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Thursday, July 10, 2014
Are The Rank-Amateurs With Their Hooks In Knox Dividing Into Two Flocks Of Sheep?
Posted by Peter Quennell
Confusion Increasingly On Display
Publicly berating the Sollecitos, Kerchers, Italy and Europe has had a detrimental effect on Knox’s public persona?
So says Sophie in the forum text above. Smart take. But Clive Wismayer himself has posted some pretty wild accusations against Italian officials which absolutely dont help Knox at all. People like him should go.
Click here for more of those postings by those supposedly helping Knox. (Guede did it alone? Really?) The postings are a month old, but we hear the internal disputes are now way worse. Three obvious problems stand out.
1. The Sollecito Headache
They dont know as a group whether to try to hug Raffaele Sollecito and his family closer, or to nuke them, in the FOA’s usual mode. Some now incline one way, some the other, and it is splitting them apart.
The Sollecito backlash almost certainly isnt done yet. They dont like Knox at all, and further talk of resisting extradition and further demonizing of Italy and justice officials hardly helps them, and will see them back in front of the press.
In no circumstances will Bongiorno ever again let Sollecito get attracted back to the people who have their hooks in Knox - Bongiorno took the harder line at the press conference, and burying the very damaging claims stuffed by the Knox people into Sollecito’s book is sure on her radar now.
2. The Bloodmoney Headache
There’s rarely much money to be made legally out of trashing murder victims and their families and justice officials as the Bruce Fischers have set out to do. Amanda Knox did get a windfall payment out of her hapless book - but is THAT turning into a two-edged sword…
There’s nothing like a huge pot of money unfairly distributed to make people who feel used and unrewarded walk off. So says Clive Wismayer in the text. Knox is clearly acting cheap, maybe because she sees no career ahead, and may have squirreled much of her bloodmoney away for the reasons given here.
Some like Ted Simon seem to have had a very big payday, the lawyers and experts and Marriott and travel and hotels have all had to be paid-for. Media sources tell us that none of their reporters get within miles of Sollecito or Knox without a greedy hand coming out.
And Knox still has to pay the damages awarded to Patrick for maliciously wrecking his life, or risk more time inside.
Knox is to be charged for the false claims in her book on the same lines as Sollecito and the damages awarded could be huge. Knox’s publishers have their own liability, but may have been misled, and if they are made to pay damages, they could set their lawyers on Knox.
3. The False-Labels Headache
That “guilters” smear used freely in the text above is an albatross around their necks. It stops them seeing straight and being fully informed and (especially) trying to convince in reasonable terms.
Competent American lawyers and PR would have stopped Knox supporters painting themselves into such a corner long ago on the grounds that it just doesnt work. They dont know their enemy as a result.
What they are really up against is not only people posting translations and analyses on websites (people much more qualified than themselves) but also all the forces of justice in Italy and 90 percent of the population who clearly can see guilt.
The pro-Knox conspiracists are in fact a very small faction. The in-group at the core is a dozen or two at most. Perhaps a few hundred now who might lift a finger for Knox.
In contrast, those who see a case for guilt - and who revere the victim and Italy and its officials and system - are not a mere faction at all. Between them, they are huge. Good smart reasonable people who are very well informed and are certainly not driven by hate.
A lot of what websites like this do, in a media-created vacuum of hard facts, is to simply pass on reliable information from Italy in competent translations of key documents and timely and comprehensive reports.
This “guilters” smear has blinded them to that, and so “garbage-in-garbage-out” and paranoid suspicions and ranting language have become their plagues.
And with no real help, Knox faces 28-plus years.
Archived in Officially involved, Amanda Knox, Diversion efforts by, The Knox-Mellases, Hoaxes about the case, Knox book hoaxes, Other legal cases, Associated trials
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Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Legal Nightmare For Knox: How Tough American Laws Will Wind Back Her Blood-Money Profits & Spendings
Posted by Peter Quennell
The 40-Plus State Son-of-Sam Laws
David Berkowitz or Son-of-Sam as he called himself during his killing spree is a convicted American serial killer. Watch a documentary at bottom here.
In New York State (where Knox’s publisher is) and Washington State (where Knox herself is) and about 40 other American states Son-of-Sam has a much-exercised and now rarely-challenged law named after him.
A Son of Sam law is any American law designed to keep criminals from profiting from the publicity of their crimes, often by selling their stories to publishers… Son of Sam laws are designed so that criminals are unable to take advantage of the notoriety of their crimes. Such laws often authorize the state to seize money earned from deals such as book/movie biographies and paid interviews and use it to compensate the criminal’s victims…
In certain cases a Son of Sam law can be extended beyond the criminals themselves to include friends, neighbors, and family members of the lawbreaker who seek to profit by telling publishers and filmmakers of their relation to the criminal. In other cases, a person may not financially benefit from the sale of a story or any other mementos pertaining to the crime—if the criminal was convicted after the date lawmakers passed the law in the states where the crime was committed.
Son-of-Sam Laws In The News
The Son-of-Sam laws are in the American news almost daily. See these for example:
- Here is an article about the admitted killer Jodi Arias who could have otherwise been in line to profit from a movie showing her killing of her former lover Travis Alexander from her point-of-view.
- Here is an article about the former university football coach and male rapist Jerry Sandusky who may be writing a book to benefit himself and his family.
- Here is an article about OJ Simpson, the former footballer and convicted killer of his wife and one other, who is essentially in prison now for trying to circumvent a Son-of-Sam law mandating payments to the families of his victims.
How Son-of-Sam Laws Work
Here from the Criminal Lawyers website is a generic description of how such State laws work.
Each state’s law is different, but here some of the things you may see in any particular Son of Sam law:
What’s covered? Practically just about anything a criminal defendant might gain or profit from his crime. Some state laws generally define “profit from crime.” For example, a law may state it’s “any property obtained through or income generated from the commission of a crime.” Other states are very specific and may, for example, state “profit of crime” is money or other property with value a defendant may receive for a book, movie, television show, play or newspaper article about the defendant and his crimes.
Who’s covered? In some states, only the criminal defendant is covered. In other states, members of his family are covered, too. They may be related by blood or by “affinity” or kinship, such as a spouse or father-in-law. The idea is to make sure a family member doesn’t get the money and hold it for the defendant.
Payment. Most states require the person paying the defendant - the book publisher, movie producer, etc. - to pay the money directly to a court or special state agency, like the state’s Crime Victims Assistance agency. The money is held in a special account for the crime’s victims.
Getting the money to the victims. In most states, once money is deposited, the court or the state agency in charge of the money notifies victims the money is available. In other states, the person or company paying the defendant must notify victims. Either way, victims are usually notified by ads or “legal notices” in local newspapers where the crime was committed. It’s also possible the names of specific victims may be found in the court records connected to the case, and those victims may get personal notification, such as by mail.
Ten Grave Weaknesses In Knox’s Position
Under these 40-plus Son-of-Sam state laws Amanda Knox and her agents appear to be in an extremely weak legal position. Here are 10 reasons.
- 1) Knox was confirmed convicted without further recourse by the Italian Supreme Court of calunnia (against Patrick Lumumba) in March 2013 and she was also provisionally confirmed guilty of murder and other crimes when her appeal before the Florence Appeal Court failed six months ago.
2) That final false-accusation conviction occurred prior to Knox’s book Waiting To Be Heard being released. The British and Italian arms of the publishers, HarperCollins, refused to release the book in the UK and Italy, citing major legal liabilities. The New York based HarperCollins publishers and therefore Knox herself knew that there were very serious legal questions.
3) Amanda Knox was represented by Washington DC lawyer and book agent Robert Barnett who touted the book to various publishers for a claimed $4 million. If Robert Barnett was misled as to the truth of the book, Knox may find herself kicked under the bus by him. If he was not misled, he too is entangled.
4) Knox’s book (available globally via Amazon Kindle) includes many serious misstatements on (among other things) the nature of her false-accusation crime, the nature of her police discussion on 5-6 November 2007, and the real reason for her felony conviction and sentence.
5) Knox also misstated the nature of her false-accusation crime, the nature of her police discussion on 5-6 November 2007, and the real reason for her felony defamation conviction in (a) an arrogant email to Judge Nencini at the Florence appeal and (b) an arrogant press release after the judge’s sentencing report was released.
6) Knox appears to have misstated the nature of her false-accusation crime, the nature of her police discussion on 5-6 November 2007, and the real reason for her conviction in a submission to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg. She also uses those false claims for her continued refusal to pay damages to Patrick.
7) Large numbers of opportunists appear to have directly profited. While we don’t know for sure, it seems Knox blood-money may have been used (a) to pay off her parents’ legal debts; (b) to pay her Italian and American lawyers; (b) to pay David Marriott’s public relations outfit; (d) to pay travel to Seattle and other expenses for some of her wackiest supporters, Sforza and Fischer included. Fees for abusive work by many in online support of Knox are rumored
8) We have repeatedly been told that any media request for access to Sollecito or Knox results in a greedy hand being stretched out. Any media who paid anything to Knox or her family (CNN? ABC? CBS? The Guardian? Oggi?) for access since 2007 could be seriously vulnerable.
9) Knox will face a new trial in Italy in due course for numerous new felony accusations in the book, including a very serious false charge against Dr Mignini. Also she and her followers are widely on record as disrespecting and harrassing the real victim and her ailing family.
10) And a mandatory Son-of-Sam Law investigation by State Attorney Generals can be triggered in over 40 American states via a simple report from a citizen. The Italian Government could also trigger such a criminal investigation.
And Amanda Knox still has her greedy paw out for contributions. See her highly misleading website. Tread warily, folks. Up to 40-plus investigators could come calling at your door…
Early Death To Any Political Support
American politicians almost all favor the Son-of-Sam Laws. The thought of a convicted killer profiting is something almost 100% of American voters wont tolerate. Anything that encourages crimes and the flouting of laws is a really big American no-no.
And if Knox is trying to assemble any bought-and-paid-for political support to resist extradition, such political support will dissipate in a heartbeat when Son-of-Sam again rears his head.
Not a very nice slippery slope for Knox. On multiple counts she looks like a sure-fire loser.
Archived in Officially involved, Amanda Knox, Diversion efforts by, The Knox-Mellases, Hoaxes about the case, Knox book hoaxes, Other legal cases, Associated trials, The wider contexts, American context
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Wednesday, April 09, 2014
Sollecito Takes On A New Lawyer To Help Him Work His Way Past The Minefield That Is His Book
Posted by Peter Quennell
The serious charges Sollecito and Knox will probably face for those books are of three kinds: (1) the contempt-of-court misrepresentation of the Italian justice system itself; (2) the obstruction-of-justice twisting of the evidence in the case; and (3) the claims of crimes committed by numerous career police and prosecution officials.
If false, in effect a gigantic frame-up that leaves Knox’s framing of Patrick in the dust.
At the eighth session of the Florence appeal court back in January, Giulia Bongiorno engaged in a day-long summation which was peculiar, to say the least.
Like Sollecito and Knox in their books, Giulia Bongiorno seemed to be attempting to put the justice system and investigation and prosecution in the dock.
If false, another gigantic frame-up that leaves Knox’s framing of Patrick in the dust.
Bongiorno’s rant didnt seem to help Sollecito in undermining any of the hard evidence in the case, and it left the judges visibly unmoved. But it was notable how closely it resembled the rants on the justice system and its officials by Sollecito himself in his book. See the examples in the post below.
There are some complex later passages in Sollecito’s book and some recurring themes that we will analyse which would seem impossible for Sollecito to write about in such detail without the extensive help of a lawyer who was in the court.
Who precisely was that?
Reports from Italy now state that Alfredo Brizioli, not Giulia Bongiorno, will be the lawyer the Sollecitos choose to respond to the investigating prosecutor’s report on the book. Perhaps Mr Brizioli (who right now is himself on trial for obstruction of justice in another case) can try to negotiate a way for his client to spread the blame before the charges are set in stone.
The Sollecitos seem weak. Alfredo Brizioli seems weak. Giulia Bongiorno seems weak. And Knox also seems weak - if Sollecito is ever going to back away from Knox (perhaps to try to claim the final murderous stab of Meredith was solely Knox’s crazed idea) there is just this one last chance.
We in no way favor Sollecito getting off lightly without recanting. We do want to point to the potential fireworks a smart prosecution has engineered that might help achieve this.
Although there was a sort of bidding war for both books, not every publisher, having seen what was to be in them, was eager to join in. Some did sit on the sidelines.
Archived in Officially involved, Raff Sollecito, The defenses, Diversion efforts by, The Sollecitos, Reporting on the case, Other legal cases, Associated trials, Solleci book hoaxes
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Monday, April 07, 2014
Italy Pushes Back On Dirty Tricks And Frame-Ups: Examples Of What Sollecito Must Defend In Court
Posted by The TJMK Main Posters
Many posters contributed to this analysis and to what is to come. Special thanks to James Raper and Sara, and also to Vivianna, Yummi and Kermit.
Sollecito’s blood-money book gets published
Sollecito’s hapless book Honor Bound was released in English on 18 September 2012.
Within ten days all of Italy knew that the book was a crock.
Bruno Vespa, the persistent host of Porta a Porta, Italy’s most popular crime show (for the equivalent of which American TV cries out) forced Sollecito’s father in national prime-time to admit that at the core of the book was a huge lie.
Other claims about the case and the officials were shown to be wrong too.
Smarter people than Sollecito’s help in the US (Andrew Gumbel and Sharlene Martin, later John Q Kelly, and Simon & Schuster) might have put the brakes on until they got the truth straight and a revised version out.
But no, a media blitz was all ready to roar. The blood-money couldn’t wait.
Huge numbers of professional book reviews and Amazon reader reviews swallowed Sollecito’s claims in the book whole. The nastiness toward Italy and its justice system and officials was ratcheted onto a whole new plane.
Needless to say, official Italy did take note
For the legal reasons explained in this key post an investigation by the Florence Chief Prosecutor’s Office was mandated to begin.
In that same post it was warned that for the period the investigation would require, it would be taken below the radar, so that the Sollecito defense team would have no way to respond through dishonest PR or legal dirty tricks.
A not-unsurprising result of that stealth move was that in the meantime, in the last year, very full of themselves and feeling no constraint, Sollecito and his team went hog-wild in adding more crazy claims. And still more.
Now the investigation is complete
Now Prosecutor Gianbartolomei has issued his announcement of the conclusion of his investigation. The content of the notice is at present confidential except to the defenses.
As Yummi reports, from this point on, the defense has 20 days to say something, such as to request that Sollecito be interrogated or allowed to declare or explain something.
Then the prosecution will file charges against Sollecito and Gumbel, and possibly Sharlene Martin and Simon & Schuster, their careless publishers in New York.
Which precise false claims Prosecutor Gianbartolomei has made the target of his report we do not know. But this is a target-rich environment, that is for sure:
Consider for starters these 20 false claims which, believe it or not, all appear in the first seven pages of the book.
1. That Italian justice authorities took the easy way out
This is the story of two ordinary people who stumbled upon an extraordinary circumstance, the brutal murder of a British student in Italy. Neither Amanda Knox nor I had anything to do with the crime, but we came perilously close to spending the rest of our lives in prison because the authorities found it easier, and more convenient, to take advantage of our youth and inexperience than to mount a proper investigation. It’s that simple. And that absurd.
No advantage was taken of them. The two stood out very sharply from all the others of similar age, and of similar inexperience (whatever that means). They did and said dozens of things in the early days that set them sharply apart.
They were interrogated quite fairly, the Italian media was not especially hard, Dr Mignini never ever leaked, and they had lawyers and family handy at every turn after they were arrested. They each gave the authorities less than zero help - they tried to lead them off on wild goose chases, for example the false claim AK made against Patrick and dozens of other false claims, and apparently tried to finger yet another north African, Hicham Khiri, in a conversation they clearly knew was being recorded.
A “proper” investigation was indeed done. Simply read through all the posts on the trial here in the first half of 2009, and the prosecutor’s excellent summations, and you will see what a smooth comprehensive job was done. And the Supreme Court concluded that THREE had to have been involved, from the recreation of the attack and all the wounds on Meredith’s body. AK and RS and their lawyers never came within light-years of throwing real suspicion on anyone else.
2. That the preventive custody was very harsh
On November 1, 2007, Amanda and I were carefree students at the beginning of a cross-cultural love affair in a beautiful Umbrian hill town. Within days, we were thrown into solitary confinement in a filthy prison, without access to lawyers or loved ones, accused of acts so heinous and disturbing we may never be able to banish them from our thoughts, or our nightmares.
Raffaele was sent to preventative prison on Tuesday November 6. Capanne Prison was almost brand-new then, and far from crowded. Cells contain TVs and private bathrooms.
All questioning had been stopped early on 6 November until Sollecito could have a lawyer present. He himself wrote to his father in his “prison diary” on November 7: “I may see you tomorrow, at least that is what I was told by Tiziano [Tiziano Tedeschi, his lawyer at the time], who I saw today and who defended me before the judge.”
Mr Tedeschi made no complaint about any delay in the first meeting with his new client. In Italy, a judge must determine within 48 hours whether to hold or release detained suspects. Judge Matteini did so meticulously and refused his release.
3. That the prosecution and Italian media demonized the pair
In the newspapers and on the nightly news, we were turned into monsters, grotesque distortions of our true selves. It did not matter how thin the evidence was, or how quickly it became apparent that the culprit was someone else entirely. Our guilt was presumed, and everything the prosecution did and fed to the media stemmed from that false premise.
In the real world, the prosecution fed nothing at all secretly to the media and publicly very little, none of it self-servingly biased. Italian reporting was sporadic and very mild compared to anything one can see said daily about possible perps in the US and UK newspapers and on US TV. Besides, any coverage, which was in part deliberate in the situation as dozens of students were fleeing Perugia, had no influence on anything, neither on the investigation nor the trial.
The Italian system is set up so media can have less influence than almost any other media on any other justice system in the world. The Micheli and Massei sentencing reports show the judges were not unduly influenced even by the lawyers right in front of them, let alone by mild media reports 1 or 2 years before that.
4. That four years were wasted showing where the prosecution went wrong.
By the time we had dismantled the case and demonstrated its breathtaking absurdity [in the annulled Hellmann appeal] we had spent four of what should have been the best years of our lives behind bars.
“We” meaning the defense lawyers did very little in the annulled Hellmann appeal that they hadn’t flailed uselessly against in the trial. Except of course maybe shopping for an inexperience and pliable judge, and for DNA consultants who they could then spoon-feed. Much of the hard evidence they simply kept well away from in the trial and annulled appeal. Such as the extensive evidence in the corridor and bathroom and Filomena’s room, which were all considered parts of the crime scene.
On the other hand, RS’s claim could well apply to what Dr Galati and Cassation did for the Hellman sentencing report. Dismantled the appeal verdict, and demonstrated its breathtaking absurdity.
5. That Knox was made a target because timid Italy was scared of her.
Amanda and I certainly made our share of mistakes. At the beginning we were too trusting, spoke too frivolously and too soon, and remained oblivious to the danger we were courting even after the judicial noose began to tighten. Amanda behaved in ways that were culturally baffling to many Italians and attracted a torrent of gossip and criticism.
An inaccurate and xenophobic remark originated by the American Nina Burleigh, who was having severe culture shock of her own and surrounded only by other foreigners with similar mindsets. What EXACTLY was so baffling about Knox to the very hip Italians? That Knox was pushy, obnoxious, humorless, rather lazy, rather grubby, and not especially bright or funny or pretty? That she put off Patrick, Meredith, her other flatmates, the boys downstairs, the customers in the bar, and just about everybody else except for the distasteful druggie loner Sollecito?
Read this post by the Italian-American Nicki in Milan. To quote from it “As many of us were expecting, Amanda’s testimony has backfired. She came across not as confident but arrogant, not as sweet but testy, not as true but a fake who has memorized a script, an actress who is playing a part but not well enough to fool the public….. Amanda Knox is not on trial because she is American and therefore too “emancipated”....Italians don’t much like Amanda primarily because they perceive her as a manipulative liar, who is suspected of having committed a heinous crime for which there is a whole stack of evidence.”
6. That Knox and Meredith were really great, great friends.
We were young and naive, unthinking and a little reckless. Of that much we were guilty. But what we did not do—and could not have done, as the evidence clearly showed—was murder Meredith Kercher.
Meredith was Amanda’s friend, a fellow English speaker in the house they shared with two Italian women just outside Perugia’s ancient city walls. She was twenty-one years old, intelligent, and beautiful. She and Amanda knew each other for a little over three weeks, long enough to feel their way into their new surroundings and appreciate each other’s interests and temperaments. I never heard about a single tense moment between them.
Plenty of other people did know of tensions. Meredith’s family and friends all knew Meredith was finding the noisy dirty lazy loud unfocused Knox and her one-night-stands hard to take. Her other flatmates found her hard to take. Her employer Patrick found her hard to take. His customers in the bar found her hard to take. The Lifetime movie got this strident angle pretty straight.
Remember, Meredith enrolled for a full academic load at the main university. Knox in sharp contrast took only one undemanding language course - which anyone could walk into - requiring maybe 10 hours of study a week. They increasingly did less together. In fact after several weeks nobody was lining up to have anything to do with Amanda Knox.
Seemingly unable to reverse herself, she was headed to being among the least popular of students in Perugia. It should be recalled that the callous remarks by Amanda Knox about the death of her so-called friend Meredith included “Shit happens”, “She fucking bled to death”, and “‘I want to get on with the rest of my life”.
7. That an intruder knew about the rent money and so murder ensued.
Meredith, of course, suffered infinitely worse luck than we did: she came home, alone, on an ordinary Thursday night and had her throat slit by an intruder hoping to steal the household rent money.
There is zero evidence that this was the case. Knox herself ended up with a similar amount of cash that she has never been able to explain. There is zero possibility that Guede would know that any money was lying around - or not lying around, as it was concealed in Meredith’s drawer.
And take a look at the many images of the brightly lit house at night. There are several dozen other houses behind it in the dark which any smart burglar would have chosen first. In 2008 two real break-ins occurred at the house - both were in the dark behind the house, which is by far the easiest place to break in.
So much for the spurious lone-wolf theory, which Judge Micheli first ruled out even before trial.
8. That the media got hysterical and portrayed heartless killers.
But the roles could easily have been reversed. If Meredith’s Italian boyfriend had not gone away for the weekend and if Amanda had not started sleeping over at my house, she—not Meredith—might have been the one found in a pool of blood on her bedroom floor. That reality was quickly lost amid the hysteria of the media coverage. But it continued to hover over both of us—Amanda especially—as we sank into the legal quagmire and struggled in vain to overcome the public image of us as heartless killers.
There was zero media hysteria. This silly claim was addressed above. Watch the Porta a Porta YouTubes and dozens of other Italian reports and try to find ONE that is not fair and cautious and mature.
How precisely did the two struggle in vain to overcome their public image? By coming up repeatedly with stories which didnt even tally with others of their own, let alone with one another’s? They never between them made even one helpful statement which actually helped the police. And even their respective parents strongly suspected or knew of their guilt and were all caught incriminatingly on tape.
9. That Rudy Guede did it alone; ignore vast evidence that proves not.
This should not have been a complicated case. The intruder was quickly identified as Rudy Guede, an African immigrant living in Perugia with a history of break-ins and petty crimes. His DNA was found all over Meredith’s room, and footprints made in her blood were found to match his shoes. Everything at the crime scene pointed to a lone assailant, and a single weapon. Guede repeatedly broke into houses by throwing a rock through a window, as happened here, and he had been caught by the authorities in the past with a knife similar to the one that inflicted Meredith’s fatal wounds.
This is laughable. It has in fact been demonstrated in numerous ways that the attack involved multiple assailants and this was accepted by the Supreme Court.
Sollecito’s own lawyers never forcefully argued this. They produced two non-credible witnesses in the appeal trial (Alessi and Aviello) to actually prove that Guede had some other accomplices or that several others did it. Also Amanda Knox if anything diverted attention AWAY from Guede as he did in turn from her. He wasn’t quickly identified precisely because Knox had rather credibly fingered Patrick.
There is no proof Guede was an intruder. The trial court concluded Knox invited him in. Guede had zero proven history of break-ins or petty crimes or drug-dealing, and late in 2008 at his trial Judge Micheli became angry at such claims. Guede had no prior criminal record at all. He had only been back in Perugia for a few weeks, after an extended stay up north. His DNA was not found “all over” Meredith’s room. A major surprise, in fact, was how few traces of him were found.
The recreation of the crime scene and the autopsy both pointed AWAY FROM a lone assailant, not toward. From Meredith’s wounds, it was quite evident that two and perhaps three knives had been used, and not a single weapon. What lone intruder carries or uses two or three knives? And footprints in blood outside the door matched the feet of both RS and AK. This is why the Supreme Court confirmed Guede’s guilt only “in concorso” (with others).
10. That the cops could have caught Guede fast, despite Knox’s frame
Guede did not call the police, as Amanda and I did, or volunteer information, or agree to hours of questioning whenever asked. Rather, he fled to Germany as soon as the investigation began and stayed there until his arrest two and a half weeks later.
Guede’s apprehension and eventual conviction on murder charges should have been the end of the story. But by the time Guede was identified, the police and the public prosecutor’s office had convinced themselves that the murder was, incredibly, the result of a sexual orgy gone wrong, in which Amanda and I had played leading roles. Their speculations ignited a media firestorm, inspiring sensationalist headlines across the world about the evil lurking behind our seemingly innocent faces.
The authorities had no shred of evidence to substantiate this story line, only erroneous suppositions and wild imaginings. We had an alibi for the most likely time of death, and none of the initial forensic evidence tied us to the scene of the crime. Nothing in our backgrounds gave any hint of a propensity for violence or criminality. We were both accomplished, hardworking students known to our friends and families for our gentleness and even tempers.
Four more untrue remarks. All three were convicted of a murder with a sex-crime element and nobody was wrongly “convinced”. Which alibi is Sollecito talking about now? He himself admits in chapter 1 (Love and Death) that they had no “real alibi”. They still have no alibis at all for the second half of the evening, neither of them, when Meredith’s murder indisputably occurred.
Extensive forensic evidence within days tied them both to the scene. Not a single element of it has been discredited in the eyes of the Massei trial and Nencini appeal court. Not even one. Nothing was falsified.
Neither of their backgrounds was squeaky clean. Both had long been into illegal drugs, the loner Sollecito had to be watched by his father and teachers, the increasingly disliked Knox had a history of doing and saying crass off-putting things. Both were lagging behind their brighter peers in their studies and Knox was taking a year off.
11. That the prosecution fed the media a huge number of false claims.
Yet the authorities stuck to their guns. They fed the media a steady diet of sensationalist stories of how Amanda, the promiscuous American she-devil, and I, her sex-and-drug-addled Italian helpmeet, had tried without success to drag Meredith into our depravity and punished her by plunging an outsize kitchen knife into her neck.
Complete fiction. Again, in the real world, as the media reporters all confirm, the prosecution fed nothing at all secretly to the media, and publicly very little, none of it self-servingly biased.
Italian reporting was sporadic and very mild compared to anything one can see daily on possible perps in the US and UK newspapers and on US TV crime shows. There is zero sign this mild coverage mattered to the courts. As the media reporters all confirm, they were fed next to nothing by the police or prosecution on the case,
But whereas Mr Mignini famously never leaks, the defenses are widely claimed to have leaked throughout like sieves. So did Sollecito’s own family - they leaked an evidence video to Telenorba TV, for which they were considered for trial. Even we at TJMK and PMF received several offers of juicy leaks. Here is one example of where the Knox forces leaked - wrongly in fact - and then nastily slimed the prosecution and defenseless prison staff.
12. That the authorities had lots and lots and lots of scenarios.
It might have been funny if the consequences had not been so devastating. Listening to the tortured language of the prosecution—“one can hypothesize that . . . ,” “it is possible that . . . ,” “one can imagine that . . . ,” “this scenario is not incompatible with . . .”—it became clear that the authorities, like the media, were treating our case with the bizarre levity of an after-dinner game of Clue, or an Agatha Christie mystery. Everyone, even the judges in their black robes, had theories they were itching to air.
Have Sollecito and Gumbel ever before been in any other court in Italy or the UK or the US? Every judge and/or jury has to arrive at a scenario on lines not unlike this. That is the whole POINT of having courts - to weight the probabilities in what happened in the crime. The only difference in Italy is that the judges have to think their verdict through for weeks, and then write it all out, and then see it scrutinized by a higher court. This is hardly a requirement to be sneered at.
Gumble and Sollecito should have studied how US and UK juries arrive at their own scenarios. Very few US and UK lawyers think they do a better job. Ask those who watched the OJ Simpson and Casey Anthony trials and bitterly criticised the outcomes. And Italy has a vastly lower rate of false imprisonment than the US does.
13. That Italy is a medieval country with a primitive justice system.
It could have been Colonel Mustard in the drawing room with the revolver; instead it was Amanda and Raffaele in the bedroom with the kitchen knife. How was it conceivable that a democratic country known for its style and beauty and effortless charm—the Italy of the Renaissance and la dolce vita—could allow two young people to be catapulted to international notoriety and convicted of a horrific crime on the basis of nothing at all?
This is not remotely what happened. There was very far from nothing at all. Convictions in the US and UK regularly result based on evidence 1/10 or 1/100 of that here - sometimes from one single evidence point. Any one or several of maybe 100 evidence points here could have convicted them in a US or UK court.
14. That the prosecutors office and media were in a grim embrace.
The answer has something to do with the grim embrace that developed between the prosecutor’s office and the sensationalist media. Like addicts constantly looking for the next fix, each fed the other’s insatiable appetite for titillation and attention. The casual cruelty of “Foxy Knoxy” and her Italian lover became too good a story line to abandon, even when it became apparent it was overheated and unsustainable. Our suffering was the price to be paid for the world’s continuing entertainment.
WHAT grim embrace? WHAT addicts? WHAT fix? WHAT insatiable appetite? WHAT titillation and attention? This is clearly defamatory if it can’t be proven, and we can turn up no evidence that any of it is true. It has to be one of the most foolish lies in the entire book, it is so easy to disprove. These who are being accused of crimes here are career police and prosecutors secure in their jobs, and none have the slightest gain to make from false convictions.
15. That in the justice system speculation and hearsay run rampant
The meandering complexities of the Italian legal system, where speculation and hearsay are allowed to run rampant and time invariably slows to a maddening trickle, did little to help our cause.
Total mischaracterization. First note that by comparison with any country in the world THERE IS NOT MUCH CRIME IN ITALY. There is some minor corruption and still some minor mafia action, but thefts and burglaries and assaults are few and murders even fewer. The main crime if you can call it such is not lining up to pay taxes. Italy’s murder rate is 1/6 that of the United States and its prison incarceration rate is 1/30 that of the United States, so where IS all this crime about which the claimed speculation and hearsay are running rampant?
The legal process could have been fully over by the end of 2009 if (1) there was not the entitlement to two automatic appeals; in UK and US terms there was very little to appeal about; and (2) the Hellmann appeal court had not been fixed to produce a corrupt outcome, as the displaced judge Sergio Matteini Chiari and Cassation and the Council of Magistrates have all made plain.
And compared to American police and prosecutors, their Italian counterparts are famously taciturn under their unusually firm rules. There is media interest, for sure, as there should be when there are crimes, but that also is comparatively restrained. Watch the various Porta a Porta shows on YouTube and you will see how sedate crime discussion tends to be.
The Constitution and judicial code set out to achieve the exact opposite of speculation and hearsay affecting justice, and they do so. Creating this restraint is a primary reason for the judges’ sentencing reports and all the magistrates’ checks of investigations along the way.
This whole series of dishonest claims about the the Italian system in the preface of the book and in a later chapter have clearly not been read through or okayed by even a single Italian lawyer.
16. That in Italy proof beyond a reasonable doubt scarcely exists
For reasons deeply embedded in the country’s history, the concept of proof beyond a reasonable doubt scarcely exists in Italy, and the very notion of undisputed fact is viewed with suspicion, if not outright aversion.
So Gumbel and Sollecito are historians and legal experts now? It would be nice, wouldn’t it, if either were able to explain the remark. This may be an ignorant swipe at the Napoleonic Code on which the law of a lot of continental Europe is based. Ignored is that Italy carried out its own reforms to the Code in 1990 and more subsequently. Much of that reform, it should be pointed out, was procedural or structural rather than substantive law.
There are two things wrong with “..the concept of reasonable doubt scarcely exists in Italy.”
1. It is factually wrong. Italian jurists, the courts, and so on, are well acquainted with the concept as it has been a fundamental aspect of criminal proceedings in Italy as elsewhere for many decades if not centuries.
2. It suggests that Italians are not intelligent enough to understand the concept anyway. That of course is an insult to Italians. Actually they are no less intelligent than the rest of us elsewhere who strive to understand it.
Until the 1990 Reforms the relationship between criminal and civil proceedings in Italy were governed by the principles of unity of jurisdiction and the prevailing status of criminal proceedings. Hence, if the facts were the same then criminal proceedings (to punish the guilty) and civil proceedings (to render liable the guilty for damages) were heard at the same time and still sometimes are, as in the Meredith Kercher case.
What has changed (relevant to the above quote) is that civil cases can be and are more likely to be heard independently from the related criminal cases and, where not, the standard of proof in civil cases (the preponderance of evidence or, as we usually refer to it, the balance of probabilities) is to be applied to the civil case, and the civil case only, rather than be confused with or overriden by the criminal standard of proof (beyond reasonable doubt).
Not an easy task, admittedly, to apply different standards to different tasks, based on the same facts, in the same proceedings, but Italian judges are trained to do this because that is their system. No judge would EVER confuse “beyond reasonable doubt” with “the balance of probabilities” when the issue at stake is depriving an individual of his freedom.
17. That the Italian judiciary has vast, unfettered powers
Few in Italian society wield as much unfettered power as the robed members of the judiciary, whose independence makes them answerable to nobody but themselves.
Radically the opposite of the truth. The paranoid claim reads like it came from ex PM Berlusconi fearful of his own conviction or one of his parliamentary lackeys such as Girlanda.
All of the best judges in the world are independent and they all follow a demanding career path, not elected (as ex-Judge Heavey was) under zero criteria, or appointed under the political sway of politicians. We wonder if Gumbel and Sollecito have ever heard of the US Supreme Court? Do those judges answer to anybody? No? How unfettered.
18. That the courts are the most reviled institution in Italy.
Many Italians retain a healthy skepticism about the reliability of their procedures and rulings. The courts—tainted by politics, clubbishness, pomposity, and excruciating delays—are the most reviled institution in the country.
As our Sollecito Book pages make clear again and again and again, the Italian system is remarkably NOT tainted by politics, as even the most surperficial watcher of the trials of ex Prime Minister Sylvio Berlusconi would know.
Our Italian poster Machiavelli (Yummi), who posted our deep analysis of the appeal to the Supreme Court by Dr Galati, has provided these hard facts:
For comparison, in 2011 the percentage of Italians who declared they trust the justice system “a lot” or “enough” was 53.3%. By comparison, the percentage of Italians who declared they trust the government “a lot” or “enough” were 14.7%, and those who trust the parliament were only 15%.
In 2012, the percentage of Italians who trust the parliament is now only 9.5%, and those who trust the Mario Monti administration are only 21.1%.
Over the eight years from 2004 to 2012 the percentage of Italians who trust the justice system was always bigger than those who trust parliament or government by at least ten points, and in some years we can see a spread of 20, 30, even 39 percentage points achieved by the judiciary over the parliament and government.
However, some cases of corruption (such as our Hellmann-Zanetti case, but also several others indicated by the Rapporto Italia 2012) do hamper trust.
The most trusted institutions in Italy above all are the Carabinieri (74% of Italians trust them) and the Polizia di Stato (71%).
Which means the most trusted institutions are precisely those law enforcement instruments which are deployed to enforce the orders of prosecutors.
19. That prosecutors can spin their cases into any shape they please.
Because the Italian legal system is almost completely blind to precedent and relies on a tangle of impenetrable codes and procedures, prosecutors and judges have almost boundless freedom to spin their cases into any shape they please and create legal justifications on the fly. Often, they are more interested in constructing compelling narratives than in building up the evidence piece by piece, a task considered too prosaic and painstaking to be really interesting.
Whoever wrote this either wasnt an Italian or a lawyer, and either way didnt have much of a clue. The entire Italian system under the post WWII constitution was designed to PREVENT what Sollecito & Gumbel claim it allows here.
There are checks and balances and reviews every step of the way. Magistrates (initially Matteini here) determine what a prosecutor may do in developing and presenting a case. Parties may appeal to the Supreme Court AT ANY TIME as Knox’s lawyers did over her second written confession - which she herself had demanded to make in front of Dr Mignini after he finished warning her of her rights.
Hard for Sollecito & Gumbel to believe, perhaps, but the defense is actually present in the same courtroom. They can raise points of order at any time. So can the defendants themselves, at any time, something maybe unique in the world.
And judges actually have minds of their own. And then there are the unique written sentencing reports, and the two automatic appeals if any parties want to pursue them.
Sollecito & Gumbel should have read the 2012 Galati appeal more closely. The Prosecution’s Appeal To The Supreme Court is available in English here. Precedent has a section to itself - “The non-observance of the principles of law dictated by the Cassation Court in the matter of circumstantial cases (Article 606(b)) in relation to Article 192 paragraph 2 Criminal Procedure Code.”
Well, that’s precedent, via the Court of Cassation no less! How surprising from Gumbel/Sollecito that they should make that claim about ignoring precedent when in fact there it is, going right to the heart of the flawed Hellmann/Zanetti judgement on circumstantial evidence! What else is a Code but in effect a codification, a gathering together, a rationalisation, of best law - and precedent?
There is an absurd irony here, were they aware of it. Perhaps they are. Surely it is Hellmann and Zanetti who have displayed “a boundless freedom” in spinning the case “into any shape they please”, and who have “created legal justifications on the fly”? As for prosecutors doing this, at least Dr Mignini followed the evidence, and American readers may recall the infamous Jim Garrison, the DA hero of Oliver Stone’s movie “JFK” but who in reality, unlike Dr Mignini, was a total and utter crackpot.
And what issue exploded the Porta a Porta TV show in Italy in September 2012? It was Sollecito’s false claim that the prosecution had secretly tried to offer him a deal if he would roll over on Knox. NOBODY including his own father and his own lawyers confirmed him. Evidence against both was overwhelming. Nobody needed such a deal, and Italian prosecutors are highly rules-bound against ever offering such deals.
Sollecito was in effect accusing Dr Mignini of a felony with this much-repeated false claim in his book. (In her book Knox also accused Dr Mignini of a felony.)
20. That the prosecutors and judges in Italy are far too close.
Prosecutors and judges are not independent of each other, as they are in Britain or the United States, but belong to the same professional body of magistrates. So a certain coziness between them is inevitable, especially in smaller jurisdictions like Perugia.
Yes, prosecutors and judges in Italy belong to the same professional body of magistrates. But then so does the defense lawyer Ms Bongiorno. The claim that there is no independence between prosecutors and judges in Italy, in fact a coziness between them, is a bit rich.
Consider, say, the UK. It is true cases are prosecuted by the Crown Prosecution Service, a government body, but in serious cases the CPS will employ barristers from the Inns of Court. There is scarcely a judge in the UK, even up to the highest level, who was not and who is not still a member of one of the Inns of Court from whence barristers, for the prosecution or for the defence, ply their trade.
You can’t walk past an Inn without seeing the names of judges on the roll call on the plaques outside. A judge is still a barrister, just fulfilling a different function, although, of course, now paid by the State. The old school boy tie? Corruption? No, the fulfilling of different roles by members of the same body is called professionalism.
Judges and lawyers all belong to the American Bar Association in the US and attend the same conferences. No sign that this lack of “independence” ever affects trials. This claimed excess of coziness is often ranted about online by the Knoxophile David Anderson who lives near Perugia. Nobody who pays him any attention can get where he derives this from. Maybe he heard it from Hellman?
Perugia prosecutors and magistrates are all known to do a fine job, and the national Olympics & earthquake relief cases involving powerful Rome politicians were assigned for competent handling to where? To Perugia… Defense lawyer Ghirga and Prosecutor Mignini have the reputation of being good friends. And Mignini and Massei would both draw their salaries from the State. But so what? Do not judges and DAs in the the USA do likewise? Are Gumbel and Sollecito impugning the professionalism of the counterparts of Mignini and Massei all over the world? It sure reads like it.
On our further postings
Akk of this above analyzes only the first seven pages, out of a book which has several hundred pages. We will post one or two times more during April. Later in the book, there is a lot of venomous sneering addressed at Dr Mignini, although his performance at trial was excellent - and he is now for Perugia’s region (Umbria) the Deputy Prosecutor General.
In Italy Dr Mignini is now and then on national TV along with Michele Giuttari, who pursued the main Monster of Florence theory - not the crackpot theory Preston and Spezi attempted to use to frame someone. At impugning him, Sollecito and Gumbel have failed miserably, and for that are now in the crosshairs of the system.
Many posters contributed to this analysis and to what is to come. Special thanks to James Raper and Sara, and also to Vivianna and Kermit.
[Kermit’s take on Katie Couric, one of several smart TV hosts who suspected a giant con]
Archived in Diversion efforts by, The Sollecitos, Reporting on the case, Other legal cases, Associated trials, Raff Sollecito, Solleci book hoaxes
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Friday, April 04, 2014
The Florence Chief Prosecutor’s Office Announces That Sollecito Will Face More Court Action
Posted by The TJMK Main Posters
Breaking news from Main Poster Yummi
Prosecutor Gianbartolomei has issued a notice about the conclusion of his investigation. The content of the notice is confidential for the defenses.
From this point the defense has 20 days to say something, like to request that the defendant (Sollecito) is interrogated or has anything to declare, or to submit any documents if they want to.
Then, once the 20 days are expired, the prosecution will file charges.
Since the charges will include almost certainly, beyond aggravated defamation, also contempt of the Judicial organs, the prosecution may send a notice to the Ministry of Justice too.
Since they are victims of contempt they may appoint a plaintiff.
The senior Florence prosecutor Dr Giuliano Giambartolomei was assigned to investigate the claims in Sollecito’s “Honor Bound”.
Today he announces that his findings indicate that many claims are spurious and justify new charges being brought against Sollecito. Shadow-writer Andrew Gumbel, who recently published this self-incriminatory rant has also been named.
When the charges are filed several or some others who have been assiduously “helping” Sollecito (mostly for big bucks) such as book-agent Sharlene Martin might find themselves named also
So Sollecito for sure and Knox most probably will be confronting the often-contradictory claims in their books, and saying whether they accept or reject each of them, which should put other book-writers who made false claims on the spot and maybe wind the whole FOA effort down.
We will be making our separate page on Sollecito’s various false claims live again. Main posters have posted a large number of corrections to Sollcito’s claims in the book. We have been putting them in correct page-order.
Miriam has kindly contributed this translation of today’s report in Il Messagero. Dr Giambartolomei only hints to the reporter what will be in his report which will quote all the passages in full for which Sollecito will have to account.
Raffaele Sollecito Insults The PM And A New Trial Starts
As always everything [possible] is presumed and as always, in the case of the murder of Meredith Kercher, everything [possible] can be overturned at every verdict.
Even in the associated trials, such as the one for defamation (against PM Mignini) and contempt (against the police) for which Raffaele Sollecito, found guilty of the murder of Meredith Kercher along with his ex-girlfriend Amanda Knox, is being investigated along with the British journalist-author (now in absentia) Andrew Paul Gumbel.
Defamation, because many parts of the book “Honor Bound”, of which both are authors, contains for the prosecution various ignominious remarks.
More than simple phrases, entire chapters (allegedly) of the book are written in what is technically called “conclusione delle indagini” and requires the matter to be brought to justice, and therefore to trial.
[The book] starts by summarizing the main evidence (that was then proved to be wrong by the facts) against Sollecito.
The two being investigated write: ” the main proof that Mignini had to bring to the preliminary hearing were my Nikes… and he did everything possible to render them more incriminating…”
Then again “the police had only the pictures of my shoes (not those of the print) and in some way they came to the conclusion that my Nikes were the same brand, model and size as the shoeprints on the floor of Meredith’s apartment. There was no doubt about this”
Then the facts demonstrated that the shoe prints where of Rudy Guede, the third person condemned for the murder of the British student, and could not be those of Sollecito, because of the size.
Therefore this touches on the management of the trial on the part of Mignini. Sollecito-Gumbel write: “one of the reasons that our hearings were so distant one from the other was that Mignini was fighting his own separate legal battle for abuse of investigated activity.”
This connection goes to the case of the death of the Perugian Doctor Franceco Narducci, connected to the Monster of Florence case which Mignini had investigated.
Sollectito sustains: (defended in this case by Alfredo Brizioli) “I think our case, among other things, was a big diversion to keep the media’s attention away from the legal battle Mignini was having in Florence, and to give him the victory in a high profile case he so desperately needed to restore his reputation.”
The young Pugliese continues: “…..just as he did in the Monster of Florence case, Mignini used every instrument at his disposal against his critics and adversaries. The avalanches of legal action by part of Mignini had an inevitable icy effect , especially on the Italian press and this played a clear role in turning the public opinion against us.”
The charges against Sollecito and Gumbel are those of having sustained that it was Mignini’s idea to seek to obstruct the investigation as is from the beginning, it was a studied act to bend the investigation and turn the trial to his side.”
This is a clear accusation in the eyes of the prosecutor Giuliano Giambartolomei: “His approach (Mignini’s), Sollecito is saying, was particularly vindictive…. This is enough for Sollecito to face charges of defamation.”
Important to note that Dr Giambartolomei does NOT explain here precisely what will be in his report. That will have to quote all the passages in full for which Sollecito may have to account. Then he or whatever prosecutor charges Sollecito will go to another depth.
With our analysis of the book and knowledge of Italian law we can probably pick many or most of the false claims made which impugn officals or the Italian system.
More posts coming. Stay tuned.
Archived in Reporting on the case, Other legal cases, Associated trials, Raff Sollecito, Solleci book hoaxes
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Friday, December 20, 2013
Multiple Provably False Claims About “Forced Confession” Really Big Problem For Dalla Vedova & Knox
Posted by FinnMacCool
The Breaking News
This post goes live just as the news breaks that it was Knox lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova who filed these patently false claims against the justice system of Italy with the European Court.
1. “There would be no need for these theatrics.”
Amanda Knox has not been present for any part her latest appeal against her own murder conviction. Nevertheless, she has made two meretricious contributions to the proceedings.
First, on the day that the prosecution opened its presentation of the case against her, she announced that her lawyers had filed an appeal against her slander conviction to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). ECHR hears only allegations of human rights abuses, which must be reported within six months of the alleged incident (or within six months after all local avenues have been exhausted; in this case none has even been explored).
This out-of-date application to an inappropriate body in pursuit of a groundless allegation is therefore bound to fail.
Knox’s second publicity stunt came on the day that her own defense lawyers began their own presentation. She sent a five-page email in English and Italian, with grammatical mistakes in each language, protesting her innocence and affirming that the reason she is not present in the court is because she is afraid of it.
There are many comments that could be made about the email, but perhaps its most grievous legal error comes in the aside where she claims that the “subsequent memoriali (sic), for which I was wrongfully found guilty of slander, did not further accuse but rather recanted that false ‘confession’.”
That singular document does not recant her previous statements (“I stand by what I said last night…”), but does contain further accusations against Patrick Lumumba (“I see Patrik (sic) as the murderer”), as well as seeking to cast suspicion on Sollecito (“I noticed there was blood on Raffaele’s hand”) and an unnamed “other person”.
However, by claiming that she has been “wrongfully found guilty” on that charge of calunnia, she is refusing to recognize the legitimacy of the Italian Supreme Court, which has definitively found against her on that count, and also of the Hellmann appeal court (the only court to date that has not found her guilty of the main charge of murdering Meredith Kercher).
Dr Alessandro Crini presented the prosecution’s case on November 25th/26th. It was not a particularly theatrical performance, but rather a very long summary of the many items of evidence against Sollecito and Knox.
The most theatrical element of the case so far has been when one of the defendants insisted that the judge should read out five vacuous pages of her email immediately before her own lawyers presented their case on her behalf.
This gives a certain dramatic irony to Knox’s claim, “If the prosecution truly had a case against me, there would be no need for these theatrics”.
Such ironies appear to be lost on Knox, however, since she seems incapable of reading back over her own work for solecisms or contradictions. (In the email itself, for example, in consecutive sentences she writes: “I had no contact with Rudy Guede. Like many youth in Perugia I had once crossed paths with Rudy Guede.”)
One of the many errors she makes in the email is to put in writing some of the wild claims that she and/or her supporters have previously made regarding the witness interview she gave on the night of November 5th/6th 2007.
The purpose of the current post is to consider that interview in greater detail, using as source material primarily Knox’s memoir “Waiting to be heard” (2013) and Raffaele Sollecito’s memoir, “Honor Bound” (2013), abbreviated here to WTBH and HB respectively.
2. “When we got there they said I couldn’t come inside.”
Amanda Knox was not even supposed to be at the police station on the evening of November 5th, 2007. She should have been attending a candlelit vigil, in which Meredith Kercher’s friends, classmates and supportive well-wishers met at eight o’clock at Corso Vannucci to process through to the Duomo, carrying candles and photographs of the victim.
A friend of Meredith’s – a young Polish student – texted Amanda Knox to invite her to this vigil, but Knox had better things to do. (WTBH: 82) She accompanied Sollecito to his friend Riccardo’s house for a bite to eat (HB: 29) where she absent-mindedly strummed a ukulele. (WTBH:82)
Knox writes of the vigil: “I wanted to be there but… the decision was made for me” because “Raffaele had somewhere else to be”. (WTBH: 82)
One consistent feature of her narrative is her refusal to accept responsibility for anything, including her failure to turn up for her murdered roommate’s vigil, but we should note also that the vigil (eight o’clock) and the dinner (nine o’clock) both take place within the timeframe of her supposed series of interrogations, which according to her email involved “over 50 hours in four days”.
By her own account, when she ignored the police’s request not to accompany Sollecito to the Questura and just came anyway, it was the first contact she had had with the police in well over 24 hours.
Let us consider what was happening in the early part of the evening of November 5th, 2007.
The police are at the station studying the evidence; Meredith’s friends are proceeding downtown with candles and photographs of the victim; and Knox is playing the ukulele at Riccardo’s house.
Far from taking part in a lengthy coercive interview, Amanda Knox had gone to her University classes as normal, had bumped into Patrick Lumumba, whom she would later accuse of Meredith’s murder, and had later skipped the vigil to have dinner with Sollecito. (WTBH:83)
Meanwhile, back at the Questura, the police could see that Raffaele Sollecito’s stories simply did not add up.
They therefore called Sollecito and asked him to come into the station for further questioning. They told him that the matter was urgent; that they wanted to talk to him alone; and that Amanda Knox should not accompany him. (HB: 29)
Sollecito responded that he would prefer to finish eating first. (The same meal is used as an excuse for not attending the vigil at eight o’clock, and for delaying their response to the police request at around ten.) By his own account, Sollecito resented being ordered what to do by the police (HB: 29), and so he finished eating, they cleared the table together, and Amanda Knox then accompanied him to the station. (HB:30; WTBH: 83)
Naturally the police were both surprised and disappointed to see her. Their civilian interpreter, who had worked flat out through the weekend accompanying not only Amanda Knox but also the rest of Meredith’s English-speaking friends, had gone home. The only person they were planning to speak to that night was Sollecito, and even he was late. According to Knox, the police were not expecting their interview with Sollecito to take very long:
When we got there they said I couldn’t come inside, that I’d have to wait for Raffaele in the car. I begged them to change their minds. (WTBH: 83)
The police were not prepared for an interview with Amanda Knox. They had asked her not to come, and they tried to send her away when she got there. It was late on a Monday evening and there were no lawyers or interpreters hanging around on the off-chance that someone might walk into the police station and confess.
However, that’s what happened. And it is on that basis that Amanda Knox is now claiming that the interview which she herself instigated was improperly presented by the police:
I was interrogated as a suspect, but told I was a witness. (Knox email, December 15, 2013)
But she wasn’t a suspect. In fact, she wasn’t even supposed to be there.
3. “Who’s Patrick?”
We will now examine Knox’s claim that “the police were the ones who first brought forth Patrick’s name” (Knox blog, November 25th, 2013).
She has already admitted in court that this is not true. In fact, it is clear from her own book that the police did not even know who Patrick Lumumba was, at that point.
If they had suspected him or anybody else, they would have brought them in for questioning, just as they had already questioned everyone else they thought might be able to throw some light on the case.
The police plan that evening was to question Sollecito in order to establish once and for all what his story was. They would perhaps have brought Knox back the following day (together with the interpreter) to see how far Knox’s story matched Sollecito’s. In the event, their plan was disrupted first because Sollecito delayed coming in, and second because when he finally arrived, he had brought Knox with him.
“Did the police know I’d show up,” Knox asks rhetorically, “or were they purposefully separating Raffaele and me?” (WTBH: 83) She does not offer a solution to this conundrum, but the answer is (b), as the patient reader will have noticed.
She thus turned up to the police station despite being expressly asked not to come. The police asked her to wait in the car and she refused, complaining that she was afraid of the dark. They allowed her inside.
Today, she might complain that she “was denied legal counsel” (Knox email, December 15th 2013) as she entered the Questura, but there was absolutely no reason for a lawyer to be present, since by her own account, all the police were asking her to do is go home.
Knox did not go home. According to WTBH, while Sollecito is in the interview room, she sits by the elevator, doing grammar exercises, phones her roommates about where to live next, talks to “a silver-haired police officer” about any men who may have visited the house (she claims to have first mentioned Rudy Guede at this point, identifying him by description rather than name) and does some yoga-style exercises including cartwheels, touching her toes and the splits.
It is at this point – somewhere between 1130 and midnight – that Officer Rita Ficarra invites Knox to come into the office so that they can put on record Knox’s list of all the men she could think of who might have visited the house.
Knox takes several pages (WTBH 83-90) to explain how she went from doing the splits to making her false accusation against Patrick Lumumba. Like much of her writing, these pages are confused and self-contradictory.
One reason for the confusion is that Knox is making two false accusations against the police, but these accusations cannot co-exist. First, she attempts to demonstrate that the police made her give the name of Patrick Lumumba. Second, she wants us to believe that Officer Ficarra struck her on the head twice.
This is denied by all the other witnesses in the room, and Knox did not mention it in her latest story about applying to ECHR. In her memoriale (WTBH: 97), she claims she was hit because she could not remember a fact correctly.
But in her account of the interview (WTBH: 88), Knox explains that Ficarra hit her because, the fourth time she was asked, “Who’s Patrick?”, she was slow in replying, “He’s my boss.” This is the exact opposite of not remembering a fact correctly. Knox is so keen to make both false charges against the police stick that she fails to notice that one contradicts the other.
Knox at least provides us with two fixed times that allow us to verify the start and finish times of the formal interview. It began at 1230, when Anna Donnino arrived to interpret, and ended at 0145 when Knox signed her witness statement.
Bearing in mind that this statement would have needed to be typed up and printed before she signed it, the interview thus took little over an hour, and was not the “prolonged period in the middle of the night” that her recent blog post pretends. (We might also remember that Knox’s regular shift at Le Chic was from 9 pm to 1 am, meaning that the interview began during her normal working hours.) (WTBH:31)
WTBH also flatly contradicts Knox’s own claim that her accusation of Lumumba was coerced by the police.
According to her own account, she first mentions her boss (although not by name) in the less formal conversation, before the interpreter’s arrival, telling the police : “I got a text message from my boss telling me I didn’t have to work that night.” (WTBH: 84)
The police appear to pay no attention to the remark (which undermines Knox’s argument that the police were pressing her to name Lumumba) but instead keep questioning her on the timings and details of what she did on the night of the murder. And Knox finds those details difficult either to recall or to invent.
Donnino arrives at half past midnight, and the formal interview begins.
Again, the focus is on the timings of Amanda Knox’s movements on the night of the murder, and again she is having difficulty remembering or inventing them. Ficarra picks up Knox’s cell phones and observes: “You texted Patrick. Who’s Patrick?” and Knox answers, “My boss at Le Chic.” (WTBH: 86)
There is a short discussion about this text message, and then a second police officer asks her: “Who’s Patrick? What’s he like?” This time Knox answers: “He’s about this tall… with braids.” They then continue to discuss the text message, and then the police ask her a third time, “Who’s this person? Who’s Patrick?” Knox again replies: “Patrick is my boss.” (WTBH: 87)
Donnino then makes the intervention about how traumatic events can sometimes affect memory. Such events certainly seem to have an effect on the memory of the police, because one of them asks Knox a fourth time: “Who’s Patrick?” At this point, Knox claims in her memoir that Ficarra struck her on the head. (WTBH: 87)
This is nothing to do with failing to remember a fact correctly, because the fact is correct: Patrick Lumumba is indeed her boss.
The police continue to believe that she is hiding something, and they ask her who she is protecting. After a few minutes of questioning along those lines, Knox has an epiphany in which she claims that the face of Patrick Lumumba appeared before her and she gasps: “Patrick – it’s Patrick.”
If we believe one of Knox’s other stories, that the police were cunningly trying to get her to name Patrick Lumumba, we might expect them to be quite pleased to have succeeded at this point. But according to Knox, their response is to ask her a fifth time, “Who’s Patrick?” The whole room must have wanted to chorus at this point, “He’s her boss!”, but according to Knox, it is she herself who simply repeats: “He’s my boss.”
4. “I was also hit in the head when I didn’t remember a fact correctly…”
Shortly after lunch on Tuesday November 6th, Knox wrote a piece of paper (known as her “memoriale”) in which she makes her first accusation that the police hit her. She hands this memoriale to Rita Ficarra, the very person she would later name as doing the hitting. We have noted above that in her account of the interview, the context Knox provides for this alleged blow is as follows:
This singularly repetitive catechism is supposed to have taken place at around one o’clock in the morning.
However, writing the following afternoon, Knox describes the event like this:
Not only was I told I would be arrested and put in jail for 30 years, but I was also hit in the head when I didn’t remember a fact correctly. I understand that the police are under a lot of stress, so I understand the treatment I received. (WTBH: 97)
This makes no sense as a reflection on the interview as she has earlier described it. In her version of the interview, she claims that the police kept asking her the same simple question, to which she keeps replying with the same factual answer, and the blows to the head take place in the middle of all that. Yet in her “memoriale”, she claims that the blow was because she could not remember a fact correctly.
In case two mutually contradictory accounts of that false allegation are not enough, Knox also provides a couple more explanations for why she was hit. Her third bogus claim is that the police said they hit her to get her attention, which makes for a dramatic opening to Chapter 10 of WTBH:
Police officer Rita Ficarra slapped her palm against the back of my head, but the shock of the blow, even more than the force, left me dazed. I hadn’t expected to be slapped.
I was turning around to yell, “Stop!”—my mouth halfway open—but before I even realized what had happened, I felt another whack, this one above my ear. She was right next to me, leaning over me, her voice as hard as her hand had been. “Stop lying, stop lying,” she insisted.
Stunned, I cried out, “Why are you hitting me?” “To get your attention,” she said. (WTBH: 80)
This is a direct allegation against a named police officer, and not surprisingly it has resulted in another libel charge against Amanda Knox. It is a strong piece of writing, too: on its own, isolated from context, it reads like a trailer for the movie version. The trouble is, that when Knox later tries to set it in context, it makes no more sense than “because I didn’t remember a fact correctly” as an explanation as for why the blow came.
They pushed my cell phone, with the message to Patrick, in my face and screamed,
“You’re lying. You sent a message to Patrick. Who’s Patrick?”
That’s when Ficarra slapped me on my head.
“Why are you hitting me?” I cried.
“To get your attention,” she said.
“I’m trying to help,” I said. “I’m trying to help, I’m desperately trying to help.” (WTBH: 88)
This makes no sense. They already have Knox’s attention, and she is having no difficulty giving them a factual response to their repeated question, “Who’s Patrick?”
It is difficult to explain any logical motivation for that slap in terms of any of the three suggestions Knox has made so far: (1) because she couldn’t remember a fact correctly; (2) because she failed to answer the repeated question “Who’s Patrick?” quickly enough; or (3) to get her attention. She’d got the fact right, she’d answered the question, and they already had her attention.
Knox then provides us with a fourth version of possible reasons for the alleged slap. She describes the following encounter between herself and Rita Ficarra on their way to lunch at around two o’clock on Tuesday afternoon:
With my sneakers confiscated, I trailed [Ficarra] down the stairs wearing only my socks. She turned and said, “Sorry I hit you. I was just trying to help you remember the truth.” (WTBH: 94)
Once again, this makes no sense in the context of a blow to the head while waiting for a reply to the question, “Who’s Patrick?” It is perfectly true that Patrick Lumumba was Amanda Knox’s boss, and she had already correctly answered the same question twice, by her own account.
These are the four main WTBH versions of how Amanda Knox was struck on the head by Rita Ficarra. Perhaps she hopes that readers will choose the one they like best and will ignore its discrepancies with the others.
When testifying in court, however, Knox provided three further versions of the same alleged incident.
First, when asked to explain why she had stated in her witness account that Meredith Kercher had had sex before she died, Knox answered that the police had suggested this to her and that they hit her to make her says so in her statement (Knox testimony, June 12 2009).
Second, a few minutes later during the same testimony, she claimed that the police hit her twice before she gave the name of Patrick, to make her give a name she could not give. (WTBH: 227-8; Knox testimony, June 12 2009)
Third, later still, she tells her own lawyer that the police were screaming at her “You don’t remember”, she was struck from behind, and when she turned around she was struck again. (WTBH:227; Knox testimony, June 12 2009)
These are seven different stories Knox has told about how she was hit during her interview. Even her most generous supporters would have to admit that at least six of them must be false. Everyone else in the room at the time has testified that it did not happen.
When Knox published her fantasy claim about appealing to ECHR last month, she neglected to mention that she was hit. This essentially confirms what has been obvious for some time: Rita Ficarra did not hit Amanda Knox during the interview.
Nobody did. All seven stories are false.
5. “She was screaming in Italian, ‘Aiuto! Aiuto!’”
However, Sollecito provides an ear-witness account of Knox’s traumatic interview, claiming that he could hear her shouting from where he was being interviewed in a nearby room. Here’s his version:
Then came a sound that chilled my bones: Amanda’s voice, yowling for help in the next room. She was screaming in Italian, “Aiuto! Aiuto!” I asked what was going on, and Moscatelli told me there was nothing to worry about. But that was absurd. I could hear police officers yelling, and Amanda sobbing and crying out another three or four times. (HB:33)
If Sollecito’s aim here is to invent a story even more ridiculous than Knox’s, he has succeeded.
For one thing, it does not match any of Knox’s seven stories about how her interview went. But even on its own terms, Sollecito’s story makes no sense. If we imagine for a moment an Italian witness or suspect being interrogated in Italian by Italian officers in an Italian police station, what possible motivation could such a woman have for shouting “Aiuto!”? Who could she be hoping might conceivably respond to her call?
How much more absurd, then, to suppose that an American woman accompanied by an interpreter would shout “Aiuto!” when by her own account she was trying to help the police with their inquiries at that point.
Perhaps Sollecito wants us to believe that Knox was offering to help the police with their inquiries, and Donnino was loudly translating it to “Aiuto!” at this point. Or perhaps, as is often the case with Sollecito, he has given so little thought to his lies that he has not made the slightest effort to make them believable.
There are other occasions when Sollecito is cavalier with the credibility of his explanations for the evidence against him. For example, when confronted with evidence that the victim’s DNA is on his kitchen knife, he suddenly remembers an occasion when he accidentally pricked her while cooking.
(Astonishingly, he repeats this absurd fiction on page 49 of Honor Bound, although he shifts the pricking to Via della Pergola and makes it a knife local to there, since it is obvious that the victim had never visited his own apartment.)
Or again, on being confronted with the (incorrect) evidence that his shoeprints have been found at the scene of the crime, he speculates to Judge Matteini that someone might have stolen his shoes and committed the murder in them. (HB:42)
Even today, Sollecito is currently making a public appeal for funds for his defense, pleading financial hardship, while taking lengthy vacations in the Caribbean, with photographs of his tropical lifestyle appearing in Oggi.
In his book, Sollecito also decides to make a claim of his own that the police struck him:
One of my interrogators opened the door noisily at one point, walked over, and slapped me. “Your father is a fine upstanding person,” he said. “He doesn’t even deserve a son like you, someone who would stand by a whore like Amanda.” (HB:36)
This is actually one of his more plausible stories. He has not named the officer, and he has created an incident to which there are no witnesses; he gives the impression that he was alone in the interview room when this officer came in.
Of course, he has made no formal complaint about this, nor has he mentioned it before publishing it in his book, nor has he named the officer or given any clue as to his identity. Nevertheless, these details simply stand in contrast to Knox’s libelous allegation, in which she named the officer, gives several contradictory accounts of how the blow occurred, and there are several witnesses all of whom deny that any such blow took place.
6. “Maybe a cappuccino would help.”
Finally, it seems only fair to speak up for Anna Donnino, the much-maligned interpreter who was given the task of accompanying Knox as she made her slanderous accusation of Patrick Lumumba.
Knox describes her arrival at the station like this:
The interpreter sat down behind me. She was irritated and impatient, as if I were the one who had rousted her from bed in the middle of the night. (WTBH:86)
While someone else must have done the rousting, by Knox’s own account it is indeed her fault that Donnino was called into the police station that night. Knox was the only English-speaker present, and she had ignored the police’s request that she stay home while they interviewed Sollecito.
Although Donnino must have had every right to feel irritable and impatient, Knox gives little evidence of it in her transcript of the interview. On the contrary, Donnino patiently volunteers an explanation that might attribute Knox’s self-contradictory stories to trauma and stress rather than deliberate lying.
Amanda Knox has often repeated her assertion that police called her a liar during that interview. For example, in the movie-trailer-type excerpt at the beginning of Chapter Ten, she writes:
They loomed over me, each yelling the same thing: “You need to remember. You’re lying. Stop lying!” (WTBH:80)
However, in the more detailed version that she gives on pages 83-90, she does not mention a single police officer calling her a liar. Only once do the police even ask her “Why are you lying?” (WTBH:88) The only person to call Knox a liar, in her account, is Anna Donnino, in the following passage:
“In English, ‘see you later’ means good-bye. It doesn’t mean we’re going to see each other now. It means see you eventually.”
In my beginner’s Italian, I had had no idea that I’d used the wrong phrase in my text to Patrick—the one that means you’re going to see someone. I’d merely translated it literally from the English.
The interpreter balked: “You’re a liar.” (WTBH:87)
The verb “balked” makes no sense here, and so let us charitably call it a printer’s error for “barked”. However, that is the only instance of Knox being called a liar her entire remembered account of the interview.
It seems that she is so reluctant to admit to having said anything that her readers might think sounds like a lie that she forgets this gives the police no context for calling her a liar. This in turn means that the only “lie” she can be accused of is her demotic interpretation of the English phrase “see you later”, in which she presents herself as correct and Anna Donnino getting it wrong.
Ironically, Anna Donnino’s next intervention, for which there are several witnesses including Amanda Knox herself, is clearly intended to suggest that failing to remember the details of a traumatic event properly may NOT be an indication of lying, but instead may be the result of the stress of the trauma:
The interpreter offered a solution, “Once, when I had an accident, I didn’t remember it. I had a broken leg and it was traumatizing and I woke up afterward and didn’t remember it. Maybe you just don’t remember. Maybe that’s why you can’t remember times really well.”
For a moment, she sounded almost kind. (WTBH:88)
“Kind” is a key word for Amanda Knox, and she continually judges people by whether they are kind to her. On this occasion, she is quite right: Anna Donnino does sound kind and helpful in volunteering this intervention. It is not a kindness that Knox would repay, however. On the contrary, in her later account of the trial, she is scathing of prosecutor Mignini’s description of Donnino as “very sweet”:
As for my interrogation at the questura, Mignini described the interpreter— the woman who had called me “a stupid liar” and had told me to “stop lying”—as “very sweet.” “I remember that evening how she behaved toward Amanda,” he said. (WTBH:244)
Knox has evidently forgotten that she has failed to mention anybody at all calling her a “stupid liar” during the interview, or that anybody told her to “stop lying”. Even her claim that Donnino called a liar over a translation error is illogical and is out of keeping with Donnino’s subsequent intervention.
Knox has also forgotten that the only other mention she makes of Donnino at the questura is in the following passage, from the day before the interview. While Knox is going over the events of the night of the murder in her mind, she reports:
“…the interpreter walked by, looked at me, and said, ‘Oh my God, are you okay?... You’re pale… Maybe a cappuccino would help. Come with me.” (WTBH: 76-77)
Once again, Knox unwittingly provides evidence that supports Mignini’s description of Anna Donnino, and undermines her own. Once again, she unwittingly provides evidence that her human rights were perfectly safe at Perugia police station.
7. “What does this say about my memory?”
The accounts of all three defendants in this case are so obviously fictitious that the subject should no longer be open for discussion. Any level of reasonable doubt that might have been acceptable to the Hellman appeal court has been removed not only by the Italian Supreme Court but even more so by the self-penned accounts published by Knox and Sollecito themselves.
Their bizarre and delusional writings will appear incredible to any objective reader who troubles to read them. The physical evidence against them - the DNA, the footprints, the knife, the faked burglary, and so on - only serves to confirm the most likely explanation for their wildly unbelievable stories - namely that they are lying to cover up their involvement in a brutal murder.
Given that his own account was patently fictitious, Guede has been fairly well advised to opt for a fast track trial which offers a reduced sentence and an abbreviated process. (Better advice might have been to plead guilty, but that is for him to choose.)
As a result, he will be eligible for parole relatively soon, even as the longwinded trials of Knox and Sollecito grind toward their conclusions. Whether or not it is right and fair for Guede to be given that parole is a separate question that will be considered in due course - even his expressions of remorse sound false and are undermined by his continuing refusal to give a plausible and honest account of what happened that night.
However justice systems all over the world are obliged to balance the rights of victims against the rights of defendants, with resultant compromises that are often uneasy and unsatisfying. Victims’ families may want the truth, but the perpetrators don’t always want to tell it.
The situation for Knox and Sollecito is different because their preposterous stories have been shored up by a coterie of supporters who in the long run have done the two defendants no favors whatsoever.
The pair have chosen the full trial process which may have postponed the final decision for several years, but which is also likely to result in much lengthier prison sentences.
It is too late now for Knox and Sollecito to opt for a fast track process, and everyone, no matter how ill-informed, can surely agree at least that the path they have chosen has been painfully slow and longwinded.
But there were many other options that, although previously open to them, have now been closed down by their supporters’ stubborn insistence that the case against them was first concocted by a vindictive prosecutor who took an early dislike to them and was subsequently supported by a vast conspiratorial network of police, judges, journalists, shopkeepers, students, friends and relatives of the victim, and so on.
This conspiracy theory is not only daft, but it provides no help at all for the two people at its core whose words and actions remain delusional and psychotic.
Amanda Knox wrote in her memoriale, “Is the evidence proving my pressance [sic] at the time and place of the crime reliable? If so, what does this say about my memory? Is it reliable?”(WTBH 98-9). These words are a clear cry for help.
Whether or not this cry was genuine, or was simply a cunning attempt to diminish punishment, is a matter that could and should have been determined at the time by a qualified psychiatrist. Instead, Knox was provided with a set of lawyers and a PR firm both of whom were set the task of claiming and proving their client’s innocence.
Her false allegation against an innocent man was then explained as resulting from a coercive police process - another ludicrous claim, contradicted by all the available evidence, including the self contradictory accounts published by the defendants themselves.
Knox and Sollecito are damaged individuals whose grip on reality is loose and whose delusional ramblings suggest that they need urgent psychiatric help. Instead, their fantasies have been cocooned by highly vocal supporters who have enabled the fantasists to maintain a series of fictions that, in the final analysis, will almost certainly fail to stand up to legal scrutiny.
Archived in Officially involved, Amanda Knox, The defenses, Diversion efforts by, The Knox-Mellases, Other legal cases, Others elsewhere
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Thursday, December 05, 2013
The Rise And Fall Of “Frank Sfarzo” And How “Sfarzogate” Ripples On And On
Posted by Ergon
[Image is from Francesco Sforza’s early days in Seattle last year when he felt he was riding very high]
December 06, 2013. Francesco Sforza also known as Frank Sfarzo is due to appear today in a Florence criminal court.
He is charged with aggravated defamation (art. 595 of the Italian Criminal Code) against the Deputy Prosecutor General for Umbria (Perugia’s region) Dr Giuliano Mignini, because he is a very senior officer of the court, with the alleged intention of obstructing justice on Knox’s behalf.
The charges refer to multiple accusations of criminality Sforza made online on his now hidden or defunct blog “Perugia Shock”. A prison term is unlikely if found guilty at this one trial, but the problem is that he faces a trial for violence against police in Perugia as well.
Who is Frank Sfarzo? Is he “a Perugian blogger and investigative journalist” and “personable black haired man with intense brown eyes”? (Candace Dempsey, who relied extensively on his personal contacts and blog for her book “Murder In Italy”)
Or as journalist Andrea Vogt wrote in a May 27, 2009 Seattle PI article,
Dempsey was one of the first U.S. bloggers to post key court documents. (Sourced from Sfarzo) She is now writing a book on the case. The other defense site is Perugia Shock, the first blog about the case, which started Nov. 2, 2007. Perugia Shock’s comment threads are home to some of the most heated Knox-related exchanges online.
Perugia Shock is hosted on a California server and financed by an American firm, according to the Perugia-based blogger who covers the case and operates the site under the alias “Frank Sfarzo.
“Also known as Frank Sfarzo, this home-spun blogger set up his blog “Perugia Shock” the day after (sic) Meredith’s body was found. The Knox family initially relied on his local intelligence, and he exchanged videos and information with pro-Amanda Seattle blogger Candace Dempsey”. Source: Darkness Descending page 324.
The journalist Barbie Nadeau has this to say about Sforza in “Angel Face” pages-89-91:
The first blog dedicated to the crime, Perugia Shock, was set up on November 02, 2007, the day Meredith’s body was discovered. The blogger, Frank Sfarzo, a skeletal man with a waxed crew cut, ran a student flophouse in town and believes that he missed a call from Meredith while she was looking for lodging.
When I later asked him in an e-mail why he started the blog, he explained the connection and described how Meredith had looked at the coroners: “Seriously, she was so beautiful and sweet, she seemed to be alive, with the mascara on her eylashes (sic), just like ready to go out.
“Sfarzo hid behind the handle, “Frank the blogger,” and he would never confirm whether he actually saw Meredith on the autopsy table or simply saw the coroner’s photos. (He saw the photos, and obtained copies) He ingratiated himself with several clerks and cops around town and, curiously, often had a document no one else could get or a scoop that beat out the rest of the press.”
He started out as an objective observer, slightly sympathetic to Meredith, but became a rabid proponent of Amanda’s innocence. He was the quintessential blogger—a smart, cryptic, insomniac. Even the chief prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini, read his posts.
Mignini always believed that Frank’s blog was intellectually inspired and financially subsidized by Mario Spezi, the Italian journalist who covered the Monster of Florence serial killer for La Nazione. During the 1970’s and 80’s, several couples were murdered as they made love in their cars in the foothills around Florence. Spezi followed the investigation for years and pinned his reputation on a theory of the case that Mignini disputed. Eventually, Mignini had Spezi jailed for obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence.
Note: this is how the American fiction writer Douglas Preston got involved with Spezi, and latched on to the Meredith Kercher murder case as a way of getting back against Mignini, also supporting Frank Sfarzo behind the scenes.
Why is Frank Sfarzo so important to this case? It is about public perception about the guilt, or innocence of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, and how he was the source of many of the myths about the case and prosecutor Giuliani Mignini that have made it into the mainstream media. Yes, he had many police files, improperly obtained, and insecurely kept.
This article is the first of a series of posts about his activities in that regard, the true story of his so called ‘persecution’ by Dr Mignini, and the financial and other support he received from the supporters of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, and their families. He even hid his relationship with OGGI magazine.
It reveals why he really fled Italy to America, attempting to get a green card in the process, and the many cases of assault that are still outstanding against him. It details the story of his arrests for assault in Perugia, Hawaii, and Seattle, and the circumstances of his expulsion from Canada.
It will tell how he received tens of thousands of dollars in ‘donations’ from prominent supporters of Knox and Sollecito funneled through Bruce Fischer’s organizations “Injustice in Perugia” and “Injustice Anywhere” as well as his and other people’s PayPal accounts (I have the details) And it will detail the behind the scenes efforts to influence the case using Frank Sfarzo as a source for the allegations against Mignini through websites like IIP and Ground Report, which then made its way into the media.
This series will also reveal much about Frank Sfarzo, the man. Someone who believed primarily in Knox’s guilt (with Sollecito as the roped in sex-slave) it shows a flawed being willing to compromise himself to make money, and also, fulfill his long held dream to have ‘books written and movies made’.
In the course of this investigation, I met with and interviewed many previous supporters who now wish they had never met him, and some, who even, conclude that his reporting on the case was based on self-serving lies. The behavior of those that enabled him also comes under scrutiny, and, their attempts to intimidate people into not speaking up about his actions.
They indeed, had much to hide.
This report is based on the hundreds of posts I made on him at PMF dot Net , with much help from the posters and editors there and at PMF dot Org. It was heartening to see the cooperation between the two sites and thanks are due to them, and also to Peter Quennell, who first invited me to join the Meredith Kercher community three years back (I’d been posting on the case at Huffington Post previously)
What will happen to Frank in court? I do not know, but it does appear, that the falsehoods he spread are beginning to unravel. I see he has surfaced again, after hiding from the authorities for so long. Reporting on Bruce Fischer’s blog, he writes “they attack me for speaking up”. No, I’m sorry. In this, as it always has been, the blogger Francesco Sforza, also known as Frank Sfarzo, is the author of his own misfortune.
Part II of the series, “The Sfarzo~Gate Papers”, will be published here next week. ~Ergon
[Below: This picture has a story behind it. Frank Sfarzo stayed almost two months at the Mellas household, and was later shunted off to various supporters when he made a sexual move on Amanda Knox.]
Archived in Diversion efforts by, The Knox-Mellases, Francesco Sforza, Michael Heavey, Steve Moore, Bruce Fischer, More sockpuppets, Other legal cases, Associated trials
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Friday, November 22, 2013
US Judge Startles Legal Watchers By Overturning A Unanimous Verdict: Is This Hellmann Part Deux?
Posted by Peter Quennell
Martha Moxley’s murder 1975
Martha Moxley’s is a case with quite a few similarities to Meredith’s case - and after 38 years it has once again flashed back into the US news.
Greenwich, where 15-year-old Martha lived, is a few minutes drive up the Long Island Sound shoreline from New York City. Great wealth resides there. It is the US zip code with the highest family income and net wealth, and there are many mansions set in large estates.
The brutal murder of Martha happened on Halloween Night of 1975. She was beaten to death with a golf club by someone around 10:00 pm soon after leaving a Halloween party at the Skakel house across the street. No physical evidence ever tied anyone to the crime.
The main suspects in the case
Michael Skakel was a close neighbor (with his large family, he lived in a mansion diagonally across Walsh Lane from Martha’s smaller one-storey house) and a school classmate of the same age as Martha. He had a troubled record of misbehavior and substance abuse (he was later sent to a special school) who Martha’s diary later revealed had a history of pestering her. The golf-club came from the Skakel house.
He was not the only suspect. A new tutor at the house was long considered. And Greenwich police first interviewed and polygraphed his brother Tommy, who was very friendly with Martha, and with whom she was seen flirting at the party at the Skakel’s house the same night. Between the two brothers, there was bad blood.
Read here the final entries in Martha’s diary which seem to show her attraction to Tommy but none at all to a jealous Michael.
Michael Skakel’s conviction in 2002
Michael Skakel over the years (seemingly proud of himself, and sounding quite like Sollecito) came to hint and even openly claim more and more that he was the one that killed Martha. Skakel also claimed to have been up in a tree or a treehouse peeping through windows on the same night. An alibi that he was across town during the party at his house fell through.
In 2002, after these pointers to himself reached critical mass in police investigations and various books and reports, he was put on trial and unanimously found guilty by a jury, and then (controversially) sentenced as an adult to 20 years to life. As with Sollecito and Knox in Italy, the vast majority of the population thought it was a fair cop.
There are of course some differences between the two cases.
In Perugia the police and prosecutors really did do a good job and didnt blink under the considerable pressure of TWO families and TWO defense teams playing all manner of dirty tricks. They never backed off, whereas the Greenwich police (who never called for outside help) seem to have become timid and indecisive and simply wanting the case to go away. And in Martha’s case DNA has not yet reared its intrusive head.
But the two cases also have a lot in common.
Commonalities of Martha and Meredith cases
1) Martha was younger than Meredith but given time would have emerged to be a very similar girl. She also was ambitious, talented, hard-working, eye-catching, witty, and the apple of their eye of various boys which might have sparked jealousies in some.
2) The attack involved a number of ferocious blows over several or some minutes with a golf-club, suggesting not a burglar or prowler who did not know Martha but someone who did know her who was in a considerable rage. The golf-club broke, and the shaft was thrust through her neck. She was then dragged alternatively face up and face down quite a few feet to a place under a tree. There was a lot of blood, and as some of her clothes were down there may have been a simulation of a sex crime.
3) The rich and connected Skakel family (among which Michael did not stand out as the major achiever) was not especially helpful in the investigation, and they blocked certain important moves by the Greenwich police. They have spent huge sums of money (possibly up in the millions) on lawyers and detectives and still do. Theirs was a fairly sharp-elbowed media campaign and it looks as if it was driven more by family reputation (the Skakels are related to the Robert Kennedys by marriage) than by deep conviction that Michael was a good boy.
4) The evidence presented was a mosaic that had been accumulated over time. Alibi and behavior mattered a lot. It required very close attention to absorb it all and to assemble it into an incriminating pattern. At trial prosecutors did a good job. In this case no incriminating DNA was found at all, although it is possible that for the new trial new tests will be done on Martha’s clothes. The conviction by 12 jurors was unanimous. They did a very careful job, and their deliberations lasted four days. Those who seek to argue that they have it wrong usually pick on isolated points.
5) Various books have been published to explain the case. The most-read book is by ex-police-detective Mark Fuhrman titled Murder in Greenwich published by HarperCollins (Amanda Knox’s publisher) in 1999. He claimed he broke the case though police said they needed no help.
6) There are several websites like PMF and TJMK with no vested interest at all which seek to keep the victim’s presence alive, and to seek justice for her in face of many attacks and dirty tricks. See the forum Campy Skakel here and the website MarthaMoxley dot com which is or was being run by Tom Alessi who was a classmate of Martha at school.
And the sudden new situation
Now Connecticut’s Judge Bishop has decided that Skakel didnt get the best of defenses by the high-profile legal talking head Mickey Sherman (who back then seemed to be hired for his high public profile) and noted several things Sherman could have done. Also the evidence seemed to Judge Bishop to be slim (what, no DNA?!). So he has ordered that Skakel can face a new trial.
A second judge has just released Michael Skakel on $1.2 million bail and he must wear an electronic bracelet in case he decides to skip. He will apparently head for a secret location to wait for the new trial to begin.
Although Judge Bishop is well qualified (unlike Hellmann) and seems impartial and detached, he has startled the legal community and crime followers by going against both a well-informed trial jury which really saw a lot of evidence and against a whole row of previous judges who had considered and declined Skakel’s requests for appeal.
Judge-shopping till the “right one” appears is often how big money wins out, and the general US reaction to the annulled verdict seems to be “What?! Not again?!”
Michael Skakel may perhaps win at a new trial with new lawyers and a new strategy - there is still a theory that his brother Tommy really did the crime, though the Skakel lawyers may not be allowed to play that card.
However, as in Meredith’s case, legal and public opinion is against him, and Martha’s mother and the victim websites still fight on bravely.
[Below: Michael Skakel(right) with defense lawyer Mickey Sherman in 2002 who he now says let him down]
[Below: Directly ahead is where the crime took place; a new mansion has replaced the Moxley home ]
[Below: The Skakel mansion, which is diagonally across Walsh Lane from the old Moxley home]
[Below: Mark Furman’s diagram of his scenario of the murder in “Murder in Greenwich”]
[Below: Judge Bishop of the Connecticut courts who has ordered a new trial for Skakel]
Archived in Appeals 2009-2014, Hellmann appeal, Hellmann Report, Other legal cases, Others elsewhere
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Wednesday, November 20, 2013
The Considerable Number Of Suspected Perps That Countries Extradite Daily To Other Countries #2
Posted by Peter Quennell
Extradition: a hardball game.
Complete refusals of extradition by any countries other than Russia and China seem increasingly rare, as that can cause a rebound effect and economic retaliation in response. The United States very rarely refuses to extradite.
If anything, the US is stepping up the pace of its extradition cases - both ways. The US at federal and state level is at any one time processing hundreds of requests, and transporting suspected perps back and forth.
These are some of the high-profile extradition cases in today’s news:
The US/Italy Robert Lady case
The twists and turns in the story of the fugitive from Italian justice and former CIA chief in Milan Robert Lady were last posted on here. He scampered out of Central America back to the United States mid-2013.
But now official Washington seems to be giving Mr Lady a very hard time which may have him voluntarily headed to Italy to seek a break.
When the anniversary of 9/11 came around this year, Robert Seldon Lady was moving between low-end hotels around Miami. An international arrest warrant keeps him from returning to his home in Panama. He says he’s flirting with personal bankruptcy, fears for his life, and is “getting pretty desperate.” His marriage is broken. He blames this hard luck on his former employer, the Central Intelligence Agency
Mr. Lady helped CIA contractors and agents snatch an Egyptian Islamist off the streets of Milan and deliver him to an interrogation cell in Cairo. This so-called extraordinary rendition—one of 130 or so carried out by the Bush administration—set in train events that soured America’s relations with Italy and upended the life and career of Mr. Lady and other CIA agents.
Saying “I’m fed up with all this,” Mr. Lady has some extraordinary steps in mind to change his fate. His actions and outspokenness are going to add to the discomfiture of his former bosses at Langley over this messy episode from the early days after 9/11.
If the muddle-headed Knox and Sollecito enablers can find any solace in that, good luck. Mr Lady was a top government employee, who claims he was doing only what he was told.
The Brazil/Italy Henrique Pizzolato case
Believe it or not the former director of the Bank of Brazil has fled to Italy to ensure a fair trial.
Sentenced to 12 years and seven months in prison for bribery, embezzlement and money laundering, Pizzolato announced in a letter that he fled to have, according to him, a new trial in Italy “removed from politics and electoral motives” and in “a court not subject to the impositions of the media”.
Brazil might ask Interpol for a “red notice” which is the highest form of international arrest warrant and often has the same wanted result as formal extradition.
A red notice chills renegades’ possibilities worldwide.
In fact so tough is life on the lam under a red notice that perps often simply cave before too long, and head back to defend themselves or pay their dues without any court moves or official transport required.
The US/Italy Raoul Weil case
Finfacts reported on this case last month.
Raoul Weil, a former UBS wealth management chief, was arrested last weekend in Italy and faces extradition to the United States to answer charges of aiding and abetting tax evaders.
Weil left Switzerland’s biggest bank in 2009 after he was declared a fugitive from US justice by ignoring a criminal indictment issued in 2008. UBS was forced to pay a $780m fine in 2009 after admitting to actively assisting US tax evaders to break US law.
Several Swiss bankers and lawyers have since been indicted in the US for their alleged role in helping wealthy US citizens hide their assets from the tax authorities.
Weil is one of the most high-profile of the accused as a then head of UBS’s wealth management and he is now a temporary resident of an Italian prison, likely fearing a longer spell in a US one.
A Florida court indictment charged Weil with having a prominent role in aiding UBS’s US clients to hide around $20bn in undeclared assets between 2002 and 2007.
He however has strongly denied the allegation but would not risk defending himself in a US court.
Italy is giving Mr Weil a pretty hard time and accedes to all American extradition requests except where the death sentence might be involved.
The US/Russia gangsters case
The US is trying hard to get some Russian gangsters (okay, alleged gangsters) extradited from countries around the world and Russia is resisting this “extraterritorial application of America law”.
U.S. organized crime experts say Russian criminals working overseas often have connections within the Russian government, and that the Russian government’s defense of them is designed to keep those links from emerging in public light….
In the past six months, Russians have been a frequent target of arrest warrants executed at the request of U.S. prosecutors.
On Aug. 1, the Dominican Republic extradited 24-year-old Aleksandr Panin to stand trial in federal court in Atlanta on charges related to cyberscams using SpyEye malware, which enables the theft of online banking information. Panin is accused of stealing $5 million from U.S. banks.
In mid-August, Lithuania extradited an alleged arms dealer, Dmitry Ustinov, to stand trial in the United States for allegedly negotiating to sell restricted night-vision goggles. He faces a 20-year sentence.
Another Russian, Dmitry Belorossov, was arrested at the Barcelona airport Aug. 17 upon triggering an Interpol fraud alert. Belorossov’s extradition to stand trial in the United States is pending.
When U.S. prosecutors seized Liberty Reserve in late May, they said the company had laundered “more than $6 billion in criminal proceeds.” Liberty Reserve allowed clients anonymity and offered them a digital currency, known as an LR, to facilitate payments for criminal activity.
The US/Spain Javier Martin-Artajo case
Banker Javier Martin-Artajo now in Spain is refusing to be extradited to the United states - because the crime he is accused of took place in England. Good luck with that one. JP Morgan Chase Bank has just paid a huge fine in the US so THEY accept the crime took place there.
Archived in Appeals 2009-2014, Extraditions, Other legal cases, Others Italian, Others elsewhere, The wider contexts, American context
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Sunday, October 06, 2013
Pushback Against Mafia Playbook Gathers Speed With Denial Of False Accusation of “Satanic Theory”
Posted by Peter Quennell
[Preston left, Spetzi center, and George Clooney who is at legal risk for his option on their defamatory book]
Previously on the mafia playbook:
As we have posted previously, the mafia and their handmaidens strive constantly to bring the Italian justice system down a peg or two. When not using dynamite, as they often have, they especially favor the weapon of character assassination.
The vilification campaign being run in the United States by David Marriott, Chris Mellas, Doug Preston, Bruce Fischer, Steve Moore, Michelle Moore, Nigel Scott, and David Anderson (and from Italy by Frank Sforza) seems to be right out of the mafia playbook, whether all of them know it or not.
How the mafia have been using the public relations campaign to their own advantage seems set to emerge further in at least five of the associated trials coming down the pike: those of Luciano Aviello, Frank Sforza, Mario Spezi, Raffaele Sollecito (his book trial) and Amanda Knox (her book trial)
And now Mario Spetzi, obviously a real glutton for punishment, once again piles on. Spetzi has had incessant run-ins with the Italian law - and now he seems to have entered some kind of self-immolation end-game.
With Doug Preston, Spetzi published several editions of their Monster of Florence scenario. These are widely discredited in Italy, not least because they are such obvious attempts to apply lipstick to a pig (half of the text is about an obviously red-handed and very very scared Preston trying to prove he did not actually melt down under interrogation for his probable felony interference in a case.)
Spetzi has been charged with interfering with and hampering both the Monster of Florence investigations and the related investigation (which involved Dr Mignini) into the Narducci drowning - a clear murder (the body was found bound and another substituted) though a nefarious group worked very hard to deny that. (They were all charged as well, and the Supreme Court has recently confirmed the correctness of that.)
In recent weeks the Supreme Court has given a firm order for both prosecutions against Spetzi to go ahead. How Spetzi stays out of prison if he is found guilty is anyone’s guess. Doug Preston came up with a calamity of an explanation for the arrest of Frank Sforza for domestic violence, but presumably his assistance wont be sought this time around.
So in face of impending prison Spetzi really watches his tongue, right?
No, in fact in a move bizarre even by his own standards, Spetzi on 29 September published a surreal “interview” with Amanda Knox in Florence Corriere. It once again repeats the felony claim that the prosecution charged Knox and Sollecito in the first place based only on some “satanic theory”.
The Perugia prosecution has never never NEVER claimed that. The Florence prosecutor has already moved into felony-investigation mode (this could cost Spetzi more years in prison) and on 3 October Florence Corriere published this correction below by the defamed prosecution (translation is by Yummi).
This unequivocal statement (far from the first but the most prominent) has its own legal status. It is a clear legal warning to the likes of Chris Mellas and Bruce Fischer that if they sustain the libel they are at risk of felony charges also.
The statement has already had a strong ripple effect in Italy. Many former allies - some of them not very savory - now feel that Spetzi has lied to and betrayed them for his own ends.
To the editor of Florence Corriere
I am Giuliano Mignini, the magistrate who performed the investigation and trials of first instance and appeal in Perugia against the people accused of the murder of Meredith Kercher, as well as the investigation into the death of Francesco Narducci linked to the one performed by the Florence Prosecution Office in relation to the masterminds of the “Monster of Florence” murders.
I saw reported the interview that the journalist Mario Spezi – a person accused in the Narducci case – did with Amanda Knox, a main defendant in the appeal trial that will start today – published in the Corriere Fiorentino on Sep. 29.
In two recent cases the Court of Cassation has annulled verdicts, which acquitted Knox and Sollecito, and which decided [by Judge Micheli] a dropping of charge against Spezi (the parts regarding ‘lack of certainty about malice’ were annulled too).
Therefore I don’t need to add anything further on that point. Instead, I need to point out the falsehood of an assertion which Mr. Spezi makes at the beginning of his article, as he tries to explain the reason for a link which, in his opinion, allegedly exists between the two cases, the one related to the Monster murders and Narducci’s death, and the one about the Kercher murder.
Mr. Spezi’s text says: “… a strangely similar background, for two different cases, behind which the magistrate thought he could see satanic orgies on the occasion of Halloween for Amanda, and ritual blood sacrifices as a worship to the Devil in the Monster of Florence case…”.
This is an assertion that Mr. Spezi and crime-fiction author Douglas Preston have been repeating for years, but does not find the smallest confirmation in the documentation of the two trials, nor in the scenario put forward by the prosecution in which the Meredith murder (which didn’t happen on Halloween but on the subsequent night) was the consequence of a sex hazing to which Meredith herself did not intend to take part, and, above all, it was the consequence of a climate of hostility which built up progressively between the Coulsdon girl and Amanda because of their different habits, and because of Meredith’s suspicion about alleged money thefts by Knox.
Furthermore the object of the proceedings in the Narducci case is the scenario about the murder of the same Narducci and the attempt, by the doctor’s father and brother, to conceal the cause of his violent death, and this included the background within which the event – which was a homicide in my opinion and in the opinion of my technical consultant, coroner Prof. Giovanni Pierucci of the University of Pavia – had developed and taken place.
I had already denied several time assertions of such kind, but Mr. Spezi and Mr. Preston, and some people connected to them, go on repeating a lie, apparently hoping that it will become true by repeating it.
Another astonishing fact is that, despite that I was the prosecutor in the Kercher trial together with my colleague Manuela Comodi and then subsequently with my colleague Giancarlo Costagliola [at annulled apeal], and despite that I limited myself to formulating judicial requests which were all agreed to by a multitude of judges and confirmed by the Supreme Court, I am still considered as the only one responsible for an accusation against Ms. Knox and Mr. Sollecito, by twisting its content in various ways.
In the Narducci case, in the same way, I simply limited myself to performing the investigation and requesting the remands to trial, and the trial will have to start again now because the Supreme Court has annulled the dropping of charges [by Judge Micheli] and sent back the trial to another preliminary judge in Perugia.
The purpose – quite overt – of such endlessly repeated lies, is to defame the investigator, picturing him as a magistrate who is following alleged personal obsessions rather than sticking at facts, as instead he is.
The hope that such conscious misrepresentation of reality could bring advantage to the defences (foremost that of Spezi himself) is consistent with a bad habit which has all along flourished in Italy but is now also copied abroad.
Therefore I ask you to please publish my rectification against false and seriously defamatory information.
See also this overview of the two cases requested by our poster Kmcvick.
Archived in Appeals 2009-2014, Florence appeal, Diversion efforts by, The Knox-Mellases, The Sollecitos, Francesco Sforza, Steve Moore, Bruce Fischer, More sockpuppets, Hoaxes about the case, The Dr Mignini hoax, Florence Monst hoax, Other legal cases, Associated trials
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Saturday, August 24, 2013
Surprised? A Desperate Ghirga Urges Amanda Knox To Please Show Up At The Florence Appeal
Posted by Peter Quennell
[Above: Knox’s legal team with mom back when; even then it looked like they could use some sleep]
Meeting in Seattle, Amanda Knox’S lawyer urges her to be at the Florence appeal, but his suggestion falls on deaf ears.
Here is a brief report from Italy. Clearly her lead defense lawyer Ghirga (who normally handles only small-time crime) thinks the presence of Knox and her entourage coould humanize her and allow her to speak out and to guide him.
But Knox has really been burning her bridges to Italy big-time.
Since the end of trial in 2009 Amanda Knox’s entourage and she herself appear to have broken law after law after law. Let us list some of the ways in which they are now foolishly dug in so deep.
The evidence in the case as presented at trial in 2009 remains rock solid to this day (the Massei outcome is the state of play) and if the large knife is retested, it could actually get way worse. Hundreds of open questions remain which Knox has strenuously avoided answering, either on the stand or in her book or on TV.
In Florence, how does she talk about that?
Every instance where Amanda Knox and any of her entourage alleged without hard proof that Italian police and prosecutors have committed crimes (and there have been literally hundreds of such accusations by Preston, Fischer, on and on, now all captured and preserved) could see any or all of them hauled into court with zero heads-up (ask Sforza).
In Florence, how does she talk about that?
In 2011 Knox was sentenced to three years (served) for the crime of framing Patrick Lumumba. So what does this slow learner do? Turn right around and commit the SAME crime in her nasty book, only this time she makes it worse. This time, she frames the chief prosecutor, in describing in detail a highly illegal interrogation that never took place.
In Florence, how does she talk about that?
There are perhaps 40 felony allegations against police and prosecution in Sollecito’s blood-money book and maybe another 20 in Knox’s own. Each of them will be put on trial separately for those claims and either one of them or both in desperation could take down all the writers, all the agents, all the publishers, all the wild-eyed conspiracists who helped write the books, and all those who made the illegal multi-million dollar deals, including their own two dads.
In Florence, how does she talk about that?
The contempt of court trial of Frank Sforza is about to start. He is desperate to stay out of jail, and all of his alleged felonies since 2008 in contempt of the court could put him there for up to ten years. Consider the list of precisely who in Italy and the US Frank Sforza might take down, to try to give himself something of a break. This list is nothing if not long (see next post).
In Florence, how does she talk about that?
Witness Luciano Aviello is now on trial and as this post explained Aviello could take down all of the defense lawyers (for illegal dealing over the “right” judge), all of the Sollecitos, if they offered bribes, and both of the judges, Hellmann and Zanetti, who presided over the annulled appeal.
In Florence, how does she talk about that?
Nobody with any sense flouts the Supreme Court, or the extremely important, powerful court in Florence, which has sent down some of the toughest perps in the land.
Both courts and both prosecution teams are well-know in Italy for being cold and relentless in their search for the truth. None of the four lead lawyers for Sollecito and Knox has ever won even one case either in Florence or before the Supreme Court.
This might well be a trial balloon, to see how the Florence prosecutors and courts react. An arrest warrant, maybe? As we have seen lately, they act fast, and suddenly at any time.
Archived in Officially involved, Amanda Knox, The defenses, Public evidence, Knox's alibis, Diversion efforts by, The Knox-Mellases, Hoaxes about the case, Knox book hoaxes, Interrogation hoax, The Lone-Wolf hoax, The Aviello hoax, Other legal cases, Associated trials
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Thursday, August 15, 2013
Contempt Of Court Trial Now Begun Could Decimate What May Be In Judicial Terms A Criminal Enterprise
Posted by The TJMK Main Posters
Stance of the Supreme Court
Criminal enterprise?! Don’t take our word for it. That is what the Italian Supreme Court considers it may be, and is prompting strong measures normally held in reserve for mafia-type assaults on the justice system.
The Italian Supreme Court is nothing if not remorseless in its mandated pursuit of justice and the truth. We saw this the other day when a prison sentence was allowed to stand against the former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi who had long thumbed his nose at the courts.
We also saw it in the convictions allowed to stand against the many CIA operatives and their Italian counterparts who kidnapped Abu Omar and flew him for torture to Egypt. Though most of their sentences were permitted to be reduced, most are still left with a felony record for life - and the lead CIA operative is now a world-wide fugitive.
We can now see this same strong reaction against contempt of the courts in the Meredith Kercher case and the Monster of Florence case and the hairbrained “defense” campaigns nominally run for the perps in those two parallel cases.
Italian officials have various reasons to believe not only that Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox are surely guilty, just as Judge Massei described, but also that they and their American supporters are foolish pawns in some much bigger and even nastier games, and deeply in over their heads.
In its annullment of the Hellmann/Zanetti appeal and its instructions to the Florence Palace of Justice, Cassation reveals its own suspicion that some very unsavory elements may be attempting to take the Italian justice system down a peg and it wants fast decisive action to stop this. A high-stakes new trial described at bottom here is a first huge warning shot.
The “usual suspects” with anti-justice interests
As we explained three months ago in this post the “usual suspects” pretty openly working to take Italian prosecutors and police down a peg or two can be bunched into these seven groups.
- The three regional mafias;
- A few defense lawyers and well-funded defendants;
- Politicians shielding corruption;
- In some instances the freemasons.
- Those wanting investigations like MOF/Narducci to drop dead;
- Muckraking magazines like Oggi;
- Some anti-Italy foreigners.
If we look closely - a lot closer than all the UK and US media and most of the Italian media - we can spot attempts to further the interests of all seven of these groups in the campaigns against justice for Meredith and especially against justice for the Monster of Florence victims.
- The three mafias have their toe in the door in various ways including but not only the mafioso witness Luciano Aviello (on which more below), and the Narducci 22 including Spezi, and the editors of newspapers like Oggi who have long done their handiwork for them.
- The defense forces and the well-funded, sneering, money-grubbing defendants Knox and Sollecito are very well-known to us here; their myriad dirty tricks go as far back as early 2008 and the list has not yet stopped growing.
- The Berlusconi loyalist and fervid Knoxaholic Rocco Girlanda wrote to the President, asking that he order that the Perugia prosecutors be investigated; Girlanda also tried to cut the national police budget before he was voted out of office..
- Both the judges in the annuled appeal were freemasons and our main poster Yummi described the furtive freemason fingers in the pie (some freemasons feud strongly with catholics, which Perugia police and prosecutors are) in his well-researched posts here and here.
- Those who wanted the MOF/Narducci investigations to drop dead used the ever-willing “useful idiot” Doug Preston to ridicule the investigations in a strident book and numerous media appearances; also they tried hard to take down Dr Mignini, their most recent nemesis though the Supreme Court has totally reversed that for reasons explained here.
- The notorious editor of Oggi has a long history of sneering and essentially fact-free reporting, aimed at undermining the courts and the police; playing to his advantage, there is a smallish but terminally paranoid readership for such conspiracy myths in Italy.
- And as for anti-Italy foreigners with their fingers in the pie, well, where to begin? Doug Preston? Nina Burleigh? Candace Dempsey? Greg Hampikian? Paul Ciolino? Judy Bachrach? Bruce Fischer? David Anderson? Joel Simon? Donald Trump?
All seven groups were happily on a roll up to around the end of 2011, when Knox and Sollecito were released, and many (including Curt Knox’s PR guru David Marriott, Hampikian, and Fischer) prematurely declared that they had won total victory.
But it is astounding how much matters have reversed in the past year and a half. Take a look at the state of play for them as it is now.
Their reversals in Meredith’s case:
Knox has served three years, will be labeled a felon for life, faces an enormously tough new appeal against an excellent prosecutor, and has her name on a book which commits against Italian officials THE EXACT SAME CRIME she served three years for: false accusations of crimes. She is expected to be charged soon by Bergamo prosectors.
Sollecito in his own book committed some of the same crimes as Knox did in hers (did we mention criminal enterprise?!) plus another one (accusing the prosecution of wanting him to roll over on Amanda) which his own father has renounced on national TV. He is expected to be charged soon by Florence prosecutors.
Everybody involved in the writing and publishing of the two criminally defamatory and very self-serving blood-money books (illegal in Italy) could soon be about to take a fall, both in the Italian criminal courts and in the US civil courts. The foolish publishers and deal-makers included, of which Curt Knox himself is one.
If neither RS nor AK turn up for the new appeal in Florence later in September, they risk warrants being issued for their re-arrest. If they DO turn up they could well turn on one another, and their books will help the prosecution and hamper the defenses no-end - with those mad claims, how can they possibly take the witness stand?
Criminal defamation charges are still pending against Amanda Knox and against both of her two biological parents. Corruption charges are pending against Francesco Sollecito and Raffaele’s sister Vanessa for attempting to use political means to up-end the Perugia prosecutors.
Judge Hellmann has been eased out ignominiously, and Judge Zanetti demoted. Conceivably both may face charges, along with Conti & Vecchiotti and maybe Hampikian. And all the defense lawyers are in a ton of trouble for helping AK and RS to write their books, Giulia Bongiorno especially. The former MP Rocco Girlanda is of course long gone.
Many of the Knox defense forces have exited or ended up as being of no consequence: Frank Sforza (on the run from the law in the US and Italy); Halkidis and Hampikian (see Machine’‘s posts below), the hapless two Moores, the proven phoney Bruce Fischer, and so on and on.
And US officialdom, not least the State Department and the US Embassy in Rome, still show not the slightest interest in intervening. Any judge is expected to approve extradition of Knox if her refusal to face trial and prison is sustained in face of a final guilty verdict.
Their reversals in the Monster of Florence case.
Yummi mentioned some in the post linked to above, including the trouble rained down on the heads of the prosecutor and judge who put on trial Giuttari and Mignin, whose convictions were scathingly reversed by a very angry Supreme Court.
The Narducci case was put back on track by the Supreme Court and a prison sentence seems a sure thing for Mario Spezi and up to 2 dozen others. A prison sentence might be incurred by the delusional weakling and serial defamer Doug Preston.
The “theory” of the MOF case Dr Mignini has good reason to hold is that the murders were not those of one single serial killer. This perception of a shadowy self-protecting group is absolutely mainstream in Italy, and is reflected in the excellent Guittari book on the case (Il Mostro) which could soon with good reason (it tells the truth) push the silly Preston MOF book off the US and UK bookshelves.
That theory is espoused by all the current prosecutors in Florence.
The one media outlet which never fails to take an anti-prosecution stance, Oggi, Is being investigated and could be put on trial for publishing Knox’s false charges against the Perugia and national police and prosecutors and may have problems hanging in there.
Dr Mignini looks set to be promoted to becoming the next attorney general of Umbria, the region of which Perugia is the capital. And the hold of the freemasons and the mafias over Italian justice is not getting any stronger, just as most Italians prefer.
And the stick of dynamite now in a Florence court
Former Sollecito witness Luciano Aviello could be the direct cause of a lot of people ending up in jail.
His trial for perjury and contempt of court is happening now in Florence. His trial has been fast-forwarded as a direct result of the Supreme Court declaring that getting to the bottom of his erratic day in court in 2011 with too-familiar mafia-type allegations must be a top priority. His forthcoming defense is expected to be explosive.
We have posted extensively on Aviello since he first surfaced. A mafioso since his teens in Naples, now aged about 40, he has spent most of his adult years in prison. (He is back there again right now - for killing a dog and extortion.)
As police and prosecutors all know, Aviello has a very long record of making things up to try to give himself some breaks and to keep in with the mafia. He has been repeatedly convicted for perjury.
He was the witness summoned by a hapless Giulia Bongiorno to try to arrive at an explanation that fits with the prevailing conclusion of the Supreme Court that THREE people had attacked Meredith on the night.
What Aviello came up with on the stand was that his own missing brother and one other habitual criminal had unintentionally committed the murder. They were trying to steal some artworks, but they got the address of the house wrong.
Raffaele Sollecito was so thrilled at this (palpably false) testimony by Aviello that he says in his book that he sent Aviello an embroidered handkerchief, perhaps because Aviello has urges toward a sex change operation.
On the witness stand in mid 2011 Aviello really roasted the police and prosecution in mafia-type terms for failing to come down on his side and follow up on his allegations (actually they had already followed up, but found nothing).
Then two fellow inmates at his prison near Genoa testified for the prosecution that he had told them that the Sollecitos had offered or paid large bribes for any false testimony helpful to their boy getting sprung.
Extraordinarily, Judge Hellmann brushed all of this under the rug, and hurried on to other matters less embarrassing to the Sollecitos and Bongiorno. This REALLY caught Cassation’s attention as there have been strong suspicions in Perugia and Rome that Hellmann and/or Zanetti were in the pocket of one of the families.
Why did the unqualified Judge Hellmann replace the excellent Judge Chiari, suddenly and inexplicably decided upon by Chief Judge Di Nunzio? Why are seemingly all of the lead players bending things to the Knox-Sollecito side freemasons?
Were Hellmann and Zanetti and Aviello and Aviello’s fellow inmates among those who received some sort of inducement to bend RS’s way? What was Giulia Bongiorno’s precise role in all this?
Directly, Aviello could be in a position to bring down both families, both defense teams, and both appeal judges. He could even make a guilty verdict for RS and AK a sure thing.
Criminal enterprise indeed. We will continue reporting. Oh and make sure to watch your back, Luciano.
Archived in Vital Must-Read Posts, Diversion efforts by, The Knox-Mellases, Francesco Sforza, Hoaxes about the case, The Aviello hoax, Florence Monst hoax, Other legal cases, Associated trials, Amanda Knox, Raff Sollecito
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Sunday, May 12, 2013
With First Felony Complaint Against Her Book Filed, Amanda Knox’s Legal Prospects Continue To Slide
Posted by The TJMK Main Posters
As many of our recent posts have explained, no really GOOD lawyer in Italy would ever allow their clients to put out a provocative book while their legal process is still going on. It hasn’t happened in any other Italian cases in years.
And now in this case it has happened twice.
Sollecito’s book reeked of blood money, arrogance and contempt, it twisted and discounted much of the evidence, made claims which both Sollecito and others had previously contradicted, made accusations of criminal behavior against officers of the court, and separated himself from Knox.
Now guess what?
Despite the fact that Sollecito’s book was promptly dispatched to the Florence and Verona chief prosecutors with stiff contempt-of-court complaints, Knox’s book too reeked of blood money, arrogance and contempt, it too twisted and discounted much of the evidence, it too made claims which both Knox and others had previously contradicted, it too made accusations of criminal behavior against officers of the court, and it separated her from her co-perp.
In each case there was a shadow writer, respectively Andrew Gumbel and Linda Kulman, who seem to have tired early on of the clients, as all their hired help tends to do, and simply copied the FOA playbook into the books with no sources at all checked beyond that narrow group.
To cool-headed and informed people who really know the case, Gumbel’s sources were rather a joke. PR shills Nina Burleigh and Candace Dempsey and Steve Moore? Really? And Linda Kulman seems to have fallen into the same trap.
This becomes very obvious when you watch the two “authors” at their interviews. They are both hampered and tongue-tied because for the life of them neither can remember what their shadow writers put in the books. Several interviewers have actually caught them out.
As we knew the Bergamo lawsuit against Oggi and Knox was headed down the pike, we set out what we consider to be the state of play last Friday. It still stands up, but might be embellished just a bit.
First, here is Andrea Vogt’s helpful description of what’s in the Bergamo complaint..
The 8-page complaint is addressed to the Prosecutor’s Office in Bergamo (near Milan), where the headquarters of the magazine are located. It cites as slanderous the suggestion that Knox was illegally interrogated and maintains that there is no trial or investigation documentation supporting a number of “affirmations that were never made.” Mignini insists Knox was initially heard by him as a witness with key information relevant to the murder of Meredith Kercher, not as a suspect herself.
“Knox never asked for an attorney. She wanted to talk,” Mignini wrote, adding that he did not contest her statements or question her at that time, because she was making a spontaneous declaration regarding Patrick Lumumba’s alleged involvement. [In other words, not about herself.]
The complaint also questions allegations of prison mistreatment and indicates specific persons and neutral institutions as having knowledge on the matter, including the Capanne prison chaplain, U.S. embassy officials, center-right politician Rocco Girlanda and secretary general of the Italy-USA Foundation Corrado Daclon, all of whom visited Knox regularly in prison.
Also contested are phrases reported by Oggi and attributed to Knox’s memoir claiming he had a bizarre past that included a conviction on abuse of office charges that was pending appeal, when in fact he was fully and definitively acquitted of those charges in 2011 by a Florence court.
Italy’s high court (Cassation) recently agreed with his office’s request to re-open the Monster of Florence/Narducci case, the complaint notes. That decision has lent new credence to his long-running investigation of the suspicious 1985 death of a Perugian doctor who some investigators believe was involved (Italy’s Cassation Court in March also ordered Mario Spezi, co-author of the Monster of Florence bestseller, to stand trial for allegedly attempting to pin the blame on another man).
While the targets of the suit are stated to be Oggi and Amanda Knox and her publishers, the REAL target appears set to be the FOA playbook as set out in Amanda Knox’s book. And for that matter in Raffaele Sollecito’s book.
The first complainant (there are expected to be others) Giuliano Mignini has advanced a request for a formidable slate of witnesses, which could come to include even the lawyers for Sollecito and Knox.
Won’t that be fun. As they are interrogated on the stand, each witness is going to have to take a position on what crazy stuff the FOA have pushed into the books.
Did the prosecutor offer Sollecito an illegal deal or not? Did Knox get interrogated about Patrick by the prosecutor while denying her a lawyer or not? Did Knox complain to her lawyers about conditions in prison and if so why do those lawyers and so many others say she did not?
And maybe fifty more sudden-death choices like the above. Gee thanks Oggi and Amanda Knox. This could set some facts straight, in front of the whole world.
Archived in Public evidence, Knox's alibis, Diversion efforts by, The Knox-Mellases, Hoaxes about the case, Knox book hoaxes, Interrogation hoax, The Dr Mignini hoax, Other legal cases, Associated trials, Amanda Knox
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Thursday, March 21, 2013
Hard Line Against Seeming Self-Serving Meddling By Preston & Spezi Likely To Get Cassation Nod
Posted by Peter Quennell
[Another crazy provocation from Preston & Spezi The Angel With The Eyes Of Ice due in Germany soon]
Breaking news. Cassation is deciding right now on a formidably worded appeal by the Umbria Prosecutor General to sustain the MOF/Narducci investigation.
The mood generally in Italy is pro the Giuttari and Mignini Monster of Florence supposition, for which there is some firm proof, and not in favor of the hairbrained Spezi and Preston supposition, for which there is none at all. Giuttiari’s book Il Mostro sells very well, while Spezi’s and Preston’s MOF hardly sells at all.
Continued investigation had been stymied by the self-serving actions of certain Florence prosecutors in trying and convicting Giuttari and Mignini for supposed harm to themselves. That conviction was reversed a year ago by an appeal judge in Florence for lack of jurisdiction, and several week ago Cassation scathingly ruled that the case must come to a total end..
The judge who found Giuttari and Mignini guilty (Francesco Maradei) is now up to his ears in his own trouble for bending court outcomes, seemingly due to pressures and bribes. Meanwhile the way has been opened for Mignini to move up to the level of Prosecutor General for Umbria (there are four prosecutor posts at that level) in the next few weeks.
Giuttari spoke out strongly about the trumped up case, and in yet another unexpected development the police chief he blamed for blocking strong pursuit of the case, Antonio Manganelli, has just died.
This post by Yummi of 21 January (especially the second half) is a vital read.
One thing you can say for the fictionalist Doug Preston: he never knows how to quit when he’s behind!
Read our many, many posts especially by Kermit exposing Preston as a serial liar here. This new book [image at top] by Preston and Spezi in German on Meredith’s case is promised for release next month, and included in the publisher’s blurb is this claim:
In Perugia, Italy, the British student Meredith Kercher is brutally murdered in her apartment. Prime suspect is her American flatmate Amanda Knox and her Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito. With sparse circumstantial evidence both are convicted to extremely long prison sentences. Two years later, an appeals process frees both. Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi roll out the spectacular case of Amanda Knox from scratch. Previously unpublished details, interviews with lawyers involved and the exposure of the dubious machinations of the Italian prosecutor Giuliano Mignini guarantee a breathtaking reading that can compete with any thriller.
Yeah, well, good luck with that one.
As we have reported in depth the Chief Prosecutor in Florence is already considering contempt-of-court charges for Raffaele Sollecito based on a large number of complaints about his book. If Amanda Knox’s book which is promised for next month impugns even one Italian official, she can be assured of the same..
Presumably so can Preston if this book, the latest of his many hairbrained ventures, comes forth. More reporting right here when Cassation decides on the Prosecutor General’s appeal.
Archived in Officially involved, Supreme Court, Other legal cases, Associated trials, The wider contexts, More sockpuppets
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Monday, March 18, 2013
Like Amanda Knox, Jodi Arias Forgets, Sings, Jokes, And Does Headstands In Interrogation Context
Posted by Peter Quennell
Archived in Officially involved, Amanda Knox, Other legal cases, Others elsewhere
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Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Psychiatrist Dale Archer Suggests Jodi Arias Fits Sociopath Profile Except For No History Of Quirks
Posted by Peter Quennell
In his opinion (he has not had direct access to Jody Arias) she appears to accord to 6 of the 9 the symptoms below. He thinks she doesnt fit the key last one, no past history of anti-social or odd behavior going back prior to her affair with Travis Alexander, which he considers to rule out sociopathy.
We noted in the previous post that Jodi Arias had a turbulent family history and job history, and she made a good case on the stand that her boyfriend was debasing her. But absent actual signs of prior symptoms, Dr Archer doesn’t find that enough.
• Failure to conform to societal norms: Jodi has no respect for the law or the rules of society. She not only viciously killed another person, she openly and unabashedly sneers at the prosecuting attorney and the courtroom proceedings.
• Pathological lying: Ms. Arias has no problem lying. We’ve all seen it and know she’s good at it. Sociopaths lie easily and keep their cool because a lie is not considered wrong or immoral. It’s merely a way to get what they want. In the early stages of the investigation, Arias came up with three different lies for the police which explained what happened, changing her story as they disproved each.
• Manipulation, deception, and cunning: Arias hacked into Alexander’s email and Facebook accounts. He found her hiding in his closet when he returned home from a date. She introduced him to sex, playing the submissive partner though she was actually dominant in order to control him. It is the prosecution’s speculation Arias eventually filmed and recorded Alexander in compromising situations to blackmail him if he tried to leave her.
• Impulsiveness: A co-worker claimed Arias continuously called Alexander from work. If there was no answer, she would drop everything and leave to track down Alexander. She didn’t care if she lost her job, as long as she didn’t lose Alexander. Another point: while in the act of murdering him, Arias dropped a camera, and incredibly it snapped a picture of the murder taking place. Instead of taking the camera with her, along with the rope, the gun, her bloody clothes….. she impulsively threw it in the washing machine and ran it through a cycle. Miraculously, the images remained on the film.
• Irritability and aggressiveness: Arias was becoming increasingly irritable and when Alexander started seeing another woman she turned up the heat. She stalked, vandalized, plotted and then murdered. Twice she slashed the tires on his car. She sent a threatening email to Alexander’s new love interest.
• Reckless disregard for safety of self or others: We do not have record of Arias disregarding anyone else’s safety at this point other than Alexander- she killed him or herself; threatening suicide when Alexander would try to cut the ties. Ultimately the person she killed wasn’t herself, but Travis Alexander, the one person who consumed her thoughts, her life.
• Persistent irresponsibility: In her 20s, Arias worked at several dead-end jobs and was in and out of relationships, but nothing stands out. No convictions, jail time or other legal issues.
• Lack of remorse or guilt. In Arias’ mind, Alexander was not a person but her possession. He took her to interesting places, and she introduced him to sex. When he tried to pull away, she would reel him back with ever more outrageous sex practices. Eventually she killed him so no one else could have her possession. At the funeral, she did not shed one tear. Since the murder, the investigation, the arrest and the trial, not once has she said “I’m sorry.”
• Before age 15 and continuing, a history of antisocial behavior. Here is the real problem with labeling Arias as a sociopath. This condition starts in the young teen years, if not before. It is a persistent and consistent behavior over the first three to four decades of the individual- some say for a lifetime. No one has come forward with any prior behavioral issues, legal issues, problems with work, family or friends. She was reportedly a very “good girl” in high school and very “normal.” At this time there are no known problems with previous boyfriends.
Jodi Arias has one or two more days on the witness stand, and then defense experts will try to account for her behavior and blackout at the time Travis died in a non-incriminating way. This trial is being shown live on American TV (the HLN channel).
Arias somewhat withered under very tough questions from the jury. Would Knox? Plenty of still-unanswered questions for Knox here.
Archived in Other legal cases, Others elsewhere, On psychology
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Friday, March 08, 2013
FBI Reporting Close Co-operation With Italy In Arresting And Soon Extraditing A Fugitive Swindler
Posted by Peter Quennell
A new FBI report in the news.
It is still more confirmation in line with many previous posts here that US and Italian crime-fighters respect one another and work closely together - and don’t turn a hair at requests for extradition.
The fugitive fund manager Florian Wilhelm Jürgen Homm could face 25 years in prison. The FBI explains what he is accused of:
Florian Wilhelm Jürgen Homm, a German hedge fund manager who was on the run for more than five years, has been arrested in Italy on federal fraud charges that accuse him of orchestrating a market manipulation scheme designed to artificially improve the performance of his funds, a fraud that led to at least $200 million in losses to investors around the world….
Homm was the founder and chief investment officer of Absolute Capital Management Holdings Limited, a Cayman Islands-based investment advisor that managed nine hedge funds from 2004 until September 2007. The criminal complaint filed in United States District Court in Los Angeles alleges that Homm directed the hedge funds to buy billions of shares of thinly traded, United States-based “penny stocks.” Homm caused many of the purchases of penny stocks to be made through Hunter World Markets Inc., a broker-dealer in Los Angeles that Homm co-owned. Homm also allegedly obtained shares of the penny stock companies through various businesses he controlled.
And the FBI credits the role in arresting Florian Wilhelm Jürgen Homm of the Italian authorities.
Homm, 53, was arrested at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy, at approximately 12:30 p.m. on Friday (local time). Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles obtained an arrest warrant on Wednesday, March 6, after filing a criminal complaint that charges Homm with four felony charges: conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud, and securities fraud. Homm was arrested by Italian authorities after the United States submitted a request for a provisional arrest with officials in Rome.
Archived in Italian justice system, Appeals 2009-2014, Extraditions, Other legal cases, Others elsewhere
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