Headsup: The first 8 episodes of the RAI/HBO production "My Brilliant Friend" about a supreme alpha-girl and her "moon" of a best friend airing in 60-plus countries are proving amazingly endearing. So many colorful elements of evolving post WWII Italy on display. Yes, some violence too, but peanuts compared to say New York in that era. A real must-see.

Series Appeals 2009-2015

Monday, February 28, 2011

Andrea Vogt: Supreme Court Report Highlights Amanda Knox Mention To Mom She Was There

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above: Amanda Knox and her mother in courtroom when Edda Mellas testified 19 July 2009]

Andrea Vogt in the Seattle PI translates from the Cassation Report described in our two previous posts.

A sentencing report just released by the highest Italian appeals court sheds new light on why so many Italian judges have maintained Amanda Knox was involved in her roommate’s murder.

The document, among others, cites a conversation Knox had with her parents while under surveillance during a prison visit in which she said “I was there,” apparently referring to the night of the murder.

Amanda Kox’s remark was recorded at Capanne Prison and was long public knowledge, but that the Supreme Court listed it among other evidence of involvement in this report is significant.  The report summarises what is the evidence against all three, especially that against Rudy Guede.

The court…said that based on the 43 wounds to Kercher’s body (and the time it would take to inflict them) that it was… probable that Guede and two others forcibly held Kercher down, threatened, taunted and eventually fatally stabbed her.

The Court’s quoted language is extremely hard and gives a sense that the judges were appalled. The Court’s report has been out in Italy for over four days now - but the Seattle PI’s is the first extensive US or UK media summary.

The US and UK media have a pretty consistent habit of ignoring these inconvenient reports.

Posted on 02/28/11 at 05:07 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedVictims familyEvidence & witnessesCellphone activityAppeals 2009-2015Hellmann 2011+Amanda KnoxKnox-Mellas team
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Friday, February 25, 2011

Very Hard Language Of Supreme Court In Rejecting Guede Appeal, Confirming Three Did It

Posted by Peter Quennell


The report of the Supreme Court of Cassation released on Thursday was foreshadowed in content in our post of 17 December:

Rudy Guede’s appeal is rejected on all ten grounds. His appeal grounds were ugly and dishonest and he has no further appeal. He will serve his 16 years, with maybe some time off, for being a savage willing party to the cruel stupid murder of Meredith.

Rudy Guede will go down in infamy for his sex crime against a defenseless victim, for being a party to a taunting torturing knife attack, for claiming Meredith invited him in for consensual sex, and for not calling for help for Meredith and maybe saving her life while it was still possible.

Cassation continues the fine Italian court tradition in this case of taking a firm and unblinking position, and for being utterly oblivious to the vile over-the-top campaign of Curt Knox, Edda Mellas and David Marriott which may now haunt Amanda Knox all of her life.

What really caught the Italian media’s attention and made this the second most widely reported development in the case after the Amanda Knox-Raffaele Sollecito verdict was the icy hard language, the pure contempt for the depraved pack attack, the total rejection of all Guede’s stories, including his oft-repeated and totally unbelievable claim that Meredith invited him in and wanted love-making, and the court’s conclusion once again that the evidence methodically described in the Micheli Report overwhelmingly proves that THREE perpetrators took part in the crime.

The Court of Cassation in this report made clear that Knox and Sollecito are not already formally nominated as the other two perpetrators and it does wait the referral of the outcome of the present appeal in Perugia. But unless the defense witnesses Alessi and Aviello can indeed convince Judge Hellman’s appeal court that Guede attacked Meredith with friends or that some other people entirely carried out the attack, there seems no way out for them. 

The court also indicated that it considered the motive of the attack on Meredith to be frivolous, which is precisely what the prosecution claims in the current Perugia appeal as grounds for rejecting Massei’s mitigating circumstances, and for increasing Knox’s and Sollecito’s prison sentences to life terms. 

This post of a month ago further explains Knox’s and Sollecito’s almost insurmountable problems.

The written report from Cassation on that December 2010 decision on Guede’s final appeal (due soon), plus Judge Micheli’s Sentencing Report for Rudy Guede of January 2009, plus all that associated evidence, now gets automatically ported by law straight into Knox’s and Sollecito’s appeal.

Judge Micheli took a hard line toward Rudy Guede, and he sentenced him to 30 years. He also remanded Knox and Sollecito to trial, and his report explains the basis for that remand.

Judge Micheli’s remorseless and tightly argued report (see summaries below) very comprehensively backed up his decisions. (Later reductions in sentence were automatic and they flowed from the terms of Guede’s short-form trial, and some controversial mitigating circumstances advanced by Massei for Knox and Sollecito.)

The prosecution’s appeal against the Knox and Sollecito sentences argues that the acceptance of mitigating circumstances by the Massei court should be thrown out, and that Knox and Sollecito should be subjected to a longer sentence. Remember that even in the case of Alessi’s wife, who was not even present when he beat the kidnapped baby to death, she received a sentence of 30 years.

So here is how it is stacking up:.

For the prosecution, four courts including the Supreme Court of Cassation have ruled that three people participated in the crime against Meredith, plus all of the evidence from both the Guede and Knox Sollecito trials now comes in, plus the prosecution is appealing for tougher sentences, which seems well justified based on precedents.

And for the defenses? Will they now feel they have no choice but to put Knox or Sollecito or Alessi or Aviello or for that matter Rudy Guede on the stand as a last-ditch manoeuvre?

Hard to see what further they have to lose.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

The New 80,000 Pound Gorilla In The Room Introduced By The Italian Supreme Court of Cassation

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[St Peter’s and the Vatican in background; Palace of Justice, large white building by river in left foreground]

What is the biggest headache for the defenses?

That their areas of appeal, already circumscribed by Judge Hellman, could all explode in their faces? The low-credibility witnesses Alessi and Aviello? The limited DNA retesting? The re-examination of the witness in the park who had no cause to make anything up?

Or that Rudy Guede gets totally ticked off by Alessi’s claims that Rudy Guede said he did it with one or two others, and so Guede tells the court all that REALLY happened?

No, it looks to us that the defenses’ biggest headache by far is that the court of final appeal in Rome (the Supreme Court of Cassation, which is superior to the Perugia appeals court and will hear the second and final appeal) has ALREADY accepted that Rudy Guede’s sentencing report of January 2009 holds up.

And that all three of them attacked Meredith.

The written report from Cassation on that December 2010 decision on Guede’s final appeal (due soon), plus Judge Micheli’s Sentencing Report for Rudy Guede of January 2009, plus all that associated evidence, now gets automatically ported by law straight into Knox’s and Sollecito’s appeal.

Judge Micheli took a hard line toward Rudy Guede, and he sentenced him to 30 years. He also remanded Knox and Sollecito to trial, and his report explains the basis for that remand.

Judge Micheli’s remorseless and tightly argued report (see summaries below) very comprehensively backed up his decisions. (Later reductions in sentence were automatic and they flowed from the terms of Guede’s short-form trial, and some controversial mitigating circumstances advanced by Massei for Knox and Sollecito.)

The prosecution’s appeal against the Knox and Sollecito sentences argues that the acceptance of mitigating circumstances by the Massei court should be thrown out, and that Knox and Sollecito should be subjected to a longer sentence. Remember that even in the case of Alessi’s wife, who was not even present when he beat the kidnapped baby to death, she received a sentence of 30 years.

So here is how it is stacking up:.

  • For the prosecution, four courts including the Supreme Court of Cassation have ruled that three people participated in the crime against Meredith, plus all of the evidence from both the Guede and Knox Sollecito trials now comes in, plus the prosecution is appealing for tougher sentences, which seems well justified based on precedents.
  • For the defenses, just those few areas the defenses want to challenge which have been allowed by Judge Hellman NONE of which are sure things.

Really not very much going for the defenses here. No wonder they already seem to be phoning it in.

Our meticulous summaries of the Micheli Report by main posters Brian S and Nicki were based on our own translation. A huge amount of work. They were posted nearly two years ago. Periodically we link to them in other posts or we point to them in an email.

Those who do read those posts fresh are often stunned at their sharpness, and for many or most it becomes case closed and the verdict of guilty is seen as a fair one.

We think those posts on Micheli are so key to a correct grasp of Knox’s and Sollecito’s appeal prospects that they should now be reposted in full.



[St Peter’s and the Vatican in foreground; Palace of Justice, large white building in left background]

Understanding Micheli #1: Why He Rejected All Rudy Guede’s Explanations As Fiction

By Brian S

Judge Micheli has had two very important roles. He presided over Rudy Guede’s trial and sentencing, and he presided over the final hearing that committed Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox to trial.

A week ago, just within the three-month deadline, Judge Micheli made public the 106-page report that explains the thinking behind both actions. This is a public document, and in the enviable Italian legitimizing process, the public is encouraged to get and read the report and to understand the full rationales. Excellent analyses have already appeared in Italian in Italy, but no English-speaking sources on the facts of the case have either put the report into English or published more than the most superficial analysis.

These posts will examine several very key areas of the report so that we too may choose whether to buy into the rationales. The translations into English here were by native-Italian speakers and fellow posters Nicki and Catnip. The next post will explain why Micheli ruled out the Lone Wolf Theory, and why he concluded that Knox and Sollecito appeared to be implicated in Meredith’s murder and should therefore be sent to trial.

Judge Micheli maintained that from the moment Meredith’s body was discovered until his arrest in Germany on November 19th, Rudy Guede was in a position to compile a version of his involvement in events at the cottage which would minimise his reponsibilities and point the finger of guilt elsewhere.

He was able to follow the course of the investigation in newspapers and on the internet. He would know of the arrests of Amanda, Raffaele and Patrick. He would know that the investigators had found biological evidence which would sooner or later connect him to the murder, and he would know of other discoveries and evidence which had been publicised in the media.

His story as told in Germany was compiled with all the knowledge about the crime and investigation he would have sought out. On his return to Italy in December he was interviewed by the investigating authorities and gave version 2. He was interviewed again in March which resulted in version 3, and later still made a spontaneous statement to change one or two facts including the admission that the trainer footprint in Meredith’s room could be his. Judge Micheli said:

    Analyzing the narratives of the accused…he is not credible, as I will explain, because his version is (1) unreliable, and (2) continuously varying, whether on basic points or in minor details and outline.

Micheli then examined the details of Rudy’s claimed meeting with Meredith which resulted in his invitation to the cottage on the evening of November 1st.

He noted there were substantial differences between his versions of December and March, particularly with regard to the location of his meeting with Meredith on the night of Halloween and his movements in the early evening of November 1st.

He considered it likely that Rudy had made these changes as he became aware of evidence which contradicted his December version. Notably, in December Rudy claimed to have had his meeting with Meredith which resulted in her invite at a Halloween party given by Spanish students.

By March it was well known that Meredith had spent her entire Halloween in the company of friends, first in the Merlin pub before they later moved on to Domus disco. In March Rudy changed the location of his meeting with her from the Spanish party to Domus, which by chance Rudy had also attended following the party. However, neither Meredith’s friends who were continuously in her company nor those who accompanied Rudy to the Domus witnessed any meeting between the two. Judge Micheli commented:

    On 26 March 2008, instead, Rudy explained to the Prosecution, drawing a picture, that the group invited to the Spaniards’ house actually moved wholus-bolus to the “Domus” club, but it was right in that nightclub that he met Kercher, and not before; offering up a tour-guide description from the chair, saying, “there’s a bar for the drinks and then there’s a room, there’s an arch and a room. I walking [sic] around there, and that’s where I met Meredith”. On the facts of the meeting and the subject of the conversation, he elaborated: “I started talking to Meredith …talking anyway I gave her a kiss.. after which I told her how much I liked her and asked her if the next day, in all the confusion anyway, if we were going to meet the next day and she said yes (…), we met in the evening around half eight, like that. While not intending to explore the question, basically irrelevant, of whether the pair had agreed to a more or less specific time (his confirmation of the suggestion of 8.30 pm in both verbal statements however allows the inference that according to Guede they had an appointment), the patent contradiction between the two versions jumps out. One context, of a room between two bathrooms, in an apartment, is completely different to that of a drinks-bar and an arch, in a pub; one might concede, perhaps, the possibility of forgetting which place it was where they last bumped into a friend, but hardly the first time there was a kiss with a girl towards whom one was attracted.

With regard to his movements in the early evening of November 1st, Rudy’s friend Alex failed to corroborate Rudy’s December claim to have visited his flat. He said he didn’t see Rudy either before or after his meeting with Meredith at her cottage.


In March, Rudy changed his story and claimed to have risen at 6pm(following the all-nighter at Domus) before wandering around town for an hour or so. He then said he went to Meredith’s cottage but received no answer so he carried on to Piazza Grimana in the hope he might see people he knew. He thought he arrived in the Piazza at around 7:30pm. He claimed that some time later he left Piazza Grimana and called at the Kebab shop before returning to Meredith’s cottage and arriving some time between 8:30 and 9:00pm.

He said he then waited until her arrival some time just after 9:00pm. It was noted that in both his December and March versions Rudy said he had arranged to meet Meredith at 8:30pm. Micheli noted that this didn’t sit well with another arrangement Rudy had made to meet Carlos (from the Spanish party) between 9:00 and 10:00pm.

Micheli said that neither version of Rudy’s movements could be treated as true because he changed his story to fit facts as they became known and there was absolutely no corroborating witness evidence.

Rudy claimed two situations evolved following his entry with Meredith into the apparently empty cottage:

Whilst he was having a drink of fruit juice from the fridge, he claims Meredith found that 300 euros (her rent money) was missing from her bedside cabinet. Meredith was naturally upset by this discovery and straight away blamed “druggy Amanda”. Rudy said they both checked Amanda’s room to see if the money was there. However, it couldn’t be found and Rudy sought to console her.

He says that this consolation developed into an amorous encounter which proceeded to the stage where “Meredith asked him” if he had a condom. He told he didn’t and since she didn’t either they stopped their lovemaking.

Judge Micheli had a real problem with this story as told by Guede. He found it unlikely that Meredith would be interested in lovemaking so soon following the discovery that her money was missing. He found it unlikely that it was Meredith who was leading the way in this amorous encounter as Rudy was suggesting with his claim that it was “Meredith who asked him” if he had a condom.

Surely, Micheli reasoned, if Rudy was hoping to indulge in a sexual encounter with Meredith following the previous night’s flirting, he would, as any young man of his age, ensure that he arrived with a condom in anticipation of the hoped for liason. But even if he didn’t, and it was true that events had reached the stage where Meredith asked him, then surely given his negative response, Meredith would have again gone into Amanda’s room where, as she had told her friends, condoms were kept by her flat mate. Judge Micheli simply didn’t believe that if they had got to the stage of lovemaking described by Rudy, and following his negative response to her question, they just “STOPPED”. Meredith would have known she had a probable solution just metres away.

Rudy claimed he then told Meredith he had an upset stomach because of the kebab he had eaten earlier. She directed him to the bathroom through the kitchen.

Rudy put on his i-pod and headphones as he claimed was his habit when using the toilet. In his December version Rudy said the music was so loud he heard the doorbell ring but he made no reference to hearing any conversation. A perfect excuse, Judge Micheli says, for not hearing the disturbance or detail of Meredith’s murder. However, in his March version he claims he heard Amanda’s voice in conversation with Meredith. When Rudy did eventually emerge from the bathroom he says he saw a strange man with a knife and then a prone Meredith. Micheli commented:

    ...it is necessary to take as given that, in this case, Kercher did not find anything better to do than to suddenly cross from one moment of tenderness and passion with him to a violent argument with someone else who arrived at that place exactly at the moment in which Rudy was relieving himself in the bathroom. In any case, and above all, that which could have been a surprise to the killers, that is to say his presence in the house, was, on the other hand, certainly not put into dispute: Meredith, unlike the attackers, knew full well that in the toilet there was a person who she herself allowed in, so for this reason, in the face of someone who had started raising their voice, then holding her by the arms and ending with brandishing a knife and throwing her to the floor, why would she not have reprimanded/reproached/admonished him immediately saying that there was someone in the house who could help her? …Meredith didn’t shout out loudly for Rudy to come and help …There was a progression of violence …The victim sought to fight back If it is reasonable to think that a lady living 70 metres away could hear only the last and most desperate cry of the girl – it’s difficult to admit that Guede’s earphones, at 4-5 metres, would stop him hearing other cries, or the preceding sounds.

Micheli was also mystified as to why Amanda (named in Rudy’s March version) would ring the doorbell. Why wouldn’t she let herself in using her own key? He supposed it was possible Meredith had left her own key in the door which prevented Amanda from using hers, but the girls all knew the lock was broken and they were careful not to leave their own key in the door. Perhaps, Meredith wanted some extra security/privacy against someone returning and had left her key in the lock on purpose. Maybe Amanda was carrying something heavy and her hands weren’t free. Or, maybe, Rudy was just trapped by his December story of the doorbell when he didn’t name anybody and an anonymous ring on the doorbell was plausible.

The judge then took issue with Rudy’s description of events following the stabbing of Meredith. Rudy claimed that when he emerged from the bathroom he discovered a man with a knife standing over Meredith. In the resultant scuffle he suffered cut wounds to his hand. armed himself with chair to protect himself. before the attacker fled when he fell over because his trousers came down around his ankles. Micheli said that those who saw Rudy later that night didn’t notice any wounds to Rudy’s hands although some cuts were photographed by the police when he was later arrested in Germany.

Micheli found Rudy’s claim that the attacker ran from from the house shouting “black man found, black man guilty” unbelievable in the situation. In the panic of the moment it may be conceivable that the attacker could shout “Black man…, run” following the surprise discovery of his presence in the house, but in the situation Rudy describes, blame or expressions of who the culprit thought “the police would find guilty” made no sense. It would be the last thing on an unknown attackers mind as he sought to make good his escape.

Micheli considers the “black man found, black man guilty” statement an invention made up by Rudy to imply a possible discrimination by the authorities and complicate the investigation. Micheli also saw this as an excuse by Rudy to explain away his failure to phone for help (the implication being that a white man could have made the call). It was known by her friends and acquaintances that Meredith was never without her own phone switched on. She kept it so, because her mother was ill and she always wanted to be available for contact should her mother require help when she was on her own

Judge Micheli regarded Rudy’s claimed efforts to help Meredith impossible to believe, given the evidence of Nara Capezzali. Rudy claimed to have made trips back and forth to the bathroom to obtain towels in an attempt to staunch the flow of bood from Meredith’s neck. He claimed to have leaned over her as she attempted to speak and written the letters “AF” on the wall because he couldn’t understand her attempted words. His described activities all took time and Rudy’s flight from the house would have come minutes after the time he alleged the knife-man ran from the cottage.

Nara Capezzali maintained that after she heard Meredith’s scream it was only some seconds (well under a minute) before she heard multiple footsteps running away. Although she looked out of her window and continued to listen for some time because she was so disturbed by the scream, she neither heard nor saw any other person run from the house. That Rudy had run wasn’t in doubt because of his collision on the steps above with the boyfriend of Alessandra Formica. Micheli therefore considered it proven that “all” of Meredith’s attackers, including Rudy, fled at the same time.

Earlier in his report Micheli considered character evidence on Rudy given by witnesses for both prosecution and defense. Although he had been seen with a knife on two occasions, and was considered a bit of a liar who sometimes got drunk, the judge didn’t consider that Rudy had previously shown a propensity for violence, nor behaviour towards girls which differed markedly from that displayed by many other young men of his age.

However, because of the wealth of forensic evidence [on which more later] and his admitted presence in the cottage, combined with his total disbelief in Rudy’s statements, Micheli found Rudy guilty of participation in the murder of Meredth Kercher.

He sentenced him to 30 years in prison and ordered him to pay compensation of E2,000,000 each to Meredith’s parents John and Arline Kercher, E1,500,000 each to Meredith’s brothers John and Lyle Kercher plus E30,000 costs in legal fees/costs + VAT. Also E1,500,000 plus E18,000 in legal fees/costs + VAT to Meredith’s sister, Stephanie Kercher.


Understanding Micheli #2: Why Judge Micheli Rejected The Lone-Wolf Theory

By Brian S

And so decided that Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox should face trial.

First, just to recap: Judge Micheli presided over both Rudy Guede’s trial and sentencing to 30 years and the final hearing that committed the two present defendants to trial.

Ten days ago, Judge Micheli made public the 106-page report that explains the thinking behind both actions. This is a public document, and in the enviable Italian legitimizing process, the public is encouraged to get and read the report and to understand the full rationales. Excellent analyses have already appeared in Italian in Italy, but no English-speaking sources on the facts of the case have either put the report into English or published more than the most superficial analysis.

These posts are examining several very key areas of the report so that we too may choose whether to buy into the rationales. The translations into English used here were by native-Italian speakers and fellow posters Nicki and Catnip.

Right at the outset of his Sentence Report on the conviction of Rudy Guede, Judge Micheli stated that it was neither the place nor his intention to make the case against either Raffaele Sollecito or Amanda Knox. He said he must necessarily involve them to the extent that they were present at the discovery of Meredith’s body. He said he must also examine evidence against them where he saw it as indicating that Rudy Guede was not a lone wolf killer and implicated them as his possible accomplices in Meredith’s murder.

Judge Micheli described the sequence of events laid out by the prosecution which lead to the discovery of Meredith’s body:

Early on the morning of November 2nd, Signora Lana Biscarini received a bomb threat call made to her home at 5A Via Sperandio. (This later transpired to be a hoax.)

Some time later Signora Biscarini found a mobile phone in her garden. She “had heard” that bombs could be concealed in mobile phones and so she took it to the police station arriving at 10:58am as recorded by ISP. Bartolozzi

The postal police examined the phone and following removal of the SIM card, discovered at 11:38am that it belonged to a Filomena Romanelli who lived at the cottage at 7 Via della Pergola. Following a call by Signora Biscarini to check with her daughter who was still at home, it is in the record at 11:50am that neither say they know the Filomena in question. At around noon Signora Biscarini’s daughter rings her mother at the police station to say she has found a second phone.

The second phone (Meredith’s) is collected from Via Sperandio and taken to the police station. Its receipt there is logged by ISP. Bartolozzi at 12:46pm. During its examination Meredith’s phone is also logged as connecting to the cell of Strada Borghetto di Prepo, which covers the police station, at 13:00pm. At 13:50pm both phones, which have never left the police station following their finding, are officially seized. This seizure is entered in the log at 14:00pm.

Separately, as part of the bomb hoax investigation, agents of the postal police are dispatched to make enquiries at Filomena’s address in Via della Pergola.

They are recorded in the log and filmed on the car park camera as arriving at 12:35pm. They were not in possession of Filomena’s phone, which remained at the police station, nor of Meredith’s which at this time was being taken from Via Sperandio to the police station for examination as part of the bomb hoax enquiry.

Judge Micheli said that some confusion was created by the evidence of Luca Altieri (Filomena’s boyfriend) who said he saw two mobile phones on the table at the cottage. But, Micheli said, these two phones either belonged to the others who arrived, the postal police themselves or Amanda and Raffaele. They were NOT the phones of Filomena or Meredith.

On their arrival at the cottage, the agents of the postal police found Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox standing outside the front door.

The two seemed surprised to see them (the postal police had come to talk to Filomena about a bomb hoax which potentially involved her phone, plus they had recently been informed of the discovery of second phone in the same garden), but then they explained they had discovered suspicious circumstances inside the cottage.

Raffaele said he had already phoned the police and they were awaiting their arrival in connection with that. Elsewhere in his report Micheli points out that Raffaele did, in fact, make a call to his sister at 12:50pm, followed by two calls to “112” reporting a possible burglary at 12:51 and 12:54pm, 15 minutes after the arrival of the postal agents.

Judge Micheli said the postal police were shown into the cottage by Raffaele and Amanda. They pointed out the traces of blood around the apartment, the state of the toilet and the disturbance to Filomena’s room. They said they didn’t think anything had been taken. They pointed out that Meredith’s door appeared to be locked, Raffaele said he had tried to open it, but Amanda said Meredith used to lock the door even when she was going to the bathroom to shower.

Shortly afterwards Luca Altieri and Marco Zaroli arrived. Luca said he had just been contacted by his girlfriend Filomena, who in turn had just been contacted by Amanda Knox about the possible break in. A few minutes later, Filomena herself arrived with Paola Grande. Micheli noted that Filomena had immediately contradicted what Amanda had told the postal police and she said that Meredith never locked her door. She also told the postal police that the phone found with a SIM card in her name was in fact Meredith’s 2nd phone, that she had given Meredith the SIM as a present. The postal police said that they didn’t have the authority to damage property and so the decision was made that Luca would break down the door.

This he did. The scene when the door flew open was instantly obvious, blood everywhere and a body on the floor, hidden under a duvet except for a foot and the top of Meredith’s head. At that point ISP Battistelli instantly took charge. He closed the door and forbade anyone to enter the room before contacting HQ.

Following his description of the events which lead to the discovery of Meredith’s body, Micheli then dedicates quite a few pages of his report to detailing the exact locations, positions, descriptions and measurements of all the items, blood stains, pools and spots etc.etc. found in her room when the investigators arrived. He also goes into precise details on the injuries, marks, cuts and bruises etc. which were found by Lalli when he examined Meredith’s body in situ at the cottage before she was moved. Despite their extent, it is obvious these details are only a summary of the initial police report and also a report made by Lalli on the 2nd November.

It is these details which allowed the prosecution to lay out their scenario for the events which they say must have happened in the room. It is also these details which convince Micheli that it was impossible for this crime to be carried out by a single person. In his report, he dismisses completely the scenarios presented by the defences of Amanda and Raffaele for a “lone wolf killing”. Micheli says that he is convinced that Meredith was sexually assaulted and then murdered by multiple attackers.

Judge Micheli also explains in his report how the law will decide on sexual assault or rape where the medical report (as was Lalli’s) is somewhat inconclusive. Else there would be no point in a woman reporting rape unless she had serious internal injuries. His conclusion: Meredith was raped by Rudy Guede manually.

So why does Judge Micheli believe that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollicto were possible accomplices of Rudy Guede and should be tried for the murder of Meredith Kercher?

In his report, he doesn’t look at the evidence which involves just them, nor does he analyze their various stories in his report. He doesn’t look at events involving them which occurred between the 2nd and 5th November. He does note a few items here and there, but these aren’t given as the major reasons for his decision to indict them.

He notes Raffaele’s apparent lies about the time he made the 112 phone calls. He dismisses Raffaele’s defense claim that the disposal of Meredith’s phones didn’t allow time for Raffaele to get to the cottage after watching his film, kill Meredith, and then dispose of the phones in Via Sperandio before the aborted call to Meredith’s bank. He noted that the cell which picked up the brief 10:13 call to Meredith’s bank also picked up most of Meredith’s calls home.

He asked whether it was possible for anybody to believe that each time Meredith wanted to phone home, she walked down to Via Sperandio to make the call. He notes that the police found Amanda and Raffaele’s behaviour suspicious almost straight away. He notes that Filomena said that the relationship between Amanda and Meredith had deteriorated by October. He says he doesn’t believe at all that cannabis caused any loss of Amanda’s and Raffaele’s memories.


Judge Micheli says he bases his decision on the following points of evidence:

[Note: The following paragraph numbers form no part of Micheli’s report. They are used in the context of this summary to identify the points of evidence contained in his report which will be examined and summarised in greater detail in follow-up posts]

1) Judge Micheli, after hearing both prosecution and defense arguments about Meredith’s and Amanda’s DNA on the knife and Raffaele’s DNA on Meredith’s bra clasp, accepted the prosecution argument that that both were valid evidence. He did note, however, that he fully expected that the same argument would be heard again at the full trial. In his report, Micheli dedicates several pages to explaining the opposing arguments and how he made his decision to allow the evidence. It is a detailed technical argument, and it is not proposed to examine it any closer in this post.

2) Judge Micheli explains that blood evidence proves that Meredith was wearing her bra when she was killed. Nor is it just the blood on her bra which demonstrates this. It’s also where the blood isn’t on her body. He says that Meredith was wearing her bra normally when she laid in the position in which she died, and she was still wearing it for quite some time after she was dead. Her bra strap marks and the position of her shoulder are imprinted in the pool of blood in that position. Meredith’s shoulder also shows the signs that she lay in that position for quite some time.

He asks the question: Who came back, cut off Meredith’s bra and moved her body some time later? It wasn’t Rudy Guede. He went home, cleaned himself up and went out on the town with his friends. Judge Micheli reasons in his report that it could only have been done by someone who knew about Meredith’s death and had an interest in arranging the scene in Meredith’s room. Seemingly who else but Amanda Knox?

She was apparently the only person in Perugia that night who could gain entry to the cottage. And the clasp which was cut with a knife when Meredith’s bra was removed was found on November 2nd when Meredith’s body was moved by the investigators. It was right under the pillow which was placed under Meredith when she was moved by someone from the position in which she died. On that clasp and its inch of fabric is the DNA of Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox. Micheli reasons in his report that Raffaele and Amanda seemed to have returned to the cottage some time after Meredith was dead, cut off her bra, moved her body, and staged the scene in Meredith’s room.

3) Judge Micheli explains his reasoning on the method of Rudy’s entry into the cottage. He says that Rudy’s entry through the window is a very unlikely scenario and the evidence also indicates otherwise. He says the height and position of the window would expose any climber to the full glare of traffic headlights from cars on Via della Pergola. He asks, why wouldn’t a thief choose to break in through a ground floor window of the empty house? He says the broken glass and marks on the shutter both demonstrate the window was broken from the inside, some of the glass even falling on top of Filomena’s clothes which had been thrown around the room to simulate a robbery.

But his major reasoning for believing Rudy’s entry was through the front door are the bloody bare footprints which show up with luminol and fit Knox’s and Sollecito’s feet. These suggest that they entered Filomena’s room and created the scene in there after Meredith was killed. Allessandra Formica witnessed Rudy run away shortly after Meredith was stabbed. Someone went back later, left those footprints and staged the scene.

This, when considered in combination with the knowledge that person demonstrated of Rudy’s biological involvement with Meredith when they also staged the sex assault scene in Meredith’s own room indicates that that person was present when Meredith was assaulted and killed. He said it also demonstrated an attempt by someone who had an interest in altering the evidence in the house to leave the blame at Rudy’s door. Micheli reasoned, the only person who could have witnessed Rudy’s earlier sex assault on Meredith, could gain entry via the door and had an interest in altering the crime scene in the house appeared to be Amanda Knox. In his report, Micheli states that this logic leads him to believe that Amanda Knox was the one who let Rudy Guede into the cottage through the front door.

4) Judge Micheli examines the evidence of Antonio Curatolo. He says that although Curatolo mixes up his dates in his statement, he does have a fix on the night he saw Amanda and Raffaele in Piazza Grimana sometime around 11:00 to 11:30pm. Curatolo is certain it was the night before the Piazza filled up with policemen asking if anyone had seen Meredith. In his evidence, he says they came into the square from the direction of Via Pinturicchio and kept looking towards the cottage at Via della Pergola from a position in the square where they could see the entrance gate.

Judge Micheli reasons in his report that their arrival from Via Pinturicchio ties in with the evidence from Nara Capazzali that she heard someone run up the stairs in the direction of that street. He also reasons that they were likely watching the cottage to see if Meredith’s scream had resulted in the arrival of the police or other activity.

5) Judge Micheli examines the evidence of Hekuran Kokomani and finds him far from discredited. His says the testimony is garbled, his dates and times makes no sense but…. that Hekuran Kokomani was in the vicinity of the cottage on both 31st Oct. and 1st Nov isn’t in doubt. Furthermore, Micheli says that when he gave his statement, the details which he gave of the breakdown of the car, the tow truck and the people involved weren’t known by anyone else. He must have witnessed the breakdown in Via della Pergola. The same breakdown was also seen by Allessandra Formica shortly after Rudy Guede collided with her boyfriend.

This places Hekuran Kokomani outside the cottage right around the time of Meredith’s murder and he in turn places Raffaele Sollecito, Amanda Knox and Rudy Guede together outside the cottage at the same time. His evidence also places all three outside the cottage at some time the previous night.

Judge Michelii found that all this evidence implicated Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito as accomplices of Rudy Guede in the murder of Meredith Kercher.


Understanding Micheli #3: How Damning Is The DNA Evidence Coming Up?

By Nicki

Probable answer? Pretty damning.

Judge Micheli has had two very important roles. He presided over Rudy Guede’s trial and sentencing, and he presided over the final hearing that committed Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox to trial.

Late January, Judge Micheli made public the 106-page report that explains the thinking behind both actions. These posts are examining several very key areas of the report so that we too may choose whether to buy into the rationales.

The trial to establish the truth about the murder of Meredith continues next Friday. As we’ve reported, various human witnesses have already been heard from: the Postal Police who discovered Meredith’s body, Meredith’s two Italian roommates, and her seven British friends.

Coming up soon is a more silent witness, one very important to both the prosecution and the two defenses: the DNA evidence.

Specifically the DNA belonging to Meredith, Knox, Sollecito, and Guede which was found at the scene of the crime, and on the suspected murder weapon found, apparently hidden, in Raffaele Sollecito’s house.

Traces of Meredith’s DNA have been found on a knife compatible with the wounds that caused her death. Amanda Knox ‘s genetic material was identified on the knife handle. DNA belonging to Sollecito has been found on the clasp of the victim’s bra. And more DNA showing Rudy Guede’s genetic profile was found on the victim’s body and elsewhere in the house.

In summary, the biological sources and locations where DNA belonging to the three defendants was found are these:

  • Guede’s DNA (from epithelial cells) was found inside Meredith, on toilet paper, on the right side of Meredith’s bra, mixed with Meredith’s DNA on the her purse zip, and on the left cuff of Meredith’s light blue sweater
  • Sollecito’s DNA (from epithelial cells) was found on Meredith’s bra clasp, mixed with Meredith’s DNA, and on one cigarette butt found in the kitchen
  • Knox’s DNA (from epithelial cells) was found on the knife sheath, and close to the blade junction. It was not possible to ascertain both the haematic and epithelial source of Meredith’s DNA on the knife blade, due to the scarcity of the sample. But Judge Micheli noted that reasonable doubt persist that blood could have been present also.
  • Other significant biological traces belonging to Meredith - for example, DNA originating from the blood-trace footprints revealed by luminol found in Filomena’s bedroom, as already reported at trial.

Claims of contamination and “poor matches” of the DNA samples were raised by the Sollecito and Knox defenses, although not by Guede’s. The DNA expert Dr. Stefanoni’s arguments in reply to the defenses’ claims are summarized in Judge Micheli‘s report.
 
Dr Stefanoni reported that the locus ascribable to Meredith and identified on the knife blade shows readings of 41 and 28 RFU. Conventionally, RFU values lower than 50 can be defined as low. But she maintained that the profile matched Meredith’s by explaining that there is no immediate correlation between the height of the peaks obtained by electropherogram and expressed in RFU, and the reliability of the biological investigation.

In fact “even if statistically - in most cases - the RFU data is directly proportional to the possibility of a certain interpretation of the analysis result, on the other side many cases of high peaks of difficult interpretation exist (because of background noises), as well as low peaks that are objectively unquestionable, hence the need to proceed to the examination of data that is apparently scarce, but that mustn’t be considered unreliable per se.”

*The use of multiplex PCR and fluorescent dye technology in the automated detection and analysis of short tandem repeat loci provides not only qualitative information about the profile - i.e. which alleles are present - but can provide also quantitative information on the relative intensities of the bands, and is therefore a measure of the amount of amplified DNA.”

So if on one side Dr Stefanoni admits that the RFU readings are low, on the other her experience suggests that many cases of unquestionable matches exist showing readings lower than 50 RFU, and this appears to be the case with Meredith’s DNA sample on the knife.


Contamination in the laboratory is categorically excluded by Dr Stefanoni. The samples were processed with maximum care in order to avoid any contamination during lab procedures. Contamination during the collection phase is excluded by Judge Micheli, as the samples were collected by different officers at different times in different places (example Via della Pergola at 9:40am on Nov 6. 2007, and Sollecito’s apartment at 10:00am, on the same day, by a different ILE team).

As for Sollecito’s DNA found on the bra clasp, the match is unquestionable, according to the lab reports. Samples from crime scenes very often contain genetic material from more than one person (e.g. Rudy Guede’s DNA has been identified in a mixture with the victim’s DNA in a few places), and well-known recommendations and protocols exist in order to de-convolute mixed samples into single genetic profiles.

So if the lab reports indicate that unquestionable biological evidence of Sollecito’s DNA was found on the bra clasp, at the present time we have no reason to believe that these recommendations weren’t followed and that therefore the reports are not to be trusted.

As to cells “flying around” depositing themselves – and their DNA content - here and there around the murder scene, there have been some imaginative theories advanced, to say the least.

The reality though is that although epithelial cells do shed, they don’t sprout little wings to flock to one precise spot, nor grow feet to crawl and concentrate on a piece of evidence. There needs to be some kind of pressure on a surface in order to deposit the amount of biological material necessary to yield a reliable PCR analysis result. A simple brushing will not do. 

As a matter of fact, Dr Stefanoni agreed with Guede’s defense that Guede‘s genetic material found on the left sleeve of Meredith’s blouse was minimal; and this was because the DNA found there belonged to the victim and was not a mixture. In the situation where there is a clear disproportion between quantitative data of two DNA’s coexisting in a biological trace, the PCR will amplify the most abundant DNA.

As agreed by Dr. Stefanoni and Guede’s defense, the conclusion here was that on the left sleeve there was plenty of Meredith’s DNA but very little of Guede’s. (This was used by his defense to deny that Guede had exerted violence on Meredith’s wrist).

After listening to the arguments of the prosecution and the defenses, Judge Micheli provided reasons why he rejected the contamination claims and ruled that all the biological traces identified as reflecting Sollecito’s and Knox’s DNA are admissible as evidence. He arrived at the conclusion that the DNA evidence is sound and, considered along with the non-biological proof, he decided there was more than enough evidence to order Knox and Sollecito to stand trial. 

Regarding the biological significance of the traces, we are now looking forward to hearing the Knox and Sollecito defenses’ counter-arguments.  But as we understand it now, the DNA evidence for the trio having all been involved in the murder seems pretty damning.


Understanding Micheli #4: The Staged Scene - Who Returned To Move Meredith?

By Brian S

Please be warned that this is sad and hard-going, although many other passages from the Micheli report we will never post on here are even more harrowing.

Just to recap. Judge Micheli presided over Rudy Guede’s trial and sentencing and the final hearing that committed Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox to trial.

Late January he made public the 106-page report that explains the thinking behind both actions. These posts are examining key areas of the report so that we too may decide on the rationales.

This post is about the final position of the body. Why this matters so much is that if the evidence holds firm, all by itself it will prove that there was a major rearrangement of the crime scene, to try to throw investigators off the trail.

This is as near to an 80,000 pound gorilla in the room as we are likely to see in this trial. And it may even be on the trial agenda for this coming Friday and Saturday.

Reports by the crime-scene investigators and Dr Lalli are summarised in Judge Micheli’s report. They describe the detail of the scene discovered in Meredith’s room. The investigators measured and photographed the position and state of everything, including blood, as it was in the room before anything was moved.

Amongst the items noted was a white bra. Some parts were soaked in blood, particularly the right shoulder strap and the outside of the left cup. They also noted that a portion of the backstrap with its clasp fixings was missing. Meredith herself was lying on her back midway between the wardrobe and the bed, without her jeans, a pillow under her buttocks and her top rolled up to reveal her chest.

Following this survey, Meredith’s body was then turned and moved by the investigators. This revealed the other items on which her body had lain. A tennis shoe, a white sheet from the bed and a blue zipped top, all with blood stains. Also a green bath towel and an ivory bath towel, both soaked in blood, and underneath the pillow was the missing clasp section of the bra back-strap.

Judge Micheli notes that Amanda’s defence claimed that “the small round spots of blood” apparent on Meredith’s chest indicated that she was not wearing her bra when she was killed. He agreed that it was likely that these spots fell from Meredith’s gasps for breath as she lay on her back after she had been stabbed. However, he could not agree with their conclusion that her bra had been removed before this time, as similar small round spots were also found on Meredith’s bra.

Micheli reasoned that this indicated that Meredith was still wearing her bra as she gasped for breath, but that her top was rolled up and the bra moved also. Thus indicating the sexual nature of the original attack, but also allowing the small round spots to fall on both chest and bra. Furthermore, other blood evidence involving the bra indicated that it wasn’t removed until some time after Meredith had died.

He said that Meredith’s bra was found by investigators away from other possible blood contamination on the floor, near to her feet. Photographs of Meredith’s body show clear white areas where the bra prevented blood from falling onto Merediths body. These white areas corresponded to those areas where blood was found on her bra. This was particularly true in the area of the right shoulder strap which was soaked from the wound to Meredith’s neck.

Micheli said that evidence showed that Meredith had lain on one shoulder near the wardrobe. She lay in that position long enough for the imprint of her shoulder and bra strap to remain fixed in the pool of blood after she was moved to the position in which her body was finally found. Photographs of blood on her shoulder matched the imprint by the wardrobe and her shoulder itself also showed signs that she had remained in that position for some time.

Based on all this, Judge Micheli concluded that there could be no doubt that Meredith’s body was moved away from the wardrobe and her bra removed quite some time after her death.

Neighbor Nara Capezzali had testified that people fled from the cottage within a minute of Meredith’s final scream. There was no time for any alteration of the crime scene in those very few moments.

Judge Micheli asks in his report, who could have returned later and staged the scene which was found? Who later moved Meredith’s body and cut off her bra? He reasons it could only be someone who had an interest in changing what would become a crime scene found at the cottage. Who else but someone who lived there, and who wanted to mislead the coming investigation?

It couldn’t have been Laura, she was in Rome. It couldn’t have been Filomena, she was staying with her boyfriend. It was very unlikely that it was Rudy Guede, all proofs of his presence were left untouched.


The culprits ran from the cottage in different directions and there is no reason to believe they met up again before some or one of them returned. Judge Micheli stated that, in his opinion, this just left Knox who would seem to have an interest in arranging the scene the police would find.

Bloody footprints made visible with luminol in Filomena’s room contain Meredith’s DNA. This indicated to Judge Micheli that the scene in Filomena’s room was also staged after Meredith was killed.

In Micheli’s opinion the scene in Meredith’s room was probably staged to point the finger at Rudy Guede. All evidence related to him was left untouched, and the pillow with a partial palm print was found under Meredith’s repositioned body.

But whoever later arranged that scene in Meredith’s room also unwittingly indicated their own presence at the original sexual assault. Who else could have known that by staging an obvious rape scene, they would inevitably point the investigators towards Rudy’s DNA which they knew could be found in Meredith?

Micheli asks: Seemingly, who else could it have been but Amanda Knox? And this in part is why she was committed to trial, for her defense to contend this evidence.


Monday, December 20, 2010

The Limited DNA Reviews - Why They Probably Won’t Help Defense And May At A Stroke Be Game Over

Posted by The Machine



[Above: Dr Stefanoni at trial respoding to a question from Sollecito’s defense team]

Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito and their families were jubilant at Judge Claudio Pratillo Hellman’s decision to allow an independent review of some key forensic evidence.

Two experts from Rome’s Sapienza University - Professor Stefano Conti and Professor Carla Vecchiotti - have already been nominated by the appeal court (they will be confirmed in January) to do an independent review of the forensic evidence.

Late saturday and sunday many of the journalists covering Meredith’s case saw Judge Hellmann’s decision as a major victory for the defence teams. Several giddy journalists even reported that somehow Amanda Knox had won her appeal.

However, two very important facts were lost in all the hullaballoo surrounding Judge Hellmann’s decision about this independent review..

First, the original forensic investigation and tests already were carried out by independent experts. Dr. Stefanoni and her team were from Rome, and they worked for another arm of the government. They weren’t hired by the prosecution to blindly confirm their suspicions that Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito and Diya Lumumba were involved in Meredith’s murder.

And many people seem to be unaware of the fact that it was not Amanda Knox recanting her false accusation, but the DNA testing work of Dr. Stefanoni and her team that led to the release of Diya Lumumba. In this case Dr Stefanoni has high credibility.

Second, a number of experts have ALREADY carried out independent reviews of the DNA and forensic evidence and some of them have testified at court hearings in the course of 2008 and 2009.

In this post, we will take a look at some of the experts involved in the original DNA tests and the subsequent reviews and consider the implications of the new review, including some possible unexpected stings in the tail.

1) The Original Tests

Dr. Patrizia Stefanoni is one of the leading forensic experts in Italy and she was part of the the Disaster Investigations Teams sent to identify victims of the south Asian tsumani in 2004. She had to pass a series of stringent state tests to join the scientific police in Rome. She led the forensic investigation into Meredith’s murder and was responsible for carrying out the DNA tests and interpreting the results.

The Double DNA Knife

Dr. Stefanoni found seven traces of human flesh (human tissue cells) on the large kitchen knife sequestered from Sollecito’s kitchen. There was only enough DNA for one test. However, the results of non-repetitive tests are allowed to be entered as evidence in Italy.

The defence teams are notified of the date and time of all non-repetitive tests to make sure that they can be present to observe that correct procedures are adhered to. If they miss the tests or don’t stay for the full (often long) duration they have not carried out their full mandate to their client (they might even be liable for malpractice) and the defense has no right to claim wrong procedures or lab contamination.

Dr. Stefanoni testified at the trial that the one test she did “reliably” identified the DNA as Meredith’s.

Italian TJMK poster and DNA specialist Nicki explained in May 2009 why the DNA on the blade of the knife was a definite match to Meredith’s DNA:

Two genetic profiles are identical and therefore belong to the same individual if a) they are in the same position, and b) they have identical shape and dimension. In this case, each peak produced in the original samples exactly corresponds to the peaks yielded by the knife sample, position, shape and dimension.

[Below: DNA on the blade of the knife(top chart), Meredith’s DNA(second chart), and the two superimposed]



The Bra Clasp

Sollecito’s DNA on Meredith’s bra clasp was identified by two separate DNA tests. Judge Massei rejected defence claims that Sollecito’s DNA was LCN DNA and noted that there was no reason to doubt the reliability of the result:

It has already been said that Dr. Stefanoni had reported that on the [bra] hook (Exhibit 165B) the mixed genetic profile attributable to the victim and to Raffaele Sollecito was found; looking at the electropherogram, the ratio had been estimated in the proportion of 1 to 6 (the victim’s DNA being six times that of Sollecito); the quantity of DNA found could not be considered terribly small because there were several peaks that easily exceeded 1000 RFU, and no [317] repetition of the analysis had been carried out because the peak height of the smaller fraction of DNA was good, such that there was no reason to doubt the reliability of the result.

2) Independent Reviews

Dr. Renato Biondo

There was an independent review of the forensic evidence in 2008.

Dr. Renato Biondo, the head of the DNA unit of the scientific police, reviewed Dr. Stefanoni’s investigation and the forensic findings. He testified at Rudy Guede’s fast track trial in October 2008 and confirmed that all the forensic findings were accurate and reliable.

He also praised the work of Dr. Stefanoni and her team. “We are confirming the reliability of the information collected from the scene of the crime and at the same time, the professionalism and excellence of our work.”

Professor Francesca Torricelli

The Kercher family hired their own DNA expert, Professor Francesca Torricelli, and asked her to examine the DNA evidence.

Professor Torricelli is the Director of a genetic facility at Careggi University Hospital and has been working in genetics since 1976. She testified at Knox’s and Sollecito’s trial last and she also confirmed Dr. Stefanoni’s findings.

She told the court that the significant amount of Sollecito’s DNA on Meredith’s bra clasp meant that it was unlikely that it was left by contamination. She also agreed with Dr. Stefanoni that Meredith’s DNA was on the blade of the double DNA knife.


General Luciano Garofano (image above)

Distinguished DNA expert and former Caribinieri General Luciano Garofano analysed the DNA and forensic evidence for the early 2010 book “Darkness Descending”.

He has more than 32 years of forensics experience and is a member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. In his section of the book he explains at length why he too thinks that Knox and Sollecito are guilty of Meredith’s murder.

In an interview with The Sun’s Nick Francis, he said that the right people had been convicted:  “I believe the police have prosecuted and convicted the right people, even if they got some of the details wrong.”

He told reporter Andrea Vogt that there wasn’t enough evidence to overturn Knox’s and Sollecito’s convictions:  “I do not believe that there is enough evidence to convince an Italian magistrate and jury to overturn this conviction”.

Dr. Anna Barbaro

Rudy Guede’s defense lawyers hired their own forensic expert, Dr. Anna Barbaro, and asked her to examine the DNA evidence.

She didn’t dispute the DNA evidence against Guede, Knox or Sollecito. Guede’s lawyers claim that there was an innocent explanation for his DNA being at the crime scene and that Knox’s and Sollecito’s DNA implicated them.

Guede lawyer Walter Biscotti noted that the evidence against Knox was particularly strong.

3) The original prosecution team

Both Prosecutor Mignini and Prosecutor Comodi said after the appeal session on saturday that they are are confident that the independent review of the DNA and forensic evidence will confirm the sentences and verdict.

Mr Mignini

:

I don’t agree with the request and I see it as a waste of time. The judge did not criticise the methods that were used to collect and test the DNA….. The review was granted because the jury needed help to interpret the findings as they are difficult to understand. I don’t see how it is a victory for the defence, as the methods were not criticised in the ruling. The review will confirm the sentence and the verdict will stand.

Ms Comodi

As far as I am concerned this independent review will just confirm the excellent work carried out by the police scientific unit. The judge did not actually explain why he was allowing this review and although I do not agree with it I am sure it will underline the job originally done.

4) Two possible game-overs

Re-examination of the knife

In “Darkness Descending” the former Carabinieri General Garofano wrote that the police should have separated the plastic handle from the knife and checked for blood there.

The defence teams will regret having asked for the independent review if the new experts do this and they find there a testable quantity of Meredith’s blood.

Re-examination of the bra clasp

According to the authors of “Darkness Descending” Dr. Stefanoni found highly suggestive evidence of Amanda Knox’s DNA on Meredith’s bra. Raffaele Sollecito’s forensic expert, Professor Torre, also claimed that he had found Knox’s DNA on Meredith’s bra strap.

It seems that another forensic expert Vincenzo Pascali ALSO found Knox’s DNA on Meredith’s bra. The reporter Barbie Nadeau wrote the following:

Vincenzo Pascali, the chief forensic consultant who was set to give expert testimony about the possible contamination of the bra clasp, walked off the case last month, reportedly leaving a €50,000 bill. Back in September, Pascali, who declined to comment for this story, hinted that the clasp also contained Knox’s DNA.

And so in conclusion

One to two years later DNA testing techniques have improved, and also there is the sleeper of what is under the handle of the knife.

The defence teams’ insistence on an independent review could really explode in their faces if the new experts confirm more of Meredith’s DNA on the knife (Knox’s DNA is there very strongly) and that Knox’s DNA is on Meredith’s bra.

Posted on 12/20/10 at 09:48 AM by The MachineClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Saturday, December 18, 2010

First Reports On Scope Of Appeal Sounds Like Maybe A Setback For The Defenses

Posted by Peter Quennell


The first full reports are not out yet. This is a first quick take on the Italian reporting and may be subject to correction.

Some of the Cassation’s hard-line decision for rejecting Rudy Guede ‘s 10 appeal grounds in Rome on thursday will indeed be accepted into this appeal for the judges’ consideration.

The judges are agreeing to the defense request for a review of the testing of the DNA on the bra clasp and the large knife, though of course nobody - nobody - so far has ever proved contamination as the prosecutors today pointed out.

Two Rome experts in DNA have already been nominated.

Apparently none of the other very extensive forensic evidence at the scene of the crime - which is the entire apartment, not merely Meredith’s bedroom - is to be retested. That has always been very tough to explain away.

Apparently only one or two of the previous witnesses whose testimony is described in the Massei report will be heard from again. Possible Guede confidant Alessi will be allowed and maybe Aviello who claimed his missing brother really did it.

And apparently ninety days is added to the allowed duration of this appeal, because the Massei Report took 90 days to produce. The deadline now is next September, although if it lasts through to the spring we will be surprised.

The defense doesn’t seem to have many strong hopes going forward. No more Spiderman attempts on Filomena’s window. They found no room for appeal with regard to the various contradictory alibis, the various peculiar phone calls, and assorted bizarre behaviors.

Remember that even Knox and Sollecito themselves have claimed they were zonked out of their skulls on the night - though magically they seem to have managed a major cleanup and rearrangement of the entire crime scene, minus evidence pointing to Guede.

The astute commenter Piktor posted this on PMF

The expert review would be needed if the scientific results were the only evidence that convicts.

What if the DNA evidence was thrown out. Could you convict without it?

You have the staging, the lies, the false accusation, the police testimony, the defendant’s multiple alibis that don’t mesh, Mrs. Mellas testimony in court exposing Knox’s willful “confusion”, the email and diaries.

You add it up and it all points in one direction. No doubt about the result.

The prosecution narrative makes sense. The defence has no narrative.



Monday, December 06, 2010

Will Sollecito And Knox Finally Want To Take The Stand? Why Our Betting Is Against

Posted by Kermit


The Massei Report makes nothing of the fact that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito did not rise under oath in their defense.

But if that made zero impact on the perceptions of the judges and lay judges, we would be very surprised. There are VERY few cases in the US or Europe where an INNOCENT defendant (1) rose to testify, (2) was then found guilty and sentenced, and (3) and was later found to be innocent after all.

Raffaele Sollecito never ever took the stand. He confined himself to some spontaneous remarks not under oath which is permitted in Italian courtrooms. They seemed not at all effective and they sure didn’t eliminate at all the 80,000 pound gorilla of evidence that the prosecution had let loose in the room.

Amanda Knox made similar spontaneous remarks, none of which seemed very helpful - the first was to jokingly explain why her bunny vibrator was always on view in the bathroom that she and Meredith shared.

The Knox testimony seen here was not a part of the main trial - it was offered ONLY to explain why Knox implicated Patrick Lumumba, and under the agreed rules for that testimony, the prosecution’s questioning was very circumscribed and curtailed.

Despite that, Amanda Knox seemed to do herself little real good on the stand, and in her second day there she sounded amused and very callous about the death of Meredith.

Please click here for 150 questions for Amanda Knox which should open in Powerpoint in half a minute. They show how blistering a full-blown prosecution cross-examination really could be.

Actually it could be even tougher. Those questions were assembled 18 months ago - and in the months after, we had the hesitant and nervous defense phase, the very strong prosecution summation, and the implacable Massei Report.

We could probable triple the questions for Knox now, and create a similar list for Sollecito. If he is given the chance to cross-examine the two, Prosecutor Giancarlo Costagliola very well may triple them.

The defenses have very few rounds of ammunition going into this appeal - the anti-Guede witness Alessi is a joke, and the DNA and forensic tests were all done fine the first time and have never been proved - despite all the smoke being blown - to be false or falsified.

So will they or wont they take the stand?

They seem cooked if they do - and cooked if they don’t. Tough call.

Posted on 12/06/10 at 10:36 AM by KermitClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

1st Appeal Session: Judge Claudio Pratillo Hellmann And Prosecutor Giancarlo Costagliola

Posted by Peter Quennell





Posted on 11/24/10 at 09:09 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedThe prosecutorsThe judiciaryTrials 2008 & 2009Appeals 2009-2015Hellmann 2011+
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Monday, November 08, 2010

Another In Seeming Never-Ending Disasters For Hapless Knox Campaign

Posted by Peter Quennell





Apparently xenophobia and sliming and serial misconstruing of the evidence isnt working. The Italian authorities continue to be relentless and unblinking.

In court today, Amanda Knox was indicted by the judge and she WILL stand full trial next May for calunnia.  This first report on the BBC News website as follows.

American student Amanda Knox is to face trial for slander after saying police beat her during questioning over the killing of Briton Meredith Kercher.

A judge made the decision at a closed indictment hearing in Perugia, Italy.

Knox, 23, told the judge she never intended slander and was just trying to defend herself, her lawyer said.

Ann Wise of ABC News adds this.

American student Amanda Knox was indicted for a second time by an Italian court today, this time for allegedly slandering Italian police for saying they were abusive when they interrogated her for the murder of her roommate.

Knox, who was convicted last year of murdering Meredith Kercher and sentenced to 26 years in prison, stood up in court and made what Italian legal officials call a “spontaneous statement” before the judge’s ruling.

“I have always tried to defend myself. I never wanted to offend or slander anyone,” Knox said in Italian.

Nevertheless, preliminary hearing Judge Claudia Matteini indicted Knox, 23, for slander.

The charge refers to Knox’s testimony during her murder trial that Italian police were rough with her when they interrogated her overnight just days after Kercher’s body was found in a pool of blood in the house they shared.

She claimed the officers yelled at her, discouraged her from calling a lawyer and cuffed the back of her head. The 12 officers named in the slander complaint have denied being abusive to Knox.

At the end of the long interrogation, Knox signed a statement in which she said she had a confused dream-like recollection of being in the house and hearing Kercher scream, effectively placing her on the scene of the crime.

Knox’s lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova said Knox was “saddened” by the decision.

Another lawyer for Knox, Maria Del Grosso, told reporters that “for Amanda this (interrogation) was the genesis for her homicide accusation. She is very frustrated and obviously disappointed, but she knows that today’s was only a preliminary hearing and the truth was not ascertained today. Let’s hope it is when the case is debated because there was something that went wrong that night.”

Knox was driven into the courthouse in a police van with darkened windows. The hearing was closed to the public, but photographers were able to get a glimpse of her in the courtroom hallways. Looking thinner and drawn, Knox wore a dark green sweater and black pants, her hair is a jaw-length bob.

Before the hearing, Knox’s stepfather Chris Mellas told ABC News that “Amanda is doing better. She is rightfully angry about the slander accusations, and told me she was going to speak out in court this morning. She told me she wanted to tell them that she sees police interrogations shown on TV all the time, and would like to know why her interrogation was not recorded or videotaped.”

But according to her lawyers, she limited her statement to saying she was just defending herself and did not want to offend.

Knox will go to trial for slander on May 17, 2011 before a single judge, Cecilia Bellucci. Matteini said the case needed to go to trial to resolve some formal technical matters, and to debate the accusations, possibly with witnesses.

The lawyer for eight of the police officers, Francesco Maresca, said that the “framework of the request for an indictment was confirmed, and now we await the debate.”

Conviction of the charge could add as much as six years to Knox’s prison sentence.

Again, this is the nexus of Amanda Knox’s accusation against poor Patrick Lumumba who spent two terrifying weeks in Capanne Prison and later lost his business when the customers fled.

Whatever else she may be, Knox does seem to be a serial blamer of others. Blaming the cops for her blaming Patrick, Knox seemed to us to think, was an easy way out.

Italian reports say that she seemed to be scowling or sour or very serious or depressed (no mention of nervousness) and that she had put on a few pounds.


Posted on 11/08/10 at 09:46 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Trials 2008 & 2009Appeals 2009-2015Hellmann 2011+Other legal processesKnox followupThe wider contextsItalian contextKnox-Mellas team
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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Corruption Of Appeal: Angry Top Criminal Judge Chiari Is Blatantly Forced Aside

Posted by Peter Quennell




Very Dirty Business

Only one month ago Umbria’s top criminal judge Sergio Matteini Chiari was to preside.

Now a very angry Judge Chiari has been forced aside with no public explanation from Chief Judge De Nunzio [image below] as to why.

A wildly wrongly qualified judge, Hellmann, a business judge with just two criminal trials in his past, both fiascos, mysteriously takes his place.

Rumors of foul play are appearing in the Italian media. Has Chief Judge De Nunzio been leaned upon politically? Do big bucks or rogue masons have any role in this?

Click here for more


Friday, October 01, 2010

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

Posted by Peter Quennell



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

Overview Of This Post

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

1) On Judge Sergio Matteini Chiari

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

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

2) On the RS & AK appeal

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

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

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

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

3) On possible outcomes from the appeal

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

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

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

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

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

4) On Amanda Knox’s slander trial

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on 10/01/10 at 12:44 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Appeals 2009-2015Hellmann 2011+The wider contextsSeattle contextKnox-Mellas teamSollecito team
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Friday, June 25, 2010

Amanda Knox’s Supporters Obtain Rome Embassy Cables About Knox, Prove Of No Help

Posted by True North


The American Embassy in Rome above, and the State Department in Washington below.

Ninety-nine percent of the reason why countries put embassies in other countries is because they really want to get along.

The US and Italy in fact do get along, extremely well, and there are thousands of transactions between the two countries every day. Thousands of Americans live in Italy, and millions of Americans are of Italian descent.

At the request of the US Administration, the Italian government recently put a large contingent of Italian troops in Afghanistan.

Under the US Freedom of Information Act,  any American citizen can request and usually obtain astonishing amounts of official documentation, far beyond what can usually be extracted from the bureaucracies in most other countries.

Occasionally this information has embarrassed the department concerned, or the party in power in the Congress or the White House. But usually the documents are innocuous and without drama. Conspiracies simply never show up.

The blogger History Punk on his website Historiographic Anarchy has posted some cables (pdf format) from Rome to Washington, which report periodically on the Rome Embassy’s monitoring of Amanda Knox in Capanne Prison and her trial and appeals in Perugia.

As we would expect, these cables are extremely mundane. They were sent by a middle-level official in the consular section of the Rome Embassy to the Italy desk in the State Department.

They report carefully on the careful Italian legal process, and they never remark on anything wrong. No charges or claims or complaints are relayed from Amanda Knox. There is no talk of any anti-Americanism. No instructions, questions or comments are cabled from Washington in return.

One cable was not released. It was marked confidential and the contents are unknown. Here’s a guess at its contents: “Please keep those xenophobic ranters on a chain - they are doing the American cause in Italy no good at all”. 

My first post here on TJMK and proud of it. This is a good fight I join.



Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Aviello Story Seems To Show The RS & AK Defenses All But Concede Guilt Of All 3

Posted by Peter Quennell

Now SERIOUSLY grasping at straws.

The Sollecito defense latched with alacrity onto baby-killer and jailhouse-snitch Mario Alessi three months ago.

This seemed to have been widely taken in Italy as a sign of the Sollecito defense’s desperate weakness, rather than as a get-out-of-jail-free trump-card for Raffaele Sollecito.

Several weeks ago the Amanda Knox defense latched onto Camorra clan-member and jailhouse snitch Luciano Aviello.

With a lot less alacrity though - his various stories have been around for a long time.  This seemed to have been widely taken in Italy as a sign of the Knox defense’s desperate weakness,

Luciano Aviello, who is now in prison, and his brother Antonio, now on the run, are or were connected to the Camorra (NBC Dateline report above) which is Naples’s equivalent of the Cosa Nostra in Sicily. The Camorra is in some ways the older, larger and badder of the two arms of the Italian mafia.

Luciano Aviello and Antonio Aviello were living in Perugia at the time the crime against Meredith took place. Over a year ago, our poster Catnip posted this translation of a report from Italy on the Perugia Murder File board.

Saturday 09 May 2009

Prisoner writes: ‘I know real murderer’s name’

“I know the real name of Meredith’s killer, a fellow-brother Albanian friend of mine told me, and it’s not Raffaele Sollecito.” Luciano Aviello is Raffaele Sollecito’s ex-cellmate and, now, maybe encumbering his admirer, is writing another letter to Court of Assize president Giancarlo Massei.

A few weeks ago he had sent a letter in which he claims to have asked two of his friends to break into the murder house to prove that anybody could have done so. Yesterday, the page count of his letter jumped to five, and the tone was angrier.

He’s had it with journalists, because they’ve referred to his less than clear past, and because they wrote about his previous never-proven-true “revelations” on various important and dramatic criminal cases (like the disappearance of little Angela Celentano).

He’s had it with the police too, in whom he confided his secret about Raffaele’s innocence and who didn’t even give him the time of day.

He maintains that, actually, he has a letter written by an Albanian friend, which contains the real name of the murderer, and he wants to speak only to the court president, Giancarlo Massei, to reveal it to him.

Even the lawyer on the civil side of the case, Francesco Maresca, acting for the Kerchers, remains skeptical: “That letter ought to be re-read carefully: it’s not flour from his grainsack*”.

*****************

* This is a proverbial phrase (non è farina del suo sacco = “it’s not grist from his own mill”) meaning it wasn’t written off his own bat, and that other hands contributed to it.

And there is a video of a Sky News Italy report in Italian dated 21 April 2009 which in effect says “this isn’t any big deal’.

In Italy, Luciano Aviello and his kaleidoscopic claims thereupon went onto the back burner.

Fast forward to several weeks ago, when the Knox defense engages in a high-profile, noisy flurry of activity to get a deposition from Luciano Aviello.

This time, Luciano recalls,  it was actually his own missing brother who did it, and he himself buried some clothing and some keys.

Casting total doubt on everything Luciano Aviello ever says, his hometown newspaper Il Mattino in Naples comes out with this report. It is our translation.

“The Meredith Case - A Mariano Clan Supergrass Pops Up: “Amanda Is Innocent”

By Gigi di Fiore

In the newsroom of the Mattino he seemed at ease. Luciano Aviello was [20 years ago] just over twenty years old, and had asked to recount his experience as a “streetwise youth in the Mariano Camorra clan”.

In an earlier time, a war was in full swing in the Spanish Quarter [of Naples] between the Mariano clan, the “picuozzo” [another name for this clan after the “picuozzo” or cord around a monk’s habit] and the Di Biase family, also known as the “faiano”.

The DDA (Direzione Distrettuale Antimafia or Distict Anti-Mafia Directorate) did not yet exist, but Federico Cafiero de Raho was already employed as prosecutor in the investigations into organized crime.

It was he who dealt with that bloody war. Twenty years later, Aviello had become a news-magazine character. Now in his own words, he claims to have a rolet in the Perugia trial for the Meredith Kercher case as a “decisive” witness.

On 19 April of last year, he addressed two little hand-written pages to the President of the Court of Assizes of Perugia, Giancarlo Massei. He declared himself ready to tell the truth, and revealed that he had twice given some friends of his the task of breaking the seals on the house where the crime took place.

On 31 March of this year, Amanda Knox’s defense team video-recorded the declarations made by Aviello, who is now 41 years old. As the weekly news-magazine “Oggi” writes, he said: “It was my brother who murdered Amanda [sic]. I can recover for you the knife used in the crime and the keys of that house”.

This fellow arrived on the third floor of via Chiatamone [Editor’s office of the Mattino] wearing casual clothes with a pretence of elegance: he never retracts anything, always seeking to find suitable words to best describe his “revelations”.

Contact lenses, slim, a cousin killed because he was affiliated to the Mariano clan, Aviello spoke, revealing an outline personality, in a shadow world of braggadoccio, always on the sidelines of the dealings and violent acts of those in power among the clans of the Quarter at that time.

He ended up in jail, having confessed to a murder. It wasn’t true, but they had promised him 5 million lira, a lawyer and an annuity.

The clan didn’t respect the pact, and so he began to talk freely. Enticed by the good life, he began to act as a gofer/go-between selling “black lottery” tickets. He felt important. He earned 500 thousand lira per week.

It wasn’t bad. Then he did “embassies” [message-running], little services, but never great criminal leaps. The clans considered him “not very trustworthy”.

He was implicated in the investigation into the Spanish Quarter Camorra, and convicted.

Today, Federico Cafiero, now deputy prosecutor and DDA Coordinator for the investigations into the Caserta province clans, says of him: “He was altogether untrustworthy, although every so often he would invent a new one [new story]. A revelation, as he would call it, which would subsequently reveal itself to be out and out nonsense”.

Such as when he said that he knew where Angela Calentano was to be found, or that he knew the hideouts of the main fugitives of the D’Alessandro di Castellammare clan.

For his “revelations” against Tiziana Maiolo, ex president of the Justice Commission of the Chamber, he was hit with a trial, in 1997, for calumny.

Two years ago, he fired off his biggest tale yet: he accused a public prosecutor from Potenza in the famous trial on “dirty robes” between Catanzaro and Salerno. He was given an audience by the prosecutor Rosa Volpe in Salerno.

He had announced revelations. His contradictions were immediately exposed.

On those occasions also, the sources of his stories were newspaper articles or gossip with his cell-mates. Such as Raffaele Sollecito, or Gennaro Cappiello for the “dirty robes” investigation.

A compulsive liar, a seeker of publicity?

Twenty years ago, Aviello seemed to be a self-centred person, proud to present himself as a witness to “important facts”. But he never managed to arrive at a scheme of constant collaboration.

For various crimes, he has so far served 17 years in jail. Now the Perugia case appears. Who knows?

Our poster SomeAlibi seems to have had the last meaningful word on the absurdity of this tale. SomeAlibi posted this rather devastating satire on the PMF forum.

I can see it now..

Ghirga: “Well thank you Mr Luciano Aviello, that testimony I think the court will find extremely interesting concerning why Amanda Knox couldn’t have done the murder because it was your brother who was responsible. Despite the fact he’s missing. But thank you and I believe we’re finished.”

Luciano Aviello (quietly): “We ain’t finished”

G: “Uh?”

LA: “So, about this de-fa-may-shun thing.”

G: “Uh?”

LA: “She didn’t do it.”

G: “Sorry?”

LA: “She didn’t dooo it.”

G: “But Mr Aviello we brought you here to talk about the murder not the—”

LA: ”—see it sounds like you ain’t hearing me too good. Perhaps you need a little airation of your ears to help you with that. How would a 22 millimetre hole strike ya? She didn’t say nothing. She didn’t doooo it, capice?”

G: “But, she said it in interview. And in court. I mean, we were all there”

LA (putting tooth-pick on witness stand) “See, now you are making me repeat myself and I don’t like that at all, no I don’t. But I am a tolerant man, so maybe once more for luck ok? She didn’t dooooooooo it.”

G: “All of us were there!... She doesn’t actually disagree she said it…. hello… Mr Aviello… hello… what are you…. what are you doing… why are you counting?”

LA: “Now requiring this many pine boxes ain’t going to be ecologically acceptable my friend, so I suggest EVERYONE here learns to listen up real good ok?”

Court (all): “Huh?”

LA: “Repeat after me. She didn’t dooooooooooooooooo iiiit”

Court (all): “Like hell she didn’t”

LA: “Wise guys, huh?”

Well… that certainly went very well! This all reads like an Italian movie called in English Johnny Stecchino by Italy’s favorite funny actor Robertio Benignii  He accidentally finds himself confused with a mafiosos in Sicily, sees his days are very numbered, and starts talking fast. Very fast..

He gets out of it, somehow, but the real mafioso still takes the hit. Nice knowing you, Luciano…


Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The Transcript Of Today’s Online Chat Session With Barbie Nadeau Of The Daily Beast

Posted by Peter Quennell


Lucas Wittmann:
Hi, I’m the Books Editor at The Daily Beast and I’m delighted to welcome Barbie Latza Nadeau and our readers to discuss her new book, Angel Face…

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
I’m Barbie Latza Nadeau. Welcome.

[Comment From kcolorado: ]
how was your sense of who she is affected by seeing her in court everyday? Have you spoken with her directly?

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
Seeing Amanda Knox walk into the courtroom every day was very important in understanding how she interacted with her lawyers and her family, and in understanding how the jury perceived her. Amanda has not yet given any one-on-one interviews so no, I have not spoken to her directly.

Lucas Wittmann:
Just so you know we see your comments and will publish them live as Barbie is ready so please keep them coming…

[Comment From Kevad: ]
You have also stated in tv coverage that “we still do not really know what happened in that room”, is that how you still feel?

[Comment From stint: ]
Great job with book, Barbie. I really enjoyed it.

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
Yes, after over two years following this case, none of us know exactly what happened in Meredith’s bedroom that fateful night. No one has confessed to the crime, so until someone does, we will not have a clear understanding of the exact dynamic of the murder.

[Comment From Guest: ]
How do you think your journalism during the trial affected its outcome?

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
Thank you. I’m glad you liked the book. My hope is that it provides perspective of this complex case.

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
I don’t think that any of us who covered this trial as journalists had a direct impact on the jury’s decision. We were not in the deliberation room.

[Comment From Wade: ]
Why in your opinion did the seattle media frame the events as they did

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
I think that many of my colleagues in the Seattle market did the best job they could with the information they had. Their primary source was the Knox family, so their coverage was affected by that. When members of the Seattle press came to Perugia, they did not speak Italian and had a difficult time following the court sessions because there was no translator. Those of us who live and work here in Italy often helped the American press as best we could.

[Comment From stint: ]
Regarding earlier comment. Since Knox Family PR firm *very* closely controls any and all media contact with themselves, and they have reportedly blackballed any reporters even seen *near* you, do you really think you might interview Amanda in the future

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
I have hope that Amanda might want someone objective who understands Italian to conduct an interview with her at some point down the road. But because I have been skeptical, I am fairly sure I am not high on the list of interview candidates.

[Comment From mnh12121887:
But why did the American media take the Knox family version so much on face value without even trying to look deeper?

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
I think that the economic crisis has played a role. Many bureaus have been closed across Europe and it would have been a major expense to send a correspondent to Italy for such a long trial. I think that had there been a larger Italian based press corp it would have made a difference in coverage.

Lucas Wittmann:
Let’s explore now the facts of the case.

[Comment From Guest: ]
Do you believe Knox’s assertion that she was abused during her final interrogation?

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
I think it depends how you define “abused.” If you mean to ask if she was flicked on the back of the head (which is a cultural norm here in schools and in criminal investigations), then yes, that very likely happened. If you mean to ask if she was abused in the way the American police have been caught on CCTV abusing detainees, then no, I do not think she was abused.

[Comment From Guest: ]
You seem to have made some strange claims in your book - about AK and RS actually NOT remembering what happened. How on earth did you reach that conclusion?

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
I gave my hypothesis about the crime based on sitting through 11 months of a trial. I believe that if Amanda and Raf would have remembered exactly what happened, whether they were involved or not, their explanation of the evening of November 1 would have been more clear. A lie is often very black and white. Their confused responses seemed to me to be more consistent with a hazy memory or no memory at all.

[Comment From hattie: ]
I still believe that Amanda Knox is innocent, and I read your book to get another point of book. Thank you for that. My concern is that there is so much more DNA evidence against Rudy. How was Amanda able to clean up and not leave more DNA evidence in Meredith’s room?

Lucas Wittmann:
Don’t have Angel Face yet? Order it now as an e-book or paperback: http://bit.ly/chDjIX

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
I think it is important to remember that the same scientific police and laboratories tested the DNA for all three suspects. That is to say, if the DNA matches Rudy and is accepted, then the DNA that matches the other two should also be accepted. How she may have left so little DNA if she was actually in the room is very hard to square. Whether some of the 14 unidentified fingerprints belong to her is a big question in this case. There were very few fingerprints on any flat surfaces belonging to Rudy either. Is it possible to pick and choose how to clean up DNA? Maybe not, but it is possible to wipe up fingerprints and footprints that you know are your own.

[Comment From Guest: ]
If they didn’t remember then why did they do the clean up? They clearly knew they had ‘something’ to hide!

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
That is a very good question. Perhaps waking up in a house with a dead body makes one act irrationally. Perhaps because they might not have remembered what they did the night before, they panicked. We do not know, but that is one question I will ask Amanda if I ever get a chance.

[Comment From Guest: ]
After 11 months viewing the trial, do you believe that Amanda joined in any sort of sex game with Meredith? It seems that Amanda did, bt then went to her room BEFORE and DURING the murder.

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
There is no forensic evidence that Amanda had sexual relations with Meredith. I have a hard time accepting that it started as a sex game. I believe that if they were involved it was because they could not stop themselves from an aggravated escalation of violence. In essence, they could not tell agony from ecstasy and did not realize that Meredith needed their help. Instead, they may have helped Rudy and that is when things got out of control.

[Comment From Lisa: ]
I see that some folks her responded to the question “Who Killed Meredith Kercher” with “Amanda and Raffaele” only. No Rudy. How could that be? Do you think journalism had anything to do with that?

Lucas Wittmann:
We’re going to wrap this up in 10 minutes so please contribute any final questions now.

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
I think that the fact that Rudy’s trial was sewn up before Amanda and Raffaele’s began is the reason many people separate them in this crime. But Rudy was convicted for his role in the murder, not as a lone assailant. His judge’s reasoning clearly states that he felt Rudy acted in tandem with Amanda and Raffaele.

[Comment From mhm12121887: ]
What is happening now—in Italy?

[Comment From Noel: ]
How do you see the appeal going?

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
Right now lawyers for both Amanda and Raf are preparing their appeal briefs. Those will be filed within a few weeks and then the date will be set for the appeal hearing, likely in the fall.

[Comment From Kermit: ]
Hi Barbie. Your journalism has opened up transparency and debate from an Iron-Curtain situation of control in the American press. Where do you see each of the three convicted (pending appeal) murderers 10 and 20 years from now?

[Comment From stint: ]
Thanks so much for this opportunity, and again thanks for all your objective coverage in “Angel Face”.... great read.

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
I think that the appeal will result in a few years taken from the sentences of both Amanda and Raffaele.

[Comment From Guest: ]
hasn’t her real beauty complicated this hugely from day one?

[Comment From hattie: ]
Thank for an excellent book. I read it in one day, and it gave me a different side of the story. I hope that both pro- and anti-Amanda sides will take an opportunity to read this book.

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
I think that it is very likely that all three of the convicted murderers of Meredith Kercher will return home one day.

Lucas Wittmann:
Here is the link if you’d like to order the Angel Face e-book and paperback: http://bit.ly/chDjIX

[Comment From mhm12121887: ]
Thanks also for the book and for the “on the spot” reporting and objectivity

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
I think that Amanda’s beauty has increased the interest in this case, but I do not think that it dictated the outcome.

[Comment From Patty: ]
Thanks for answering questions Barbie.

Lucas Wittmann:
Down to our final question…

[Comment From somealibi: ]
(For the end) Compliments on the presentation and technology with the poll-type questions

[Comment From Patty: ]
Do you think any of them will ever confess?

[Comment From Guest: ]
You’ve been a real heroine in this case Barbie. Well done for your objective reporting.

Lucas Wittmann:
Thanks for answering the polls!

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
I think that one day we will have a confession, yes. But not while they are in prison.

Lucas Wittmann:
Wait…one more!

[Comment From Guest: ]
Can you give your reactions to the 2 op-ed pieces in the NYTimes (Seattle writere)?

[Comment From Guest Guest: ]
Can we have another session please????

Lucas Wittmann:
Re: another session. So many great comments and questions, we’ll keep it in mind.

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
I was in Perugia when those op-ed pieces came out and they were not helpful to Amanda. The prosecutor was angry, the jury members were insulted and Amanda’s own lawyers were not happy. Op-ed pieces are by nature controversial, but they should be weighed to see whether they will impact the topic. That sort of journalism likely had more impact on this case than what anyone wrote with a Perugia dateline.

Lucas Wittmann:
Thanks everyone for participating!
And thanks Barbie for answering all these great questions.

[Comment From ricardoricardo: ]
which ‘op-ed’ pieces > do you have a link ?

Lucas Wittmann:
Here is the link: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/10/an-innocent-abroad/

[Comment From Guest: ]
Cheers Barbie! Will raise a glass to you tonight…

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
Thank you. I want to also thank Andrea Vogt, of the Seattle P-I who was a voice of reason in Seattle during the trial based in Italy. The op-ed pieces are by Timothy Egan.

[Comment From Guest:]
Thank you. This is nice technology and nice pace. Could have been twice as long smile

[Comment From somealibi: ]
Keep it going Barbie - thanks - we value an objective take

Lucas Wittmann:
Thanks again to everyone and we’ll definitely keep this in mind the next time.

[Comment From ricardo: ]
many thanks…

[Comment From Patty: ]
Thank you, and Andrea, for your coverage of the trial. Invaluable.

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU:
Thanks to everyone who sent question.

[Comment From Clander: ]
Ciao from Roma !! You ROCK Barbie !


Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Italian Judge Ruling Is Tough But Fair In Another Case Involving Americans

Posted by Peter Quennell


We’ve seen no trace of anti-Americanism in the Perugia case, other than restrained reactions by prominent commentators to some strident anti-Italianism from the US.

Typically the two populations get along and like one another, they eagerly buy one another’s products, they visit one another’s countries in droves, and at the political level Italy and the US are very close allies.

So. Does the Italian judiciary perhaps have a covert beef against Americans?

We don’t see that one either. The main Americans that Italian judges see appearing in front of them are students, who seem to have quite a knack there for dropping themselves in it. We don’t post on all those cut-short escapades, but there are several a year reported, and we did post on two that happened in Florence.

All of the student cases are treated humanely, and the American Embassy in Rome is not kept particularly busy lecturing Italians on how to handle each case. Actually because of this case the Embassy keeps a very low profile. 

Judge Oscar Magi (image above) has now issued a 200-page explanation of his mainly-guilty ruling in the CIA kidnapping case. (This document is the equivalent of what we will see within a month on Meredith’s case.) 

Fearless, tough, and seemingly fair. The New York Times impartially reports.

The Italian secret service was most likely aware of, “and perhaps complicit in,” the abduction of an Egyptian cleric from the streets of Milan in 2003, a judge in Milan said Monday. But, he added, state secrecy prevented the court from proving this.

The statement by the judge, Oscar Magi, was part of a 200-page document explaining his reasoning behind the landmark November ruling that convicted 23 Americans, most of them Central Intelligence Agency operatives, of kidnapping the cleric. It was the first case to yield convictions in the practice of “extraordinary rendition,” in which terrorism suspects are captured in one country and taken to another, where they may be subjected to coercive interrogation techniques.

Judge Magi convicted a former C.I.A. base chief and 22 other Americans of kidnapping in the abduction of an Egyptian cleric, Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, on Feb. 17, 2003. Prosecutors said the cleric was taken from Milan in broad daylight and flown from an American air base in Italy to a base in Germany and then on to Egypt, where Mr. Nasr asserts he was tortured….

Judge Magi acquitted three Americans, citing diplomatic immunity, and two Italians, citing state secrecy. Tried in absentia, the other 23 Americans are considered fugitives and are sought under a European Union arrest warrant. Through their lawyers, they pleaded not guilty….

The Italian government is not expected to request extradition of the Americans, who are not expected to serve jail time. Still, the case marked the first time a judge in an allied country had placed C.I.A. agents on trial.

Judge Magi wrote that in 30 years as a penal judge, he had “very rarely” heard testimony “so precise, attentive and correct regarding such difficult and serious investigations,” adding that he had never seen a penal trial in which events had been reconstructed with such “certainty” and “such a degree of authority.”

Posted on 02/02/10 at 02:18 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedThe judiciaryAppeals 2009-2015The wider contextsExtradition issues
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Friday, January 08, 2010

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

Posted by Highly-Concerned Washington-State Voters


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Senator Cantwell:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[signed by five constituents in the original]


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