Heads-up on Amanda Knox "luncheon" this Thursday at Loyola Law School. Organizer Laura Caldwell and Dean David Yellen should be aware of this if they did due diligence. There do seem to be vastly more deserving cases in the US and they dont come with the "baggage" of xenophobia, defamation, money-grubbing, the mafias, bent judges, and stalking of the victim's family. In Supreme Court rulings Knox remains a convicted felon, and at minimum an accessory to murder.

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Monday, March 04, 2013

Disarray And Decay In The Pro-Knox Parade: #2 Key Knox-Mellas Flunkie Now AWOL On 2 Continents

Posted by Peter Quennell

[Click the image above for Frank Sforza’s first posts in November 2007 - scroll down for English]

Foolish False Allegations Against Italian Officialdom Sparking Increasingly Tough Legal Reaction

That was the header of our post of 19 December. This is the excerpt on Perugia Shock blogger “Frank Sfarzo” who like Bruce Fischer is unwillingly outed under his real name (Frank Sforza) and found to be exceedingly mundane. 

Sforza hides behind the name Frank Sfarzo as an intemperate and rarely accurate blogger on the case. He brings no known professionals skills to the task. He is reported to be the target of criminal charges relating to alleged abuse of the sister and mother with whom he lives. His unsavory reputation and desperate finances mushroomed openly the other day, when he was reported in personal confrontations while visiting Canada and Hawaii.

Sforza now faces a defamation suit as well, for claiming to the whole world via Doug Preston and Joel Simon of the Committee to Protect Journalists in New York that he was being persecuted by a prosecutor back in Perugia. The prosecutor was not even involved. Seems to us an open and shut case.

While on the west coast of the United States and Canada and Hawaii late last year, Sforza attracted the attention of the police in three cities.

Charges in two were dropped but he was a no-show for the court case Kermit elegantly described here. The judge issued a warrant for his arrest.

Meanwhile his legal trouble in Perugia escalated. He failed to show for court hearings in Perugia in December and January and his lawyer walked. He was to face charges of violence against the police when they were called to quell a rampage. They were called by his mother and sister.

Now Frank Sforrza has again failed to show up in court, this time in Florence, and police will be actively looking for him. This case concerns one of his craziest “scoops” which was that Mignini was in cahoots with drug dealers, whereas exactly the opposite is true, Perugia drug dealers fear Mignini and he has taken a number of them down.   

Sfrorza was initially cocksure (like Sollecito) on his return to Italy late 2012 and made taunting posts on Facebook and Fischer’s Misinformation Forum (like Sollecito) early 2013 but he has since gone very quiet and fled the internet (like Sollecito) as the deep legal trouble he is in slowly seeps in.

Back in 2007 and 2008 those of us who were here then followed Frank’s Perugia Shock postings and it was only late in 2008 that for murky reasons he jumped the shark and switched his sweaty attentions over to Amanda Knox.  Read his first posts here. Scroll down for English.

They were actually at times accurate - and he clearly did think Sollecito and Knox were up to their ears in it.  Read his headline on the last image below. On 10 November 2007 he even penned this satire.

A: Shit, my roommate is dead, do you mind if I sleep at your place?
R: Sure, so we can have another couple of joints. The guy just supplied me.
A: Greaat!
R: Hey what are those cellpones?
A: Oh, it’s her cellphones. Do you think I should hide them?
R: Give them to me… Uuuuhuuuh! (he throws the cellphones away).
A: Oh my goood, what have you done? You’ve thrown them in that garden! They gonna find them!
R: Naaa, don’t worry. My sister is Carabiniere, I know how to handle such things.
A: Hey, you should throw away your knife too.
R: What? Throw my knives away? I’m from Puglia, you know? I always have a knife with me.
I can’t believe you just said that. You know what? You better sleep at your place.
A: Oh no, please, don’t make me sleep at my place. There’s blood in the bathroom. I’ve already got my sweater dirty. I had to throw it away, can you believe it? I don’t’ wanna loose another sweater.
R: Oh right, good, ok, sorry, you can sleep at my place. By the way what happened to your roommate?
A :She made everything dirty with her blood, and then she stopped moaning about one hour ago.
R :Hey I was there with you at that time.
A: Are you sure?
R:Yes, don’t remember? We were… you know?
A: What?
R: We were having sex. Did you already forget?
A: I’m not sure.
R: Actually I’m also not sure too, now, I’m too smoked.
A: We should do something than. They’ll come to take us.
R: Naaa. Are you kidding? I’m from Puglia. There’s mafia in Puglia, you know? My sister is Carabiniere! And My father is a doctor, you know? DOCTOR! He makes a call and I’m not gonna have any problem.
A: What about me? Well, if you save me too I’m gonna give you anything you want. You can have me anytime, no problem.
R: Actually I’d prefer some joints. By the way, no problem. Now we break the window and they’ll think was some thieves.
A: What if they don’t buy it?
R: Don’t worry, I know how this things go.
A: Yes, your sister is Carabinieri. Well, anyways, I’ve sent a message to Patrick so they can still think was Patrick.
R: Fine. He’s such a perfect suspect. Now let’s go to sleep. I’ll set the alarm so tomorrow I’m calling my sister.
A: Are you gonna remember that?
R: I’ll put a note on the fridge.
A: However… Are you sure that wasn’t us to hurt her with your knife?
R: To hurt who?

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Might Frank Sforza Already De Facto Be Banned From Ever Reentering The United States?

Posted by Kermit

If the disastrous last few hours of 2012 are any indication, 2013 will be a nightmare year for the Amanda Knox PR campaign and their associated income streams.

As regards the latter, with Knox’s memoirs book set for going on sale next April, there will have to be some serious rewriting or respinning if any mention is made of her family’s stalwart friend and logistics handler in Perugia. The man of many aliases, amongst which is his blogging name of “Frank Sfarzo”.

“Sfarzo” (real name Sforza) did not show up yesterday – New Year’s Eve 2012 - in court in Seattle for his preliminary hearing for a double charge of Assault 4-Domestic Violence related to his latest arrest associated with violence (domestic violence or against law enforcement officers) in different countries and continents.

Already the few remaining “Friends of Amanda” spinners on Bruce Fischer’s TrashForCashVictimsAnywhere forum not yet chilled by his escalating legal comeuppance are desperately justifying “Frank’s” bouts with domestic violence arrests as being the fault of the alleged victims.

One of the victims, Peter H in Canada, who had trustingly contributed to Sforza a very large sum, has now said “enough is enough” and bit the bullet in terms of personal embarrassment and posted a highly abusive and dishonest email from Sforza which passes for truth in his pathological world.

This is reposted with thanks from PerugiaMurderFile.net and deep appreciation to Peter H.

Yes, unlike you, abandoned and avoided like pest by everyone, I’m having fun. And anyway it’s not your business if I’m having fun or not, since the idea of you making my business makes me puke, as everyone who looks at you can only be disgusted by your scary appearances and, if they know you, even more by your person.
You are a zero, in BC nobody knows you, you never produced anything in your life, you just live out of a disability check, you have no money, you save on the electricity, you calculate how much water your victims, who accept to reach you in that barn, consume.
Your “friend” Bill Gates doesn’t have any idea who you are as well as your other “friend” Steve Jobs didn’t.
It’s only your imagination of mythomanic, paranoid, perverted, drunkard, old fool, as you rightly define yourself.
You are a disturbance for every one who has the bad luck to come across you, or who falls in the traps in which you attract them. You harassed Betttina, you harassed me, you are violent, dangerous, you have hallucinations because you are crazy, you are a snitch and a slanderer at once, you called the police at 4am while I was in bed telling them that I had stolen your wallet and cellphone. And that’s in the records of the police of BC. You were so clever to call the police after having made crimes against me, exactly as the other drunkard did. That’s the proof that you are stupid. You are so stupid you are not even able to make up an accusations against your victims. How can someone who has to stay in your house steal your cellphone and wallet, what does he do with your cellphone and your wallet if he’s staying in your house out of the world?
Uh? What? You don’t understand? If you were able to understand you would have produced something in your life, you would have someone close to you instead of having to pay people to get there.
Old disgusting drunkard and fool, remove immediately all my contact information from your email and cellphones. Remove within 48 hours the emails to me or from me you have been publishing online (because you are a nobody mythomaniac who wanted to show to the world that you were my friend). I never authorize you to publish my emails,I told you that you could post them only on the private discussion of IIP, where there are my friends, not on the public one. Remove those emails withing 48 hours or I’m gonna sue you. Never contact me again. You can’t answer this email, you can’t talk about me or say anything about my person with anyone. Next email or any attempt of communication in any form from you towards me will be evidence of your further disturbance to me, I’ll pass the border and I’ll report you to the police, who luckily know you very well.

We checked and Sforza’s malicious description of Peter H is not remotely akin to the truth. Many others can testify that, in terms of Sforza’s endless stream of threatening and abusive emails, that one is very much par for the course. Could Michael Heavey be next?

No wonder more and more one-time supporters of “Frank” and the Bruce Fischer forum TrashForCashVictimsAnywhere and in general the Amanda Knox cause are becoming more and more revolted with an immoral and borderline illegal campaign.

On New Year’s Eve, “Frank’s” Seattle court appointed lawyer initially tried – do give her credit – to arrange a week’s delay in the hearing, alleging “customs” problems that “Frank” was said to be suffering. However, Judge Ed Mckenna probably believed that with a month to prepare for any such problems, the blogger known as “Frank” should have foreseen them and been in court on schedule.

In reality, Frank likely had no problems with the American Customs. There are only three or four grounds. See the form below.

It is doubtful that even he would fly to the US for a domestic violence preliminary hearing and at the same time tried to introduce those prohibited or restricted goods into the country. Given “Frank’s” dependence on other peoples’ earnings, it is unlikely he introduced excessive levels of cash into the US. It is unlikely he tried to introduce livestock, vegetables, or disease agents.

Instead of being allowed a week for Sforza to make it through Customs, the judge gave Sforza’s lawyer only three and a half hours delay in starting the proceedings against him on New Year’s Eve. However, by 1:30 p.m., she had to concede that she couldn’t ensure that Frank could be anywhere in particular at any particular time. She did not even know where he was.

As a result, Judge McKenna had no other option than as prosecution requested to issue a bench warrant for “Frank’s” arrest.

Click for a larger image. That shows that the Amanda Knox PR asset known as “Frank” is now officially wanted under an arrest warrant covering any jurisdiction in the United States. If spotted any police can arrest him on sight. Anyone with any information concerning his whereabouts may inform the nearest law enforcement agency.

However! He may still be in Italy, or he made already be in some other country, indeed even under cover in the United States. In fact, his personal Facebook page currently lists a visited location in the New York area, although given his track record of deception that may or may not be where he really is.

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

A number of questions remain to be answered.

One is the basis on which “Frank”, a foreigner with a recent record of domestic violence arrests, could be released on bail last November following his arrest for attacking two housemates in Seattle.

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

Just as Amanda Knox was held in preventive prison in Italy to avoid her entourage of fulfilling their promise to get her out of prison and Italy in whatever possible way, why was “Frank” – a foreigner with arrest and legal issues growing around the world – allowed out on only $2,000 bail when it was very likely that what could happen has actually happened: he left the country and hasn’t returned on time for his court preliminary hearing in Seattle. Who facilitated this questionable decision to offer him bail in November?

Having left the country, both the judge who freed “Frank” on bail in November and “Frank” himself should have been more than aware that should “Frank” leave the country – exactly as he seems to have done hours after getting his bailed freedom in November - that he could have serious and lengthy paperwork to prepare should he want to return and face the American justice system?

A justice system that Fischer’s TrashForCashVictimsAnywhere and the Amanda Knox PR campaign has so often favourably compared to what they paint as a corrupt, abusive Italian justice system.

Entering the US if you have an arrest record – as is definitely the case of “Frank” – is difficult and requires much more extensive paperwork than simply filling out the ESTA VWP forms online like an average tourist. Anyone in “Frank’s” situation should have been responsible enough to identify potential problems in returning to the US to face his Domestic Violence charges …


    ...unless the entourage around him (I’m not referring to his court appointed lawyer) felt that in fact the best option of those available is to not have “Frank” go through a difficult trial that could further damage the Knox PR campaign and have a negative impact on upcoming sales of Knox’s memoir “tell all” book and her odds on appeal.

    or unless the US Rome Embassy or Immigration decided (not at all for the first time) that it would be way cheaper and safer for everybody concerned to simply keep him out.

The final question is: where actually is “Frank”?

He has an upcoming trial in Italy for biting a police officer who responded to a domestic violence complaint phoned in by a female member of “Frank’s” own family. A prison term is a real possibility. He has an American arrest warrant issued against him. A prison term is a real possibility. He’s certainly not wanted back in Canada.

His attempted point of entry into the USA if there was one is not publicly know. He has not been seen publicly in Perugia for some weeks.

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

Posted on 01/01/13 at 01:46 PM by Kermit. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Other legal processesOthers elsewhereFamily/defense hoaxersKnox-Mellas teamThe wider contextsSeattle contextFrancesco SforzaMore of the same
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Monday, December 31, 2012

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

Posted by Peter Quennell

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

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

Before the afternoon session began, Frank’s court appointed lawyer and the court bailiff informed interested parties that he would not be making an appearance.  The KING5 cameraman decided to leave before hearing the adjudication. With court in session, the lawyer apologized to the judge for wasting the court’s time on her no-show client by requesting the half-day delay.

In the morning session the lawyer initially requested a one week delay due to Frank having “customs” problems, but could provide no further information for the court regarding Frank’s absence in the afternoon session.  The judge was aware of Frank’s legal issues in Hawaii, but could find nothing in Frank’s record that would have prevented him from making it to court and therefore disregarded the claims of “customs issues”.

The judge was willing to entertain any additional excuses or suggestions on Frank’s behalf, but unfortunately there were no supporters to be found, leaving his lawyer to state, “I have no further suggestions, your honor.”

The judge then asked the prosecution for a recommended course of action.  The response was, “issue a bench warrant for Mr. Sforca’s arrest”, and the judge agreed, issuing a bench warrant for Frank’s arrest on New Year’s Eve 2012.

Hmmm. Unfortunate that there was not even one supporter to be found…

Frank Sforza has apparently not been seen in Perugia either since his flight out of Seattle a month ago. He also failed to attend a court hearing in Perugia on his (more serious) resisting-arrest charge there.

If he fails to appear in court on the new date next month a Perugia judge is expected to issue a warrant for his arrest. Its is possible that he could be declared an international fugitive if there are more no-shows. 

Oddly, Frank Sforza is apparently still sending out his trademark abusive emails to his former fans and financial helpers. Will that come to include Judge Heavey and Curt Knox? 

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


Posted on 12/31/12 at 07:30 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Other legal processesOthers elsewhereFamily/defense hoaxersKnox-Mellas teamThe wider contextsSeattle contextFrancesco SforzaMore of the same
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Will Frank Sforza Show In Seattle Court? If Not Arrest Warrant And Freedom Revocation Probably Next

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

[Above center: Frank Sforza with close acquaintances Curt Knox and Michael Heavey]

1. Skeptical Bystander reports:

Live from the Seattle Municipal Court: Sforza a no show this morning.

Attorney requests one week delay, says Frank is having customs problems and interpreter is not available this afternoon.

Judge asks if Frank’s English is good enough to function without interpreter and then resets for 1:30 today.

Will he show? KING 5 cameraman was there.

2. Fly By Night reports

Frank Sforza is a no show this afternoon as well. This time, there’s no KING camera to record the non-event. Waiting for Judge McKenna to make an appearance.

If there were supporters in attendance, they were being very discreet.

Posted on 12/31/12 at 04:00 PM by The TJMK Main Posters. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Other legal processesOthers elsewhereFamily/defense hoaxersKnox-Mellas teamThe wider contextsSeattle contextFrancesco Sforza
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Saturday, December 29, 2012

One Of The Serial Defamers of Italian Justice Must Face Some Hard Truths Of American Justice

Posted by Kermit

This has not been a good year at all for the increasingly beleaguered Knox and Sollecito campaigns.

As interest in Amanda Knox and her case dwindles precipitately in the United States, her image handlers seem to realize that a major final push effort must be made for their final challenge to be successful: a profitable sales kickoff for Knox’s “tell-it-all” book now promised for April 2013.

At this point, the tough prosecution appeal in the case against Knox and Raffaele Sollecito for the murder of Meredith Kercher seemingly hardly interests the PR campaign, apart from any market “churn” that it can help to develop for the book..

Raffaele’s own US book promotion tour three months ago was little short of a complete disaster. On the one hand, his heated text has provided massive new defamatory material against innocent persons, and on the other he has introduced new affirmations that totally contradict his defence team’s posture throughout the murder trials.

Now, the Perugian Blogger known variously as “Frank Sfarzo”, “Francesco Sforza” and “Francesco Sforca” (real name Sforza) has been arrested and has spent time confined in Hawaii and Seattle jails, in addition to being questioned by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Canada. In Seattle he may face more time.

These arrests and questionings are in addition to his arrest and charging in Perugia for attacking police officers coming to investigate a complaint for alleged domestic violence phoned-in by a female member of his own family. That trial is now pending.

[“Frank Sfarzo” with his fellow serial belittlers of Italian justice, Bruce Fischer and Steve Moore]

Frank’s Canadian Caper and his Hawaiian Punch adventure were of thematic note. In one case, it was an elderly Canadian gentlemen who was acting as Frank’s host who made the phone call in the wee hours to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, because he feared that the often scantily clad and more-and-more argumentative “Frank” was a real physical threat to him. In the other case, a woman had Hawaiian police alerted and had claimed that she was pushed around by “Frank” in the hotel where she had put him.

What is really surprising is that in both cases the victims of alleged aggressions were fervent supporters of Amanda Knox! And in both cases, the victims had given “Frank” substantial monetary gifts: $5,000 by the Canadian man, and air tickets to Hawaii by the American woman.

In both cases, the victims were followers of the absurdly named “Injustice in Perugia” blog run by the beleaguered pro-Knox Chicago-suburbs blogger Bruce Fisher/Fischer. Fischer is actually a mall store assistant and wannabe sleuth who like “Frank” makes use of more than one name in grandly presenting a faux front to the world.

Back when he claimed online to be the upscale “Bruce Fisher of New York”, Bruce carried out many nasty and in-effect anonymous attacks on individuals, mostly women, who did not share his point of view. The “Fischer of Chicago”, now exposed, continues more cautiously in public, but in his little private forum he continues to rant against anyone who doesn’t share his untethered take on Amanda Knox’s total innocence and a vast Italy-wide conspiracy. This authentic Fischer has a fairly unexotic lobbying base and Internet connection for promoting his pro-Knox cause: the suburban-mall fur-shop where he works.

Fisher/Fischer is now maintaining that the plea on his blog for the “Frank Sfarzo Fund Drive” is to help the Perugia Shock blog and not “Frank” the blogger who runs it – however, that’s not what the Fund Drive description says:

[Above: Amanda Knox advocate Bruce Fisher/Fischer has been a key enforcer of donations to the Perugian Blogger]

As is often the case of persons who suffer domestic physical and psychological abuse at the hands and mouth of someone they implicitly respected, it must have taken a major act of self-questioning and doubt before the Hawaiian and Canadian victims were able to make themselves step forward and decry the abuse they allegedly suffered and were humiliated by.

Both of those cases were talked about a lot on several web discussion boards. Not surprisingly, Fisher/Fischer, who has invested heavily in the particular versions of the crimes against Meredith that he promotes to “save” Knox (and, as a necessary side-effect, Raffaele Sollecito) could only try and explain/justify the Perugian Blogger’s behavior, while at the same time directly accusing the two real victims of provoking the Blogger’s “quirky” personality. Fisher/Fischer’s take on Knox and his related income stream would otherwise be at stake.

Perhaps Fischer should be more worried about the potential liability for wrong claims he makes about third parties in this case, especially those in Rome and Perugia, and about the potential for the Perugian Blogger to cause further cases and more victims of domestic violence, given the blogger’s alleged record.

In spite of the statement of “Probable Cause” by the arresting police officer in Hawaii (see image above), in the end, under a great deal of heat, charges were not pressed by the victims against “Frank” in Canada or in Hawaii.

However, what Fisher/Fischer and other pro-Knox PR assets did not reveal in what I consider to be their hypocritical justification of “Frank’s” known violence in his North American travels is that he actually had one further legal case, still going forward in Seattle at this date.

It started to receive public scrutiny only when it was unearthed by Internet commenters on the pro-victim side.

Following his problems in Canada and Hawaii, on November 27 “Frank” was arrested yet again, in Seattle, after allegedly having a physically violent encounter with the persons with whom he had arranged a room when he returned to Washington State after his disastrous emergency exit from Hawaii. He spent over 24 hours in a Seattle jail before being bailed out thanks to donated funds.

The Seattle police report concerning this most recent incident and the arrest of “Frank” states thus:

“(VI – Victim1) said that he was sitting on the couch talking to the District Attorney’s Office when S/Sforza became agitated and slapped the phone out of his hand. S/Sforza then jumped on top of him and punched him in the face approximately four times. V I was able to push S/Sforza off of him and stand up but S/Sforza pushed him back on the couch causing pain to his right shoulder. S/Sforza then jumped on top of V II (Victim 2) and began slapping in the face and scratched him on the temple. While V II struggled to get away he scraped his left knuckle but was able to get to his room. While in his room he grabbed his phone to call 9-1-1. As he was walking out of his room S/Sforza tried to push him back in the room and grabbed him by the throat using both of his hands. S/Sforza then left the house and 9-1-1 was called. V II had a visible red scrape to his right temple, a visible scrape to his left knuckle and redness around his neck. Both victims declined medical attention at the scene.

[ed note. Sforza called 911, informing police that he would meet them] ... at 36th Ave W and W Mcgraw where he said he would be waiting. S/Sforza said that both V I and V II had been giving him a hard time since he returned from his trip. He said they told him that he wasn’t able to leave his room. He stated that V II had tried to force him to leave the house and choked him. S/Sforza did not have any visible signs of assault and did not have any redness around his neck. S/Sforza said the police were called to the house yesterday for a disturbance. A report was written on that incident (12-403658).

S/Sforza was placed under arrest and transported to the West Precinct… Persons took pictures of the injuries to V II and sent them for processing to the SPD Photo Lab via the Digital Evidence Management System (DEMS). 2 Domestic violence Supplemental forms were completed by Officer… S/Sforza has a passport from Italy and requested Consular notification.”

“Frank” has hinted in online conversations that he may be coming to Seattle for the purpose of celebrating New Year’s Eve. He has even gently jibed Amanda’s co-murder suspect (pending final appeal) Raffaele Sollecito for not being sure if it’s worth it to go to Seattle for just a few days at year’s end:

However, if The Perugian Blogger, a man of at least three aliases and now a number of arrests relating to domestic violence, is going to be in Seattle on December 31, it will actually be because he has a court hearing on New Year’s Eve for two counts of Assault 4 – Domestic Violence. 

This time, it seems that the alleged victims won’t hold back or be humiliated into letting the crime go unchallenged and have the charges withdrawn.

“Frank” has been a central figure to the pro-Knox forces ever since a few months after the murder of Meredith he decided instead to advocate for Knox in conjunction with other elements of the Knox PR campaign. This was a shocking and sudden 180 degree U-turn for someone who had up until then been strongly pro-Meredith and favorable to the prosecutor. Mr Mignini, on the case.

What incentive did he have to make such a rapid, stunning, radical change? Leaving many former followers behind?

I don’t know, but do note that nobody can account for how he paid his bills these past 4 years since he claims that no Italian media buys his articles. With “Frank” seemingly living off of the kindness of others and/or the PR campaign, and seemingly not having a particular long-term address of his own… Does the term “drifter” come to mind?

In time, the integration of “Frank’s” Perugia Shock blog with the Knox PR campaign was openly evidenced – before its current aesthetic makeover after it briefly was forced down – by the incorporation of key Knox lobbyist Jim Lovering into the blog credits thus:

[Above: Will “Frank’s” campaigner colleague and local resident Jim Lovering appear in court next Monday to support him?]

The Perugian Blogger has been useful to the pro-Knox campaign. In spite of American thriller novelist Douglas Preston’s strange affirmations that Italy has been coming over to Amanda’s side in her legal battle, the truth is that few non-American and specifically no Italian faces have come out strongly in favour of Knox, except for her own lawyers of course.

“Frank” quickly became a local enabler for the Knox-Mellas clan in Perugia, helping out with the most mundane activities, from revealing secret insider “knowledge” or “facts” on his blog, to babysitting the younger Knox-Mellas girls, or involving the girls in paid-for photo shoots.

In return, he was often referred to in pro-Knox circles as a “journalist”. This faux title was certainly a step up from “Frank’s” prior life of maintaining a website dedicated to selling truffles or capitalizing on the Italian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire.

[Image above: “Frank” before Meredith’s murder: a mundane life of waiting for his 10 minutes of fame]

Following Meredith’s murder, and with the Knox-Mellas clan desperately in need of a facilitator for their everyday logistics in Perugia, “Frank” became their handyman and, in time, almost part of the Knox-Mellas clan.

[Image: Perugian Blogger “Frank” and Chris Mellas, Amanda Knox’s stepfather.]

“Frank”, however, was not merely a passive enabler. He asserted himself, and he pushed his envelope of fame and ownership of knowledge, even though he was mostly a receiver of the tidbits of information the Knox-Mellas clan would throw him when convenient.

His particular claim to “ownership” of information given to him got to the ridiculous point of claiming copyright to court documents that he received and posted on his blog. Court officials might find that pretty cheeky!

The official image of the knife later resurfaced in a great video by ViaDellaPergola here.

It seems that befriending “Frank” became the “in” thing to do, for a brief moment anyway, with many FOA-types and Knox Entourage hangers-on. He must have seemed quite exotic, and also, surprisingly, on their side. After all, the rest of Italy was clearly not.

Bruce Fisher/Fischer the blogger and Knox lobbyist has increasingly isolated himself in supporting “Frank”, and has been working around the clock to justify “Frank’s” string of domestic violence arrests and police questionings, after having published and vouched for “Frank’s” need for financial assistance.

Will Fisher/Fischer and Steve Moore continue to befriend and support “Frank” the blogger? Moore once stated that he would trust Amanda Knox as a roommate to his own daughter. Would he trust “Frank” to spend time alone overnight with his own daughter, now that Moore is aware of Frank’s arrest record for domestic violence? Does he approve of “Frank’s” way of living … is it simply “‘Frank’ being ‘Frank’”, or something that a father might be worried about?

Another of “Frank’s” close confidantes in the US has been Candace Dempsey, a person with a personal food blog on the Seattle Post Intelligencer website who hastily erased most of her culinary blogging past in order to get on with her new found life as a pro-Knox writer.

[Food blogger Candace Dempsey has attempted to recycle her professional focus in parallel with “Frank”]

Dempsey continues to dedicate herself – for the moment at least – to writing about Amanda Knox’s involvement in the Meredith Kercher murder case from a pro-Knox point of view.  Will Candace be at Frank’s hearing in the Municipal Court of Seattle on December 31? It would be a fine way of supporting someone she has shared so much fellowship with.

Followers of Meredith’s murder case all remember how Dempsey’s man-in-Perugia “Frank” stalwartly supported her affirmation that it would have been impossible for Amanda and Raffaele to stake out any movements of persons entering or leaving the cottage following Meredith’s murder, due to the entrance to the cottage grounds supposedly not being visible from the Piazza Grimana … in spite of every eye-witness observation and evidenciary photo to the contrary.

Another pro-Knox asset who has been supportive of “Frank” in many ways is Seattle’s King County Judge Michael Heavey. Heavey once received a stern official reprimand for sending, on State of Washington stationary, private accusations of judicial negligence to Italian authorities, where he accused Prosecutor Mignini of grave mismanagement of the Meredith Kercher murder investigation, without providing any evidence to support his wild and defamatory claims. Heavey continues his pro-Knox support in a vocal manner, with appearances at university forums that are prepackaged to support Knox, or speaking at local Rotary Club meetings (luckily we saved the video).

[“Frank” the Perugian Blogger and host Judge Michael Heavey pose together.]

Will Judge Heavey be present at “Frank’s” hearing for charges of domestic violence on December 31? Will he use his good offices to help Frank bear the state of Washington’s justice in the lightest manner possible?

Anti-Mignini novelist Douglas Preston, a patron funder of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), appeared (how coincidental) in a strange CPJ open letter to the world by Joel Simon to Italian authorities, complaining that a mysterious police squad that supposedly reports to Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini had beaten up “Frank” and had him arrested on trumped up charges.

]Novelist Douglas Preston – now a self-described “point-of-view journalist”]

Preston was a central source in a Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) open letter which transformed the domestic violence complaint of a female member of the Perugian Blogger’s family into a case of harassment by Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini. It’s hard to make up crazier tales, yet the CPJ stands by the unsubstantiated claims fed to it.  In most jurisdictions that’s called defamation.

Now is a good time for the CPJ’s Executive Director Joel Simon to show his face and admit his embarrassing error by recognizing that “Frank’s” arrest for violence against police officers in Perugia while resisting arrest was under the responsibility of Prosecutor Paolo Abbritti and his team.

Mr Mignini who “Frank” and Preston and Simoin smeared globally had no role at all and may well have not even have known about it. “Frank’s” domestic and anti-authority violence in Italy is consistent with his domestic violence related arrests in North America.

No one, not even CPJ’s Joel Simon could ever have seriously considered that the provincial civil servant Mr Mignini has a private goon squad of rogue policemen who report to him and beat up persons on his request.

By recognizing his error, Joel Simon would be making a positive gesture to classic journalistic standards (not gonzo point-of-view journalism standards) of correcting errors, and he would also be doing a great service to victims of domestic violence around the world. Joel, I ask you please to finally do what is right, and not what a financial benefactor of your organization wants you to do.

It is also important to hear what Preston’s response if any is to “Frank’s” current legal woes in the US. So far, no word from him. Will Preston continue to see the long arm of Mignini in all these arrests? Or will he distance himself from a person Preston considers a fellow “point-of-view journalist” in the Meredith Kercher case?

Preston recently contacted this writer, saying he was writing an Afterword to a book by Mario Spezi about what he calls the “Amanda Knox case”. He said this chapter would be dedicated to the key online players on both sides of the case. (Preston was first invited, see here and here and here, to correct some of his previous error-laden work.)

There is probably no other online personality more prominently associated with the Amanda Knox PR campaign than the blogger who goes by the nickname of “Frank Sfarzo”.

If Preston can’t make it to Seattle to support “Frank”, I guess we will have to wait for his new Afterword in Spezi’s book or his magazine article to catch his angle on “Frank’s” travails with the law, or at least what he thinks about “Frank” after they appeared together in the CPJ open letter - after which, Preston wrote some vigorous followup emails about the CPJ’s open letter concerning “Frank”.

If it had not been for Preston the fictionalist and “Frank” the recycled truffle blogger, there would have been no inaccurate and highly unfair demonizing of Prosecutor Mignini, and that would have taken the air out of Bruce Fisher/Fischer’s own very nasty campaign.

In addition, the pro-Knox books written by would-be opinion benders Nina Burleigh and Candace Dempsey would have been very different or impossible to develop as they are.

It goes on and on. The list of pro-Knox PR assets who have used “Frank” in their own particular contributions to Amanda’s cause is extensive.  Will any of them be in Seattle Municpal Court [image below] with the Perugian Blogger this Monday at 10:00 am?

A pro-Knox commenter who goes by the penname of “KayPea” is trying to rally the pro-Knox troops who are now starting to back off in a very natural manner from “Frank” and the string of domestic violence incidents that “Frank” seems to have been involved in. On the “IIP” blog, she exhorts them to remain in the fold. If we believe her, she is speaking for herself - and remarkably, also the Knox and Mellas families:

“several of you good people [she’s referring to pro-Knox readers] seem to be trying to make up your mind about Frank’s credibility as the author of Perugia Shock as it is juxtaposed on his personal life and this crazy mess with Bettina, Peter and the nutters at the boarding house [ed note: these are respectively the pro-Knox Hawaiian, Canadian, and Seattlietes who are now non-grata … it seems that if you want to make sure that you are allowed to be a groupie, don’t let yourself to get into a situation where “Frank” the Perugian Blogger can abuse you].

Please know that the people who know him the best, Amanda’s family and friends, have been at his side throughout the past few months. COME. WHAT. MAY. They, and I, accept all of Frank’s personality quirks ...” (IIP, 27/12/2012)

However, the owner of the blog, Bruce Fisher/Fischer, seems to be trying frantically to isolate the impact of “Frank’s” “personality quirks” on the IIP emporium. Fischer has stated thus:

“lets lay this out in simple terms. Amanda and Raffaele are free. Nothing that happens in Frank’s life at this point has anything at all to do with anything that took place in the past with regard to the case. Nothing happening in Frank’s life has anything at all to do with Meredith Kercher.”

(Bruce Fisher/Fischer – IIP blog – 27/12/2012)

It’s as if Fischer in his surreal bubble is claiming that “Frank” never really ever existed. Never fought tooth-and-nail for years to deny Meredith and her family their justice.

If I were “Frank”, I would be thinking that maybe not very many of my once long list of FOA friends will be showing support during the New Year’s Eve court appearance.

Will they be joining him for drinks later after the court hearing is done? Or maybe further contact would put them at risk of being pushed into being the next “Bettina” or “Peter” in Canada, more victims of domestic violence.

Does anyone reading believe any longer the wild, uninvestigated claim of Douglas Preston’s friends at the CPJ? That the Italian Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini was behind the complaint placed by female members of “Frank’s” family in Italy? Which eventually led to his arrest there after attacking police officers?

Or is that simply another falsehood from the pro-Knox PR myth factory?

Domestic violence is a terrible, terrible issue in our society. We should never try to explain it away, or blame the victim or any third parties who had nothing to do with the violence.  To do so only degrades the victim, and distances yet further the perpetrator from correcting his criminal behavior.

Let’s hope that if someone shows up at the Perugian Blogger’s court hearing this Monday December 31, even if all of his erstwhile FOA friends have disappeared, that victims of domestic violence are there with true supporters, demonstrating that they have no fear of decrying this degrading, despicable criminal behavior.

Final question. Will the Knox-Mellas families really continue to support Frank? Will they let him stay at their homes? Would Amanda let him sleep at her apartment or even visit without her boyfriend or anyone else present?

In fact will any of the Knox-Mellas clan members be at “Frank’s” court hearing at the Seattle Municipal Court at 10:00 am this Monday December 31?  In particular, will Amanda be there? Or does Frank, as is rumored, have her freaked?

Posted on 12/29/12 at 02:19 PM by Kermit. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Other legal processesOthers elsewhereFamily/defense hoaxersKnox-Mellas teamThe wider contextsSeattle contextFrancesco SforzaNina BurleighMichael Heavey
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Friday, November 16, 2012

Fervent Knox Supporter Tom Wright Seemingly Strongarms Knox High School Into “Honoring” Her

Posted by brmull

One thing is for sure. Not many schools - maybe none, ever - have accepted the creation of a scholarship to honor a convicted felon who, until the Supreme Court signs off, still stands accused of a very cruel crime.

Seattle Preparatory School is a fee-paying Jesuit Catholic school about a mile north of Seattle downtown, on the south side of Portage Bay from the main campus of the University of Washington. See Google Earth image at bottom. The school’s student role is estimated at around 650.

This announcement of a new scholarship in the name of Amanda Knox was recently published: “The fund, established by past parent [and co-founder of the advocacy group Friends of Amanda Knox] Tom Wright, will provide tuition assistance to students in need.”

Early in 2011 Tom Wright [seen reading a statement in a black shirt below] presided over a seriously loopy panel presentation at Seattle University, attended by a sparse crowd of about 35, which garbled all the hard evidence in the case and accused Italian officialdom of a number of crimes. See for example our reports here and here.

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

For him this is certainly a labor of passion, since Knox with her book advance has more than enough resources of her own to set up an endowment if she wished, though to date we have seen no indication that Knox has made any charitable donations. Tom Wright seeks to make it look noble.

Sara [his daughter] and Amanda were good friends at Prep… With this fund our family wants to honor the courage of Amanda and her family. They displayed great dignity and fortitude enduring a wrongful prosecution on foreign soil. During years of unjust incarceration, the school supported Amanda through prayers and letters of support. Prep acted in the Jesuit spirit by seeking social justice and helped to win a fight worth remembering.

According to the announcement applicants should demonstrate the same “moral courage, strength of character under duress and a sincere desire to help others in need” that was supposedly exhibited by Amanda Knox.

Let’s pause right there.

Claims of “wrongful prosecution” and “years of unjust incarceration” are way premature, and contradicted by all these posts here.

“Moral courage” means taking a risk in order to do what one believes is right. Put aside for a moment the overwhelming evidence that Knox did murder Meredith Kercher. To what instance of moral courage could the school possibly have been referring? We don’t have a clue.

“Strength of character under duress” is pretty much expected of any upstanding member of society. But if there’s one person to which it surely doesn’t apply, it’s someone who was convicted of falsely accusing her kind boss of murder and wrecking his business. Billions of people have a “sincere desire to help others in need.” What makes Knox notable here?

Why else might Knox have been deserving of a scholarship in her name? It’s often said that she was an “honor student” but we wonder why she wasn’t wearing any honor cords at her graduation while other students had them. Author and Knox innocence proponent Nina Burleigh wrote that she “almost flunked” a religion class and was made to take summer school.

Knox has also been described as a “star soccer player.” The team she played for, however, endured “four bleak, losing seasons” according to Nina Burleigh’s book.

A few teachers and students spoke up rather listlessly and doubtfully for Knox after she was arrested and put on trial. Several are believed to have said that they were really not too surprised to hear of the mess she was in.

;Above: school president Dr Kent Hickey]

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

Tom Wright seems to have been motivated above all by his desire to memorialize “a fight worth remembering.” As much as anything else, that fight consisted of himself and a small group of like-minded diehard parents appropriating the school’s good name and resources for the purpose of a nasty, bigoted, defamatory, strong-arming campaign which played fast and loose with the facts.

Dr Kent Hickey [image directly above] became president of Seattle Prep two years after Knox graduated. He didn’t know her at all, and he may not even have met her face to face before the school accepted a scholarship in her name. Nonetheless, he described her to the media as “a good and thoughtful girl”.

He defended the school’s decision to raise funds for her by saying “We can’t pick and choose the graduates we help.”  Yet Seattle Prep DOES indeed pick and choose, all the time. The school routinely punishes and expels students for everything from minor insolence to felonies. We can’t find any other instance in which it has held fundraisers for any alum—let alone a convicted felon—despite 8,000 alums living in the Seattle area.

And so Seattle Prep parents and onlookers might be forgiven for thinking that Dr Hickey is grasping at straws to justify his school’s very strange action.

[Above: scholarship creator Tom Wright]

One angered parent commented on the PR campaign as follows in an excellent investigative report by James Ross Gardner in the local magazine Seattle Met late in 2010:

It is true some of the Seattle Prep families have allowed their students to support Amanda Knox. I do not believe that it is a 100%. A number of families have felt their students were pressured into supporting Knox without having a choice. That is not the Seattle Prep I knew from my years there as a student, nor is it what my husband experienced.

In our years as Prep students we were allowed choice rather than pressure. Because of the pressure, a number of family are not making their annual donations to Seattle Prep. I, for one, will be glad when the verdict in the appeal is handed down so perhaps we can all move past this event. Yes, event.

Seattle Prep has made it into an event and it takes away from the students discussing other news and issues. I do not wish Knox ill but my children did not go to school with her and do not know her. They have no idea if she is guilty. They are more worried about their close friend that is fighting cancer. It is time to un-focus on Knox. That’s just my opinion.

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

I went to Seattle Prep, and did a full year in Italy. I learned Italian and the culture and saw a lot of Americans and Italians from the South that studied in Central and Northern university towns go a little nuts with all the freedom away from home.

Since I started following this trial, I could totally see how immoral behavior could lead to Amanda doing what she was accused of doing. Drug use, jealous roommates, and illicit sex are not a good mix, especially when people need money to support such habits. Amanda seems to have a lobby of easily-swayed-by-propaganda lab rats who bought in to the PR agency story and don’t bother following the case in its entirety.

I do not know the background of the Seattle Prep Principal, but I think he is getting in way over his head by getting into this case, and as a prior poster mentioned, he is putting a lot of pressure on people to get on the pro-Amanda bandwagon. So sick to sway young students’ minds on what to think.

This sounds like our post-modern decaying American mentality of choosing sides and voicing misdirected-emotions in forming opinions. The Principal does not sound like a well educated, worldly individual to put the Academic Institution and its students, employees and graduates in the middle of this fiasco. It reeks of “We Support Our Troops,” military campaigns to coerce and intimidate people into believing in a “popular” movement.

It’s a cruel joke that needy students who are not in a position to turn down financial aid will be forced to associate themselves with Amanda Knox and an ignominious campaign of bigotry, defamation and intimidation.

It is to them and the real victims, Meredith and her family, that Seattle hearts should go out.

Posted on 11/16/12 at 11:16 PM by brmull. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedFamily/defense hoaxersKnox-Mellas teamThe wider contextsSeattle contextAmanda KnoxMore of the same
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Monday, October 15, 2012

Professor Snape Saves 99.9999% Of Seattle From A Pestilent Raffaele Sollecito

Posted by Professor Snape

It has been awhile since I last reported on the perceptions of average Seattleites regarding the ongoing Meredith Kercher murder trial saga. 

The recent arrival of Raffaele Sollecito in Seattle on the final stop of his book promotion tour provided an excellent opportunity to revisit this interesting and telling topic.

By the time Raffaele had arrived in Seattle it was well known that his book sales would ultimately be dismal, and that his father was overly busy in the Italian media strenuously disavowing the major claim of the book; the claim of illegal backroom corruption that is central to the book’s “Honor Bound” title. 

And where Sollecito wasn’t lying outright, it had become painfully obvious that many of the new claims in his book directly contradicted statements he had previously made in his prison diary, or that can readily be found in other early sources of case information.

With this in mind, under protection of his invisibility cloak Professor Snape casually strolled into a cold and nearly empty auditorium on the University of Washington campus to find out firsthand exactly who would be attending such an event. 

He found himself among no more than 60 aging and grayish FOA groupie types, most with Raffaele’s book tucked carefully underarm in high anticipation of a dynamic evening, as if a prized show horse were about to enter an arena.

It seemed that in spite of extensive national and local promotion the good people of Seattle had stayed away entirely!  In fact, Snape observed one woman who showed up at the door in response to a local radio ad, but then walked away in disgust upon learning that she would have to pay a $5 entry fee if Raffaele’s book were not purchased onsite. 

So as it turned out, this was going to be an evening for friends and family only, with absolutely no groundswell of grass roots support from Seattleites, or even Amanda Knox herself for that matter, who sent her mother and sister instead to honor the imagined savior, Raffaele Sollecito.

As a welcoming gift, Snape threw down the Permanent Sticking Charm causing an uncomfortable delay to the program.  Event organizers began complaining of a Jinx in the audio or video equipment and one loudmouth attendee sarcastically suggested that the press photographer might be able to do a better repair job than the UW AV staff.  This was followed by chuckles and chest pounding causing Snape to consider invoking the Reparo Charm, but instead he provided only his trademark sly sneer.

The show finally started.  Everyone seemed to have their books out in hand, except for Snape who could be singled out because he was one of the few who possessed a half torn gold admission ticket.  The audience eagerly awaited juicy and triumphant tales from the currently ex-con Sollecito, as if his narrative would be somehow bold and charged with ownership.  However, things quickly stagnated into pathetic mumbling and unbelievably boring descriptions of irrelevant events. 

One could easily assume that Raffaele was under the influence of a Babbling Curse, but he didn’t require any of Snape’s help whatsoever.

News anchor Dennis Bounds from Seattle’s KING 5 TV succeeded spectacularly in bringing the interview to an even lower than anticipated standard.  Bounds declared at the outset that the two had spent a great deal of time the day before preparing for this supposedly spontaneous interview.  At the beginning of the interview it seemed as though the audience was ready to reach out and pet Raffaele’s adorable made-over hair as if he were a poodle on a podium. 

But all too soon his ho-hum responses caused even this adoring crowd’s anticipation to plummet like facebook stock values.

Bounds tried very hard to extract meaningful replies from Raffaele, but Raffaele remained unfocused and glazed over as if on some kind of stardom high; stupidly cheerful and starstruck.  Bounds provided Raffaele with obviously rehearsed and leading questions from his cue-sheet, along with tips and reminders for answers when Raffaele stumbled or hesitated.  At times Bounds even had to resort to guessing what Sollecito might have felt, when there was no ready response.

At times during the program a larger than life photograph of Meredith Kercher mysteriously appeared on the large screen above Bounds and Sollecito.  This happened on three separate occasions, which became odder still because Bounds and Sollecito just kept right on talking, never once pausing to address or acknowledge Meredith’s presence. 

Furthermore, you could hear a pin drop when this happened and the entire audience seemed to be frozen in a shock state.

A few heads looked pensively towards the event organizer; a woman in a red dress who ran swiftly up to the projection booth to erase the image. Heads turned again when Meredith’s picture came up a second time, while the UW AV crew in the back chuckled and snickered.  After Meredith’s 3rd appearance before the crowd an ominous “power off” signal appeared on the screen and Meredith was gone; all the more strange because none of this seemed to have anything to do with the ongoing and terribly bland program.

Sollecito continued regurgitating shallow prefabricated answers, apparently borrowed from previous book signing engagements. His voice was in no way authoritative, but instead came across as low and unsure.  At times he did not seem to recall the responses that he had been coached to provide. And then Bounds finally got around to asking Raffaele what he thought about Prosecutor Mignini and the home team audience roared with laughter, for the first and only time, as if they knew they were going to finally get what they came to hear.

Mignini could have been a topic that would get fur flying and put Sollecito into a much more animated mood.  But no sparks flew.  There were no gasps into the microphone, no fingers pointed or arms flinging in the air, and in the end nothing but a “Riddikulus” and mundane reply from Raffaele, “I do not know what Mignini thinks of me because Mignini never talked to me.”  Bounds seemed taken aback and asked again about Mignini, but Sollecito was completely unable to offer any unkind words, which must have been a devastating letdown for this particular audience.

Bounds pressed Sollecito about the possibility his of coming to Seattle to live, work, and possibly attend the UW, but Raffaele seemed ambivalent while agreeing that it could be a possibility. Before wrapping up the interview Sollecito answered selected questions taken from index cards passed around the audience. 

While this only served to extend the bore-fest, Professor Snape successfully inquired if Sollecito felt his book might have an impact on the upcoming prosecutor’s appeal to the Court of Cassation in Italy and if so, how.  Sollecito seemed unable to provide his own coherent response and instead relied upon Bounds and the audience to first suggest, “yes, hopefully in a positive manner.”

With that, Snape prepared to wrap up his investigative mission (with no book under cape) as three women approached, one after the other, insisting that Snape identity himself and the nature of his business at the event.  When asked for his name by a crazy lady Number One, Snape defiantly asked back, “What is your name”, to which Number One replied, “I am a nobody”; truthfully spoken, as Snape’s Veritaserum cologne worked its magic.

Crazy lady Number Two demanded to know why Snape was taking pictures and Snape replied that it was because he found the event interesting.  Number two pressed on, asking “Why do you think it is interesting?”  Perhaps Number Two missed noticing that this was, in fact, a highly promoted book-selling tour and not a FOA backyard BBQ, or that the Barbara Walters top 10 most interesting people of 2011 included a subject mentioned conspicuously in the title of Raffaele’s book.

Unfortunately Number Two felt the need to make a hasty retreat, apparently under the influence of the Banishing Charm, before attempting to answer any questions from Snape.

Crazy lady Number Three was only slightly more civil and carried on in a polite but entirely too nosey manner, boldly asking who Snape was. “Oh, I have never heard that name before!” Number Three exclaimed under the influence of the Confundus Charm.  Number Three herself had been taking countless pictures of everyone present all evening, explaining that she was a journalist for a small Seattle-area town.  Honestly, though, she seemed much more like a bored hairdresser/plastic jewelry artist who might blog for an imaginary audience while waiting for imaginary customers.

As Snape departed he was nearly overrun by a couple of Seattle beat cops who were busy dragging out one of the attendees; a poor chap who lost his glasses and all hope of redemption during a defiant struggle.  Following this one bit of excitement in an otherwise pointless evening, a flick of the levitation wand swiftly carried Snape away into the dark Seattle sky.

Posted on 10/15/12 at 09:46 AM by Professor Snape. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedFamily/defense hoaxersSollecito teamLies Sollecito bookReporting on the caseThe wider contextsSeattle contextRaff Sollecito
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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Kane Hall Book Promotion: Interviewer And Sollecito Panderer Dennis Bounds Drops The Ball Terribly

Posted by Media Watcher

[Above: Amanda Knox’s mother and sister are to the right in the back row in white and red sweaters]

Sales statistics show that Sollecito’s book is selling terribly and light-years from recouping costs.

Tonight’s public interview showed one good reason why. A small mostly elderly entirely white crowd in Kane Hall heard Sollecito being allowed to blame it solely on the black guy. Not even his own lawyers did that. But there was no argument from the interviewer, no tension, no excitement, no sense of discovery or truth.

And the feeble questions moved on.

Dennis Bounds, anchor for KING-5 television news in Seattle, certainly demonstrated why he’s no journalist. After tossing softball after softball at Sollecito during an “interview” at UW’s Kane Hall and then teasing Sollecito that he should come to the UW as an exchange student, Bounds declared “You’re out of jail and you’re not guilty - which is the important thing.”

Untrue. Sollecito still stands accused of Meredith’s murder until the Supreme Court signs off on the case. The pandering Dennis Bounds was eagerly first in line to get a book signed by the accused. See the image at bottom.

The problem with most of the US media is that they’ve never taken the time to review the case, including the original Massei sentencing report (which gives very thoughtful, not sensational, overview of the evidence and how it ties together), what was reviewed during the appeal and what specific elements should have been under review, and what that means for the prosecutor’s appeal that’s now been submitted to Italy’s Supreme Court.

Hard questions a real journalist could have asked

These are examples of what Dennis Bounds could have asked Sollecito in direct follow-up to answers that Sollecito gave tonight, instead of moving on to the next softball.

Sollecito:  After ten hours of questioning in a very rude, aggressive way…(one of the detectives said) “If you stand up now, I will leave you in a pool of blood.”

Journalist:  Are you asserting that one of the detectives threatened you?  Did you relay this to your family and ultimately to your attorneys?

Sollecito:  No one ever asked me to be on the witness stand.  No one ever asked me anything.  I was a shadow.

Journalist:  Who prevented you from testifying?  Did you want to testify?  Did you ask your attorneys to let you testify?  Given that you were willing to testify, what can you say here tonight about why you gave so many versions of what you were doing the night the murder took place.

Sollecito:  For any kind of detail, I’m here; you can ask me.

Journalist:  Why did you tell detectives that there was a burglary, but nothing was taken before the room in question was even checked out?  And given that it wasn’t your room, how did you know that nothing was taken?

Journalist:  You and Amanda claimed that you needed to get a mop from Amanda’s flat to wipe up under a leaky sink.  Why would you wait hours to go get a mop unstead of just sopping up the water with towels from your own flat?

Sollecito:  Most of the people who are “guilters” follow the media and don’t know anything about the case.

Journalist:  If that’s the case, why are they asking questions about how Meredith’s fresh blood got mixed with Amanda’s DNA in multiple places in the bathroom, and why are they so focused on phone records that showed that what you told detectives originally was untrue.

Sollecito:  (About Rudy Guede) - He is a burglar who did similar burglaries…..he’s most probably implicated; he’s most probably the only one.

Journalist:  If Guede was the only person there that night, where did the other footprints come from, how did Amanda’s DNA get mixed with Meredith’s blood, and who do you think staged the break-in, after making sure Meredith’s room was locked?

Journalist:  And by the way, can you explain why Amanda Knox called her mother in the middle of the night, Seattle time, given that to that point, she should not have known anything about the dark events that had taken place in the flat?  Were you with her when she made that call?

Posted on 09/26/12 at 12:23 AM by Media Watcher. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedFamily/defense hoaxersSollecito teamLies Sollecito bookReporting on the caseThe wider contextsSeattle contextRaff Sollecito
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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Will Sollecito Drop Amanda Knox In It Further In A Public Seattle Interview At 7:00 PM Tonight?

Posted by Peter Quennell

This is Kane Hall on the University of Washington campus where at 7:00 tonight Sollecito is set to be interviewed.

What was described in this excellent series by an Italian lawyer on four of the Porta a Porta shows continues to be the case. One perp slyly pushing another toward the fire, in an attempt to protect his own sorry ass.

On two levels the woolly-brained component of the Seattle media and the woolly-brained Knox-Mellas camp seem to have only the dimmest comprehension of the slow-motion train-wreck Sollecito has managed to create.

(1) Sollecito may continue to claim that he “saved” Amanda by standing by her when others urged not to, but as future posts here will show, he provably didnt, and in his book in a number of places he includes very incriminatory points about her.

(2) Provable lies in Sollecito’s book have already stirred up a hornet’s nest in Italy and his own father and his lawyers have backed off - right when RS and AK face one of the toughest appeals our Italian lawyers have ever seen.

Can Sollecito be expected to make things worse both for Amanda and for himself tonight? It may not be obvious to much of the audience, but our own bet is: for sure. Must-read posts in advance here and here and here.

And a must-read book. That narcissistic killer flaunted the system - and is now doing 33 years.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Could A Growing Asymmetry Between Raffaele And Everybody Else Be Ensuring No Sleep In Seattle?

Posted by Peter Quennell

[Louise Burke, Jen Bergstrom, and Tricia Boczkowski, top editors at Sollecito publisher Gallery Books]

Amanda Knox seems to have had a history of putting her foot in it and then (sometimes) when she realizes it she tries to make amends.

That seems to be the arc of her Berlin experience where she upset people by quitting a plum intern job at the parliament after a day and then retroactively at least worrying about it. That may have been what she was doing at the first meeting with her parents in Capanne prison when they very quickly shushed her up.

Meredith seems to have found Knox hard to take with her noise and grubbiness and sharp elbows and general pushiness.  But Amanda Knox was losing her few new friends in Perugia fast, and possibly her job in Patrick’s bar, and Meredith seems to have fatefully banked on Amanda Knox coming full circle soon.

There are instances recorded almost to the end where they both seemed to try to get along, although Meredith may have brushed Knox off on Halloween night when Knox made unanswered calls, maybe to ask if she could tag along.

Enter Sollecito.

Seemingly a classic loner with no close friends in Perugia, no previous genuine deep relations with girls, apparently no prior sex, a year or two behind the rest of his class in completing his degree, with serious time given to beastie porn and Japanese anime and Japanese manga. Believed to have had a history of cocaine use with some incident on record back in Bari. Loves knives.

Seemingly forever kept on a very short string by his father, who called him on the phone at least once daily, and who made sure to keep his son’s bank balance on a level with Raffaele’s legitimate monthly expenses.

Seemingly already nervous prior to Meredith’s death that Amanda Knox might soon dump him. That after less than one week.

Our Italian poster ncountryside translated these statements by Dr Sollecito which seem to show Francesco trying hard to get a grip over his slippery son.

From a family conversation recorded in Capanne prison

And then this f@cking knife that you carried back and forth .... I told you about leaving it at home .... You’re an idiot from this point of view .... aren’t you? .... and then the f@cking point that you could have avoided the [marijuana] joints .... You promised a few years ago about it, didn’t you? You gave us your promise, to me and to your sister that you would not have used them again, and instead you have not given a f@ck .... is that clear?“

From another family conversation recorded in Capanne prison

If the investigators are finally realizing what the real dynamics of the matter is ... automatically understand that you have nothing to do with [rude in italian] ... Do you understand? ... Amanda can be more or less involved in this matter ... more or less I do not know and do not give a damn ...

She will know something ... precisely ... especially considering all the versions that she has given, maybe she has not told the right one because she was worried about what this character the little negro [i.e. Patrick Lumumba] has managed to do, something like that ... do you understand what I mean? ... But you have nothing to do with [rude in Italian] ... and they understood ... now this morning or Monday there will be also the checking of your computer ... they have already cloned the hard disk ..

If Amanda was home ... if she was out, wtf were you doing? ... were you at the computer? ...... We cannot understand, this [=AK] within three days, when she went to the questura ... she has four to five different versions ... she has pulled in the little negro a@@hole ... Is a strange personality this girl, isn’t it?.

In his second and third alibis Sollecito definitely seemed to throw Knox under the bus.

It was only after hearing of Sollecito’s second alibi from police interrogators that Knox headed off down the slippery slope that now results in a confirmed three-year sentence for her and calunnia trials for both herself and her parents.

It was right then that Knox pointed the finger at Patrick Lumumba, in her own second alibi when still only a witness.

Upon his release by Judge Hellman, Raffaele Sollecito adopts a high and surprisingly jubilant “catch me if you can” profile not dis-similar to that which has been the downfall of many a psychopath throughout history.

He goes on national TV and avoids all the hard questions and he bristles with narcissistic bravado. He makes several statements about himself and Knox from his seclusion in Bisceglie north of Bari, which his father then publicly tries to pull him back from. 

A seemingly naive ghost-writer, Andrew Gumbel, is invited in to capture Sollecito’s immortal thoughts, and he seem to have instantly started to mirror Sollecito’s extreme bravado.

More or less the opposite of the cautious, subdued book approach of the Knox camp. Although she may not have wanted this, Amanda Knox will be tied forever to Sollecito in the opportunistic, self-serving title: “Presumed Guilty: My Journey to Hell and Back with Amanda Knox”. 

Book announcements are totally mute about all the legal trouble headed down the pike toward himself and Knox and their two families. The publisher’s announcement makes this inaccurate statement:

“Sollecito was an unwilling participant in a case that riveted the world. The Italian media convicted the young couple before any evidence had even been heard,” Gallery Books said in a statement. “Over and over, Sollecito came under pressure to change his testimony and get himself off the hook, but he refused to betray Amanda and he refused to lie.

“In ‘Presumed Guilty,’ Sollecito will finally tell his side of the story — from his first meeting with Amanda Knox, to his arrest, prison time, subsequent release, and current relationship with the woman he stood by through the worst ordeal of both their lives.”

Really?! No, in fact Sollecito threw Amanda Knox under the bus as soon as he was leaned on, in his alibis two and three. He left her under the bus throughout the whole trial. Even after she rather desperately reached out to him in Capanne prison.  And he lied again and again and again. Besides:

  • Sollecito seems to show no concern at all that Perugia’s formidable chief prosecutor Dr Galati has filed a devastatingly strong appeal with the Italian Supreme Court.
  • Sollecito seems to show no concern at all over his own family’s upcoming trial or the fact that they might end up in prison (which could cause his father to lose his medical license).
  • Sollecito seems to show no concern at all that, for over-vigorously trying to defend him, his sister Vanessa has now permanently lost her plum job with the Carabinieri.

And now? Well, now there is a new report from the UK press, which seems to keep stringers permanently on the ground in Seattle and may have a direct pipeline to the Knox-Mellases. The report includes this:

Amanda’s new boyfriend, musician James Terrano is understood to be unhappy about Raffaele’s arrival. 

James Terrano has himself been very cautious. He is unlikely to have let that damning remark leak out without a heads-up to Amanda Knox and her family. This seems yet another sign that the secret Seattle meetings are not simply a lovefest. 

Both families seem to be struggling with a loose cannon called Raffaele.

Posted on 03/18/12 at 09:31 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

In Desperation A Council Of War? All Of The Sollecito Family Suddenly Hop On Flights To Seattle

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

What’s going on here?

Sollecito has been in Los Angeles working on a book with a shadow writer. His father has said very firmly several times that Sollecito and Amanda Knox are through. Finito.

But Italian media are suddenly reporting that Sollecito is hopping on a plane for Seattle. And that his family, seemingly in a panic, is high-tailing it after him.

Are both families really nervous that the two will get back together for better or (probably) worse? Or is this a council of war between the Sollecitos, Knoxes, and Mellases?

Actually, this meet-up is no surprise at all to the close case watchers in Italy. They were wondering how else the two families and their loose-cannon kids could make it through the minefields ahead.  They seem to be facing a five-problem agenda.

Problem One For Discussion

The most immediate problem for the two families is described in the box at the top of the page here. Curt Knox and Edda Mellas are headed for a civil trial brought by aggrieved police, seemingly without an ounce of proof on the family’s side other than any testimony from Amanda Knox herself under cross-examination (for the first time) on the witness stand. 

Almost simultaneously the Sollecitos (five of them) are headed for a CRIMINAL trial for illegal release of evidence and attempted political interference which could eventually land them in prison. The two charges against them seem pretty cut and dried with hard evidence on film and audio tape to which they have not so far offered even a sliver of a rebuttal.

Problem Two For Discussion

The second problem is that officialdom in Rome and Perugia seem to almost universally believe that the two families have all along known that both of their kids were somehow involved in Meredith’s murder. Some of the suggestive evidence is out there in broad daylight and we suspect that prosecutors may be holding back more.

Contrary to the claims of Amanda Knox’s supporters that prosecutors maliciously threw the book at the defendants and their tribes to somehow save face, the truth is that prosecutors stopped short of taking all of the possible actions open to them. 

For example they turned down an offer by Guede to testify fully at first trial (after which he was beaten up in prison and reduced to a jelly which must have pleased him no end) and they seem to know more than they are saying about hard drugs - Knox apparently had a cocaine dealer’s number in her mobile phone. Also they chose not to investigate any of the rumors and backstories in Seattle which US prosecutors might well have done.

In the Sollecito case they may have felt they had no choice but to proceed. The released evidence tape showing Meredith’s naked body was repeatedly broadcast nationally, and the Carabinieri and Rome police are both involved in the political meddling component. Bari prosecutors will of course be trying the case.

Problem Three For Discussion

The third problem is that Judge Hellman has done the families no favors. On the day after he issued his verdict he contradicted himself in an unhelpful way. Then he published an emotional report explaining the surprise outcome of the first appeal which is short on logic and correct law, and full of innuendo and bizarre intellectual leaps.

PMF and TJMK will be posting a careful translation of the Hellman report with a full analysis of its weaknesses soon.

Problem Four For Discussion

Chief Prosecutor Galati has already filed a formidable Supreme Court appeal against the first appeal outcome, which argues in part that (1) the scope of Hellman’s report was illegal overreach; and that (2) his appointing of the two independent DNA experts was more illegal overreach. 

As it has done in many other cases in the past, the Supreme Court might send the outcome of the first appeal back to Perugia to be corrected just as soon as it reads that.

And if it reads further, it cannot help but note that Judge Hellman has brushed right by hundreds of questions that still remain open. The Supreme Court has ALREADY rejected Judge Hellman’s hypothesis that Rudy Guede broke in and attacked Meredith all by himself. It has sided with Judges Massei and Micheli that there were actually three perpetrators. 

Problem Five For Discussion

The blockbuster book offers required to pay for all this new legal action seemed very short on due diligence in the context of the calunnia minefield that Italian law creates for writers and publishers. Did the writers and publishers even know about that? 

Past explanations and alibis from Knox and Sollecito have repeatedly contradicted one another’s.  At one point, each seemed to be accusing the other of the crime. At trial, Knox seemed to want to talk all the time, while Sollecito barely ever said a word. Now we are seeing the exact opposite. Sollecito seemingly cannot keep quiet to save himself, while Knox seems petrified and terminally tongue-tied.

Their books are going to need to be line-by-line supportive of one another, and they will be disasters if they rely on slamming Italian officials and moping (Knox’s apparent angle) or on denying all the hard evidence and moping (Sollecito’s apparent angle).

There will be cancellation clauses in the publishers’ fine print, and what they are we may all soon find out.  From the two families’ point of view, this entire landscape must look very nasty and foreboding. An ill-advised legal and PR strategy has led them into this minefield.

Not surprising that they now find a sudden need to chat.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

So What Can Seattle Offer Visitors That Arrive From Perugia? Fish Throwing!

Posted by Peter Quennell

This is a serious art form. All Seattle’s own. Seattle readers are very welcome to explain.

Images here of the terrific Pike’s Place Market in downtown Seattle (with its back incongruously to the sea - well, to the smallish bay off Puget Sound that goes by the name of Seattle harbor) because the Commune of Perugia still runs a an English-language web page promoting the tourism of Seattle.

Where is the fun at in Seattle? The real answer is everywhere, but just to name a few….  The Pike Place Market is a must see, and trust that you won’t want to experience it just once.

It is nicknamed the “Soul of Seattle” for good reason.  With a never ending selection of food, including giant artichokes, specialty wines, and fresh fish caught from the sea that morning, let your taste buds lead the way.

Restaurants surround the market specializing in any type of food that you are craving, including several Italian restaurants.  You won’t go home hungry.

In between sampling every food there is to offer, you can watch the street musicians as well as visit any of the quirky shops that have everything from a store selling only books for women to a store that sells solely magic tricks.

If it is your first time visiting the market, consider signing up for the “Chef’s Tour of the Market” where some of Seattle’s top chefs lead groups through the market for a tour and follow up by taking the group back to their very own restaurant to cook lunch with the items they purchased on the tour.

To learn more about the market and the fun it has to offer, check out the website at http://www.pikeplacemarket.org/

Posted on 01/24/12 at 01:34 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Friday, October 21, 2011

Knox Public Relations Manager Starts Premature Crowing Many Many Months Before It’s Really All Over

Posted by Skeptical Bystander

Cross-posted from my personal website.

Premature exultation in the land of David Marriott

Click on the image above and you will be taken to the Land of Marriott as described by Heidi Dietrich in the Puget Sound Business Journal.

Now that the supertanker has pulled into port, the story about the creation of the narrative can finally begin to be told. We live in a world that needs an endless supply of stories. Just ask Scheherazade - whatever gets you through the night is all right.

In the land of Marriott as Button notes the media operates on the assumption that the American Public can’t remember the day before yesterday.

And in the business journal treatment of the Marriott PR Triumph (aka The Snow White Job), someone has forgotten that the script a month ago stated that there was no PR campaign and that anyone who believed there was one was nothing but a guilter and a hater.

But now all that is swept aside so that Mr. Marriott, who looks like a cross between Colonel Sanders and a dumpling, can lumber up to the stage and accept kudos from one and all. After all, he was hired three days after Knox was arrested, for financial terms neither side will disclose.

Let’s look at how the business journal spins the yarn:

Marriott was as important a player in [Knox’s] ordeal as anyone in the courtroom. As Knox’s publicist, beginning three days after her arrest, Marriott worked to convince the international public that she did not murder her British roommate while studying in Perugia.

“Hiring him was one of the smartest things we ever did,” said Curt Knox, Amanda’s father.

The partnership between the Knox family and Marriott illustrates the potential of a public relations campaign to shift sentiment — and possibly even influence a verdict.

Like I said, if you have the right publicist, anything is possible! The right publicist can make water flow uphill and, once that has happened, can advise you on the best way to make the money you will need to pay for his services. That’s the phase we’re in now, folks. If you ever get in trouble, this is the guy you want working for you, feeding chicken shit to the masses and calling it chicken delight.

More from the Business Journal version of The Story:

Then, there’s the need for money. Curt Knox and Amanda’s mother, Edda Mellas — they are not married to each other — have each said they’ve drained their retirement funds, taken out second mortgages and accrued credit card debt to pay for Amanda’s defense. So, in this new phase, lucrative media deals will be a consideration.

At Marriott’s downtown Seattle office, he fields inquiries from book agents, screenwriters, news shows and movie studios. All want the Amanda Knox saga for their own. Some are offering big bucks. Marriott and the Knox family will be considering the offers, Marriott said — likely in a couple of weeks.

“There will be financial opportunities,” Marriott said. “I’ll be there to walk them through the opportunities.”

Vargas edits darkness out of the story where it suits her

If you have only watched morning television and the truly disgustingly bad mainstream network telling of the Marriott Fairy Tale, you will be excused for not realizing that Curt and Edda are no longer married to one another. They put on such a united front, and Elizabeth Vargas never once uttered the word “divorced” (focus groups show this does not resonate with viewers in a key demographic).

Ah, Elizabeth Vargas. Button has her number. Noting that ABC in particular had descended into “absolute Sleazeville” in its coverage, she makes a telling observation:

Did you happen to notice that Vargas tried to edit Meredith’s mother entirely out of the press conference following the announcement of the verdict? As if she weren’t even there. As if she didn’t even exist.

Posted on 10/21/11 at 07:47 PM by Skeptical Bystander. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedMeredith-case hoaxesFamily/defense hoaxersKnox-Mellas teamThe wider contextsSeattle contextAmanda KnoxMore of the same
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Wednesday, April 06, 2011

The Seattle University Panel: Some Of The Ways In Which Steve Moore Got His Analysis Wrong

Posted by James Raper

I have watched the clip of Steve Moore’s address at the University of Seattle seminar.

1.  Scenario of the crime

Steve Moore starts with the assertion that it is obvious what happened. Guede broke in via Filomena’s window and went to the loo.

Meredith comes home and is attacked, raped and murdered by him. Naturally he did not show a photo of Filomena’s window from outside the cottage. I wonder why?

Meredith came home at 9.30pm. She died some time after 11pm. Steve Moore does not elaborate as to what Guede was doing all the time in between. He sat on the loo for a long time and/or the sexual attack went on for a long time?  Both unlikely hypotheses.

2.  Concerning bleach

Then Steve Moore turns to what he states is “The Lie over the Bleach Cleaner”.

Whether or not the police/prosecution ever said that they thought bleach cleaner had been used is not clear to me.  Whether or not they had, it was not something that they continued to insist on. No one smelt bleach at the cottage on the 2nd November.

In any event Steve Moore has his own argument (which, to be fair, I did follow) to demonstrate from the pictures of the luminol traces that there could have been no bleach used as a cleaning agent.

“No bleach, no clean up!” The fact that one can wipe away relatively recent blood/bodily fluids without bleach escaped him. 

Having established that there was no bleach used he explains the luminol glow as being due to ..yes.. bleach!

3.  The luminol footprints

Drawing on his claimed considerable FBI experience (yet to be validated by anybody) he asserts that luminol reacts to bleach as strongly as blood.

Experienced forensic experts say that they can often tell the difference because the strength of a reaction all depends on the concentration in bleach – bleach which was not used in a clean up and which no one detected by sense of smell.

He then goes on to say that bleach is commonly used as a household cleaner. Yes, the main constituent of bleach is chlorine or chloride, commonly used, diluted with other ingredients, in some household cleaning fluids, though of course bleach can be bought as bleach.

Steve Moore says that Amanda Knox took a shower on the morning of the 2nd November, standing in the shower basin in diluted bleach (very diluted after a shower, one would think) and then traced that around, accounting for the luminol glow.

You do not have to be terribly clever to see that if that was the case then the luminol glow would not be all that bright due to the dilution. One can see from the photos that the glow was in fact very bright.

One also has to wonder why straight from the shower she stepped in Meredith’s invisible blood (in fact she says she scooted from the bathroom to her room on the bathmat) without the diluted bleach degrading Meredith’s DNA.

4.  Concerning TMB tests

Steve Moore asserts that Stefanoni lied about TMB tests. TMB is tetramethylbenzadine and it is used to establish whether a detected trace is blood or not.

The reactive process is the same as with luminol which has to be used to detect a trace in the first place. It is to do with the peroxadase-like activity of heme. The results look different however, TMB produces a change of colour whilst luminol produces a glow in the dark.

Steve Moore was initially appalled to think that Stefanoni did not use the TMB test on the luminol revealed traces, but then it was discovered that she had and the results were negative as to blood.

Conclusion : she lied about the TMB tests. Why?  According to Steve Moore because she knew the luminol test did not reveal blood. And was trying to conceal this fact.

I would be surprised if Steve Moore has read the trial records.  What does Massei say?  All I can find are the following:

Stefanoni did say that she could not be positive that what the luminol revealed was blood. Here I think that she was speaking very carefully as a scientist and leaving others to their conclusions. 

I do not see that she was specifically asked about TMB tests re luminol so I cannot comment on that.

However Massei quotes Amanda Knox’s expert, Dr Gino, in the following terms :

With respect to the luminol positive traces found in Romanelli’s room, in Knox’s room and in the corridor, she (Gino) states that by analysing the SLA cards “we learn, in contradiction to what was presented in the technical report deposited by the Scientific police, and also to what was said in court, that not only was the luminol test performed on these traces, but also the generic process for the presence of blood, using tetramethylbenzadine .. and this test … gave a negative result.

On being asked as to why generic tests like luminol and TMB might produce different results:

She added that in her own experience, analyses performed with TMB on traces revealed by luminol give about even results : 50% negative, 50% positive.

I would have thought that Gino’s statement is statistically meaningless unless we assume that we are talking about blood traces revealed by luminol. 

So, in other words, the fact that the TMB tests were negative does not establish that the luminol-revealed trace was not blood.

From which I assume, since luminol and TMB have the same reactive process, that the prior luminol test takes precedence, be it that of course the trace might be vegetable or fruit juice, or bleach!- none of which, of course, are capable of producing a human DNA read out, whereas blood does.

Also I would have thought that if the reactive process is the same for both then the reactive process engendered by the luminol may not leave much for a subsequent TMB test – but then that’s just speculation.

I am no scientist, but then neither is Steve Moore really qualified to talk of the actual scientific process despite being in the FBI for 25 years ( he says). I think that the closest he gets to science is how to use an aerosol can.

5. Other claims

The following topics were also then discussed by Steve Moore : Bathroom photos, staged break in, murder weapon versus knife mark, and contamination. More of the same.

Posted on 04/06/11 at 09:51 PM by James Raper. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Crime hypothesesVarious scenariosFamily/defense hoaxersThe wider contextsSeattle contextSteve Moore
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Monday, April 04, 2011

Today An Obsessional Group Rant About “No Evidence” By A Stacked Panel At Seattle University?!

Posted by Peter Quennell

Seattle University is a small Jesuit college just this side of Seattle’s downtown.

Today at 4:00 pm in the Pigott Auditorium, in what seems to us a seriously dopey and un-academic exercise, some of the most obsessed of the conspiracy theorists will assemble to peddle their illusions.

Two of the panelists, Paul Ciolino and Steve Moore, have been exhaustively debunked on TJMK in the past, and sooner or later we will probably turn our attention to debunking the other two: Mark Waterbury, and Candace Dempsey.

Our posts on the hotheaded faux detective Paul Ciolino are here, here, and here, and our posts on the hotheaded faux FBI murder investigator Steve Moore are here, here, here, and here.

The other two panelists, Mark Waterbury and Candace Dempsey, have authored slow-selling books which studiously ignore 95 percent of the evidence and mis-state the other 5 percent. Tom Wright of the Friends of Amanda Knox group will be presiding.

Would you like to attend, well-equipped with some questions? Ask these questions and these questions and these questions. Around 400 in all. Any reports would be appreciated.

Below: Seattle University President Father Steve Sundborg. Does he know what his film department is getting up to?

Posted on 04/04/11 at 01:48 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Report Of The Decay Of The Hard Pro-Knox Party Line In West Seattle

Posted by Peter Quennell

[Images by pq above and below: former storefront offices that were the headquarters of the West Seattle Herald]

The Seattle Salmon reports with some amusement on how the residents are increasingly speaking out.

They whisper at the local library branch, nod to each other in line at the Morgan Junction Starbucks, and even occasionally email their true feelings to each other.  What is this secret society?  It’s not the Masons, Scientologists or even the wily Northwestern Republicans.

No, this fearful group is West Seattleites who think Amanda Knox did it.  By “it,” they are referring to the 2007 murder in Italy of which she was convicted. Knox was raised in West Seattle and the community has rallied around her claim of innocence with a fervor that straddles the militant/cult divide.

But some in the community are not so sure and not so talkative about their doubt.  One resident who demanded anonymity told the Seattle Salmon, “It’s like a police state out here.  You have to go to the legal defense fundraisers – like six last year – or else you are ostracized at the Westcrest Off-leash area.”

Another said, “The groupthink is terrifying.  You step outside of it and you’re like the stupid Regular Seattleite who jaywalks through the all-way crosswalk at The Junction – you’re all alone and danger could come at you from any direction.  Plus they’d light your ass up on the West Seattle Blog. You’d have to move.”

Perhaps no surprises there. It has been a long time since pro-Steve-Shay comments on the West Seattle Herald have been in the majority. Yesterday he made this ludicrous claim.

Meredith’s father, John, who believes Knox is guilty and has a lawyer in the courtroom fighting to insure she and her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito remain in jail.

These were the first two responses.

John Kercher’s lawyer is not ‘fighting’ anyone or anything. He has a legal duty to provide representation at the automatic appeal which Italy’s very liberal criminal justice system provides to all convicted criminals.

Your inflammatory, arrogant coverage of this legal process stinks. The US State Department doesn’t think there was anything wrong with the year-long legal process which convicted Knox and Sollecito of torture and murder, and neither do their victim’s family. Again, this doesn’t mean they are ‘fighting’, so grow up.

Mr. Shay atypically made only one glaring distortion in this article; The Kercher family lawyer is involved in the appeals process not to insure that Ms. Knox stay in jail, but rather to make sure the prosecution’s case is presented fairly and objectively, as was certainly done in the court’s verdict.

Not to make the lawyer sound one sided and intent on a path; there are way too many like Shay in the pro innocent Knox camp; this population has been known to lie and distort facts so as to exculpate their darling “West Seattle bred” Knox.

Nice work West Seattle.

Posted on 02/10/11 at 02:45 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Family/defense hoaxersKnox-Mellas teamThe wider contextsAmerican contextSeattle contextMore of the same
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Friday, January 14, 2011

Perugia Park Name Dropped, But Most Of Seattle Seems Now To Accept Knox’s Guilt And Moves On

Posted by Peter Quennell

Reports on the naming of this tiny park, now to be Summit Slope, appear in local Seattle media outlets here and here and here.

The xenophobic ugliness of the Knox-Mellas-Marriott campaign rolls on.

But many of the commenters from Seattle on the threads seem to find this slap at Perugia embarrassing and some even cowardly.  The previous parks commissioner who first blinked at the naming of Perugia Park made himself wildly unpopular over this and other decisions and was forced to resign.

The pro-justice-done trend of the Seattle readers’ comments, except for the regular fanatics that biased reporter Steve Shay attracts, confirms what we are hearing from all our Seattle posters and readers. Seattle is seeing Knox’s guilt and is moving on.

The Massei Report has been very widely read among those interested in Meredith’s case, and our posters and readers say they can go days or week between encounters with anyone who still sees a railroading. Commendably, that includes in West Seattle.

One witness in Meredith’s case, the guy in the park, Antonio Curatolo, is reported-on in a couple of the same stories to have been charged with drug dealing a very long time ago.

One of several positive aftermaths of the terrible crime against Meredith seems to have been a major clamping-down against drugs in Perugia, and even cold cases are being revived.

Our main poster Machine had this to say about Curatolo in a comment on the post directly under this one.

It’s completely misleading of some journalists to refer to Antonio Curatolo as a key witness, star witness or super witness. Knox and Sollecito weren’t convicted on the strength of his evidence. His testimony merely provided further confirmation that Knox and Sollecito’s alibis are false and helped establish Meredith’s time of death.

I find it astonishing that Curatolo is facing trial for drug dealing 8 years after these offences allegedly took place. If there was sufficient evidence against him at the time, surely he would have been charged and convicted of this crime years ago. I wonder if the police officers and prosecutor involved in Curatolo’s case informed the authorities in Perugia of his alleged criminal activities.

It will be interesting to see what evidence there is against him. Photographs of him talking to a drug addict in Piazza Grimana will prove nothing. Why was wasn’t he stopped and searched for drugs? It seems there is no actual evidence that he was ever in possession of heroin. It needs to be established whether Curatolo was specifically targetted by the police for drug dealing or whether he was photographed when the police were carrying out survelliance on all the people who frequented Piazza Grimana.

Presumably all the people who think Curatolo testimony should be discounted because of the allegations against him feel the same way about the convicted baby killer and convicted mobster who have been called as witnesses for the defence.

True. There is zero sign that Antonio Curatolo had anything to gain by making things up at the trial of Knox and Sollecito. His testimony stood up well, and he was unflustered in the face of the lackluster and uncertain defense cross-examination.

In strong contrast defense witnesses Alessi and Aviello are both in prison and hoping for breaks, are almost certainly potential perjurers, and may blink rather than taking the stand and face perjury charges and longer sentences

Worth noting that the defenses have NEVER produced a witness that actually undermined the real case, as opposed to simply raising bizarre hypotheticals.

Posted on 01/14/11 at 09:25 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Friday, October 01, 2010

1 October 2010: Seattle PI’s Italy Based Reporter Andrea Vogt On Where Everything Stands

Posted by Peter Quennell

Former crack prosecutor Judge Chiari who once took an ex-Prime Minister down

Overview Of This Post

Another of those very useful roundup reports from Andrea Vogt, which contains some new points of real interest.

1) On Judge Sergio Matteini Chiari

When Bongiorno steps into the appellate courtroom to defend Sollecito, the judge will look familiar. Respected magistrate Sergio Matteini Chiari represented the prosecution during the controversial Andreotti appeals trial a decade ago in Perugia over the mafia murder of journalist Mino Pecorelli. Biscotti also defended a Cosa Nostra mafioso in that case.

Biscotti and Nicodemo Gentile, who represented Guede, have picked up a number of other high-profile Italian cases while awaiting Guede’s supreme court trial, scheduled for Dec. 16. The duo also represent the family of a murdered transvestite embroiled in a political scandal, as well as the family of a young girl gone missing from Taranto in August.

2) On the RS & AK appeal

The Knox and Sollecito appeal is scheduled to commence late in November.

Knox’s attorneys are soon expected to file “motivi aggiunti” or “additional motives” for appeal. That can include new evidence or witnesses defense attorneys think should be considered. The lead prosecutor—a substitute sitting in while a while a permanent replacement for the position is considered—will be joined by the two public ministers who originally prosecuted Knox and Sollecito; Giuliano Mignini and Manuela Comodi.

“We did not request to be involved,” said Mignini, reached by seattlepi.com this week. “In fact we thought we had wrapped up our duties with the conviction in the first trial. But when we were asked, we gave our availability.”

The appeals trial process will differ in many ways from the first trial. Only the makeup of the court—six lay jurors and two professional judges—remains the same. It will likely proceed much faster because the court is mostly debating Judge Massei’s judgment, not rehearing witnesses or re-examining evidence, though the court can specifically request to rehear key witnesses and the Knox and Sollecito defense teams have filed requests for an independent evaluation of certain pieces of contested evidence.

3) On possible outcomes from the appeal

On appeal, the case is once again wide open, as the court could do anything from giving Knox a harsher life-in-prison sentence to turning over her conviction.

“The court can review all the same evidence presented in the first trial, but simply decide that there is reasonable doubt, that they don’t believe it,” explained University of Parma criminal procedure professor Stefano Maffei.

The court also can agree with prosecutors, who are also appealing the 26-year-sentence and asking for life, and give her even more prison time. Or, the court can agree with the murder conviction, but find that mitigating factors outweigh the aggravated ones, which leads to a one-third reduction in sentence.

That is a most likely scenario, court observers such as Maffei say, especially since more than 18 Italian magistrates have reviewed the evidence in the Knox case and come to the same conclusion of culpability, which somehow ingrains the decision into the judiciary. For reasons that are sociological rather than legal—such as good behavior, political pressure, changed public opinion or prison crowding—sentences in Italy are often reduced on appeal.

“The tradition in this country remains that the court of appeal is usually more lenient than the court of first instance,” Maffei said.

4) On Amanda Knox’s slander trial

Knox will leave the prison for the first time in months [today] Friday. She’ll be shuttled in a police van into a protected side entrance to the courtroom, far from the media, which won’t be allowed into the closed-door hearing where “mostly technical” issues will be discussed.

She is charged with slander for accusing the Perugia police of hitting her as she was being interrogated the night before her arrest. During the course of the questioning, police became suspicious and turned up the heat over the course of several hours. Knox testified that they called her a liar and cuffed her on the back of the head twice while urging her to tell the truth. Multiple police officers and two interpreters who were in and out during the questioning deny such abuse took place and tell their own gentler version of how the night unfolded.

Unless one side produces audio or video of the questioning—which police and prosecutors have said does not exist because Knox was just a witness, not a suspect, when questioning began—it is likely to remain her word against theirs.

The presiding judge Friday (Claudia Matteini, the same judge who signed Knox’s original arrest warrant in 2007) could decide to hold an abbreviated trial, where everything is done behind closed doors and only documentary evidence is presented. She could decide there is enough evidence to move forward with a trial (or not). She could also simply choose to archive the case without passing judgment on its merit. Francesco Maresca, who represented the victim’s family during the Knox trial, represents the police in the case.

Here is our own take from trial reporting and the Massei Sentencing Report on what actually happened in the witness interview that night. Amanda Knox was thrown by Sollecito cutting her loose. (He has never since provided her cover.) But she did not confess - far from it. She fingered Patrick Lumumba. And as a suspect, she always had a lawyer present in subsequent interrogations. 

More in the report too, on the movies, the books, and what it is really like to be serving one’s time It sounds punishing.

Posted on 10/01/10 at 01:44 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Judge Heavey Admonished: So Another Sock Puppet Hopefully Retires Humiliated

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for Levi Pulkkinen’s report in the Seattle Post Intelligencer and a PDF document of the findings.

Judge Michael Heavey - Mr Michael Heavey, maybe we should say, as he concedes he’s a mere private citizen in this case - may prove to be the last of a kind.

The long list of silenced sock puppets - those resolutely naked on the actual facts of the case so searingly exposed by a spotlight on their claims - has maybe now finally stopped growing.

A few named commentators did try to question the verdict of 6 December of last year, but it has been months now since ANY prominent commentators have sought to come out naked under that same spotlight. And in that time Judge Massei’s report has created an entirely new ballpark.

Our first post on Michael Heavey’s claims nearly two years ago was a pretty benign one. We really thought he had been unwittingly set up.

We frankly hoped Mr Heavey would sit down and check out the points in that post and then say to Seattle “Okay, let’s cool it”.  What a valuable service to all concerned, not least Amanda Knox and the Mellas-Knox family and Anne Bremner and others, that might have been.

Instead both Michael Heavey and those he so encouraged just listed above all continued to dig themselves in deeper.

Amanda Knox, with a strong expression of contriteness to Meredith’s family and the court, and an attempt to explain possible mitigating factors (see Janus just below), might have drawn a sentence not much longer than Rudy Guede’s sixteen years.

Instead, she might now be facing more than thirty.

Posted on 09/28/10 at 12:19 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Deja Vu All Over Again: In A Time Warp Linda Byron Is STILL Actively Misleading Seattle

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click above for the “scoop” by Linda Byron and an out-of-date and unrelated video.

Linda Byron has in fact had the extraordinary Massei Report on the evidence and the sentencing reasons for Knox and Sollecito for THREE WEEKS and she even acknowledged it with thanks and said she would be sure to read it.

But apparently not yet. Amazingly, Linda Byron does not even MENTION Judge Massei’s Report here.

Linda Byron’s “scoop” on an FBI agent turns out to be about (surprise, surprise)  a claimed ex-FBI agent “Steve Moore” who (if he actually exists) seems to have zero track-record and reputation among current federal and local law enforcement who are watching the case.

Precisely these same few shoot-from-the-hip claims were made by “Steve Moore” several months ago on a website. Nothing new, nothing corrected, and still riddled with errors and false claims. They are so easy to shoot down that the posters over on PMF hardly even bothered to laugh at them before moving back to their usual careful in-depth discussions.

The Massei Report that Linda Byron studiously ignores now contradicts in very great detail the same few claims that “Steve Moore” makes - the evidence collection, the possible motives, the scenario on the night, the physical evidence, and the true nature of the interrogations.

And he simply leaves out altogether huge areas. Perhaps 80 percent of the whole.

The multiple alibis that contradicted one another and STILL contradict one another. The allegations that Knox made IN WRITING against Patrick when alone in a cell. The extensive luminol evidence and the extensive mixed-blood evidence. The telling behavior on the several days after. The sad facts of Meredith’s autopsy. The very extensive and very damning mobile phone records and transcripts. The computer records and recorded times it was switched on and off. The various eye-witness accounts. The facts and the reasoning that showed that there is no way that Rudy Guede could have acted alone. 

The few supportive comments below Linda Byron’s piece seem desperately grateful, and ultra-shallow on the real facts.  More hate-speech about Italy, of course. “The italian government and (in)justice system is regarded as one of the most corrupt in the first world. she would have gotten a fairer trial in mexico.”  Both those claims are untrue. Also as usual, very heavy promotion of a tainted and misleading FOA website apparently paid for by Curt Knox.

Ex FBI agent “Steve Moore” really should download and read the Massei Report and see why ALL of his claimed former colleagues consider this case to be closed.

Posted on 08/31/10 at 01:31 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Could Judge Heavey’s Muddled Stance Be Facilitating Future Killers?

Posted by Peter Quennell

Judge Heavey presumably doesn’t think so.

Read this post on TJMK and this post on The Examiner and you will see that Judge Heavey is STILL framing this as a case of an Italian justice system intent on railroading Amanda Knox and he as the White Knight that rides to her rescue.

But let Judge Heavey read Lilly’s post below and the comment thread directly underneath, about psychologically troubled potential killers, and the ways in which they can be detected and even prevented.

Then let Judge Heavey tell us if he still feels he got the framing of the problem just right.

The real framing of the case should be as follows. MEREDITH’S DEATH WAS TOTALLY PREVENTABLE. People KNEW Knox was a loose canon. Meredith Kercher did NOT have to die.

Amanda Knox was for many years putting out warning signals in Seattle that all was not well in her hard wiring. Maybe it was something Amanda was born with, or maybe, as the first symptoms seemed to surface right after, it was something to do with the extreme family trauma of her parents’ ugly divorce and the ugly aftermath that followed.

Imagine if Knox’s family and her friends and her teaching faculty in Seattle had more forcefully stepped in to HELP her whenever she acted peculiar. And had prevented her from getting more and more into hard drugs. And had not sent her off to Perugia unstructured, unsupervised, under-funded, and still on drugs.

Would Meredith be in her grave and Amanda Knox in prison right now?

Amanda Knox is far from alone in putting out psychological warning signals. Each time there is a mass killing in the US we hear more about this. If the books on charming psychopaths and the clinical psychologists have this right, there are literally millions in the US alone that have the defective hard wiring to kill in the “right” circumstances.

Many of them put out warning signs, often for many years. In their own way, perhaps, cries for help.

The Virginia Tech case reported in these videos is a lot more extreme than Meredith’s, and in fact there 32 people died. But the two cases have this one thing in common. In each case, responsible people KNEW there were ominous symptoms in the one who turned to killing.

They did not act sufficiently. And Meredith and 32 other people about her own age died. 

Court officers like Judge Heavey should presumably be encouraging universal consciousness of such warning signals, and protecting the wider public from future killers above all.

Not deflecting public attention from that vital need, and onto to a rampaging Italian justice system that exists only in his own mind.

Posted on 07/15/10 at 06:59 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Judge Heavey’s Open Letter To Italy With False Accusations Might Be Seen As Obstruction Of Justice

Posted by Peter Quennell

Our post of three weeks ago on how Michael Heavey is accused of breaking his oath of office.

Here now is Michael Heavey’s response.  Good luck with this one. One of our lawyers said it reads to him as if one of Amanda Knox’s sisters had actually written it.

In his open letter to Italy (included in this document) Michael Heavey appeared to disrespect the competence and motivations of a huge number of people in the justice system. As it was on official letterhead, he appeared to be writing officially. And he put out in the public arena many “facts” that were simply not accurate.

Our lawyers on the team indicate that the standard practice if a judge has something to say about a case that is not his own is to (1) write privately (2) on his own letterhead and (3) make quite certain to get NONE of the facts wrong.

Otherwise there is the possibility of serious interference in a case before the courts - of the obstruction of justice rather than its furthering. In this case, of justice for Meredith.

No American - not one, in the course of the past two and a half years - seems to have so mis-characterized the evidence TO ITALY. Or so impugned the motives and competence of the Italian police and Italian judicial authorities TO ITALY.

That post we just linked to was written back then of course. Subsequently, both the Micheli and Massei sentencing reports have been released. They show even more dramatically just how off-target the judge’s attempted interference really was.

Perhaps we might see him apologizing to Meredith’s family, for seeking to deny their justice. Nice if the discipline panel makes this a requirement.

Posted on 06/30/10 at 11:21 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Prominent Seattle Sock Puppet Michael Heavey Might Be About To Take A Fall

Posted by Peter Quennell

Michael Heavey was the Washington State judge who wrote several letters riddled with innuendo and wrong claims to judicial authorities in Italy in the second half of 2008.

These letters were ignored in Italy, and Michael Heavey soon piped down and disappeared. Then he wrote a further letter in August 2009 to the highest officials which was again riddled with innuendo and wrong claims.

Now he is back in the limelight for writing that second letter. In Seattle a complaint has been lodged, about the illegal use of his office to give a misleading aura to his letter.

1) This was our post at the end of 2008 when Judge Heavey first tried to interfere in the Italian judicial process on behalf of Amanda Knox. We pointed out just some of the things that Heavey had managed to get wrong.

2) This is the second open letter of August 2009 to the top officials in Italy (which was then ignored). .

3) This is the complaint lodged by the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct about his allegedly appearing to interfere “officially” which is a contravention of the oath of office, and so pretty serious.

4) This was the report on the complaint against Judge Heavey in the Seattle Times.

The Washington Commission on Judicial Conduct has filed a complaint against King County Superior Court Judge Michael Heavey, alleging he violated the state’s Code of Judicial Conduct for his support of Amanda Knox, who was convicted of killing her British roommate in Italy.

The alleged violations include writing letters on official court stationery to Italian judicial system officials on behalf of Knox, utilizing King County court staff to type the letters, and speaking publicly on the case “in an attempt to influence the proceeding,” according to the commission.

Judges may not, under the Code of Judicial Conduct, lend the prestige of judicial office to advance the private interests of others, the commission notes.

According to the commission, Heavey is required to file an answer with the commission within 21 days, unless the time is extended by the commission. Once the commission receives the judge’s response it will set up a public hearing on the allegations….

The 11-member commission is an independent agency created under the state Constitution to assure the integrity and independence of the judiciary. Members are appointed by the governor, judicial associations and the Washington State Bar Association.

This has to be rather chilling for other sock puppets, if any, considering whether they too should interfere. 

Posted on 06/08/10 at 06:06 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Seattle Parks Commissioner Who Angered Perugia Resigns - Amid Plenty Of Anger In Seattle

Posted by Peter Quennell

So the controversial Seattle parks commissioner Tim Gallagher bites the dust.

He seems to have shot himself in, well, three feet.

  • He espoused a clearcut-and-rebuild policy (video above) when Seattelites are increasingly seeing the natural beauty of their city as a resource

  • He made an expensive trip to Australia to look at some parks just when Seattle’s park system is financially tanking - very likely because of his style of management.

  • He was very quick to blink and put a heavy-handed stop to the naming of a small city park “Perugia Park” when Seattle’s (very small) anti-Perugia faction howled.

Mr Gallagher’s last action was widely noted in Perugia (Seatle’s twin city), the Mayor of Perugia made an angry statement, and a Facebook-based movement was created, to lobby to end the twin-city arrangement.

Comments about his short reign as parks commissioner on the West Seattle Blog (scroll down) seem almost uniformly negative.

The Mayor and many others he irritated in Perugia might be pleased to take note…

Posted on 04/28/10 at 10:30 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

La Repubblica’s Riccardo Stagliano Reports On The Seattle End of The Case (2)

Posted by The 411

This below is a translation of this excellent report by La Repubblica’s Riccardo Stagliano which was widely watched on Italian television.

Like the article below it also follows the typical mould of Italian reporting on Seattle - polite but seemingly doubting of the FOA claims about Amanda and the case.

AMANDA KNOX SPONTANEOUS STATEMENT: “In these days, I’ve reflected a lot about what I’ve wanted to say and what came into my mind. I wrote a question that maybe still puzzled a lot of people.”

ITALIAN ANNOUNCER VOICE-OVER: But it was the entire Meredith Kercher murder story that leaves many people puzzled in spite of the triple first-degree conviction of Rudy Guede, Raffaele Sollecito, and Amanda Knox.

We went to Seattle to try to see if we could enter into the world of the American 20-something girl - angel for her family, devil according to the judges.”

The obligatory first stop is the office of David Marriott, spin doctor these past two years, who has handled media relations for the family. You can’t enter into the inner circle of the girl without passing by him first.

The first interviews are with the mother and father, separated [i.e., divorced] for 20 years.

CURT: “Amanda is a person who’s always been extremely real. As her parents, it wasn’t always pleasant to hear what was said. But, she wasn’t able to hide the truth. She’s someone who takes care of others, honest, as a study habit she has an intellectual approach to things.”

“With Raff, they met for the first time at a classical music concert. They went out for about a week, before Meredith was found dead. In such a brief period, you don’t transform a beginning relationship in to [the type of] scenario made up by the judges. You don’t go from zero to an orgy. It doesn’t happen in nature…. It’s not started out in an orgy manner.”

EDDA: “Amanda and Meredith were friends. She only said good things about her. They spent their time together, going to bookstores, or hanging out around town, reading and discussing books. Everyone will say that Amanda is a type of person who couldn’t hurt a fly. She couldn’t even do aggressive sports, because she doesn’t like violence. She’s affectionate with the elderly and children. She’s a kind human being.”

“The only direct contact we have now is 10 minutes every Saturday morning, in which we all try to tell her we love her and we all say “hi” quickly because there’s such little time. And then there are the letters. She’s written a lot of them to us, and we try to do the same.”

VOICE OVER: An important turning point for Amanda’s life was high school - attended at Seattle Prep, a Jesuit school attended by all the offspring of the upper middle class, which, later, would mobilize for The Cause.

We met Kris Johnson, her Literature teacher for two years, who let us see in the classroom where she taught, a letter, in very childish handwriting, that she sent from prison.

KRIS JOHNSON: “Amanda was an enthusiastic student who loved to learn..It really affected her. She sent me a lot of emails after class. She was simply excited by learning. She was fascinated by characters and people because she wanted to become a writer….as if she wanted to train for it, continuously.  It is not at all possible that the person I knew in class could even THINK of the things that the media has portrayed.”

VOICE OVER: Before coming to Italy, Amanda studied at Washington University and she lived near campus. There she met and became friends with Madison Paxton, the official friend, the only one Marriot lets journalists come close to.

MADISON: “One of the reasons that we became such good friends is that we had opposite views of life and people. She’s a very trusting person, while I’m not. In the end, we balanced out each other.”

“As for her man-eater reputation, when she came to college, she had less romantic experience than the average student. In high school, she hardly went out with anyone, and in college, she had a total of two boyfriends.”

VOICE OVER: Not all of Seattle, however, is so united in their outraged defense of their famous fellow citizen. Among the despised critics of the family is Peggy Ganong, a doctoral student in French at the University, who moderates the forum “Perugia Murder File” where information is gathered about leading stories on the case.

PEGGY: “One of the things that aroused my suspicions was that the family issued a press release the day after the arrest. I found it strange- and interesting. And then I discovered that a Public Relations firm was recruited to manage the Amanda image - a firm known to use techniques, I don’t want to say unethical, but let’s say unconventional,  in order to reach their objective.”

“I think that the incredibly one-sided coverage of the case in the American media is the result of this massive PR activity that cost more than a million dollars. What Marriott and the family have done was to say from the moment that the tabloids demonized Amanda, we’ve painted her as an angel. That’s why they’ve constructed an image of a typical American girl, which is probably just as false as the demonized image of her, which the tabloids have perpetuated.”

VOICE OVER: Ms. Ganong is not the only one to think that way, and to say it publicly. Among the skeptics, there’s Charles Mudede who’s in charge of the cultural pages of “The Stranger,’ a popular weekly newspaper…. We meet him at the Quarter Lounge, near his workplace.

CHARLES: “She didn’t grow up as the classic American girl. She played soccer, which isn’t a national sport here. In fact, it’s fairly non-traditional. And then, yoga, which speaks of a Far Eastern influence, rather than of praying.”

“You might expect from a classic American girl that she’d be very focused on the Christian side [of things]  —she on the other hand did a mixture of different things, typical of the liberal cosmopolitan girls of Seattle.”

PEGGY: “The reason why many of our well-known local people have mobilized in her defense, organizing fund-raising dinners, putting together groups of people on her behalf all goes back to Seattle Prep.”

“People who pay $13,000 a year to send their children to high school so they can prepare them to go to the best colleges do not want to see the value of that investment go down, as a result of that type of scandal. Seattle Prep was the school where Judge Mike Heavey’s daughter went, [a girl] who was quite friendly with Amanda. As were the children of Tom Wright.  I believe worrying about saving the good name of the school is a good part of the [motivation behind the] ‘Innocentisti Movement’ in Seattle.

“Although it’s important that these influential people on her side have made a big splash, they don’t really represent the entire city.”

VOICE OVER: Anne Bremner, former prosecutor and current TV legal commentator is the spokeswoman for the Friends of Amanda, a site where counter-information regarding trial facts is continually updated.

ANNE: “An injustice in any part of the world is an injustice in all of the world.  I personally felt it was important to lend a hand, to expose the absolute lack of evidence. In other words, someone who has absolutely nothing to do with this horrendous crime. What has happened since the verdict? Nothing, except to increase the passion, that much more. We will never, ever abandon Amanda.”

SUBTITLES OF STATE DEPARTMENT PRESS CONFERENCE - A REPORTER ASKS: “Today Senator Cantwell spoke of contaminated evidence… of unsequestered jurors and a questionable prosecutor… additionally, we’ve seen jurors wearing tri-colored sashes… and there was anger in the Italian press and all this indicates that there hasn’t been a fair trial…and all of you in the State Department claim the opposite…”

VOICE OVER: In the meantime, they continue their tireless lobbying activity, recruiting the most varied of advocates. Senator Maria Cantwell has expressed such serious doubts about the judicial system, that Anti-Americanism contaminated the case, also making Hillary Clinton more aware of the case.

Fortunately, she [Hillary] was too busy dealing with Afghanistan and Iran to offer an opinion on the matter. [There are] even VIPs, like Donald Trump, who proposed a boycott of Italy, until the girl comes home.

SUBTITLE OF STATE DEPARTMENT PRESS CONFERENCE: “Italy has its own justice system, different than our own.”

VOICEOVER: No one remembers one detail—that at least Italy doesn’t have the Death Penalty.

Nor does anyone seem to remember the many cases when America made great efforts to collaborate with Italian judges, including such times as [after] the Disaster of Cermes, and the [after] the killing of Agent Nicola Calferi by [American] soldier Mario Lozano.

Posted on 03/03/10 at 11:19 PM by The 411. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

La Repubblica’s Riccardo Stagliano Reports On The Seattle End of The Case

Posted by Nicki

[click for larger image]

La Repubblica’s cool and objective reporter Riccardo Staglione visited Seattle recently to meet all the parties, and he filed this balanced and unequivocating report.

Seattle, In The World Of Amanda

By Riccardo Stagliano

Seattle. The fabulous world of Amanda Knox is a catalog of goodwill skits. Amanda, whose worst fault is to trust everyone. Amanda, so sincere as to become self-damaging. More about Amanda, comforting a lonely child and pampering her old zen master. All she wants to do is work and study more and more. She finds love at a classical music concert, not at a Black Sabbath rave.

Such a mirrored biography tends to become dazzling, to the point that it seems to have been rinsed in Photoshop. Only the end doesn’t add up. A retroactive, corny and sanctifying portrait to the point that one finds it natural to look for the scriptwriter’s signature. But the end doesn’t add up.

She has been convicted of murdering someone of her same age, stabbed in the house that they shared . A devilish tail springing out of her angelic body. As if the first part of the movie had been directed by Federico Moccia [an Italian writer and movie maker specialized in corny, sentimental plots] and the second part by Dario Argento [Italian horror movies director].

At the beginning of March, the first degree judges [judges for 2009 trial] will explain in the motivations of their sentence why they believe that this 20 year old from Seattle who went to Perugia for a student exchange is guilty. The Court of Appeal judgment will confirm or deny.

Here we ‘ll talk about the environment where the girl was born and grew up, and why in her city and starting from the same premises, some people have reached opposite conclusions about her, and how this event has put the US and Italy up against each other.

This low intensity war started in newspapers. With a scandalized Timothy Egan asking on the New York Times “In which century are we? Haven’t Jeanne d’Arc, the Inquisition and witch hunts taught a couple of things to civilized nations relatively to sexual hysteria with devilish nuances?”. Needless to say [according to Egan] we are the uncivilized hysterics.

Next it was the VIP’s turn, such as tycoon Donald Trump, who has recently proposed a boycott of Italy until the girl will be freed. And politicians such as Senator Marie Cantwell, who has expressed “serious doubts on the Italian judiciary system and the circumstance of anti-americanism that may have contaminated the process” and who has tried to involved Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, luckily too busy with Afghanistan and Iran to look into it.

This is the climate and it is the second thing to be noted upon arrival in this city after the scenographic skyscraper Space Needle: the direction of the reconstruction of this nasty story, very professional and entrusted to a proven spin doctor, whose fees according to local sources are about $ 100,000 a year. David Marriott is the journalists tamer that has been managing the family’s relations with the press for two years.

His first question is if one has spoken with anyone else and if so who they are. His black list has grown long with time. In order to finish up on this list, it’s enough not to go with the official tales, or to raise doubts or point out inconsistencies.

In his posh PR offices even the paintings speak eloquently. On a poster from the 40’s a soldier warns against the risks of espionage : “Someone has talked”. There, it’s important that only authorized people speak, and that they have been instructed about what to say.

The first to arrive in the meeting room is Kurt Knox, relaxed in his black leather jacket. After about 10 minutes Edda Mellas rushes in, breathless.

Mom and Dad, separated for 20 years, seem to only have in common the white plastic bracelets claiming “free Amanda”. And some key words that we’ll hear from the mouths of the other witnesses carefully selected by the PR people. “Amanda? Her main characteristic is to always say the truth, even when it is not convenient” they say, first the father and then the mother, his eyes dry, her eyes shedding tears. It’s the woman giving more details about how Amanda cannot simply restrain from commenting if she didn’t like a dress or a hair cut , how she is not capable to say those white lies that make life easier. A problem for a shrewd manipulator such as she has been described.

In the same way, how could she be a knife wielding murderer, she who is “incapable of violence?”. She didn’t even enroll in the kickboxing course that all her friends were attending, her mother recalls. ” If she found a spider in the house what would she do?” her father asks, with the expression of one who is holding a royal flush. “Well, Amanda would never squash one”.

The third quality of Amanda that is once again discussed is her being booksmart, more comfortable with books that with real life. Is such a girl capable of killing someone? Absolutely not.

Parents are clearly doing their job, a tough job nowdays, and that deserve respect. They meet only on Saturday mornings, just for the 10 minutes weekly call from the prison. Then, they stick to the defense line agreed upon with the communication strategist, and they are very careful and ready to bite their tongue when there’s something to say about Giuliano Mignini who has already sued them for some declarations believed to be slanderous

They are emotionally and financially devastated, says Kris Johnson, who taught Amanda English at Seattle Prep, the exclusive Jesuit high school which costs about $ 20,000 a year. She is number one on Marriot’s approved list. In the tiny cafe near the school where they serve cappuccino in cups as big as soup bowls she pulls out an envelope sent from the Capanne prison and sealed with a drawing of a laughing heart.

“Do you see the handwriting? How could do someone with such a handwriting harm anybody?” . In the two pages the ex student reasons with melancholy about the grey colors of winter she sees during her daily two hours outside her cell, with many more spelling errors than what one would expect from an honor student, as she has been depicted.

But the teacher tells me instead about the boldness of some Italian males when in 1972 in Florence they were proposing her to become their umpteenth lover. It’s not a casual memory and she explains: “Italian men have strange ideas about American females”. She is thinking about the jurors, the prosecutor, the public opinion that are all seeing a witch instead of the sensitive youngster that she knows. “She reads a lot of books, she thinks a lot. She could only attend one course but she was following two. She was writing me emails to comment on the classes. It was a pleasure to teach her”

The fourth word that she introduces is the adjective that Amanda university mates will use: “trusting”, even too much. Madison Paxton is the kosher friend, the one that the careful Marriot casting has approved. I met her at the Cafe on Ave, a couple of blocks from campus, very close to the dorms where she met Amanda in 2005.

“The main difference between us, what was really fascinating is I was very wary, she was the opposite.” An attitude that during the year and a half they were socializing was never a problem. This petite photography student, with honey colored hair and wearing dark shades, seem not to possess an ounce of malice. She would seem the ideal character witness, one everybody could believe. She tells of when Amanda was waiting outside the darkroom because she was afraid to return home alone at night. She is laughing thinking about Amanda as a man eater, she only dated a couple of boys when she was in college “actually a number below the average “.

And if the Italian public have remarked how she didn’t seem contrite during the trial, it’s only because they don’t know “the girls from the North West, they are raised not to cry in public and to behave like guys”. In a letter from jail, Amanda wrote to her not to despair: “even if I’ll be locked in here until I am 46, I’ll still have a big chunk of life ahead” .

If she’ll be freed earlier, one who is ready to hire her right away is Rick Kirsten. She worked for this art gallery owner for two months. but he’s betting on her qualities, as if he has known her forever. “I put an ad, I had 31 applications and I chose her. She used to finish her work in half the time and she would ask for more. And she knew how to deal with people”. His favorite episode-that Amanda’s parents recommended he tell me is about a 8-10 years old girl that seemed to be lost in the crowd at the gallery.

“I was getting ready to go to take care of her, but a client stopped me, and Amanda was there already and the child was happily laughing.” Not to speak of Amanda’s kindness to his father, a 90 years old painter and zen meditative that was often at the gallery

The beatification front is coherent and uniform. If the tabloids, especially the British ones. depicted during the first months after the murder the image of a heartless, shrewd and bad girl, the Foxy Knoxy from MySpace, then the American counteroffensive is aiming at an immaculate picture. Amanda Santa Subito (Amanda Saint Now).

One who definitely doesn’t tolerate it, breaking the city chain of solidarity is Peggy Ganong, a doctoral student in French at the university, a translator who has lived for 20 years in Paris, she is the spoiler who has taken up the task to dismantle the “consensus machine” on her internet forum perugiamurderfile.org.  “I don’t know if the girl is guilty I only know that this rabid activity of image management to bleach her reputation is not convincing, actually, it is suspicious”

[Amanda’s] family - that between airplanes, lawyers, press offices appears to have spent more than $ 1,000 000, and claims it is deep in debts - is only partially responsible for the operation, as several local potentates whose path have crossed Amanda’s in the classrooms of the Jesuit high school have taken action to defend the future possible convict. It seems that Amanda was very fond of the daughter of judge Michael Heavy. He was the first one to write an outraged letter to the Italian magistrates and to inspire the group Friends of Amanda, together with Tom Wright, a tycoon with interests in the movies industry whose children were at Seattle Prep.

“In order to defend the reputation of an institution that prepares the local ruling class” Ganong explains, “they have organized fund raisers to pay some of the costs necessary to sell the image of the typical naive American girl which, regardless of how things went, it’s totally false”.

“We are not in Wisconsin, Kansas, Georgia nor in any other puritan area of the US. The middle class here is liberal, open, cosmopolitan…. Amanda was practicing yoga, she played soccer and was studying abroad. Not really typically American, but rather a Seattle behavior”, Charles Mudede from the weekly magazine the Stranger explains: “But it was more convenient to present her like a standard girl because this would have triggered national solidarity and the suspicion derived from the ignorance that America nurtures towards everything situated outside its border”.

Thus also subduing diffidence toward that other foreign land, adolescence, that for the average American is the dungeon of evil. Mudede is not ideologically a colpevolista, he has been to Perugia, followed the case and objects to the patriotic critics against the Italian judiciary system: “They had Lumumba, a black from Congo and Amanda, a white American. If they wanted a murderer at any cost, which of the two was the easiest target?

The FOA don’t see it this way. Their spokeperson Anne Bremner, a sort of super-blond and sharpened Crudelia Demon that was a prosecutor and TV commentator, cites Martin Luther King: “An injustice in any place is a threat to justice everywhere else”. She claims that with such scarce evidence nobody would have been found guilty anywhere else in the world. She promises that they won’t stop, they will get to the White House.

Meanwhile, they keep recruiting witnesses that describe us [Italians] as the savages of jurisprudence. But have these people who are pointing their sharp little fingers ever heard of the Cermis deaths [details here], and of the US marine Lozano who killed Nicola Calipari [details here] just to name a couple of cases of “lack of judiciary collaboration between Washington and Rome”?

If there is something besides our national health service about which we do not feel inferiority complexes towards the USA it is our justice, slow, at times fallible, but at least without the death penalty. Amanda knows it and in fact she writes to her friend Madison that in the worst case she will be out by the time she is 40. Her lawyers know it too, and so do the spin doctors who hope to shake the fragile probatory evidence on appeal. For her the outcome is still to be determined.

The one for whom is definitely closed is Meredith Kercher, in this grim drama the least quoted protagonist by the Seattle guarantists.

Posted on 03/02/10 at 01:39 PM by Nicki. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Extreme Tastelessness Being Decried Of Knox Comedy Fundraiser In Seattle Tonight

Posted by Peter Quennell

Great to see Spokane lawyer Bill Edelblute speaking out for justice, taste and common sense once again.

Here Mr Edelblute comments in

today’s Examiner on tonight’s very widely-criticised laugh-in about Meredith’s death.

Murder a laughing matter for Seattle, comedy fundraiser for Amanda Knox January 27th

Apparently help is not on the way from Senator Maria Cantwell or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton fast enough.

Or, Amanda Knox’s fans would not be holding a comedy fundraiser at the “Comedy Underground” in her hometown of Seattle tomorrow night, January 27th.  Believe it or not, but that is what is reported by KING 5 News of Seattle.  And see the ad posted by Comedy Underground for the event “starring SUSAN JONES, GEOFF LOTT,BILLY WAYNE DAVIS plus Xung Lam, John Gardner & Renee Perrault.”  Lott publicly calls women four letter obscenities.

Renee Perrault is a comedienne who used to work with Curt Knox, the convicted murder’s father.  She helped with a baby shower when Mr. Knox and his wife, now Edda Mellas,  were expecting Amanda.  (And, now, a “murder shower?”)

At $50 a head, Perrault hopes to raise $10,000 for Amanda’s appeal fund.  Though Perrault says there will be no jokes about the murder, it seems a strange mix.  It would seem difficult to not visualize the demise of Meredith Kercher while attending a fundraiser for legal fees arising from charges for that incident.  If that doesn’t suppress the laugh reflex, something is wrong no matter what you think about the trial result so far.  Perrault’s sense of humor seems a little off, in parallel with Knox’s seemingly inappropriate smiling during the trial.

Featured “comedian” Geoff Lott calls women four letter obscenities

But wait, it gets worse.  Geoff Lott, another performer slated for the event, has a blogspot in which he responds to critics of the appropriateness of the performance.  He says maybe they should get “physical” instead of just “textual” and ” maybe your arguments begin to hold the amount of water your fat dumb asses do.”  And this classy, professional, Knox supporter says ” if you get in my face about doing what I choose to that in no way effects, disrespects, or discredits you, then you better stay off my shoes, c*nt.” 

While this last word, even in abbreviated form is extremely offensive, in order to report on the nature of the performers for this event, it was deemed necessary, as you probably would have never dreamed of it.  To anyone planning to take any impressionable young people, then it should serve as a warning.  He in “no way ... disrespects” you, just calls you a filthy name, degrading to females?

Please, America, and the world, do not judge all of Seattle or Washington by this. 

Posted on 01/27/10 at 06:25 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Friday, January 08, 2010

A Month Has Passed And Senator Cantwell Still Hasn’t Answered Constituents’ Hard Questions

Posted by Highly-Concerned Washington-State Voters

On December 9, 2009 five well-informed constituents of US Senator Marie Cantwell sent her an Open Letter.

It asked some questions about the reasoning behind her December 4th press release on the verdict in Meredith’s case.

The public release of this letter to Maria Cantwell garnered international attention, and it was quoted-from in various stories and reports published in Europe..

On December 10, a Cantwell Senate-office staff member in Washington DC, John Diamond, provided the one and only direct response to inquiries about it.

Mr Diamond claimed “Our staff has checked every possible in-box and not turned up the letter. We get lots of mail and email sent through to us every day, so I don’t know what the problem was. We now have your letter so it’s a mute point. We will get back to you.”

Rather bizarrely, on December 11th, Mr. Diamond then forwarded to the authors of the Open Letter a Knox/Mellas Family Press Release. It was issued by the paid Seattle PR man David Marriott, and Ms Cantwell’s office seemed to be endorsing it.

The release stated among other things, “We would like to publicly thank Senator Maria Cantwell for her support of Amanda, support of the family, and her continued work on our behalf.” 

No other response has ever been received by the authors of that Open Letter, other than one auto-reply email from Mr. Diamond saying, “I will be out of the office through Labor Day.” (Labor Day is the first Monday in September, then a full nine months away.)

On December 15th the Seattle PI’s Andrea Vogt in her story “The debate continues over Knox’s guilt”  reported that instead of repeating the harsh complaints of her press release, Cantwell’s spokesperson Katharine Lister was now saying this:

“Senator Cantwell believes that Amanda Knox deserved a fair trial, and now deserves a fair appeal by an impartial tribunal; all in keeping with the Council of Europe and the European Union’s treaties to which Italy has long been a signatory. While she certainly understands that the legal system and practice in Italy is different than in the U.S., she believes it is the responsibility of the U.S. government to press for fair treatment for any U.S. citizen facing legal jeopardy overseas. She will continue to press to ensure that Amanda gets a fair appeal, by an impartial tribunal.”

On December 24, 2009 the following new inquiry was sent to Senator Cantwell, reiterating the concerns of the original letter and a desire for a response from Senator Cantwell, and repeating the request to meet with Senator Cantwell herself or a senior member of her staff. 

To this letter Senator Cantwell’s Seattle area constituents are still awaiting her reply more than two weeks later.

Dear Senator Cantwell:

Last December we submitted an Open Letter and had some contact with John Diamond regarding your press release concerning the Amanda Knox guilty verdict in Italy for the murder of Meredith Kercher.  We have yet to receive a response other than an email from Mr. Diamond simply forwarding a press release from the Knox/Mellas Family. Five of your Seattle area constituents authored that Open Letter to question the reasoning behind statements made in your press release.

We did not feel as though we were well represented by that press release and are still awaiting a response to the issues we raised, including a request to meet with your Chief of Staff.  Now that the holiday break is upon us I think it’s a great time to revisit these issues since we haven’t seen any additional press releases from your office and are left wondering if the situation has progressed or if you have adjusted your position on the issue of the Amanda Knox guilty verdict in light of ongoing events and news coverage.

As a recap, here are the key points from your press release and a few of our questions regarding the rationale behind your points:

1. “I have serious questions about the Italian justice system and whether anti-Americanism tainted this trial.”

If you are requesting a full briefing on the principles of Italian justice it seems that there are far better places to ask than in what might be construed as a xenophobic press release. To our eye, you seem to be suggesting that anti-Americanism in Italy is a serious ongoing problem and I am wondering what evidence you have to support this perception and, specifically, how it would apply to the Amanda Knox (American) and Raffaele Sollecito (Italian) murder trial.

2. “The prosecution did not present enough evidence for an impartial jury to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that Ms. Knox was guilty.”

How can you justify making such a statement?  You seem to be indicating here that you were following the case quite closely, but elsewhere you indicate that you weren’t.  Do you state this as an opinion or as a fact?  I am concerned because Curt Knox and Edda Mellas have been charged with defamation by the Italians for making similar unfounded accusations against the Italian justice system.

3.“Italian jurors were not sequestered and were allowed to view highly negative news coverage about Ms. Knox.”

What special knowledge do you have to make an informed critique of the Italian justice system? Our impression, having closely followed of the murder trial for Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, was that the jury behaved honorably and was somewhat restrained and lenient in issuing their ruling. We expect to find some justification for this impression in the lengthy and detailed summary of findings that the court will issue within 90 days of the ruling.

Regarding press coverage, our personal observation is that the media battle waged by the Knox family and David Marriott was, in fact, very effective in highlighting the concerns of the Knox family in outlets around the world, to the extreme point that whatever Curt Knox and Edda Mellas have to say about the murder case is reported verbatim, without question or verification.  We also believe that media coverage during the lengthy trial itself focused heavily on the prospect of an “innocent” Amanda Knox and the weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case.

4.“Other flaws in the Italian justice system on display in this case included the harsh treatment of Ms. Knox following her arrest; negligent handling of evidence by investigators; and pending charges of misconduct against one of the prosecutors stemming from another murder trial.”

What specific systemic flaws are you referring to here, and in comparison to what system?  We’re wondering what your specific recommendations would be to the Italian Foreign Minister and where you will find the time to research and author them. 

While we’ve seen the claims of harsh treatment and abuse in the media we are unable to verify any of these allegations.  We have noticed, however, that Amanda Knox has been charged with and investigated for making false allegations, and convicted in the instance of accusations made against her former employer Patrick Lumumba. Can you clearly detail any specific incident of harsh treatment Amanda Knox received, either before or following her arrest? 

Can you provide specific examples of the negligent handling of evidence that clearly compromised Amanda Knox’s right to a fair trial? We have followed this case closely from the beginning and while certain investigative elements could have been better handled we are not aware of anything suggesting that the Italians are fundamentally incapable of properly documenting and evaluating a crime scene, or conducting a fully “fair trial” for that matter.

In addition, we would appreciate a detailed description of your understanding of the alleged charges against prosecutor Giuliano Mignini and the relevant connection you are trying to make between that legal proceeding and the Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito murder trial.

In regards to Amanda Knox, Mignini was one of two prosecutors in a case that involved the coordination of a variety of completely separate entities in Italian law enforcement and legal systems.  According to our understanding of Italian legal processes, the charge against Mignini relating to the other murder trial case seems somewhat routine, rather insignificant, and could very well be dismissed later this month.

5.“I will be conveying my concerns to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.”

What was Secretary Clinton’s response to you?  It has been our understanding that the US State Department and US Embassy in Rome have been following this case from the beginning, have visited Amanda Knox in prison, and have attended court sessions.

We’re wondering what compelled you to insert yourself so publicly into an international situation when your press release gives the strong indication that you were not fully briefed before issuing it and appear to know very little about what has actually been going on with the case.

In the sole interest of providing you with our valid and informed perspective, we remain very interested in meeting with you and/or your Chief of Staff to discuss these issues in detail and share the facts as we understand them.  As your concerned constituents, please us know if this will soon be possible.

[signed by five constituents in the original]

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Our Letter To Senator Maria Cantwell: Please Don’t Take Precipitate Action Till Full Facts Are In

Posted by Highly-Concerned Washington-State Voters

We are all regular voters who live in the Seattle area. We have signed the original of this letter to our US senator, Maria Cantwell, and sent it off to her Capitol office. 

We think we increasingly mirror a very large minority or even a majority of cool-headed but concerned Seattle-area voters who would like to see her speaking up for truth and real justice in this case.

And for the rights of the true victim.

We are not running a campaign. We don’t think Senator Cantwell needs hard persuasion. We think once she immerses herself deeply in the real facts, those facts will tell her the right thing to do.

Dear Senator Cantwell

A number of your well-informed constituents are wondering about your motivations for suddenly injecting yourself into the Meredith Kercher murder trial debate, immediately following last week’s unanimous guilty ruling for American Amanda Knox in Perugia, Italy. 

We wonder because you said you were saddened by the verdict and had serious questions about the Italian judicial system and whether anti-Americanism had tainted the trial.  But then you went on to describe how you knew for a fact that the prosecution in the case did not present enough evidence for an impartial jury to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that Amanda Knox was guilty. 

We’re confused because it seems to us that if you had been following the case closely enough to be certain that not enough evidence had been presented by the prosecution that you would consequently have a very clear idea of how the Italian judicial system functioned and know whether or not anti-American sentiment had impacted the ruling. 

So, as a group of concerned Seattle area constituents who have been following every detail of this case since poor Meredith Kercher was murdered, we humbly offer you our assistance towards bringing things into proper perspective.

Were you aware that Raffaele Sollecito, an Italian from Giovinazzo, Bari was convicted right alongside Ms. Knox?  Mr. Sollecito received some of the best legal representation available in Italy, including senior lawyer and parliamentary deputy Giulia Bongiorno who won fame as a criminal lawyer when she successfully defended former Italian Premier Giulio Andreotti a few years ago. 

Ms Bongiorno has said nothing about anti-American sentiment having influenced the ruling against her client, nor has she complained about fundamental problems with the way this trial was run.  Instead, she is now completely focused on looking ahead to the appeal process as her next opportunity to mitigate sentences or argue for her client’s innocence. 

This should assuage some of your concerns.

But perhaps you are referring to the extra year Ms. Knox received in comparison to Mr. Sollecito’s 25-year sentence as a clear example of anti-American sentiment?  That’s a fair concern; however, in Italy the jury panel for a trial is required to submit a report within 90 days of a ruling describing in great detail the logic used to convict and sentence, or absolve a defendant. 

For example, in Rudy Guede’s fast-track trial for the murder of Meredith Kercher last year Judge Paolo Micheli issued an exhaustive 106 page report outlining the panel’s labored decision-making process, in sometimes excruciating detail.  We can expect no less for the trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, and when that report is issued we will have our best look yet at the evidence that was used to convict the pair.

We suggest that you seriously reconsider “bringing” Hillary Clinton and the State Department into the debate.

Consider that State Department spokesman Ian Kelly stated that the US embassy in Rome had been tasked with monitoring the trial and had visited Ms. Knox in jail, and several embassy representatives were known to have attended the reading of the ruling last week. In addition, an American reporter based in Italy who has followed the case from the outset said last night on CNN that the trial had been monitored from the outset.

Secretary Clinton has clearly been very busy with far more critical tasks than to have maintained a personal familiarity with the Kercher murder case; however, Kelly did state that in response to recent press reports Secretary Clinton had taken time to look things over and has yet to find any indication that Knox did not receive a fair trial.  You surely realize that Secretary Clinton will not be interested making public comments regarding an ongoing legal process in a sovereign, democratic nation that is a long-time ally of the United States.

Also note that on the Italian side of the equation, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini told his countrymen that he has yet to receive any criticisms of the trial from the office of the US Secretary of State and that the fierce criticism of the case by the Seattle based Amanda Knox support group should not be confused as the position of the US government. 

And Luciano Ghirga, Knox’s own Italian lawyer, has stated that he does not question the validity of the trial and that he believes it was conducted correctly. Furthermore, regarding your desire to have Clinton become involved, Ghirga concluded, “That’s all we need, Hillary Clinton involved…this sort of thing does not help us in any way.” 

Perhaps he is referring to the heated discussions in the Italian press these days regarding the strong criticisms of Italy’s legal system coming from a country that supports Guantanamo Bay, the death penalty, and other perceived injustices of a far-from-perfect American legal system.

As these examples demonstrate, and from your own humble constituents’ well-informed perspective, there is nothing out of the ordinary or alarming about the Meredith Kercher murder trial process.  The prosecutors and defense teams will continue to debate the evidence throughout the appeal process, just as we should expect them to. 

If you do decide to go forward with your inquiry, despite significant opposition from your constituents, we recommend that you do so only after becoming more familiar with the evidence presented during the trial, as presented by a neutral source. The family and friends of the US citizen recently convicted are probably not neutral.

If you take a good look, you will see that there are checks and balances in the Italian way of achieving justice, just as there are in the American system. In the final analysis, it is completely as Beatrice Cristiani, deputy judge for the Kercher murder trial, put it: “As far as I am aware our system of justice does not make provision for interference from overseas.”

Fully signed by all of us in the original sent to Senator Maria Cantwell

Monday, December 07, 2009

US Overreaction: State Department (Foreign Office) Rebuts Senator Cantwell’s Claims

Posted by Peter Quennell

If Senator Cantwell or her staff come by looking for something to convince them fast please read this.

The same people who set the hapless John Q Kelly up (he has never been heard from again since that post) seem to have set Senator Cantwell up too.

Now Agence France-Presse (AFP) reports that her precipitate involvement in the case seems to be hitting a brick wall.

WASHINGTON, USA - The US government said Monday it had no signs that a court in Italy failed to follow the country’s laws when it found American Amanda Knox guilty of the murder of her British housemate.

However, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will discuss the verdict with Senator Maria Cantwell, who said it raises ‘serious questions’ about the Italian justice system, Clinton’s spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters.

‘I don’t have any indications to the contrary,’ Kelly said when asked if Knox was treated fairly under Italian law. ‘We haven’t received any indications necessarily that Italian law was not followed.’

He added: ‘I do know that our embassy in Rome was very closely involved in this. They visited Amanda Knox. They have monitored the trial.’

Kelly said he preferred to limit comment as the legal process continues, recalling that Knox has the right to appeal in 45 days.

Posted on 12/07/09 at 09:24 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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US Overreaction: Meredith’s Mother Regards Cantwell’s Grandstanding As Ill-Informed

Posted by Peter Quennell

This was just reported by Tom Wells in tomorrow’s The Sun

The mum of murdered Meredith Kercher yesterday blasted killer Amanda Knox’s supporters for enlisting Hillary Clinton in her appeal battle….

Ms Cantwell suggested the 22-year-old did not get a fair trial and expressed worries over possible “anti-American” bias in the Italian court. Mrs Clinton, wife of former US President Bill, has now vowed to meet with “anyone who has a concern”.

But Meredith’s mum Arline yesterday insisted Knox’s hearing WAS fair - and said she did not sense any anti-American feeling in the Perugia court.

Mrs Kercher, 64, said at her family’s home in Coulsdon, Surrey: “We are still getting over the sentencing. The whole thing has gone in a blur.

“Having them say they are looking to lodge an appeal was tough enough - and now this. I just do not know where they are going by getting people in high places involved.

“I was in no way aware of anti-American feeling. It was just a normal court. Everything seemed to be done fairly. It seems a bit desperate, but the Italian justice system should be the ones to answer whether it was fair or not.

“We were not exactly given special treatment. I can’t see there was this anti-American thing.”...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

LA7 TV’s Documentary On Meredith’s Case #2 The American Segments

Posted by Nicki

Below: One of many good images of Seattle which included some specially taken from the air

Below: The home of the Knox family where Curt Knox and daughter Deanna were interviewed

Below: Curt Knox being interviewed and showing four childhood photographs of Amanda Knox

These are childhood images of Amanda. The FOAK is quite independent of our family. They concentrate on analysing the case and raising money for us. They are nothing to do with the family! The Kerchers lost their daughter, but we can still hope to get ours back.

Below: One of the childhood photographs shown of Amanda Knox, seen here playing a guitar

Below: Amanda Knox’s sister Deanna Knox being interviewed in the garden of her father’s home

Below: Segment with part of a YouTube video showing Amanda Knox aopparently a bit drunk

Below: A Seattle street with crowd; many lively crowd scenes here and in the UK were included

Below: First of four students at University of Washington; only one strongly believed Knox is innocent

Everything is possible. It’s always a possibility - you have to study her personalty in depth and the eventual psychological motivations which could have led her to commit the murder. It’s the only thing I can say. I don’t know whether she took part in the crime.

Below: Second of four students at University of Washington; only one strongly believed Knox is innocent

The story changed so many times that I think she is guilty.  She changed versions several times.  I’ve stopped following the story because the media try to take away attention from it and then go back to make the interest in it rise again. But I think that she is guilty.

Below: Third of four students at University of Washington; only one strongly believed Knox is innocent

I knew her, yes, we were at high school together at Seattle Prep. [Q: And you were in the same class?] Yes, in the same class. [Q: And what do you remember?] She was very nice - a nice person, I didn’t know her very well ...  I could never have imagined that she could be involved in such a thing.  It’s a tragedy because I believe she didn’t commit the murder. I follow the trial and it’s sad because for me, she seems innocent.  I don’t really believe that she committed the murder.

Below: Fourth of four students at University of Washington; only one strongly believed Knox is innocent

I don’t know - I haven’t any idea. I think that this case has been manipulated too much by the media.  It’s very difficult to discern between media sensationalism and the truth.  So it’s difficult to express an opinion.

Below: Dr Taso Lagos of UW spoke weirdly of cultural differences - and Knox somehow being the real victim

Below: Offices of Seattle magazine The Stranger where campaigner for truth Charles Mudede works

Below: Charles Mudede, perhaps first US journalists with an in-depth piece sympathetic to Meredith

Here we don’t talk enough about Meredith, and that is always because of the distance.  We don’t talk about who this wonderful English girl really was.  I don’t know whether you’ve noticed it, but in the American press, yes, Meredith is named as the person killed, but they talk very little about her and about what her parents are undergoing. You have to consult the English papers to read this; you don’t find it in the American ones.  This is the result of an attitude which is favorable towards Amanda, because you don’t have a connection with the victim as you would have, say in England.

Amanda was a bar attendant and also worked in an art gallery in the university area.  She was a student of European languages.  She practised yoga and played soccer: all characteristics of a normal American education. Amanda grew up in a middle class family in West Seattle, differently from how the British press described her as a rich girl.  She isn’t.  Amanda belongs to the middle class, typical of this city.  Here there aren’t many poor people, or rather there are, but not a whole lot as in other cities. While the rich tend to not make themselves very visible.

There seems a dark side to Amanda’s personality.  I think this dark side is the same as in many young people of her age.  She wanted to experiment, at times with drugs, at times with sex.  When I did research on her I found a police statement where it was written that Amanda had taken part in a party that ended up badly. She had to defend herself in court on charges of disturbing the peace, but it was nothing sensational.  I don’t believe that her dark side is something exceptional even. The idea that she was beaten up and maltreated by the Perugia police makes me laugh - it’s an exaggeration. I mean the police have to do certain things which may seem a bit nasty but this is not unusual - it happens here too.

Below: One of various shots of grounds of Seattle Prep where Amanda Knox went to school

Below: Two of Amanda Knox’s teachers describe experiences with her as seemingly normal

Below: Andrea Vogt, American reporter based in Italy, provides some excellent in-depth commentary

“She was a girl like so many others here in the Pacific north-west. She was sporty, she liked playing sport, going out. She spent so many of these beautiful days running or playing football. That’s what the girls here in this area do.”

Posted on 11/10/09 at 10:35 PM by Nicki. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedFamily/defense hoaxersThe wider contextsSeattle contextV good reportingAmanda Knox
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Saturday, November 07, 2009

What Seattleites Are Thinking: A Sample Of Views On Meredith’s Case

Posted by Professor Snape

I am a Seattleite, and I feel very passionate about supporting the quest for justice for Meredith Kercher and her family. 

I usually never wander up and intrude upon people. But I have been tending to pick Europeans out of crowds and talk with them about the case. I have also inquired about how people feel about the case while waiting in long lines at Disneyworld in Orlando and at Disneyland in California and most recently at Whistler in British Columbia on the gondola. 

Recently I have found myself apologizing for my even being from Seattle. I have a real sense of community, and I am embarrassed by how low the Knox PR campaign actions have brought Seattle.  And I am sickened over the mischaracterizations of the lovely and spirited Meredith and of how she was brutally and excruciatingly murdered. 

Seventy-five percent of the people I have talked with elsewhere expressed zero knowledge of the case. The other twenty-five percent indicated they knew of the people in the case, found it shocking and were sympathetic to the murdered girl’s family and wondered, as we all do, how anyone could do such a horrible thing. Some expressed opinions as to guilt and others didn’t.

Ever since Edda Mellas first hung up the phone with Amanda very early on the morning of 2 November 2007 Seattleites have been the main subject of the aggression of the Knox campaign and its plot to spin webs around the media in a grand attempt to discredit anyone who speaks out against their (to me seemingly immensely disturbed) hero and, in too many cases, meal-ticket.

When the likes of the fatuous Linda Byron of Seattle’s KING 5 have propagated their ill-informed stories on the case, too many Seattleites have concluded at a very superficial level that they know everything there is to know about the case. And so they look and think no further. “Those meanie Italians… “

I don’t believe most of the people I talk with in Seattle actually outright support Knox. It is a shallow thing, and most people claim to be reserving their judgment.

That was of course also the case with OJ Simpson. Many thought OJ was probably guilty and yet they wouldn’t say it, and then it was devastating when he got off. Then everyone proclaimed they just knew he was guilty, and what a joke about the decision. They blamed the injustice on a shoddy judicial system, not on their poor monitoring of the system and the case..

While I cannot reveal who the Seattleites were, to avoid their becoming targets of payback (names are changed), I would like to share the following comments. These were made by colleagues, service providers and friends around Seattle who fell into the same percentage of interest as the other citizens and non-residents I also spoke with, so this is something of a valid sample.


Seattle Editor Harry Perkins said, “My impression of the Amanda Knox trial is one of mystified amazement — the willingness to give her the benefit of the doubt at an elevated level because of her youth, her background, and her physical attractiveness shouldn’t have taken me by surprise…but it has.”

Washington State Certified Public Accountant John Dutch had a strong opinion about the case and listened fairly to what I know about it.  He wanted me to keep him up on the case and he had this to say,

“A few weeks ago I read an article in a national newsmagazine that indicated that the Italian prosecutor in another case had issues around evidence and even accused a defense attorney of being guilty of withholding of evidence when, in fact, he wasn’t. My impression, based on the article, was that the Italian process around crime scene investigation was poor and that, based on their legal tradition of Napoleonic Law, that it would be hard for a defendant to get a trial that we, in the USA, would consider fair. So, how does that relate to the Amanda Knox case? Same prosecutor, same legal tradition, ergo Amanda Knox is probably not getting a fair trial.” 

[click for larger image]

Washington State Juvenile and Criminal Psychologist Calvin Richardson wrote, “I’m not sure how average I can be with regards to being a Seattleite. While I’ve lived in this state my whole life, I’ve never really considered myself a Seattleite - although I’ve worked in downtown Seattle.  I can recall the first moment I heard about the Amanda Knox case.  My memory of hearing about this incident is when it was reported that the foreign media was calling her Foxy Knoxy.”

“It made me think of how Michael Jackson was referred to as “Wacko Jacko”.  And, quite honestly, that turned me off to the entire matter.  The rest of the information I have unfortunately absorbed is that there was some sex-crazed, multi-partner-swapping party that ended with a girl being stabbed to death and American Amanda Knox is a bi-sexual, homicidal nympho.”
“At the point of the story reaching a sensational level where a catchy headline or title is used, the story becomes about entertainment.  My proof? Didn’t the story have a little spot on the TV. show “Entertainment Tonight”?  Help me out here: when did horrific murder scenes become entertainment (excluding Steven Segal breaking someone’s arm at the elbow - which, come to think of it, isn’t entertaining either)?”

“There can be no bigger disservice to Meredith Kercher’s family, the Knox family, or the Italian system of justice, than to turn a horrific crime into a sassy, Dr. Seuss catch-phrase so that papers can be sold.” 

“I don’t know what the “evidence” is that damns Ms. Knox; I don’t know the circumstances which profess her innocence.  And I certainly know nothing about the judicial procedures of the Italian court system.  But I do know that if Ms. Knox is found guilty, she will have to suffer the consequences of her actions.  It will be a verdict that I will probably not lose sleep over. If Amanda Knox killed Meredith Kercher, then she absolutely deserves whatever comes her way as a consequence.”

“Moreover, if Amanda Knox killed Meredith Kercher in some sex-play game gone wrong, then I am thankful that she’s being tried in Italy.  My perception of foreign judicial systems is that they keep their punishments punishing.  In my opinion,  American justice is like spending the weekend at your grandma’s house: it’s not your favorite place to be, it’s not really fun and exciting, it seems to last forever… but in the long run, it ain’t so bad.”

“I feel American Justice has lost sight of the importance of punishment.  “Justice” must maintain its punitive element of retribution, else it ceases to be just. If Amanda Knox didn’t kill Meredith Kercher, then a small part of me wants to say “That’s what you get for going to a foreign country!”  And yes, I admit, that’s not a fair statement.  But I have to be honest: I’m sick and tired of hearing about citizens from one country going to another country and then complaining about the treatment they receive.”

“Would I like to travel to Italy?  HELL YES!  It looks fantastic, I have distant family that originated from Italy, and the whole romantic aspect of Verona is very fetching.  Will I go to Italy?  Probably not: I don’t know the language, or the customs, and I would probably screw something up, get in trouble, and then I’d be just another crass American complaining that a foreign country is not more accommodating to my personal desires.  And I’m pretty sure the entire World is sick to death with hearing about it.”

“Which makes me think there might be another crime happening because of all of this.  I think that Americans are being presented as loud mouth, over-weight, egocentric, self-righteous Imperialists who feel that it is their birth-right to be entitled to Diplomatic Immunity the moment they step off their front porch.  Deserved or not, you have to know that our biggest calling card as of late is a government that manufactured evidence to gain approval to invade a foreign country and “liberate” the people with Democracy - whether they wanted it or not.”

“ I can’t think of anything more offensively pretentious… unless you want to consider Benito Mussolini’s quote: “Let us have a dagger between our teeth, a bomb in our hands and an infinite scorn in our hearts”.  In which case, I appeal to the people of Italy: I forgive your Mussolini, if you forgive my Bush.”

“And I’m sure the press will find a way to make that as salacious as possible.”

[click for larger image]

Ian Kendrick, an aerospace compliance officer stated, “The difficult part in understanding the trial is the sensational and sound bite manner in which it is presented.  The limited information I have seen regarding the facts on TV is encapsulated into a 3 minute sound bite at best.  The focus is then on the lurid details, and as the trial progresses it is only the oddities (she smiled in court - gasp!) that are reported not as facts, not as information, but just sensationalism.”

“This gets to the deeper point of news is it truly news any longer?  I’d argue it is simply reality show entertainment now broken down to the most sensational bite sized stories possible.  You only focus for 2 minutes on any local horror, then off to the next.  The follow up is limited and becomes ever shorter as the story grows older.”

Twenty year law enforcement veteran, Jack Bishop, summarized, “Although my law enforcement experience is limited to here in the United States and I have little knowledge of the Italian processes for jurisprudence I do believe I can comment to some degree on the phenomenon of what I call narcissistic innocence.”

“Although I believe it to exist almost everywhere it seems to be quite prevalent here in the Seattle area. When the world rotates around your mere existence and others reinforce that belief how could you be guilty of a crime? Of course not everyone gets it that you are special so you only choose to be with those who worship or at least appear to worship you.”

“These days I have both the good fortune and misfortune of working with people much younger than me. Their energy level is something I willingly try and tap into when mine is low but their level of self absorption is unbelievable.”

“This just feeds into their justification for their inappropriate actions and although I am treated with respects our culture of overvaluing youth is quite apparent. Unlike many Asian cultures that value the older members of the family here we have turned our children loose with the keys to the castle and then spend much of our time justifying our failings by justifying theirs.”

“That the Knox family would try and raise the level of the conversation on a political premise should come as no shock. In fact I would almost be surprised that they wouldn’t, what else could they do? That a community of like-minded narcissists would fall in line behind them is also not a surprise, I have seen it before when someone of affluence or power is charged with a crime in this environment.”

“People of affluence are determined to get their way; they always have and believe they always will. Only in this case they won’t. I can all but guarantee that Amanda Knox will be found guilty of this crime. The sad part is that much of the world will once again be exposed to what we should be most ashamed of, our arrogance.”

“I say let the Italians handle their own affairs. If they can make a clothes processor that serves both functions of washing and drying in one then I’m confident they can sort through the Amanda Knox trial without our help.”

“So what do I think about the case? Nothing.  I do not have enough in depth information to make a reasoned statement about it.  Instead it only serves to illustrate how poorly what we call “news” informs us.”

Karen Reid, a veterinarian working for a rural animal hospital said, “What do I care about the trial? Nothing except for the way the girl died was so shocking. I would hope the Italians will lock up whoever had anything to do with it.  It’s as bad as all the kids being killed by their own families, sick.  I hope the Italian courts are better than ours.”

“I’ve only seen news reports about the girl from Seattle. Her father is like always looking like he’s going to cry, it seems pretty staged if you ask me.  And why is she always smiling?  Geez, who has a big grin on their face in court particularly when charged with murder?  That’s pretty spooky though I don’t think that alone makes her guilty.”

“And I heard there were no finger prints in the house.  Come on, that’s a no brainer how that most likely happened!  I think whatever the outcome Italy should not be bashed, it’s not like pro Italian and anti American.  It’s a horrific crime and someone did it.”


My own conclusions from all of this?

Most share a common thread of perceiving the Seattle media as being nothing short of a farce. So it is not surprising that few can form a true opinion of to the trial. 

If it is also the Seattle media who are on trial here, then they are seventy-five percent guilty of dishing out slander and uninvestigated PR spin, and only twenty-five percent reporting accurately and fairly. 

That is not a good ratio for a city that is meant to make a good living from its smarts.

Posted on 11/07/09 at 02:37 AM by Professor Snape. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedTrials 2008 & 2009Family/defense hoaxersThe wider contextsSeattle context
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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

And Now An Excellent Report By Andrea Vogt On The University Of Washington Reforms

Posted by Peter Quennell

Andrea Vogt posts this important story on the Seattle PI website.

Ever since we posted this excellent analysis last February of Amanda Knox’s extremely unstructured and underfunded arrangements in Perugia (read also the comments), we have been waiting for the University of Washington and others to move to stop it ever happening again.

Finally, it seems, they have.

Mirroring a nationwide trend, the University of Washington is overhauling how its students and professors interface with foreign countries….

The UW study abroad experience today involves much more oversight than it did two years ago when Amanda Knox left on an unsupervised European adventure that quickly degenerated into a nightmare.

When Knox, who is on trial for murder in Italy, left her familiar U-district environs in late summer 2007, she embarked on her own independent study in Umbria with very few guidelines or institutional oversight.

She arrived in the tolerant student melange of Perugia, a vibrant college town with temptation at every turn and many paradoxes (drug deals and party plans are often made on the steps of the cathedral).

A month later, the honor student’s pub-crawling, pot-smoking college shenanigans had taken a very serious turn and she was being hauled off to the Capanne penitentiary, where she remains today, pleading her innocence as the trial and controversial accusations against her plod forward.

Once her troubles began, the university tried to offer support, but had very few official guidelines to follow for responding to the kind of complicated legal-judicial matter Knox faced.

It’s different now….

In the wake of several negative overseas episodes, officials are busy raising awareness about the positive impact the UW is having worldwide and taking steps to improve communications, regulation and emergency preparedness for its students abroad.

Compared with two years ago, international education officials are more closely tracking who, where and what study-abroad programs involve. The university has new rules:. The department chair has to sign off on the program. Insurance is required. So is a cell phone. No program money can be used to buy alcohol, just for starters.

“There’s a much more formal process now,” said Taso Lagos, a UW professor who teaches international communication and manages a study-abroad program in Greece. “With administrators that are very aware, with lines of communication open and policies in place if something happens.”...

The UW’s growing commitment to international education—- even in a budget crisis—is reflected in some developments. [UW Vice Provost for Global Affairs Stephen Hanson] was named a vice provost in January, and in the spring, the UW dedicated an entire wing of the Gerberding Hall administration building to growing an international mission and profile.

This year, a travel security and information officer is coming on board to oversee emergency response and preparedness, as is Peter Moran, a new director of international programs and exchanges who previously worked at the Fulbright Commission office in Katmandu, Nepal.

New guidelines are being put in place to streamline communications, ease financial transactions and institute mandatory training for faculty taking students abroad. The Global Support Project, a rapid-response team with one person from each branch of the central administration, takes on cross-disciplinary international challenges.

Such reforms aren’t unique to UW.

Universities across the country are examining how better to organize study abroad to meet blossoming demand from students (and prospective employers) for foreign experience. Many are turning to independent service providers whose business it is to contract housing, health care or niche risk management services dealing with legal, financial or public relations crises when things go haywire abroad…..

Though the university bore no responsibility for any of the events Knox became entangled in, media across the world continued to mention the University of Washington—whether it was because of character witnesses who were her college buddies, reports of wild off-campus parties Knox attended in Seattle or her studies while in prison.

They really should be given a name. The Meredith Kercher reforms.

Posted on 10/06/09 at 09:33 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedThe wider contextsAmerican contextSeattle contextAmanda Knox
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Monday, October 05, 2009

Seattle: The University Of Washington Area - Where Amanda Knox Lived And Worked

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger image]

Three scenes here that would have been much of the rest of what Amanda Knox saw daily in her second student year before heading for Europe.

The first four shots are of the small house that Knox lived in just north of the university campus and then there are two shots of the neighbors. It is here that an infamous party took place which ended with threats to the neighbors and some rock-throwing, and a summons and fine for Knox. She seemed to take the whole thing very lightly.

The next five shots are of the coffee shop (the World Cup) where Knox waitressed for money for Perugia. It went out of business last year, and is now Tango, a dance studio. This shop is quite near to her house, but the street and the block and the store are all pretty unprepossesing. There is little foot traffic nearby, and low wages and low tips might have contributed to Knox being under-funded in Perugia. .

The final two shots are of the street where, had she waitressed here, Knox could have made some real money. She would know this street for sure. It is just one block west of the main campus.

It is known as the U-Distrct Ave or just The Ave,  and it is full of bookstores and restaurants and clothes stores that cater to U-W students with a little money. The shots were taken late in the day and few students were around, but it is for most fo the year extremely lively.

Shots above and just below: Amanda Knox’s rental house in her second year just north of the university

Two shots below: the street and the neighbors of Knox’s house shown in the shots above

Five shots below: The black windows of a former coffee shop where Amanda Knox waitressed to make money for Perugia

Two shots below: the lively “U-Distrct Ave” which Knox presumably walked, shopped, and ate meals along

Posted on 10/05/09 at 10:22 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedThe wider contextsSeattle contextAmanda Knox
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Sunday, October 04, 2009

Seattle: The University Of Washington’s Surprisingly Pretty Main Campus

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger image]

As we have been showing, this very sad tale is playing out in a number of beautiful locations.

We’ve had many photo spreads on Perugia and various other places in Italy, including where Sollecito came from, and spreads on Meredith’s exiting hometown of London and her spectacular university town of Leeds.

Now we turn to Seattle.

Amanda Knox came from West Seattle, a very large and surprisingly high plateau south-west of the downtown of Seattle, and she studied for two years at this university several miles north-east of the Seattle downtown.

The top shots here are the most significant from Knox’s perspective, for they are the libraries and lecture halls she would have frequented almost daily. The other shots show other departments and some of the attractive landscaping where she might have sat out with friends.

Why surprisingly pretty? Well, this is a publicly funded American university run by the State of Washington and the public universities, while often very good, can be mind-numbingly utilitarian.

This is not a private Ivy League institution like Harvard or Stanford or Princeton or Yale. But it sure looks like one of them.

As always, click for the larger images.

Posted on 10/04/09 at 10:46 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedThe wider contextsSeattle contextAmanda Knox
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Friday, July 31, 2009

Prosecutor Mignini Offers Some Helpful Advice To Factually Challenged Reporter Linda Byron

Posted by Peter Quennell

Linda Byron is an investigative reporter for a TV station in Seattle.

Her investigative exclusives seem almost exclusively to consist of long and unchecked quotes from the FOA camp together with two or three spaniel-eyed questions.

Which then become yet another shrill report on Seattle TV about what those dastardly Italians are doing to poor Knox. A typical report of hers can be seen here (try later if they are still hiding it).

These are a few of the facts of the case that Linda Byron seems NOT to have mastered.

  • That the Italian process of justice is actually very fair and very cautious, is tilted much more to the defense than in the UK and US, and requires prosecutors to jump through a number of hoops before they ever get their case to trial.

  • That a judge in Perugia last January issued an impressive 106-page report which explains in great detail why he decided Guede was guilty and why a great deal of evidence suggests that Knox and Sollecito might be too.

  • That there are TWO senior and respected prosecutors on this case, not just one, that the victim’s family has expressed full confidence in them, and that neither prosecutor has ever made any claims about a satanic motive here.

  • That the prosecution has just presented a formidable case with the help of Italy’s equivalent of the FBI and Scotland Yard, and the defenses seem to be gaining little traction in bringing it down or offering alternatives

  • That almost every prosecutor in Italy runs into administrative charges at some time in their career, they are so easy to file, and the charges against Mr Mignini always did look politically motivated and frivolous and likely soon to evaporate.

  • That the sliming of Mr Mignini has not been a success, that the FOA campaign in Italy has not been a success, and that Amanda Knox on the stand doesn’t seem to have been much of a success either.

And that above all there is a REAL victim here at the heart of this sad crime, known by the name of Meredith Kercher. And that her poor family is suffering for real here -  though of course many miles away from Linda Byron.

So. Instead of good journalism at long last in her latest report, what does Linda Byron have to offer?

No surprises here. Yet more of the sliming of Mr Mignini (this is an acrobat version).

“There are many parallels between the Monster of Florence case and the Knox case, I mean there are shocking parallels,” said American crime writer Doug Preston.

Preston says Mignini believes the monster was no lone psychopath, but part of a satanic sect. He suggested an eerily similar motive for Kercher’s murder, which took place on November 1, 2007.

“Which is right before the Italian day of the dead, and that this was some kind of satanic ritualistic ceremony that they were engaged in. That they killed Meredith Kercher as part of this satanic ceremony,” said Preston….

“He decides right up front with almost no evidence based on his gut feeling or intuition that you’re guilty and then sets out to prove it,” said Preston.

Actually, there seem to be no parallels whatsoever between the Florence and Perugia cases. For example Amanda Knox was interrogated only for two rather short periods - and Mr Mignini was not even present at the first of them.

And Mr Mignini was quite tangential to the Monster of Florence case. He was actually investigating a drowning to the west of Perugia. And when Preston and his partner interfered in Mr Mignini’s case in a particularly harebrained manner, a sharp response was inevitable.

Linda Byron invited Mr Mignini to provide a response to the heated claims in her piece. Either the response was completely over her head, or she did understand it and tried to bury it - it is ONLY only available in Italian, via a link, with a second link to Yahoo’s awful cut-and-paste translator.

Here now is Mr Mignini’s entire response put into good English, not by Yahoo, but by two of our own excellent native-Italian speakers.

Dear Ms Byron,

I hope we will be able to meet and discuss sometime in person, since some of the issues you have examined, specifically the Florentine proceedings against myself and Dr Giuttari, are way too complex to be described in just a few words. I will try to give a short answer here.

To begin with, there is no relationship between the events that are the subject of Spezi’s and Preston’s book and the murder of young Ms Kercher beside the fact that I am the one person dealing with both the Narducci proceedings (connected to the Monster of Florence case) and the Meredith Kercher murder.

These two are totally different events, as well as wholly unrelated to each other, and I am not able to see any type of analogy.

Furthermore, while the precautionary custody order for Spezi has been voided by the Tribunale del Riesame of Perugia, exclusively on the grounds of insufficient elements of proof, the precautionary custody order for Knox was firmly confirmed not only by the Tribunal of Riesame in Perugia,, but above all by the Sixth Section of the Court of Cassazione, which has declared the matter decided and closed.

About the “sacrificial rite” issue, I have never stated that Meredith Kercher was the victim of a “sacrificial rite”.

It should be sufficient to read the charges to understand that the three defendants have been accused of having killed Ms Kercher in the course of activities of a sexual nature, which are notoriously very different from a “sacrificial rite”.

The Monster of Florence investigations have been led by the Florentine magistrates Adolfo Izzo, Silvia della Monica, Pierluigi Vigna, Paolo Canessa and some others.

I have never served in Florence. I have led investigations related to the case since October 2001, but only with regard to the death of Dr Francesco Narducci, and just a superficial knowledge of those proceedings [Dr Narducci drowned or was drowned] would suffice to realize that I never spoke of a “sacrificial rite” which in this case doesn’t make any good sense.

About the defense lawyer issue.  Mr. Preston was heard as a person claiming information about the facts (in effect a witness), but after indications of some circumstances against him surfaced, the interview was suspended, since at that point he should have been assisted by an attorney, and since according to the law the specific crime hypothesis required the proceedings to be suspended until a ruling on them was handed down.

All I did was to apply the Italian law to the proceedings. I really cannot understand any problem.

In the usual way, Knox was first heard by the police as a witness, but when some essential elements of her involvement with the murder surfaced, the police suspended the interview, according to Article 63 of the penal proceedings code.

But Knox then decided to render spontaneous declarations, that I took up without any further questioning, which is entirely lawful. According to Article 374 of the penal proceedings code, suspects must be assisted by a lawyer only during a formal interrogation, and when being notified of alleged crimes and questioned by a prosecutor or judge, not when they intend to render unsolicited declarations.

Since I didn’t do anything other than to apply the Italian law applicable to both matters, I am unable to understand the objections and reservations which you are talking about.

Secondly, I have told you that explaining the nature of the accusations against me is a complex job.

In short, it has been alleged that I have favored Dr Giuttari’s position, who was investigated together with two of his collaborators for a (non-existent) political forgery of a tape recording transcription of a conversation between Dr Giuttari and Dr Canessa.

The latter was giving vent to his feelings, telling Dr Giuttari that the head prosecutor in Florence (at the time) was not a free man in relation to his handling of the Monster investigations.

A technical advisor from the prosecutor’s office in Genoa had tried to attribute that sentence to Dr Giuttari, without having previously obtained a sound test from him, only from Dr Canessa.

I decided, rightly and properly, to perform another technical test on that tape for my trial (I have a copy of it, and the original transcripts of the recording).

I had the technical test performed by the Head of the Sound Task Force of the RIS Carabinieri in Rome, Captain Claudio Ciampini.

If Giuttari had lied, Captain Ciampini would have certainly said so. But his conclusions from the analysis were that that sentence had been pronounced by Dr Canessa. And by the way, this is clearly audible.

I then deemed it appropriate to interrogate the technical adviser from Genoa, in the sphere of the investigations led by me, since the people under investigation were thoroughly but inexplicably aware of the development of the investigation of Dr Giuttari.

The technical advisor from Genoa had made some absolutely non-credible declarations, and I had to investigate him.

The GUP from Genoa, Dr Roberto Fenizia, by means of a non-contested verdict on 9 November 2006, acquitted Dr Giuttari and his collaborators, because the alleged crimes had never occurred.

Therefore, I am accused for doing a proper and due investigation, without even the consideration that I have spared some innocent people from a sentence. I leave any further evaluation up to you.

As for the phone tappings, they had been fully authorized or validated by the GIP. [Those charges are now thrown out.] Explain to me how they can be considered wrongful. I haven’t been able to understand this yet.

This is the story of that case in short, and I am certain the truth will prevail.

None of us is guaranteed not to be subjected to unjust trials, especially when sensitive and “inconvenient” investigations have been conducted.

When accusations are serious and heavy in Italy, a magistrate that has been investigated or charged suffers heavy consequences.

There are appropriate bodies in charge to intervene according to the current laws, but the Florentine penal proceeding so far hasn’t affected me at all, perhaps because everybody – and specifically those professionally working on the matter - have realized that such penal proceedings have been anomalous, to use a euphemism.

As to my possibility to appeal any conviction, the Italian law provides for it, and I don’t need to say more.

I will make some closing remarks on the different jurisdictions.

Indeed there are differences between the [UK and US] common law jurisdictions and those of continental Europe, including the Italian one, which like any other jurisdiction has its flaws but also its merits, of which I ‘m becoming more aware as I carry on.

Furthermore, both jurisdictions are expressions of the juridical culture of the Western world, and this is something that shouldn’t be disregarded.

I don’t think I need to add anything else, except that these issues would need to be discussed in a personal conversation in order to delve further into the matter.


Giuliano Mignini

No wonder Linda Byron seemed to want to bury this letter. Does anybody now not think that the charges against Mr Mignini are quite ludicrous?  Preston’s and the Florence prosecutor’s both? 

Mr Mignini seems to be suggesting to Linda Byron to hop on a plane to Italy and to try getting her facts straight once and for all. Don’t hold your breath waiting for that one.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Trial: Defense Testimony Today On Guede In Milan And Knox In Seattle

Posted by Peter Quennell

Another short day in court

The defenses continue to seem rather rudderless and despondent. Only Maria Del Prato from Milan and two Knox friends testified in court.

A statement to police by Christian Tramontano was introduced; he claimed Guede once broke in and threatened him. But he was not called for cross-examination, and Judge Micheli had not believed him.

This was all of the testimony for today, in yet another short day for the defense side.

1) First report

This is the translation from Italian media of testimony of Maria del Prato, a nursery-school principal from Milan.

The director of a nursery school in Milan surprised Rudy Guede in the school on 27 October 2007.The woman reported that she visited the classrooms in the morning, around 9.15, as she had an appointment with a blacksmith who was supposed to do some work in the garden. “When I entered I saw a guy who was later identified as Rudy Guede. He seemed quiet and relaxed. He told me he was from Perugia and he had arrived in Milan by train, and that at the train station a boy had told him he could sleep there”

She looked in the cupboard and opened the money box, which lacked a few coins. The principal testified that she then called the police, and they opened the knapsack of Guede. “Inside was one of our kitchen knives used to cut the meat.” She said that Guede also had a computer, later claimed to have been removed from an office in Perugia on the night of 13 October.

2) Second report

This is the translation of testimony by friends of Amanda Knox from back in Seattle.

One testified: “She was studious and ‘conscientious, and held three jobs for a while, to save to come to Perugia.  She liked to do yoga, learn languages and read.”

Another testified that Knox “was very studious, a good student, and had the highest grades. She often went out with her friends and she loved to write. She chose to come to Perugia because she wanted to immerse herself in the culture of this country and learn the language. She said she liked the house she found to live in in Perugia.”

(3) Third report

This is a much longer report by Ann Wise of ABC on the ABC News site

The owner of a Milan nursery school took the stand Saturday in the ongoing murder trial of U.S. college student Amanda Knox and former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito in Perugia, Italy, telling the court that Rudy Guede, convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering British student Meredith Kercher Nov. 1, 2007, had broken into her school and stolen a big kitchen knife.

Kercher, 21, was found dead in her bedroom, with a large knife wound to her throat.

Knox, 21, and Sollecito, 25, have been on trial in Perugia since January. Knox, Sollecito and Guede all say they are innocent, and Guede’s appeal trial is scheduled to start Nov. 18.

Nursery school owner Maria del Prato testified in court today, with Knox’s and Sollecito’s parents looking on, that she had stopped by her school Saturday Oct. 27, when it was closed, and came upon Guede in her office.

“I asked him who he was,” she told the court, “and he replied perfectly calmly, even though I had caught him red-handed.” Del Prato said he told her he was “a kid from Perugia” who had arrived the night before and had nowhere to sleep.

Stolen Kitchen Knife, Stolen Laptop, Fingerprints

Del Prato doubted his story, as her locker had been opened, and she said she believed Guede was looking for something to steal. Some small change was missing, and Del Prato noticed Guede had a laptop, but he told her it was his.

When police arrived at the school, they searched Guede’s backpack and found a large knife with a 16-inch blade that had been taken from the school kitchen.

Guede was later booked at a Milan police station and accused of theft, receiving stolen goods, and in possession of a weapon. He was also fingerprinted and then released.

It was those fingerprint records that eventually nailed Guede to the scene of Meredith Kercher’s murder. His bloody palm print was found on a pillow under Kercher’s dead body.

Stolen Knife Testimony Comes on Heels of Previous Testimony About Stolen Laptop

The episode that Maria Del Prato recounted in court Friday followed Friday’s testimony by Perugia lawyer Paolo Brocchi, who said a computer and cell phone had been stolen from his law offices in October 2007, weeks before Kercher’s murder. The computer from Brocchi’s office matched the one Guede had brought to Milan.

Luca Maori, the lawyer for Raffaele Sollecito, Knox’s former boyfriend also on trial for Kercher’s murder, told reporters in Perugia that more evidence had emerged that indicated Kercher might have been killed in the course of a theft gone wrong, a theft he believes Guede committed.

A statement that was admitted as evidence in the trial Friday seemed to offer more proof that Guede was a knife-carrying thief.

Perugia resident Christian Tramontano, who will not be testifying in person, made a statement to Perugia police Jan. 1, 2008, two months after Kercher’s murder, saying that he had recognized Guede from newspaper photographs as the person who had broken into his house and threatened him with a knife four months earlier.

In the statement to police, Tramontano said he and his girlfriend were awakened by noises in their apartment early on Sept. 1 or 2, 2007. When Tramontano looked down from his loft bed, he saw a young man going through his belongings. Tramontano chased the man downstairs as he tried to escape, but the front door was locked. The thief—who Tramontano later claimed as Guede—first used a chair to keep Tramontano at a distance, and then pulled out a switchblade knife. Guede, who escaped, had stolen a 5 euro bill and three credit cards.

Two friends of Amanda Knox were the only other witnesses to testify in Perugia Saturday.

Catsius Spyridon, a Greek student studying in Perugia, said he met Knox in October 2007 at the Internet shop where he worked as a supervisor.

Spyridon told the court that he and Amanda had gone out together a number of times; the last time was Oct. 31, 2007—Halloween. After hitting a couple of night spots together, Knox asked Spyridon to accompany her to the Fontana Maggiore—the fountain in the heart of old Perugia—where she was meeting Raffaele Sollecito, whom she had just started seeing.

Seattle Friend Testifies for Knox

Seattle student Madison Paxton, a close friend of Knox, was the final witness Saturday. Speaking in English with the help of an interpreter, Paxton said she had met Knox in college, and they had become friends in their sophmore year. She described Knox as “very conscientious,” and said she did yoga, liked to read and study languages and bicycle, and had come to Perugia to immerse herself in Italian culture.

In response to a question from Knox’s lawyer, Paxton said she had never seen Knox carry a knife in her bag. She said that Knox smoked marijuana occasionally, perhaps twice a month, and that she said she got along with her Perugia roommates. 

Posted on 06/27/09 at 09:29 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Officially involvedTrials 2008 & 2009The wider contextsSeattle contextAmanda Knox
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Friday, June 26, 2009

Trial: Amanda Knox’s Mother Talks To The Media Of The Costs To The Family

Posted by Nicki

[courtesy AP; click for larger image]

Italian media are reporting upon the Knoxes’ financial strains:

Today’s Il Messaggero offers so far the most complete report in Italian. Here’s a translation of today’s article


She has used all her vacation time, she is currently not receiving a salary and she has also mortgaged her house, in order to stay close to Amanda. Edda Mellas has travelled at least ten times back and forth from the USA to Italy. “Our life is no longer a normal one”- she says, recalling the day of Amanda’s arrest on November 6th 2007. Mellas works as a schoolteacher in Seattle and she explains she has already used up all her vacation time in order to stay close to her daughter. She adds “now I’ve given up my salary in order to be here.. Every time I come, I stay from two to seven weeks . We have even mortgaged our house in order to be close to Amanda”.

When they are in Perugia, Mellas, her husband Chris and Curt, Amanda’s father, live in an apartment in the outskirts of town. It’s the place where Mellas spends most of her time, reading books and using her pc, waiting to go visit he daughter in jail. Chris is able to continue working using the Internet –he’s a computer engineer-as Curt Knox used to do, but recently –his ex -wife says-he lost his job since he hasn’t accepted to move from Seattle to San Francisco, as he had been asked to do by the department store chain he worked for .

Amanda has a sister in Seattle, Deanna. “She has been here two or three times” - Mellas explains –“for the rest of the time, she’s trying to concentrate on her biology studies at WWU”.  Mellas says that in Italy and Perugia “people are nice and friendly and ready to help”.  Now that we are hearing defense witnesses”- Mellas concludes with a little smile-“we are all starting to feel better”

Posted on 06/26/09 at 07:42 PM by Nicki. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Website-Only Seattle PI May Be Going To Make It

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click above for media commentator Peter Kafka’s analysis.

The Seattle PI website still carries some of the best US reporting from Perugia on the case, by Rome-based Andrea Vogt. 

The home-based reporting, blogging and editorials have been rather more of a mixed bag.

Kafka thinks that the Seattle PI’s owner Hearst’s figures dont quite add up yet, but he would like to see things work out.

If the Seattle PI pulls it off, other US papers may follow this route.

Posted on 05/19/09 at 11:13 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
Archived in Reporting on the caseMedia newsThe wider contextsSeattle context
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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Good Ol’ Seattle - The Other Disjunction

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger image]

Disjunction: a sharp cleavage…

We are certainly looking at a disjunction in Perugia, a pretty, gentle, and likable town which a lot of students and a lot of tourists make a beeline for. And where, despite some drugs, violence only happens about once every 10 blue moons.

Seattle is not so very different. It is a pretty, gentle and likable town which a lot of students and a lot of tourists make a beeline for. And where, despite some drugs, violence only happens about once every 10 blue moons.

Okay, maybe every five blue moons! But still, Seatle is a smart, safe town, with a high median IQ and a great university and some exceptional industries (Boeing and Microsoft). All in all, a very desirable place to live.

In both cities (twin cities, by the way) there is something of a pinch-me quality about the case we are following.

And now in the news? Seattle’s comparatively firm property values are reflecting this. It seems that people want to live in Seattle more than they do in many other places.

Posted on 04/30/09 at 02:02 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Confirmed: Neither Knox’s Father Nor Stepfather Were So Solicitous In Seattle

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click above for more in-depth reporting by Barbie Nadeau for the new mega news-site the Daily Beast.

The Beast is clearly the American media outfit most intent now on steam-rolling the floundering Seattle PR effort and throwing some serious resources into reporting the real story.

Particularly noteworthy in this repoort in Amanda Knox’s wider psychological context are these passages.

1) About an absentee biological father who several times defaulted on Amanda’s child support payments

Knox is the product of a broken home. Her parents Edda and Curt divorced when she was two years old. On more than one occasion Edda had to go to court to collect child support from Curt.

2) And on a snarling and abusive stepfather who moved in to the household when Knox was aged ten

When Amanda was around 10, her mother met and later married Chris Mellas, an IT specialist ten years her junior….  Mellas, who is taking his turn in the family rotation for the next few weeks, is also a father figure. People close to the family say his relationship with Amanda, who is only 14 years younger, was complicated and tenuous at times.

She complained about him to several friends, and expressed worries about her mother’s relationship. She wrote on Mellas’ MySpace page in August 2007, just two months before the murder, “Alright, does that mean we’re getting along then?”

In turn, Mellas’ MySpace page bragged about getting drunk with his stepdaughter. That same page, now offline but mirrored on several Internet sites, is rife with photos of drunk people vomiting and pictures of Mellas and his buddies holding big fish they’ve caught.

Describing himself as happily married, he wrote, “I have two kids by marriage, Amanda and Deanna. They are both shitheads and I love them anyways. They, as we all do, have their fare [sic] share of quirks…but we would all be white bread boring as hell if we didn’t.”

Mellas is hot-tempered and frequently lashes out at the press, accusing anyone who doubts Amanda’s innocence as “insane” and “stupid.” He also posts nasty comments on blogs about the case and has written harsh emails to many reporters.

On Friday, he physically shooed away Nick Pisa, an Anglo-Italian reporter who writes for a variety of British publications. “Don’t even bother,” he snarled in the open courtroom. “I am not talking to you. You don’t understand the truth.”

With friends like these in her family, does she need any enemies? At least we here at TJMK always try to be fair to her.

Posted on 03/14/09 at 03:00 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Friday, March 13, 2009

Amanda Knox’s Controversial Stepfather Arrives In Perugia To Help Out

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger image]

Very much anticipated. Chris Mellas (center above) has something of a reputation on the internet for sharp elbows.

It sure will be interesting to watch all the Knox and Mellas body-language here - and to hear all the questions intrepid reporters put to him. Knox seemed to imply in her diary that she may have hated the guy. Rumors around Seattle seem to suggest at least something at home was seriously not right.

A few days ago in this comment, Skeptical Bystander offered this take on Chris Mellas.

Perhaps you should go at him, reporters? He may prove a real gold-mine - and don’t let him spin you! Most especially not you, Peter Popham.

Posted on 03/13/09 at 01:57 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Cutting Through The Confusion Over Knox’s Status In Perugia

Posted by stewarthome2000

[Shots: School for Foreigners; bottom shot from above Meredith’s house]

The media have now repeated countless times that Amanda Knox was on a “study abroad program”.

In fact, as these things are defined, she was not. It is precisely that she was NOT on a study-abroad program that she was able to adopt a lifestyle that seems to have led her to where she is now.

To go on a study-abroad “program” means that you attend an organized and SUPERVISED curriculum and agenda, most often with peers, faculty and/or at the very least a local administrative staff person assigned to periodically look after the participants’ behavior and well-being.

In fact the University of Washington does not even have a study abroad “program” in Perugia. It merely suggests to UW students that the Universita per Stranieri is a possible destination and place for students to go on their own, and if asked helps out with some administration.

Knox took the “non-conformist” path to study abroad. I recall reading that she did not want to go on a program so as to not follow the group, so to speak. So she did study abroad, but cheaply, and outside an organized program by the University of Washington. She was basically in Perugia on her own.

This is characteristic of at least two type of people, those who are adventurous, exploratory and want a true full-immersion experience into the cultural side of the host country (usually Italian majors), and those who want to be untethered and to have total freedom and no one to answer to so they can do as they wish.

Her casual attitude to her studies and other strong hints in her behavior and writings suggests that she was the latter type.

And presumably her biological parents understood all of this and signed off on it, even before Amanda Knox ever left Seattle.

Parents especially should know that if Knox had attended a UW-operated or US-University run study abroad program with supervision, her attendance in class would have been monitored, and any behavior that would upset roommates may have been reported.

In these programs for the most part there are strict housing rules such as no overnight guests, let alone bringing guys home to sack up with. Most of the time roommates will complain on the spot or get back to the American administrators that they have an out-of-control roommate bringing guys home, drinking excessively, or doing drugs.

In addition, programs with the proper supervision have enough of a presence to let the participants know that someone is at least checking up now and again. And as a result they watch their behavior.

Furthermore, in well-run programs, students are given significant preparation about living in the specific host country and city with pre-departure materials and perhaps meetings, talking with ex-participants, and attending an extensive multi-day orientation where staff and even local police lecture them about the many pitfalls of living in a foreign and new environment away from home.

They are reminded that the laws are different in other countries, and more importantly that there are some bad people walking the streets. They are told to enjoy themselves and learn, but also to be careful, stay alert, stay out of trouble, and so on.

I myself work in study abroad and we know what unleashed unsupervised colleges students get themselves into. We are trained to look for potential problems and we visit all students accommodations at least once per month and speak with everyone there.

We have open-door counseling and professionals with years of experience on staff. We watch out for all our students regularly… we know what behavior to look for, and when to intervene, at least most of the time.

Yes, it costs more to attend the Universita per Stranieri or any overseas university through a US-college or US-university monitored program with local on-site staff and supervision.

But the situation Amanda has created, or at least found herself in, is much less likely to happen to students on a supervised and accredited study abroad program.

Let’s face it, at the age of 20, 21, or 22, many young adults are still really more or less kids. Naive and vulnerable, especially those who have yet to explore their “wild side”, they sometimes see this as an opportunity to make up for lost time.

This is exemplified in the fact that many pass out from drinking in the days after they arrive. Bottom line, they need guidance, and no more so than when they are 8000 miles from home and on their own.

Knox took the “I am too good to go on study abroad program with fellow students” route and the cheapest way overseas.  And it is not proving so cheap anymore.

Her biological parents really should have known better. All parents should either make sure the students are mature enough, or make sure they have a structured environment that can assist them while abroad. It is well worth the extra cost and peace of mind.

So the media should please get this straight from now on.

  • Amanda Knox was NOT on a study abroad “program” while in Perugia.  She was at most “studying abroad” as that term is used very loosely.
  • She took a leave from the University of Washington to study Italian at what is essentially a glorified language school which anyone can attend.
  • She was totally unsupervised in a high-risk situation where it would have seemed obvious to any supervisor that she was looking to break away.
  • And she most likely would have had a very difficult time getting any credit for her studies from the University of Washington at the conclusion.

So. The worst possible deal for any student abroad. The parents signed off in advance.  It seems to have exploded on Knox. And poor Meredith died.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Amanda Knox Defence Team Strongly Objects To Seattle Sliming Strategy

Posted by Peter Quennell

Above: Luciano Ghirga (left) and Carlo Della Vedova.

Click for a larger image. They are apparently thoroughly ticked off. Here’s our previous post on exactly what made them so ticked.

Once again, the demand from the Amanda Knox legal team goes out: Pipe down, Seattle. And give Amanda Knox a break.

Translation below by poster Kermit is of the story in today’s La Nazione

“Those American personalities are not helping Amanda”

Lawyer Ghirga: “I have spoken with Prosecutor Mignini”

by Enzo Beretta - Perugia

“There are people around the figure of Amanda who have no formal role in the student’s defence team, which is formed by myself together with my colleague Carlo Dalla Vedova.

These people are not only not helping our client in the difficult judicial process in the Corte d’Assise in which we have to defend her, but on the contrary, they are harming her judicial position.”

Luciano Ghirga, lawyer for the American accused by the prosecutor of sexually assaulting and killing Meredith Kercher with her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito and Rudy Hermann Guede, once again distances himself from the Stars-and-Stripes “know-it-alls” who repeatedly have tried to throw mud on the work of investigators and have even personally attacked Giuliano Mignini, head of the murder investigation.

There is strong evidence which supports the prosecution, unlike the “macaroni” pleading endlessly and one after the other on American television broadcasts, who pay lawyers, show-men and private investigators not much inclined to read the documentation.

That documentation was studied a lot by the Review and Court of Appeal judges, who confirmed preventive prison for the suspects, and the GUP Paolo Micheli, who has sentenced Rudy to thirty years in prison (with the abbreviated trial) and sent the ex-boyfriend and girlfriend to trial. This is a validation of the good work done by the investigators.

Lawyer Ghirga has not acted on a video in which the correctness of the findings of the forensic investigators is called into question, thereby attacking the protagonists of the case. But he will play his cards at the appropriate time in the trial, which resumes Friday.

“On a personal level I expressed my impressions to Dr. Mignini,” Ghirga said.

The lobbying work by Amanda’s side fits into a framework of traditional adversity by Americans when their fellow citizens are left in the hands of another country’s justice.

Posted on 02/03/09 at 07:23 AM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Sunday, February 01, 2009

Why The Smears Of Prosecutor Mignini By Knox “Friends” Are Really Simply A Sideshow

Posted by Peter Quennell

Other than, of course, for the corrosive effects on Amanda Knox’s own defense.

Having attracted a defamation suit for his paper from Mr Mignini for his reporting of the antic Friends fund-raiser, Mr Shay (left above) then jubilantly surfaced on the blog of another Seattle newspaper.

As I reported accurately, I was told by people attending the charity that Mignini is mentally unstable. His over-the-top response seems to indicate that this is so, but (disclaimer) I am not degreed in the field of psychology and therefore cannot for certain diagnose Mignini as having the mental problems others have said they have noticed he has. Ironically, I have heard numerous reports on American and European TV that claim Amanda Knox is a “sociopath” because we do not see her cry on camera. I wonder if Mr. Mignini has objected to all these reporters calling her this?

To which the first response of the excellent Seattle Crime Blog (which added the boldface above) was as follows:

If you can’t diagnose it, then don’t mention it…or at the very least, put the term “mentally unstable” in quotes. You write news stories for a fairly well-respected publication, Mr. Shay. Giving opinions on matters such as this is not your job, and the comments above have just provided further fuel for Mignini’s fire.

A good reporter lets his stories speak for themselves, without launching attacks against those who criticize them. Now - whether this is the case or not - you’ve come across as defensive, and just another body who drank the “Amanda is Innocent” Kool Aid. And the snide rhetorical questions do little to help your case.

Do Mignini’s claims hold any legal bearing? Probably not. Is he overreacting by filing a claim that does little more than make a statement? Probably - though let’s not forget that this is a man who has a job to do, one that has been an uphill battle from the start given the media circus surrounding the case since Kercher’s death more than a year ago.

The defamation suit in question seems rather appropriate.

And with regard to Mr Shays’ “sociopath” claim, if you spend real time online studying this case, one big surprise is there’s little professional reporting that demonizes Amanda Knox. And even less that seriously talks negatively about her psychology. She does draw reporters’ attention for sure, but she sometimes gives the impression she seems to like that and might even provoke it.

The demonization of Prosecutor Mignini, on the other hand, seems to have developed into quite a behind-the scenes industry. We have been sent some of the material that is circulating, and it ranges from improbable to frankly very nasty. We’ve checked extensively, and virtually none of it rings true to those in Italy who have encountered Prosecutor Mignini.

Perhaps the commonest response is that he wouldn’t be in his job if it did. And anyway it seems irrelevant to the case going forward.

For one thing, Prosecutor Mignini has alongside him at all times the excellent and very experienced co-prosecutor, Ms Comodi. It would be very tough to put anything over on her, and watchers in Italy all know that. 

And for another, there is the ongoing momentum of the case within the Italian system of justice, with all of its cautious checks and balances. Many or most of them are in favor of defendants, and they are all tough for prosecutors to contend with.

Prosecutors in Italy are possibly quite envious of the more all-encompassing, wide-ranging powers of prosecutors in the UK and the US. Many prosecutors in the US are elected, of course, and if you want to see prosecutors with REAL powers, check out some of those guys.

Here is how Prosecutor Mignini’s powers always have been more constrained than the Friends-driven meme is suggesting, and how his powers seem to become almost of only academic importance as the case proceeds.

  • In Italy, the indicative evidence is summarized in a large and complex case in a huge volume; the famous 10,000-pages-plus in this case. It is the raw work of dozens of evidence professionals.
  • In Italy, the judges (in this case already around a dozen) and the juries and defense lawyers all have to spend a lot of time reading and studying that body of work, and they really get to know the indicative evidence by the time of the hearing or trial.
  • In Italy, the work of the prosecutor at trial is comparatively lightened because of this. The prosecutor and his team get the evidence together, and then they have a relatively restrained role at the trial itself. And remember Judge Micheli openly disagreed with Mr Mignini on the theory of Rudy Guede’s crime. Not that it mattered very much though - Guede still got handed 30 years, and Mr Mignini had only asked for 25.
  • And in Italy, the work of the judge and jury before trial and at trial is relatively heavy because of this. Change prosecutors at this point and there would be barely a hiccup. And then the judge must come out with the sentencing statement. In the case of Judge Micheli’s report on Guede, it is an astonishingly dense 106 pages, which takes some hours of reading and figuring-out.

Given all this, even those who seem to see Mignini as evil-incarnate would find it incredibly hard to make the case (none of them have yet) for how the body of evidence could have been falsified and the prosecutor could have hoodwinked 12 judges, most of Italy, and the close-case-followers - now up in the thousands.

And comparisons being made between Prosecutor Mignini and the rogue American prosecutor Mike Nifong in the Duke lacross-team case are unfounded. Nifong was back then facing an election for prosecutor,  and he had to face none of these checks and balances with the Duke case, so he really could run rampant. And the minute Mr Nifong had to pass his case over the lowest of hurdles, it simply turned into dust. No comparison there.

A good trial for Amanda Knox and justice for Meredith could both use less of this irrelevant sideshow.

Posted on 02/01/09 at 08:56 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Friday, January 30, 2009

Is The Amanda Knox Defense Team Being Undermined?

Posted by Peter Quennell

[click for larger images]

Carlo Della Vedova (left) and Luciano Ghirga.

Two of the smartest defense lawyers in Italy.

They are widely regarded as supremely competent and as truly superb players within the Italian system. They have a long list of acquittals to their names.

And they are said to get along very well with Prosecutor Mignini and to respect his role in the process and him personally.

If there are any lawyers in Italy that Amanda Knox can look to for a really powerful defense that could get her off and out of there, it would seem to be the team she has now.

Mr Ghirga and Mr Della Vedova have in the past voiced extreme irritation over past sliming from safely-distant Seattle of the Italian judges, the prosecutors, the police, and the evidence service.

They had essentially asked Seattle to pipe down.

We haven’t yet heard from them on the rabid new sliming of Prosecutor Mignini from Seattle. But lawyers following the case in New York and Italy seem stunned at the ferocity and pure foolishness of the attacks.

Several have remarked that they might walk right off a case if they were so undermined in their handling of a defense. And that they might file suit if they were the prosecutor.

Now Mr Mignini himself actually has filed suit. He has just filed a defamation complaint and Mr Ciolino and a small Seattle rag are those cited.

It seems to be a pretty popular move in Italy. We wonder why…

Posted on 01/30/09 at 12:02 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Looks Like Seattle Post Intelligencer Could Be On The Rocks

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click above for the breaking story.

The Seattle PI offered the best Meredith-case reporting, from Rome. And the worst Meredith-case blogging, from Seattle.

Weird editorial judgment. To say the least. More of the former and an absence of the latter could have really boosted this newspaper’s prospects.

Here are our past takes on the paper’s general decline and one bright spot.

Posted on 01/08/09 at 09:10 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Another Seattle Post-Intelligencer Blog Bites Newspaper In Tail

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click above to read what appeared on a Seattle Post-Intelligencer blog before it was yanked.

Biff! Bam! Pow! Take that, rival Seattle Times! So. Are the monkeys now driving the train at Hearst’s Seattle PI ?!

Seattle’s excellent TechFlash website had this to say about the yanked post.

Ah, the wonders of newspaper rivalries in the age of online media.

Regina Hackett, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s art critic, cast a critical eye on her departing counterpart, Sheila Farr of The Seattle Times, in a blistering blog post Monday afternoon on the P-I’s site. By this morning, the post had disappeared.

It was the kind of commentary that probably wouldn’t have made it into a traditional print edition. But as blogging spreads through the mainstream media, one result is a reduction in the editorial layers between journalist and audience.

Hmmm. “But as blogging spreads through the mainstream media, one result is a reduction in the editorial layers between journalist and audience.” 

So. You think that the editor of the Seattle PI, David McCumber, might finally have noticed that he could use a few more editorial layers?!

Hearst must be wondering about the monkeys layer. They could use less of that.

Posted on 12/30/08 at 12:16 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ominous Happenings At Hearst, Seattle PI’s Parent Company

Posted by Peter Quennell

Above and below, the attractive Seattle PI building, on Seattle’s wonderful waterfront.

And here are two shots (scroll down for the second) of owner Hearst’s attractive Manhattan headquarters.

We remain pretty intrigued by the Seattle PI. We can’t seem to see that it’s serving either Seattle’s or Hearst’s best interests right now.

The PI runs some of the very best stories on the Perugia case in the United States, filed by its cool, dispassionate reporter in Rome.

It also runs on its website what one reader called “the most dishonest blog in America” which is notorious for its fact-challenged one-sidedness and for fronting a secret book deal on the case.

And it has run no in-depth reporting at all on the Seattle angles of the case. 

Back here we mentioned the seemingly shaky economics of the paper, and the recent quite extraordinary drop in its readership.

Papers sold dropped by about 8 percent, in a period where the national drop was less than four (mostly related to the economic cycle), and where some media companies even saw real readership gains.

Our contacts in Manhattan’s great journalism schools seem to think the media industry’s best way forward for survival and growth is class journalism. Dig deeper, and avoid the vicarious thrills of, for example, blogs with an agenda

Our contacts regard the international Perugia case as a truly huge story. An absolute heaven-sent opportunity for the Seattle-based papers.

And they reckon that serious and imaginative handling of that story and its many intriguing Seattle angles could have dug the Seattle PI right out of its hole. And attracted a whole row of Pulitzer prizes.

Ball dropped. In a very serious and possibly life-threatening way.

So what is happening at Hearst’s HQ in Manhattan that relates to this?

Well, Hearst is privately owned, by a Hearst-family foundation, and they control most of the director seats on the board. They are said to be VERY unhappy with group performance.

Six months ago the CEO was forced out. And now there is a report that the interim CEO doesn’t meet with the family’s approval either. 

Expected outcome?

A new Hearst CEO who is expected to be be very hungry for more circulation and more Pulitzer prizes at Hearst’s seriously under-performing papers.

Such as, of course, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Time to get serious, guys…

Posted on 12/17/08 at 12:43 PM by Peter Quennell. Click screenname for a list of all main posts, at top left.
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