Heads-up. More will be posted thursday and thereafter on Sollecito & Gumbel defense meltdown over claims in Honor Bound in Florence court last thursday. Both Sollecito and Knox elements scathing at Gumbel. Sollecito elements see a predatory Gumbel as having hijacked the book and hurt both RS's and AK's best interests.
All our posts on Associated trials
Sunday, September 14, 2014
Now Raffaele Sollecito As Well As Amanda Knox Is Using A PayPal Link To Encourage Donations
Posted by The TJMK Main Posters
Sollecito And Knox Paypal Accounts
Please check out the images at bottom here. As of today Knox’s PayPal account still exists.
At the same time Sollecito has created a new one as GoFundMe dropped his solicitation page. PayPal and their own Italian lawyers are likely to regard these two accounts as hot potatoes when the following implications are shared with them.
Imperiled Bank Accounts
Each PayPal account will point behind the PayPal scenes to a bank account, which as this example among many others describes can be seized by American and Italian authorities.
The Government wants the seized properties to be handed over to the authorities, and claims it’s permitted under U.S. law. This includes the bank account that was used by Megaupload for PayPal payouts. The account, described as “DSB 0320,” had a balance of roughly $4.7 million (36 million Hong Kong Dollars) at the time of the seizure, but processed more than $160 million over the years.
“Records indicate that from August 2007 through January 2012 there were 1,403 deposits into the DBS 0320 account totaling HKD 1,260,508,432.01 from a PayPal account. These funds represent proceeds of crime and property involved in money laundering as more fully set out herein,” the complaint reads.
PayPal refused to channel payments to the hacker organization Wikileaks and 14 members of the hacker group Anonymous who attempted denials of service attacks (DOS) against PayPal were charged and pleaded guilty.
Strong evidence that law enforcement will work hard to help prevent the use of PayPal for activities it considers illegal.
How It Gets Worse For Them
Knox is already a convicted felon for life for calunnia with no further appeal possible. Under PayPal’s terms of service that by itself seems sufficient grounds to bounce her. From Paypal’s rules for Donate buttons:
Note: This button is intended for fundraising. If you are not raising money for a cause, please choose another option. Nonprofits must verify their status to withdraw donations they receive. Users that are not verified nonprofits must demonstrate how their donations will be used, once they raise more than $10,000.
Neither have publicly specified in even the least detail who will get what and why out of the funds raised by this Donate button intended for good causes (think charities).
How It Gets Worser For Them
The pitches on the Knox and Sollecito websites are essentially the same as in their two books which are both riddled with demonstrably false accusations, for which Sollecito has already been charged and for which Knox will also in due course be charged.
The charges against Sollecito are a mixture of calunnia and diffamazione, which are explained at the bottom here, and the charges against Knox are expected to be the same.
In effect then this is seemingly not only Knox and Sollecito attempting to profit from crimes, but attempting to profit from crimes based on highly fraudulent accounts of those crimes for one component of which (as pointed out above) Knox has already served three years in prison.
How It Gets Even Worser For Them
“Defense Fund” implies the money being raised is all going to their Italian lawyers. If the lawyers accept such payments as fees that could become a problem for them.
The same thing applies if any of the money raised goes to David Marriott, Ted Simon and Robert Barnett. It is now radioactive. They will presumably know this - know that they cannot profit from proceeds which are illegal under Son of Sam laws and obtained on fraudulent pretenses.
And In Fact Even Worser For Them
If Cassation dismisses the final appeal of Knox and Sollecito (for which the grounds seem very flimsy) they will each be liable for the millions in damages which Judge Massei imposed as modified by Judge Nencini.
Donations legally labeled bloodmoney cannot under any circumstances be used to pay damages. Knox and Sollecito would have to generate new funds to pay the damages awards by legal earnings or by voluntary or forced selling off of any assets.
The Bottom-Line Liabilities Here
The financial liabilities Knox and Sollecito are presently incurring for themselves include (1) payment of all fees for legal and PR help in the US and Italy; (2) the clawing back of all bloodmoney profits from their crimes; (3) the payments of millions in damages as assessed by Judges Massei and Nencini; and (4) further fines and damages that are expected to result from their two books.
Under the post below Popper posted this partial calculation for Knox; the forfeit of bloodmoney and possible future damage awards are additional.
Massei gave (and Nencini confirmed) provisional damage to father and mother of Meredith of Euro 1 million each, to brothers and sister Euro 800,000 each, to PL Euro 50,000 and to the owner of the flat Euro 10,000.
To this it must be added more for the legal costs in Appeal and Cassazione, so a total a bit short of Euro 5 million, about 6 million dollars.
VAT and CPA must be paid on all the above sums, so more than that, we probably go over USD 6 million
Together with the forfeit of bloodmoney and possible future damages imposed, this adds up to around the $10 million estimated in this post. Sollecito’s burden would be less, somewhat more than half of that.
Explanation Of Calunnia And Diffamazione
The charge of calunnia (art. 368) has been commonly translated as “slander” in the English/US media. This translation is incorrect, however, as calunnia is a crime with no direct equivalent in the respective legal systems.
The equivalent of “criminal slander” is diffamazione, which is an attack on someone’s reputation. Calunnia is the crime of making false criminal accusations against someone whom the accuser knows to be innocent, or to simulate/fabricate false evidence, independently of the credibility/admissibility of the accusation or evidence.
The charges of calunnia and diffamazione are subject to very different jurisprudence. Diffamazione is public and explicit, and is a more minor offence, usually resulting in a fine and only prosecuted if the victim files a complaint, while calunnia can be secret or known only to the authorities. It may consist only of the simulation of clues, and is automatically prosecuted by the judiciary.
The crimes of calunnia and diffamazione are located in different sections of the criminal code: while diffamazione is in the chapter entitled “crimes against honour” in the section of the Code protecting personal liberties, calunnia is discussed in the chapter entitled “crimes against the administration of justice”, in a section that protects public powers.
Click for larger image
Archived in Officially involved, Raff Sollecito, Diversion efforts by, The Sollecitos, Sollecito's book, The many hoaxes, Other legal cases, Associated trials, The wider contexts, American context
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Friday, September 12, 2014
Those Channeling Potentially Illegal Funding To RS And AK Should Definitely Take Note Of This
Posted by The TJMK Main Posters
These laws are operable at the federal level and in most states. The tendency is for the laws to be made more and more tough, and to spread the net of who could be charged more and more widely.
Book publishers and TV networks have armies of lawyers who usually step in smartly to stop them being party to illegal money flows. All American TV networks have codes of ethics which prevent fees being paid that reward a crime.
The bloodmoney net could be spread widely in the Perugia case if the Republic of Italy requests the invoking of these laws against Knox, Sollecito, their families, and the in-it-for-the-money opportunists such as Sforza, Fischer, and Moore.
Their PR help also appears to be at risk, along with the shadow writers, book agents and publishers of the two books.
Sollecito might have got a blessing in disguise then when GoFundMe the private-purposes fundraising site closing down his begging page (image above) after around $40,000 had been conned from the sheep.
GoFundMe did that as part of a move to keep the company and the site away from controversy and the long arm of the law. This move is fairly typical of a broad trend on the internet as courts increasingly sentence harrassers, abusers, swindlers and money-grubbers to tough terms.
Making money out of crime has never been a walk in the park, and anything gained rarely goes very far.
Trying to make money illegally is fundamentally why OJ Simpson (images below) is serving a term for armed robbery east of Reno in Nevada - and in that case he considered the property he was robbing at a Las Vegas casino hotel was actually his own.
In his case his wife and a friend were found slashed to death at her home a mile or two from his. Simpson nearly fled the country before trial, then he won an acquittal at criminal trial, and then he was convicted at a wrongful-death civil trial. Wikipedia explains.
On February 5, 1997, a civil jury in Santa Monica, California, unanimously found Simpson liable for the wrongful death of and battery against Goldman, and battery against Brown. Daniel Petrocelli represented plaintiff Fred Goldman, Ronald Goldman’s father. Simpson was ordered to pay $33,500,000 in damages. In February 1999, an auction of Simpson’s Heisman Trophy and other belongings netted almost $500,000. The money went to the Goldman family.
To avoid ever making any of the required payments to the Goldman family, Simpson squirreled assets and income away.
The items he wanted back at the point of a gun at the Palace Station hotel and casino would have been worth a lot. But instead this foolish financial crime could cost him up to 33 years.
Our take is that Sollecito may have squirreled away some of his gains, and Knox may have squirreled away much more. US law enforcement is capable of finding those payments if asked and if Knox’s family and paid help don’t press her to cough up.
Hopefully it will be made to sink into that Knox’s panhandling (she is still at it via her website via Paypal) was not such a good idea.
Archived in Officially involved, Rudy Guede, Amanda Knox, Diversion efforts by, The Knox-Mellases, Knox's book, The Sollecitos, Sollecito's book, The many hoaxes, Other legal cases, Associated trials
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Friday, August 08, 2014
Dear Knox Book Team: You Do Realize Costs To Knox & Team May End Up North Of $10 Million?
Posted by The TJMK Main Posters
Oops! Robert Barnett forgets to exult about his amazingness in selling the Amanda Knox book
The Costs Of A Runaway Hubris-Driven Bandwagon
Not solely for crimes of her own making, but the $10-million-plus bills that Knox & co (you included) may soon be stuck with is a no-brainer calculation.
- $5-plus million in costs and damages awarded against her by the Massei trial court and confirmed by the Nencini appeal court, incuding unpaid damages of nearly $100,000 to Patrick which Cassation already rendered final.
- $4 million for the book payment you arranged in defiance of Italian and American bloodmoney laws (called Son of Sam laws in the US), big bucks in financial donations from numerous other misleading fundraisings (see the Knox website), and yet more big bucks for civil damages (see one criminal defamation described in the post under this one.)
Exactly How Many Red Flags Do You Guys Need?
Ahem. This also is a no-brainer. It’s not like Knox’s public lying was a huge secret. Her Waiting To Be Heard surely breaks the Guiness Book record for ludicrous title for a book.
Back in 2008 Knox’s own Perugia lawyers had to ask her publicly, via the media, to please shut up and stop inventing things.
In fact, Amanda Knox can be extremely hard to shut up. After her conniption at Perugia’s central police station on 6 November 2007 she not only insisted on writing out three statements, she also babbled on for large parts of the next five hours. That was despite attempts to knock her out - okay, calm her down - with camomile tea and carbohydrates.
Then came her two calamitous days in mid 2009 on the witness stand (see more below) and her leaked diaries (which actually did nail one malicious lie not her own), and her bizarre video, and multiple reports of her other doings in Capanne, and multiple interviews ever since.
Knox’s own lawyers (who surely never read her book in draft - hello?!) also never backed up any of her claims at trial.
If you had read the transcripts you would have seen that they were very very careful not to do so - in fact even the defense lawyers were very very careful not to do so.
Even the partisan Judge Hellmann concluded Knox was lying and both he and Cassation confirmed Knox’s three-year prison sentence. To that there is no further appeal, and of course the time was served.
And the precise timing of the Knox book’s release represents another legal millstone.
It came out AFTER Sollecito’s book was sent to Florence prosecutors for investigations and AFTER British and Italian editions were cancelled by HarperCollins’s own lawyers and AFTER the Italian Supreme Court reverted Knox’s status to “guilty pending any final appeal” leading to HER appeal which failed last January.
Red flags were up all over the place. Even other American publishers were warning you.
Consider This Possible Legal Scenario
Absent Knox’s team getting good advice (the good advice here is for free) and withdrawing, settling, and apologizing, these cards in the hands of the Republic of Italy and those Knox impugned could set all of this scenario in motion.
- Knox and HarperCollins are targeted for zillions by the Republic of Italy and those Knox defamed. Then HarperCollins targets Mr Barnett and Ms Kulman. Mr Barnett and Ms Kulman then target Mr Knox and Mr Marriott and Mr Simon.
- And Italian and American prosecutors target the lot of them for bloodmoney (a Son of Sam felony at federal and state levels) and for enabling via a wildly false book the serial harrassment of Meredith Kercher’s family (also a serious felony).
There you go. The road to $10 million being clawed back by the authorities. Sadly, finding fault with Knox’s book is like shooting fish in a barrel. See our previous post. Here are ten further examples.
Instances Of Knox’s False Claims About Her Legal Process
1. False Claim: Knox On The Framing Of Her Kindly Employer
This is the lie that was universally disbelieved and for which Knox served three years for. See our still-emerging Interrogation Hox series. The objective Italy-based reporter Andrea Vogt is ahead of us on this one.
[Knox] writes that she had a flashback to the interrogation, when she felt coerced into a false accusation. “I was weak and terrified that the police would carry out their threats to put me in prison for 30 years, so I broke down and spoke the words they convinced me to say. I said: ‘Patrick - it was Patrick.’”
In her memoir, she describes in detail the morning that she put that accusation in writing, and says the prison guard told her to write it down fast.
Yet in a letter to her lawyers she gave no hint of being rushed or pressured. “I tried writing what I could remember for the police, because I’ve always been better at thinking when I was writing. They gave me time to do this. In this message I wrote about my doubts, my questions and what I knew to be true.”
2. False Claim: Dr Mignini Portrayed Knox As A She-Devil
During the rebuttals, on December 3, each lawyer was given a half hour to counter the closing arguments made over the past two weeks. Speaking for me, Maria criticized Mignini for portraying Meredith as a saint and me as a devil
Really? Prosecutor Mignini said that? So why did the entire media corps report that it was said by Patrick Lumumba’s lawyer Carlo Pacelli? As the BBC reported:
[Mr Pacelli] added: “Who is the real Amanda Knox? Is it the one we see before us here, simple water and soap, the angelic St Maria Goretti?”
“Or is she really a she-devil, a diabolical person focused on sex, drugs and alcohol, living life to the extreme and borderline - is this the Amanda Knox of 1 November 2007?”
So even Mr Pacelli didnt compare Knox to Meredith, or simply call Knox a she-devil to her face. He asked rhetorically if she was a she-devil or a saint. Not exactly unheard of in American courts.
And remember he was addressing someone who would have been quite happy to see Patrick put away for life, cost him two weeks in a cell, entangled her own mother in a cover-up, destroyed Patrick’s business and reputation world-wide, still hasnt paid him money owed, and for lying about him served three years.
Prosecutor Mignini in fact never called Knox anything at all. We can find no record that he did. Again and again he has denied it. And he had no personal need to prosecute Knox, and certainly no need to frame her, despite many pages Knox devotes to trying to prove the reckless claim that he did.
3. False Claim: Dr Mignini Ascribes Crimes To Satanic Cults
Actually Dr Mignini has been repeatedly seen on Italian national TV saying satanic cults are rare and he has never originated even one such claim.
Dozens of others had suspected and talked about a satanic cult behind the Monster of Florence murders for many years before he investigated one loose end in the case. He did correctly not ascribe those murders to the work of a single serial killer - the man Doug Preston and Mario Spezi seemed to be framing to create for themselves worldwide adulation, only to end up bitter and mean when caught red-handed.
A Sollecito defense lawyer (Maori) emerged from a closed meeting with Judge Matteini and among other heated remarks originated the malicious claim that Dr Mignini was seeing something satanic.
4. False Claim: Knox Portrays Her Success On The Witness Stand
No success to anyone present. Knox devotes many pages to trying to make herself look good on the witness stand at the trial in mid-2009.
It didnt convince the Massei court judges or Nencini court judges or the Supreme Court judges - or even the Hellmann court judges, those of the annulled appeal. Knox served three years.
5. False Claim: About Knox’s Medical Examination After Arrest
The objective Italy-based reporter Andrea Vogt reporting.
“After my arrest, I was taken downstairs to a room where, in front of a male doctor, female nurse, and a few female police officers, I was told to strip naked and spread my legs. I was embarrassed because of my nudity, my period - I felt frustrated and helpless.”
The doctor inspected, measured and photographed her private parts, she writes - “the most dehumanising, degrading experience I had ever been through”.
But in the 9 November letter to her lawyers, she described a far more routine experience.
“During this time I was checked out by medics. I had my picture taken as well as more copies of my fingerprints. They took my shoes and my phone. I wanted to go home but they told me to wait. And that eventually I was to be arrested. Then I was taken here, to the prison, in the last car of three that carried Patrick, then Raffaele, then me to prison.”
Instances Of Knox’s False Claims About Her Time In Prison
6. False Claim: Capanne Prison was A Hellhole Of Sin And Debauchery
That opening remark of a book review by the National Enquirer was widely parroted in other American media reports.
Over half of the Knox book is devoted to hammering home this theme. Maybe in a longshot hope that it will help to encourage the U.S. to refuse her extradition.
Italian prison conditions and treatment, Knox claims, were so bad that they made her life miserable. She says that at times she became very despondent, and even claims to have imagined doing away with herself.
However, Italian prison conditions except for occasional overcrowding are widely considered among the most humane, caring and rehabilitating in the world. Compared to US prison conditions, they are like night and day.
And this almost universal claim of every prisoner everywhere is contradicted by the media on which she and her family worked so hard; by prison staff and official visitors, and even by the US Federal Government itself.
(1) Contradicted by the extensive media reporting
Occasional despondency is not all uncommon among those paying their debt to society. And there is scads of reporting that Knox had adjusted well to prison.
Knox said that she felt “horrendous” the night that the verdict was delivered. “She said the prison guards did come in to hold her and make her feel better. She said the other prisoners were good to her,” Thomas said.
The reporter said the prison is “extremely clean.” Knox’s cell, which she shares with another American who has been sentenced on drug charges, is small. “It had a little bathroom with a door, a bidet, a sink, a shower…. better than some of the things I’ve seen at summer camp or boarding school.”
The women inmates are allowed to go to a hairdresser once a week.
The prison is a new facility, just opened in 2005. The women’s ward has an infirmary, an entertainment room with a pool table and ping-pong table, and a library. There is also a small chapel. Outside there is a little playground for children with benches and toys because there are cells specifically for women with children. Currently there are two women in Capanne with children.
It was very widely reported over four years that Knox was given the opportunity to do all these many things rarely encountered in American prisons: Learn the guitar. Read a lot. Watch TV. Study foreign languages.
Knox even played a major part in the creation of a rock video with a rock group. Unfortunately for her, that video appeared to many to come close to a taunting murder confession.
And on various occasions Knox was quoted as saying prison guards were kind to her.
(2) Contradicted by the US Embassy and State Department
American officials monitored Knox in court and prison and never saw anything that would back up Knox’s claim.
The objective Italy-based reporter Andrea Vogt reporting.
State department cables, released through the Freedom of Information Act, show that between 2007 and 2009, three different high-level diplomats from Rome (Ambassador Ronald Spogli, Deputy Chief Elizabeth Dibble and Ambassador David Thorne) were among those reviewing Knox’s case.
Embassy officials visited regularly. Records show one consular official visited Knox on 12 November, soon after her arrest. A few weeks later she wrote in her diary how the visits of embassy officials improved her experience….
In 2008 and 2009, she was visited by two embassy officials at a time, six times. Ambassador David Thorne, whose name appears at the bottom of cables in August, November and December of 2009, is the brother- in-law of US Secretary of State John Kerry (at that time chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee).
If the diplomats knew anything of the “harrowing prison hell” Knox was going through (as one paper put it), they are keeping those reports under wraps. Neither Kerry nor any other prominent US politician has made any public complaints. Even today, her Italian lawyers maintain she was not mistreated.
This matters incredibly to Knox because it constitutes the official take of the US Federal Government. It will be front and center of State Department and Justice Department considerations when an arrest warrant for Knox is issued and extradition is requested.
(3) Contradicted by Member of Parliament Rocco Girlanda
Mr Girlanda visited Amanda Knox in prison approximately 20 times for the specific purpose (or so he claimed) of checking her prison conditions. In fact that was the only way he could legally visit her, although oddly enough a book and a number of other pro-Knox actions emerged - even a complaint to the President about the Perugia prosecutors.
After Knox was released late in 2011 Mr Girlanda specifically praised the prison staff in this statement.
Perugia Prison Police The Example of Professionalism.
The PdL Party member of parliament Rocco Girlanda praises the officers of the Perugia prison.
“I’ve had the opportunity to describe to the Minister of Justice, Nitto Palma, the great professional behaviour shown by the Perugia Penitentiary Police with regards to the court case that saw Amanda Knox as protagonist, a behaviour that I had always observed during the course of my visits to the Capanne prison in the last two years.” So says Rocco Girlanda, Umbrian deputy of the PdL, after the conclusion of the appeal trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito.
“In recent months I have had the opportunity to make dozens of visits to the prison, which also included some of the petitions presented by the senior management of the premises and my commitment in this regard, always finding, that starting from the director Bernardina Di Mario, continuing with the Penitentiary Police commander Fulvio Brillo, up to the entire personnel employed, the helpfulness, the courtesy and their professionalism which allows me to say that Perugia is a model structure on the national landscape, managed and directed in the best way and with a large dose of humanity on the part of the staff employed.”
(4) Contradicted by Knox’s own Italian lawyers
Knox’s lawyers Mr Dalla Vedova and Mr Ghirga visited her again and again during the 2009 trial and 2010 hiatus and 2011 appeal. Knox once again had dozens of opportunities to lodge complaints with them - lawyers who could have initiated Supreme Court action in response.
When Knox was released late in 2011 Mr Dalla Vedova and Mr Ghirga were interviewed by the TV station Umbria 24:
The lawyers: “she never complained about the prison”.
Amanda Knox “has never complained about the conduct/behavior of the prison police supervisor” and “she has never mentioned his name”: to say so are the defenders of the American woman, lawyers Carlo Dalla Vedova and Luciano Ghirga, commenting on what was reported by the tabloid The Sun. “
Ghirga said: “In the diary Amanda never makes the name.”
Della vedova said: “We are grateful to the management staff of Capanne prison for their cooperation even given to the family’s requirements. Amanda has never reported violations against her.”
“She absolutely has received the correct treatment and the outmost solidarity, within compliance, especially in the prison’s female section.”
(5) Contradicted by prison guards and other inmates
In some interviews, the reporter Sharon Feinstein captures a view of a difficult, narcissistic, uncaring Amanda Knox which is very commonplace around Perugia. The real faults lie with Knox, in effect.
7. False Claim: About Knox’s Persona And Mood Swings In Prison
The objective Italy-based reporter Andrea Vogt reporting.
She says she was often suicidal, but recollections of prison staff and other inmates differ. Flores Innocenzia de Jesus, a woman incarcerated with Amanda in 2010 described Knox as sunny and popular among the children who were in Capanne with their mothers, and recalled her avid participation in music and theatrical events. She also held a sought-after job taking orders and delivering goods to inmates from the prison dispensary.
“Most of the time when we spoke during our exercise break, the kids would call her and she would go and play with them,” de Jesus told me.
American officials monitored Knox in court and prison and never saw anything that would back up Knox’s claim.
8. False Claim: Negative Attitudes Displayed By The Prison Staff
Agian, the objective Italy-based reporter Andrea Vogt reporting.
“The prison staff are really nice,” wrote Knox in her personal prison diary, which was eventually published in Italy under the title Amanda and the Others.
“They check in to make sure I’m okay very often and are very gentle with me. I don’t like the police as much, though they were nice to me in the end, but only because I had named someone for them, when I was very scared and confused.”
She described Italian prisons as “pretty swell”, with a library, a television in her room, a bathroom and a reading lamp. No-one had beaten her up, she wrote, and one guard gave her a pep talk when she was crying in her cell.
Unlike the heavily-edited memoir, these are phrases she handwrote herself, complete with strike-outs, flowery doodles, peace signs and Beatles lyrics.
9. False Claim: The Positive HIV Result At Capanne Was Malicious
The objective Italy-based reporter Andrea Vogt reporting.
Both accounts also refer to the devastating but erroneous news from the prison doctor that she had tested positive for HIV, although her diary presents a more relaxed person at this point. “First of all, the guy told me not to worry, it could be a mistake, they’re going to take a second test next week.”
We also know that it was Knox’s own team who leaked the HIV report and list of sex partners she herslf chose to create. Not the doctor or anyone else. No malice was intended, that is clear, despite her claims.
10. False Claim? Knox Was Pressured For Sex By A Prison Guard
One of Knox’s prison claims actually names a now-retired senior prison guard who Knox claimed often asked her for sex. There are no witnesses, but he is now suing Knox for libel and Knox herself seems to have wrecked any defense..
Knox made the claim but in a far weaker form in 2011. Then as CBS reported she had in fact concluded the guard was not even serious about sex. He was seeking to understand her.
Investigative journalist and CBS News Consultant Bob Graham, reading from Amanda’s letter to him: “‘He was fixated on the topic of sex, with whom I’d done it, how I liked it, if I would like to do it with him. When I realized that he really wanted to talk to me about sex I would try to change the subject.’”
Correspondent Peter Van Sant: “What does this letter say to you about what she’s been going through?”
Graham: “It says in a time when she was clearly traumatized by the events of the death, the murder of her flatmate, that there she was, an innocent abroad, because she was innocent, she is innocent… and here she was being pressured, further pressured in a prison system, a system that at least she should have had some degree of safety.”
Graham, reading Amanda’s letter: “I realize that he was testing me to see if I reacted badly, to understand me personally. He wanted to get a reaction or some information from me. I did not get the seriousness of the situation.’”
Knox’s claim about pressure for sex seems to have left Italians contemptuous. Yet more lies from knox, the Italian Il Giornale labeled it.
Have a good weekend, guys. Hit the law books.
Archived in Diversion efforts by, The Knox-Mellases, Knox's book, Other legal cases, Associated trials
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Tuesday, July 29, 2014
US And UK Media Wrongly Attribute Italian Report Of Knox/Cocaine-Dealer Link To Trial Prosecutors
Posted by Peter Quennell
1. How Drug Use Was Addressed At Trial
The story of Knox’s drug use clearly has legs. But whoever is driving it, the trial prosecution is not - they are simply sitting back and watching.
Police and prosecutors have never driven the perception that Knox and Sollecito were stoned on the night when they attacked Meredith. They have never had a reason to.
It was in fact the defenses who drove the drug-use argument. Knox admitted to police on 5-6 November 2007 to marijuana use, and so did Sollecito. He already had a minor record of cocaine possession. Both tried to use the argument at trial that they were indeed stoned. But that was only to explain major discrepancies in their statements, not to say that drugs helped to fuel the attack on Meredith.
The defenses had an opportunity with Judge Matteini, the guiding magistrate from late 2007 though to Judge Micheli’s arraignment in October 2008, to try to seek lesser charges due to impaired capacities. But either they did not want to, or they were prevented by the families from doing so.
At trial in 2009 the prosecution remarked that the two were suspected to have been using cocaine (the symptoms seem to us pretty obvious) but the defence simply shrugged at this and did not contend it.
Judge Massei never mentions amphetamines. Two defense experts were brought in to try to convince the Massei court that the admitted drug use had fogged their clients’ brains. Judge Massei simply recorded this doubtful claim in his sentencing report. He gave the perps no breaks based on this reasoning.
]page 393] On the effects of drugs of the type used by Amanda and by Raffaele, such as hashish and marijuana, [we] heard the testimony of Professor Taglialatela who, while underlining the great subjective variability (page 211, hearing of 17 July 2009) specified that the use of such substances has a negative influence on the cognitive capacity and causes alterations of perception (pages 201 and 207) and of the capacity to comprehend a situation (page 218).
In his turn, Professor Cingolani, who together with Professor Umani Ronchi and Professor Aprile, had also dealt with the toxicological aspect (see witness report lodged on 15 April 2008, pages 26 and following), responding to the question he had been asked as to whether the use of drugs lowers inhibitions replied: ‚That is beyond doubt‛ (page 163 hearing of 19 September 2009), while correlating that effect to the habits of the person [on] taking the drugs. Raffaele Sollecito’s friends had furthermore stated that such substances had an effect of relaxation and stupor.
2. New Reporting On Knox/Drug-Dealer Connection
Below is the new Giallo report on a connection between Knox and drug-dealers kindly translated by our main poster Jools. Note that the main drug dealer Frederico Martini (who is “F” below) and others were convicted back in 2011 and the connection to Knox was reported then in the Italian press, though not in the UK and US press.
The main new fact here is that Giallo has the dealers’ names. Giallo makes clear it obtained the names legitimately from open police records, not from the prosecutors back at trial. Dr Mignini merely takes note of the names which Giallo itself provided and he doubted that Knox would now become truth-prone.
The American woman already convicted to 28 years for the murder of her friend Meredith.
A NEW LEAD, LINKED TO DRUGS, PUTS AMANDA KNOX IN TROUBLE
The woman was hanging around a circle of hashish and cocaine traffickers. One of them had intimate relation with her. Another, a dangerous criminal offender, had attempted to kill his brother with a knife. Are they implicated?
“During the course of the investigation into the murder of Meredith Kercher we have confirmed that a person whose initial is F. would occasionally supply drugs to Amanda Knox, as well as having a relationship with her supposedly of a sexual nature.” So begins an [official note] annotation of the Flying Squad police in Perugia dated January 19, 2008, two and half months after the terrible murder of the young British student Meredith Kercher. An annotation that could open a new, worst-case scenario on the Perugia murder and on one of its most talked-about protagonists, Amanda Knox, besides making it possible to convince the USA to send her back to Italy for a new trial.
But why is this annotation so important? And who is this mysterious F. that is now entering the scene? Let’s see. When Amanda came to our country to study, in September 2007, did not yet know Raffaele Sollecito, the guy from Giovinazzo who will be accused together with her and Rudy Guede, a thief and drug dealer, of the murder of Meredith. But she soon started to hang around characters implicated in a drug ring for university students in Perugia. A particularly disturbing entourage of whose members included dangerous multi-convicted felons. The first one is precisely F. We will not disclose his full name or F’s last name, for reasons of discretion, but GIALLO knows them.
In 2007, F. is a student of psychology from Rome, much older than Amanda. The two meet on a Milano-Florence train and decide to visit the city together in the evening, Knox having gotten rid of [her sister] she and F. smoke a joint together. “My first smoke in Italy,” says the same Amanda on MySpace, a social network site that was popular seven years ago. The two end the Florentine evening in his hotel room. Photo evidence of this new friendship was formerly on Myspace, because Amanda publishes a photo of F., half naked. An aunt commented: “Do not date strange Italian guys.”
Once she settled in Perugia, Amanda continues to have contact with F. His number is in Amanda’s phone book, and they both frequently called each other, before and after the murder.
F., also appears in a “list” of Italian guys she slept with which was compiled by Amanda on one of her big school notebooks and also in her autobiographical book Waiting to be heard. In the book Amanda talks about F. but changes his name and calls him Cristiano. Maybe to protect their privacy, maybe to obfuscate opinions. She writes of him: “I promised my friends that I would not end up sleeping with the first guy that comes by, but F. was a change of plans.” Further adding that in Italy smoking joints is simply normal, “like eating a plate of pasta.”
On the other hand Amanda spends a lot of money in the several months she’s in Perugia. In September, she draws out $ 2,452 from her bank account, that’s 1,691 euros. How did she spend it? No one has ever investigated this, and she does not explain it. She says she used the cash for living [expenses], but considering that the rent she had to pay was only 300 euros, and that twice a week she worked as a waitress in the bar of Patrick Lumumba, Le Chic, putting more cash in her pocket, the [living] expenses seem really excessive.
What does Amanda do with all that money? For sure she does not buy only hashish, which is not so expensive. Was she, then, using cocaine? The [police] annotation makes you think of it. And this could explain both the state of alteration of the girl on the night of the murder as well as a possible motive. Amanda that evening returned home to get some money to pay for the drugs, and she encountered Meredith? The girls had a fight, as Rudy Guede says in his reconstruction of that night, why, did Amanda steal Meredith’s money? Was Amanda on her own, or maybe she made sure she was accompanied by Rudy or other drug dealing friends?
No one has ever investigated this, or Amanda’s dangerous acquaintances. So dangerous that the same F., in 2011, was arrested. To be precise that started from the analysis of Amanda’s mobile phone, police investigators found that in fact F. and two of his close friends, Luciano and Lorenzo, were part of a major drug ring: all three ended up on trial for selling cocaine.
On January 14, 2011 they were all sentenced. The court judges established that Luciano was the one that supplied the other two: He was to serve two years and eight months in prison.
But let’s read the rest of the police annotation because what this reveals is really disturbing: “F. is contacted by phone by the presumable clients placing an “order” with him of the quantity of drugs they want to buy and in turn he contacts various Maghrebi characters ordering. It is also established that F. associates with multiple-convicted offenders of very serious crimes in the matter of drugs, and with persons such as A. Luciano, with whom he maintains frequent contacts aimed at drug trafficking.”
And precisely in this way Luciano, linked to F., a friend of Amanda, has a terrible past. The cops wrote this about him: “The above-cited Luciano on the 28/7/2006 was arrested by the carabinieri in Foligno because he was responsible for the murder attempt of his brother, who gave him 16 stab wounds inflicted with a kitchen knife.”
Luciano, therefore, who sells drugs in Perugia and provides supply to F., with whom he is often in touch, is an unsuccessful killer. Only a year before the murder in Perugia, under the influence of drugs, he tried to kill his brother during an argument over money and drug dealing. Luciano, out of his head that evening, grabbed the knife with which he was slicing a melon in the kitchen and stabbed his brother’s body 16 times.
A scene not so different from what the judges think happened in Meredith’s house, and even from what was described by the same Amanda on the 5 November 2007 when, at the end of a night of contradictions and anguish, confessed giving culpability of the murder to Patrick Lumumba, the owner of the bar Le Chic, who later proved to be unconnected with the facts of the case. Amanda said: “Patrick and Meredith went to Meredith’s room, while I think that I stayed in the kitchen. I heard screams and was scared, I covered my ears.”
Where were, F. and Luciano the night of the murder? And who was there that night, instead of Patrick? Questions still unanswered. What seems likely, however, is that Amanda was not with Raffaele, who was at his home on his computer. The judiciary may now decide to open a new file on her. Will the USA grant extradition?
Here is the translation of Dr Mignini’s interview with Giallo translated by Kristeva.
Luciano [Giuliano] Mignini, the judge leading the investigation, talks “Amanda knows how to lie very well: she seems sincere and credible ...”
[GM] The magistrate has directed all investigations: it is she [Judge Matteini] who had Amanda, Raffaele, Patrick Lumumba and Rudy Guede arrested.
[GM] “In the Supreme Court of Cassation new revelations don’t count” Giuliano Mignini, deputy prosecutor of the Attorney General Office of Perugia and public prosecutor of the first trial for the murder of Meredith [Kercher], goes straight to the point.
Mr. Mignini, pending the Supreme Court, Raffaele Sollecito seems to have distanced himself from Amanda Knox. He claims he is not certain that the American girl has spent the whole night with Sollecito ...
[GM] “All this is irrelevant. In Court of Cassation only questions of laws can be raised. They do not take into account the new elements of reconstruction of the facts. Trials are based on the acts of the proceeding. Sustaining now a different reconstruction of what happened is a question of merit that does not in any way interest cassation.”
Amanda has repeatedly argued that her version of the facts had been affected by heavy pressures from the prosecutor’s office.
[GM] “Nothing could be more false. The process of investigation and trial proceeding of Kercher’s murder has had from the beginning an unprecedented media pressure, which has confused some ideas in public opinion. The trial should take place with the guarantee of an adversarial process, with equality of prosecution and defense. When one steps out of these parameters one ends up with a trial through the media. In this scenario, the foreign press, especially the American one, not taking into account our legal system, has given its input. They created a discourse that sounds a bit like this:she is one our fellow citizens and therefore she must be innocent. “
And if today even Amanda was to change her version?
[GM] “I would be astonished. She had plenty of occasions to tell her truth”
What was your impression of Amanda?
[GM] Amanda is very intelligent. She cleverly tried to divert suspects from her, as in the case of the staged burglary, a huge lie. Amanda is shrewd like when she accused Patrick Lumumba. On that occasion she appeared credible, she was crying. She looked as if terrified. I believe she’s a very theatrical girl and in a certain way even anti conformist: while everyone was crying and were worried, she was doing cartwheels.
What was her relationship with Meredith?
[GM] “Amanda did not like to be contradicted and had a conflictual relationship with Meredith. There were constant arguments regarding Amanda’s behaviour that Meredith could not tolerate. She believed that Amanda stole her money.”
And what type was Sollecito?
[GM] Raffaele is an enigmatic character. He is a shy young man who was subjected to Amanda’s strong personality. He was very attracted to Knox who in the meantime did not disdain the company of other acquaintances.
About acquaintances, Amanda knew some drug dealers. Could they have had a role in the murder?
[GM] “I cannot answer this” But then writes down their names.
[By] Gian Pietro Fiore
3. Our Comments On The Giallo Report
As observed above, for Italians most of this is actually not new news. The new news is that Giallo now has all the dealers’ names, from the open records of the police.
Giallo’s mention of a possible new trial is presumably connected to this drug-dealing, as the trial for Meredith’s murder and Knox’s and Sollecito’s failed appeal have both concluded, and only Cassation’s endorsement of the verdict is awaited.
Giallo’s references to Guede as a drug dealer and thief are both unproven. He had no criminal record prior to final conviction by Cassation. He was never a police source, and got zero breaks, ever. He was unknown to Dr Mignini until some days after Meredith was attacked and forensics identified him.
4. UK and US Media Get Key Fact Wrong
The UK’s Daily Mail has wrongly claimed that Italy’s Giallo magazine had reported as follows: “Italian prosecutor from Amanda Knox trial gave newspaper list of drug-dealer names associated with American student”.
So for now UK and US media get that key fact wrong. This surely wont be the end of it though. The story finally has legs of its own, and clearly the media in all three countries have a willingness to pursue it more.
In the interview also posted on Giallo Dr Mignini doubted that even now Knox will tell the truth - in fact it is hard to see what she can say. We will wait and see.
5. Ground Report Also Gets It Wrong
This shrill report from “Grace Moore” about Guede and Dr Mignini in Ground Report is both seriously wrong on the facts and defamatory - she should try saying that sort of thing about any American prosecutor. “Grace Moore” should find out what the roles of Judge Matteini and Prosecutor Comodi were, and why after a malicious prosecution against him Prosecutor Mignini is riding high on Italian TV - and pouring cold water on satanic claims about any crimes.
Paul and Rachel Sterne, the father and daughter owners of Ground Report which carries well over 100 similarly inflammatory posts, could in theory be charged by both Italian and American prosecutors, as they are an eager party to bloodmoney (a felony), harrassment of the victim’s family (a felony) and obstruction of justice under Italian law for poisoning opinion out of court (another felony).
Archived in Questions for RS & AK, Officially involved, Amanda Knox, Diversion efforts by, The Knox-Mellases, Knox's book, The many hoaxes, Knox normal hoax, Other legal cases, Associated trials
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Friday, July 25, 2014
Why It Will Be Republic Of Italy v Knox And Sollecito For The Myriad False Claims They Have Made
Posted by Peter Quennell
Bergamo in the foothills of the Alps where the journal Oggi is published
Yesterday’s post quotes some statements that Sollecito has already started winding back.
For Raffaele Sollecito that marks a significant first. Amanda Knox still seems headed the other way, pouring yet more gasoline on the flames.
Yesterday’s post also mentioned the growing pressure the Italian system is asserting to surface and adhere to the truth. When Cassation rules as widely expected, that Knox’s and Sollecito’s appeals did fail in Florence, and off back to prison they must go, Italy probably wont stop there.
It needs a single truth to stand at the end of the day, and in the courts is how its inquiry-based system arrives at that truth. More prison time is probably ruled out, but there should be some big fines. And that truth.
Sollecito wrote those claims quoted yesterday only in English, of course, exclusively for English-speaking audiences. There are no editions in any other language, certainly not Italian.
The only claim of those quoted yesterday that is widely known in Italy is Sollecito’s false charge, challenged on national TV, that the prosecution offered him a deal for his turning on Knox. That was one of his many claims accusing Italian officials of crimes. All his other claims are still sleepers in Italy.
Sollecito’s father Francesco was asked on national Italian TV why the book was not written or published in Italian. He awkwardly replied that no Italian publisher was interested; he didnt name even one that refused.
He didnt explain why it was written on the US west coast with the help of a British-born shadow writer (an unfortunate choice: Gumbel himself seems to have a big chip on his shoulder about Italy after his stay there, like Peter Popham and Nina Burleigh; unusual but it happens).
So, with no Italian version, what passages in what language were those Italian publishers if any shown?
Not much liked in Italy, Sollecito has been trying to burnish his image there since 2008 when he began writing diary-type reports on several websites.
Passages from the book put into Italian by the Republic of Italy for his book trial in Florence could come to irritate many Italians, and really rain on his parade in the months coming up.
Good reporters should perhaps press Knox to release the Italian version of her own book and let Italy have a close look.
Their publication along with some other articles has resulted in both Oggi and Knox facing a trial in Bergamo. The statute of limitations on the entire book itself expires in 2017. If and when Italy targets all of Knox’s malicious claims she could find her parade rained on too.
Both books are available globally in the Kindle edition and so a few English-speaking Italians have read them that way. The only version of Knox’s book that was officially sold in Europe was in German. There’ve been no others so far though a Spanish translation may exist.
None of the other English-language pro-Knox books have been put into Italian either. In fact the only book translated into Italian that takes Italy to task is The Monster of Florence by Spezi and Preston - and that one is quite different (very toned down) from the edition in the UK and US.
Back here on Planet Earth, various objective books on the case have been written and published in Italian, which kinda shoots Francesco’s claim in the foot that there is no interest among publishers there.
Those books are mostly quite classy affairs, carefully researched. All the books (like TJMK) essentially concentrate on explaining the prosecution’s case in depth, and those from late 2009 all saw “case proven” after the Knox and Sollecito lawyers put on an ineffective defense. There isn’t even one which says Italian officials maybe got it wrong.
The Knox people sued Corriere for damages over the Sarzanini book and in the third round won, but that was only because the book published excerpts from Knox’s prison diaries - which her own people had put around - which invaded the privacy of others she mentioned.
The Sarzanini book is still on sale in Italy and was not ordered withdrawn, so Knox at most won half a loaf via her case.
Our main poster Yummi has at various times pointed out that over 100 prosecutors and judges have been assasinated in the anti-mafia fight. Hate stirred up in the US for Italian officials is of real concern, because it could have a nut with a gun headed to Italy to “even the score”. Hate messages have been received.
Hate is still being perpetually beamed at the real victim’s suffering family as well. That started way back in 2008. There is zero precedent for that - in fact the US and UK and Italy all have strong anti-harrassment laws.
So Knox and Sollecito, and by extension Sforza and Fischer and Moore and so on, will face put-up-or-shut-up time in court on a whole row of claims which appear to Italy malicious and wrong.
Italy wants a searchlight cast on those. It is for this reason above all that the book trials will take place. To wind back the hate, and to cast light.
This whole publishing scene (really two parallel publishing scenes) is absolutely unique in the world. It shows in stark terms the cowardice of the “public relations” wave of defamation which Curt Knox brought alive in 2007 and beamed away from Italian speakers.
No wonder Amanda Knox could not bear to head for Florence late last year for her own appeal - or “new trial” as she still seems to suppose. Her team has burned too many boats.
Gee thanks dad for that….
Archived in Officially involved, Amanda Knox, Diversion efforts by, The Knox-Mellases, Knox's book, The many hoaxes, Spezi/Preston hoax, Knox normal hoax, Knox interrog. hoax, Other legal cases, Associated trials
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Thursday, July 10, 2014
Are The Rank-Amateurs With Their Hooks In Knox Dividing Into Two Flocks Of Sheep?
Posted by Peter Quennell
Confusion Increasingly On Display
Publicly berating the Sollecitos, Kerchers, Italy and Europe has had a detrimental effect on Knox’s public persona?
So says Sophie in the forum text above. Smart take. But Clive Wismayer himself has posted some pretty wild accusations against Italian officials which absolutely dont help Knox at all. People like him should go.
Click here for more of those postings by those supposedly helping Knox. (Guede did it alone? Really?) The postings are a month old, but we hear the internal disputes are now way worse. Three obvious problems stand out.
1. The Sollecito Headache
They dont know as a group whether to try to hug Raffaele Sollecito and his family closer, or to nuke them, in the FOA’s usual mode. Some now incline one way, some the other, and it is splitting them apart.
The Sollecito backlash almost certainly isnt done yet. They dont like Knox at all, and further talk of resisting extradition and further demonizing of Italy and justice officials hardly helps them, and will see them back in front of the press.
In no circumstances will Bongiorno ever again let Sollecito get attracted back to the people who have their hooks in Knox - Bongiorno took the harder line at the press conference, and burying the very damaging claims stuffed by the Knox people into Sollecito’s book is sure on her radar now.
2. The Bloodmoney Headache
There’s rarely much money to be made legally out of trashing murder victims and their families and justice officials as the Bruce Fischers have set out to do. Amanda Knox did get a windfall payment out of her hapless book - but is THAT turning into a two-edged sword…
There’s nothing like a huge pot of money unfairly distributed to make people who feel used and unrewarded walk off. So says Clive Wismayer in the text. Knox is clearly acting cheap, maybe because she sees no career ahead, and may have squirreled much of her bloodmoney away for the reasons given here.
Some like Ted Simon seem to have had a very big payday, the lawyers and experts and Marriott and travel and hotels have all had to be paid-for. Media sources tell us that none of their reporters get within miles of Sollecito or Knox without a greedy hand coming out.
And Knox still has to pay the damages awarded to Patrick for maliciously wrecking his life, or risk more time inside.
Knox is to be charged for the false claims in her book on the same lines as Sollecito and the damages awarded could be huge. Knox’s publishers have their own liability, but may have been misled, and if they are made to pay damages, they could set their lawyers on Knox.
3. The False-Labels Headache
That “guilters” smear used freely in the text above is an albatross around their necks. It stops them seeing straight and being fully informed and (especially) trying to convince in reasonable terms.
Competent American lawyers and PR would have stopped Knox supporters painting themselves into such a corner long ago on the grounds that it just doesnt work. They dont know their enemy as a result.
What they are really up against is not only people posting translations and analyses on websites (people much more qualified than themselves) but also all the forces of justice in Italy and 90 percent of the population who clearly can see guilt.
The pro-Knox conspiracists are in fact a very small faction. The in-group at the core is a dozen or two at most. Perhaps a few hundred now who might lift a finger for Knox.
In contrast, those who see a case for guilt - and who revere the victim and Italy and its officials and system - are not a mere faction at all. Between them, they are huge. Good smart reasonable people who are very well informed and are certainly not driven by hate.
A lot of what websites like this do, in a media-created vacuum of hard facts, is to simply pass on reliable information from Italy in competent translations of key documents and timely and comprehensive reports.
This “guilters” smear has blinded them to that, and so “garbage-in-garbage-out” and paranoid suspicions and ranting language have become their plagues.
And with no real help, Knox faces 28-plus years.
Archived in Officially involved, Amanda Knox, Diversion efforts by, The Knox-Mellases, Knox's book, The many hoaxes, Other legal cases, Associated trials
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Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Legal Nightmare For Knox: How Tough American Laws Will Wind Back Her Blood-Money Profits & Spendings
Posted by The TJMK Main Posters
The 40-Plus State Son-of-Sam Laws
David Berkowitz or Son-of-Sam as he called himself during his killing spree is a convicted American serial killer. Watch a documentary at bottom here.
In New York State (where Knox’s publisher is) and Washington State (where Knox herself is) and about 40 other American states Son-of-Sam has a much-exercised and now rarely-challenged law named after him.
A Son of Sam law is any American law designed to keep criminals from profiting from the publicity of their crimes, often by selling their stories to publishers… Son of Sam laws are designed so that criminals are unable to take advantage of the notoriety of their crimes. Such laws often authorize the state to seize money earned from deals such as book/movie biographies and paid interviews and use it to compensate the criminal’s victims…
In certain cases a Son of Sam law can be extended beyond the criminals themselves to include friends, neighbors, and family members of the lawbreaker who seek to profit by telling publishers and filmmakers of their relation to the criminal. In other cases, a person may not financially benefit from the sale of a story or any other mementos pertaining to the crime—if the criminal was convicted after the date lawmakers passed the law in the states where the crime was committed.
Son-of-Sam Laws In The News
The Son-of-Sam laws are in the American news almost daily. See these for example:
- Here is an article about the admitted killer Jodi Arias who could have otherwise been in line to profit from a movie showing her killing of her former lover Travis Alexander from her point-of-view.
- Here is an article about the former university football coach and male rapist Jerry Sandusky who may be writing a book to benefit himself and his family.
- Here is an article about OJ Simpson, the former footballer and convicted killer of his wife and one other, who is essentially in prison now for trying to circumvent a Son-of-Sam law mandating payments to the families of his victims.
How Son-of-Sam Laws Work
Here from the Criminal Lawyers website is a generic description of how such State laws work.
Each state’s law is different, but here some of the things you may see in any particular Son of Sam law:
What’s covered? Practically just about anything a criminal defendant might gain or profit from his crime. Some state laws generally define “profit from crime.” For example, a law may state it’s “any property obtained through or income generated from the commission of a crime.” Other states are very specific and may, for example, state “profit of crime” is money or other property with value a defendant may receive for a book, movie, television show, play or newspaper article about the defendant and his crimes.
Who’s covered? In some states, only the criminal defendant is covered. In other states, members of his family are covered, too. They may be related by blood or by “affinity” or kinship, such as a spouse or father-in-law. The idea is to make sure a family member doesn’t get the money and hold it for the defendant.
Payment. Most states require the person paying the defendant - the book publisher, movie producer, etc. - to pay the money directly to a court or special state agency, like the state’s Crime Victims Assistance agency. The money is held in a special account for the crime’s victims.
Getting the money to the victims. In most states, once money is deposited, the court or the state agency in charge of the money notifies victims the money is available. In other states, the person or company paying the defendant must notify victims. Either way, victims are usually notified by ads or “legal notices” in local newspapers where the crime was committed. It’s also possible the names of specific victims may be found in the court records connected to the case, and those victims may get personal notification, such as by mail.
Ten Grave Weaknesses In Knox’s Position
Under these 40-plus Son-of-Sam state laws Amanda Knox and her agents appear to be in an extremely weak legal position. Here are 10 reasons.
- 1) Knox was confirmed convicted without further recourse by the Italian Supreme Court of calunnia (against Patrick Lumumba) in March 2013 and she was also provisionally confirmed guilty of murder and other crimes when her appeal before the Florence Appeal Court failed six months ago.
2) That final false-accusation conviction occurred prior to Knox’s book Waiting To Be Heard being released. The British and Italian arms of the publishers, HarperCollins, refused to release the book in the UK and Italy, citing major legal liabilities. The New York based HarperCollins publishers and therefore Knox herself knew that there were very serious legal questions.
3) Amanda Knox was represented by Washington DC lawyer and book agent Robert Barnett who touted the book to various publishers for a claimed $4 million. If Robert Barnett was misled as to the truth of the book, Knox may find herself kicked under the bus by him. If he was not misled, he too is entangled.
4) Knox’s book (available globally via Amazon Kindle) includes many serious misstatements on (among other things) the nature of her false-accusation crime, the nature of her police discussion on 5-6 November 2007, and the real reason for her felony conviction and sentence.
5) Knox also misstated the nature of her false-accusation crime, the nature of her police discussion on 5-6 November 2007, and the real reason for her felony defamation conviction in (a) an arrogant email to Judge Nencini at the Florence appeal and (b) an arrogant press release after the judge’s sentencing report was released.
6) Knox appears to have misstated the nature of her false-accusation crime, the nature of her police discussion on 5-6 November 2007, and the real reason for her conviction in a submission to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg. She also uses those false claims for her continued refusal to pay damages to Patrick.
7) Large numbers of opportunists appear to have directly profited. While we don’t know for sure, it seems Knox blood-money may have been used (a) to pay off her parents’ legal debts; (b) to pay her Italian and American lawyers; (b) to pay David Marriott’s public relations outfit; (d) to pay travel to Seattle and other expenses for some of her wackiest supporters, Sforza and Fischer included. Fees for abusive work by many in online support of Knox are rumored
8) We have repeatedly been told that any media request for access to Sollecito or Knox results in a greedy hand being stretched out. Any media who paid anything to Knox or her family (CNN? ABC? CBS? The Guardian? Oggi?) for access since 2007 could be seriously vulnerable.
9) Knox will face a new trial in Italy in due course for numerous new felony accusations in the book, including a very serious false charge against Dr Mignini. Also she and her followers are widely on record as disrespecting and harrassing the real victim and her ailing family.
10) And a mandatory Son-of-Sam Law investigation by State Attorney Generals can be triggered in over 40 American states via a simple report from a citizen. The Italian Government could also trigger such a criminal investigation.
And Amanda Knox still has her greedy paw out for contributions. See her highly misleading website. Tread warily, folks. Up to 40-plus investigators could come calling at your door…
Early Death To Any Political Support
American politicians almost all favor the Son-of-Sam Laws. The thought of a convicted killer profiting is something almost 100% of American voters wont tolerate. Anything that encourages crimes and the flouting of laws is a really big American no-no.
And if Knox is trying to assemble any bought-and-paid-for political support to resist extradition, such political support will dissipate in a heartbeat when Son-of-Sam again rears his head.
Not a very nice slippery slope for Knox. On multiple counts she looks like a sure-fire loser.
Archived in Officially involved, Amanda Knox, Diversion efforts by, The Knox-Mellases, Knox's book, The many hoaxes, Other legal cases, Associated trials, The wider contexts, American context
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Wednesday, April 09, 2014
Sollecito Takes On A New Lawyer To Help Him Work His Way Past The Minefield That Is His Book
Posted by Peter Quennell
The serious charges Sollecito and Knox will probably face for those books are of three kinds: (1) the contempt-of-court misrepresentation of the Italian justice system itself; (2) the obstruction-of-justice twisting of the evidence in the case; and (3) the claims of crimes committed by numerous career police and prosecution officials.
If false, in effect a gigantic frame-up that leaves Knox’s framing of Patrick in the dust.
At the eighth session of the Florence appeal court back in January, Giulia Bongiorno engaged in a day-long summation which was peculiar, to say the least.
Like Sollecito and Knox in their books, Giulia Bongiorno seemed to be attempting to put the justice system and investigation and prosecution in the dock.
If false, another gigantic frame-up that leaves Knox’s framing of Patrick in the dust.
Bongiorno’s rant didnt seem to help Sollecito in undermining any of the hard evidence in the case, and it left the judges visibly unmoved. But it was notable how closely it resembled the rants on the justice system and its officials by Sollecito himself in his book. See the examples in the post below.
There are some complex later passages in Sollecito’s book and some recurring themes that we will analyse which would seem impossible for Sollecito to write about in such detail without the extensive help of a lawyer who was in the court.
Who precisely was that?
Reports from Italy now state that Alfredo Brizioli, not Giulia Bongiorno, will be the lawyer the Sollecitos choose to respond to the investigating prosecutor’s report on the book. Perhaps Mr Brizioli (who right now is himself on trial for obstruction of justice in another case) can try to negotiate a way for his client to spread the blame before the charges are set in stone.
The Sollecitos seem weak. Alfredo Brizioli seems weak. Giulia Bongiorno seems weak. And Knox also seems weak - if Sollecito is ever going to back away from Knox (perhaps to try to claim the final murderous stab of Meredith was solely Knox’s crazed idea) there is just this one last chance.
We in no way favor Sollecito getting off lightly without recanting. We do want to point to the potential fireworks a smart prosecution has engineered that might help achieve this.
Although there was a sort of bidding war for both books, not every publisher, having seen what was to be in them, was eager to join in. Some did sit on the sidelines.
Archived in Officially involved, Raff Sollecito, The defenses, Diversion efforts by, The Sollecitos, Sollecito's book, Reporting on the case, Other legal cases, Associated trials
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Monday, April 07, 2014
Italy Pushes Back On Dirty Tricks And Frame-Ups: Examples Of What Sollecito Must Defend In Court
Posted by The TJMK Main Posters
Many posters contributed to this analysis and to what is to come. Special thanks to James Raper and Sara, and also to Vivianna, Yummi and Kermit.
Sollecito’s blood-money book gets published
Sollecito’s hapless book Honor Bound was released in English on 18 September 2012.
Within ten days all of Italy knew that the book was a crock.
Bruno Vespa, the persistent host of Porta a Porta, Italy’s most popular crime show (for the equivalent of which American TV cries out) forced Sollecito’s father in national prime-time to admit that at the core of the book was a huge lie.
Other claims about the case and the officials were shown to be wrong too.
Smarter people than Sollecito’s help in the US (Andrew Gumbel and Sharlene Martin, later John Q Kelly, and Simon & Schuster) might have put the brakes on until they got the truth straight and a revised version out.
But no, a media blitz was all ready to roar. The blood-money couldn’t wait.
Huge numbers of professional book reviews and Amazon reader reviews swallowed Sollecito’s claims in the book whole. The nastiness toward Italy and its justice system and officials was ratcheted onto a whole new plane.
Needless to say, official Italy did take note
For the legal reasons explained in this key post an investigation by the Florence Chief Prosecutor’s Office was mandated to begin.
In that same post it was warned that for the period the investigation would require, it would be taken below the radar, so that the Sollecito defense team would have no way to respond through dishonest PR or legal dirty tricks.
A not-unsurprising result of that stealth move was that in the meantime, in the last year, very full of themselves and feeling no constraint, Sollecito and his team went hog-wild in adding more crazy claims. And still more.
Now the investigation is complete
Now Prosecutor Gianbartolomei has issued his announcement of the conclusion of his investigation. The content of the notice is at present confidential except to the defenses.
As Yummi reports, from this point on, the defense has 20 days to say something, such as to request that Sollecito be interrogated or allowed to declare or explain something.
Then the prosecution will file charges against Sollecito and Gumbel, and possibly Sharlene Martin and Simon & Schuster, their careless publishers in New York.
Which precise false claims Prosecutor Gianbartolomei has made the target of his report we do not know. But this is a target-rich environment, that is for sure:
Consider for starters these 20 false claims which, believe it or not, all appear in the first seven pages of the book.
1. That Italian justice authorities took the easy way out
This is the story of two ordinary people who stumbled upon an extraordinary circumstance, the brutal murder of a British student in Italy. Neither Amanda Knox nor I had anything to do with the crime, but we came perilously close to spending the rest of our lives in prison because the authorities found it easier, and more convenient, to take advantage of our youth and inexperience than to mount a proper investigation. It’s that simple. And that absurd.
No advantage was taken of them. The two stood out very sharply from all the others of similar age, and of similar inexperience (whatever that means). They did and said dozens of things in the early days that set them sharply apart.
They were interrogated quite fairly, the Italian media was not especially hard, Dr Mignini never ever leaked, and they had lawyers and family handy at every turn after they were arrested. They each gave the authorities less than zero help - they tried to lead them off on wild goose chases, for example the false claim AK made against Patrick and dozens of other false claims, and apparently tried to finger yet another north African, Hicham Khiri, in a conversation they clearly knew was being recorded.
A “proper” investigation was indeed done. Simply read through all the posts on the trial here in the first half of 2009, and the prosecutor’s excellent summations, and you will see what a smooth comprehensive job was done. And the Supreme Court concluded that THREE had to have been involved, from the recreation of the attack and all the wounds on Meredith’s body. AK and RS and their lawyers never came within light-years of throwing real suspicion on anyone else.
2. That the preventive custody was very harsh
On November 1, 2007, Amanda and I were carefree students at the beginning of a cross-cultural love affair in a beautiful Umbrian hill town. Within days, we were thrown into solitary confinement in a filthy prison, without access to lawyers or loved ones, accused of acts so heinous and disturbing we may never be able to banish them from our thoughts, or our nightmares.
Raffaele was sent to preventative prison on Tuesday November 6. Capanne Prison was almost brand-new then, and far from crowded. Cells contain TVs and private bathrooms.
All questioning had been stopped early on 6 November until Sollecito could have a lawyer present. He himself wrote to his father in his “prison diary” on November 7: “I may see you tomorrow, at least that is what I was told by Tiziano [Tiziano Tedeschi, his lawyer at the time], who I saw today and who defended me before the judge.”
Mr Tedeschi made no complaint about any delay in the first meeting with his new client. In Italy, a judge must determine within 48 hours whether to hold or release detained suspects. Judge Matteini did so meticulously and refused his release.
3. That the prosecution and Italian media demonized the pair
In the newspapers and on the nightly news, we were turned into monsters, grotesque distortions of our true selves. It did not matter how thin the evidence was, or how quickly it became apparent that the culprit was someone else entirely. Our guilt was presumed, and everything the prosecution did and fed to the media stemmed from that false premise.
In the real world, the prosecution fed nothing at all secretly to the media and publicly very little, none of it self-servingly biased. Italian reporting was sporadic and very mild compared to anything one can see said daily about possible perps in the US and UK newspapers and on US TV. Besides, any coverage, which was in part deliberate in the situation as dozens of students were fleeing Perugia, had no influence on anything, neither on the investigation nor the trial.
The Italian system is set up so media can have less influence than almost any other media on any other justice system in the world. The Micheli and Massei sentencing reports show the judges were not unduly influenced even by the lawyers right in front of them, let alone by mild media reports 1 or 2 years before that.
4. That four years were wasted showing where the prosecution went wrong.
By the time we had dismantled the case and demonstrated its breathtaking absurdity [in the annulled Hellmann appeal] we had spent four of what should have been the best years of our lives behind bars.
“We” meaning the defense lawyers did very little in the annulled Hellmann appeal that they hadn’t flailed uselessly against in the trial. Except of course maybe shopping for an inexperience and pliable judge, and for DNA consultants who they could then spoon-feed. Much of the hard evidence they simply kept well away from in the trial and annulled appeal. Such as the extensive evidence in the corridor and bathroom and Filomena’s room, which were all considered parts of the crime scene.
On the other hand, RS’s claim could well apply to what Dr Galati and Cassation did for the Hellman sentencing report. Dismantled the appeal verdict, and demonstrated its breathtaking absurdity.
5. That Knox was made a target because timid Italy was scared of her.
Amanda and I certainly made our share of mistakes. At the beginning we were too trusting, spoke too frivolously and too soon, and remained oblivious to the danger we were courting even after the judicial noose began to tighten. Amanda behaved in ways that were culturally baffling to many Italians and attracted a torrent of gossip and criticism.
An inaccurate and xenophobic remark originated by the American Nina Burleigh, who was having severe culture shock of her own and surrounded only by other foreigners with similar mindsets. What EXACTLY was so baffling about Knox to the very hip Italians? That Knox was pushy, obnoxious, humorless, rather lazy, rather grubby, and not especially bright or funny or pretty? That she put off Patrick, Meredith, her other flatmates, the boys downstairs, the customers in the bar, and just about everybody else except for the distasteful druggie loner Sollecito?
Read this post by the Italian-American Nicki in Milan. To quote from it “As many of us were expecting, Amanda’s testimony has backfired. She came across not as confident but arrogant, not as sweet but testy, not as true but a fake who has memorized a script, an actress who is playing a part but not well enough to fool the public….. Amanda Knox is not on trial because she is American and therefore too “emancipated”....Italians don’t much like Amanda primarily because they perceive her as a manipulative liar, who is suspected of having committed a heinous crime for which there is a whole stack of evidence.”
6. That Knox and Meredith were really great, great friends.
We were young and naive, unthinking and a little reckless. Of that much we were guilty. But what we did not do—and could not have done, as the evidence clearly showed—was murder Meredith Kercher.
Meredith was Amanda’s friend, a fellow English speaker in the house they shared with two Italian women just outside Perugia’s ancient city walls. She was twenty-one years old, intelligent, and beautiful. She and Amanda knew each other for a little over three weeks, long enough to feel their way into their new surroundings and appreciate each other’s interests and temperaments. I never heard about a single tense moment between them.
Plenty of other people did know of tensions. Meredith’s family and friends all knew Meredith was finding the noisy dirty lazy loud unfocused Knox and her one-night-stands hard to take. Her other flatmates found her hard to take. Her employer Patrick found her hard to take. His customers in the bar found her hard to take. The Lifetime movie got this strident angle pretty straight.
Remember, Meredith enrolled for a full academic load at the main university. Knox in sharp contrast took only one undemanding language course - which anyone could walk into - requiring maybe 10 hours of study a week. They increasingly did less together. In fact after several weeks nobody was lining up to have anything to do with Amanda Knox.
Seemingly unable to reverse herself, she was headed to being among the least popular of students in Perugia. It should be recalled that the callous remarks by Amanda Knox about the death of her so-called friend Meredith included “Shit happens”, “She fucking bled to death”, and “‘I want to get on with the rest of my life”.
7. That an intruder knew about the rent money and so murder ensued.
Meredith, of course, suffered infinitely worse luck than we did: she came home, alone, on an ordinary Thursday night and had her throat slit by an intruder hoping to steal the household rent money.
There is zero evidence that this was the case. Knox herself ended up with a similar amount of cash that she has never been able to explain. There is zero possibility that Guede would know that any money was lying around - or not lying around, as it was concealed in Meredith’s drawer.
And take a look at the many images of the brightly lit house at night. There are several dozen other houses behind it in the dark which any smart burglar would have chosen first. In 2008 two real break-ins occurred at the house - both were in the dark behind the house, which is by far the easiest place to break in.
So much for the spurious lone-wolf theory, which Judge Micheli first ruled out even before trial.
8. That the media got hysterical and portrayed heartless killers.
But the roles could easily have been reversed. If Meredith’s Italian boyfriend had not gone away for the weekend and if Amanda had not started sleeping over at my house, she—not Meredith—might have been the one found in a pool of blood on her bedroom floor. That reality was quickly lost amid the hysteria of the media coverage. But it continued to hover over both of us—Amanda especially—as we sank into the legal quagmire and struggled in vain to overcome the public image of us as heartless killers.
There was zero media hysteria. This silly claim was addressed above. Watch the Porta a Porta YouTubes and dozens of other Italian reports and try to find ONE that is not fair and cautious and mature.
How precisely did the two struggle in vain to overcome their public image? By coming up repeatedly with stories which didnt even tally with others of their own, let alone with one another’s? They never between them made even one helpful statement which actually helped the police. And even their respective parents strongly suspected or knew of their guilt and were all caught incriminatingly on tape.
9. That Rudy Guede did it alone; ignore vast evidence that proves not.
This should not have been a complicated case. The intruder was quickly identified as Rudy Guede, an African immigrant living in Perugia with a history of break-ins and petty crimes. His DNA was found all over Meredith’s room, and footprints made in her blood were found to match his shoes. Everything at the crime scene pointed to a lone assailant, and a single weapon. Guede repeatedly broke into houses by throwing a rock through a window, as happened here, and he had been caught by the authorities in the past with a knife similar to the one that inflicted Meredith’s fatal wounds.
This is laughable. It has in fact been demonstrated in numerous ways that the attack involved multiple assailants and this was accepted by the Supreme Court.
Sollecito’s own lawyers never forcefully argued this. They produced two non-credible witnesses in the appeal trial (Alessi and Aviello) to actually prove that Guede had some other accomplices or that several others did it. Also Amanda Knox if anything diverted attention AWAY from Guede as he did in turn from her. He wasn’t quickly identified precisely because Knox had rather credibly fingered Patrick.
There is no proof Guede was an intruder. The trial court concluded Knox invited him in. Guede had zero proven history of break-ins or petty crimes or drug-dealing, and late in 2008 at his trial Judge Micheli became angry at such claims. Guede had no prior criminal record at all. He had only been back in Perugia for a few weeks, after an extended stay up north. His DNA was not found “all over” Meredith’s room. A major surprise, in fact, was how few traces of him were found.
The recreation of the crime scene and the autopsy both pointed AWAY FROM a lone assailant, not toward. From Meredith’s wounds, it was quite evident that two and perhaps three knives had been used, and not a single weapon. What lone intruder carries or uses two or three knives? And footprints in blood outside the door matched the feet of both RS and AK. This is why the Supreme Court confirmed Guede’s guilt only “in concorso” (with others).
10. That the cops could have caught Guede fast, despite Knox’s frame
Guede did not call the police, as Amanda and I did, or volunteer information, or agree to hours of questioning whenever asked. Rather, he fled to Germany as soon as the investigation began and stayed there until his arrest two and a half weeks later.
Guede’s apprehension and eventual conviction on murder charges should have been the end of the story. But by the time Guede was identified, the police and the public prosecutor’s office had convinced themselves that the murder was, incredibly, the result of a sexual orgy gone wrong, in which Amanda and I had played leading roles. Their speculations ignited a media firestorm, inspiring sensationalist headlines across the world about the evil lurking behind our seemingly innocent faces.
The authorities had no shred of evidence to substantiate this story line, only erroneous suppositions and wild imaginings. We had an alibi for the most likely time of death, and none of the initial forensic evidence tied us to the scene of the crime. Nothing in our backgrounds gave any hint of a propensity for violence or criminality. We were both accomplished, hardworking students known to our friends and families for our gentleness and even tempers.
Four more untrue remarks. All three were convicted of a murder with a sex-crime element and nobody was wrongly “convinced”. Which alibi is Sollecito talking about now? He himself admits in chapter 1 (Love and Death) that they had no “real alibi”. They still have no alibis at all for the second half of the evening, neither of them, when Meredith’s murder indisputably occurred.
Extensive forensic evidence within days tied them both to the scene. Not a single element of it has been discredited in the eyes of the Massei trial and Nencini appeal court. Not even one. Nothing was falsified.
Neither of their backgrounds was squeaky clean. Both had long been into illegal drugs, the loner Sollecito had to be watched by his father and teachers, the increasingly disliked Knox had a history of doing and saying crass off-putting things. Both were lagging behind their brighter peers in their studies and Knox was taking a year off.
11. That the prosecution fed the media a huge number of false claims.
Yet the authorities stuck to their guns. They fed the media a steady diet of sensationalist stories of how Amanda, the promiscuous American she-devil, and I, her sex-and-drug-addled Italian helpmeet, had tried without success to drag Meredith into our depravity and punished her by plunging an outsize kitchen knife into her neck.
Complete fiction. Again, in the real world, as the media reporters all confirm, the prosecution fed nothing at all secretly to the media, and publicly very little, none of it self-servingly biased.
Italian reporting was sporadic and very mild compared to anything one can see daily on possible perps in the US and UK newspapers and on US TV crime shows. There is zero sign this mild coverage mattered to the courts. As the media reporters all confirm, they were fed next to nothing by the police or prosecution on the case,
But whereas Mr Mignini famously never leaks, the defenses are widely claimed to have leaked throughout like sieves. So did Sollecito’s own family - they leaked an evidence video to Telenorba TV, for which they were considered for trial. Even we at TJMK and PMF received several offers of juicy leaks. Here is one example of where the Knox forces leaked - wrongly in fact - and then nastily slimed the prosecution and defenseless prison staff.
12. That the authorities had lots and lots and lots of scenarios.
It might have been funny if the consequences had not been so devastating. Listening to the tortured language of the prosecution—“one can hypothesize that . . . ,” “it is possible that . . . ,” “one can imagine that . . . ,” “this scenario is not incompatible with . . .”—it became clear that the authorities, like the media, were treating our case with the bizarre levity of an after-dinner game of Clue, or an Agatha Christie mystery. Everyone, even the judges in their black robes, had theories they were itching to air.
Have Sollecito and Gumbel ever before been in any other court in Italy or the UK or the US? Every judge and/or jury has to arrive at a scenario on lines not unlike this. That is the whole POINT of having courts - to weight the probabilities in what happened in the crime. The only difference in Italy is that the judges have to think their verdict through for weeks, and then write it all out, and then see it scrutinized by a higher court. This is hardly a requirement to be sneered at.
Gumble and Sollecito should have studied how US and UK juries arrive at their own scenarios. Very few US and UK lawyers think they do a better job. Ask those who watched the OJ Simpson and Casey Anthony trials and bitterly criticised the outcomes. And Italy has a vastly lower rate of false imprisonment than the US does.
13. That Italy is a medieval country with a primitive justice system.
It could have been Colonel Mustard in the drawing room with the revolver; instead it was Amanda and Raffaele in the bedroom with the kitchen knife. How was it conceivable that a democratic country known for its style and beauty and effortless charm—the Italy of the Renaissance and la dolce vita—could allow two young people to be catapulted to international notoriety and convicted of a horrific crime on the basis of nothing at all?
This is not remotely what happened. There was very far from nothing at all. Convictions in the US and UK regularly result based on evidence 1/10 or 1/100 of that here - sometimes from one single evidence point. Any one or several of maybe 100 evidence points here could have convicted them in a US or UK court.
14. That the prosecutors office and media were in a grim embrace.
The answer has something to do with the grim embrace that developed between the prosecutor’s office and the sensationalist media. Like addicts constantly looking for the next fix, each fed the other’s insatiable appetite for titillation and attention. The casual cruelty of “Foxy Knoxy” and her Italian lover became too good a story line to abandon, even when it became apparent it was overheated and unsustainable. Our suffering was the price to be paid for the world’s continuing entertainment.
WHAT grim embrace? WHAT addicts? WHAT fix? WHAT insatiable appetite? WHAT titillation and attention? This is clearly defamatory if it can’t be proven, and we can turn up no evidence that any of it is true. It has to be one of the most foolish lies in the entire book, it is so easy to disprove. These who are being accused of crimes here are career police and prosecutors secure in their jobs, and none have the slightest gain to make from false convictions.
15. That in the justice system speculation and hearsay run rampant
The meandering complexities of the Italian legal system, where speculation and hearsay are allowed to run rampant and time invariably slows to a maddening trickle, did little to help our cause.
Total mischaracterization. First note that by comparison with any country in the world THERE IS NOT MUCH CRIME IN ITALY. There is some minor corruption and still some minor mafia action, but thefts and burglaries and assaults are few and murders even fewer. The main crime if you can call it such is not lining up to pay taxes. Italy’s murder rate is 1/6 that of the United States and its prison incarceration rate is 1/30 that of the United States, so where IS all this crime about which the claimed speculation and hearsay are running rampant?
The legal process could have been fully over by the end of 2009 if (1) there was not the entitlement to two automatic appeals; in UK and US terms there was very little to appeal about; and (2) the Hellmann appeal court had not been fixed to produce a corrupt outcome, as the displaced judge Sergio Matteini Chiari and Cassation and the Council of Magistrates have all made plain.
And compared to American police and prosecutors, their Italian counterparts are famously taciturn under their unusually firm rules. There is media interest, for sure, as there should be when there are crimes, but that also is comparatively restrained. Watch the various Porta a Porta shows on YouTube and you will see how sedate crime discussion tends to be.
The Constitution and judicial code set out to achieve the exact opposite of speculation and hearsay affecting justice, and they do so. Creating this restraint is a primary reason for the judges’ sentencing reports and all the magistrates’ checks of investigations along the way.
This whole series of dishonest claims about the the Italian system in the preface of the book and in a later chapter have clearly not been read through or okayed by even a single Italian lawyer.
16. That in Italy proof beyond a reasonable doubt scarcely exists
For reasons deeply embedded in the country’s history, the concept of proof beyond a reasonable doubt scarcely exists in Italy, and the very notion of undisputed fact is viewed with suspicion, if not outright aversion.
So Gumbel and Sollecito are historians and legal experts now? It would be nice, wouldn’t it, if either were able to explain the remark. This may be an ignorant swipe at the Napoleonic Code on which the law of a lot of continental Europe is based. Ignored is that Italy carried out its own reforms to the Code in 1990 and more subsequently. Much of that reform, it should be pointed out, was procedural or structural rather than substantive law.
There are two things wrong with “..the concept of reasonable doubt scarcely exists in Italy.”
1. It is factually wrong. Italian jurists, the courts, and so on, are well acquainted with the concept as it has been a fundamental aspect of criminal proceedings in Italy as elsewhere for many decades if not centuries.
2. It suggests that Italians are not intelligent enough to understand the concept anyway. That of course is an insult to Italians. Actually they are no less intelligent than the rest of us elsewhere who strive to understand it.
Until the 1990 Reforms the relationship between criminal and civil proceedings in Italy were governed by the principles of unity of jurisdiction and the prevailing status of criminal proceedings. Hence, if the facts were the same then criminal proceedings (to punish the guilty) and civil proceedings (to render liable the guilty for damages) were heard at the same time and still sometimes are, as in the Meredith Kercher case.
What has changed (relevant to the above quote) is that civil cases can be and are more likely to be heard independently from the related criminal cases and, where not, the standard of proof in civil cases (the preponderance of evidence or, as we usually refer to it, the balance of probabilities) is to be applied to the civil case, and the civil case only, rather than be confused with or overriden by the criminal standard of proof (beyond reasonable doubt).
Not an easy task, admittedly, to apply different standards to different tasks, based on the same facts, in the same proceedings, but Italian judges are trained to do this because that is their system. No judge would EVER confuse “beyond reasonable doubt” with “the balance of probabilities” when the issue at stake is depriving an individual of his freedom.
17. That the Italian judiciary has vast, unfettered powers
Few in Italian society wield as much unfettered power as the robed members of the judiciary, whose independence makes them answerable to nobody but themselves.
Radically the opposite of the truth. The paranoid claim reads like it came from ex PM Berlusconi fearful of his own conviction or one of his parliamentary lackeys such as Girlanda.
All of the best judges in the world are independent and they all follow a demanding career path, not elected (as ex-Judge Heavey was) under zero criteria, or appointed under the political sway of politicians. We wonder if Gumbel and Sollecito have ever heard of the US Supreme Court? Do those judges answer to anybody? No? How unfettered.
18. That the courts are the most reviled institution in Italy.
Many Italians retain a healthy skepticism about the reliability of their procedures and rulings. The courts—tainted by politics, clubbishness, pomposity, and excruciating delays—are the most reviled institution in the country.
As our Sollecito Book pages make clear again and again and again, the Italian system is remarkably NOT tainted by politics, as even the most surperficial watcher of the trials of ex Prime Minister Sylvio Berlusconi would know.
Our Italian poster Machiavelli (Yummi), who posted our deep analysis of the appeal to the Supreme Court by Dr Galati, has provided these hard facts:
For comparison, in 2011 the percentage of Italians who declared they trust the justice system “a lot” or “enough” was 53.3%. By comparison, the percentage of Italians who declared they trust the government “a lot” or “enough” were 14.7%, and those who trust the parliament were only 15%.
In 2012, the percentage of Italians who trust the parliament is now only 9.5%, and those who trust the Mario Monti administration are only 21.1%.
Over the eight years from 2004 to 2012 the percentage of Italians who trust the justice system was always bigger than those who trust parliament or government by at least ten points, and in some years we can see a spread of 20, 30, even 39 percentage points achieved by the judiciary over the parliament and government.
However, some cases of corruption (such as our Hellmann-Zanetti case, but also several others indicated by the Rapporto Italia 2012) do hamper trust.
The most trusted institutions in Italy above all are the Carabinieri (74% of Italians trust them) and the Polizia di Stato (71%).
Which means the most trusted institutions are precisely those law enforcement instruments which are deployed to enforce the orders of prosecutors.
19. That prosecutors can spin their cases into any shape they please.
Because the Italian legal system is almost completely blind to precedent and relies on a tangle of impenetrable codes and procedures, prosecutors and judges have almost boundless freedom to spin their cases into any shape they please and create legal justifications on the fly. Often, they are more interested in constructing compelling narratives than in building up the evidence piece by piece, a task considered too prosaic and painstaking to be really interesting.
Whoever wrote this either wasnt an Italian or a lawyer, and either way didnt have much of a clue. The entire Italian system under the post WWII constitution was designed to PREVENT what Sollecito & Gumbel claim it allows here.
There are checks and balances and reviews every step of the way. Magistrates (initially Matteini here) determine what a prosecutor may do in developing and presenting a case. Parties may appeal to the Supreme Court AT ANY TIME as Knox’s lawyers did over her second written confession - which she herself had demanded to make in front of Dr Mignini after he finished warning her of her rights.
Hard for Sollecito & Gumbel to believe, perhaps, but the defense is actually present in the same courtroom. They can raise points of order at any time. So can the defendants themselves, at any time, something maybe unique in the world.
And judges actually have minds of their own. And then there are the unique written sentencing reports, and the two automatic appeals if any parties want to pursue them.
Sollecito & Gumbel should have read the 2012 Galati appeal more closely. The Prosecution’s Appeal To The Supreme Court is available in English here. Precedent has a section to itself - “The non-observance of the principles of law dictated by the Cassation Court in the matter of circumstantial cases (Article 606(b)) in relation to Article 192 paragraph 2 Criminal Procedure Code.”
Well, that’s precedent, via the Court of Cassation no less! How surprising from Gumbel/Sollecito that they should make that claim about ignoring precedent when in fact there it is, going right to the heart of the flawed Hellmann/Zanetti judgement on circumstantial evidence! What else is a Code but in effect a codification, a gathering together, a rationalisation, of best law - and precedent?
There is an absurd irony here, were they aware of it. Perhaps they are. Surely it is Hellmann and Zanetti who have displayed “a boundless freedom” in spinning the case “into any shape they please”, and who have “created legal justifications on the fly”? As for prosecutors doing this, at least Dr Mignini followed the evidence, and American readers may recall the infamous Jim Garrison, the DA hero of Oliver Stone’s movie “JFK” but who in reality, unlike Dr Mignini, was a total and utter crackpot.
And what issue exploded the Porta a Porta TV show in Italy in September 2012? It was Sollecito’s false claim that the prosecution had secretly tried to offer him a deal if he would roll over on Knox. NOBODY including his own father and his own lawyers confirmed him. Evidence against both was overwhelming. Nobody needed such a deal, and Italian prosecutors are highly rules-bound against ever offering such deals.
Sollecito was in effect accusing Dr Mignini of a felony with this much-repeated false claim in his book. (In her book Knox also accused Dr Mignini of a felony.)
20. That the prosecutors and judges in Italy are far too close.
Prosecutors and judges are not independent of each other, as they are in Britain or the United States, but belong to the same professional body of magistrates. So a certain coziness between them is inevitable, especially in smaller jurisdictions like Perugia.
Yes, prosecutors and judges in Italy belong to the same professional body of magistrates. But then so does the defense lawyer Ms Bongiorno. The claim that there is no independence between prosecutors and judges in Italy, in fact a coziness between them, is a bit rich.
Consider, say, the UK. It is true cases are prosecuted by the Crown Prosecution Service, a government body, but in serious cases the CPS will employ barristers from the Inns of Court. There is scarcely a judge in the UK, even up to the highest level, who was not and who is not still a member of one of the Inns of Court from whence barristers, for the prosecution or for the defence, ply their trade.
You can’t walk past an Inn without seeing the names of judges on the roll call on the plaques outside. A judge is still a barrister, just fulfilling a different function, although, of course, now paid by the State. The old school boy tie? Corruption? No, the fulfilling of different roles by members of the same body is called professionalism.
Judges and lawyers all belong to the American Bar Association in the US and attend the same conferences. No sign that this lack of “independence” ever affects trials. This claimed excess of coziness is often ranted about online by the Knoxophile David Anderson who lives near Perugia. Nobody who pays him any attention can get where he derives this from. Maybe he heard it from Hellman?
Perugia prosecutors and magistrates are all known to do a fine job, and the national Olympics & earthquake relief cases involving powerful Rome politicians were assigned for competent handling to where? To Perugia… Defense lawyer Ghirga and Prosecutor Mignini have the reputation of being good friends. And Mignini and Massei would both draw their salaries from the State. But so what? Do not judges and DAs in the the USA do likewise? Are Gumbel and Sollecito impugning the professionalism of the counterparts of Mignini and Massei all over the world? It sure reads like it.
On our further postings
Akk of this above analyzes only the first seven pages, out of a book which has several hundred pages. We will post one or two times more during April. Later in the book, there is a lot of venomous sneering addressed at Dr Mignini, although his performance at trial was excellent - and he is now for Perugia’s region (Umbria) the Deputy Prosecutor General.
In Italy Dr Mignini is now and then on national TV along with Michele Giuttari, who pursued the main Monster of Florence theory - not the crackpot theory Preston and Spezi attempted to use to frame someone. At impugning him, Sollecito and Gumbel have failed miserably, and for that are now in the crosshairs of the system.
Many posters contributed to this analysis and to what is to come. Special thanks to James Raper and Sara, and also to Vivianna and Kermit.
[Kermit’s take on Katie Couric, one of several smart TV hosts who suspected a giant con]
Archived in Diversion efforts by, The Sollecitos, Sollecito's book, Reporting on the case, Other legal cases, Associated trials, Raff Sollecito
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Friday, April 04, 2014
The Florence Chief Prosecutor’s Office Announces That Sollecito Will Face More Court Action
Posted by The TJMK Main Posters
Breaking news from Main Poster Yummi
Prosecutor Gianbartolomei has issued a notice about the conclusion of his investigation. The content of the notice is confidential for the defenses.
From this point the defense has 20 days to say something, like to request that the defendant (Sollecito) is interrogated or has anything to declare, or to submit any documents if they want to.
Then, once the 20 days are expired, the prosecution will file charges.
Since the charges will include almost certainly, beyond aggravated defamation, also contempt of the Judicial organs, the prosecution may send a notice to the Ministry of Justice too.
Since they are victims of contempt they may appoint a plaintiff.
The senior Florence prosecutor Dr Giuliano Giambartolomei was assigned to investigate the claims in Sollecito’s “Honor Bound”.
Today he announces that his findings indicate that many claims are spurious and justify new charges being brought against Sollecito. Shadow-writer Andrew Gumbel, who recently published this self-incriminatory rant has also been named.
When the charges are filed several or some others who have been assiduously “helping” Sollecito (mostly for big bucks) such as book-agent Sharlene Martin might find themselves named also
So Sollecito for sure and Knox most probably will be confronting the often-contradictory claims in their books, and saying whether they accept or reject each of them, which should put other book-writers who made false claims on the spot and maybe wind the whole FOA effort down.
We will be making our separate page on Sollecito’s various false claims live again. Main posters have posted a large number of corrections to Sollcito’s claims in the book. We have been putting them in correct page-order.
Miriam has kindly contributed this translation of today’s report in Il Messagero. Dr Giambartolomei only hints to the reporter what will be in his report which will quote all the passages in full for which Sollecito will have to account.
Raffaele Sollecito Insults The PM And A New Trial Starts
As always everything [possible] is presumed and as always, in the case of the murder of Meredith Kercher, everything [possible] can be overturned at every verdict.
Even in the associated trials, such as the one for defamation (against PM Mignini) and contempt (against the police) for which Raffaele Sollecito, found guilty of the murder of Meredith Kercher along with his ex-girlfriend Amanda Knox, is being investigated along with the British journalist-author (now in absentia) Andrew Paul Gumbel.
Defamation, because many parts of the book “Honor Bound”, of which both are authors, contains for the prosecution various ignominious remarks.
More than simple phrases, entire chapters (allegedly) of the book are written in what is technically called “conclusione delle indagini” and requires the matter to be brought to justice, and therefore to trial.
[The book] starts by summarizing the main evidence (that was then proved to be wrong by the facts) against Sollecito.
The two being investigated write: ” the main proof that Mignini had to bring to the preliminary hearing were my Nikes… and he did everything possible to render them more incriminating…”
Then again “the police had only the pictures of my shoes (not those of the print) and in some way they came to the conclusion that my Nikes were the same brand, model and size as the shoeprints on the floor of Meredith’s apartment. There was no doubt about this”
Then the facts demonstrated that the shoe prints where of Rudy Guede, the third person condemned for the murder of the British student, and could not be those of Sollecito, because of the size.
Therefore this touches on the management of the trial on the part of Mignini. Sollecito-Gumbel write: “one of the reasons that our hearings were so distant one from the other was that Mignini was fighting his own separate legal battle for abuse of investigated activity.”
This connection goes to the case of the death of the Perugian Doctor Franceco Narducci, connected to the Monster of Florence case which Mignini had investigated.
Sollectito sustains: (defended in this case by Alfredo Brizioli) “I think our case, among other things, was a big diversion to keep the media’s attention away from the legal battle Mignini was having in Florence, and to give him the victory in a high profile case he so desperately needed to restore his reputation.”
The young Pugliese continues: “…..just as he did in the Monster of Florence case, Mignini used every instrument at his disposal against his critics and adversaries. The avalanches of legal action by part of Mignini had an inevitable icy effect , especially on the Italian press and this played a clear role in turning the public opinion against us.”
The charges against Sollecito and Gumbel are those of having sustained that it was Mignini’s idea to seek to obstruct the investigation as is from the beginning, it was a studied act to bend the investigation and turn the trial to his side.”
This is a clear accusation in the eyes of the prosecutor Giuliano Giambartolomei: “His approach (Mignini’s), Sollecito is saying, was particularly vindictive…. This is enough for Sollecito to face charges of defamation.”
Important to note that Dr Giambartolomei does NOT explain here precisely what will be in his report. That will have to quote all the passages in full for which Sollecito may have to account. Then he or whatever prosecutor charges Sollecito will go to another depth.
With our analysis of the book and knowledge of Italian law we can probably pick many or most of the false claims made which impugn officals or the Italian system.
More posts coming. Stay tuned.
Archived in Reporting on the case, Other legal cases, Associated trials, Raff Sollecito, Sollecito's book
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Thursday, December 05, 2013
The Rise And Fall Of “Frank Sfarzo” And How “Sfarzogate” Ripples On And On
Posted by Ergon
[Image is from Francesco Sforza’s early days in Seattle last year when he felt he was riding very high]
December 06, 2013. Francesco Sforza also known as Frank Sfarzo is due to appear today in a Florence criminal court.
He is charged with aggravated defamation (art. 595 of the Italian Criminal Code) against the Deputy Prosecutor General for Umbria (Perugia’s region) Dr Giuliano Mignini, because he is a very senior officer of the court, with the alleged intention of obstructing justice on Knox’s behalf.
The charges refer to multiple accusations of criminality Sforza made online on his now hidden or defunct blog “Perugia Shock”. A prison term is unlikely if found guilty at this one trial, but the problem is that he faces a trial for violence against police in Perugia as well.
Who is Frank Sfarzo? Is he “a Perugian blogger and investigative journalist” and “personable black haired man with intense brown eyes”? (Candace Dempsey, who relied extensively on his personal contacts and blog for her book “Murder In Italy”)
Or as journalist Andrea Vogt wrote in a May 27, 2009 Seattle PI article,
Dempsey was one of the first U.S. bloggers to post key court documents. (Sourced from Sfarzo) She is now writing a book on the case. The other defense site is Perugia Shock, the first blog about the case, which started Nov. 2, 2007. Perugia Shock’s comment threads are home to some of the most heated Knox-related exchanges online.
Perugia Shock is hosted on a California server and financed by an American firm, according to the Perugia-based blogger who covers the case and operates the site under the alias “Frank Sfarzo.
“Also known as Frank Sfarzo, this home-spun blogger set up his blog “Perugia Shock” the day after (sic) Meredith’s body was found. The Knox family initially relied on his local intelligence, and he exchanged videos and information with pro-Amanda Seattle blogger Candace Dempsey”. Source: Darkness Descending page 324.
The journalist Barbie Nadeau has this to say about Sforza in “Angel Face” pages-89-91:
The first blog dedicated to the crime, Perugia Shock, was set up on November 02, 2007, the day Meredith’s body was discovered. The blogger, Frank Sfarzo, a skeletal man with a waxed crew cut, ran a student flophouse in town and believes that he missed a call from Meredith while she was looking for lodging.
When I later asked him in an e-mail why he started the blog, he explained the connection and described how Meredith had looked at the coroners: “Seriously, she was so beautiful and sweet, she seemed to be alive, with the mascara on her eylashes (sic), just like ready to go out.
“Sfarzo hid behind the handle, “Frank the blogger,” and he would never confirm whether he actually saw Meredith on the autopsy table or simply saw the coroner’s photos. (He saw the photos, and obtained copies) He ingratiated himself with several clerks and cops around town and, curiously, often had a document no one else could get or a scoop that beat out the rest of the press.”
He started out as an objective observer, slightly sympathetic to Meredith, but became a rabid proponent of Amanda’s innocence. He was the quintessential blogger—a smart, cryptic, insomniac. Even the chief prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini, read his posts.
Mignini always believed that Frank’s blog was intellectually inspired and financially subsidized by Mario Spezi, the Italian journalist who covered the Monster of Florence serial killer for La Nazione. During the 1970’s and 80’s, several couples were murdered as they made love in their cars in the foothills around Florence. Spezi followed the investigation for years and pinned his reputation on a theory of the case that Mignini disputed. Eventually, Mignini had Spezi jailed for obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence.
Note: this is how the American fiction writer Douglas Preston got involved with Spezi, and latched on to the Meredith Kercher murder case as a way of getting back against Mignini, also supporting Frank Sfarzo behind the scenes.
Why is Frank Sfarzo so important to this case? It is about public perception about the guilt, or innocence of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, and how he was the source of many of the myths about the case and prosecutor Giuliani Mignini that have made it into the mainstream media. Yes, he had many police files, improperly obtained, and insecurely kept.
This article is the first of a series of posts about his activities in that regard, the true story of his so called ‘persecution’ by Dr Mignini, and the financial and other support he received from the supporters of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, and their families. He even hid his relationship with OGGI magazine.
It reveals why he really fled Italy to America, attempting to get a green card in the process, and the many cases of assault that are still outstanding against him. It details the story of his arrests for assault in Perugia, Hawaii, and Seattle, and the circumstances of his expulsion from Canada.
It will tell how he received tens of thousands of dollars in ‘donations’ from prominent supporters of Knox and Sollecito funneled through Bruce Fischer’s organizations “Injustice in Perugia” and “Injustice Anywhere” as well as his and other people’s PayPal accounts (I have the details) And it will detail the behind the scenes efforts to influence the case using Frank Sfarzo as a source for the allegations against Mignini through websites like IIP and Ground Report, which then made its way into the media.
This series will also reveal much about Frank Sfarzo, the man. Someone who believed primarily in Knox’s guilt (with Sollecito as the roped in sex-slave) it shows a flawed being willing to compromise himself to make money, and also, fulfill his long held dream to have ‘books written and movies made’.
In the course of this investigation, I met with and interviewed many previous supporters who now wish they had never met him, and some, who even, conclude that his reporting on the case was based on self-serving lies. The behavior of those that enabled him also comes under scrutiny, and, their attempts to intimidate people into not speaking up about his actions.
They indeed, had much to hide.
This report is based on the hundreds of posts I made on him at PMF dot Net, with much help from the posters and editors there and at PMF dot Org. It was heartening to see the cooperation between the two sites and thanks are due to them, and also to Peter Quennell, who first invited me to join the Meredith Kercher community three years back (I’d been posting on the case at Huffington Post previously)
What will happen to Frank in court? I do not know, but it does appear, that the falsehoods he spread are beginning to unravel. I see he has surfaced again, after hiding from the authorities for so long. Reporting on Bruce Fischer’s blog, he writes “they attack me for speaking up”. No, I’m sorry. In this, as it always has been, the blogger Francesco Sforza, also known as Frank Sfarzo, is the author of his own misfortune.
Part II of the series, “The Sfarzo~Gate Papers”, will be published here next week. ~Ergon
[Below: This picture has a story behind it. Frank Sfarzo stayed almost two months at the Mellas household, and was later shunted off to various supporters when he made a sexual move on Amanda Knox.]
Archived in Diversion efforts by, The Knox-Mellases, Francesco Sforza, Michael Heavey, Steve Moore, Bruce Fischer, More sockpuppets, Other legal cases, Associated trials
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Sunday, October 06, 2013
Pushback Against Mafia Playbook Gathers Speed With Denial Of False Accusation of “Satanic Theory”
Posted by Peter Quennell
[Preston left, Spetzi center, and George Clooney who is at legal risk for his option on their defamatory book]
Previously on the mafia playbook:
As we have posted previously, the mafia and their handmaidens strive constantly to bring the Italian justice system down a peg or two. When not using dynamite, as they often have, they especially favor the weapon of character assassination.
The vilification campaign being run in the United States by David Marriott, Chris Mellas, Doug Preston, Bruce Fischer, Steve Moore, Michelle Moore, Nigel Scott, and David Anderson (and from Italy by Frank Sforza) seems to be right out of the mafia playbook, whether all of them know it or not.
How the mafia have been using the public relations campaign to their own advantage seems set to emerge further in at least five of the associated trials coming down the pike: those of Luciano Aviello, Frank Sforza, Mario Spezi, Raffaele Sollecito (his book trial) and Amanda Knox (her book trial)
And now Mario Spetzi, obviously a real glutton for punishment, once again piles on. Spetzi has had incessant run-ins with the Italian law - and now he seems to have entered some kind of self-immolation end-game.
With Doug Preston, Spetzi published several editions of their Monster of Florence scenario. These are widely discredited in Italy, not least because they are such obvious attempts to apply lipstick to a pig (half of the text is about an obviously red-handed and very very scared Preston trying to prove he did not actually melt down under interrogation for his probable felony interference in a case.)
Spetzi has been charged with interfering with and hampering both the Monster of Florence investigations and the related investigation (which involved Dr Mignini) into the Narducci drowning - a clear murder (the body was found bound and another substituted) though a nefarious group worked very hard to deny that. (They were all charged as well, and the Supreme Court has recently confirmed the correctness of that.)
In recent weeks the Supreme Court has given a firm order for both prosecutions against Spetzi to go ahead. How Spetzi stays out of prison if he is found guilty is anyone’s guess. Doug Preston came up with a calamity of an explanation for the arrest of Frank Sforza for domestic violence, but presumably his assistance wont be sought this time around.
So in face of impending prison Spetzi really watches his tongue, right?
No, in fact in a move bizarre even by his own standards, Spetzi on 29 September published a surreal “interview” with Amanda Knox in Florence Corriere. It once again repeats the felony claim that the prosecution charged Knox and Sollecito in the first place based only on some “satanic theory”.
The Perugia prosecution has never never NEVER claimed that. The Florence prosecutor has already moved into felony-investigation mode (this could cost Spetzi more years in prison) and on 3 October Florence Corriere published this correction below by the defamed prosecution (translation is by Yummi).
This unequivocal statement (far from the first but the most prominent) has its own legal status. It is a clear legal warning to the likes of Chris Mellas and Bruce Fischer that if they sustain the libel they are at risk of felony charges also.
The statement has already had a strong ripple effect in Italy. Many former allies - some of them not very savory - now feel that Spetzi has lied to and betrayed them for his own ends.
To the editor of Florence Corriere
I am Giuliano Mignini, the magistrate who performed the investigation and trials of first instance and appeal in Perugia against the people accused of the murder of Meredith Kercher, as well as the investigation into the death of Francesco Narducci linked to the one performed by the Florence Prosecution Office in relation to the masterminds of the “Monster of Florence” murders.
I saw reported the interview that the journalist Mario Spezi – a person accused in the Narducci case – did with Amanda Knox, a main defendant in the appeal trial that will start today – published in the Corriere Fiorentino on Sep. 29.
In two recent cases the Court of Cassation has annulled verdicts, which acquitted Knox and Sollecito, and which decided [by Judge Micheli] a dropping of charge against Spezi (the parts regarding ‘lack of certainty about malice’ were annulled too).
Therefore I don’t need to add anything further on that point. Instead, I need to point out the falsehood of an assertion which Mr. Spezi makes at the beginning of his article, as he tries to explain the reason for a link which, in his opinion, allegedly exists between the two cases, the one related to the Monster murders and Narducci’s death, and the one about the Kercher murder.
Mr. Spezi’s text says: “… a strangely similar background, for two different cases, behind which the magistrate thought he could see satanic orgies on the occasion of Halloween for Amanda, and ritual blood sacrifices as a worship to the Devil in the Monster of Florence case…”.
This is an assertion that Mr. Spezi and crime-fiction author Douglas Preston have been repeating for years, but does not find the smallest confirmation in the documentation of the two trials, nor in the scenario put forward by the prosecution in which the Meredith murder (which didn’t happen on Halloween but on the subsequent night) was the consequence of a sex hazing to which Meredith herself did not intend to take part, and, above all, it was the consequence of a climate of hostility which built up progressively between the Coulsdon girl and Amanda because of their different habits, and because of Meredith’s suspicion about alleged money thefts by Knox.
Furthermore the object of the proceedings in the Narducci case is the scenario about the murder of the same Narducci and the attempt, by the doctor’s father and brother, to conceal the cause of his violent death, and this included the background within which the event – which was a homicide in my opinion and in the opinion of my technical consultant, coroner Prof. Giovanni Pierucci of the University of Pavia – had developed and taken place.
I had already denied several time assertions of such kind, but Mr. Spezi and Mr. Preston, and some people connected to them, go on repeating a lie, apparently hoping that it will become true by repeating it.
Another astonishing fact is that, despite that I was the prosecutor in the Kercher trial together with my colleague Manuela Comodi and then subsequently with my colleague Giancarlo Costagliola [at annulled apeal], and despite that I limited myself to formulating judicial requests which were all agreed to by a multitude of judges and confirmed by the Supreme Court, I am still considered as the only one responsible for an accusation against Ms. Knox and Mr. Sollecito, by twisting its content in various ways.
In the Narducci case, in the same way, I simply limited myself to performing the investigation and requesting the remands to trial, and the trial will have to start again now because the Supreme Court has annulled the dropping of charges [by Judge Micheli] and sent back the trial to another preliminary judge in Perugia.
The purpose – quite overt – of such endlessly repeated lies, is to defame the investigator, picturing him as a magistrate who is following alleged personal obsessions rather than sticking at facts, as instead he is.
The hope that such conscious misrepresentation of reality could bring advantage to the defences (foremost that of Spezi himself) is consistent with a bad habit which has all along flourished in Italy but is now also copied abroad.
Therefore I ask you to please publish my rectification against false and seriously defamatory information.
See also this overview of the two cases requested by our poster Kmcvick.
Archived in Appeals 2009-2014, Florence appeal, Diversion efforts by, The Knox-Mellases, The Sollecitos, Francesco Sforza, Steve Moore, Bruce Fischer, More sockpuppets, The many hoaxes, Spezi/Preston hoax, The Dr Mignini hoax, Other legal cases, Associated trials
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Saturday, August 24, 2013
Desperate Ghirga Urges Amanda Knox To Show At Florence Appeal, But She’s Created More Problems
Posted by Peter Quennell
Meeting in Seattle, Amanda Knox’S lawyer urges her to be at the Florence appeal, but his suggestion falls on deaf ears.
Here is a brief report from Italy. Clearly her lead defense lawyer Ghirga (who normally handles only small-time crime) thinks the presence of Knox and her entourage coould humanize her and allow her to speak out and to guide him.
But Knox has really been burning her bridges to Italy big-time. Let us list some of the ways in which they are now foolishly dug in so deep.
Since the end of trial in 2009 Amanda Knox’s entourage and she herself appear to have broken law after law after law, issuing new smears, harassing the victim’s family, having her book taken to court in Bergamo.
In Florence, how does she talk about that?
Evidence Could Strengthen
The evidence in the case as presented at trial in 2009 remains rock solid to this day (the Massei outcome is the state of play) and if the large knife is retested, it could actually get way worse. Hundreds of open questions remain which Knox has strenuously avoided answering, either on the stand or in her book or on TV.
In Florence, how does she talk about that?
Calunnias Of Justice Officials
Every instance where Amanda Knox and any of her entourage alleged without hard proof that Italian police and prosecutors have committed crimes (and there have been literally hundreds of such accusations by Preston, Fischer, on and on, now all captured and preserved) could see any or all of them hauled into court with zero heads-up (ask Sforza).
In Florence, how does she talk about that?
Framing Of Dr Mignini
In 2011 Knox was sentenced to three years (served) for the crime of framing Patrick Lumumba. So what does this slow learner do? Turn right around and commit the SAME crime in her nasty book, only this time she makes it worse. This time, she frames the chief prosecutor, in describing in detail a highly illegal interrogation that never took place.
In Florence, how does she talk about that?
Threat Of Conspiracists
There are perhaps 40 felony allegations against police and prosecution in Sollecito’s blood-money book and maybe another 20 in Knox’s own. Each of them will be put on trial separately for those claims and either one of them or both in desperation could take down all the writers, all the agents, all the publishers, all the wild-eyed conspiracists who helped write the books, and all those who made the illegal multi-million dollar deals, including their own two dads.
In Florence, how does she talk about that?
Threat Of Frank Sforza On Trial
The contempt of court trial of Frank Sforza is about to start. He is desperate to stay out of jail, and all of his alleged felonies since 2008 in contempt of the court could put him there for up to ten years. Consider the list of precisely who in Italy and the US Frank Sforza might take down, to try to give himself something of a break. This list is nothing if not long (see next post).
In Florence, how does she talk about that?
Threat Of Hellmann And Aviello
Witness Luciano Aviello is now on trial and as this post explained Aviello could take down all of the defense lawyers (for illegal dealing over the “right” judge), all of the Sollecitos, if they offered bribes, and both of the judges, Hellmann and Zanetti, who presided over the annulled appeal.
In Florence, how does she talk about that?
Nobody with any sense flouts the Supreme Court, or the extremely important, powerful court in Florence, which has sent down some of the toughest perps in the land.
Both courts and both prosecution teams are well-know in Italy for being cold and relentless in their search for the truth. None of the four lead lawyers for Sollecito and Knox has ever won even one case either in Florence or before the Supreme Court.
This might well be a trial balloon, to see how the Florence prosecutors and courts react. An arrest warrant, maybe? As we have seen lately, they act fast, and suddenly at any time.
Archived in Officially involved, Amanda Knox, The defenses, Public evidence, Knox's alibis, Diversion efforts by, The Knox-Mellases, Knox's book, The many hoaxes, Knox interrog. hoax, The Guede hoax, The Aviello hoax, Other legal cases, Associated trials
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Thursday, August 15, 2013
Contempt Of Court Trial Now Begun Could Decimate What May Be In Judicial Terms A Criminal Enterprise
Posted by The TJMK Main Posters
Stance of the Supreme Court
Criminal enterprise?! Don’t take our word for it. That is what the Italian Supreme Court considers it may be, and is prompting strong measures normally held in reserve for mafia-type assaults on the justice system.
The Italian Supreme Court is nothing if not remorseless in its mandated pursuit of justice and the truth. We saw this the other day when a prison sentence was allowed to stand against the former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi who had long thumbed his nose at the courts.
We also saw it in the convictions allowed to stand against the many CIA operatives and their Italian counterparts who kidnapped Abu Omar and flew him for torture to Egypt. Though most of their sentences were permitted to be reduced, most are still left with a felony record for life - and the lead CIA operative is now a world-wide fugitive.
We can now see this same strong reaction against contempt of the courts in the Meredith Kercher case and the Monster of Florence case and the hairbrained “defense” campaigns nominally run for the perps in those two parallel cases.
Italian officials have various reasons to believe not only that Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox are surely guilty, just as Judge Massei described, but also that they and their American supporters are foolish pawns in some much bigger and even nastier games, and deeply in over their heads.
In its annullment of the Hellmann/Zanetti appeal and its instructions to the Florence Palace of Justice, Cassation reveals its own suspicion that some very unsavory elements may be attempting to take the Italian justice system down a peg and it wants fast decisive action to stop this. A high-stakes new trial described at bottom here is a first huge warning shot.
The “usual suspects” with anti-justice interests
As we explained three months ago in this post the “usual suspects” pretty openly working to take Italian prosecutors and police down a peg or two can be bunched into these seven groups.
- The three regional mafias;
- A few defense lawyers and well-funded defendants;
- Politicians shielding corruption;
- In some instances the freemasons.
- Those wanting investigations like MOF/Narducci to drop dead;
- Muckraking magazines like Oggi;
- Some anti-Italy foreigners.
If we look closely - a lot closer than all the UK and US media and most of the Italian media - we can spot attempts to further the interests of all seven of these groups in the campaigns against justice for Meredith and especially against justice for the Monster of Florence victims.
- The three mafias have their toe in the door in various ways including but not only the mafioso witness Luciano Aviello (on which more below), and the Narducci 22 including Spezi, and the editors of newspapers like Oggi who have long done their handiwork for them.
- The defense forces and the well-funded, sneering, money-grubbing defendants Knox and Sollecito are very well-known to us here; their myriad dirty tricks go as far back as early 2008 and the list has not yet stopped growing.
- The Berlusconi loyalist and fervid Knoxaholic Rocco Girlanda wrote to the President, asking that he order that the Perugia prosecutors be investigated; Girlanda also tried to cut the national police budget before he was voted out of office..
- Both the judges in the annuled appeal were freemasons and our main poster Yummi described the furtive freemason fingers in the pie (some freemasons feud strongly with catholics, which Perugia police and prosecutors are) in his well-researched posts here and here.
- Those who wanted the MOF/Narducci investigations to drop dead used the ever-willing “useful idiot” Doug Preston to ridicule the investigations in a strident book and numerous media appearances; also they tried hard to take down Dr Mignini, their most recent nemesis though the Supreme Court has totally reversed that for reasons explained here.
- The notorious editor of Oggi has a long history of sneering and essentially fact-free reporting, aimed at undermining the courts and the police; playing to his advantage, there is a smallish but terminally paranoid readership for such conspiracy myths in Italy.
- And as for anti-Italy foreigners with their fingers in the pie, well, where to begin? Doug Preston? Nina Burleigh? Candace Dempsey? Greg Hampikian? Paul Ciolino? Judy Bachrach? Bruce Fischer? David Anderson? Joel Simon? Donald Trump?
All seven groups were happily on a roll up to around the end of 2011, when Knox and Sollecito were released, and many (including Curt Knox’s PR guru David Marriott, Hampikian, and Fischer) prematurely declared that they had won total victory.
But it is astounding how much matters have reversed in the past year and a half. Take a look at the state of play for them as it is now.
Their reversals in Meredith’s case:
Knox has served three years, will be labeled a felon for life, faces an enormously tough new appeal against an excellent prosecutor, and has her name on a book which commits against Italian officials THE EXACT SAME CRIME she served three years for: false accusations of crimes. She is expected to be charged soon by Bergamo prosectors.
Sollecito in his own book committed some of the same crimes as Knox did in hers (did we mention criminal enterprise?!) plus another one (accusing the prosecution of wanting him to roll over on Amanda) which his own father has renounced on national TV. He is expected to be charged soon by Florence prosecutors.
Everybody involved in the writing and publishing of the two criminally defamatory and very self-serving blood-money books (illegal in Italy) could soon be about to take a fall, both in the Italian criminal courts and in the US civil courts. The foolish publishers and deal-makers included, of which Curt Knox himself is one.
If neither RS nor AK turn up for the new appeal in Florence later in September, they risk warrants being issued for their re-arrest. If they DO turn up they could well turn on one another, and their books will help the prosecution and hamper the defenses no-end - with those mad claims, how can they possibly take the witness stand?
Criminal defamation charges are still pending against Amanda Knox and against both of her two biological parents. Corruption charges are pending against Francesco Sollecito and Raffaele’s sister Vanessa for attempting to use political means to up-end the Perugia prosecutors.
Judge Hellmann has been eased out ignominiously, and Judge Zanetti demoted. Conceivably both may face charges, along with Conti & Vecchiotti and maybe Hampikian. And all the defense lawyers are in a ton of trouble for helping AK and RS to write their books, Giulia Bongiorno especially. The former MP Rocco Girlanda is of course long gone.
Many of the Knox defense forces have exited or ended up as being of no consequence: Frank Sforza (on the run from the law in the US and Italy); Halkidis and Hampikian (see Machine’‘s posts below), the hapless two Moores, the proven phoney Bruce Fischer, and so on and on.
And US officialdom, not least the State Department and the US Embassy in Rome, still show not the slightest interest in intervening. Any judge is expected to approve extradition of Knox if her refusal to face trial and prison is sustained in face of a final guilty verdict.
Their reversals in the Monster of Florence case.
Yummi mentioned some in the post linked to above, including the trouble rained down on the heads of the prosecutor and judge who put on trial Giuttari and Mignin, whose convictions were scathingly reversed by a very angry Supreme Court.
The Narducci case was put back on track by the Supreme Court and a prison sentence seems a sure thing for Mario Spezi and up to 2 dozen others. A prison sentence might be incurred by the delusional weakling and serial defamer Doug Preston.
The “theory” of the MOF case Dr Mignini has good reason to hold is that the murders were not those of one single serial killer. This perception of a shadowy self-protecting group is absolutely mainstream in Italy, and is reflected in the excellent Guittari book on the case (Il Mostro) which could soon with good reason (it tells the truth) push the silly Preston MOF book off the US and UK bookshelves.
That theory is espoused by all the current prosecutors in Florence.
The one media outlet which never fails to take an anti-prosecution stance, Oggi, Is being investigated and could be put on trial for publishing Knox’s false charges against the Perugia and national police and prosecutors and may have problems hanging in there.
Dr Mignini looks set to be promoted to becoming the next attorney general of Umbria, the region of which Perugia is the capital. And the hold of the freemasons and the mafias over Italian justice is not getting any stronger, just as most Italians prefer.
And the stick of dynamite now in a Florence court
Former Sollecito witness Luciano Aviello could be the direct cause of a lot of people ending up in jail.
His trial for perjury and contempt of court is happening now in Florence. His trial has been fast-forwarded as a direct result of the Supreme Court declaring that getting to the bottom of his erratic day in court in 2011 with too-familiar mafia-type allegations must be a top priority. His forthcoming defense is expected to be explosive.
We have posted extensively on Aviello since he first surfaced. A mafioso since his teens in Naples, now aged about 40, he has spent most of his adult years in prison. (He is back there again right now - for killing a dog and extortion.)
As police and prosecutors all know, Aviello has a very long record of making things up to try to give himself some breaks and to keep in with the mafia. He has been repeatedly convicted for perjury.
He was the witness summoned by a hapless Giulia Bongiorno to try to arrive at an explanation that fits with the prevailing conclusion of the Supreme Court that THREE people had attacked Meredith on the night.
What Aviello came up with on the stand was that his own missing brother and one other habitual criminal had unintentionally committed the murder. They were trying to steal some artworks, but they got the address of the house wrong.
Raffaele Sollecito was so thrilled at this (palpably false) testimony by Aviello that he says in his book that he sent Aviello an embroidered handkerchief, perhaps because Aviello has urges toward a sex change operation.
On the witness stand in mid 2011 Aviello really roasted the police and prosecution in mafia-type terms for failing to come down on his side and follow up on his allegations (actually they had already followed up, but found nothing).
Then two fellow inmates at his prison near Genoa testified for the prosecution that he had told them that the Sollecitos had offered or paid large bribes for any false testimony helpful to their boy getting sprung.
Extraordinarily, Judge Hellmann brushed all of this under the rug, and hurried on to other matters less embarrassing to the Sollecitos and Bongiorno. This REALLY caught Cassation’s attention as there have been strong suspicions in Perugia and Rome that Hellmann and/or Zanetti were in the pocket of one of the families.
Why did the unqualified Judge Hellmann replace the excellent Judge Chiari, suddenly and inexplicably decided upon by Chief Judge Di Nunzio? Why are seemingly all of the lead players bending things to the Knox-Sollecito side freemasons?
Were Hellmann and Zanetti and Aviello and Aviello’s fellow inmates among those who received some sort of inducement to bend RS’s way? What was Giulia Bongiorno’s precise role in all this?
Directly, Aviello could be in a position to bring down both families, both defense teams, and both appeal judges. He could even make a guilty verdict for RS and AK a sure thing.
Criminal enterprise indeed. We will continue reporting. Oh and make sure to watch your back, Luciano.
Archived in Officially involved, Amanda Knox, Raff Sollecito, Diversion efforts by, The Knox-Mellases, The Sollecitos, Francesco Sforza, The many hoaxes, Spezi/Preston hoax, The Dr Mignini hoax, Knox interrog. hoax, The Guede hoax, The Aviello hoax, Other legal cases, Associated trials
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Sunday, May 12, 2013
With First Felony Complaint Against Her Book Filed, Amanda Knox’s Legal Prospects Continue To Slide
Posted by The TJMK Main Posters
As many of our recent posts have explained, no really GOOD lawyer in Italy would ever allow their clients to put out a provocative book while their legal process is still going on. It hasn’t happened in any other Italian cases in years.
And now in this case it has happened twice.
Sollecito’s book reeked of blood money, arrogance and contempt, it twisted and discounted much of the evidence, made claims which both Sollecito and others had previously contradicted, made accusations of criminal behavior against officers of the court, and separated himself from Knox.
Now guess what?
Despite the fact that Sollecito’s book was promptly dispatched to the Florence and Verona chief prosecutors with stiff contempt-of-court complaints, Knox’s book too reeked of blood money, arrogance and contempt, it too twisted and discounted much of the evidence, it too made claims which both Knox and others had previously contradicted, it too made accusations of criminal behavior against officers of the court, and it separated her from her co-perp.
In each case there was a shadow writer, respectively Andrew Gumbel and Linda Kulman, who seem to have tired early on of the clients, as all their hired help tends to do, and simply copied the FOA playbook into the books with no sources at all checked beyond that narrow group.
To cool-headed and informed people who really know the case, Gumbel’s sources were rather a joke. PR shills Nina Burleigh and Candace Dempsey and Steve Moore? Really? And Linda Kulman seems to have fallen into the same trap.
This becomes very obvious when you watch the two “authors” at their interviews. They are both hampered and tongue-tied because for the life of them neither can remember what their shadow writers put in the books. Several interviewers have actually caught them out.
As we knew the Bergamo lawsuit against Oggi and Knox was headed down the pike, we set out what we consider to be the state of play last Friday. It still stands up, but might be embellished just a bit.
First, here is Andrea Vogt’s helpful description of what’s in the Bergamo complaint..
The 8-page complaint is addressed to the Prosecutor’s Office in Bergamo (near Milan), where the headquarters of the magazine are located. It cites as slanderous the suggestion that Knox was illegally interrogated and maintains that there is no trial or investigation documentation supporting a number of “affirmations that were never made.” Mignini insists Knox was initially heard by him as a witness with key information relevant to the murder of Meredith Kercher, not as a suspect herself.
“Knox never asked for an attorney. She wanted to talk,” Mignini wrote, adding that he did not contest her statements or question her at that time, because she was making a spontaneous declaration regarding Patrick Lumumba’s alleged involvement. [In other words, not about herself.]
The complaint also questions allegations of prison mistreatment and indicates specific persons and neutral institutions as having knowledge on the matter, including the Capanne prison chaplain, U.S. embassy officials, center-right politician Rocco Girlanda and secretary general of the Italy-USA Foundation Corrado Daclon, all of whom visited Knox regularly in prison.
Also contested are phrases reported by Oggi and attributed to Knox’s memoir claiming he had a bizarre past that included a conviction on abuse of office charges that was pending appeal, when in fact he was fully and definitively acquitted of those charges in 2011 by a Florence court.
Italy’s high court (Cassation) recently agreed with his office’s request to re-open the Monster of Florence/Narducci case, the complaint notes. That decision has lent new credence to his long-running investigation of the suspicious 1985 death of a Perugian doctor who some investigators believe was involved (Italy’s Cassation Court in March also ordered Mario Spezi, co-author of the Monster of Florence bestseller, to stand trial for allegedly attempting to pin the blame on another man).
While the targets of the suit are stated to be Oggi and Amanda Knox and her publishers, the REAL target appears set to be the FOA playbook as set out in Amanda Knox’s book. And for that matter in Raffaele Sollecito’s book.
The first complainant (there are expected to be others) Giuliano Mignini has advanced a request for a formidable slate of witnesses, which could come to include even the lawyers for Sollecito and Knox.
Won’t that be fun. As they are interrogated on the stand, each witness is going to have to take a position on what crazy stuff the FOA have pushed into the books.
Did the prosecutor offer Sollecito an illegal deal or not? Did Knox get interrogated about Patrick by the prosecutor while denying her a lawyer or not? Did Knox complain to her lawyers about conditions in prison and if so why do those lawyers and so many others say she did not?
And maybe fifty more sudden-death choices like the above. Gee thanks Oggi and Amanda Knox. This could set some facts straight, in front of the whole world.
Archived in Public evidence, Knox's alibis, Diversion efforts by, The Knox-Mellases, Knox's book, The many hoaxes, The Dr Mignini hoax, Knox interrog. hoax, Other legal cases, Associated trials, Amanda Knox
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Thursday, March 21, 2013
Hard Line Against Seeming Self-Serving Meddling By Preston & Spezi Likely To Get Cassation Nod
Posted by Peter Quennell
[Another crazy provocation from Preston & Spezi The Angel With The Eyes Of Ice due in Germany soon]
Breaking news. Cassation is deciding right now on a formidably worded appeal by the Umbria Prosecutor General to sustain the MOF/Narducci investigation.
The mood generally in Italy is pro the Giuttari and Mignini Monster of Florence supposition, for which there is some firm proof, and not in favor of the hairbrained Spezi and Preston supposition, for which there is none at all. Giuttiari’s book Il Mostro sells very well, while Spezi’s and Preston’s MOF hardly sells at all.
Continued investigation had been stymied by the self-serving actions of certain Florence prosecutors in trying and convicting Giuttari and Mignini for supposed harm to themselves. That conviction was reversed a year ago by an appeal judge in Florence for lack of jurisdiction, and several week ago Cassation scathingly ruled that the case must come to a total end..
The judge who found Giuttari and Mignini guilty (Francesco Maradei) is now up to his ears in his own trouble for bending court outcomes, seemingly due to pressures and bribes. Meanwhile the way has been opened for Mignini to move up to the level of Prosecutor General for Umbria (there are four prosecutor posts at that level) in the next few weeks.
Giuttari spoke out strongly about the trumped up case, and in yet another unexpected development the police chief he blamed for blocking strong pursuit of the case, Antonio Manganelli, has just died.
This post by Yummi of 21 January (especially the second half) is a vital read.
One thing you can say for the fictionalist Doug Preston: he never knows how to quit when he’s behind!
Read our many, many posts especially by Kermit exposing Preston as a serial liar here. This new book [image at top] by Preston and Spezi in German on Meredith’s case is promised for release next month, and included in the publisher’s blurb is this claim:
In Perugia, Italy, the British student Meredith Kercher is brutally murdered in her apartment. Prime suspect is her American flatmate Amanda Knox and her Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito. With sparse circumstantial evidence both are convicted to extremely long prison sentences. Two years later, an appeals process frees both. Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi roll out the spectacular case of Amanda Knox from scratch. Previously unpublished details, interviews with lawyers involved and the exposure of the dubious machinations of the Italian prosecutor Giuliano Mignini guarantee a breathtaking reading that can compete with any thriller.
Yeah, well, good luck with that one.
As we have reported in depth the Chief Prosecutor in Florence is already considering contempt-of-court charges for Raffaele Sollecito based on a large number of complaints about his book. If Amanda Knox’s book which is promised for next month impugns even one Italian official, she can be assured of the same..
Presumably so can Preston if this book, the latest of his many hairbrained ventures, comes forth. More reporting right here when Cassation decides on the Prosecutor General’s appeal.
Archived in Officially involved, Supreme Court, Other legal cases, Associated trials, The wider contexts, More sockpuppets
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Monday, January 21, 2013
An Overview From Italy #2: Current Perceptions In Italy, Sollecito Case, Mignini’s Full Vindication
Posted by Machiavelli (Yummi)
My previous report on the bad news remorselessly building here for the defense was on the Procura Generale appeal to the Supreme Court.
One year ago – between the end of December 2011 and beginning of January 2012 – there were only rare idle comments in the Italian press about the Meredith Kercher case, more or less sarcastically noting the “suspicious” circumstances of the Appeal trial. I recall how a mention of the topic was dropped into the last number of “ll Venerdì” of 2011.
“Il Venerdì di Repubblica” is the weekly magazine issued together with the newspaper “La Repubblica” (thus probably the most read magazine in Italy).
The cover theme of that week was provincialism – or better “the provincials” - the adjective used to assemble a sample of seven little cities (Cuneo, Voghera, Rimini, Jesi, Perugia, Benevento, Partinico), picked from different regions, and taken as examples on the theme, that is stories of “local colour”; what goes on in small “provincial places”. A few characters and stories are brought in to depict the local life of each place, and the voices of local authors adds something about the places.
The article about Perugia (at pages 62-68) was by Luca Cardinalini. In that number of Il Venerdì, having stories of “local colour” as weekly theme, there were shades of ironic tones for each city, often through the voice of local intellectuals. As Perugia is described, the Meredith trial is quickly recalled among its local stories; the reader can’t miss how this is viewed as in connection with another most remarkable feature of the city, that is Masonry.
According to Luca Cardinalini and Enrico Vaime, Masonry is called a “Specialty” of Perugia, like chocolate. Local author Enrico Vaime intends to convey the people’s perception about shady powers existing in the city, about a local environment saturated by plots and informal powers, as something behind recent strange judicial decisions such as the Hellmann verdict and the apparent dropping of the Narducci case. The widespread belief of Perugians that the Public Minister (prosecutor) is the righteous one shines through the words of Enrico Vaime.
Also notice how racism appears to be another key perception about the verdict. Quality media press in Italy has a typical style of understatement. This comment hints that it seems obvious that the Appeal was a racist verdict - and it was “expected” that they would find a way to blame the black one and the outcast.
Some of Perugian “provincialism” seems to include a very narrow localism of Perugian identity: a person from Orvieto is reported to be called “a foreigner” ; but this is because the cultural viewpoint is based on the assumption of a personal knowledge of all people. In among this, there is Vaime’s knowledge about how rooted Masonic tradition and power is in the city, in a scenario of “brotherhoods” and “tribes” (the article includes a photo of the most known “Masonic” monument in Perugia: the gryphon or griffen – the emblem of Perugia – grabbing a toppled Pope’s Tiara in a sign of rebellion).
The report by Vaime is objectively correct : the concentration of members of Masonic lodges in Perugia is the highest in the world, about 5 times the national average of Italy (which is anyway very high).
In Vaime’s wording decent people in Perugia are ‘Christians’ or ‘Communists’ – these are the names he uses to address the main categories he sees as “good” people, two transparent moral systems. He devolves skepticism toward the less transparent allegiances, the murky and informal connections to powers.
I believe these perceptions from one year ago, in this colorful article about Perugia, should be most interesting to the readers of this site.
The first part of the article on Perugia is not that interesting - it speaks mostly about a local character named Ivano Massetti, nicknamed “Savonarola of Umbrian football”, the director (“boss”) of a local TV network and leading showman of his own soccer talk show. I skipped this first part with depictions of local folks, and get to the point at p.66 where the Kercher case is first mentioned.
This is my translation of the article from this point:
[…](p.66 line 17):
As Enrico Vaime – a 100% Perugian, a writer, and among many other things fiercly provincial – already knows: “Only in Perugia do you hear people saying “actually Tizio [random guy] was not a native from Colombella, but from Piccione”, which is three times further”. And when his grandfathers (farther of his father) bearing the same name Enrico Vaime, moved his formal place of residence [to Perugia] from Spello, on the official documents they wrote “emigrated to Perugia and married to a foreigner from Orvieto”.
The roots are extremely deep. “Still today” Vaime says “when I say to my family “we go back home”, I mean here, in Perugia, where I have not owned a house for decades. And I still call the roads and shops with the names they had when I was a child, even if now the owners are foreigners, from Shangai or, as I say, from Terni”.
Vaime is cross with the bad reporters who described Perugia, in the Meredith murder case, as a capital of corruption and vice: “An invasion of charlatan journalists who, as they believed they were visiting a remote and lost province, they painted it as a sort of Chicago on the Trasimeno Lake”.
[The fact] that no Perugian was involved in that sad story, to them that was an irrelevant detail. And the trial ended just the way many Perugians expected: a black guy first wrongly put in jail, another black one convicted, the two white, good-looking, wealthy and well defended young people, free.
So it was that the Public Minister Giuliano Mignini became a target. He’s a Perugian whom the Perugians know as the dominus of the other judicial case – this also is, yes, entirely local – about which everybody talks and knows, but always in a low voice: the death of doctor Francesco Narducci, the one suspected of having ties to the crimes of the Monster of Florence. From the judicial point of view that was - by half – just another hole-in-the-water [a failure] for which some critics have hastily put the blame on some alleged lunacy of the public minister.
But… however… meanwhile, this [Naducci] corpse-swap was indeed found to have been for sure, a kind of unique case in the criminal history of the country. And, for what concerns the recent acquittals of those characters involved in this death, well, after almost a year and a half we are still waiting for the verdict motivations. All of the suspects were esteemed high-class professionals. That’s a perfect mix of strange deaths, sex, lead-astray investigations, and Masonry; this is in the city with the highest number of Masonic lodges in Italy.
Vaime sighs: “Masonry is something alien from me, but I have many friends who are in it. In Perugia it works as a compensation chamber for various powers, but also as an effort for the surge of the spirit to many decent people. Masters, masons and “33”, but all of them decent Perugians”. Masonry is considered a local specialty, just like the bruschetta or the Etruscan arch.
“One day you find out that that mediocre employee of your acquaintance, or the one who performed an incredible career in the public administration or in politics, is a ‘son of Horus’. Then you either laugh, or you slap yourself on the forehead just like saying to yourself “Wow! [how could I ] think about it!”. “That travet* [*a generic mediocre opportunist employee], too”
Vaime says “to me it is a strange Perugian, with little interest for the Egyptian god compared to his covet for entering inner circles of a certain world. Their internal motivation is “I want to see how the lords sit at the table”. But in there [Masonry], you see, there are also good Christians and good Communists; as has always happened in this province, which has the art of living together in its genes”.
This month – Jan 2013 – the Italian press returned to the topic of the case again in a few brief articles. This time it was because of Sollecito’s book.
After Maurizio Molinari’s report from New York on the book in September, and the busting by Bruno Vespa on Porta a Porta of Francesco Sollecito, who ended up openly contradicting his own son’s statements, another hint appeared in the local press about what is cooking up backstage.
This article in Perugia Today has a neutral take, but the same understatement and kind of vagueness as it anticipates that something very likely will happen.
What I find most delightful is the quotation marks in the title around the word “author” – journalist Nicola Bossi doesn’t believe for a moment that Sollecito actually wrote the book:
Meredith Case: “author” Sollecito at risk of criminal lawsuit
The recounts about an alleged negotiation in order to pin the main charges on Amanda Knox, and unproven violence by the Perugia Police are under target. Mignini is considering criminal lawsuit.
Written by Nicola Bossi – Jan 4. 2013
The Meredith case is not closed, and this despite books and movies almost tend to drop it after the acquittal in second instance of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito - who were convicted in first degree for the murder of the English girl that took place in Via della Pergola.
On upcoming March the 25th the Court of Cassation of Rome will have to decide on the request for a re-opening the trial, submitted by the Procura with the authorization of Public Minister Giuliano Mignini.
In the environment of the magistrates there is confidence about a [guilty] verdict that many – in Italy and in the USA - have heavily attempted to discredit. But from the same environments around them, they talk about a greatly serene Mignini making assessments about the next strategic moves, following the attacks directed against him – and against those in Law Enforcement who cooperated with him – contained in the book by Raffaele Sollecito.
An upcoming criminal defamation lawsuit is becoming more and more likely every day, especially about some particular paragraphs. The material published by Sollecito has already resulted in discussions and clamor above all about claimed negotiations [with the prosecution] aiming to shift the blame onto Amanda alone, to be rewarded with his immediate release.
But there are also accusations against the Police about violence during his interrogations. “If you dare get up and walk, I beat you up in a bloody pulp and I kill you. I leave you in a pool of blood”. This is what you read in the book ‘Honour Bound’ issued in the US, as what Sollecito attributes to the Perugian officers.
“They wanted me to lie so they could frame Amanda”: this is the premise of the claimed negotiations claimed to indirectly involve Mignini too, which he always denied. Allegedly this would have been enough to get [Sollecito] out from prison soon, leaving the American woman in trouble.
So, these are grave accusations which Mignini apparently does not intend to let go unpunished. The criminal lawsuit is likely to be filed earlier than the date of Cassazione [25 March].
Another small piece of news is this article below published in Leonardo and written by Valentina Cervelli:
It seems basically a “commented” version of the Perugia Today article. Cervelli adds a few polite lines on her own thoughts in this piece, published on the Bbooks page of Leonardo,it; this is my translation:
Is Raffaele Sollecito going be sued soon for “Honor Bound”?
By Valentina Cervelli - 6. Jan 2013
Are there troubles in sight for Raffaele Sollecito? His “Honour Bound” book is going well in the United States in terms of sales, but here in Italy it might be soon result for him in a lawsuit for defamation by the Law Enforcement forces and by the Public Minister Giuliano Mignini.
As we know already, in Honor Bound – My journey to hell with Amanda Knox and return Raffaele Sollecito has reconstructed the whole judiciary story from his point of view, telling in his autobiography what [he says] is his own truth.
On March 25 Cassation in Rome will decide on the [prosecution] request for the re-opening of the trial submitted by the Procura authorized by Giuliano Mignini, after the acquittal in the second instance of the two main accused, Sollecito and Amanda Knox.
The young woman has returned back to her country and we bet it’s going to be difficult, if not impossible, to get her back in our country even in case of retrial after Cassation and a possible conviction. But lets leave aside this possible dispute and lets focus on the book. In Raffaele’s book Mignini is iimplicated because he reportedly comes out discredited. In the material published by Sollecito in his book he even talks about alleged negotiations in order to blame Knox alone, obtaining in reward a quick release.
And what about the allegations of Police violence during interrogations? Of course we don’t get into the merits, but it seems obvious that parties that may be considered offended would tend to launch a counter-attack to defend their dignity and their work. At the moment no lawsuit has been submitted. But with much probability that will be done before the decision of Cassazione.
By now we can only wait for the publishing of the book in our country, in order to assess with our minds what Raffaele Sollcito has written and the “hot” material published in his made-in-the-US autobiography.
By the way; one thing Valentina Cervelli might get wrong is the purported good sales of Sollecito-Gumbel’s book.
The Amazon.com site is reliable as quick indicator of a product’s success; the price of a new copy of “Honor Bond” on Amazon.com is now $ 3.51 (last week it was 3.76; the cover price is $ 24). It suggests sales are not quite as expected. The drop speed is significant if you consider that the book has been out for only four months.
Iin particular by the chief prosecutor there were some unexplainable decisions. As people reading this site know, Giuliano Mignini and Michele Giuttari were convicted (of some of the charges) in the first degree trial in Florence.
The motivations document was disconcerting because: besides the proof of their innocence on the main charge, what was described as the evidence on the remaining charge constituted extremely weak and vague arguments for what was claimed about Giuttari, while they were totally non-existent about Mignini.
In the second instance appeal as we know the court completely crushed the trial case.
The case against them collapsed not because of a technicality, as the FOAs falsely claimed. In the figment of their imagination the Knox supporters erroneously thought that the Florence court had an “option” to overturn the case, to find Mignini and Giuttari innocent, but that they instead decided to pass the judgment on to some other tribunal.
The pro-Knox believers are probably also ready to believe blindfolded that there was some kind of evidence against Mignini.
The Knox believers are wrong. What in fact happened in Florence is something almost unique in a judge’s career. The first remarkable event was the decision by the Florence court of nullifying the first degree verdict. They did not simply overturn the verdict (neither change, or “reform” it as we say) since an overturning would imply acceptance that a previous verdict actually existed and was legitimate.
The cancellation was in fact an in limine act about the validity , which does not require an assessment about it correctness. The court went way beyond. In fact they nullified the whole trial, not only the previous one in terms of judgment, but also the preliminary hearing, and the indictment; and even the request of indictment.
It is a legal outcome not comparable to a simple change or overturning because it is a ruling that the whole proceeding was illegitimate from the very roots. The investigation itself of Mignini and Giuttari was declared illegitimate.
If elements were found for the opening of an investigation, the prosecutor would be entitled to carry on their duties, though the investigators should be from another territory. This is important because the Florence court found evidence that people from the same office were involved in cases against Giuttari and Mignini, both as offended parties and as prosecutors.
Because of a basic conflict of interest, the local prosecutors were incompatible and the Procura of Florence had no jurisdiction. Not even Genoa would be compatible.
Florentine prosecutors therefore had no right to bring cases against Mignini and Giuttari. The investigation files now must now be sent to the competent jurisdiction – where they should have been sent from the beginning – which is Turin; there other legitimate prosecutors will decide if and how there is anything to investigate about, and if there are any charges to bring against anyone. The Florentine trials should have never taken place. The court ordered that the legitimate investigators are the Procura of Turin.
In addition, they also ruled that the court of Florence would be an incompetent jurisdiction in any further possible case that stems from that investigation: since the competent prosecution is Turin, in case elements for the indictment of anyone for any charge are found, in the future, everything should go to a court in Turin – this, only if there will be any charge to bring to court .
This decision in Florence was a total debacle for the Florence prosecutors. It is in fact “politically” much worse than an overturning of a verdict. It is not just a like a different conclusion on the merit, it is the decision to take away even the investigation from them, a kind of implicit censure of their work as highly illegitimate.
But at this point in the procedings, something even worse and even more strange happened. The Procura of Florence did something even more unusual, in fact unprecedented as far as I know.
Apparently the Florence prosecutors are not happy at all to pass the investigation file on to Turin. For some reason they seem instead to want to do unnecessary and irrelevant hard work instead. The Florentine prosecutors impugned the decision and revisited this at the Supreme Court against the Florentine judges.
This step is almost unheard of because the decision of the Florence appeal court is of a type that manifestly cannot be impugned at the Supreme Court. The recourse is obviously going to be declared inadmissible. If that submission was done by a private citizen, they would get a heavy fine for that.
Here it is a power in the Florence judiciary branch making this inadmissible move; for unknown reasons.
I’d like to know the real motive behind the latest Florence move, the only effect of which can be a waste of time (and money), a delay, of at least one or maybe two more years, which only makes the failure of the whole proceeding against Mignini and Giuttari more likely due to lapse on an expiration terms.
I say “I’d like to know” but in fact one motivation stands out as obvious: the whole proceeding against Giuttari and Mignini, from the first bringing of the charges at the lower courts, appeared as having a wasting of time among its purposes.
One practical effect - maybe a practical purpose - of pushing the charges against Mignini, was taking the file about the Monster of Florence case links with the Narducci case away from Perugia. By this move, the Florentine prosecutors managed to factually put their hands on the Narducci-MoF file and remove it from the investigating powers in Perugia.
Another effect of this was delay. Now this latest move looks as if its purpose were to delay, as much as possible, the transfer of the legal documents to Turin.
What is the ultimate event that, by all this, they seem to be seeking to delay? I can’t know for sure, I can only guess; in fact, I have only one answer, which also stands out as something obvious for those who know a bit of the backstage:
Giuliano Mignini is not an ordinary magistrate, he belongs to the Anti-Mafia Territorial Division of Umbria, and recently was selected for a further promotion by the Supreme Council of Magistrates.
In fact what is delayed is the advancing of Mignini’s career: in fact he has been already promoted to a directive function; but, by the rules, his taking the post was frozen while awaiting the outcome and conclusion of the Florentine prosecution.
Prosecutor Mignini is de facto already functioning as a prominent Magistrate in Perugia and considered as such; but formally he has not been given the directive power. Several people – among them Spezi and a number of his journalist friends, but possibly also other much more important people too – are likely not at all eager to see Mignini awarded further power.
About the latest endeavor by Raffaele Sollecito, who became liable for criminal defamation by writing false allegations about Mignini and others in his book, I expect - as logically unavoidable – that several powers and subjects will basically have no option but taking legal against him.
There will be a strategic necessity to doing this in order to prevent extradition issues in the future, but also, above all, on principle, because Sollecito made false claims about public institutions that needt to have their names cleared. Considering the kind of allegations against the judiciary as an institution, and considering that Mignini is a judge of the Anti-Mafia Division, this is the kind of lawsuit that I see as likely to be submitted on a national level, in Rome.
If that is the case, it would not be the only strange thing that the courts of Rome will deal with.
It seems like there is a kind of “curse” on proceedings related to the Narducci case. All sections of the Supreme Court which have been asked seem to have attempted to declare themselves ‘incompetent’ about re-opening the cases related to the Perugian doctor. The Cassazione is a huge office with a hundred judges working there, but maybe not so many of them are eager to deal with this case.
This could be only a coincidence. It only brings up to my mind, through a free association of thoughts, a more generic question – a personal question of mine – that is whether the words “Masonry” and “Politics” have an echo in Roman corridors too.
Finally I want to add another significant piece of Italian news.
The news a week ago was that the Procura of Florence is investigating a possible corruption/mafia plot involving construction enterprises and politicians that revolves around the building of a new high speed railway in Florence.
Some 31 people are being investigated and among them is the former governor of Umbria. A huge drilling machine – nicknamed the “Mona Lisa” – used to dig subway tunnels in Florence was sequestrated by the Procura.
In the last couple of years Perugia’s prosecution office had a main role in fighting political corruption, but it seems that the Florence Anti-Mafia division is also active, just as it was in the times when the prosecutor Vigna worked with them.
Vigna was the one who first evolved the “secret sect” scenario in the Monster of Florence case, raising unexpected problems among the Procura staff.
Archived in Smoking-gun posts, Officially involved, Raff Sollecito, Appeals 2009-2014, Cassation appeal 1, Diversion efforts by, The Sollecitos, Sollecito's book, Other legal cases, Associated trials, The wider contexts
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