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Saturday, October 01, 2016

A Huge New Book On The Case, A Must-Read, Draws On Massive Documentation Only Now All Online

Posted by Peter Quennell





The lawyer James Raper is very cool. He has been connecting up the dots for years. He reads and reads and reads.

He rarely interacts with others, and has little interest in arguing with the apologists now years behind the curve and lost in a fictitious world. He has posted here on TJMK approximately 30 times on his own, and he prepared this huge and extraordinary Powerpoint with the equally brilliant Kermit which shows how the evidence dots connect.

His huge book Justice On Trial is now available on Amazon. It makes all the other non-Italian books instantly out of date and wildly short on all the facts. He delves very deeply into the law, the first book to ever do that. Without actually saying the process was twice bent (see review below which does say that), he takes apart the two court sentencing reports in 2011 and 2015 that were the results, and leaves two heaps of smoking rubble in their place. 

Justice On Trial: Review On Amazon:

Why is this the must-read book? Because the number of documents available in Italian and the number of translations available in good English have in fact doubled in the past two years. This was a well-handled and massively documented case. The DNA spreadsheet is quite astonishingly large. James Raper is the first writer to draw on all these documents, and he’s really good.

The court testimony by many of those in the questura on the night Knox claims she was hit (she WAS hit, by herself, many times) now all in English is really gripping. We see why her lawyers stated in court that she was never hit by anyone else, and what she was doing at the questura that night (making a list of names) and why Sollecito damned her in writing two days later and cold-shouldered her and refused to confirm her third alibi for 4 years all the way to the end of the Hellmann appeal. Sollecito’s lawyers said in court that she was on cocaine and we now know what Italians all knew, that she had had a drug dealer in tow since she arrived (she met him on the train) and directly caused his guilty verdict 18 months later.

In the UK and US no appeal would have been approved after that 2009 trial, during which the defenses became so overwhelmed, on some days they were no-shows in court. RS and AK would now be in the 8th year of their term. The top criminal judge, Judge Chiari, who had once devastated Bongiorno in court, was pushed aside (and then angrily resigned citing illegal manipulation) for Judge Hellmann, a business judge who had only handled one murder trial, and unsurprisingly a disaster was the result - and he was edged into retirement then. His “independent” DNA consultants were seemingly fed all they wrote from Hampikian in the US (he now admits he dealt with them) and the Carabinieri testimony at the second (Nencini) appeal in 2013-14 quite devastated them. They never proved even one DNA sample to be contaminated. They didnt know how to do a test the Carabinieri did with ease, they kept a key sample in a common fridge, Vecchiotti’s lab has been closed down for its appalling conditions, and investigations into both these guns for hire go on.

The final appeal should have gone back to the Cassation First Chambers (the one that handles murders) but again manipulations placed the case before unqualified judges - Judges Marasca and Bruno were political appointees, in the Fifth Chambers, which handles family and property cases, and neither had done a murder case in their life. That is behind the fiasco of a final report (three months late) which James describes and takes apart. Sollecitos lawyers were allowed to rant on to the Fifth Chambers panel about “corrupt” and “incompetent” cops (with zero proof) for three hours beyond the legal limit in March 2015, while the original Perugia prosecution and the Florence prosecution who really knew the case were not even there! It is MANDATORY that questions of evidence not be addressed by the Supreme Court, they have to be pushed back down to a lower court, but guess what? Judges Marasca and Bruno broke that law and garbled the tiny portion of evidence they did address in ways NO murder judge ever does.

And in their final report, Knox was still firmly placed at the scene at the time with blood on her hands, and Sollecito was probably there too. Why do maybe 90 percent of Italians believe the process was twice fixed? James doesnt say, but he describes all the dots for others to connect. I hope he publishes an Italian edition too, in Italy books like the self-serving and deceptive Preston & Spezi “Monster of Florence” and John Douglas’s book trying to prove a lone-wolf killer with mistakes on every page, merely meet with shrugs. There are some very good books in Italian on the case, and James’s fits in very well with them. A must-read.

Posted on 10/01/16 at 03:40 AM by Peter QuennellClick here to view all my past posts, via link at top left.
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Sunday, May 01, 2016

“Guilt” Crime Drama 13 June On US Cable TV Features An Abrasive Self-Absorbed Troublemaker

Posted by Peter Quennell

Reminiscent of? You got it. Here’s one synopsis.

“Guilt” is a soapy drama about a young American woman in London who becomes the prime suspect in the savage murder of her roommate.

As the investigation unfolds, viewers will question whether she’s a naïve, young girl whose poor decisions are being magnified under the ruthless glare of the British tabloids, or whether she’s a sociopath who brutally murdered her friend.

Even her sister, who comes to London to defend her, will question how well she knows her little sister as more and more ugly truths come out.

This mystery will twist through all layers of London society – from a posh but depraved sex club, all the way up to the Royal Family itself.

Knox did soar high for a short while. But her self-absorbed manner on TV was never helpful to her. And now she has been hung out to dry by an angry Guede, an angry Sollecito, and even a disbelieving Fifth Chambers of the Supreme Court (see the next post by Chimera).

Posted on 05/01/16 at 01:32 PM by Peter QuennellClick here to view all my past posts, via link at top left.
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Saturday, April 02, 2016

Excellent “Is Amanda Knox Guilty?” Report By Vogt & Russell Close To 100,000 YouTube Views

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

This is just under one hour long - and very good. Viewer numbers just passed the 99,500 mark. About 1,000 a week.

Posted on 04/02/16 at 12:09 PM by The TJMK Main PostersClick here to view all my past posts, via link at top left.
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Saturday, January 09, 2016

How A Major Media Controversy In The US Augurs Well For The Imminent Reframing Of The “Knox Case”

Posted by Peter Quennell


1. The Wisconsin Case Now In Dispute

1. The Netflix Report

In mid December a pay-per-view documentary about a murder case in Wisconsin was put online.

Millions of people in the US and elsewhere have paid up and watched the 10-hour Netflix report. Convinced that they are experts now on the whole case, hundreds of thousands of Americans have signed petitions to the President and the State Governor requesting that the convicted Steve Avery be released.

Some viewers have even taken to berating and threatening the investigators and the prosecution both online and in telephone messages and texts.

Their take seems to be of the investigators and the prosecution corruptly making many, many things up during the investigation and trial. Their supposed motive was to cover their tails in a previous case where Steve Avery was indeed wrongly convicted, for which they could now face court and loss of jobs.

Furthermore some reports claimed that a juror had said the jury felt intimidated and were never convinced of guilt.

2. Reaction Of US Media

A growing wave of reports and articles have been aired and published online in effect saying most of the hardest evidence was left out.

The lead prosecutor has been quoted as saying “90 percent of the evidence” against Avery and a relative convicted as an accomplice was not even mentioned in the report.

So a wave of fact-checking is going on.

Even though it is still early days here and here are Time Magazine. Here is the Los Angeles Times. Here is the New York Times. Here is On Milwaukee’s website. Here is the International Business Times.

Several TV documentaries contradicting the Netflix report are reportedly already in the works. See the reports here and here and also here.

And the juror has now denied that the jury was intimidated and did not do an honest job. So far, all the jurors seem to be standing by their verdict, in the face of a lot of heat.

Oh and on those petitions which Netflix stirred? President Obama’s spokesman has said it is not a Federal case so he will not intervene, and the Governor of Wisconsin has said he will not intervene either, as the state has good justice systems in place.

So they will ignore opinion that was deliberately muddled for commercial ends, and instead leave matters to the courts.

2. Parallels To Reporting Of The “Knox Case”

The parallels to the Perugia case are in fact immense.

The prosecution case in 2009 was extremely persuasive and the entire jury (panel of judges) voted for guilt. They sat through the very tough and convincing 1/4 of the trial that was held behind closed doors.

A majority of Italians still believe that Amanda Knox led a cruel pack attack on Meredith and (to Guede’s and Sollecito’s seeming considerable shock) landed the fatal stab in Meredith’s neck.  They watched Knox on the stand for two days, in fact doing herself great harm.

In contrast, almost the entire American media followed the Netflix route.

Main media have struggled to report the trial for language and local-staff reasons, and the Associated Press carried by 2000 media outlets actively misled. Main media presented almost no reporting of the very painstaking judicial checking by ten judges that preceded the case ever going to court.

Main media have still not translated not even one major document (the Wiki and two PMFs and TJMK have translated hundreds of documents now and are still not done) and have left hundreds of evidence points unaddressed.

Main media have also misreported the overturning of the Hellmann outcome and the Nencini appeal. They have especially misrepresented the supposed complete Marasca-Bruno reversal for the Fifth Chambers of the Supreme Court.

As lawyers for Dr Mignini and three of our main posters (James Raper, Machiavelli and Catnip) have shown, in fact the Fifth Chambers (a) should not even have had the case; (b) broke two laws, (c) misinterpreted a few elements of the evidence, (d) left literally hundreds of evidence points out, (e) went against strongly established Italian legal precedents, and (f) even ridiculed plain hard science.

And even so, they still placed Knox right at the scene of the attack at the time, and Sollecito probably so. Accessories before or after the crime. Felons in their view in fact.

So here’s a prediction on what Americans will see in the media soon on this case.

The widespread media reaction against Netflix will be reflected in a major correction in the main media against the serious under-reporting and misreporting of the Perugia case.

We have some idea of what is already in the works. Stay tuned.

 

Posted on 01/09/16 at 05:52 AM by Peter QuennellClick here to view all my past posts, via link at top left.
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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

“Spotlight” Movie About Fine Example Of Investigative Journalism Is Oscar Best-Picture Favorite

Posted by Peter Quennell





Hollywood has rewarded movies about investigations many times over the years.

Maybe not such a bad thing when media are under such internet and political pressure - and too often prone now to propagating dishonest PR and misleading their audiences, as we have seen.

“Spotlight” portrays an investigation by a Boston Globe newspaper team in 2001 and 2002 into myriad sexual abuses by priests in that very catholic city.

This was the first-ever such investigation into the sexual abuses. It started very small - less than 10 priests were initially suspected - and ran into roadblocks and was nearly shut down several times.

it eventually cascaded into the exposure of hundreds of priests in the US and many more worldwide. Numbers of victims are unknown but worldwide are numbered at minimum in the hundreds of thousands.

The pace of the film is phenomenal. There is jolt after jolt as the reporters - most of whom are themselves catholic or lapsed-catholic and take some heat - in repeated disbelief find the numbers of priests and victims growing and growing.

Pope Francis himself is reported as in favor of investigations continuing.  The various support groups representing the numerous “survivors” have welcomed the film.

Some American priests have raised some objections. They dont seem to fault the movie for honesty though.

Prophet’s Prey is a similarly gripping and unflinching movie, about children abused by fundamentalists. It is a documentary, and may be nominated for an Oscar in that category.

Posted on 12/16/15 at 10:09 AM by Peter QuennellClick here to view all my past posts, via link at top left.
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Sunday, October 04, 2015

The Third Book In Our Series On The Case “Under Suspicion” Has Been Released

Posted by Nick van der Leek




Nick and Lisa posted previously on TJMK on their first two books here and their experiences with some shrilly defensive elements here.

Our third book on the case Under Suspicion has been published and we are pleased that interest in the series remains high. We’d like to post an excerpt and two excerpts from a True Crime review.

Excerpt from Under Suspicion

When Knox implicated Patrick, investigators were immediately suspicious because of Amanda’s ‘selective recall’.  One might also refer to it as ‘selective amnesia’; just as she could remember specific things, she could also not remember specific things.  Juxtapose this very specific memory with very specific blanks, and what you have is a kind of chessboard memory, except nowhere near as symmetrical

The most glaring memory-on/memory-off ruse is the one she concocted about hearing Meredith scream; then she goes blank and wakes up in her boyfriend’s bed.
Think about it.  One minute she’s at the villa and Meredith is being killed [not by her, by someone else], the next she wakes up in her boyfriend of barely-a-week’s bed.  We’re not told anything more.  Did Patrick hug and kiss afterward, or go out for drinks, did they high-five each other, did Amanda wash dishes at the villa whilst in the kitchen, did Patrick take a shit, did Amanda walk home or did Raffaele come and fetch her in his car?

Amanda waking up late in Raffaele’s bed is also suspicious.  In Raffaele’s memoir he writes that Amanda typically got up early, at 05:00.  Getting up early as a habit would explain why Amanda was standing outside Marco Quintavalle’s shop before it opened on Friday November 2nd, otherwise it wouldn’t make sense.  But if Amanda typically woke up early, and if they were going to Gubbio, why did both of them sleep till 10:00?  After having a quiet night watching a movie and talking, and not doing much else [they can’t even remember making love] why didn’t Amanda get up early, as she usually did?

Now remember, Amanda was actually two-timing her American boyfriend David Johnsrud [DJ] with Raffaele, and flirting and sleeping with different guys, yet in her memoir and in Raffaele’s there’s this mischievous ruse of ‘the days melting into one another’ and each day being a repeat of the last, some or other combination of ‘reading Harry Potter, making dinner, making love etc.’. Which is why…..

And here are two excerpts from a positive review on the True Crimes website

Excerpt from True Crime Review

From Amanda Knox claiming that she could barely speak Italian at the time of the murder, a suspicious advert posted on a university door,  excerpts of the memoirs contradicting documented recordings and much more are included in this book.

  One example,  ” . . .on November 10th, Amanda finally gets to see her mom.  In her memoir, Amanda claims among the first words she says to her mom are that she’s ‘so sorry’ and she ‘didn’t mean for any of this to happen.’  Except, when you read the prison visit intercept, those words don’t exist. . .

  Prison Visit Intercept . . .

  Edda:  ‘Are you sure you’re ok?  Are they being okay to you?’

  Amanda:  ‘It was the police who were being mean; that’s why I said those things about Patrick ‘cause like… When I was with the police, the last time, I was with the police on Monday… …‘”

Van der Leek describes Knox and Sollecito’s modi operandi with the police investigation.  In one incident Knox is, “asked about a text message, denies receiving one and asks to see it.  Why does she ask to see it?  Because there’s a conditioning thing going on.  If they already know something for certain she’ll give an explanation, if they don’t, she won’t.”

UNDER SUSPICION also delves into the invisible evidence which has been all but ignored in the majority of discussions about the case – the fingerprints (or lack thereof) at the crime scene As van der Leek points out, lack of evidence is also evidence, and goes on to describe how and why.

UNDER SUSPICION unearths minutiae and scenarios, many of which are often overlooked in the overwhelming pile of evidence that compose this case.  “The devil’s in the details.”  A thorough combing of this case is required to pick out the nits of manipulative and deceitful behavior of “the wand-wielding rape-obsessed Valkyrie [Amanda] and her partner, the sword-wielding assassin [Raffaele].”  Van der Leek also makes a case for the pop-culture occult influence surrounding this attack.




Excerpt from True Crime Review

It was refreshing that van der Leek and Wilson included a closer look at Patrick Lumumba’s experience.  The former bar owner appears to be the lynch pin to the explosive end of the beautiful young woman named Meredith Kercher.  It seems that Lumumba was truly the only innocent person who had been accused of this murder.

The authors also hold a magnifying glass over the seemingly ‘silent partner’ of this criminal enterprise, Rudy Guede.  The second black man arrested for the murder who wrote his own prison diary.  Interestingly, he is the only one left of the three culprits who has not written a book. . . yet.




Posted on 10/04/15 at 08:39 AM by Nick van der LeekClick here to view all my past posts, via link at top left.
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Monday, August 10, 2015

Problems With Fred Davies #2: His Claims On Knives, Wounds And Stains Also Highly Mislead

Posted by James Raper



Several of the numerous scientific witnesses; some evidence was behind closed doors

Overview Of This Post

Remember that Amanda Knox, a felon for life, served three years for framing Patrick for murder.

In my previous post I dismissed the claim which the British barrister FG (Fred) Davies pervasively made in Parts 1 to 20 of his mammoth series in Criminal Law and Justice Weekly that it was actually Guede and his team who had somehow framed Knox and Sollecito for a crime he alone committed and left all of Italian law enforcement bamboozled.

I now have Parts 21 to 26 as well, all of the series, and I wish to examine one more large area of cherrypicked facts and misinterpretations, along with Davies’s final conclusion.

First, Fred Davies’s Final Scenario

As anticipated,  Davies concludes that Knox and Sollecito should only have been convicted of the charge of simulating a burglary. He presents his own synopsis of what happened on the night of the murder which has both Knox and Guede present at the cottage for the murder, but not Sollecito.

Davies says it is Guede who sexually assaults and stabs Meredith. Knox, unaware of what was going to happen is horrified and scared out of her wits, retreating to her bedroom and locking herself in.

Davies says Guede flees, ignoring or unable to do anything about the fact there is/was a witness to his horrific crime. When it’s safe to do so Knox emerges and meets up with Sollecito.

Davies says that Knox, fearing that if she went to the police she would only end up being accused of involvement in the murder, persuades Sollecito to be her alibi, and to stage the scene to point to a burglar, and Sollecito, being the Honour Bound sort of chap he is, agrees to go along with this. Once they both embark on this course of action there us no turning back.

I trust that you are all duly intrigued with Davies’s scenario and panting to learn how and why he arrives at it. Unfortunately this will have to wait until another day if it is to be from me.

He has, after all, taken 26 Chapters in half a year to get to this point and I am not yet ready to deal with them comprehensively. Others here may contribute posts and discuss implications with the Criminal Law editor.

Fred Davies On Knife Or Knives

Whilst I guess most comments are going to be about the above synopsis, I am going to deal with his thoughts regarding the knives, these being quite central to his synopsis.

My argument below is supported by numerous previous posters none of whom differed markedly from Massei or Nencini. 

Davies in contrast is sharply critical of Massei. He simply excludes the Double DNA knife (Exhibit 36) as the murder weapon.

He is also critical….nay, I would have to say that he is outraged…. at Massei holding that Sollecito was responsible for the lesser of the two wounds, that on the right side of Meredith’s neck. He is critical of Micheli for not finding, as a matter of fact, that Guede was the one responsible for the wounds, using his own knife which has yet to be recovered.

Without more ado I will proceed to Mr Davies’ evaluation:

“The finding against Sollecito that it was he who inflicted two of the three wounds to Meredith Kercher using a pocket knife which was in his possession at the material time is deeply flawed, offensive and wrong in law”

Well, I was unaware that Massei had found that Sollecito inflicted two of the three wounds. In fact I am not aware of three wounds (unless he includes what is effectively a nick) , but if there were then Massei only attempted to attribute two, the one to the right of the neck, 4 cms deep and with a width of 1.5 cms, being attributed to Sollecito’s “pocket knife“.

It did not cause any significant structural damage, unlike the wound to the left, 8 cms deep and 8 cms wide which had penetrated both Meredith’s larynx and the cartilage of the epiglottis, and had broken the hyoid bone. 

Is the rest “deeply flawed, offensive and wrong in law”?

“It could not have been part of the prosecution case that Sollecito used a pocket knife to subdue and stab Meredith Kercher. If it had why was Sollecito and/or Knox not charged with carrying the said pocket knife without justified reason? To recapitulate,, the charge alleged that the killing was achieved by means of………….and deep lesions to the left anterior-lateral and right lateral regions of the neck, caused by a bladed weapon (Exhibit 36).

The Massei Court’s finding strikes against basic principles of fairness which applies to all criminal proceedings. Put another way, a criminal court is not generally entitled to bring in a verdict which differs markedly from the basis on which the prosecution puts it’s case. This is because the defence would not be able to adequately prepare and meet such an unexpected contingency. In plain English the defence would be ambushed or taken by surprise. In this case the defence was ambushed and the defendants’ rights (Knox and Sollecito) were fundamentally infringed.”

Oh come on! Ambushed? Really?

OK, so the charge did indeed indicate that that both the right and left sided wounds were caused by “a bladed weapon to which Chapter B applies” (Exhibit 36) but the reality is that the defence always knew that Exhibit 36 (because of it’s dimensions and in particular it’s width 4cms from the tip) could not have been the cause of the wound to the left anterior lateral. That’s a matter of simple logic and in any event every expert and all the lawyers in the case agreed on that.

So the way the charge was erroneously framed in fact misled no-one.

Indeed had the defence thought so then they could have raised the matter. Mr Davies does not claim that Massei did not have the power to amend the indictment. If the court was unable to, or the defence chose not to raise it, either way thinking it was a clever appeal point, then it did not become one.

Indeed, Mr Davies will know anyway that in English law, by virtue of The Indictments Act 1915, courts can (and frequently do) order an amendment to an indictment at any stage (which includes during a trial) provided the amendment does not result in an injustice to the accused.  This is a practical necessity as it would be an affront to the concept of justice if defendants were to be acquitted on the basis of a mere technicality.

One might consider what amendment might have been made.

A possibility is that reference to the right-sided wound might have been excluded. It was the left-sided wound that was fatal, after all, and caused, as the prosecution would endeavour to prove, by a weapon which, as it happened, belonged to Sollecito.

The prosecution did, of course, maintain that it was Knox who wielded the weapon, but might, as an alternative, have also asserted that it was Sollecito. Indeed the framing of the charge leaves it an open question as to which of them did. They were charged jointly with having caused Meredith’s death.

The evidence that it may have been either (AK or RS) is a common feature of cases to which the English legal doctrine of joint criminal enterprise applies.

The doctrine applies particularly to a case such as this in that no matter who actually wields the weapon the other participant in the common enterprise is deemed to possess the same level of criminal liability even if he did not know that there was a knife or that it would be so used. Being reckless as to that possibility is sufficient.

It is surprising how often how little is required to establish joint enterprise. Frequently the mere fact that the participants know each other and were there, and that the situation was a combustible one of the group’s making, is enough. The doctrine has come in for a great deal of justified criticism but despite this remains firm law.

My preference would have been to amend the indictment to refer to the right sided wound being caused by a bladed weapon, the blade being of indeterminate length but with a width of approximately 1.5 cms. It is the width of the wound that is salient because it is indicative of the width of the blade on the knife being used which, whilst also being indicative of the likely length of the blade, but without being sure, could be either a pocket knife (4 cms or more) or a flick knife (which could also be a pocket knife). 1.5 cms is about the width of the tip of one’s index finger, by the way.

Massei, and others, always refer to this knife as a pocket knife. However henceforth I am going to write “pocket knife“ to refer to the options of a pocket knife with a blade of 4cms or more, or a flick knife.

As to Mr Davies other point as to why Sollecito was not specifically charged with carrying a “pocket knife” without justified reason, I do not know, but since the framing of charges is a matter for the prosecution, one might as well leave the matter there.

In any event the lack of a specific charge does not in any way preclude a court from inferring the nature of a weapon from the pathology of the wound nor from identifying the probable assailant (as distinct from having to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the culpability of a single perpetrator named in a specific charge of “carrying“).

Guede did not ever face a specific charge of carrying a weapon but that does not prevent Mr Davis from concluding that Guede had a knife and had stabbed Meredith. It seems that Mr Davies would have been quite happy for Guede to have been so charged and convicted on Professor Vinci’s (see later) dubious testimony.

In this last respect, however, Mr Davies could have more telling argument. Lets see.

“To infer that Sollecito had a pocket knife at Via della Pergola 7 on the fateful evening of November 1-2, based on the character evidence of four witnesses called for the defence, was to say the least highly unusual..”

I think the operative words here are “witnesses called for the defence”, amongst whom was Sollecito’s own father. Yes, highly unusual but then that is what happens when you do not vet your own character witnesses before cross-examination.

Sollecito’s proclivity for carrying a knife (usually a pocket knife) at all times (and indeed he had one on him at the time of his arrest in the Police Station) is highly relevant. These witnesses referred to a knife with a blade of about 4 cms, or perhaps 6 cms.

In addition Sollecito was something of a knife aficionado. The police found two specialist knives, a Spiderco and a 2004 model Brian Tighe. Neither of these can be connected to Meredith’s wounds but they are indicative of his affinity to weapons specifically designed to be used in a fight to maim or kill. Clearly a flick knife falls into the same category.

As to proclivity evidence against Guede one can refer to his brief possession of a kitchen knife acquired at and belonging to the Milan nursery (which he did not break into, he had been given a key).

There is, of course, Tramontano’s dubious claim (angrily dismissed by Micheli even though Guede was never given the chance to challenge this in court) that a black man broke into his property and, confronted by Tramontano, had pulled out a flick knife as he exited. Tramontano tried to claim the burglar was probably Guede based on a photo of him he had seen in a newspaper. If it really was Guede he was not carrying that knife with him at the Milan nursery 8 weeks later.

“Even if Sollecito was present at the scene of the crime (as distinct from being complicit), the court could not have been sure that any “pocket knife” in his possession, which incidentally was never recovered, had inflicted all or some of the injuries, the most cogent rationale being:

1. The prosecution could not prove the dimensions and the character of the knife were consistent with the injuries inflicted upon Meredith Kercher.

2. The Court paid scant regard to the totality of expert opinion as to the type of bladed weapon (or weapons) which had been used to stab the victim

3. The Court paid scant regard to the dimensions of a bloody outline of a knife found on Meredith’s pillow

4. Consequently the Court could not have been sure that any pocket knife and, a fortiori, exhibit 36 had been used to stab Meredith that fateful night.”

As to 1 above, we know that no suitable weapon was ever recovered but if the indictment had been amended in accordance with my preference then the prosecution would easily have proved that part of the indictment, relating as it does to the wound on the right side of the neck.

It is a reasonable inference on the balance of probabilities that the wound was caused by a “pocket knife” and if one accepts the presence of multiple attackers (which I understand is a judicial truth in the case even following the latest acquittal of Knox and Sollecito) then, again on the balance of probabilities, and taking into account all the other circumstantial evidence in the case, I submit that it is a reasonable inference that it was Sollecito’s “pocket knife“.

The bar of “beyond a reasonable doubt” applies to culpability re the specified charge and is not to be confused with the elements.

As to 2, this simply is not true. I shall look at the totality of the expert opinion in a moment but suffice it to say that Massei spent a considerable amount of time in his Motivation detailing with and discussing the defence experts’ opinions.

As to 3, (and it was not on the pillow but the bedsheet) it was Professor Vinci’s contention that the bloody outline (there was a dual outline, he said) was left by a knife with a blade 11.3 cms long or a knife with a blade 9.6 cms long with a congruent section of handle 1.7 cms long (9.6 + 1.7 = 11.3). Davies does not mention a blade width but in fact Professor Vinci actually says 1.3 to 1.4 cms wide.

Taking these measurements as read, Davies points out that they are incompatible with either a pocket knife (such as Sollecito had a proclivity to carry) and Exhibit 36. I have no argument with that observation. It follows, he then argues, that one has to infer the presence of a third knife in any hypothesis and if a pocket knife and Exhibit 36 are already accounted for by Knox and Sollecito then a reasonable inference is that the third knife would have to be Guede’s. Indeed (Davies does not say this, but I will) Professor Vinci’s blade is not incompatible a priori with either of the two wounds.

This is worth looking at seriously as so far it is the only worthwhile point Davies has made.

First of all I have to say that I have searched for but have not found any rebuttal evidence or comment from the prosecution amongst the documents on the Wiki.  I do not even see a question on the matter in the cross-examination of Professor Vinci.

Massei only briefly commented about the bloody outline on the bed sheet.  He opined that the blood stains were certainly “suggestive” but insufficient to establish any clear outlines from which reliable measurements could be established. Clearly then he did not accord any reliability to Professor Vinci’s measurements. But is Massei right? One does not have to be an expert to consider this.

First of all, here are images of the blood stains.






In the picture below the stained section of sheet is cut out for analysis the day after the discovery of the murder.

Did the prosecution overlook their own analysis of the stains? Did they deliberately do so after Exhibit 36 was found, 9 days later on the 12th November, to have Meredith’s DNA on it? Or did they always know that the stains established nothing?






The next question to be asked is whether we can see the outline of a knife, or rather a blade. I think the honest answer to that is, on balance, yes. We think we see the tip of a blade, do we not? Maybe two, maybe even three.

It is fairly clear that Professor Vinci takes the largest of the stains to be the hilt of the handle to the knife. Lining that up with what is perhaps the likely clearest possible perceived blade tip (being the middle out of a possible three I believe I see) then the distance to the perceived hilt is indeed something like the 9.6 cms which Professor Vinci has measured.

But there are problems. Here are two of Ergon’s photos from his posts here and here with Exhibit 36 superimposed on the stains in two different positions to reflect the supposed dual outlines.










The blob of blood in the bottom left of the pictures and it’s lesser moon at 1, or 2, o’clock are regarded as having come from the same position on the blade and so with that reference point the blade is positioned accordingly in each photo.

We can surely take it that Professor Vinci also sees the same duality. But if the bloody hilt is aligned to fit with “the moon” stain in order to get the 9.6 cms measurement, then what has happened to that large hilt stain when the knife is moved further to the left, and then dropped a bit, to align to the moon’s planet (the blob)?

It has either disappeared or become an edge. That doesn’t make sense if “the moon” is the lesser version of the blob. The blob has to come from the first positioning of the knife. Despite this, in the knife’s later position the volume of blood at the hilt has actually increased comparative to the knife’s first position. That doesn’t make sense either.

So maybe the largest stain pre-exists, even for perhaps a moment, the stains suggesting the blade outlines, but in that case we can throw Professor Vinci’s measurements out of the window.

Can we do without the blob and it’s moon? It’s all a lot less convincing without them. But in truth we cannot even be sure that they are related. Nor that the largest stain has anything to do with the hilt of a knife.

A further connected observation concerns Professor Vinci’s claim that the blade of the knife is 1.3/1.4 cms wide. Like the rest of his evidence I do not find this very convincing. I suspect that he has deduced this from the largest stain which has a length, he says, of 1.7 cms. It’s width could then be something like 1.3/1.4 cms.

If the width of the knife is represented by approximately 1.4 cms then, given the position of the bloody hilt relative to the tip of it’s blade, what are we to make of the two spots of blood in a horizontal line above? They look like the upper (or lower) edge of a knife but they can’t be without making the blade wider.

Why does it have to be the same knife anyway? The stains could be the result of two different knives collected and laid to rest in the same spot.

The blood stains are certainly bewitching - rather like seeing patterns in tea leaves at the bottom of one’s cup - but on the balance of probabilities I would not totally rely on anyone’s perception of them even, with all due respect, Ergon’s but his analysis is as good as anyone’s, and that for me is the point of it.

In short I think that Massei was probably right. These stains are suggestive but basically useless and the police/prosecution ignored them for that reason.

“Consistent with English law the Massei Court’s findings should be struck down as Wednesbury unreasonable. Where there is no evidence to support a finding of a court or the court has reached a conclusion which is irrational or perverse, in the light of the evidence adduced at trial, a conviction based on that part of the evidence cannot be sustained……….The Massei Court also appears to have violated Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the right to a fair trial),”

Yeah, right.  The case to which he refers, Associated Provincial Picture Houses v Wednesbury Corporation [1948] 1KB 223, is an odd and unnecessary one to pray in aid.  It was a civil case where the appellant sought judicial review in respect of a licencing decision. As a formulation of a first principle of natural justice it is, of course, unquestionable. However the claim that Massei reached a conclusion that was irrational or perverse is laughable.

It is at this point that one does begin to wonder whether Davies is indeed connected in some way with the daffy Nigel Scott (Sollecito‘s ex Lib Dem Haringey Councillor groupie) who similarly emerges with bizarre arguments.

Next, in his evaluation, we come to a numbers game as to who was for and against the incompatibility of Exhibit 36 with the fatal wound on the left side, but before I enter into that game I want to make a point about incompatibility.

A knife blade is only incompatible with a wound if the depth of the wound is longer than the length of the blade or if the width of the wound is shorter than the width of the blade at the relevant depth.

We can therefore establish that Exhibit 36 was not incompatible, a priori, with the depth of the wound.  The blade on Exhibit 36 was 17. 5 cms long and the depth of the wound was 8 cms.

Yes, I know that other arguments as to incompatibility were advanced based, in the main, on these measurements. These Massei logically deconstructed. In fairness to Mr Davies he did not advance them in his evaluation and so neither shall I.

I would also have to concede that Sollecito’s “pocket knife” is not incompatible a priori with the wound on the left side nor, even if it‘s length of blade was over 4 cms, with the wound on the right. Nor Professor Vinci’s knife either.

The same is true of the width of these knives.

It should however be recalled that the width of the right-sided wound was also 8 cms. That is over 5 times the width of the “pocket knife”. The width of the blade on Exhibit 36 - 8 cms from it’s tip - was twice the width of the blade on the “pocket knife”.

This fact, and the robustness of the larger weapon, particularly with regard to the observed butchering at the base of the right-sided cut, makes Exhibit 36 a far more likely candidate, in my submission, than a “pocket knife“, and that’s without taking into account Meredith’s DNA on the blade.

Returning to our numbers game, Mr Davies puts it slightly differently from Massei. He says -

“And if that were not enough, of the 8 experts who gave evidence on the point, two (Dr Liviero and Professor Bacci) opined that Exhibit 36 could have caused the fatal wound to Meredith’s left side. Professor Norelli could not rule out Exhibit 36. Professor Ronchi’s opinion is not clear due to the use of the “double negative” (non-incompatibility)  - it will be assumed that he supported the prosecution contention, but in any event al the remaining four experts, Professors Introna, Torre, Cingolani and Dr Patumi) opined that Exhibit 36 could be ruled out.”

In other words a draw but one of the prosecution experts is a bit “iffy”.

Massei tells us that Dr Liviero concluded “definite compatibility“, Dr Lalli and Professors Bacci and Norelli “compatibility” whilst “non- incompatibility” came from the 3 GIP experts nominated at a preliminary hearing. The latter were Professors Aprile, Cingolani and Ronchi.

“Non-incompatibility” is not hard to understand. It simply means not incompatible or rather, compatible.

Note that Mr Davies has Professor Cingolani lining up to exclude Exhibit 36. Massei disagrees and I agree with Massei. So, for what it is worth (and this is a bit childish I know) Mr Davies loses the game 7 - 3.

“And one final thought. If the defendants (Knox and Sollecito) were sufficiently compos mentis to dispose of the pocket knife …. Why did they not dispose of Exhibit 36?  By a process of deduction and logical synthesis the answer is plain for all to see: Exhibit 36 never left Corso Garibaldi and was not the murder weapon ”

Because it was on his landlord’s inventory of kitchen items? Indeed we don’t know for sure that the “pocket knife “was actually disposed of. All we know is that it was not identified and recovered by the police.

And In Conclusion

This is the second of my posts involving Mr Davies. I may not be disposed to do any more. I have to say that although he certainly provided some food for thought on this one, I have not been impressed with his analysis in the topics I have covered so far.

Others here have been tabulating other factual errors and forced arguments and as I mentioned at the start we may see them carry this a bit further.

Posted on 08/10/15 at 06:52 PM by James RaperClick here to view all my past posts, via link at top left.
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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Paul Ciolino Hit With A $40 Million Suit For Real Railroad Job From Hell

Posted by Peter Quennell




1. Paul Ciolino And Meredith’s Case

Investigator Paul Ciolino provides expertise for the CBS Network’s 48 Hours crime unit.

The staffing of that unit are all obsessively supportive of Amanda Knox and all unquestioningly channel the PR. Despite claims such as “16 months of investigation” they seem to have never settled down to do reality checks or due diligence of their own.

They include the talking head Peter Van Sant (from Seattle), producers Doug Longhini, Sara Ely Hulse, and Joe Halderman (fired for attempted blackmail) and the serial fabricator Doug Preston who with major CBS help has perpetrated various damaging hoaxes

In late 2008 Paul Ciolino helped to get the Perugia reporting by CBS off to a very unpromising start.

As Kermit showed Ciolino made a huge mistake in a gotcha attempt upon witness Nara Capezzali.

She had reported to the police that she heard footsteps on gravel by the house and directly below her window on the top deck of the parking facility and then clanging footsteps on the steel stairs a few yards to her right. She also reported seeing several figures on the run.

She would not talk with Ciolino, who got the locations very wrong and also ignored altogether what Madame Nara saw. His replication of the footsteps was by runners down on the bitumin street, which is about three times as far away as Madame Nara heard some steps, with a surface nothing like the gravel drive by the house. Then Ciolino reported that he couldnt hear anything. Hardly a surprise.

In 2009 Ciolino was the main speaker at the infamous Knox fundraiser at Salty’s in West Seattle. His presentation was shrill even by their standards. He was apparently the first ever to describe the case as a “railroad job from hell”.

That inspired this extended rebuttal by Kermit.

Included in Ciolino’s presentation at Salty’s was an angry demonizing rant about Dr Mignini’s sanity. This rant was widely reported, not least in Italy.

In Perugia Knox’s own legal team protested the PR thrust. The BBC interviewed Dr Mignini and in a report on their website concluded the precise opposite to Ciolino’s claim.

In April 2009 CBS 48 Hours with biased takes by Ciolino and Preston aired American Girl, Italian Nightmare, the most misleading major US TV report as of that point, and Peter Van Sant aired his own misleading take.

Later still in 2009 CBS 48 Hours Producer Joe Halderman was arrested and charged with blackmail. Halderman had to resign after pleading guilty and is long gone.

In 2011 CBS 48 Hours aired the so-called untold story of Knox. CBS 48 Hours also aired numerous other short segments (you can find them on YouTube) simply regurgitating the tales by Knox and her PR gang whole, absent any checking of facts.

CBS attempt no balance, nobody with a deep knowledge of the case ever appears. No Italians are ever interviewed. PR shills repetitively appear without being introduced as such. Almost all hard facts are simply left out; the lies by omission are huge.

CBS has done zero translation of major documents, or even reported on them in summary when released. Peter Van Sant and Doug Longhini have posted several dozen of the nastiest and least truthful analyses of the case on the CBS website. A really huge effort, simply channeling the PR.

Although quieter now, Paul Ciolino didnt quite dry up on the case. After the Nencini appeal in Florence he was quoted as saying:

Amanda is a political football, and not so much a murder suspect….They know she didn’t do it. Anyone with half a brain knows she and Raffaele weren’t involved in this thing. This is about national pride, about showing who’s boss in Italy. They are sending the message that, ‘You cannot bigfoot us. You can’t outspend us. We’re going to show you who runs this country and it’s not some little American twit from Seattle.

Italy really awoke to the Knox PR and the biased reporting of CBS etc only late in 2011 in conjunction with the highly evident hijacking of the Hellmann appeal and moreso in 2012 with the defamatory Sollecito book.

2. The $40 Million Lawsuit Against Ciolino And Protess

The news video above and this Chicago Sun-Times report explain the main thrust of the $40 million lawsuit which Ciolino along with Northwestern University’s journalism school and a former professor now faces.

Prosecutors in 2014 in releasing an innocent man after 15 years in prison blamed that group for false evidence and a false confession and for letting the real murderer walk free. Here thanks to our main poster Jools is the lawsuit document itself, an amazing read if you need more proof of how sleazy Amanda Knox’s help can be.

Here are the lawsuit’s opening paragraphs.

1. In 1999, Plaintiff Alstory Simon was wrongfully incarcerated for a double-murder he did not commit. Arrested at the age of 48, Simon spent more than 15 years in prison before he was ultimately exonerated on October 30, 2014.

2. The horrific injustice that befell Simon occurred when Defendants, Northwestern University Professor David Protess, Northwestern University private investigator Paul Ciolino, and attorney Jack Rimland, conspired to frame Simon for the murders in order to secure the release of the real killer, Anthony Porter.

3. As part of a Northwestern University Investigative Journalism class he taught in 1998, Protess instructed his students to investigate Porter’s case and develop evidence of Porter’s innocence, rather than to search for the truth. During that investigation, Northwestern, through its employees and/or agents Protess and Ciolino, intentionally manufactured false witness statements against Simon and then used the fabricated evidence, along with terrifying threats and other illegal and deceitful tactics, to coerce a knowingly false confession from Simon.

CBS is mentioned half a dozen times. It helped in the framing with nationally broadcast segments. In paragraph 85 we are told CBS got an exclusive. What a real surprise THAT is…  The lawsuit document paints Ciolino’s behavior as dishonest and ruthless and possibly criminal as well.

Protess, Ciolino and Northwestern Medill students repeatedly attempted to get the eyewitness to change his testimony, with Protess offering him $250,000 and 20% in “upfront” money for his rights in a book and movie deal;

Protess also told the eyewitness that he could have sex with either of two Northwestern Medill students if he would change his testimony.

Quoted in the lawsuit is this about Ciolino. It is actually written by Protess.

On March 15, Charles McCraney’s appearance was anxiously awaited at a Kentucky Fried Chicken in Kankakee, Illinois. Paul Ciolino’s hair was slicked back. The private investigator wore a sharkskin suit and white-on-white shirt with gold cuff links, his tie secured by an ornate pin. Sitting opposite him were David Protess and Rene Brown, dressed down for the occasion…  Protess introduced himself [to McCraney] and then Brown. ‘And this is Jerry Bruckheimer, the Hollywood producer I was telling you about,’ said Protess as Ciolino extended his hand….

In paragraph 94 Ciolino’s alleged threatening of Simon into a confession is described as follows. .

Ciolino and a fellow private investigator “bull rushed” (in the words of Ciolino) Simon in his home with their guns drawn; 

Ciolino told Simon that he was a police officer;

Ciolino showed Simon a videotape of a man, who is now known to be an actor, falsely claiming that he saw Simon commit the murders;

Ciolino threatened Simon that they could do things the “easy way or the hard way” and mentioned that he would hate to see Simon have an accident;

Ciolino showed Simon what Ciolino described as a “devastating” five minute CBS-TV broadcast of Protess and Inez claiming Simon committed the murders;

Ciolino falsely told Simon that he was facing the death penalty and that the Chicago police were on their way to Simon’s house to arrest him;

Ciolino told Simon he could avoid the death penalty by providing a statement that he shot the victims in self defense but that Simon had to act quickly because Ciolino could no longer help him once the police arrived;

Ciolino promised Simon that he would be provided a free lawyer if he agreed to give a statement;

Ciolino promised Simon that Protess would ensure he received a short prison sentence if he agreed to give a statement;

Ciolino promised Simon would receive large sums of money from book and movie deals about the case if he agreed to give a statement.

Believing he had no other viable option, and acting under extreme duress and the influence of narcotics, Simon was knowingly and intentionally coerced into providing a false statement implicating himself in the murders.

It is this supposedly forced confession that above all cost Simon 15 years.

There is so much more. This may be a very tough lawsuit for Ciolino to beat as well as a career-killer. Northwestern University is no friend of Ciolino and may choose to go hard against him.

They do have a favorable track record.  The students of the journalism school had for years been questionably used by Protess’s arm of Barry Sheck’s Innocence Project to gather defense evidence slanted to getting supposed innocent prisoners released.

Protess was fired for this by the university several years ago as hangers-on tried to defend him.

The Innocence Project again… This is all too reminiscent of Greg Hampikian in Boise, Idaho, who corrupted Hellmann’s DNA consultants to try to frame people, and misrepresented hard evidence to try to allow guilty people to walk free.

And all broadcast by your local CBS station. 


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Knox-Camp Denial Of Drug-Ring Link Results In Shot Across Knox’s Bows; Many Now Digging

Posted by Peter Quennell




1. The New Response To The Knox Camp By Giallo

A denial of any links between Knox and the dangerous drug ring on what may be one of Chris Mellas’s numerous websites has resulted in a second, tougher, report from Giallo.

Also (see part 2 below) it has resulted in the posting by Giallo of some hard police evidence (images above) of Knox’s very unsavory associations. This translation of a news-agency summary of the new Giallo story is by Miriam.

Mez Case: Amanda Knox hung out with a pusher and had sex with him

Amanda hung out with a pusher and was intimate with him, so reveals an article of the magazine GIALLO, which publishes documentation of the relationship between the two. This information is contained in an informational note of Perugia’s police, written on the 19th January 2008, two months after the Meredith Kercher murder.

The name of the guy is Federico, a young man from Rome, who ended up in jail for dealing drugs in 2011. As reported by the magazine, the guy “was arrested with two pushers, Luciano and Lorenzo, during an investigation starting from the wire tapping of Amanda Knox’s cell phone”.

The young Roman , according to the informational note, was the pusher for Amanda, and her lover. In fact Federico, according to the document, “ would have occasionally supplied drugs to Amanda Knox and they probably had sexual intercourse.”

It seems that Amanda cited Federico in one of her notebooks that were confiscated after the homicide. He was on the list of Italian guys which she had sex with. On her Myspace profile she had written about him, even including a nude picture of him.

“I met Federico on the train with my sister, while I was going from Milan to Florence. We smoked (pot?), my first smoke in Italy” writes Amanda. “ After we put to bed my little sister, we went into his hotel room. I told my friends I could not imagine myself in bed with somebody I just met, but for Cristiano (??) I changed my mind” writes Amanda.

As GIALLO reports, in the informational note there are many more details on the people she hung out with; “even cited is one of Fedrico’s friends, Luciano A., Napolitan, a person with a criminal record for drug and weapons trafficking and also for attempted murder of his brother with a knife.

Luciano ended up in jail on April 4th 2008 a few months after the informative note.  He was found in Perugia at Fontivegge train station with 20 grams of cocaine.


2. Translation Of The January 2008 Police Report

See the image of a police report at the top here. Giallo posted this Perugia Flying Squad report of 19 January 2008 which notes an association between Amanda Knox and a drug ring uncovered by way of her mobile phone. Translation is by Jools.

QUESTURA DI PERUGIA - SQUADRA MOBILE 3RD SECTION

Perugia 19.01.2008

SUBJECT: Annotation [Brief summary]

[Page1]

We the undersigned Officers and Agents of the Judicial Police of P.G. Chief Superintendent Stefano xxxx and Chief Assistants Lorena xxxx, Andrea xxxx, hereby report as follows:

In the course of the investigation in relation to criminal proceedings 9066/07 [crime case number of Meredith Kercher murder] it was verified that an Italian person with the name of “Federico” would from time to time supply drugs to the [person] known as Amanda KNOX, and also allegedly had relations with her of a sexual nature.

The technical task was then activated of tapping the calls of telephone number xxxxx being used by the same person [Knox].

During this period of phone tapping it was possible to ascertain by the telephone file records of the “Wind” company that [the other phone] was in the name of xxxxxx (still in process of identification) but was being used by Federico xxxx, born in Rome on 18/04/1975, resident in xxxxxx (PG), in fact domiciled in Perugia, address: Via xxxxxxx, Ground Floor. The same [F.] also has frequent contacts with transsexuals, to whom he sells drugs.

By means of the technical activities it was established that xxxx is contacted by phone with the presumed clients “ordering” from him the quantity of drugs they want to buy, and in turn according to the demands he contacts various Maghrebie [north African] individuals ordering the desired amount.

[Page 2]

Federico moves around by car using a model Citroen C1 Tg xxxx. From the investigations carried out the car appears to be in his father’s name identified as Andrea xxxx.

It was also ascertained that xxxxxx associates with habitual criminal characters with multiple criminal records for serious crimes in the matter of drugs and personal grievous harm such as Luciano xxxx, born in xxxx xxxxxxxxxx on 17/11/80, with whom he maintains frequent contacts aimed at drug dealing using the phone line xxxxxxx which users name is assigned to his brother Giuseppe xxxx.

The aforementioned Luciano on 28/07/06 was arrested by the Carabinieri in Foligno on account of being responsible of the ATTEMPTED MURDER of his brother Antonio to whom he inflicted 16 stab wounds with a kitchen knife.

We also note that through verifications on the SDI [the State Police automatic palmprint and fingerprint identification system] Federico xxxx has been several times stopped and checked along with Luciano xxxx and other people from southern [Italy] all convicted habitual criminals in matters of drugs, weapons and more.

Finally we report that Federico occasionally seeks help for the distribution of the narcotic substance from a transsexual, (in course of identification) who used the telephone xxxxxxx.

The above as per duty of office.

Signed…


3. January 2009 Reports Of The Drug Ring Trial

The Giornale Dell’Umbria carried the longest report of the trial, but it is no longer online. In January 2009 Catnip posted these translations of shorter versions.

Terni Magazine

The cocaine traffickers trial(s)

(ASCA) - Perugia, 14 Jan – The murder of Meredith Kercher and the context from which it flowed forth, one tied to the “youthful world of standardised behaviours, values and deviances”, continues to generate discussion. Evidencing this, this morning, is the local daily Il giornale dell’Umbria (always attentive to the investigative and procedural phases of cases) which, in telling the news of the sentence of 2 years and 8 months’ imprisonment of a cocaine drug dealer who would have known and visited Amanda Knox, asks itself whether this circumstance would have had considerations in the inquest into the murder and, above all whether, now, it could have implications in the appeal case in regard to the American and to Raffaele Sollecito.

The police arrived at the pusher through the mobile phone numbers found in the list stored on Amanda’s phone. The calls between the two handsets would have taken place [intercorse] in the days prior to and following the murder of Mez, giving rise, therefore, to a deeper understanding that led to the discovery of a drug ring for university students and professionals. A trafficking for which a case file was opened, involving three young men as the main leads (one being hypothesized as the American’s supplier and lover).

In particular, there is a police note [informativa] appended to the file in which it is emphasised “during the course of investigative activity relating to criminal proceedings 9066/07 (that for the homicide of Kercher – editor) it was ascertained that an Italian person … [ellipsis in original] had occasionally supplied Amanda Knox with stupefying substance [i.e., narcotics ], as well as presumably having had relations of a sexual nature with her”.

The police action, effected also by means of phone intercepts, ascertained that the three supplied the acropolis [= the hill top city centre] of the capital as well as part of the periphery with cocaine, in response to client orders and also to satisfy the request of the North Africans [maghrebini].

The defendants (represented by the lawyers Maria Laura Antonini, Aurelio Pugliese and Angelo Frioni), have opted for different strategies: one a request for judgement in continuation [in continuazione] with other penal positions suspended; one request of plea bargain [patteggiamento], rejected by the judge, and one fast-track, concluded, as mentioned, with the 2 year and 8 month sentence.

Umbria24 Report

Amanda Knox’s “lover” on trial for dealing cocaine: A 35-year-old sentenced who was supplying another two drug dealers.

A young Italian man is on trial who would have given drugs to Amanda Knox and who would have had a sexual relationship with her. So writes the Giornale dell’Umbria today, which in its article cites a passage from a police note that would have been appended to the case file against the young man and two other persons who, according to the prosecution, would have been at the centre of a cocaine drug ring in Perugia. The three were in fact found through intercepts effected during the course of investigations into the murder of Meredith Kercher.

One of the three, a 35-year-old who would have supplied drugs to the other two, defended by lawyer Aurelio Pugliese, was sentenced via fast-track trial to 2 years and 8 months. One of the other two (defended by lawyers Maria Laura Antonini and Angelo Frioni and who are following different paths in proceedings) would have been identified as “Knox’s lover”. The daily cites a police note in support:

«During the course of investigative activity in relation to criminal proceedings 9066/07 (the Kercher murder – editor) – one can read in the passage reported by the Giornale dell’Umbria – it was ascertained that an Italian person…[ellipsis in original] would have occasionally supplied stupefying substances to Amanda Knox, as well as having had, presumably, relations with her of a sexual kind«.


4. Likely Billiard-Ball Reverberations

Knox was never charged with drug use or drug dealing.  As Tuesday’s post noted, it was for the defenses to make something of it at Meredith’s murder trial if they wanted to.

Maybe seek a reduced charge arguing diminished responsibility. But they didn’t.

It is clear that neither the police or prosecution put a foot wrong, and by the end of 2009 they had put away both Knox and the drug dealers. And it is clear that it is not they who are now pushing this story. 

However Knox will take a lot of hits if she can not come up with better answers - preferably some answers involving the full truth.

  • This grim new story, still unfolding, might next result in the publishing of the police intercepts of Knox’s phone-calls and the appearance of informed people on national TV.

  • The reporting does activate State Department rules about not intervening in foreign trials for crimes with drug components, though via Andrea Vogt’s excellent digging we know that interest was at zero anyway.

  • The much-touted appeal to the European Court of Human Rights is now a non-starter, though what we know of it so mangled the facts and the law that it was probably already in a Strasbourg waste-paper basket.

  • And once again it helps to undermine the Knox-as-timid-nice-naive-girl image which many in Seattle and all in Perugia who encountered her have always known to be more or less opposite of the real Knox.


5. The Picture of Knox Now Coming To Dominate

As our posters Stilicho, Michael and Nell have all noted, Knox’s 2013 book carries plenty of effusive claims about her own extreme naivety, and how all around her were harder and brasher, and pushing drugs, while she participated only occasionally and very reluctantly.

In Italy the timid-nice-girl persona was severely dinged at trial when the viewing population witnessed a loud, hectoring, pushy callous Knox on the witness stand trying to make out she was weak and silly. See our reports of Knox on the stand at the time here and here. 

Now, finally, the increasingly dominant picture in the US is one of a highly aggressive risk-taking drug user who may have repeatedly connected with unsavory drug sources long before she ever encountered Sollecito.

Already a heavy drug user, who was quite treacherous enough to publish drug-use accusations about her Perugia room-mates and friends, and put them between herself and the fire.

Maybe the drug reporting will drive home that this was never a good idea



Posted on 07/31/14 at 09:32 AM by Peter QuennellClick here to view all my past posts, via link at top left.
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Sunday, July 06, 2014

Spitting In the Wind: Sollecito News Conference Backfires On Him AND Knox - What The Media Missed

Posted by SomeAlibi



Raffaele looks for divine inspiration? Precious little showing at press conference on Tuesday

What on earth were they thinking?

At Tuesday morning’s press conference Raffaele Sollecito’s team did at least two completely inexplicable things.

Firstly, they scored a spectacular own-goal on the facts surrounding the murder of Meredith Kercher, which has been missed by the press.

Secondly, they did it all for no legal benefit.

In the run up to the press conference it was widely trailed that Sollecito would throw Amanda under the bus by removing her alibi - that she spent the whole of the night of the 1st of November with him at his apartment. After the press conference, it was widely reported he’d done that very thing.

Wrong. Very wrong. In fact, Team Sollecito did the opposite and put a position forward entirely consistent with how the prosecution says Knox, Sollecito and Guede all come together.

Speaking in tongues

There are only a few grains of sand left in the hourglass before Cassation and confirmation of the sentence, which will see Sollecito return to jail until he is well into his forties. You would have thought that it would be “absurd” for him to do anything other than speak clearly and unequivocally.

But that is precisely what didn’t happen…

Sollecito and lead counsel Giulia Bongiorno performed a bizarre tip-toe dance, avoiding saying anything clear or direct. Instead, they made points by reference and allusion, with an unhealthy assortment of metaphorical nods, winks, heavy coughs and adjustments of the lapels at key points.

Did Raffaele say that Amanda left his apartment in the early evening? No. As Bongiorno tortuously phrased it: “Raffaele takes note of the fact the court of appeal found there was something of a lie over Amanda’s whereabouts… of the fact the court [says] she was not with him in the early evening”.

Takes note? What on earth was that all about? Well, the sentence mangling was because at the final Cassation hearing next year, no fresh facts can be heard. The only arguments that can be heard are on failure of due process or failure of logic and reasoning as pmf.org Italian legal expert Popper explains extremely clearly here:

I think we should clarify a number of points after discussions of past few days:

1) Corte di Cassazione does not hear evidence and can only discuss the possible invalidation of a sentence or part of it ref the points appealed, not other points. Corte di Cassazione does not hear defendants or private parties. In public hearings only a specific category of lawyers (Cassazionisti) can speak before them

2) Corte di Cassazione therefore cannot take into account evidence now given spontaneously by the defendant RS directed against AK (eg open door of Filomena) as in Court he has never accepted cross-interrogation of AK’s lawyers, except if on some points RS’ lawyers appealed in writing for manifest illogicality of reasoning but what he says now cannot be used. Keep in mind Cassazione cannot discuss the merit of the judgement of Nencini and Massei, only invalidate it if this judgement and reasoning were based on clearly illogical arguments or neglected key evidence

3) Only if Cassazione invalidated Nencini and remanded to a further appeal a possible renovation of “istruttoria” (evidence discussion) may take place. Otherwise all RS has to say now, even if he confesses she did it and he only helped clean [unlikely IMHO], cannot be taken into account by Corte di Cassazione and would have to be the possible argument for a “revisione del giudicato” (a case in which, after a final judgement, a convicted person claims there is a clear error and brings solid evidence to prove it, it is quite rare only in case of obvious errors. Procedure can be easily denied and IMHO will be denied if he said he just helped clean as Courts have already considered that scenario and rejected it)

4) any discussion on cocaine was not taken into account to convict (even if true, no evidence they sniffed that night) and will not be taken into account by Corte di Cassazione, in theory will not be taken into account for extradition hearing in US Court as this only verifies there is a conviction and treaty respected. PR is another matter, but I think it is not correct to say that would be added to extradition request and may change legal course. Same goes for garage video.

5) The press conference of RS was useless, the panel of Corte di Cassazione judges has not even been appointed and, while not illegal, it is completely unusual for a defendant to hold a PC talking about an appeal (RS is not a public figure or administrator). What counts is the appeal document that we have read. The “great” point that AK does not talk about RS in memoriale is too stupid for me to discuss it here. We must conclude this was only publicity for Bongiorno, she knows she is likely to lose and wishes to make it seem it is a close call. She has minimal chances, approximating 0%.

6) RS has very low chances to succeed, and LG for AK even less, as Corte di Cassazione explained well what they wanted and Nencini gave it to them. Court presided by AN explained who the people concurring with RG in the murder are and gave clear logical explanation for such conclusion. Also, Nencini confirmed first instance, a trial that was perfectly valid for Cassazione after first appeal was invalidated.

There have been cases of a double iteration at Cassazione eg in very complex terrorism trials, evidence was scarce mostly based on witnesses who wanted to sidetrack other investigations. Here, as Alan Dershowitz said [he does not know much about case but this and a few other points he got absolutely right] all pieces of evidence point exactly in the same direction creating a good case [AD does not know it is overwhelming; maybe he did not read all docs].

One other thing AD said, most FOA and JREF and IIP tend to forget: Court is the judge, not them, Court has the responsibility to evaluate all evidence and issue a judgement that, as long as explained logically and legally in writing [something a US jury would not be required to do] using all available elements, will stand and be final after Cassazione.


So, Team Sollecito needed to phrase all of their “points” as things already said by the Appeal Court, which are now facts in law unless overturned due to failure of logic etc.

From there they must then try and make insinuations about these ‘facts’, all the while dressing it up as if it were procedurally in accordance with the pre-Cassation phase. Even though … and here one should be allowed a Pepto Bismol given all the twisting and turning… as Popper explains, it will have no effect on the outcome whatsoever.

In the real world, it was quite clear that what Sollecito was actually saying was, “Yes, she did go out in the early part of the evening, even though I’m not personally saying it, those are the Court’s words.”

He left a massive hanging dot dot dot in place of: ‘Hey everyone - Amanda went off and performed the murder with Guede, not me! No, I haven’t stated the time of her return, because it’s not me talking, it’s the court, but she was out, so figure it out for yourselves…’




Not with him in the early evening, which is not the night, we are told, that begins around 11:00 pm

The light at the end of the tunnel has steam billowing underneath it

Here, Team Sollecito run into a horrendous brick-wall of facts which lays Raffaele and Knox out cold. It’s not hard to work it through, but the world’s weary press are too fatigued by this case to even do some simple “if-then” calculations and draw the appropriate conclusion.

So, let’s do it for them here…

  • Team Sollecito are saying Knox went out before she sent her SMS reply to boss Patrick Lumumba at 8.35pm. This is in accordance with the case for the prosecution from day dot. They now agree, as the prosecution have always said, that Knox is out of Sollecito’s flat sometime before 8.35pm. (In fact, we know it’s by at least 8.17pm because this is when she received Lumumba’s text to say that she didn’t need to go into work).

  • Team Sollecito then pause and wink to let you do the math(s). If the murder occurred circa 9.30pm by their estimate (which it didn’t, but let’s go with this for a second) and you don’t know when she returned to Sollecito’s for the night, then he couldn’t have done it, because he was at home, but she could.

Here, the Press stop and report Amanda is under the bus. Thank heavens for that, not a stain on Raffaele’s Warren Beatty white suit and can we all go home now?

Wrong. In fact, it’s a horrendous own-goal, which ricochets in hard off the testimony of both independent witness Jovana Popovic and Raffaele’s own father Francesco.

  • At 8.40pm, Popovic arrives at the front door of Raffaele’s apartment and testifies that Amanda Knox opens the front door. It has been suggested that Popovic’s self-estimated timing of 8.40pm is wrong, but this rings very hollow indeed. Popovic had done the walk from her late class ending at 8.20pm many times, and knew it took 20 minutes because she lived on the same road – Corso Garibaldi – as Raffaele himself.  Both Massei and Nencini agreed with this too. Ouch.

  • So Knox, who was out previously, is already back, at least 50 minutes before even the putative time of murder put by the defence and a couple of hours plus before the real time.

  • In fact, Raffaele’s father Francesco testified to the Massei court that he was certain that Amanda was with his son when he spoke to him at 8.52pm that night. And this was not contested by the defence. Double ouch.

So, even if Knox went out in the early evening, she is objectively shown to have been back at the apartment well before 9pm. And, if that is the case, both Knox and Sollecito are 100% back in the frame. And this is even before they are also seen by a third person who corroborates that they were together that night – Antonio Curatolo. Triple ouch.

Confirming how three became company

Worse yet, Knox has argued for 7 years that she never left the apartment. If Sollecito now “says” she did, but we know objectively that she is back at least by 8.40pm, it supports the prosecution case.

This was that Knox left for work and walked to near the cottage, in the area of the basketball court at Piazza Grimana, around where she received the text from Patrick saying not to come to work.

This is the exact time that Rudy Guede was having a kebab, only a couple of hundred yards away. This provides the opportunity for Knox and Guede to have seen each other. Knox, suddenly at a loose end, makes a plan, which involves asking for Guede’s help.

What might that help be? Well, the resurfacing story of Knox’s link with a cocaine dealer chimes nicely with the idea that Knox asked Rudy either to supply her or help her get some sort of drugs and that they arranged to meet back up once he had secured them.

Knox then returns to Raffaele’s to fetch him, is seen by Popovic and her presence acknowledged at 8.52pm by Papa Sollecito and son, before they both head out to connect with Guede back at Piazza Grimana. (Remember, this is where Knox “saw” Patrick Lumumba, when she tried to frame him).

Guede, as was his wont, managed to get himself invited back to the cottage, perhaps for a shared line. This is consistent with Knox’s prison piece “The Story of Marie Pace”, where there are at least two++ men present in a kitchen in a “party” type atmosphere taking drugs which ends up with a hospitalised victim.

It’s only one theory and there are others. However, what Team Sollecito managed to do this week was to confirm that Knox left the flat. Objective facts and witness testimony tell us the time by which she had returned.

And, in that round trip lies the entire timing, location and mechanism for how Guede became involved, which otherwise makes little sense. Now all confirmed by Team Sollecito…




One of Raffaele Sollecito’s telling grimaces when Amanda Knox’s name is mentioned

What silence gets you

So what was the point? Face-saving for Raffaele? Hoping to key up populist support? Fat chance in Italy, where the case has been properly reported.

An opportunity to allude to a “truth” (the best one he can think of for now – other truths are available) and say that he and his family believe Knox is innocent? Pull the other one Raffaele!

It is quite clear that several members of the Sollecito clan think that Knox absolutely is guilty and their Raffaele is still too “honourable” to tell the truth. He merely aided the clean-up perhaps. Well in that case, why hasn’t he said exactly when she came back? Was it 11pm? 1am? Was it at 5am when the music starts playing. Why won’t he or you say?

Or… was it face-saving for Bongiorno, as she faces defeat and seeks to protect her valued public persona?  Well, as much as I’ve tried, I have no idea what they thought they were doing.

And to be honest with you, I honestly don’t think they were entirely sure, nor did they think through the consequences of the brick wall objectivity of Popovic + Papa Sollecito.

In the meantime, a family sits in Surrey listening and watching the weasel words and once again is insulted by this “honourable” all-in-white character who knows what “Amanda Marie Knox” did that night, but simply will not say.

Which of course he could choose to do at any moment, court proceedings or not, the way us normal human beings do it: not making allusion, not tipping a wink, but speaking the truth.

But he hasn’t and I suspect he won’t, even though it actually would now be the only thing that could mitigate the length of his inevitable prison term.

And for his acts and that silence he still won’t break - and at least here it is possible to finally speak with certainty - I believe he deserves every one of those 25 years.


Friday, January 31, 2014

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

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

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







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


























 

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

Posted by Peter Quennell





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

..





Posted on 01/31/14 at 10:11 AM by Peter QuennellClick here to view all my past posts, via link at top left.
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Wednesday, October 02, 2013

How Did The Knox-Mellases Engineer Their PR And Legal Shortfall? David Marriott Analysed

Posted by Media Watcher



David Marriott in Kermit’s Powerpoint Real Railroad to Hell with paid sleuth Paul Ciolino


‘In 2011, David Marriott was a proud and happy man. 

His client, Amanda Knox, was home, and he was basking in the media attention for having successfully engineered, many people thought, a full and outright acquittal.  So he started to give interviews,  bragging on about his prowess in creating a narrative about someone he’d never met, and imagining himself as a character on the silver screen.

But as with so many stories, the declaration of victory was premature, and in this case, already bittersweet. 

The bittersweet came with the Appellate Decision that overturned the conviction for murder while declaring Marriott’s client a liar, guilty of Calunnia for falsely fingering an innocent man.  The case was clearly more complicated than many casual observers, seduced by PR spin, realized.

Observing Marriott’s chest beating from two years ago is now a little like watching someone take a victory lap in a World Series game after just the fourth inning.

The Premature Nature of his victory lap would start to become apparent only months later with the Prosecution’s strongly argued appeal.  It would become much more clear to a broader set of people with the Supreme Court decision that embraced the arguments of the Prosecutor, while setting aside the Appellate Court verdict except for the conviction for Calunnia, which was affirmed.

Meanwhile, his client had moved forward with a book deal.  In delivering the book, she would make many claims that could easily be disproven, and would further strengthen the prosecution’s hand.

In years to come, it’s likely someone will study the Marriott intervention in this case with the kind of fascination people often have for “experts” who got it utterly, completely wrong. 

All along, the “Amanda as victim” narrative was in many ways, the worst story for Amanda’s advocates to embrace.  The Italian Justice system doesn’t view her as a victim.  They view her as someone who was originally seen as a witness, and who became a defendant only after she implicated herself and the evidence started to accumulate. 

In telling the story of Amanda’s supposed innocence, the PR spinsters and her own stateside attorney, Ted Simon, completely overreached.  How many people saw Simon say time after time in media interviews, “There is NO evidence.”

Meanwhile the PR strategy fired up people who WERE paying attention and who saw how badly the media narrative differed from the realities of the case.  As an example, much as the defense and spinsters tried to say the “crime scene” consisted of only the room where Meredith’s body was found, advocates for the victim’s family knew the crime scene also consisted of all of the areas where evidence of the crime was covered up.  They also knew, as the prosecution did, how many pieces of evidence, including cell phone records and DNA evidence, directly implicated Amanda Knox.

In many ways, this site, and the contributions people made to providing English translations of ongoing testimony and all of the official court documents, happened because of hubris on the part of people who thought that telling a story that was so at odds with the essential truth of the case would ultimately win Amanda Knox’s freedom.

The ultimate irony, of course, is that the reason so many English speakers, including media, can now read the trial record and court documents for themselves is because a flawed PR strategy fired up a group of people who were willing to dive in, find out what was actually happening, and share what they were finding with the rest of the world.

So David Marriott, thank you.  It’s likely that by the time this case is complete (and there’s still a long way to go), you will have served an important role in helping people who care about justice to understand why Amanda Knox now stands convicted of Calunnia, and why she ultimately is being held to account for the murder of Meredith Kercher. 

And hopefully, the tale of your involvement and overreach will serve as a reminder to other defendants in other cases that engineering blatantly false and misleading media coverage about a criminal case is not likely to be a winning strategy.


[Below; Curt Knox and Chris Mellas paid for and guided their toxic PR manager David Marriott]

Posted on 10/02/13 at 09:05 PM by Media WatcherClick here to view all my past posts, via link at top left.
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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Judge Nencini’s Guidelines Authorize Televising Of The Florence Appeal Live In Real Time

Posted by True North



[Research room in the Palace of Justice which can double as a room for the press]


Acting with the speed and decisiveness for which the Florence Courts are renowned, Judge Nencini issues the court guidelines.

There will be regulated access to the courtroom and observers must be in court by 9:00 am. No phone contacts or tweets from the court to the outside world will be allowed.

A pressroom will be set up, as in Perugia, where most of the reporters preferred to sit so that they could use their computers and phones, and come and go when they wished.

And three fixed TV cameras will provide a broadcast-quality live feed from the court in Italian. This feed will be balanced against the needs of an orderly fair trial, and the feed could be turned off now and then.

In Perugia in 2009 and 2011 there were CCTV cameras in the court but the quality of the feed to the pressroom was low and when reporters captured some of it on videocam the resultant videos were somewhat murky as you can see on some YouTubes of the trial.

The huge new high-tech palace of justice was designed with TV feeds in mind.

Posted on 09/19/13 at 08:28 AM by True NorthClick here to view all my past posts, via link at top left.
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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Amanda Knox Dithering Over Court Appearance For Appeal Going Over Very Negatively In Italy

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above: the outspoken political leader of the region of Umbria Lignani Marchesani warns Amanda Knox]


Amanda Knox has her name on a book that maliciously slimes everybody she ever encountered in Italy. Then she repeatedly goes on TV whining about how people dont like or trust her.

Guess what? Italians are seeing those same wild accusations as being one self-created reason why Knox seems to lack the guts to head for the appeal court. She would be put face-to-face with many of those that she slimed. How embarrasing.

The other reason of course has applied since 2009: Italians believe she really did lead a very cruel murder pack, killed someone vastly more gifted and worthwhile than herself, and now is lying to the American public in the hope that they will insist their government ignores any arrest warrant for Knox from Italy.

She sure has a real knack of making things worse for herself. No-shows are very rare in Italy and they are seen as not only very cowardly but a sure sign of the person’s guilt. Our main poster Jools translated this tart threat from the leader of Umbria’s regional government which is posted on the regional assembly website.

MEREDITH KERCHER MURDER: “IF AMANDA KNOX DOES NOT COME BACK TO FACE THE NEW TRIAL, PERUGIA SHOULD REVOKE THE SISTER CITIES-TWINNING- WITH SEATTLE”.

The chief regional councillor Andrea Lignani Marchesani (Fd’I) seeks to revoke the twinning of Perugia with Seattle, if Amanda Knox does not return to Italy to stand trial for the murder of the British student Meredith Kercher.

“Headlines were not needed nor a crystal ball to forcast that Miss Amanda Knox would carefully refrain from returning to Italy to face the new appeal process. The annulment of the judgment at the Supreme Court shows how the references to international pressures were not unfounded and a clear abdication of our sovereignty for the sake of interests that have nothing to do with justice.

“No need to emphasize once more how the city of Perugia, the Umbria [region] and the University have damage to their image and finances from this tragic event, without forgetting the human aspects and family of the victim.”

Andrea Lignani Marchesani calls to revoke the twinning between the cities of Perugia and Seattle, birthplace of the American woman on trial in Italy.  According to Lignani, “The city of Seattle, linked in a sister cities twinning for twenty years with Perugia, lost no time during the time Amanda was in custody to criticize our capital city, either by revoking of the naming of a park [in honor] of the city of the Griffon or by petitions tending to the withdrawal of the twinning itself.

“Perugia has no need for undesirable relationships and should, in this situation where a wound of its recent history is being reopened, should proceed to counter offensive.

If Amanda, as is almost certain, does not show up at the trial and does not face the verdict of the Italian justice system, Perugia must withdraw it’s twinning with Seattle. Court judgments are meant to be respected and must be executed, this is what is repeated every day, and this must also apply to the Seattle citizen Amanda Knox.”

As explained in the post below, the Italian court has many ways of applying its own powerful pressure. It could for example put Knox’s entire defaming entourage on trial, including her own dad, and see them all labeled as felons worldwide.

More on this in our next post, about Frank Sforza, which explains all the grief his own meltdown in court could rain down.

Posted on 08/29/13 at 02:15 PM by Peter QuennellClick here to view all my past posts, via link at top left.
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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wildly Successful Foreign TV Network Enters The US Market With An Agenda To Educate Americans

Posted by Peter Quennell

[Above: Dopaminex’s tribute to the Middle East and especially Dubai; music by Tchaikovsky]


Almost always when good people are at loggerheads you can go back in time and find what caused that was a “system problem”.

Middle Easterners were not always at loggerheads with the United States and for that matter the Jews. If you go back into the history of that region you will find that everybody got along really quite well - until around 1920.

Jewish merchants had operated (as Lebanese merchants still do) in all of the big towns of the Arab areas and provided many irreplaceable goods and services. Americans and Europeans as individuals (think Lawrence of Arabia) loved to be in that often kind and hospital, often very beautiful region.

What happened around 1920?

Well, the British and to a lesser extent the French ratted on just about everybody over secret deals they had made throughout the Middle East to build coalitions to help them to win World War I against the Central Powers in that strategic region.

Why? Don’t give them too much of a break, but the “system problem” here was that they were trying to maintain worldwide empires, undoubtedly in part to exploit but also in part as they saw it to build things up and provide stable functioning of economies and judicial and political systems in most-usually tribal societies where the tribes often didnt especially like one another.

If that was their job, then the British and French leaderships argued that it was far from done.

India and what is now Pakistan and Bangladesh in particular thought this was becoming way too stretched out and under Gandhi’s influence took the lead in breaking explosively away from the British - thirty years later, in 1948.

In the Middle East the many clandestine deals the British and French had set up with trusting influential locals were broken with almost all of them, these especially included

  • The Jews, for a homeland (the Balfour Declaration) in absence of which the Holocaust in Europe later proceeded, and then the explosive creation of their own homeland out of Palestine;

  • Egypt, which led to the rise of Nasserism (militarism) and the Moslem Brotherhood which we still see playing out in the streets and on TV and Twitter today;

  • Iraq, which led to the rise of militant Baathism and eventually to the takeover of the political leadership by the general Saddam Hussein

  • The Arabian peninsula, which in the 1920s and 1930s was taken over by the by-then militant Saudis who used the very conservative Wahhabism brand of Islam to prove and spread their legitimacy;

  • Algeria, where the resulting militants who arose into the ascendancy in Algeria eventually took their fight for liberation right to the streets and subways of Paris.

What a mess. And out of this, somehow, the US manages to become the bete noir though it really played no part in creating it.

Oil as a resource helped in some ways, but there was so much of it in some of the countries that it absolutely destabilised local currencies, and the national economic equation, and has led to huge joblessness in the region. 

Meanwhile, as growth slows and the internet spreads, the media networks outside the region have been cutting back on their own foreign reporting and in this case vital windows for Europeans and Americans to see into the region.

But now, as of 4:00 pm yesterday, the very well-funded Middle Eastern news network Al Jazeera is being received by cable in 40 million American homes. Al Jazeera paid half a billion dollars for the fading Al Gore Network “Current” which is chickenfeed money in their terms.

Al Jazeera intends to broadcast a lot of American news and even some sport, and in between, to broadcast what they see as even-handed reports on all things news in the Middle East.

Al Jazeera is a massive operation, much bigger than the BBC, and it has news bureaus throughout the Middle East, Europe, and even the United States (around a dozen).

We confront day-to-day a lot of xenophobia and bigotry (in our case against Italians and Italy).

So it is good to see another maligned region now fighting back to win the hearts and minds of basically good and fair-minded Americans.

Posted on 08/21/13 at 09:09 AM by Peter QuennellClick here to view all my past posts, via link at top left.
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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Although The YouTube Trailer Suggests Diane Sawyer Wimped Out And Turned All Mushy…

Posted by Peter Quennell





It could still be wrong. Trailers have been misleading before.

The interview is tonight at 10:00 on ABC. Our Main Posters Kermit and Media Watcher both have tips that could still win Diane Sawyer Pulitzer Prizes.

  • Media Watcher: Diane Sawyer Interview With Amanda Knox: How To Push Back Against The False Claims And Emotion

  • Kermit Powerpoint:  Diane Sawyer’s Very Tough Interview With Amanda Knox: ABC Kindly Shares A Sneak Preview!

Here’s hoping. Even for Amanda Knox, our advice is usually the best. We’ll carry some sort of report on this tomorrow.

Posted on 04/30/13 at 07:21 PM by Peter QuennellClick here to view all my past posts, via link at top left.
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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Powerpoints #21: Diane Sawyer’s Very Tough Interview With Amanda Knox: ABC’s Sneak Preview!

Posted by Kermit





Skilled reporter Diane Sawyer does a great job here in negotiating the Knox PR minefield and eliciting a telling response. 

No wonder Amanda Knox seems so set on not heading for the appeal court in Florence. There she might face immense pressure to answer the hundreds of open questions on the witness stand.

This time under full cross examination, which was so strenuously avoided in mid 2009.

For this sneak preview courtesy of ABC please click here. The Powerpoints should take maybe a minute to load. I recommend that you use the Page Down key to advance.

if you don’t have the Powerpoint Viewer program loaded there is a download here. Interesting viewing. Thanks ABC.

Some further reading?

Click here for more


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Tips For The Media: Getting Up To Speed With The Hard Facts Of This Complex Case

Posted by Media Watcher



[Above: Harvard “superlawyer” Alan Dershowitz, who conceded yesterday that there IS a strong case]

Getting Back On The Rails

In the United States, with few exceptions, the media has generally accepted the spin from the defense team.

As a consequence, much of the reporting has been shallow and/or wildly inaccurate.  These errors have compounded over time, which leads to a situation where the American media was completely unprepared for yesterday’s decision.

As someone who has read through all of the available court documents and much of the media and who has more than 25 years’ experience helping national media to understand complex, technical stories, here’s my take on the issues the media should consider as they continue to write about this case:

Click here for more


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Both Oscar Frontrunners For Best Movie Criticised For Highly Misleading Foreign Depictions

Posted by Peter Quennell





Now that the cycle of Godfather-type films is done, American movie demonizations of Italy and Italians seem to have dried up. At least for the moment.

Hollywood has long relied on demonization and paranoia-building to pull the paying crowds in - the Colonial British and “Redskins” in historical drams and westerns, the Nazis (okay, maybe that was fair enough), the Russians back in Soviet days, and most recently middle eastern mobs and subversives.

Form your impressions of foreign countries only from American TV and movie depictions and you might end up where the FOA are now: paranoid and delusional that entire countries are pagan and that their modern justice systems are “third world” and that somehow they all succumb to the grip of one evil megalomaniac..

Anyone who follows PMF and TJMK closely knows that the opportunist rants of Doug Preston and Steve Moore and Nina Burleigh and Bruce Fischer about Italy and the official participants in the case are really complete poison.

Italy has a very low crime rate and very few murders, its prison system is only 1/30 the size of the US’s, and its justice system is very modern - it was only created, very carefully, after World War II. Most of its faults flow from politicians like Berlusconi bending and defunding the system to keep their corrupt pals on the streets.

Every week Hollywoord movie and TV depictions come out that falsely depict what are often modern, well-run countries, and especially falsely depict their cops, lawyers, and judges as incompetent and corrupt.

The GOOD news is that there is also a steady effort (in parallel to ours here) by informed and humane people - both Americans and those from the falsely depicted countries - to push back and enlighten. To try to call a halt and correct the damaging notions put out there.

One good example is the movie Taken 2 with Liam Neeson which takes place in modern Turkey. Was it the real modern Turkey? Here are examples from IMDB reviews of strong criticism of this xenophobic movie.

This movie is utterly awful unless you are ready for a bad comedy. There are tons of flaws. Albania doesn’t border Turkey. Istanbul is a magnificent city. In the movie it is portrayed as a third world country slam hole. Police in Istanbul have new cars… Shots are fired in a hotel, grenades are detonated in a middle of a cosmopolitan city ...and there’s no Police…

i got a couple words to the idiot/s who produced this movie

1. Turkish borders don’t look like parking lot barriers

2. Try shooting grenades and guns in Istanbul and count how fast special forces and police will be on your head

3. We discharged those ancient police cars in 1980s. didn’t you have budget for good ones?

I just hated the director’s point of view about Istanbul, and Turkey. In some scenes you see some women wearing pitch black clothes as if they live in a country governed by Islamic rules. No!!! Turkey is not like that!!! Its constitution is more democratic than many ‘democratic’ countries in the world. And especially, women had their rights before many ‘democratic’ countries in the world. For example Turkish women can vote or can be elected since 1934! Just check the history. You will see Turkish women had such rights before millions of other women living in other countries.

Turkey is a secular, democratic and modern country. You can see the people very modern looking all over the city, not ninjas! The people of Turkey do not wear such pitch black clothes like the people living in an Islamic country. Not only the appearance, but also the thoughts are modern and contemporary in Turkey! Why did director tell a big lie to the world? Is there a political reason? Should a director act like a horrible politician?

Of the 300+ reviews on Taken 2 there on IMDB over 200 take issue with what is depicted.





Now one of the Oscar frontrunner movies, Argo, is also being labeled as factually false, misleading and demonizing - with luck (we shall see) enough to cost it the Oscar.

What it SHOULD depict is a Canadian operation led by Ken Taylor to get six Americans out of the Canadian Embassy in Iran in 1980 when Teheran was already a sophisticated city that had been allowed to fret and go sour for too long under the iron hand of the high-living American-supported Shah.

What it DOES depict is something almost opposite: an American (CIA) operation led by Tony Mendez to save their six people from crazed hordes of fundamentalist Iranians. Here are examples from IMDB reviews of criticisms of the depiction of the country at that time, and the role played by Americans. 

It did have one irritating thing… kind of a big one. It pointed most of the accolades to Affleck’s character and the CIA. This really was not true. It was Ken Taylor and the Canadians who really pulled ‘the Canadian Caper’ off so successfully.

“When Taylor heard a few years ago that Mendez had sold movie rights to his book (which, to be fair, is much more generous than the movie about Canada’s role), “I said, ‘Well, that’s going to be interesting.’....“The movie’s fun, it’s thrilling, it’s pertinent, it’s timely,” he said. “But look, Canada was not merely standing around watching events take place. The CIA was a junior partner.”...

So the USA does another revision on history here. I believe ‘Argo’ goes this far. Yes, it’s based on a true story - the movie does it’s best to allude that it sticks to technical accuracy. And it really does, in some ways. Historical pictures of flag burners, rioters, gate climbers, etc.. up against Argo film stills run by during the credits make it seem that the facts were adhered to down to the tiniest detail. In reality, it wasn’t Tony Mendez or the CIA who were responsible for the success of this operation; actually they were barely there.

In this movie they pictured Iranians like a bunch of savages who try to kill Americans and burn their flag at any given moment…. The problem is people did the revolution to have a better country and to get rid of the shah,who was a bad leader but they chose a much worse option, the Islamic republic. when i spoke to those people who were a part of that revolution, they told me “we didn’t know hi-jab would be compulsory for women,we thought it would be a free country with Islamic laws” “we didn’t know…” .It’s all they can say, that they didn’t know this and that could happen.

The historical inaccuracy has been pointed out in other reviews: no, things didn’t happen that way, the Canadians deserve much more credit in that operation than this portrayal ever shows. Notwithstanding the role of the US in sustaining a puppet dictatorship during the Shah and actively interfering in a sovereign country’s domestic politics for decades prior to the events….What I dispute is how incredibly shallow and predictable the storytelling is:

It could not be more islamophobic if it tried. I am not saying the Iranian revolution was something pretty. It really wasn’t. Here is a list of the disturbing in the portrayal of Iran in Affleck’s Argo:

When the Iranian people spoke Farsi in the film there were no English subtitles. If an American spoke Farsi there magically appeared subtitles.

Every single Iranian in the film was angry. This was the only emotion they could express. According to Argo all Iranians are hostile.

Showed no culture, not a single educated Iranian of their own right. There was one “good” Iranian who was a housekeeper to the Canadian ambassador. No character development at all, she serves her purpose and leaves. Apparently fled to Iraqi cause thats going to end well for her children.

The streets of Iran were made to look like the streets of hell. The streets are shown with either one of these characteristics 1. angry Iranian mob protesters who are in favour of the Khomeini;  2. militia terrorizing and murdering it own citizens;  3.objectified Iranian dead bodies.

The basic fact that for a short period several American consulate workers were in hiding and were flown out under fake identities is true, but a lot is missed out. They first hid in the British consulate, but were moved to Canada House on British advice (as best as I can glean from various Internet sources), and the whole operation was a joint venture between at least three countries. What we get is a ‘Yankwash.’

Pretty much nothing in this film actually happened (time-wise, people-wise, story-wise), so what’s left is just the movie in itself. Where Ben Affleck portrays a man with clearly no emotions, the group of six ‘escapees’ clearly experienced difficulties portraying fear. Add in the classic ‘America is the smartest country in the world, and the bad guys have the intelligence no bigger than a pile of (you know what)’ and you’ll find this movie pretty annoying (like I did).





The other Oscar front-runner for best movie is Zero Dark Thirty about the American raid in Pakistan which resulted in the death of Osama Bin Laden. Criticized mostly for being boring but also for ends justifying very harsh American means including repeated torture of foreigners . Here are two quotes on these lines, again from reviews on IMDB.

Zero Dark Thirty is one of the most offensive propaganda film crafted for critics and American jingoists I’ve seen in a long time. There is nothing worth while in this film. It’s dull, repetitious, badly acted mess without a clear goal or any intentions of exploring it’s subject matter, politics surrounding it and moral and ethical questions.

Some parts of this “movie” remind me of black-and-white Nazi propaganda documentaries. Shooting female civilian in the back is not a heroic act. Not even in a war. Never was. I have some doubts about what real happened on that night in Pakistan. Why the most wanted was not taken alive. Submitted to a Court. Show him to the world and let the American people judge him. Interrogate him. Using the law to make justice. Nothing of this was answered. All the movie its like a very bad documentary about assassination and torture

Posted on 01/16/13 at 01:58 PM by Peter QuennellClick here to view all my past posts, via link at top left.
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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

My Letter To Claire Wachtell of HarperCollins Protesting How Distasteful Knox’s Book Promises To Be

Posted by mimi





Ms Claire Wachtell
HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street
New York NY 10022

Dear Ms. Wachtel,

I am guessing, and in fact hoping, that you are receiving many letters similar in content to the one I am about to write. I hope, also, that you have been inspired by these letters to look further into the matter of Meredith Kercher’s cruel and untimely death, and at the bizarre and disrespectful behaviour of her flatmate and purported friend, in the hours subsequent to Ms. Kercher’s murder.

None of us witnessed the attack - had we been there, we would surely have intervened on her behalf - and, therefore, we cannot absolutely finger Ms. Knox and/or her “boyfriend” as the attackers, in spite of a curious amount of suggestive and incriminating circumstantial and physical evidence.

We can, however, express our considerable distaste at the idea of Ms. Knox benefitting financially from exploiting the sordid tale of a misadventure that resulted purely from her own irresponsible and reckless behaviour. Please consider:

  • She arrived in Europe and proceeded to revel in her newfound sexual identity, indiscriminately associating with men unfamiliar to her flatmates. She behaved without consideration for her own safety, let alone theirs. She laughed off their concern as prudishness.
  • With her “boyfriend” (the term could only be taken in the loosest sense, as she had met him barely a week before the murder), she proceeded to experiment with narcotics, to the extent that she apparently believed that to tell the police investigating a vicious murder which took place in the bedroom adjacent to her own, that she was “too stoned too remember” her whereabouts or actions, was a wise course to take.
  • While Meredith’s tortured body lay upon a cold slab in the coroner’s, Ms. Knox saw it as fitting conduct to galavant about a lingerie shop with her “boyfriend”, holding up g-strings and giggling about wild sex. She absented herself from a candlelight memorial held for Meredith, attended, respectfully, by close friends as well as people who certainly had less of a personal connection to the slain woman than did her own flatmate. She concocted ridiculous and contradictory accounts, both for the increasingly frustrated police and for friends, family and acquaintances back home (in a 4 page email, which I highly recommend you read), which not only illustrated her callous disregard for Meredith and of the seriousness of her own situation, but pointed to clues as to her involvement.
  • She had no one but herself to blame for her repeated questioning and subsequent arrest. Had she behaved like any normal person (and one need only look to the plentiful examples of Meredith’s other friends and neighbours in Perugia for inspiration: Filomena Romanelli, Laura Mezzetti, Giacomo Silenzi, Robyn Butterworth, Sophie Purton, Amy Frost, Samantha Roddenhurst, all of whom were aghast at Knox’s coldness) she had ample opportunity to say,“Please, I am upset, I’m in shock; someone was stabbed and left to die in the room right next to mine! I don’t know who it was, but, dear god, it was not me!” Instead, she made up stories about mops and doors that were normally locked or unlocked, about being terrified of her employer whom she had described only days earlier as being a kind and good person. She sat in the police station with her lover of the week, and in whispers tried to incriminate other acquaintances - anyone they could throw to the wolves to save their own hides.
  • The DNA evidence may not have been abundant, but it was ample and most certainly was not absent. Their lies were indeed abundant, contradicting not only one another’s alibi accounts but their own. The circumstantial evidence against them is most disturbing.
  • Despicable only in second place to the behaviour of Ms. Knox and Mr. Sollecito was the conduct of their immediate families, subsequent to their understandable arrest.

I live in West Seattle and have witnessed firsthand the distasteful circus that was the Gogerty-Marriott PR circus designed to recreate Amanda Knox as the Ivory Snow Girl, while grinding Meredith Kercher, who deserved nothing she suffered on 1 November 2007, into utter obscurity.

The Sollecitos went even lower than paying a set of spin doctors, when they released forensic video footage of the crime scene, including unmistakable images of the victim’s nude and battered body, to the Bari television network, Telenorba, which proceeded to air the footage several times. Imagine how you would feel, as the parent, sibling, or friend of a young stabbed, strangled and sexually violated individual, to learn that this is her only value to the world after her death. Shock entertainment to a television viewing audience?

So, having read this, I ask you, honestly, what is the value to the world of a ghostwritten (as she lacks the ability to compose a coherent sentence, unaided) memoir by Amanda Knox?

  • She can’t tell us what we want to know about Meredith’s final hours (unless she wishes to revert to the alibi version in which she WAS at the cottage, blocking out the screams).
  • She wouldn’t have the nerve, four years on, to suddenly gush on again over how horrible it must have been for Meredith, how terrifying and agonising to be mutilated in such a manner, and left to die without hope of attracting attention or alerting aid from outside her bedroom walls.
  • She wouldn’t have the gall to offer her condolences to the Kerchers within the same covers of a volume whose main thrust is to whine to the world about how miserable it was to spend 4 years in prison because her brain was so addled by narcotics she was unable, throughout her police and courtroom questioning, to come up with a scenario that made one iota of sense.

I don’t know your opinion on her conviction, which, until the Supreme Court has rendered a decision, still stands, but I sincerely hope that you are not viewing this book project as an enjoyable opportunity to work with an ebullient and bright Amanda Knox, or, worse, to put the “real truth” before the public.

In either case, I fear you will be gravely disappointed and sorrowfully mistaken.

Yours, Mimi (full name in the original)

[Below: the seemingly hornswoggled Jonathan Burnham and Claire Wachtell of the HarperCollins house]

Posted on 04/10/12 at 11:23 AM by mimiClick here to view all my past posts, via link at top left.
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Thursday, March 22, 2012

No, Book Agent Sharlene Martin, Your Client Raffaele Sollecito Really IS A Hot Potato

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above and below: Verona in north Italy where Sollecito is accepted by the university for a masters degree]


Los Angeles book agent Sharlene Martin posted this gung-ho comment on a Daily Telegraph thread (presently page seven) late Sunday night UK time.

I couldn’t be happier for Amanda Knox getting $4M for a book deal.  What happened to her and Raffaele is a sin.  BTW, I represent Raffaele for his book that we’re working on. 

There is no restitution for wrongful conviction and both families incurred absorbent costs to help exonerate them so good for them if they help recoup the lost monies.  They’ll never recoup the lost time of 4 years in prison.

She posted that at just about the same time we posted (post below) on the various hot-potato qualities of Raffaele Sollecito.  Since then… no further word.

In terms of the book’s sale to a publisher she may not have much to worry about.

For this reason the deal is probably set in stone: Simon and Schuster are a fully owned subsidiary of CBS Broadcasting, which has gone to eye-popping lengths (post on this soon) to remain in bed with the Knox-Mellases.

The content of this ill-considered book might be a lot more problematic. Sharlene Martin might still believe that there are just a few open questions, easily accommodated to by the FOA talking points. In actual fact there are hundreds.

And the FOA have studiously stayed away from creating the alternate-universe scenario that Sollecito and Andrew Gumbel must now create, if they don’t want to end up as the laughing-stock of the western world.

This is a road-map of the Sharlene Martin-Andrew Gumbel-Simon & Schuster minefield.

Hmmm. Lotta questions to be answered in a hurry, if the book is to stir a wave of sympathy or outrage to stop the Italian Supreme Court punting the case back to Perugia to get it right this time around.

Above and below are images of the northern Italian city of Verona. It has the largest and best preserved intact Roman ampitheater in the world. It also has a very good university.

Possibly legitimately or possibly by way of strings pulled by his father, Raffaele Sollecito had gained a place in a graduate class at the university there for the Department of Computer Science’s masters degree in computer engineering. 

In January Sollecitos father made several statements from Bari to the effect that Raffaele really was done with Amanda and dreams of visiting Seattle and would soon be headed for Verona to complete that postgraduate degree.

Rather suddenly, less than two months later, Raffaele is headed for Seattle, with his father and sister seemingly in hot and unexplained pursuit. Microsoft is suddenly mentioned as a firm which will interview him, masters degree or no masters.

So what happened? Well possible one explanation might be found in the comments area of every recent Italian report which allows them, which suggests that just about 100 percent of those posting don’t really like him.

That Italians dont really like him and are even inclined to physically take after him is also well illustrated in this story which we posted 18 months ago.

Sollecito was in the very modern solar-heated Terni prison for most of last year.  He was moved back to Capanne this year just before the trial, amidst his loud complaints that Capanne lacks the internet connections for his computer-science homework.

Sollecito has just received word that he failed the virtual-reality entrance exam that he took at Verona University last March.

When he was being transported there in a police van for the exam, he was yelled at by an angry crowd when the van stopped at an autostrada rest-stop for what Americans call a bathroom break.

He was bundled back in, and the police van took off in a hurry. No bathroom break? That must have rattled his exam-taking composure, that is for sure. 

Another possible explanation is that Sollecito is putting half a world between himself and Italy, because the Sollecito-Knox-Mellases realize that in light of Dr Galati’s formidable appeal that legally they are cooked.

Lots of good interview questions for Microsoft above. And a suggested new subtitle for “Presumed Guilty: My Journey to Hell and Back with Amanda Knox” ?

“Oops. This book idea really wasn’t very smart.”


[Below: A Verona audience waits in ampitheater for Sollecito to be fed to the lions, if they’ll have him]

Posted on 03/22/12 at 09:15 AM by Peter QuennellClick here to view all 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 to view all my past posts, via link at top left.
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Sunday, February 19, 2012

HarperCollins: A Commendably Balanced Report By The UK Daily Telegraph’s Iain Hollingshead

Posted by Peter Quennell





Iain Hollingshead has written a fair and balanced piece in the Daily Telegraph. It contains quite a few notes of caution for HarperCollins:

1) Iain Hollingshead has this restrained Anne Bremner comment from her side though it fails to mention the million-dollar-plus PR campaign that has so many people addled on the real evidence; a pity Iain Hollingshead didnt press her.

“No one here has lost sight of the enormity of the fact that Meredith was killed,” says Anne Bremner, a Seattle-based lawyer and a spokeswoman for the Friends of Amanda Support Group. “But there’s widespread belief in Amanda’s innocence. And when something horrible happens, people all over the world are interested in how you get through it.”

Something horrible happened to Meredith too, of course - and she didn’t get through it. Anne Bremner might press Amanda Knox to make sure to answer in her book the several hundred open questions.

2) Then Iain Hollingshead quotes a London agent who is saying, like other agents and publishers, that HarperCollins sure seems to have taken on a risky publishing venture:

A positive balance sheet is far from guaranteed, however. “I think it’s very risky money,” says Ed Victor, the London-based literary agent whose clients range from Keith Richards to Alastair Campbell and Frederick Forsyth. “But all advances at that level are risky. A lot will depend on whom they hire as the collaborator. It has to be written well.”

3) Also Iain Hollingshead points out what many others have previously pointed out which is that that Knox is not really known for good prose or interesting writing:

HarperCollins hasn’t released the name of the ghostwriter, but one imagines they will have their work cut out. Not only is the book scheduled for publication early next year, they will also have to tread the fine line of polishing Knox’s prose without losing her voice. Although Knox is said to have harboured long-standing dreams of becoming a writer, extracts from her prison diaries – some of which were given to investigators in an attempt to clear her name and were later leaked to newspapers – suggest that she has a little way to go. One poem read: “Do you know me? Open your eyes and see that when it is said I am an angel, or I am a devil, or I am a lost girl, recognise that what is really lost is: the truth!”

By the way, Mr Burnham of HarperCollinws is widely quoted as saying that Amanda Knox’s side of it is the only one still to come out.  He seems to think that her side of it is still a mystery, and that the world is holding its breath.

Really?!

She seems to be one of the most widest quoted perps or suspected perps or non-perps in all history. In fact, she talked so much in the early days that her own lawyers had to publicly caution her to stop piling wrong explanations on wrong explanations.

There are her letters and her emails and her diaries and her notes to police and prosecutors. Plus long quotes from her in books by for example Rocco Girlanda. Plus her two full days on the witness stand. Plus half a dozen major statements to the trial court and appeal court. Plus a few hundred quotes from her family on her behalf. Plus her whole raft of alibis.

Often (when her parents and lawyers are not shushing her) she seems to be digging herself in deeper. Which elements of her story does Mr Burnham think we are all waiting for?

4) Also (although Iain Hollingshead fails to mention John Kercher’s book due in April and may not know about it) he points out that Meredith is the real victim in this case and a very sympathetic one especially in the UK.:

In the British market, Knox’s book will face far greater challenges than the quality of her ghosted prose. “I don’t think the book will be huge here because a lot of British sympathies are with the British victim,” says Victor.

5) Also Iain Hollingshead points out that when there is a sympathetic real victim there is little evidence that the perp or framed perp (dont they all claim they are framed?!) sells a lot of books:

The interest in the O J Simpson case, for example, did not lead to good sales for his book, If I Did It. And while many pundits are comparing Knox’s book to Jaycee Dugard’s A Stolen Life, the memoir of the Californian girl held against her will for 18 years which has sold more than a million copies since last July, Victor thinks the comparison unhelpful. “She was the victim of a crime, not the putative perpetrator of a crime,” he says. “And that’s a big difference. You could say she was the victim of a miscarriage of justice – but so are a lot of people.”

6) And Iain Hollingshead shows us that Andrew Gumbel, Sollecito’s ghost writer, is pretty uninformed on the case.

We will now be able to watch him having a tough time writing on the hard evidence and the fair Italian system and the real character of the druggie loner Sollecito. Assuming that Mr Gumbel hasn’t made up his mind:

“The book will be a lot of things: a love story, a harrowing description of an innocent young man in prison, a full-blooded Italian family drama, and a legal thriller,” says Gumbel. “But these are not the only reasons I got involved: what happened to Raffaele and Amanda was inexcusable and unconscionable and my intention is to get to the bottom of exactly why they were targeted.”

Gumbel denies he’s cashing in on a brutal murder. “I know that, in Raffaele’s case, no day has gone by without him thinking of Meredith and the hell her family has gone through,” he says. “We are not ‘cashing in’ on her death, but rather illuminating the way the Italian police and judiciary compounded the tragedy by throwing two young people into prison for no good reason. Their stories – both their stories – deserve to be heard and I believe it is important that they are.”

Cashing in on Meredith’s death? No, the thought never even occurred to us. Image of the accusatory and under-researched Mr Gumbel below. Keep on his tail Mr Hollingshead.

7) We would have liked Iain Hollingshead to touch on the risks of calunnia for HarperCollins, but to be fair to him it is doubtful he knows what in the very fair Italian system that defense for those unfairly attacked means.

Mr Burnham and Mr Gumbel seem to be setting themselves up nicely to find out.

[Below: Sollecito ghost writer Andrew Gumbel; and Sollecito book agent Sharlene Martin]

Posted on 02/19/12 at 09:07 AM by Peter QuennellClick here to view all 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.

Posted on 02/17/12 at 01:21 PM by Peter QuennellClick here to view all my past posts, via link at top left.
Archived in Those officially involvedNews media & moviesMedia newsAmanda KnoxKnox-Mellas teamMore hoaxersKnox book hoaxesFlorence MOF hoax
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