert provide the court with evidence of expertly-conducted retests of available evidence, relevant citations of appropriate research, and meaningful evaluations of protocols employed in outlining their objective and balanced set of opinions for the court.
In this regard, it appears that the independent expert report for the Knox/Sollecito appeal has completely missed the mark.
Their report gives the strong impression that Carla Vecchioti and Stefano Conti were overtly attempting to invalidate the findings of Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni, the Polizia Scientifica in Rome, and the wealth of supportive testimony provided in court during the trial. The tone of their report strongly indicates that they have lined up with Sollecito defense experts Adriano Tagliabracci and Valerio Onofri of the Institute for Forensic Medicine in Ancona, and Knox defense experts Sara Gino, Walter Patumi and Carlo Torre from the University of Turin.
We will see in court on the 25th if they are really across the figurative aisle from the prosecution witnesses Dr. Stefanoni and Dr. Giuseppe Novelli, a highly esteemed professor of biomedicine at Tor Vergata in Rome who is considered to be the “father of police forensics” in Italy, along with the expert witnesses for the Kercher family Professor Torricelli, and Dr. Emiliano Giardina, who is a colleague of Professor Novelli at Tor Vergata University.
This appears to establish grounds for a formidable courtroom battle if all experts can provide solid grounds for their opinions. However, the Kercher’s lawyer Francesco Maresca was already quick to point out that those on the prosecution’s side of the aisle have substantially more practical experience and years of work in the forensic science field.
An in depth reading of the expert report uncovers allegations that Dr. Stefanoni has not followed internationally established forensic science management standards and that in doing so she has committed analytical errors, such as the misattribution of peaks in her bra clasp DNA analysis. What the report fails to mention, however, is that no such standards exist and that there are currently multiple perspectives from which a scientist might argue their case regarding the proper interpretation of DNA data, as evidenced in any sampling of current forensic science journal articles.
For example, the expert report cites a 2006 International Society for Forensic Genetics (ISFG) publication as an example of a standard for determining which stutters should be considered as alleles in the assessment of mixed DNA samples. But this alleged “standard” stands in contrast to direct testimony from Dr. Stefanoni while defending her lab protocols in comparison to the ISFG “recommendations” which she claims in no way qualify as authoritative standards. The difference between recommendations and standards is a critical distinction in scientific fields.
A closer look at this discrepancy reveals that in 2007 Dr. Stefanoni and her immediate supervisor, Dr. Renato Biondo, hosted a meeting in Rome of the European DNA Profiling Group (EDNAP) in which these same 2006 ISFG recommendations were discussed. At that meeting papers were presented from the UK and Germany that contested a number of the ISFG recommendations that the expert report now attempts to establish as mandatory standards.
In the midst of this ongoing debate over ISFG recommendations, it is quite remarkable that the expert report, citing that 2006 ISFG document, chooses to assert that Stefanoni made erroneous interpretations of chart peaks simply because her interpretation of the data did not respect the controversial ISFG recommendations.
The experts report consequently admits that they confirmed Stefanoni’s awareness of the ISFG recommendations, and that she expressed a personal view that they should simply be viewed as “guidelines.” Yet they STILL insist on continuing to label her conclusions as erroneous since she did not “correctly” and “explicitly” adhere to the ISFG “recommendations.”
In light of all this, it is highly unlikely that Judge Hellman will dismiss Dr. Stefanoni’s knowledge and expertise on this matter as readily as Vecchioti and Conti have in their expert report.
An in depth analysis of the expert report also indicates that the citations from scientific journals are incomplete and often “cherry-picked” to directly support specific criticisms brought against Dr. Stefanoni’s methods.
For example, the expert report appears to base its entire argument against Stefanoni’s reliance upon LCN DNA analysis techniques upon one paper, authored by Bruce Budowle et al entitled “Low Copy Number Typing Has Yet to Achieve General Acceptance.” The expert report then goes on to cite a paper by Gill and Buckleton where these authors appear to support a few claims made by Budowle (image above) in his article, but the report completely ignores the fact that Gill and Buckleton then go on to air strong criticisms of many other claims made by Budowle.
In fact, in 2010 John Buckleton and Peter Gill authored a scathing criticism of Bruce Budowle’s entire “Low Copy Number Typing Has Yet to Achieve General Acceptance” article; the very article that the expert report relies exclusively upon in bringing Dr. Stefanoni’s methods into question. In their article, published in Forensic Science, Buckleton and Gill state:
[Budowle’s] article is not peer reviewed. The proceedings of the ISFG Congress are prefaced by the message: “the manuscripts were neither reviewed nor edited in detail. The articles reflect the opinions of the authors.”
It contains neither new data nor any novel scientific findings. Rather it represents public advocacy and is an expression of alternative opinion by the three authors concerning observations that are largely common ground. There is a place in the scientific literature for advocacy but it must be soundly based on proven facts.
We have some considerable difficulty in actually determining just exactly what the authors are indeed advocating. This is because of their inconsistent use of terminology and inconsistent recommendations. In our opinion, the views presented are inadequately precise, demonstrate a lack of appreciation of underlying principles and are not aligned with broader scientific opinion.
The title of the paper appeared to have one eye on future Frye or Daubert hearings and again we question whether such a title has a place in the learned literature. It takes upon itself, inappropriately, the role of gatekeeper of what constitutes “general acceptance” (The Frye test).
The article itself appears to be a rather inappropriate continuation of a debate arising from a court case in New York (People v. Megnath). Again we would question whether this journal is the correct forum to air this debate.
In other words, Buckleton and Gill are suggesting that Bruce Budowle acted unethically by publishing his non-peer reviewed opinions in a professional journal for the purpose of using the article to support his work as a paid consultant, and as an expert witness in court cases such as People v. Megnath in New York.
Incidentally, Budowle was unsuccessful in advocating his opinions as an expert witness for the defense in People v. Megnath in his battle with Theresa Caragine of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of the City of New York over her submission in court of data obtained using LCN DNA testing techniques.
Theresa Caragine herself authored a powerful rebuttal of Budowle’s article claiming that when Budowle’s “opinions” were published he failed to disclose that he had, in fact, been retained by the defense counsel for Mr. Megnath, and that he had already testified as a paid expert witness regarding the opinions he expresses in the journal article that the expert report relies heavily upon in attempting to substantiate its points. And even though Bruce Budowle’s opinions had previously been delivered as a paid expert witness in a judicial setting, he made the claim of ‘No Conflict of Interest’ when applying to publish this non-peer reviewed article.
Caragine’s remarks go even further in criticizing the Budowle et al LCN DNA article by pointing out that it is not even a research article, but a non-peer reviewed submission that had purportedly been presented in the context of the 23rd Biennial Worldwide Conference of the International Society of Forensic Genetics, 2009 in Buenos Aires.
Caragine claims that, while Budowle had in fact submitted a similar paper at that meeting, it was not under its current title, nor did it have the same the list of authors, and the abstract submitted to the conference organizers for their selection process does not align with the content of the paper now cited in the Italian experts’ report submitted to the court in the Knox/Sollecito appeal. In her rebuttal, Caragine strongly questions whether or not such a circumvention of all standard principles of scientific publishing is in any way acceptable or appropriate.
In light of all of the above, the upcoming July 25th court hearing in the Knox/Sollecito trial should be considered as anything but a foregone conclusion. The rationale behind the exuberant remarks noted in recent press releases regarding content allegedly favorable to defense efforts and anticipated impacts appears to be baseless.
For an Italian report, it gives the appearance of being remarkably Amero-centric, and we find it ugly and unprofessional that the expert report chooses to attack Dr. Stefanoni and her colleagues by citing nonexistent international standards and by relying upon extraordinarily questionable resources in doing so.
The report’s final conclusion that contamination cannot be completely ruled out is remarkably weak considering that there are relatively few real-world cases in which contamination of evidence might be completely ruled out.
It becomes clear, then, that well informed prosecution interrogators will have no problem in identifying and attacking the report’s multiple weaknesses. We should expect Dr. Stefanoni and the prosecution’s team of experts to present precise counter arguments for the challenges expressed in the expert report, strongly defending the forensic science capabilities of Stefanoni and her team.
Archived in Public evidence, DNA and luminol, Appeals 2009-2015, Hellmann 2011+, More of the same
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Sunday, July 03, 2011
A Deeply Ugly, Inaccurate And Callous Piece Of Junk By Nathaniel Rich In “Rolling Stone”
Posted by The TJMK Main Posters
According to Wikipedia, Nathanial Rich is an American author and essayist.
He is also the son of the New York Times columnist Frank Rich, and various online commentaries about him credit that.and not talent or ethics or hard work for any success he might have had.
Still, you would think that being the son of a high-profile journalist, Nathaniel Rich would try hard to write a fair, factually accurate and balanced report. One carefully checked out, with the Italians he impugns and with no sign of obsessive pro-female-perp bias.
But instead Nathaniel Rich and his editor Sean Woods (image below) have come out with an xenophobic, defamatory, highly inaccurate report..
In this piece Rich comes across like the notorious Stephen Glass who simply made stories up and whose editors never cross-checked until it was too late. Except Stephen Glass that never actually showed bigotry or defamed.
It does not seem too much to ask to expect anybody writing an article about the shocking sexual assault, torture and murder of Meredith Kercher for them to have done their due diligence? And to made sure that every single claim presented has been verified by the official court documents or independently corroborated by objective and reliable sources?
And for Sean Woods and other New York-based Rolling Stone editors even in their decline to check out their writers’ claims, especially with those impugned?
In this piece we analyze just some of the numerous wrong claims by Nathaniel Rich in his article The Neverending Nightmare of Amanda Knox and compare them (as he should have done) to official court documents such as the Micheli report, the Massei report, Rudy Guede’s final sentencing report by the Supreme Court, and testimony at 2009 trial and 2011 first appeal [later annulled].
Above: Nathaniel Rich’s editor at Rolling Stone Sean Woods
Claim 1: There were bloody fingerprints all over the apartment
Wrong. Nathanial Rich gets his first basic fact wrong in just the second sentence of his article with his claim that Guede left bloody fingerprints all over the apartment.
There was in fact not even one. According to the Micheli report, the Massei report and Rudy Guede’s final sentencing report, Guede was identified by a single bloody palm print, not a whole lot of bloody fingerprints:
b) traces attributable to Guede: a palm print in blood found on the pillow case of a pillow lying under the victim’s body – attributed with absolute certainty to the defendant by its correspondence to papillary ridges as well as 16-17 characteristic points equal in shape and position… (page 5, Rudy Guede’s final sentencing report).
It is confirmed that Guede was identified by a bloody palm print in the Micheli report (pages 10-11) and the Massei report (page 43). There was not a single fingerprint of his or Sollecito and almost none of Knox at the crime scene - which consists of the entire apartment.
Rich’s “her killer” in his opening implies there was only one killer but FOUR courts including the Supreme Court insisted there had to have been three. The lone wolf theory has long been dead. This is why the defense had to drag Alessi and Aviello into court two weeks ago, to try to prove Knox and Sollecito were not the other two.
Claim 2: A provincial police force botched one of the most intensely observed criminal investigations in Italy’s history
Wrong. A Knox cult myth. Nathaniel Rich attempts to disparage the investigation in Meredith’s murder with the smearing claim that it was seriously botched (it wasn’t) and by a provincial police force. Nathaniel Rich is trying to insinuate that that the police officers involved in the investigation were unsophisticated. However, again he only succeeds in revealing his ignorance of even the most basic facts of the case.
Two separate police departments from the Italian equivalent of the FBI in Rome were heavily involved in the investigation into Meredith’s murder: a forensic team from the Scientific Police led by Dr. Stefanoni, and the Violent Crimes Unit, led by Edgardo Giobbi.
Claim 3: Sollecito finally stated that Knox could have left his apartment for several hours on the night of Kercher’s murder while he was asleep
Wrong. Nathaniel Rich’s claim that Sollecito said that Knox “could” have left his apartment for several hours while he was sleeping is simply not true. You can read Sollecito’s various alibis here. Sollecito categorically stated in his witness statement that Knox DID leave his apartment, while he was wide awake. He said she went to Le Chic at 9:00pm and she came back at about 1.00am.
“At 9pm I went home alone and Amanda said that she was going to Le Chic because she wanted to meet some friends. We said goodbye. I went home, I rolled myself a spliff and made some dinner.”(Aislinn Simpson, The Daily Telegraph, 7 November 2007
“Police said Raffaele Sollecito had continued to claim he was not present on the evening of the murder. He said: “I went home, smoked a joint, and had dinner, but I don’t remember what I ate. At around eleven my father phoned me on the house phone. I remember Amanda wasn’t back yet. I surfed on the Internet for a couple of hours after my father’s phone call and I stopped only when Amanda came back, about one in the morning I think.” (The Times, 7 November 2007).
So Sollecito never said Knox “could” have left his apartment “while he was asleep”. The source for Nathaniel Rich’s embarrassing factual error is almost certainly the conspiracy theorist Bruce Fisher, who has repeatedly made the same false claim on his conspiracy website, a site riddled with invented claims.
Shame on Nathaniel Rich for gullibly believing another Knox cult myth, propagated by the likes of Moore and Fisher, and for being too lazy to independently verify this information.
Claim 4: Amanda Knox was slapped on the back of the head
Wrong. Another Knox cult myth. Nathaniel Rich employs the same tactic as the conspiracists Bruce Fisher and Steve Moore who are trying by all possible means to rescue Amanda Knox from those dastardly Italians.
Namely, to give what appears to be a very detailed eyewitness account of what happened at the police station on 5 November 2007 despite the fact he wasn’t even there. He even includes “verbatim” quotes from some unnamed police officers.
Nathaniel Rich goes on to claim that Knox was slapped on the back of the head. All the witnesses who were present when she was questioned, including her interpreter, testified under oath at trial in 2009 that Amanda Knox was NOT hit even once.
Even Amanda Knox’s lawyer, Luciano Ghirga, confirmed that Amanda Knox had not been hit: “There were pressures from the police, but we never said she was hit.” He never ever lodged an official complaint.
Nathaniel Rich should have pointed out that Knox claimed this hitting only long after, when she was trying to explain why she had framed Patrick Lumumba. He should not have repeated it as if it were incontrovertible truth.
And he should have pointed out that both Amanda Knox herself and both her parents are enmeshed in separate trials for doing that.
Above: Rolling Stone aggravates defamation - this tweet was sent March 2013
Claim 5: Amanda Knox finally broke down and accused Diya Lumumba of murder at 5.45am
Wrong. Nathaniel Rich clearly does not know the chronology of events at the police station on 5 November 2007. His false claim that Knox finally broke down at 5.45am gives the impression that she had been subjected to a continuous all-night interrogation.
In fact Amanda Knox very rapidly “broke down” and claimed that Lumumba was “bad” and had murdered Meredith when she was still only a witness, not a suspect, and was told Sollecito had pulled the rug from under her alibi. She signed a statement at 1.45am, not at 5.45am, when she repeated the claim voluntarily. (She also repeated it later that same day in writing.)
Amanda Knox’s questioning was stopped at 1.45am when she became a suspect. She wasn’t actively questioned again that evening. However, several hours later she decided to make an unsolicited spontaneous declaration. Mignini was called at 3.30am and he observed her declaration. Knox makes it explicit in her witness statement that she was making her statement spontaneously:
“I wish to relate spontaneously what happened because these events have deeply bothered me and I am really afraid of Patrick, the African boy who owns the pub called “Le Chic” located in Via Alessi where I work periodically.” (Amanda Knox’s 5.45am witness statement).
Claim 6: The knife was selected at random by a detective from Sollecito’s kitchen drawer
Wrong. Nathaniel Rich regurgitates another prevalent Knox-cult myth with his claim that the double DNA knife was selected purely at random. However, the person who actually selected the knife, Armando Finzi, testified in court that he chose the knife because it was the only one compatible with the wound as it had been described to him.
“It was the first knife I saw,” he said. When pressed on cross-examination, said his “investigative intuition” led him to believe it was the murder weapon because it was compatible with the wound as it had been described to him. (Seattle PI,
Claim 7: The confession, in violation of Italian police policy, was not recorded
Wrong. Another Knox cult myth. The police weren’t required to record Amanda Knox’s interrogation on 5 November 2007 because she was being questioned as a witness and not as a suspect. Mignini explained that Amanda Knox was being questioned as a witness in his letter to reporter Linda Byron:
“In the same way, Knox was first heard by the police as a witness, but when some essential elements of her involvement with the murder surfaced, the police suspended the interview, according to Article 63 of the penal proceedings code.”
She came in to the central police station voluntarily and unasked that night when Sollecito was summoned for questioning, and police merely asked her if she could also be questioned as a witness. She did not have to agree, but she did. No recording of witnesses is required, either in Italy or the United States.
Claim 8: Amanda Knox refused to leave Perugia
Wrong. This Knox cult myth is actually contradicted by Amanda Knox herself. In the e-mail she wrote to her friends in Seattle on 4 November 2007 she said she was not allowed to leave.
“i then bought some underwear because as it turns out i wont be able to leave italy for a while as well as enter my house”
Knox actually knew on 2 November 2007 that she couldn’t leave Italy. Amy Frost reported the following conversation.
” I remember having heard Amanda speaking on the phone, I think that she was talking to a member of her family, and I heard her say, No, they won’t let me go home, I can’t catch that flight’” (The Massei report, page 37).
Claim 9: Mignini suggested that the victim had been slaughtered during a satanic ritual
Wrong. Another Knox cult myth. He did no such thing. Mignini has never claimed that Meredith was slaughtered during a satanic or sacrificial ritual, and that’s the reason why neither Nathaniel Rich - or anybody else for that matter - has been able to provide a verbatim quote from Mignini.
Mignini specifically denied claiming that Meredith was killed in a sacrificial rite, in his letter to the Seattle reporter Linda Byron:
“On the “sacrificial rite” question, I have never said that Meredith Kercher was the victim of a “sacrificial rite”.
Mignini also made it quite clear that he has never claimed that Meredith was killed as part of a satanic rite in his interview with Drew Griffin on CNN:
1’03” CNN: You’ve never said that Meredith’s death was a satanic rite?
1’08” Mignini: I have never said that. I have never understood who has and continues to say that. I read, there was a reporter – I don’t know his name, I mention it because I noticed it – who continues to repeat this claim that, perhaps, knowing full well that it’s not like that.
I have never said that there might have been a satanic rite. I’ve never said it, so I would like to know who made it up.
In fact Mignini has zero history of originating satanic-sect claims despite Doug Preston’s shrill claims. The notion of a secret satanic sect in Florence goes way back into history and many had declared the Monster of Florence murders satanic because of the nature of the mutilation long before Mignini assumed a (minor) role.
Claim 10: Mignini referred to Knox as a sex-and-drug-crazed “she-devil”
Wrong. Another laughable wrong fact. It wasn’t Mignini who called Amanda Knox a “she-devil”, it was Carlo Pacelli, the lawyer who represents Diya Lumumba, at the trial in 2009.
Carlo Pacelli’s comments were widely reported by numerous journalists who were present in the courtroom. Barbie Nadeau describes the moment he referred to Knox as a she-devil in some detail in Angel Face:
“Who is the real Amanda Knox?” he asks, pounding his fist in the table. “Is she the one we see before us here, all angelic? Or is really a she-devil focused on sex, drugs, and alcohol, living life on the edge?”
“She is the luciferina-she devil.” (Barbie Nadeau, Angel Face, page 124).
Nathaniel Rich has published a sloppy callous error-ridden piece of pure propaganda straight out of the Knox cult handbook, complete with a gushy fawning reference to Amanda Knox in the title.
The piece includes an inflammatory mischaracterization of the extreme caution of the Italian justice system and the various officials working on the case.
There is no mention at all of the never-ending nightmare of Meredith’s family or the fact that she is NEVER coming back. Rich doesn’t seem to have the requisite emotional intelligence or reporter skills to realise that he may have been duped and used by the money-grubbers and killer-groupies of the Knox-cult campaign.
Archived in Reporting on the case, V bad reporting, Knox-Mellas team, More of the same
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Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Not For The First Time Has Zombie-Like Behavior Afflicted American Crime Reporting
Posted by Peter Quennell
[Comedy Channel’s Jon Stewart commenting on the media’s role in the Duke Lacrosse framing case 12 April 2007]
The headline yesterday on the NY Times’s Perugia reporting: “Appeal Trial Of Amanda Knox Opens In Italy”.
You can see the image in one of yesterday’s posts. Believe it or not the paper version of the NY Times today includes the exact same headline. We have been getting the NY Times delivered for over 20 years and swear by most of the reporting.
For some reason its crime reporting really sucks.
The Times’s poor crime reporting is a direct cause of my knowing about Meredith. I was following another gladiator battle between one solitary blog and a lot of ranting media, the NY Times included, over accusations of group rape by the male lacrosse team at Duke University.
Nearly a year after it was obvious that the woman and the prosecutor were framing the team, the NY Times STILL took the position that there was strong cause - that they were really guilty. The trial would simply rubber-stamp this.
Other media followed the NY Times’s lead in this, as they often do in the US. See above. This caused untold havoc in the lives of the boys and untold millions in legal fees and the boys will have a cloud over them for life.
Commenters on that blog (Durham in Wonderland) said maybe the same thing was going on here - maybe in Meredith’s case there was a media rush to judgment that Knox and Sollecito were being framed.
The NY Times has never ever published a kind word about Meredith or her family or supported the Italian authorities in their unenviable task. The only examples of reports that we point to of the NY Times are truly mischievous and contemptible. Take a look at these for example.
Had the NY Times said the case is in order as it should have done 18 months ago the wild pro-Knox ride of the rest of the American media would have been cut off at the ankles. The NY Times allowed the mishievous floodgates to open.
Archived in The wider contexts, Media news, More of the same
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Today’s New York Times Headline: Why Much Of US Main Media Is Disbelieved And Ignored Now
Posted by Peter Quennell
And as Fly By Night observes in a comment this correction appears down the bottom.
Archived in The wider contexts, Media news, More of the same
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Thursday, June 23, 2011
Conspiracy Theorists Attempt A Hijacking Of Rachel Sterne’s “Ground Report” And Readership Plummets
Posted by Peter Quennell
Rachel Sterne is attempting to help Mayor Bloomberg of New York to put the city government’s business across online in a neutral, credible and well-informed way.
Her own website, Ground Report, is an increasingly poor advertisement for her management skills. See the Alexa figures below. Readership of Ground Report is right now less than 100,000 in the world.
TJMk has several times beaten that ranking, and it may soon do so again. That is dangerously far away from being commercially viable, which for this kind of site means being in at least the top 10,000.
Worse, as the chart below shows, Ground Report’s readership has dropped FIFTY PERCENT since the Knox conspiracy theorists started targeting it with inaccurate, misleading and personally vicious posts daily.
Ground Report competes for the same eyeballs as the Huffington Post (70th in the world), Technorati (948) and Gather (2,231). Those smart and well-managed sites minimize attempted hijackings, ensure some sort of balance, and encourage robust commenting by readers who know raw truth when they see it.
Here on Ground Report are loopy new articles by Grace Moore and Bruce Fisher which should never have appeared. They are highly misleading and wildly at variance with the real facts. The Huffington Post would never have accepted such crap.
Bruce Fisher, a real Knoxaholic, is famously at sea on the hard evidence, and he is subjected to almost daily ridicule on the PMF forum for his pretentious wrong-headedness. He was previously kicked off both Technorati and Gather for defamatory posts against any messengers who objectively explain the hard realities of the case. Smart moves by Technorati and Gather.
Grace Moore flatly claims that Rudy Guede did it alone. Really?! How laughable.
The Micheli court and Massei court and Supreme Court of Italy have ALL already ruled that this was quite impossible. Two others were definitely there too. That is precisely why the defenses were putting convicted perps on the stand last Saturday - to try to prove Knox and Sollecito were not those two others.
Conspiracists are rather like sucker fish, which always cause the death of their hosts. Withstanding conspiracists desperate for an online home and existing audience when their own websites tank really is Group Blogging 101.
So. Good luck in withstanding the attempted hijacking of your website, Rachel Sterne. Truth in governance and accurate reporting do count.
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Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Our Call To Editors Of A London Magazine To Check Facts Before Propagating Conspiracy Theories
Posted by Kermit
24 Alexandra Grove
London N4 2LF
Attn: the Editors
Before you accept an article concerning a far away murder investigation and trial (well, Italy is farther away than the Channel Islands), you should ensure that your writers,
1) have correct facts, and
2) are not being used by a foreign lobby which has basically stated that it will try to force an extra-judicial solution to said trial.
I have read the version of Nigel Scott’s Liberator article as is reproduced on a conspiracy theory website
I have no idea what brought Scott to become interested in this case, nor who briefed him on the content of his article, but he breezily and frivolously brushes over the very wide and heavy set of evidence against American Amanda Knox in the murder of her English roommate Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy, in 2007 (Scott doesn’t hide very well the fact that his article has little to do with Kercher’s murder, and much to do with the defence of convicted murderer - pending appeal - Knox).
When Scott says, “When Knox, who was by then locked out of her flat because it was a murder scene, bought clean knickers, this was interpreted as casual disregard for her dead friend”, well that’s not the whole truth. Knox was joking with her boyfriend in the policestation, hugging and kissing him, and also performing cartwheels there. While she has not been convicted for showing “casual disregard” for her roommate, if you are looking to talk about Knox’s casual disregard for her dead friend, it would be better to cite the best examples.
Scott says, “When police learned that Knox’s mother was on her way to Italy to support her, they arranged an all night interrogation session to break the pair”. This is absolutely not true. Only Knox’s boyfriend was invited to the policestation on 5 November 2007, not Knox. She voluntarily accompanied him and was in a public waiting room. Shortly after he admitted that Knox’s alibi did not coincide with his, police interviewed her since she was there, and she soon admitted (not in an overnight interrogation session) that she indeed had been at the scene of the crime.
Scott says (repeating well-known pro-Knox talking points): “Mysteriously, they (the 5-11-2007 interviews) were not recorded, although they seem to be the only interviews that were not recorded during the whole case.” In fact, I believe that no witness interviews were recorded of any of this case’s witnesses. As soon as Knox and her boyfriend incriminated themselves and they turned from witnesses into suspects, the 5-11-2007 interviews were stopped due to their lack of legal representation. I believe that all suspect interviews were recorded from then onwards (the few that occurred .... both Knox and Sollecito quickly invoked their rights as suspects to not respond to questioning during the investigation).
Scott continues by deriding the DNA evidence. Contrary to what Scott writes in your magazine, the bra clasp contains abundant DNA of Knox’s boyfriend Sollecito. No special testing procedures were required to detect that. The “Double DNA Knife” which contains both the victim’s and Knox’s DNA did require special procedures, and independent specialists are currently reexamining the knife. Until they return their report, there is no reason to sell the idea that LCN DNA evidence - which is used in other jurisdictions - is inacceptable.
Pro-Knox writers have slimed prosecutor Giulano Mignini, not questioning his legal processes, but describing him as “mentally unstable” and other such personal accusations. When as a citizen (not in his role as a prosecutor) he has tried to defend his honour, the pro-Knox lobby seems to have arranged for the US-based “Committee to Protect Journalists” to write to the Italian authorities criticising the fact the Mignini defends himself.
Scott writes about “the real murderer”, Rudy Guede, as if Guede was a person totally unrelated to Knox and Sollecito. The same investigation and the same body of evidence which convicted Guede in his trial (he opted for the fast-track version, instead of participating with Knox and Sollecito in the long trial), is the body of evidence which convicted the two lovers. Although Scott holds up US private detective Paul Ciolino as some sort of holder of truth, even as Ciolino announced on CBS in the USA that Amanda Knox had never met Guede and didn’t know him (which for some time was the “official” Knox media posture), Knox was admitting in the courtroom what was already widely known to followers of this case: that she knew Guede, had smoked drugs with him and been to a party with him in the flat below hers.
The unsubstantiated accusations and garbage that Scott writes continues, mostly following the pro-Knox camp’s exact template to blow fog over this case.
Knox and Sollecito (together with co-accused Guede) were all found guilty of murder and sexual assault. Knox and Sollecito are in the middle of their mult-level appeals. Knox’s Italian lawyers have apologised for the vilifying noise which comes from the American lobby and which they state hurts her (it should be said that probably most Americans don’t care about this case, or if they have followed it, many believe that Knox is guilty). The only reason that the American people around her continue to partake in this campaign must be because they know the purely legal strategy is lost and an extrajudicial solution must be sought (i.e., the intervention of the State Department). Not-so-independent Paul Ciolino stated as much at a recent pro-Knox event in Seattle. Another explanation are the growing commercial profits arising from this case as pro-Knox personalities write books and sell screen rights. Either way, it’s sad that a magazine with a political vocation such as Liberator gets associated with such antics.
Scott writes: “The Kercher family employed their own prosecutor, as is permitted in Italy, who has joined in cross examinations and also briefed the media.” It is indeed dreadful when a representative of the British public such as Nigel Scott suggests in Liberator that a berieving London family, the Kerchers, should refrain from representing themselves as a private party to this case as is their right, given that it was their daughter and sister who was brutally murdered. What has come over this man? Does he want the Kerchers to just go away and get over their grief?
Most importantly, does the editorial board of The Liberator want to be associated with the sort of gibberish that Scott repeats from the “Friends of Amanda” US-based lobby group?
I wish you well with your magazine. I hope that you are able to find the right sort of content in the future for the readership you really care about. I hope you do get concerned about your magazine being referred to on the “injusticeinperugia.blogspot.com” site and being associated with a text-book case of media manipulation (do a google search on: marriott “amanda knox” “paid media”
... Gogerty Marriott is the US marketing company running the Knox PR campaign. In fact, on their website, Gogerty Marriott use the Amanda Knox campaign as commercial example of their services).
Please, get worried. Please feel free to contact me with any issue concerning this email.
I remain, yours sincerely,
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Wednesday, June 08, 2011
It Seems Mignini Demonizer + Knox Fawner Judy Bachrach Learned Nothing In The Past Year
Posted by The Machine
Most of the real journalists have learned a lot about the case since the trial, hundreds have read the report by Judge Massei, and many of them now keep quiet or talk sense . .
Not apparently Vanity Fair’s Judy Bachrach though. She was the muddled and rather nasty main reporter last Friday on ABC’s shallow superficial 10 minute report on its shallow superficial crime show 20/20.
As Judy Bachrach said absolutely nothing new except for some weird tangled interpretation of where the DNA reviews Judge Hellman ordered stand now, let us repeat May 2010’s post below in full.
If a clip of the 20.20 segment is posted online, we will embed that at the top here so that we can hear Judy Bachrach’s latest muddled diatribe in her own words.
Hmmm. Isn’t Mr Mignini already suing people for hurtful claims about him not unlike those made very dogmatically in the video above?
And the similar hurtful claims made very dogmatically in the two videos down below here? Certainly Mr Mignini would seem to have what you might call a not-unstrong case.
- First, the numbers of police, investigators and judges hoodwinked would have to have been truly huge. This case has a VAST cast of characters in Italy seeking true justice for Meredith - a jury, for example, and twenty judges by present count, and a nationally known and respected co-prosecutor.
- And second, nothing in the judges’ sentencing report, which PMF and TJMK are in the final laps of translating into English, appears to back up her claims. Judge Micheli’s report a year ago, which explained Guede’s conviction and the reasons for sending Knox and Sollecito to trial, was already an almost unassailably tough document. And the report by Judges Giancarlo Massei and Beatrice Cristiani? It is even tougher.
Judy Bachrach has popped up repeatedly to straighten out us lesser beings on the case. For her, it appears to be almost a small industry. She is perhaps the most vehement and impervious of all the proponents of the notion that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are somehow being railroaded, by a corrupt prosecutor, Mr Mignini, and an incompetent legal system.
Wouldn’t you expect Judy Bachrach, as a professional journalist and a contributing editor to Vanity Fair, to research her articles more meticulously? And to verify every single one of her claimed facts? In the same way that the Italy-based reporters we like to quote have incessantly managed to do - really quite brilliantly?
We have been analyzing Judy Bachrach’s many, many articles and TV commentaries about the case, and they all seem to point to the following conclusions.
- That she hasn’t ever read the Micheli report and doesn’t seem to have actually ever mentioned it.
- That she hasn’t had full access to the prosecution’s 10,000-plus pages file of evidence, and maybe she has had no access at all.
- That she didn’t attend the key court sessions in which highly incriminating forensic and circumstantial evidence was presented.
- That she hasn’t absorbed the numerous factual newspaper and magazine reports about the key forensic and circumstantial evidence.
- That she seems to rely either a lot or totally on sources with vested interests who feed her wrong theories and false information.
- And that she comes across to us as the reporter most often showing on US media outlets the most complete ignorance of the case.
Quite a track record. We wonder if she is really very proud of it. She seems to sound so. Now to examine the details of some of her small jungle of wrong claims.
First false claims…
Judy Bachrach made the following claims in an article entitled “Perugia’s Prime Suspect” for for Vanity Fair.
Rudy Guede’s DNA would be found all over her dead body the next day….“His DNA was found not only all over the British girl’s body but also in his bloody fingerprint staining one of her cushions and on the straps of the bra she wore the night of her death.
Judy Bachrach’s claims that Rudy Guede’s DNA was all over Meredith’s body have long been demonstrably false. According to the Micheli report here quickly translated here there was only ONE instance of Rudy Guede’s DNA on Meredith.
Where exactly did Judy Bachrach get that false information from? It clearly wasn’t from the DNA results from the tests carried out by Dr. Stefanoni and her team, or any official court documents, or the Micheli report.
And why exactly did she propagate it? Was she perhaps deliberately trying to exaggerate the evidence against Rudy Guede? Whilst playing down or completely ignoring the forensic and circumstantial evidence against Knox and Sollecito?
Another false claim…
In the same Vanity Fair article, Judy Bachrach makes the claim that “Amanda had tried three times to reach Meredith by cell phone, without success.”
If Judy Bachrach had examined the mobile phone records which are part of the prosecution’s 10,000 page report, as the court did and as we have done, she might have concluded otherwise - that Amanda Knox never ever made even one genuine attempt to contact Meredith.
Two of Knox’s phone calls lasted only 3 seconds and 4 seconds.
Judy Bachrach would have also realised that Knox’s claim that Meredith’s Italian phone “just kept ringing, no answer” was in fact a lie. And that Knox’s e-mail version of events at the house on 2 November is totally contradicted by what is in those mobile phone records.
Our poster Finn MacCool rather brilliantly drew attention a year ago now in this post here to how very, very incriminating those phone records are. (They also seem to incriminate Amanda Knox’s mother. Why doesn’t a good reporter actually ask her about this?)
Judge Massei and Judge Cristiani certainly don’t believe that Knox made a genuine attempt to contact Meredith. And they provide a very detailed explanation of why they don’t, in the sentencing report we are now translating.
And as you will soon see in that report, they also pull totally apart Knox’s email version of the events on 2 November to her friends and family in Seattle.
Another false claim…
Judy Bachrach has claimed that the bra clasp in Meredith’s bedroom was “discovered” only in January 2008.
But to complicate matters, a forensics team took a second look around the House of Horrors in January; this time they discovered a clasp that had been cut off the same bra. On that clasp they found Raffaele’s DNA.
House of Horrors? A callous way to refer to the sad place where a remarkable girl with a grieving family and many grieving friends was tortured and then deliberately left to die.
And in actual fact, Dr. Stefanoni was fully aware that the bra clasp was missing from the time she reviewed in the Rome labs the evidence collected from the crime scene - early in November. The clasp couldn’t be collected until the defense experts had agreed upon a date.
There was no other cause to the delay, and the bar clasp was never simply “discovered” at the second evidence visit in January. The forensic team went there specifically to get it. And it was actually recovered on 18 December 2007.
Another false claim…
Perhaps the reason why Judy Bachrach gets so many of the basic facts like those above wrong is that she seems to rely very heavily on sources who feed her false information. One example:
But three legal sources in Perugia (two unfriendly to Amanda) tell me the injuries sustained by Meredith were inconsistent with the blade of that knife.
All of Judy Bachrach’s “three legal sources” provided her with wrong facts.
The double DNA knife found in Sollecito’s apartment is fully compatible with the deep puncture wound on Meredith’s neck. This has been widely reported by a number of journalists in the British and American media. For example “According to multiple witnesses for the defense, the knife is compatible with at least one of the three wounds on Kercher’s neck, but it was likely too large for the other two.” (Barbie Nadeau in Newsweek).
The sentencing report of Judges Giancarlo Massei and Beatrice Cristiani also now confirms that the knife is absolutely compatible with the large wound on Meredith’s neck.
Another false claim…
Judy Bachrach claims that when Knox and Sollecito changed their versions of events they did so because things got rough.
Simultaneously, in a separate room, Raffaele, too, was questioned by police. Like Amanda’s, his version of events seemed to change whenever things got rough.
Raffaele Sollecito actually changed his version of events most dramatically on 5 November 2007 when he was confronted with the telephone records that proved that he and Knox had lied. It was then that he in effect threw Knox under the bus, and he has never really backed her versions of events on the night fully ever since.
And Amanda Knox in turn changed her version of events most dramatically when she was informed that Sollecito had admitted that they had both lied, that he was wrong to go along with her version, and that he was in effect no longer providing her with any alibi.
Knox and Sollecito’s multiple conflicting alibis did NOT happen because “things got rough”. They actually happened because Sollecito and Knox were both repeatedly caught lying. And they changed their stories periodically merely to fit the new information as it became known - and at pretty well no time after they were first caught out in their lies did the stories of the two ever match. .
By the way, wait for something of a bombshell. Judges Giancarlo Massei and Beatrice Cristiani in their sentencing report expose more lies and contradictions by Knox and Sollecito which haven’t as yet been reported in any of the English-language the media.
Another false claim…
Judy Bachrach wrote an article about the case for the website Women on the Web headlined Amanda Knox’s Abusive Prosecutor.. (Hmmm. Smart title.)
Amanda was also told if she didn’t confess she would get the maximum – 30 years in prison. And – oh yes – at a time when, having just arrived in Italy, she spoke pitifully little Italian, she wasn’t provided with a translator.
Judy Bachrach clearly wasn’t in the courtroom when Amanda Knox’s interpreter, Dr. Anna Donnino, gave her evidence as to all the work she did on the night of the interrogations. And Judy Bachrach clearly hasn’t read the numerous articles that actually describe the interpreter’s testimony.
Another false claim…
Judy Bachrach claims that an Italian reporter was thrown into prison for being critical of Mignini. She is clearly referring to Mario Spezi.
Mignini is no special friend to journalists. One Italian reporter who especially upset the prosecutor a while back was thrown into prison — in isolation. An American journalist who was that reporter’s friend was interrogated so harshly that, fearing incarceration himself, he hopped the next plane back to the United States, where he started a campaign (ultimately successful) to free his friend. Their crime? They were critical of Mignini.
Spezi is currently on trial for disrupting the investigation into the Narducci case. He has NOT been charged with criticising Mr Mignini.
Judy Bachrach has made a number of television appearances on CNN and other networks in which she was scathing towards Mr Mignini and the Italian legal system. As with her articles, Judy Bachrach makes many wild and inaccurate claims.
Another false claim…
She incorrectly asserts that the defence teams weren’t allowed to produce evidence of their own DNA experts - despite the fact that the Knox and Sollecito defenses each had large teams of DNA experts testify. From the videos in this post:
The defence wasn’t even allowed to produce evidence of their own DNA experts.
Gino Professor, Carlo Torre and Walter Patumi were some of the DNA experts who testified at the trial on behalf of Amanda Knox. Professor Vinci, Adriano Tagliabracci and Francesco Introna were some of the DNA experts who defended Raffaele Sollecito.
Another false claim…
Judy Bachrach has repeatedly claimed (you can see her do so in these videos) that Amanda Knox was kept in prison for two years before her trial.
They kept her in jail for two years even before trial [although] there isn’t an ounce of real hard evidence against her” And “It was decided to keep Amanda Knox in jail for two years prior to her trial.
If Knox and Sollecito had been kept in prison for two years before their trial as someone “decided” their trial would have started in November 2009. The reality is that their trial started in January 2009 and it was originally scheduled for December 2008, just two months after Guede’s.
Judy Bachrach is not the only American journalist who is ignorant of the basic facts of the case, and responsible for some of the serious misinforming of the American public, both about the crime and about Italy.
But she sure does seem to be the only one to have made it into a little industry..
By the way, we sure look forward to the YouTubes of Candace Dempsey and Nina Burleigh propagating their own books on the case when those books are released. Will they now finally be describing the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but?
Don’t hold your breath.
Archived in Reporting on the case, V bad reporting, The wider contexts, More of the same
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Wednesday, June 01, 2011
Michael Wiesner Of Hawaii: Ten Major Mistakes In His Ill-Researched And Malicious Claims
Posted by The Machine
Michael Wiesner is actually a social studies teacher at the Mid-Pacific Institute High School in Honolulu in Hawaii.
Principal Grace Cruz (image at bottom here) is the supervisor of the staff of the school who presumably supervises Michael Wiesner and makes sure that her students are taught the truth - and to stay far away from drugs. Real estate broker James Kometani is the chair of the institute’s board of trustees.
Wiesner is the latest and hopefully the last of the Knox sockpuppets intent on heading up that bizarre parade of middle-aged white knights and snake oil salesmen and commercial opportunists which Knox and her lawyers say they could do better without.
It is unclear if he has ever been to Italy or talked to anyone directly concerned with the case.
So far, he has worked hard to mislead a group of his high-school students as to the real Amanda Knox and the hard evidence in her case, he has posted a YouTube of some of his fabricated claims (above), and he has enmeshed himself in the conspiracy website run by the serial defamer “Bruce Fisher” who (surprise surprise) is now so desperate for adult attention.
To bolster Michael Wiesner’s credibility there “Bruce Fisher” attempts to draw attention away from Michael Wiesner’s irrelevant background, par for the course for that group, by claiming his “speciality” is “critical analysis of sources and media literacy”.
This is an analysis of ten of the claims made by Michael Wiesner in that YouTube. Smart students in Hawaii and smart parents of smart students in Hawaii would do well to absorb this before listening to any more shrill claims from this addled pretender.
False Claim 1: Amanda Knox had never been in trouble in her entire life (minute 0.44)
Amanda Knox had a reputation for being a heavy user of drugs in Seattle long before she ever headed for Perugia and the use of drugs in the US is an indictable crime.
Amanda Knox was charged for hosting a party that got seriously out of hand, with students high on drink and drugs, and throwing rocks into the road forcing cars to swerve. The students then threw rocks at the windows of neighbours who had called the police.
The situation was so bad that police reinforcements had to be called. Amanda was fined $269 (£135) at the Municipal Court after the incident - Crime No: 071830624. She was also warned about the rock throwing.
False Claim 2: Everyone who knew her swear she never could have committed that kind of violence (minute 0.48)
Many who knew her back in Seattle went ominously silent after she first was implicated, and several who claimed to have encountered her there posted on the web that they were not entirely surprised.
Meredith’s boyfriend, Giacomo Silenzi, and her British friends certainly did not swear that Amanda Knox could not been involved in Meredith’s murder. On the contrary, after witnessing her bizarre and oddly detached behaviour at the police station on 2 November 2007, they all told the police that her behaviour was suspicious.
“Giacomo then talked with Meredith’s British friends, who all agreed that Amanda was oddly detached from this violent murder. One by one, they told the police that Amanda’s behaviour was suspicious.” (Barbie Nadeau, Angel Face, page 62).
False Claim 3: Raffaele Sollecito had never been in any kind of trouble in his life (minute 1.11)
If Michael Wiesner had bothered to read the Massei report on the sentencing of Knox and Sollecito, he would have known that Raffaele Sollecito was considered a drug addict, he had unnatural sexual proclivities, and he had a previous brush with the police.
Sollecito was monitored at his university residence in Perugia after hardcore pornography featuring bestiality was found in his room.
“…and educators at the boy’s ONAOSI college were shocked by a film “very much hard-core…where there were scenes of sex with animals” at which next they activated a monitoring on the boy to try to understand him. (p.130 and 131, hearing 27.3.2009, statements by Tavernesi Francesco). (The Massei report, page 61).
Sollecito had the previous brush with the police in 2003.
“…Antonio Galizia, Carabinieri [C.ri] station commander in Giovinazzo, who testified that in September 2003 Raffaele Sollecito was found in possession of 2.67 grams of hashish. (The Massei report, page 62).
Raffaele Sollecito was clearly already a drug addict. Four years after this incident, numerous witnesses testified that Sollecito was using drugs.
“Both Amanda and Raffaele were using drugs; there are multiple corroborating statements to this effect…” (The Massei report, page 62).
It seems that Sollecito was not just using hashish. Amanda Knox claimed in her prison diaries that Sollecito had taken dangerous drugs like heroin and cocaine.
“According to Amanda’s prison diaries, Raf been reminiscing about his incredible highs on heroin and cocaine…” (Barbie Nadeau, Angel Face, page 163).
Mignini stated at the trial that Sollecito and Knox ran with a crowd who often used stupefying drugs.
“He also hinted that Knox and Sollecito might have been in a drug-fueled frenzy when they allegedly killed Kercher. He outlined the effects of cocaine and acid, and told the judges and jury how Knox and Sollecito ran with a crowd that often used these “stupificante,” or stupefying drugs.” (Barbie Nadeau, The Daily Beast, 20 November 2009).
Amanda Knox was in contact with a convicted drug dealer before and after Meredith’s murder. According to this Italian news report, the drug dealer’s name was on Knox’s contact list on her mobile phone.
“The young man defended by [lawyer] Frioni, on the basis of a service report by the police, he appears to be among the list of contacts within the cell phone of Amanda Knox.” (Translated into English by PMF poster Jools).
Knox and Sollecito both admitted that they had taken drugs on the day of Meredith’s murder. Michael Wiesner makes no mention of this in his YouTube video, presumably because it undermines the falsely wholesome portrait of them that he’s trying so hard to sell..
False Claim 4: After the murder Amanda refused to leave Italy (minute 1.26)
This claim is flatly contradicted by Amanda Knox herself. In the e-mail she wrote to her friends in Seattle on 4 November 2007 she said she was not allowed to leave.
“i then bought some underwear because as it turns out i wont be able to leave italy for a while as well as enter my house”
Amanda Knox’s e-mail to her friends on 4 November 2007 can be found here. Knox actually knew on 2 November 2007 that she couldn’t leave Italy. Amy Frost reported the following conversation.
” I remember having heard Amanda speaking on the phone, I think that she was talking to a member of her family, and I heard her say, No, they won’t let me go home, I can’t catch that flight’” (The Massei report, page 37).
False Claim 5: The police called her in at 11.00pm (1.31 minute)
Michael Wisener’s claim is contradicted by Amanda Knox herself who testified in court that she wasn’t called to the police station on 5 November 2007.
Carlo Pacelli: “For what reason did you go to the Questura on November 5? Were you called?”
Amanda Knox: “No, I wasn’t called. I went with Raffaele because I didn’t want to be alone.”
The transcripts of Amanda Knox’s testimony in court can be read on Perugia Murder File. Michael Wiesner is clearly totally unfamiliar with any of her court testimony.
False Claim 6: The police began a brutal interrogation (1.33 minute)
Michael Wiesner speaks with great authority about what what happened to Amanda Knox at that witness interview, despite the facts that he wasn’t present and that Knox herself is being sued for false claims she made about it.
All the witnesses who were actually present when she was questioned including her interpreter (Mr Mignini was not there) testified under oath during her trial that she was treated well and wasn’t hit.
“Ms Donnino said that Ms Knox had been “comforted” by police, given food and drink, and had at no stage been hit or threatened.
The newspaper Corriere dell’ Umbria said that Giuliano Mignini, the prosecutor, would bring an additional charge of slander against Ms Knox, since all police officers and interpreters who have given evidence at the trial have testified under oath that she was at no stage put under pressure or physically mistreated.” (Richard Owen, The Times, 15 March 2009).
She is actually being sued by those who were present (again, Mr Mignini was not.) Even Amanda Knox’s own lawyer, Luciano Ghirga, confirmed that she had not been hit, at Rudy Guede’s fast-track trial:
“There were pressures from the police but we never said she was hit.” Mr Ghirga had every opportunity to lodge a complaint if he believed her story to be true. He never has.
The judges and jury had to decide whether to believe the corroborative testimony of numerous upstanding witnesses, or the word of a someone who had provably repeatedly lied. It would not have been a hard decision to make.
False Claim 7: They coerced from her an accusation from a person who was innocent (1.42 minute)
According to the corroborative testimony of multiple witnesses, including her interpreter, Amanda Knox voluntarily and spontaneously accused Patrick Lumumba of murdering Meredith.
Judge Massei noted the following about Amanda Knox’s false and malicious accusation against Patrick Lumumba:
It must also be pointed out that Patrick Lumumba was not known in any way, and no element, whether of habitually visiting the house on Via della Pergola, or of acquaintance with Meredith, could have drawn the attention of the investigators to this person in such a way as to lead themselves to ‘force‛ Amanda’s declarations. (The Massei report, page 389)
False Claim 8: Amanda immediately released a statement retracting the accusation (1.55 minute)
Amanda Knox didn’t retract her accusation as soon as she got some food at all. In fact, she reiterated her allegation in her handwritten note to the police later on 6 November 2007 which was admitted in evidence:
[[Amanda] herself, furthermore, in the statement of 6 November 2007 (admitted into evidence ex. articles 234 and 237 of the Criminal Procedure Code and which was mentioned above) wrote, among other things, the following: I stand by my - accusatory - statements that I made last night about events that could have taken place in my home with Patrick…in these flashbacks that I’m having, I see Patrick as the murderer…”.
This statement which, as specified in the entry of 6 November 2007, 200:00pm, by the Police Chief Inspector, Rita Ficarra, was drawn up, following the notification of the detention measure, by Amanda Knox, who “requested blank papers in order to produce a written statement to hand over” to the same Ficarra. (The Massei report, page 389).
The Massei court took note of the fact that Amanda Knox didn’t recant her false and malicious allegation against Patrick Lumumba during the whole of the time he was kept in prison.
False Claim 9: Rudy Guede’s DNA was inside Meredith’s handbag (3.05. minute)
According to the Micheli report, which was made available to the public in January 2008, Rudy Guede’s DNA was found on the zip of Meredith’s purse and not inside it.
Guede’s DNA was not in fact found all over Meredith’s room. Guede left no hairs, no saliva, no sweat, no blood, and no other bodily fluid at the scene of the crime, considered to be the entire house. Knox and Sollecito left substantial proof of their presence, including both their footprints, Knox’s blood, and Sollecito’s DNA.
False Claim 10: Rudy Guede pleaded guilty (3.39 minute )
Rudy Guede did not plead guilty at his fast-track trial in late October 2008 which Judge Micheli presided over. He claimed that he was on the toilet when Meredith was murdered. Anyone with even a superficial knowledge of the case is aware of this basic fact.
Extensive evidence Wiesner simply ignores
For example in the YouTube video above, Michael Wiesner does not provide a plausible innocent explanation for the numerous lies that Knox and Sollecito told before and after 5 November 2007.
- He doesn’t explain why Raffaele Sollecito has refused for three-plus years and at trial to corroborate Amanda Knox’s alibi that she was at his apartment when Meredith died.
- He doesn’t explain how Meredith’s DNA got lodged into a microscopic groove on the blade of the knife sequestered from Sollecito’s kitchen.
- He doesn’t explain how an abundant amount of Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA ended up on Meredith’s bra clasp.
- He doesn’t explain why Amanda Knox was bleeding on the night of the murder, or explain how her blood got mixed with Meredith’s blood in several spots in the cottage.
Michael Wiesner might not think the mixed blood evidence is important, but jurors at the first trial clearly thought it was. One sample was in Filomena’s bedroom, especially incriminating considering the simulated break-in there.
“The defense’s other biggest mistake, according to interviews with jurors after the trial, was doing nothing to refute the mixed-blood evidence beyond noting that it is common to find mingled DNA when two people live in the same house.” (Barbie Nadeau, Angel Face, page 152).
He doesn’t account either for the visible bloody footprint on the blue bathmat which matched the precise characteristics of Sollecito’s foot, or the bare bloody footprints of Knox and Sollecito in the corridor in the new wing of the cottage which were revealed by Luminol.
In short, he doesn’t address the vast bulk of the evidence which is detailed at great length in the Massei report, let alone in any way refute it. In fact, it’s quite clear that Michael Wiesner hasn’t even read the Massei report.
The only thing he has really proved is that he’s ignorant of the basic facts of the case.
Wiesner’s use of manipulative images
Michael Wiesner uses the manipulative tactic, which is an old favourite of CBS’s 48 Hours and now of CNN, of flashing images of Knox and Sollecito as children throughout the video as if that is some kind of proof of their innocence.
Childhood photographs of other notorious sex killers, such Myra Hindley and Ian Brady, and Fred and Rosemary West, are readily available on the web. The only thing these kind of photographs prove is that convicted sex killers were children once. Nothing more than that.
The principal and parents and trustees of the Mid Pacific Institute High School should be very concerned that one of its teachers is championing the cause of two people unanimously convicted of sexual assault and a vicious murder by making demonstrably false claims.
It was not only the judges and jurors who thought the evidence against Knox and Sollecito was overwhelming. Legal expert Stefano Maffei made the following observation.
“There were 19 judges who looked at the facts and evidence over the course of two years, faced with decisions on pre-trial detention, review of such detention, committal to trial, judgment on criminal responsibility. They all agreed, at all times, that the evidence was overwhelming.”
The parents and the trustees of the Mid Pacific Institute High School should also be concerned at the fact that Michael Wiesner is shamelessly trying to manipulate the public by using photographs of Knox and Sollecito as children, and by sweeping under the rug any inconvenient facts about them, such as their extensive drug-taking and their previous brushes with the police.
Michael Wiesner needs to do now what the judges and jury did starting over two years ago. Namely, to look at all of the hard evidence against Sollecito and Knox, and stop regurgitating the many false claims which are a small industry on “Bruce Fisher’s” website.
Archived in Reporting on the case, V bad reporting, Knox-Mellas team, More of the same
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Friday, May 27, 2011
Questions For Knox and Sollecito: Address These Several Hundred On The Hard Evidence
Posted by The TJMK Main Posters
This Open Letter to Rocco Girlanda was first posted and sent to him in English on 9 November 2010. Six-plus months later, no response. We are now reposting it and mailing it in Italian, as Italian media and opposition MPs are interested in asking him these same questions.
Mr. Rocco Girlanda
Parliamentarian for Gubbio in Umbria
Chamber of Deputies
Parliament of Italy
Dear Mr. Girlanda:
Questions Concerning Your Hurtful Behavior Toward The Family and Friends Of Meredith Kercher
And Also Concerning Your Ethics, Your Politics, Your Legal Behavior, And Your Personal Behavior
Your book Take Me With You – Talks With Amanda Knox In Prison” is leaving readers with a number of disturbing questions as to your motives, timing and interests in writing the book and publishing it at this time.
These questions concern whether your book - or at least its publication right now, directly before the important first level of appeal - is in fact very unethical, and they also concern the appropriateness of the nature of your relationship with Miss Knox.
In order to put these these questions to rest, we are sure that you will be eager to know what they are, and to respond to them in your best way possible. We’d be pleased if you would reply to us through our return address, or - given the public nature of this discussion - email it for posting directly on the TJMK website.
Here are the questions we have assembled. Again, we thank you in advance for your replies:
- Do you believe in the separation of the executive, parliamentary and judicial branches of government? Since you are a parliamentarian (and, in particular, a member of the judiciary committee), do you think that the publishing of your book at this time could be seen as being inappropriate, given the calendar of Amanda’s appeal for her murder conviction, as well as the ongoing trial for slander (for having accused the Perugian police of hitting her during questioning)?
- When you visit prisons in your role as a parliamentarian, what is your main objective: perform an independent check and control over prison conditions, or befriend prisoners? After how many visits to Capanne prison did you realise that you had established a friendship with Miss Knox? How often do you visit prisons in Italy? Which other prisons have you recently visited? Do you visit men’s prisons? Do you regularly give gifts to prisoners, like the books or the computer you gave to Amanda? If you consider that the computer was not a personal gift but rather from the Italy-USA Foundation of which you are president, which other American prisoners in Italian prisons have received such gifts? Which criteria does the Foundation follow in deciding who receives gifts? (for example, prisoners who have expressed repentance, or prisoners who have to use free legal aid due to financial penury, or prisoners who contribute to awareness programs to help others avoid similar crimes in the future ....).
- As president of the Italy-USA Foundation, you have expressed concern that this case has strained relations between the two countries. Have you spoken with the US Embassy in Rome about your concern? Within the framework of Italian-US relations, are there any other issues which you think come close to your-perceived significance of Amanda’s involvement in murdering Meredith Kercher? (for example: Italy’s middle east policy concerning talks with Palestinian organisations, or discussions about the acceptance by Italy of Guantanamo inmates, or the ongoing state of Fiat-Chrysler relations and investments, or the rooting out of organised crime, or even Berlusconi’s joke about Obama being handsome and suntanned?)
- In your over 20 parliamentary privilege meetings with Amanda Knox, did she ever act in a bizarre manner, like performing cartwheels for you? Why didn’t you ever ask her about her murdered roommate, Meredith Kercher or in general about the crime? Can your book really be of any interest to anyone if it only contains bits and pieces of poetry and banal conversation, without linking Amanda to the case which has put her into jail? How can your book come close to one of its supposed objectives - that of trying to understand how a young person could be involved in a violent crime such as that of Meredith Kercher’s murder - it you make no reference to the crime?
- You have stated that you have daughters similar to Amanda Knox. In what ways are your daughters comparable to Amanda? Studies? Personal life and use of drugs, or social habits with the opposite sex? Some other way?
- Amanda wrote you a letter (amongst others) on 7 August 2010, where she tells you in Italian, “The only thing I can show you is my gratitude for your friendship and your support.” What is the extent and what are the characteristics of this friendship and support? Is Amanda’s gratitude one-sided, from the perspective of an emotionally weak prisoner who becomes dependent on any stranger who shows her the slightest kindness, or do you mutually share this friendship which she describes, between the two of you? Do you know if Amanda’s Italian legal team are aware of the extent of your friendship? Do you think that your friendship may actually somehow complicate her legal situation and strategy?
- You describe an affectionate hug between you and Knox: “I blush. She holds me, I hold her. It’s a never ending embrace, without a word. If I said I didn’t feel any emotion I would be lying. Maybe my face reveals that.” is what was quoted in the Daily Mail. Have you ever told a priest, psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker, drinking buddy or your wife about your physical contact with Amanda and your nocturnal dreams which involve her? If so, what advice have they given you?
- Did you attend any of the Knox-Sollecito trial sessions over the course of the year that it was held? (it would have been easy: you could have taken advantage of visits to your parliamentary constituency, just as you have found it easy to visit Amanda in jail). Are you familiar with the evidence? Are you aware that there are two other persons convicted for the same crime together with Amanda? Do you know if - like her - they write poetry and want to be parents when they are freed from prison (a number of years from now)? Do such desires for life under regained freedom make any convicted prisoner less guilty of the crimes they have committed?
- Do you feel that there were any specific errors or problems with the investigation in this case which you believe may contribute to an incorrect verdict and sentence for the three suspects? Did Amanda get a fair trial compared to any other similar crime investigation and legal process in Italy?
- Are you able to offer an explanation as to why not once have the Kerchers and their lawyer, Francesco Maresca, ever been worried about the trial outcome? After three years, why is it that Francesco Maresca still has no worries and is confident that the convicted will lose their appeals?
[Above: Mr Girlanda with images of herself by Amanda Knox released about simultaneously with his book]
- Do you believe that any of the investigation or judicial officials involved in this case are corrupt, or that any type of corruption played a role in their activities? Don’t be shy, please identify those who did wrong amongst Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini, Prosecutor Manuela Comodi, Judge Claudia Matteini, Judge Paolo Micheli, Judge Giancarlo Massei, Judge Beatrice Cristiani, the six lay judges, Appeals Judge Emanuele Medoro, Homicide Chief Monica Napoleoni, Inspector Rita Ficarrra, DNA expert Patrizia Stefanoni, or any other person involved in this complex case. Was there a conspiracy of corrupt officials who directed an evil campaign against an obviously innocent girl with no real evidence against her?
- As a followup to the prior question, do you know that not one credible international attorney or professor of comparative criminal law and procedure has taken the defense of Amanda Knox, claiming injustice in the Italian judicial system? Do you agree that the Italian criminal system is fair, balanced and completely pro-defendant?
- Do you know that Italian citizens constantly complain of their relaxed criminal laws and that criminals are constantly set free even after being sentenced on appeal while waiting for the confirmation of the Cassation Court? For example, little Tommy would still be alive if Mario Alessi had been kept in prison after being convicted on appeal for raping a minor. As a politician, don’t you think the law should be changed by keeping violent criminals in jail after being convicted on appeal, in order to guarantee the security of the citizens of the country you represent?
- Do you know that the Italian attorneys of Amanda Knox don’t approve of this media propaganda perpetuated by the Knox-Mellas clan, that seems intent on spreading falsehoods and misinformation, while at the same time blaming an entire country (the one you represent in parliament) for an alleged “wrongful conviction”?
- In promoting your book, you have stated that during your more than 20 meetings with convicted murderer Amanda Knox, a “friendship” has grown. Would you classify that as a friendship of convenience or a friendship based on caring for the interests of the other? We ask that because it truly shocks us that Knox’s Italian legal team was humiliated, and Knox herself was deprived professional legal advice and support through the publication of your book without it being vetted by her lawyers. “She is very worried,” said Knox’s lawyer Luciano Ghirga, declining to comment on the book which he said he has not seen. “She is not at her best. She is very worried” ahead of the appeal, he added. Although the book will likely change little in Knox’s legal predicament, I would have thought that a “friend” who was also a law-maker would realise the importance of consulting the other friend’s lawyers concerning the possible fallout of a personal literary initiative such as yours.
- Do you know that the American Embassy has followed this case from day one and reported to the State Department? Do you know that the Embassy stated that the trial was fair? Do you know that the State Department never expressed concerns about the outcome of the trial?
- Do you know that the only American politician that once spoke out regarding this trial was Mrs. Maria Cantwell from Seattle when she asked Mrs. Clinton to verify if Italy is a third-world country with a barbarian criminal system and if Amanda Knox was sentenced only because she is an American citizen?
- How did you and your associate Corrado Maria Daclon prepare his list of contacts that he met with in his trip to Seattle when you were writing your book? Did some person or persons arrange for meeting with these contacts? Was this person associated with the Knox-Mellas Entourage?
- Have you ever read the 430-page Sentence Motivation Report (“Dispositivo Della Sentenza Di Condanna”) written by Judge Massei who presided over the Knox-Sollecito trial? Do you know that there is overwhelming evidence against Amanda Knox and that the information spread out by the expensive PR team, hired by the Knox family, is neither a complete nor trustworthy story?
[Above: Giulia Bongiorno. Concern that Rocco Girlanda has gone way beyond what is appropriate to his parliamentary privilege to visit prisons “to inspect conditions” is further inflamed by his presence on the Italian parliament’s Judicial Committee. This committee, amazingly, is presided over by Raffaele Sollecito’s lead defense lawyer: Giulia Bongiorno. Is Giulia Bongiorno turning a blind eye to Mr Girlanda’s extraordinary number of visits, which seem highly abusive of his privilege, and exceed the quota of any family member?]
- Do you know that the vast majority of Americans have no idea of who Amanda Knox is? For example, if you look at the number of hits on videos posted by the Knox clan on YouTube, you would discover that few hundred people have visited the site. Also, do you know that the vast majority of Americans that have heard about this case think she’s guilty?
- Do you know who Steve Moore is? As President of the of the Italy-USA Foundation, do you, Mr. Girlanda, approve the insulting assertions of Mr. Moore when he says that the Italian police questioning of Amanda is typical of a “third world country”? That is was “something close to water-boarding”? Do you know that Steve Moore said that Amanda’s accusation of Patrick Lumumba, an innocent man, was “recanted by Amanda as soon as she had gotten some food”? Do you know that this weird individual said that “the court of final appeal is going to be the press. It’s going to be the public”?
- Have you ever read or seen Steve Moore on American national television? Do you know that he has been interview by all major American television news stations, spreading falsehoods and misinformation? Do you know that Mr. Moore has been accusing Italy as a whole as been responsible for what he calls a “wrongful conviction”, in a “railroad job” by a “psychopathic prosecutor”? Do you agree with him?
- Of the crime scene, Steve Moore said that “there was blood everywhere. There were foot prints, fingerprints, palm prints, hair, fluid samples, DNA of just one person: Rudy Guede”. Do you know that Rudy Guede left very little evidence for someone who has admitted been there and touching everything? Do you know that Guede left no hairs, no saliva, no sweat, no blood, and no other bodily fluid at the scene of the crime? Do you know that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito left plenty of DNA evidence and footprints all over the crime scene? Do you know that Steve Moore is telling falsehoods? Do you know that the motivation report clearly explains, without a minimal doubt, that more than one person was present during the murder of poor Meredith? (Please do read Judge Massei’s report)
- Steve Moore says that the interrogation of Amanda Knox at the police station “was the most coercive interrogation I have ever seen admitted into a court in the last 20 years”. Do you know that the interrogation at the police station on the evening of November 5, 2007, before the arrival of the prosecutor, was just 1 hour and 45 minutes and that Amanda was treated like any other witness that had just been caught lying?
- Have you ever visited Raffaele Sollecito or Rudy Guede in jail and are you planning to write a book on them as well?
- We have just heard that the bound edition of your Amanda Knox book has been pushed by the conservative publisher at least as far away as next spring. Could this be cold feet on the part of your publisher, who may not want to be associated with the public relations campaign of a convicted killer? Or of a disaster in terms of predicted sales? Your agent Patrick King seems in a furious rush now to get the book out one way or another for Christmas .... who on earth would want to give a Christmas gift to a friend or loved one which is composed of bizarre sweet talk with a convicted murderess?
- Are you even slightly aware of the deep hurt which you have caused to the Kercher family and Meredith’s many friends with your book? Do you know that some persons with great sympathy for them have words for you like “a pretty cruel heartless bastard”?
Finally, Mr. Girlanda - and we thank you for your patience in responding to these questions, which many concerned Americans and non-Americans have helped us compile - you have indicated that the proceeds from the sale of this book will go to the U.S.A.-Italy Foundation of which you are president.
If this budget injection is not used to make gifts of additional computers for more American prisoners in Italian jails beyond Amanda Knox, would you please consider applying part of the book proceeds to the new scholarship that the Perugia city council has established together with the University for Foreigners, in memory of Meredith Kercher?
It would be a wonderful gesture which would respond positively to those many Americans and non-Americans who are concerned that Amanda Knox’s conviction for the murder of Meredith should not be spinned into a money-grubbing show-business performance, where the only victim of this case - Meredith - is forgotten, and instead through some sort of twisted publicity campaign, one of the guilty parties is converted into a sympathetic Mother Theresa who escapes fully responding for her crimes.
The original of this letter in English and Italian has been emailed and sent in hard copy to your office in Rome. We greatly look forward to your various responses and will be happy to post them in Italian and English here.
Very many thanks in advance from people all over the world who are seeking true justice for Meredith
Signed in the original for the Main Posters Of TJMK
Who include a number of American and Italian lawyers
Archived in Those who were charged, Amanda Knox, Raff Sollecito, Questions stonewalled, Knox book hoaxes, Sollecito book hoaxes, Knox-Mellas team, Sollecito team, Francesco Sforza, Michael Heavey, Steve Moore, Bruce Fischer, More of the same
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Thursday, May 26, 2011
Now The Grandstanding Junior Politician Girlanda Attempts Political Interference In Judicial Process
Posted by Peter Quennell
He first rose to prominence when he dragged a parliamentary team into Capanne Prison right after the trial to make sure that Amanda Knox was quite comfortable. He emerged to make grinning self-congratulatory statements in front of every camera in sight.
Then he extended this privilege of politicians being allowed to inspect prisoner conditions into many more visits to Knox in Capanne, and a distinctly kinky book of Knox’s thoughts and his reflections emerged. That time-consuming process took him extensively away from the duties which Italy actually pays him for.
He also presided over two ill-attended panels for the Italy-USA Foundation of which he is the president (see here and here) and although he seemed to try very hard to insert emotional bias into the proceedings, both the panels equivocated and he emerged essentially empty-handed.
Girlanda is notorious for seeming to be unable to grasp even the simplest details of the evidence and repeatedly mischaracterizing it. Six months ago we posted an open letter addressed to him with an extremely comprehensive series of questions to try to finally make him think straight.
Apparently no such luck.
Here is Girlanda yet again raising grave but essentially spurious questions about Italian justice in this case, which in fact has been very well handled and which Italy can show to the world with real pride.
The letter is addressed to the president of the Italian republic and a similar letter went to the minister of justice signed by a dozen Berlusconi-party MPs. Translation is kindly provided by our main poster Clander who also attended and reported on the second panel.
Girlanda’s nasty charges play strongly into the overtones of xenophobia toward Italy which have repeatedly dogged the case. Nice move, Girlanda. Mission achieved?!
The President of Italy-USA Foundation, Hon. Rocco Girlanda, sent the following letter to the President of Italian Republic, Hon. Giorgio Napolitano, regarding the case of Amanda Knox.
I address you as President of the Italy-USA Foundation - that as you know is an international bipartisan institution to which dozens of parliamentarians belong, together with Italian scientists, journalists, diplomats, politicians - and as a parliamentary member of the Judiciary Committee in the Chamber of Deputies.
The event of the American student Amanda Knox’s detainment has provoked many discussions and debates, above all in the United States where even members of Congress and other influential institutional personalities are involved. I have been working personally for over a year to try to alleviate the tensions, both in Italy and in the United States, that this case has generated.
Also, in full respect of the trial process and of the role of the judicial magistrates, we must make note that the appellate trial has objectively opened more wide and resounding doubts on what was considered clear evidence in the first phase, in which further expertise and examination of testimony were not admitted, limiting the debate in fact to the only reasons of accusation.
After all, the same president of the Court of Appeals has opened the second level of trial with an eloquent clarification: “The respect of article 533 of the Penal Procedure Code (pronunciation of sentence only if the accused is guilty of the offense contested beyond any reasonable doubt) does not consent to share totally the decision of the Criminal Court from the first level”.
The question that I ask myself is who will compensate two young twenty-year olds, in the hoped for case that the appellate trial recognizes their innocence, of the four years of life and freedom that they have been unjustly depraved and for which no economic compensation could ever reimburse.
The use of preventative incarceration will unfortunately with time characterize our country. Even in the United States such measures are difficult to comprehend in so far as the varying rules from state to state. In the U.S. one can be detained from 48 to 72 hours, after which they are officially charged or are released.
Trials like that of Perugia could be celebrated with the charged in conditions of freedom, eventually with the restrictive measures about the ex-patriot regarding a foreign citizen. Still, the magistrate has adopted the possible reiteration of the offense as a reason for the detention in jail, a motivation that I limit myself to define as surreal for those like me whom for over a year in these parts have had the chance to get to know Amanda Knox.
I have in fact felt the obligation to write a book on Amanda Knox filled with many talks that I had with her in prison, in order to bring her justice and to explain to the world’s public opinion that the true Amanda is a girl completely different from the image that, with the contributions of the media, has emerged from the trials.
All of the Penitentiary Police personnel of the prison of Perugia, that have come to know her in the past three years, have confirmed her exemplary behaviour done with respect and kindness towards all of the other detainees and towards the personnel. Amanda is a girl of which today I am proud to call a great friend. She is an ideal girl with which I would send my five children on vacation.
Yet from the beginning, this case has pointed out some of the forceful and disturbing rule of law. During the investigation, a television and internet interview was conducted with a State Police officer that showed the corridor of the Roman Police offices, where there are framed photographs of such figures like the leaders of organized crime, serial killers, and other criminals convicted with severe crimes.
The officer in question also showed some of the successes of the Central Operating Services, and right after the portrait of Bernardo Provenzano, head of the mafia, there was a framed portrait of Amanda Knox. This portrait was displayed in the State Police offices even before the first trial, and it was accompanied by very serious declarations to the press of that ruling (which has never been sanctioned) where he argues that a “psychological” investigation without the help of science and technology has, “allowed us to arrive very quickly to identify the culprits”.
Is it not necessary to recall here that according to the legal principles of our country a defendant can only be found guilty at the end of three sets of hearings by the judiciary and not at the end of police interviews. It seems indeed rather curious and disturbing that in a democratic and liberal state, despite what is required by the Code of Criminal Procedure about the need for absolute and unambiguous evidence, it is possible to judge a citizen convicted only on “psychological” bases after a police interrogation.
Through the light findings from the appeal process, the so-called evidence and testimonies of the prosecution have proved to be at best considered contradictory and unreliable. All of these distortions have occurred in the various phases of the investigation by the out of place statements from the police and during the first trial; they been widely reported and distributed throughout United States, even in talk shows with tens of million viewers.
These distortions, not without reason, are fueling accusations against the administration of justice in our country. As Martin Luther King wrote in a letter from the Birmingham, Alabama prison, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere… Justice too long delayed is justice denied”.
In this light and with the hope of a different ruling on the Amanda Knox trial taking place in Perugia, I’m well aware of the feelings you have towards the American nation and towards the excellent, historic friendship between the two countries. I would make an appeal, Mr. President, because your authoritative intervention will help to reconcile and mitigate the many controversies that this incident has generated on both sides of the Atlantic.
In expressing my deepest gratitude, to the many citizens of Italy and America that the Italy-USA Foundation is honoured to represent, I take this time to express my utmost respects.
Pro-prosecution claims on talk shows in front of tens of millions? Really? All we have noticed 24/7/365 for over three years in the US is invented and seemingly libelous anti-police and anti-prosecution charges on the lines Girlanda is making.
No mention of course of Meredith, about whom, Girlanda doesn’t seem to give a damn.
Archived in Those officially involved, Amanda Knox, Knox-Mellas team, More of the same
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Friday, May 13, 2011
CPJ Accusation #4 Against Italian Justice Officials: Mr Mignini Sues For Defamation Without Cause?
Posted by Kermit
Overview. In our Second Open Letter to Joel Simon and world leaders we noted that NOT ONE of the accusations against Italian officials on close examination stands up. This is Attachment Four to that letter. More investigative posts are to come.
CPJ Accusation 4: “[CPJ] an independent, nonpartisan organization dedicated to defending the rights of journalists worldwide, is deeply concerned about local authorities’ harassment of journalists and media outlets …. CPJ is particularly troubled by the manifest intolerance to criticism displayed by Perugia Public Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini, who has filed or threatened to file criminal lawsuits against individual reporters, writers, and press outlets…. [Editor of] the national weekly newsmagazine Oggi, received an official notification that Mignini had started legal action against him in response to an Oggi article…. the U.S. weekly newspaper West Seattle Herald… published an article that … contained a reference to unnamed legal experts who reportedly believed Mignini to be “mentally unstable.” …. swift reaction by Mignini … (who) file a defamation claim against the West Seattle Herald… Joe Cottonwood, another U.S. writer Mignini has threatened with a criminal defamation lawsuit ... the action stems from a … comment (where) Cottonwood described Mignini as an “intellectually dishonest bully.” (Source: CPJ Letter to 21 World Leaders 19-04-2011 ) “What we are concerned about is that the press - domestic and international - is free to report and comment on the case without fear of reprisal.” (Source: CPJ followup explanatory note 28-04-2011. )
First a clarification. Joel Simon presumably means the press should be free to report accurately and without unfounded libelous smears. Let’s hope that he doesn’t really maintain reporters’ rights to defame without basis, to provoke unhinged ranters on the web who channel hate against the Perugia officials and those who support them day-in and day-out.
Forensics Method for Test 4: Common sense and a little Google
Line of Investigation for Test 4: Let’s get this straight: here the CPJ is concerned that reporters and news media will not freely report or express opinions in the case of the murder of Meredith Kercher. The CPJ believes that this is happening because of threats by Mr. Mignini.
I think that we should check to what extent the press actually feels threatened, and to what extent they are modifying their comportment due to Mr. Mignini’s supposed inappropriate actions which the CPJ considers go beyond what could be reasonably expected.
Test 4a, Step 1:
Google: judge sues newspaper defamation (enter)
You get 1,750,000 results, so it’s clear that the fact that members of the judiciary sue the press is not something that Mr. Mignini invented. You probably see where I’m going, so I’ll save us the effort of doing a few additional seconds of Googling different combinations like:
- Google: judge sues radio slander (enter)
- Google: judge sues media defamation (enter)
And so on. You end up with many, many millions of Google responses.
Since I’m trying to limit the execution of this test to a matter of seconds, let me take one of the mundane examples from the first page of Google results: this spring, the Voice of Richmond, a small local newspaper in Richmond, Virginia, was sued for the second time in two years, by the judge and a lawyer in the first case.
Above: A defamation suit by a member of the judiciary or any other citizen is the most normal thing in the world. Most examples – like this case involving the Voice of Richmond, which I selected simply because it was one of the first Google results – are related to questioning the appropriateness of courtroom procedures.
Other defamation suits, like Mignini’s claims against the West Seattle Herald’s reporter Steve Shay’s article (“mentally unstable”) or Joe Cottonwood (“intellectually dishonest bully”) are not against incursions limited to question the procedures in a legal case , but against open and baseless personal attacks, as seen from the point of view of the victim.
Is the CPJ concerned about the defamation suit against the Voice of Richmond? Has it published a letter to political leaders and pasted it prominently on its site, claiming that the judge in Richmond should just sit back and take criticism of his courtroom procedures?
If the Voice of Richmond newspaper, instead of being critical of courtroom procedures in a potentially defamatory manner, had associated the judge’s good name with the expression “mentally unstable”, or if the paper had called him an “intellectually dishonest bully”, only then would the CPJ have jumped in to defend the Voice of Richmond’s right to do such name calling?
The conclusions to this test, I must say, are pretty obvious.
My point is that while most people will agree with CPJ that public officials should put up with criticism of their work, we all agree that personal smears (or what the alleged defamation victim and the public could see as a personal smear) certainly should give way to the right to defend one’s honour.
This should be the case not only in the thousands of cases documented in Google that the CPJ doesn’t seem to get worried about (which is good news), but also in the case of Mr. Mignini, whom someone in or very close to the CPJ seems to be especially nervous about (which is disturbing news).
Test 4b, Step 1:
With just the results of Test 4a, I could already proceed to update the Balance Sheet for Testing CPJ’s Anti-Mignini Accusations as regards the example of Mignini suing certain persons or news outlets for personal attacks against his honour.
However, let’s take a fast look at each of those persons or news outlets to see if there are any factors which could change in one direction or another our conclusion that it’s perfectly normal for a person in the judiciary to sue for defamation, in particular when the alleged defamation does not concern his professional activity but his personal characteristics.
Without further ado, let’s carry out another search.
Google: site:oggi.it “oggi.it” amanda knox OR edda OR chris OR mellas (enter)
Each reporter, newspaper and magazine out there has their own view on the personalities in the Meredith Kercher murder case. There are a couple of outlets, like OGGI magazine which for some unknown reason have taken a particular liking to the Knox Mellas family, resulting in the members of this family and their travails getting special coverage, as the Google results show (use the Google translator if need be).
[Above: The Knox-Mellas clan find one corner of ongoing support and sympathetic coverage in Italy in OGGI magazine.]
The fact that this magazine takes a particular view to Amanda Knox’s family is a question of how they want to focus their coverage of this case. Quite another thing are their insinuations about certain elements of the prosecution’s case.
For example, in recent weeks there seems to be an all out attack on the hearing capacity and the mental faculties of Signora Nara Capezzali, a neighbour who on the night of Meredith Kercher’s murder heard the running of multiple persons near the cottage, just after a piercing scream (the danger of this testimony for pro-Knox forces is that it points to more than one person being involved in the crime, including Amanda Knox).
Just for interest’s sake, to see how Amanda Knox friendly voices have latched onto this issue, do another fast Google search: “amanda knox” “nara capezzali” deaf OR crazy OR psychiatric (enter)
OGGI and reporter Giangavino Sulas participated in the attack on Signora Capezzali, and by extension on prosecutor Mignini’s case:
“The witnesses … suffer from sufficiently serious problems of deafness, of physical and also mental health, to be hospitalized in a psychiatric ward (as in the case of Nara Capezzali).” (Source: Giangavino Sulas , OGGI Magazine, April 2011)
This test and the ones that follow are not meant to prove anything in particular as regards Mr. Mignini’s right to defend his honour (which we saw clearly in Test 4a).
However, these additional tests do put some perspective on those who decry Mignini as threatening (or whom CPJ has dug up as “victims” of Mignini – I’m not aware that either OGGI, Steve Shay or Joe Cottonwood were searching for the CPJ to ask it to put together its Letter to 21 World Leaders, not even a junior reporter from the diminutive West Seattle Herald could have been able to dream that up).
In addition, if what CPJ is concerned about is “that the press—domestic and international—is free to report and comment on the case without fear of reprisal”, (Source: CPJ followup explanatory note 28-04-2011 ) it is more than evident by consulting recent reporting by OGGI and in particular by Giangavino Sulas, that that magazine and reporter are not holding back in examining and opining on all elements of the prosecution and conviction of the murderers (pending appeal) of Meredith Kercher.
Test 4c, Step 1:
Let’s go to a popular pro-victim discussion board concerning the murder of Meredith Kercher, such as TJMK or the Perugiamurderfile.org. Do a search for Steve Shay, and you will see references to examples on other sites which demonstrate how this reporter swims like a fish amongst pro-Knox social networking friends.
Above: When West Seattle Herald reporter Steve Shay infiltrates Internet social groups to gather information for his next story, he sure does a good job of appearing to be like-minded with his fellow posters, in this case, the Friends of Amanda lobby Facebook group.
(Source: Facebook, image on Perugiamurderfile.org)
Steve Shay’s own social networking postings and his ongoing reporting in the West Seattle Herald demonstrate that Mignini’s potential lawsuit has not made him or his newspaper wither (my personal opinion is that he takes it as a sort of medal that he wears proudly on pro-Knox discussion boards and at FOA money making events).
The CPJ itself states explicitly that “in an email interview with CPJ, West Seattle Herald Editor Ken Robinson said … that the paper does not fear repercussions from Mignini …. he and his newspaper were not perturbed by the prosecutor’s actions”.
So why all the fuss in the CPJ Letter to the World about reporters and newspapers holding back in having a go at the Meredith Kercher murder case?
The CPJ itself shows that some reporters like Steve Shay can have their cake and eat it too.
Test 4d, Step 1:
I feel a little sorry for Joe Cottonwood, as he appears to have haplessly stepped into an international scene of attacks against Mr. Mignini. However, if the Italian law says that you can’t call someone an “intellectually dishonest bully”, then you should be careful.
Let’s do a fast test on Mr. Cottonwood.
Type Google: joe cottonwood (enter)
From the Google search results, you can take a look at Cottonwood’s own site, or see a summary of his activity in the Wikipedia page on him: “Joe Cottonwood is an American author of fiction and poetry for adults and children. He was born in 1947 and lives in La Honda, California.” (Source: Wikipedia )
Cottonwood not only doesn’t report on the Meredith Kercher murder case, he isn’t even a reporter, nor even calls himself a blogger or a freelancer or journalist.
You can hardly say that Mignini’s legal action to defend his personal honour will affect Cottonwood’s coverage of the case, which is what CPJ’s Letter to 21 World Leaders is all about as CPJ stated in its clarification commentary on its Open Letter..
The fact that Cottonwood is included in an international missive of a journalists’ sectorial association when that isn’t even his profession makes me think that CPJ (or whoever really prepared the Letter to the World) was scraping the barrel for examples.
Approximate time required to obtain material to be analysed: less than 1 second for Google searches, a few minutes to enter and search discussion forums.
Tests 4a, 4b, 4c, 4d Step 2: Conclusions
If American judges can sue for defamation in situations which are less personally insulting than what Mr. Mignini has had to put up with, and this defamation in America doesn’t provoke CPJ’s intervention, then Mr. Mignini’s personal legal actions can’t be worth a Letter to 21 World Leaders.
In addition, simple observation of your examples of three defamation suits shows that it is not true that Mignini’s legal actions to defend his personal honour have affected news reporters’ coverage of the Amanda Knox case.
It is strange and worrying that the Committee to Protect Journalists for some reason wants to deny Mr. Mignini his constitutional right as an Italian and European citizen to not be the subject of abusive attacks.
Let’s do one final exercise: search Google for Mignini and various hate terms like “mentally unstable” and you could conclude that reporters and anonymous bloggers have made Giuliano Mignini into the second most hated man on the planet after Bin Laden - who now, of course, is dead.
Hate remarks against Mignini are now up in the hundreds of thousands, possibly millions. The BBC looked into just some of the shrill claims made by reporters whom Joel Simon wants to keep supporting in their anti-Mignini drive and actually found nothing there.
We’re moving along, and as usual, the best is yet to come. Let’s update the Balance Sheet for Testing CPJ’s Anti-Mignini Accusations with our latest findings. I fear that the CPJ is not doing well:
[below::The results of the fourth set of credibility tests of the anti-Mignini accusations gives us the feeling that the CPJ has no basis whatsoever for the accusations, nor does it have justification for sending a Letter to 21 World Leaders.]
Archived in The wider contexts, More of the same
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