Subject area: More hoaxers

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.


Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Knox Interrogation Hoax #1: Overview Of The Series - Multiple Knox Versions v One Stark Truth

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[Amanda Knox at trial on 28 February, the day Inspector Rita Ficarra testified]

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

Click here:The Knox Interrogation Hoax #18: The Final Pre-Trial Opportunities Which Knox Flunked


Saturday, February 01, 2014

Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz And Philly Lawyer Ted Simon Both Claim The Devil’s In The Details

Posted by Peter Quennell



Alan Dershowitz sees plenty of evidence against Knox. He really has absorbed the key details, and in this case, the devil is in the details.

Alan Dershowitz has spoken out quite accurately a number of times on the case previously, and he shows great respect for the carefulness of the Italian system.

Philadelphia lawyer and Knox advisor Ted Simon also thinks there is a devil in the details. Or rather, he did back in 2008 (below) before he got on the Knox payroll and his foolish mantra became “There is no evidence”.

Wrong. There is stacks of evidence that Knox was in that room - and it wasnt even tested for DNA.

  • Why was her lamp in the room? Why cannot she explain that? Why are there zero fingerprints? Who wiped them? Who moved Meredith’s body? How did Knox’s and Meredith’s blood get co-mingled? In half a dozen different locations? Outside a locked bedroom door?

  • Why are there footprints in blood outside the locked bedroom door of both Knox and Sollecito? Why do Guede’s shoeprints head straight out the front door? And if Knox didnt start to rearrange the crime scene, who staged the break-in, and why?

  • And why do the various presentations in closed court in 2009 (all-day testimony by crime-scene and autopsy experts and a 15-minute video recreating the attack)  which proved THREE attackers still remain unchallenged?

Those pesky details…


Thursday, January 02, 2014

“Popular Forensic Crime Writer Says AK Is Innocent” But Misconstrues Evidence Pointing To Guilt

Posted by FinnMacCool



That headline above is from a KOMONews report on Patricia Cornwell’s take on the case about seven weeks ago.

On her promotional tour for her latest novel (see the video above) Patricia Cornwell made the following comments about the pursuit of truth: “If you stumble upon a truth, I don’t know what case it is, maybe this is the old journalist in me, I feel I am obligated to say something about it…”

Many of us can sympathize with those words, particularly readers of a website devoted to securing justice for a young woman who was brutally murdered in 2007. Cornwell went on to make reference to this very case, bringing some of her own experience to bear as regards time of death:

One of the things that has frustrated me about [the Meredith Kercher case], they’ve made a great big deal about the victim’s stomach contents and how they placed the death at a certain time because her food had not really digested all that much.

It’s like, ‘Hello, when you go into flight or fight mode, your digestion either shuts down completely or at least it slows, because all the blood is going to your extremities so you can defend yourself or run.’ And if somebody is being assaulted, their digestion quits.

I’ve seen it in the morgue where somebody who ate 8-10 hours earlier - their food is exactly as they swallowed it.

Cornwell may be a talented writer, but she shows herself here to be a less than careful reader, because the point she makes here supports the prosecution case, and it undermines that of the defense.

It was of course the Knox/Sollecito defense teams who claimed that the victim’s stomach contents placed her death at an earlier time (to a point close to when their clients still had an alibi), while the prosecution successfully argued along the same lines as Patricia Cornwell, that stomach contents cannot be used to establish time of death with such precision.

Here is the way Knox herself describes the defense position in her memoir Waiting To Be Heard:

Meredith had been murdered by 10 P.M., based on her stomach contents, but the prosecutors invented a scenario in which Meredith was home alone between 9:30 P.M. and 11:30 P.M. According to their argument, the sphincter between the stomach and the small intestine tightens at the moment of trauma, and digestion temporarily stops. (WTBH: 222)

In other words, Patricia Cornwell’s expertise in this area leads her to agree with the prosecution’s argument, and undermines the case of the defense. Nevertheless, Cornwell claims to have followed the case closely, and to be of the opinion that Knox and Sollecito are innocent, with Rudy Guede the lone sexual predator.

The PR firm hired by Amanda Knox’s family (Gogarty-Marriott) will be pleased that such a high profile commentator has reached that conclusion, but they will also be hoping that people just read the headline quoted above, without looking too closely at the contradictory substance of Cornwell’s remarks.

Courts of law look at evidence; courts of public opinion listen to soundbites.

In the Meredith Kercher case, a succession of courts (with one annulled exception to date) have found, just as Patricia Cornwell’s experience suggests, that the bulk of the evidence in this case supports a guilty verdict for all three defendants.
 
Patricia Cornwell claims to care about truth and justice, and to support the rights of victims to have their stories told. It would be an honorable move on her part, then, to correct the impression given by her recent interview that her expertise supports the defense case rather than that of the prosecution. As Cornwell herself puts it:

The truth should never be hidden, particularly in heinous crimes. It’s never too late for it to come out even if we can’t prosecute anybody for it any more. We owe it to those who were brutalized, or assassinated, to tell the true story about what really happened.

She is of course far from the first expert to be misled by cherrypicked “facts”. See for example here.


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.

The initial announcement was posted on here. The details of the charges were posted on here. The disciplinary penalty was posted on here.

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.







The US Embassy cables that were released were dated: Nov, 07; Dec 08; Feb 09; May 09; Aug 09; Nov 09; Dec 09. No other documents were released.

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
  * Slander
  * Possession of weapons
  * Aggravated theft.


Thursday, December 05, 2013

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.]

Posted on 12/05/13 at 10:17 PM by ErgonClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
Archived in Other legal processesSollecito followupKnox-Mellas teamFrancesco SforzaMichael HeaveySteve MooreBruce FischerMore hoaxers
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Monday, October 28, 2013

Some Hard Truths Sollecito PR Shill Sharlene Martin Omits In Her Misleading Invite To The Congress

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters





Dear Sharlene Martin:

Please dont say we didnt warn you before. In this notice of a Congressional “briefing” (read: paid highly misleading PR) you once again gloss over a number of hard truths.

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.

Against your client, this was always a very strong case. And this alone has your client cooked. Here are some other corrections and correct background to the false claims you have just made.

    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.

A Congressional briefing panel that is not made in heaven, that is for sure. Stay tuned. There is more to come.




Thursday, October 17, 2013

When You Get In A Deeeep Hole, Best To Stop Digging: Did Anyone Think To Tell Knox?

Posted by James Higham



[Florence courts in winter; how they might look when the appeal verdict comes down]


Not sure the Knox machine quite understands what trouble their charge is in.

She’s already done three years for calumny and is at it again.  Her recent slurs on Italian courts and the police have brought further litigation down on her head.

Then there is the little matter of the court award to Patrick Lumumba for false accusation of murder, which she has not paid to this day, despite earning huge amounts from her fiction work published in America.  Every one of us knows what happens when we default.

See how this stands up as her reason not to pay up:

I have already appealed to him to tell him that I didn’t go to the Police Headquarters with the aim of accusing him of a murder he did not commit. What was dragged out of me was dragged out from me without my wanting to harm him.

I only wanted to help and I was completely confused so that I didn’t know what was true and what was not true at that point. Therefore I didn’t want to harm him. I … (MAXI-SIGH) … His.. His name came out only because my mobile phone was there and we exchanged some SMS.

She says: “Vorrei che lui [Patrick]può capire in che situazione io mio trovavo.”  I’d like him to understand the situation I’m in.  Pardon?  A man wrongfully banged-up in prison and owed $80 000 by her should understand the situation she is in?

She was asked what happened and answered, “My best truth is …”  My best truth?  She invented an entire situation with Mignini which simply did not happen according to eyewitnesses, including her translator.  Simply did not occur that way.  She volunteered a statement but in the light of subsequent events weeks later, changes that, upon advice, to her being browbeaten.

Hence the calumny charges.

Main poster Stilicho adds:

Knox can’t even be honest about her time in prison. She was not in prison because she was wrongly convicted for murder but because of the calunnia she committed against Patrick and as a precaution against her fleeing the country or killing someone else before her trial was completed. She sang and danced and was frequently visited by politicians and other dignitaries. By all accounts, it was the most productive time in her life.

When confronted with her lies, she says, “I was confused.”  Sorry – courts don’t buy such things.  They deal in truth or non-truth.  None of this “it seemed to me”.  She interprets this real-world reaction as hurtful, hateful to Amanda.

In short, she appears to be emotionally or socially retarded, not fully understanding what she has got herself into.  Should she be released on a technicality, as Casey Anthony was, she still faces years inside because of the libel and slander which is piling up.  Her own people are also being litigated.  Peter Quennell:

We don’t see any sign that David Marriott or Robert Barnett or Ted Simon have the slightest clue about Italian law. They are all liable too for the felonies in the book and all of them could be charged too by the Bergamo judge.

Her advisors need to shut her up before she makes it any worse for herself.  In that accusation of Lumumba, she said she was there, in the next room with her hands over her ears because she couldn’t bear Meredith’s screams.  It was a clear description, clear enough for the police to arrest Lumumba and put him in prison.  The screams coincided with those the neighbours reported.

If one was to substitute Guede and Sollecito, whose bloodied footprint was on the bathmat, for Lumumba, that might be close to the truth of what happened, it would explain no DNA found of hers in the actual room..

Except that there are multiple mixed blood traces and her DNA twice now on the murder weapon, along with her panicked reaction when the cutlery drawer was opened, plus her words to her mother that they’d found a knife and that she was very worried about it.  Why would she need to worry if she wasn’t there?

She might be able to explain away the pattern of where her DNA was found on the knife – a stabbing grip near the blade – as a weird way of cutting vegetables.  Then there was Sollecito’s admission over Meredith’s DNA in the scratch as an accident when he pricked Meredith in the hand whilst cooking at his place.

Except Meredith had never been to his place.  And he still maintains that Knox was not with him that evening at his own home.

So, despite the sweeping statements by her minders of “no evidence”, which are then syndicated all over the world by their media entourage, inc the Wail, there’s actually copious evidence.  After you get past the conflicting stories, the cellphone activity and the witness identifications, there is still the matter of the mixed blood traces.

There was no blood the night before, by Knox’s own admission.  Meredith was out that early evening, the two had not been together.  These are the sorts of minor anomalies she can only explain with “it seemed to me” or “I imagined”.

Then there is the little matter of the hand marks on the neck, too small for the men although there were other marks too.

The horror for Amanda Knox, in her infantilized state – look at her handwriting – is that she cannot see consequences, not unlike a child.  She doesn’t understand that you can’t go killing someone and get away with it.  She’s constantly on about being seen as a good person, as every child and every adult would like and so many of us do not see it that way.

Like a child, she just wants it all to go away and that childlike appearance is what strongly drags in most people’s sympathy – here is a State and nasty people worldwide being cruel and mean to a young innocent.  Yet she’s getting on for 30 now and is no child.  And she still spreads the libel with no thought of consequences, just as she saw no consequences on that night, just the there and then.

The role of drugs cannot be downplayed in this effect on her mind.  She’s almost a poster girl for today’s youth and the early sex and drugs, with the dumbing-down at school at the same time.

She’s a mess and it’s hard not to sympathize with that and want help for her … except for one pesky problem.  She’s a convicted murderess.

The reaction to these posts will be sympathy for her and anger at the bully who is writing it.  It should actually be disgust at what she did and neutrality towards the reporter writing the post.  How does it shift from one to the other?

Natural chivalry.  Yet in this sympathy for her, there is still the question of her victim choking on her blood once the screams had stopped.  And that is what maintains our interest in the case – it is unresolved as yet, it is close to the end.

She might get off on a technicality if her lawyers are good enough.  She’ll then go into that limbo state of Casey Anthony and all the other broken children of today, the blame for which many of us lay at the door of Them and their narrative.

For sure there is a sadness to it, which a new commenter, David Berlin mentions:

Knox is a hamster on a wheel, in a cage, endlessly condemned to repeating the same nonsense. In an earlier post I saw her as a character in Beckett’s ‘Play’ and the more she opines the more apt that seems. Endlessly repeating a story, fixed in her lines, unable to find an exit.

Commenter Goodlife writes:

Her life now does not seem all that different from her days in prison in that most aspects of her life seem to be under the control of someone else. But does anyone believe that she is any happier or more content now? She is now nothing more than a performing monkey, dishing out the script given to her by her supposed nearest and dearest.

An Italian commented:  “Young Italian actors should learn from Amanda Knox. She is a great actress.”

She’d stare at that comment in horror.  She uses the term bambina for herself, rather than ragazza, sheltering within this childlike status.  At 20.  At nearer 30 she is still doing it.  She said in an interview that she was la più piccola [the littlest] instead of la più giovane [the youngest].  Littlest evokes more sympathy.

She’s in a prison of her mother’s and her estranged father’s making.

She’s caught up in an international horror story and she’s the leading player.  This will always garner sympathy.

She asks why everyone hates her.  They don’t hate her – that’s child talk.  They are appalled by the machine she has behind her and their antics and believe she should take responsibility and start paying off the debt to the dead girl.

Meredith by name.


Sunday, October 06, 2013

Dr Mignini Pushes Back Against His Demonizers Trying To Pin To Him False “Satanic Theory” Claim

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

Dear Director,

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.

Kind regards

Giuliano Mignini

There is plenty of further reading in our posts on Dr Mignini in which the “satanic theory” has again and again been shot down. See also our posts on Spetzi & Preston.

See also this overview of the two cases requested by our poster Kmcvick.


Monday, August 19, 2013

Knox-Mellases And Candace Dempsey Display Extreme Contempt Of Court On CNN

Posted by Hopeful



[Candace Dempsey and Frank Sforza who in court soon may disavow her numerous false accusations]


Horrible horrible CNN story tonight on “Crimes of the Century”, in which they featured the Knox case. CNN shredded the case with dozens and dozens of half-truths and outright errors.

They did show some sympathy to Meredith using decent photos of her and some complimentary verbiage from various speakers, but CNN aimed to convince viewers that poor Amanda was persecuted by evil tyrants bound to medieval mindsets. They actually delighted in casting aspersions on Mignini for being an honest and devout Catholic as if that is some horrid slur.

The miserable program which aired at 8:00 pm Central Standard Time her on Sunday night in the U.S. showcased the malevolent faces of Candace Dempsey, Anne Bremner, Nina Burleigh and Dr. Mark Waterbury spewing out garbage and error, and they gave them so much face time on camera, it was awful.

The video footage of Mignini was trash photography with angles and poses meant to make him look bad, but it was an utter fail. His dignity was intact despite the worst they could throw at him. Yet it wasn’t hard to make the pro-Knox forces look ignorant on the show. Dempsey almost sounded mentally afflicted and looked very odd while Anne Bremner couldn’t say much with a straight face nor stop nervously batting her eyelids.

Everyone on the Knox bandwagon looked positively shifty. Thankfully Curt and Edda did not star in this production much, we were spared their serial nonsense. They were shown more as background figures.

Even Amanda was treated rather poorly despite the theme of “poor girl, she’s innocent and has been railroaded”, because they took bits and pieces from her recent TV interview in her sleeveless blue dress and they pulled out her most irrelevant and salacious remarks loosed from any context. They shredded her comments, using such junk as her remark that she was sexually active but not sexually deviant and thet she wasn’t dressed in leather and cracking a whip.

Tawdry stuff, and nothing in context. They used, “I wish I’d stood up to them more” and never showed her squirming and looking discomfited at many questions. No, the truth wasn’t well presented.

They only showed Mr. John Kercher once early in the show in a fleeting shot. Later they used footage of Arline Kercher alone, and had her saying, “We need to know what happened.” It was an absolute debacle of a news program if truth were the aim, and a total assault on Mignini from start to finish. They attacked all the DNA evidence. Attorney Ghirgha was shown briefly and so was Dalla Vedova surrounded by the press pack with microphones at his mouth.

Rudy Guede was again made to take the brunt of the entire murder, and CNN planted the false idea that he had his sentence shortened due to rolling over on Knox or cutting some deal with the prosecution. Courtroom scenes of the first trial in Perugia were abundant, with Sollecito being paraded in with his long hair and white jacket in the early days. Bongiorno was shown hugging him after the acquittal, and Amanda’s crying jag as she was acquitted.

The cameras were fixed on Mignini making him look like a sinister plotter of retribution, it was all so predictably malicious and unfair toward him. A complete abomination instead of accuracy in reporting.

I was appalled at the audacity and insolence of Candace Dempsey when she said Mignini is the kind of man who after finding a lovely British girl on the floor in blood could make up an entire scenario of a sex crime out of his own fantasies. She deviously left out the glaring fact that Meredith’s body was found with physical signs of sexual assault and half-nude. What a con artist she is.

The only piece of truth in the entire episode was a trite one when the male speaker (forgot his name, Darren? Kolinky?) he said Knox was extremely stupid. STUPID. As if we didn’t know that already. This grinning fellow seemed a silly adjunct to the other silly billy goats gruff namely Bremner, Dempsey, Waterbury, Burleigh. I give it a zero. It was a pathetic attempt to cover the Kercher case as one of the “Crimes of the Century”. An epic fail, and nobody fooled but the self-deceived cast of the show.

The program was nauseating to anyone who knows the facts. Nina Burleigh lamented the celebrations in the street at midnight when Knox’s guilty sentence was announced, as they yelled in Italian “American assassin!” Burleigh claimed it was as close as she’d ever get to seeing a mass mob use a scapegoat, this time the dear sweet Amanda, shudder.

Nina Burleigh and the other two women were set up as some kind of ludicrous experts. The more contained yet equally in the wrong Dr. Waterbury said that Meredith’s DNA was not on the knife. It was just one outlandish falsehood after another.

Posted on 08/19/13 at 12:45 AM by HopefulClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
Archived in Hoaxers - main perpetratorsKnox-Mellas teamMore hoaxersHoaxers - main mediaCNN Network
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Friday, August 09, 2013

How Greg Hampikian Abuses Two Positions of Trust In Serially Misrepresenting The Hard Evidence

Posted by The Machine




Overview

Greg Hampikian holds two positions of trust: he is a teacher of biology at Boise State University in Idaho (population 1.6 million) and he is the local representative for Idaho of the Innocence Project,

His use or misuse of his Innocence Project mantle via a case way outside his official area in Italy to leverage his prominence is particularly questionable. Few Italians know who he is or can read him and so challenge him, and Italy’s justice system probably allows less false convictions than any other, though he never makes that fact clear.

This post explains how the investigations of local Innocence Project representatives are not always reliable - and how Hampikian for his own benefit serially misrepresents the evidence in Meredith’s case. 

Michael Naughton

The Innocence Project is mostly professionally staffed by cool-headed, competent law and genetics professors who are more interested in promoting truth and justice than their own place in world history. But as another case in the news also shows, it doesn’t always work out that way.

Yesterday’s breaking news shocked many in England. Convicted killer Simon Hall finally admitted that he was indeed guilty of the murder in 2001 of Joan Albert, a pensioner who was savagely stabbed five times.

Simon Hall had been vehemently protesting his innocence for 12 years.  There are some striking similarities between this case and the Meredith Kercher case.

  • The perp’s mother convinced that her child is innocent of murder? Yes.

  • Politicians, legal experts, journalists and members of the public convinced that person convicted of murder is innocent? Yes.

  • Television documentary casting doubt on the conviction? Yes.

  • Criticisms of police investigation and claims there is no DNA evidence and no motive? Yes.

  • Website set up in order to convince the public that the person convicted of murder is actually innocent? Yes.

  • An academic staff member of the Innocence Project leaps on board and starts pontificating before closely looking? Yes.

Simon Hall’s confession has made his most adamant defender Dr. Michael Naughton, the local director of the Innocence Project at Bristol University (image below). look like a real dupe, and may have destroyed his credibility as an expert and a campaigner on wrongful convictions.

Dr. Naughton long campaigned hard for the release of Simon Hall, and called repeatedly for his conviction to be quashed. Simon Hall’s public reversal will set back both the Innocence Project and his own career.



[Above: the hapless Dr. Michael Naughton, made to look a fool by a manipulative murderer]

Greg Hampikian

Greg Hampikian has been widely observed on TV and in print, and in front of his own students and other assemblies, proclaiming that he solved the DNA part of the case and was key to the defenses achieving Knox’s part-acquittal and Sollecito’s acquittal in 2011 (annulled last March).

Hampikian holds two positions of trust: he is a teacher of biology at Boise State University in Idaho (population 1.6 million) and he is the local representative for Idaho of the Innocence Project, which New York law teachers Barry Sheck and Peter Neufeld co-founded to ensure correct outcomes in American DNA-based cases.

Whenever Greg Hampikian speaks about the Meredith Kercher case, his university and his Innocence Project credentials are invariably emphasized. This is presumably to convince a generally ill-informed or wrongly informed public that he is the most credible expert, whose opinion that Amanda Knox is innocent can be trusted completely.

But can Greg Hampikian really be trusted when it comes to the Meredith Kercher case?

The simple answer to this question is no. When you listen to or read Greg Hampikian’s comments about the case in the interviews, it becomes abundantly clear that:

  • He is ignorant of most of the basic facts of the case.

  • He hasn’t read the official court documents in their entirety, but has instead relied on Amanda Knox’s family and supporters for his information without bothering to do any fact-checking.

  • He incessantly downplays or misrepresents the hard evidence against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito and overstates that against Rudy Guede.

  • He doesn’t limit himself to his own narrow area of expertise, but speaks about other aspect of the case and gets basic facts wrong.

  • Like so many in the seedy defense operation he ridicules his counterparts in Italy, most of whom are much better qualified in criminal-case DNA than he is.

Hampikian and Knox

In ignoring most of the evidence against Amanda Knox, he repeatedly pretends there was only ONE hard piece of evidence against her. He claimed in an interview with John Curly on Kiro FM that the ONLY evidence that implicates Amanda Knox is the DNA on the large knife.

You only have to read the Massei report to know that this is not true. For sake of brevity, I’ll summarise just some of the multitude of evidence that Hampikian doesn’t even mention in his media interviews, let alone refute.

1. Amanda Knox’s DNA was found mixed with Meredith’s blood in three places in the bathroom: on the ledge of the basin, on the bidet, and on a box of Q Tips cotton swabs (192).

2. Knox’s DNA and Meredith’s DNA was also found mingled together in a bare bloody footprint revealed by Luminol in the hallway and a mixture of Knox’s DNA and Meredith’s blood was also found in Filomena’s room (380).

3. Three bare bloody footprints were revealed by Luminol in the hallway and one in Amanda Knox’s room were attributed to Knox (247).

4. Hampikian doesn’t say anything about Amanda Knox’s false and malicious accusation against Diya Lumumba which Massei concluded was done to lead investigators down the wrong track (389).

5. Hampikian ignores the evidence that shows that the break-in at the cottage was staged such as the corroborative eyewitness testimony that stated there were shards of glass on top of clothes and objects on Filomena’s room (53) and the fact that Rudy Guede’s bloody shoeprints led straight out of Meredith’s room and out of the cottage (44) which indicates that he didn’t stage the break-in in Filomena’s room or go into the blood-spattered bathroom after Meredith had been stabbed.

6. Hampikian doesn’t address Amanda Knox’s numerous lies never mind provide a plausible innocent explanation for them.

Judge Massei outlined numerous examples of these lies in his report: she falsely claimed she received a text message from Diya Lumumba when she was at Sollecito’s apartment (322); there are various discrepancies in her statements about the time she and Sollecito ate dinner (78); her claim that she and Sollecito had a peaceful night of continuous and prolonged sleep is contradicted by Sollecito’s activity on his computer, the turning on of his cell phone and the testimony of Marc Quintavalle (85). Hampikian doesn’t explain why Amanda Knox gave multiple conflicting alibis.

7. Hampikian has said nothing about the Umbria Procurator General Galati’s observation that Knox knew specific details of the crime that she could have only known if he had been present when Meredith was killed. I suspect Greg Hampikian is blissfully ignorant of Galati’s appeal.

  • According to multiple witnesses at the police station, Knox said she was the one who had found Meredith’s body, that she was in the wardrobe, that she was covered by the quilt, that a foot was sticking out, that they had cut her throat and that there was blood everywhere. Knox wasn’t in a position to have seen anything when the door was kicked in.

  • Dr Galati pointed out in his appeal that Knox described the spot where Meredith was murdered and described the state of the body, the room and the injury to Meredith’s throat. He concluded that Knox knew everything because she was in the room at the time of the murder and when Meredith was left in the condition in which she was discovered. The judges at the Italian Supreme Court who annulled the acquittals also noted that Knox had known these details and that Judge Hellmann had ignored these clues.



[Above: Barry Sheck and Peter Neufeld, who co-founded and manage the Innocence Project]

Hampikian and Sollecito

Greg Hampikian also ignores the other key pieces of evidence against Raffaele Sollecito.  In an interview that was posted on the KPLU 88 website Hampikian made the astonishing claim that none of the evidence collected from the crime scene belonged to either Knox or Sollecito:

All of the evidence taken from the crime scene belonged to either Meredith Kercher or this guy Rudy Guide (sic). There’s no reason to invoke (sic) these other two people,” Hampikian said.

Really?! This bizarre claim was made even though Hampikian essentially conceded that Sollecito’s DNA was on Meredith’s bra clasp in an open letter he signed along with a number of other scientists:

DNA testing of this item using the Identifiler kit showed a mixture of DNA, with the majority of DNA consistent with that of the victim. Raffaele Sollecito could not be excluded as a source of a minor component of DNA with peaks of approximately 200 rfu. Y-STR testing confirmed that the male haplotype detected was consistent with the DNA of Raffaele Sollecito.

Hampikian goes on to claim that the bra clasp was contaminated, without offering any scenario or proof of this. He ignores all the other evidence against Sollecito. Again for the sake of brevity, I will briefly outline some of the key pieces of this evidence.

1. Two bloody footprints were attributed to Raffaele Sollecito. One of them was revealed by Luminol in the hallway and the other was on the blue bathmat in the bathroom. Andrea Vogt explained how detailed the analysis of the footprint was in a report for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

All the elements are compatible with Mr. Sollecito’s foot,” Rinaldi said, pointing with a red laser to a millimeter-by-millimeter analysis of Sollecito’s footprint projected onto a big-screen in the courtroom. He used similar methods to exclude that the footprint on the bath mat could possibly be Guede’s or Knox’s.

“Those bare footprints cannot be mine,” said Sollecito in a spontaneous statement…. But the next witness, another print expert, again confirmed Rinaldi’s testimony, that the print, which only shows the top half of the foot, matches the precise characteristics of Sollecito’s foot.

2. Computer and telephone records provide irrefutable proof that Sollecito lied repeatedly to the police about what he was doing on 1 and 2 November 2007: he didn’t speak to his father at 11.00pm; he wasn’t surfing the Internet from 11.00am to 1.00am and he didn’t sleep until around 10.00am because he played music on his computer from approximately 5.30am for half an hour and he used his mobile at about 6.00am.

3. Sollecito gave at least three completely different alibis which all turned out to be false. He even admitted in his witness statement that he had lied to the police. Hampikian has never addressed Sollecito’s multiple false alibis and numerous lies.

Hampikian and Guede

Greg Hampikian exaggerates the evidence against Rudy Guede

1. Greg Hampikian told an audience of about 200 at Boise State University that Rudy Guede’s DNA was all over the victim:  “You had one guy whose DNA was all over the victim.”

This is a common FOA myth which has been repeated by journalists in the media ad nauseam. If Greg Hampikian had bothered to read the official court reports such as the Micheli report and the Massei report, he would have known that there was only one sample of Guede’s DNA on Meredith’s body.

You would expect a scientist to be give precise factual statements, not vague, untrue comments. Listen to him closely and he resembles a dishonest second-hand car salesman who relies on hyperbole and rhetoric with these comments rather than an objective scientist. Hampikian’s intention in this instance was clearly to persuade and not inform.

2. Greg Hampikian makes unsubstantiated claims about Rudy Guede’s criminal history

In his interview with Joey Ortega Greg Hampikian claimed that Rudy Guede “had committed crimes before”. He didn’t specify what these crimes were let alone support his opinion that Guede had committed any crimes before with any proof i.e. specifically refer to any criminal convictions.

The reason why he didn’t refer to any specific criminal convictions is that Rudy Guede didn’t even have any convictions at the time of the murder. It would have been more accurate for him to have said that some people suspect Guede has committed crimes before and give some specific examples.

3. Hampikian seems intent on portraying Guede as a hardened criminal. He falsely claimed in a number of interviews (see here and here) that Guede was already in the criminal DNA database at the time of the murder.

According to Barbie Nadeau, Rudy Guede was identified by fingerprints found in Meredith’s room. The police had to go to his apartment to take DNA samples from a hairbrush. Within a few days, that DNA was matched to the DNA found at the cottage (Angel Face, page105, Kindle Edition).



[Above: Greg Hampikian with Knox-Mellas family member and enabler - shown getting his marching orders?]

Hampikian and Italian experts

Hampikian incessantly tries to discredit the police investigation. In this he doesn’t limit himself to his own area of expertise - biology - but speaks out about other aspects about the case and gets basic facts wrong.

1. For example, he falsely claimed in an interview with CNN that the authorities didn’t like the way Amanda Knox behaved and that’s why they wanted to investigate her, Sollecito and Lumumba:

They didn’t like the way Amanda behaved, whatever that means, and so they wanted to investigate her and Raffaele and her boss.

The real reasons why Knox and Sollecito officially became suspects and were arrested actually had nothing to do with Amanda Knox’s odd behaviour. On 5 November 2007, Sollecito admitted in his witness statement that he had lied to the police, and he stated that Amanda Knox wasn’t at his apartment on the night of the murder. He was arrested and taken into custody.

After Knox was informed that Sollecito was no longer providing her with an alibi, she repeatedly stated in her witness statements that she was at the cottage when Meredith was killed. She too became a suspect and was arrested. Hampikian has completely ignored these crucial details.

2. Hampikian regurgitates another common FOA myth with his claim that the authorities weren’t able to say why they took Sollecito’s kitchen knife from his apartment. In Boise Weekly: “They aren’t able to say why they took that (knife).”

The usual FOA claim is that the knife was randomly selected. Hampikian has clearly relied on Amanda Knox’s supporters for this misinformation and not on the testimony of the person who actually selected the knife - Armando Finzi.

Mr 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

3. Hampikian has never proved that there was any contamination.

As I’ve already pointed out in my previous post, the Italian Supreme Court has explained how DNA evidence should be assessed in court i.e. contamination must be proven with certainty not supposition.

Greg Hampikian has never described the specific place and time where contamination could have plausibly occurred. It’s not good enough to claim that it was possible or probable. 

Dr Galati made the following common sense observation in his appeal:

“It is evident that the “non-exclusion” of the occurrence of a certain phenomenon is not equivalent to affirming its occurrence, nor even that the probability that it did occur.” (57).

He goes on to explain that unless there is proof of contamination of the knife and bra clasp, you can’t simply claim there was in order to nullify this evidence:

...if one is not able to [67] affirm where, how and when they would have happened, they cannot enter into a logical-juridical reasoning aimed at nullifying elements already acquired, above all if scientific in nature.” (57).

It doesn’t seem to have ever crossed Greg Hampikian’s mind that the bra clasp and knife really might not have been contaminated.

Final Thoughts

Greg Hampikian is in a privileged position of trust because he is often interviewed about the case in the media and gives presentations about the case at academic institutions. His impressive credentials mean that he is trusted by many members of the general public and by people in the media. However, he has abused this trust by not bothering to get acquainted with the details of the case, getting basics facts wrong and completely misrepresenting the evidence against Knox, Sollecito and Guede.

I hope Simon Hall’s confession will make Hampikian realise that sometimes the truth isn’t always what you want it to be and Innocence Project experts on wrongful convictions can be duped and get it wrong.

Perhaps the next time Hampikian is interviewed about the case he’ll avoid hyperbole and rhetoric and just stick to the facts and his own area of expertise. But I wouldn’t count on it.

Posted on 08/09/13 at 05:18 PM by The MachineClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
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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”.

Let’s do a fast test, and do the same Google searches that Preston did, replacing “Amanda Knox” with “Hillary Clinton”. Here are the results:


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.”

Source: The Atlantic

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.

He currently has an arrest warrant issued, and Preston has suddenly stopped talking about his and Spezi’s prized asset who was supposed to be the living demonstration of the Bad Mignini.


[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.

I believe that never in the history of “True Story” lobbying, has a book taken so little time to rack up so many factual errors.


[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?



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.


Conclusions

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.


Saturday, January 05, 2013

We Mean You No Harm. Please Take Us To Your Leaders…  Oh Yes, But Of Course…

Posted by Kermit





Yes but of course. The self-appointed FOA leaders are now all physically or mentally AWOL. No sane credible adult is at the helm.

  • 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.


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.



[“Frank” could be in NYC if his Facebook page shows his true location.]


A number of questions remain to be answered.

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.





As the above image indicates, it appears that typically Assault IV–DV suspects are held in prison, especially if there is a likelihood of flight.

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!

    ...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.

Maybe he’s already disappeared into some far-off hills for a few years. Cross-section of his new lodgings below?



Posted on 01/01/13 at 12:46 PM by KermitClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
Archived in Other legal processesThose elsewhereThe wider contextsSeattle contextKnox-Mellas teamFrancesco SforzaMore hoaxers
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Monday, December 31, 2012

Judge Ed McKenna Issues A Bench Warrant For The Arrest of Court No-Show Frank Sforza

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above and below Municipal Judge Ed McKenna and some images of Seattle Justice Center]


Our main poster Fly By Night reports from the Seattle court.

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? 

Not such a good idea to fight justice all these years. Kermit will post again next on the full implications of Frank’s meteoric career - downward.

 









































Posted on 12/31/12 at 06:30 PM by Peter QuennellClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
Archived in Other legal processesThose elsewhereThe wider contextsSeattle contextKnox-Mellas teamFrancesco SforzaMore hoaxers
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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

False Allegations Against Italian Officialdom Sparking Increasingly Tough Legal Reaction

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters





David Marriott? Chirs Mellas? Doug Preston? Curt Knox?

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

We have gone over the impressive characteristics of the Italian justice system again and again. It is THE most popular and trusted institution in Italy - and by a wide margin.

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.

Mario Spezi

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.

Frank Sforza

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.

Raffaele Sollecito

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.

What Next?

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.


Friday, November 16, 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.





Tom Wright apparently had to kick in at least $50,000 for initial fund of the endowment, and he hopes that others will feel impelled to contribute as well.

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.





Let’s pause right there.

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.



;Above: school president Dr Kent Hickey]


Is there ANY solid reason in the public record why Knox is deserving of this singular honor?

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.





An angered alum of Seattle Prep offered this opinion to the reporter from Seattle Met:

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.






Posted on 11/16/12 at 10:16 PM by brmullClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
Archived in Those officially involvedThe wider contextsSeattle contextAmanda KnoxKnox-Mellas teamMore hoaxers
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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Amazingly, Wrong Facts And Defamations Of Italian Officialdom Show NO Sign Of Being Reigned In

Posted by devorah





It is very hard in the Perugia case for us to figure out who is driving the defense and PR bus.

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.

Read first TJMK’s recent posts (scroll down) on how formidable the Supreme Court appeal really is, and especially this one and this one.

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.


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



[Prominent lawyer Wendy Murphy reflects many in saying the evidence is very strong] 


In the post below Jane Velez Mitchell of CNN can be watched staking her legal reputation on Sollecito.

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]

Posted on 09/24/12 at 09:43 AM by Peter QuennellClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
Archived in News media & moviesGreat reportingTerrible reportingKnox-Mellas teamSollecito teamFrancesco SforzaMore hoaxers
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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.

What will he do if they charge him?
 


Tuesday, May 08, 2012

An Associate Of Knox PR Heavy David Marriot Has Been Bullying Meredith’s Father Online

Posted by Glinda The Good





Yet another example of Curt Knox’s abusive public relations campaign at work.

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.


Friday, May 04, 2012

Dr Galati: Please Check Out What Looks Like A Mischievous Defense-Inspired Global Hoax

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[Left, editor Chris Blackhurst of the Independent, right, editor Tony Gallagher of the Daily Telegraph]


1. Examine first some key happenings at the Knox/Sollecito trial

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.

See the reports here and here and here and here and here and here and here .

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]


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Perugia Prosecutors Arrest The No #2 Political Leader Of Umbria From Rocco Girlanda’s Home Town

Posted by Peter Quennell





Perugia’s formidable prosecutors are once again in the Italian news.

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.


















Posted on 02/22/12 at 03:11 PM by Peter QuennellClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
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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





HarperCollin’s parent company News Corp itself continues to be a major news items, especially in the UK.

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?!

Posted on 02/20/12 at 08:38 AM by Peter QuennellClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
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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

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

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

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.


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.


Posted on 11/09/11 at 07:59 AM by Peter QuennellClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
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Friday, October 21, 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.

Posted on 10/21/11 at 06:47 PM by Skeptical BystanderClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
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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.

And here we ago again. The daily surfacing of the malicious claim. This time TWICE in the Christian Post by their reporters George J. Wienbarg and Ravelle Mohammed.

The Christian Post’s corrections page is here. Both posts have Facebook commenting open below.

[Below: Believed to be the George J. Wienbarg who wrote one of the misleading reports]

Posted on 10/21/11 at 09:11 AM by Peter QuennellClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
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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.

Posted on 10/04/11 at 03:21 PM by Peter QuennellClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
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Sunday, October 02, 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.

Posted on 10/02/11 at 07:52 PM by TizianoClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
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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





Slate’s sneering self-promoter Katie Crouch seems to forget that there is a real victim here. Like Lis Wiehl she seems to find Meredith’s death one huge joke.

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?


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.

The articles here and here look with skepticism on the 9/11 conspiracy theories which on the tenth anniversary of the twin towers coming down have been pushed hard by the various factions.

Now a new book “The Believing Brain” explains the mental makeup that disposes people to so eagerly believe the worst of our fellow man or our governments: One review in the Wall Street Journal..

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.

Posted on 09/14/11 at 10:05 AM by Peter QuennellClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
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Monday, September 05, 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.

Posted on 09/05/11 at 11:00 PM by Peter QuennellClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Donald Trump Seems To Have Moved On After Fleetingly Fervent On Italy Framing Knox

Posted by Peter Quennell


Twenty months ago Donald Trump was sounding very very very anti-Italy.

His strident beef with Italy (his former wife Ivana Trump who he ditched for a showgirl lives there) seemed the real reason for his brief fling with the pro-Knox bandwagon, rather than any deep knowledge of the case.

Recently he made a contribution of a golf-related freebie to the Knox campaign.  Otherwise he seems to have retreated to the sideline.

Normally he is seen as aimiable enough, if something of a lightweight having fun. His very successful father bankrolled him into property development. His properties and casino businesses fell on hard times several times. He lost control of all his casinos in Atlantic City and a very large development on Manhattan’s Upper West Side - even though all still bear his name.

He briefly thought of running for president as a Republican in 2012, but it seems the financial disclosures and fiery competition would have been altogether too much. Hollywood notables, who overall tend to be liberal, revealed for the occasion how much they hate him. 

He still continues to snipe at President Obama from the sidelines and the latest is that he may run as a Ross Perot style independent for president in 2012.

To his credit, he has just done one thing that the country really needs.

He has joined billionaire Warren Buffet in saying that billionaires need to pay more taxes. Watch Harvard professor Robert Reich in the video below for the reasoning behind this.  Robert Reich and Donald Trump may not start a billionaire’s stampede, but Trump should win some popular respect.

He may win more votes this way than by bashing Italy for murky reasons that most simply dont understand.

Posted on 08/18/11 at 01:57 PM by Peter QuennellClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
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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.


Posted on 07/24/11 at 09:15 AM by Peter QuennellClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
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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


Background

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.

Conclusions

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.

Posted on 07/13/11 at 08:10 AM by Fly By NightClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
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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 Machine





Who is Nathaniel Rich?

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 makes all of this up, including “verbatim” quotes from some unnamed police officers.

Two female officers, who had been chatting informally with Knox, invited her to an interrogation chamber.

“Let’s go back over what you did that night,” they asked her. “Start with the last time that you saw Meredith.”

“Again?”

“Again.”

But they went slower this time.

“What did you do between 7 and 8 p.m.?” they asked. “What about between 8 and 9?”

“I don’t know the exact times,” said Knox. “But I know the general series of events. I checked my e-mail, I read a book, we watched a film, we ate dinner….”

More officers kept entering the room. An interpreter showed up. The tone sharpened.

“But Raffaele says that you left his house that night.”

“What? That’s not true. I was at his apartment all night.”

The interrogators became angry.

“Are you sure? Raffaele said you left his house.”

“I didn’t.”

“If that’s a lie, we can throw you in jail for 30 years.”

“I’m not lying.”

“Who are you trying to protect? Who were you with? Who was it? Who was it?”

This bit went on for hours.

There was now chaos in the room. The Italians were shouting at her, arguing with one another, calling out suggestions.

“Maybe she really can’t remember.”

“Maybe she’s a stupid liar.”

“You’re either an incredibly stupid liar,” said Knox’s translator, who was sitting right beside her, “or you’re someone who can’t remember what you know and what you did.” The translator, changing tactics, explained that she had once been in a gruesome car accident in which she broke her leg. The event was so traumatic that she suffered amnesia.

“Amanda,” said the translator, “this is what happened to you. You need to try to retrieve those memories. We’ll help you.”

Knox, ever-credulous, started to ask herself what she might have forgotten.

“C’mon,” said the interrogators. “You were going to meet Patrick that night.” “Remember. Remember. Remember.”

“We know it was him.”

Knox shook her head.

“Remember.”

Boom — someone slapped her on the back of the head.

So Nathaniel Rich includes the false 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).





Above: Rolling Stone aggravates defamation - this tweet was sent September 2013

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).



Conclusion

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.


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.

How The New York Times Caused Unneccesary And Unhelpful Anger In Italy

The Second Misleading New York Times Comment On The Case

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.

Posted on 06/28/11 at 07:00 AM by Peter QuennellClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
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Monday, June 27, 2011

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.


Posted on 06/27/11 at 05:20 PM by Peter QuennellClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
Archived in The wider contextsMedia newsMore hoaxers
Permalink for this postTell-a-FriendCase WikiPMF Org ForumPMF Net ForumComments here (3)

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