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 Knox-Mellas team

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Confirmed: Neither Knox’s Father Nor Stepfather Were So Solicitous In Seattle

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for more in-depth reporting by Barbie Nadeau for the new mega news-site the Daily Beast.

The Beast is clearly the American media outfit most intent now on steam-rolling the floundering Seattle PR effort and throwing some serious resources into reporting the real story.

Particularly noteworthy in this repoort in Amanda Knox’s wider psychological context are these passages.

1) About an absentee biological father who several times defaulted on Amanda’s child support payments

Knox is the product of a broken home. Her parents Edda and Curt divorced when she was two years old. On more than one occasion Edda had to go to court to collect child support from Curt.

2) And on a snarling and abusive stepfather who moved in to the household when Knox was aged ten

When Amanda was around 10, her mother met and later married Chris Mellas, an IT specialist ten years her junior….  Mellas, who is taking his turn in the family rotation for the next few weeks, is also a father figure. People close to the family say his relationship with Amanda, who is only 14 years younger, was complicated and tenuous at times.

She complained about him to several friends, and expressed worries about her mother’s relationship. She wrote on Mellas’ MySpace page in August 2007, just two months before the murder, “Alright, does that mean we’re getting along then?”

In turn, Mellas’ MySpace page bragged about getting drunk with his stepdaughter. That same page, now offline but mirrored on several Internet sites, is rife with photos of drunk people vomiting and pictures of Mellas and his buddies holding big fish they’ve caught.

Describing himself as happily married, he wrote, “I have two kids by marriage, Amanda and Deanna. They are both shitheads and I love them anyways. They, as we all do, have their fare [sic] share of quirks…but we would all be white bread boring as hell if we didn’t.”

Mellas is hot-tempered and frequently lashes out at the press, accusing anyone who doubts Amanda’s innocence as “insane” and “stupid.” He also posts nasty comments on blogs about the case and has written harsh emails to many reporters.

On Friday, he physically shooed away Nick Pisa, an Anglo-Italian reporter who writes for a variety of British publications. “Don’t even bother,” he snarled in the open courtroom. “I am not talking to you. You don’t understand the truth.”

With friends like these in her family, does she need any enemies? At least we here at TJMK always try to be fair to her.

Posted on 03/14/09 at 02:00 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedThe wider contextsSeattle contextAmanda KnoxKnox-Mellas team
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Friday, March 13, 2009

Amanda Knox’s Controversial Stepfather Arrives In Perugia To Help Out

Posted by Peter Quennell



[click for larger image]

Very much anticipated. Chris Mellas (center above) has something of a reputation on the internet for sharp elbows.

It sure will be interesting to watch all the Knox and Mellas body-language here - and to hear all the questions intrepid reporters put to him. Knox seemed to imply in her diary that she may have hated the guy. Rumors around Seattle seem to suggest at least something at home was seriously not right.

A few days ago in this comment, Skeptical Bystander offered this take on Chris Mellas.

Perhaps you should go at him, reporters? He may prove a real gold-mine - and don’t let him spin you! Most especially not you, Peter Popham.

Posted on 03/13/09 at 12:57 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedThe wider contextsPerugia contextSeattle contextAmanda KnoxKnox-Mellas team
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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Powerpoints #11: Countering The Spin By The Defenses On The Recent Cottage Break-in

Posted by Kermit





Click here if you have Powerpoint or the Powerpoint Viewer program loaded. If not here is the Viewer download.

TJMK is getting a reputation for cool, precise, painstaking, and illuminating examination of the evidence made available.  We have frequently wanned others not to jump the gun or to mischaracterize known evidence when so very much of it is not yet in the open.

Just over two weeks ago, on 18 February, the Italian police discovered that in recent days intruders had broken their way into the girls’ apartment in the house on Via della Pergola.  The intruders had entered through the kitchen window to the north, opening onto the balcony.

This strange happening sparked many concerned questions, especially in Italy. For example, was the break-in perhaps related to the crime of 1 November 2007 and the trial now underway?

Nobody knows as yet. Police investigations continue. But it is just possible that it WAS related to the case. And if it was, there seem to be several possibilities as to why:

1) Proof of easy access for burglars?

The break-in could have been a demonstration of how a thief could very easily make his way into the cottage, similar to the notional “lone wolf” attacker that Raffaele Sollecito’s lawyer Ms Bongiorno has been promoting as the real perpetrator of the crime.

2) Proof of contamination of DNA evidence?

If an undetected thief could have entered the cottage between 2 November 2007 and the date when the bra clasp with Raffaele’s DNA was collected in mid-December, that could be an explanation for the unlikely DNA contamination which the defence teams claim might have occurred.

3) Modification or removal of remaining evidence?

The break-in could have taken place with the object of modifying or removing some remaining evidence which the police have not yet collected, evidence which may soon become significant for example in the course of a confession by one of the defendants or Rudy Guede..

4) A threat or message to the police?

The fact that during the break-in some knives in the cottage were arranged in a suggestive manner, and one was placed on a police envelope (apparently brought in by the intruders and unrelated to the previous evidence gathering) might point towards the intruders making some threat to the police, or trying to send some message to them.  This possibility becomes a bit more significant when one considers that the break-in occurred just before the resumption of the trial, when the 12 police investigators who were involved in the crime-scene investigation were all just about to give their testimonies before the court.

5) Unrelated possibilities to explain the break-in?

Perhaps it really was some sort of satanic rite. Or a prank or a hoax. Or it might simply have been some itinerants getting in to spend a night out of the extreme cold.

Defense spin has been attempted along most of these lines, to suggest that the prosecutors and crime scene investigators really did botch the investigation.

The most outlandish of all claims was in the blog section of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. That, because the perpetrators of this break-in quite easily got in through the KITCHEN window it proves they easily could have got in through a BEDROOM window. And this despite the facts that:

These Powerpoints here set out to demonstrate that there is no possible parallel between this THEORETICAL break-in through Filomena’s bedroom and the ACTUAL break-in through the kitchen window.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Cutting Through The Confusion Over Knox’s Status In Perugia

Posted by stewarthome2000



[Shots: School for Foreigners; bottom shot from above Meredith’s house]

The media have now repeated countless times that Amanda Knox was on a “study abroad program”.

In fact, as these things are defined, she was not. It is precisely that she was NOT on a study-abroad program that she was able to adopt a lifestyle that seems to have led her to where she is now.

To go on a study-abroad “program” means that you attend an organized and SUPERVISED curriculum and agenda, most often with peers, faculty and/or at the very least a local administrative staff person assigned to periodically look after the participants’ behavior and well-being.

In fact the University of Washington does not even have a study abroad “program” in Perugia. It merely suggests to UW students that the Universita per Stranieri is a possible destination and place for students to go on their own, and if asked helps out with some administration.

Knox took the “non-conformist” path to study abroad. I recall reading that she did not want to go on a program so as to not follow the group, so to speak. So she did study abroad, but cheaply, and outside an organized program by the University of Washington. She was basically in Perugia on her own.

This is characteristic of at least two type of people, those who are adventurous, exploratory and want a true full-immersion experience into the cultural side of the host country (usually Italian majors), and those who want to be untethered and to have total freedom and no one to answer to so they can do as they wish.

Her casual attitude to her studies and other strong hints in her behavior and writings suggests that she was the latter type.

And presumably her biological parents understood all of this and signed off on it, even before Amanda Knox ever left Seattle.

Parents especially should know that if Knox had attended a UW-operated or US-University run study abroad program with supervision, her attendance in class would have been monitored, and any behavior that would upset roommates may have been reported.

In these programs for the most part there are strict housing rules such as no overnight guests, let alone bringing guys home to sack up with. Most of the time roommates will complain on the spot or get back to the American administrators that they have an out-of-control roommate bringing guys home, drinking excessively, or doing drugs.

In addition, programs with the proper supervision have enough of a presence to let the participants know that someone is at least checking up now and again. And as a result they watch their behavior.

Furthermore, in well-run programs, students are given significant preparation about living in the specific host country and city with pre-departure materials and perhaps meetings, talking with ex-participants, and attending an extensive multi-day orientation where staff and even local police lecture them about the many pitfalls of living in a foreign and new environment away from home.

They are reminded that the laws are different in other countries, and more importantly that there are some bad people walking the streets. They are told to enjoy themselves and learn, but also to be careful, stay alert, stay out of trouble, and so on.

I myself work in study abroad and we know what unleashed unsupervised colleges students get themselves into. We are trained to look for potential problems and we visit all students accommodations at least once per month and speak with everyone there.

We have open-door counseling and professionals with years of experience on staff. We watch out for all our students regularly… we know what behavior to look for, and when to intervene, at least most of the time.

Yes, it costs more to attend the Universita per Stranieri or any overseas university through a US-college or US-university monitored program with local on-site staff and supervision.

But the situation Amanda has created, or at least found herself in, is much less likely to happen to students on a supervised and accredited study abroad program.

Let’s face it, at the age of 20, 21, or 22, many young adults are still really more or less kids. Naive and vulnerable, especially those who have yet to explore their “wild side”, they sometimes see this as an opportunity to make up for lost time.

This is exemplified in the fact that many pass out from drinking in the days after they arrive. Bottom line, they need guidance, and no more so than when they are 8000 miles from home and on their own.

Knox took the “I am too good to go on study abroad program with fellow students” route and the cheapest way overseas.  And it is not proving so cheap anymore.

Her biological parents really should have known better. All parents should either make sure the students are mature enough, or make sure they have a structured environment that can assist them while abroad. It is well worth the extra cost and peace of mind.

So the media should please get this straight from now on.

  • Amanda Knox was NOT on a study abroad “program” while in Perugia.  She was at most “studying abroad” as that term is used very loosely.
  • She took a leave from the University of Washington to study Italian at what is essentially a glorified language school which anyone can attend.
  • She was totally unsupervised in a high-risk situation where it would have seemed obvious to any supervisor that she was looking to break away.
  • And she most likely would have had a very difficult time getting any credit for her studies from the University of Washington at the conclusion.

So. The worst possible deal for any student abroad. The parents signed off in advance.  It seems to have exploded on Knox. And poor Meredith died.







Wednesday, February 25, 2009

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

Posted by Brian S




1. Where We Stand

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.

2. 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.


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Meredith’s Perugia #6: Wait For It - One Of The Spontaneous Happenings

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters

Posted on 02/21/09 at 01:52 PM by The TJMK Main PostersClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Trials 2008 & 2009The psychologyKnox-Mellas team
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Friday, February 20, 2009

Daily Mail’s Jan Moir Wants Due Process Respected By Parents

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for influential Jan Moir’s full column.

It is mainly about UK cases of parents not respecting the process, but the Knox campaign also gets a mention.

When Amanda Knox was arrested in Italy in connection with the murder of Meredith Kercher, her family began an incantation of her innocence and a blaring defence of her character that continues to this day

The defense PR campaign here seems to be unique in recent United States legal history. Also TV networks paying out very big bucks for exclusives with defendants’ relatives, as was just reported about ABC, seems something of a first here.

Typically the situation is that it is the victim and their relatives who get all the attention. Often on steroids. So it’s perhaps not surprising that Jan Moir is surprised.

The name of the victim here is Meredith, of course.


Friday, February 13, 2009

Trial: Friday Morning, Grinning Knox For Openers - And Now This

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click above for the first report by Nick Squires on testimony from Meredith’s friends.

1) From Robyn Butterworth

“I found Amanda’s behaviour very strange,” said Robyn Butterworth… “I found it difficult to be with her because she showed no emotion when everyone else was really upset. We were all crying but I didn’t see Amanda cry,”

“She and Raffaele were kissing and joking together, there was laughter at some point, I remember Amanda stuck her tongue out at Raffaele. She put her feet up on his lap and they were kissing and cuddling and talking.”

“Amanda kept saying ‘I found her, how do you think I feel?’...She seemed proud to have found the body. I heard her say that Meredith was in the closet with a blanket over her. I also remember her talking on the phone and she was saying things like ‘It could have been me.’”

2) From Natalie Hayward

Another friend, Natalie Hayward, expressed the hope that Miss Kercher had not suffered when she died. Miss Knox allegedly replied: “What do you think? She #### bled to death.”

Miss Kercher was often annoyed that Miss Knox skipped her turn to clean their shared bathroom and thought it odd that the American kept a vibrator and condom in full view in an open wash bag.

“Meredith thought it was strange because they were there for everyone to see, she found it uncomfortable. My perception of their relationship was that it was at times a bit awkward and there were a few concerns Meredith had.”

Italian sources are reporting that Amanda Knox then asked to make a statement in Italian (believed her first) to the court. A quick translation:

“I am innocent and have faith that everything will come out and that everything will be alright.” Amanda then recounted that the vibrator had been given to her as a joke gift by a friend before coming to Italy. Knox described it as a little red bunny, about 10 centimetres long, and emphasised that it was a joke.

Posted on 02/13/09 at 08:37 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: The officially involvedTrials 2008 & 2009Amanda KnoxKnox-Mellas team
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Thursday, February 12, 2009

BBC Interview: Mignini Comes Across As Fair, Decent, Funny, And Quite Sane

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for Julian Joyce’s exclusive interview with Prosecutor Mignini.

This one might have the Salty’s Restaurant crowd grinding their teeth. And Amanda Knox’s own counsel rather relieved.

Note these significant insights into Prosecutor Mignini’s thinking, situation and health.

Giuliano Mignini told the BBC he had “never visited a psychologist” and he was taking legal action against a US paper that carried the allegations.

Mr Mignini also said Ms Knox’s backers were trying to “influence” the trial. Amanda Knox and her Italian boyfriend are accused of the murder of British student Meredith Kercher in 2007…

Mr Mignini said he was “not happy” about a story on the West Seattle Herald’s website last month in which supporters of Amanda Knox say he is believed to be mentally unstable…

No-one at the West Seattle Herald could be reached for comment. Mr Mignini confirmed he has started an action for defamation against the newspaper.

He joked: “I am quite a healthy man. I don’t go to the doctor much and I have never visited a psychologist.”

The allegations are the latest episode in what Mr Mignini believes to be a systematic attempt to discredit him, and thus derail Amanda Knox’s trial.

He said: “These are allegations from 9,000 kilometres away from people who have no knowledge of me and to whom I have never spoken. “I would never give an opinion on someone I know nothing about.

“I regard it as trying to influence the trial. These things might happen in Italy but I really would not expect attempts to influence to come out of the United States.”

Evidence that the trial’s prosecutor is also being targeted by Ms Knox’s supporters appears prominently on the website of Seattle lawyer Anne Bremner, who represents the Friends of Amanda.

They include accusations that he leaked “false information” to the press and that Mr Mignini is under indictment for “abuse of office”. The indictment allegation is understood to refer to a previous case that Mr Mignini investigated in Florence.

But Mr Mignini said it was true that although a Florence prosecutor had brought proceedings against him, another court had already “declared non-existent” the charges of abuse of office.

Mignini is also quoted as being “in thrall to a sort of delirium” in his handling of the Florence case, in which he “fantasized amazing and complex Satanic conspiracies.”

This is believed to be a reference to Mr Mignini’s involvement in an inquiry connected to the infamous “Monster of Florence” serial killings, during which Mr Mignini is said to have consulted an alleged psychic, Gabriella Carlizzi….

But Mr Mignini said he was “not friendly” with Mrs Carlizzi, and did not share her views, even to the point of having her arrested in 2005.

“I have said these things many times to American journalists,” he said. “But there are none so deaf as those who will not hear.”

A systematic attempt to discredit Mr Mignini and thus to derail Amanda Knox’s trial? Well! Who would have thought it.

Now, about that rumored gigantic libel/slander lawsuit that London lawyers would like him to get active…


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Knox PR Campaign: Have The Dishonest Talking Points Now Become A Trap?

Posted by The Machine



[David Marriott of a Seattle public relations firms]

Marriott’s dishonest campaign

David Marriott apparently manages (see sample press release) the message and media relations for the campaign to enhance Amanda Knox.

The main thrust of the PR campaign seems to be that there’s no evidence against Knox, or the evidence is tainted, they are holding the wrong person (or already have the right person), and there’s no need to have a trial…  but those rascally Italians just won’t let her go.

Marriott’s nasty campaign already seems to have most of Italy backed off (the Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito legal teams both included), and to have lost most of its traction in the UK and New York.

Many good PR gurus think it is very sleazy. Even in Seattle, there are now those who speak out against it.

Not exactly what we’d call a big win.

True, people accused of a cruel and depraved murder do not normally have a PR campaign making their case. Normally they have a lawyer out front - preferably a very good lawyer, who can contend with evidence as it comes out, and appear on the talk-shows and news to explain what really happened.

And true, the PR campaign was launched almost instantly after Knox had already come out with suggestive actions and statements which seem to implicate her in the crime which do not want to go away.

So the campaign was maybe handicapped right from the start.

But still, public relations guys we know are scratching their heads over this one.

Ten obvious public relations lies

Why run a campaign which, time and time again, has taken loud positions not 5 degrees away from probable truth - but a full 180 degrees away? And therefore very hard to quietly back away from?

Each of these ten false claims and mantras below - still not put to rest, although last week was not a good week for them - have been incessantly propagated, some for nearly one year. 

Each of them now seems to be an albatross around the necks of the Seattle defendant and her team. The danger now is that, as the media find ONE false claim fake, they will start to question all of them, and feel that they have been lied to.

Again, not exactly what we’d call a winning stance.

False claim 1: Amanda was beaten or “smacked around” by the police during her questioning

Amanda herself may have started this false claim when explaining to family why she incriminated herself. Although Mr Knox wasn’t present when Amanda was questioned by the police, he has frequently repeated this claim when interviewed by the media.

Reality 

Amanda gave two very different accounts of where she was, who she was with, and what she was doing on the night of the murder. She also accused an innocent man of Meredith’s murder.

This is highly incriminating and poses a real problem for Amanda’s defense and family and supporters. 

However Amanda’s lawyer, Luciano Ghirga, confirmed that Amanda had not actually been beaten or “smacked around” at Rudy Guede’s fast-track trial last October: “There were pressures from the police but we never said she was hit.”

Mr Knox has not acknowledged the admission of his daughter’s counsel or apologised for accusing the Italian police of brutality. The false claim continue to mislead people, with posters on Internet website still maintaining that Amanda’s confession was beaten out of her. 

False claim 2: Amanda was interrogated for 9 hours/14 hours/all night

Jon Follain in The Times quoted the parents in an interview proclaiming: “On November 6, five days after Meredith’s murder, Knox was interrogated by police for nine hours until she signed a statement at 5.45am.” 

Juju Chang claimed it was “an all night interrogation” on ABC News. Jan Goodwin stated in her article in Marie Claire magazine that:“After her arrest, Amanda was detained by the police and interrogated for 14 hours.”

Mr Knox repeated the claim that Amanda’s interrogation last all night, and that it lasted 14 hours, on a recent Seattle TV station King5 interview.

Lexie Krell wrote in The UW Daily on 16 January 2009 that: “The Italian Supreme Court has already thrown out Knox’s original statement on the basis that she was denied a lawyer during her initial 14-hour interrogation.”

Reality 

We know that Amanda was on the phone with one of her Italian flatmates at around 10.40pm, asking if the living arrangement could continue in spite of Meredith’s death. The police questioning had not begun then.

And according to the Italian Supreme Court, Amanda’s questioning was stopped at 1.45am when she became a suspect. So Amanda was questioned for only approximately 3 hours and then she was held as a suspect.

There never was an all-night interrogation, and it certainly was nowhere remotely near 14 hours in length. 

It seems there may be a simple and straightforward explanation why Amanda suddenly admitted that she was the cottage when Meredith was murdered and implicated Lumumba:

She was informed that Raffaele Sollecito was no longer providing her with an alibi that she was with him all the night of the murder.

False claim 3: Knox’s confession to being at the murder scene was thrown out.

This was the spoken confession at the end of the claimed 14 hours which Knox claimed she finally came out with only because she was knocked about.

Reality 

True in the narrow sense. But one of Amanda’s statements in which she admits to being at the cottage on the night of the murder was not “tossed” out by the Italian Supreme Court. 

Her letter to the police is almost identical in content to the statements that were not admitted as evidence. This incriminating letter was admitted as evidence last Friday.

False claim 4: Meredith wasn’t sexually assaulted.

Jan Goodwin claimed in Marie Claire: “There is also no indication that Meredith was subjected to sexual violence…”

In his unprecedented letter to Italy’s justice minister, Judge Michael Heavey stated that it was not true that: “Sexual violence was perpetrated against the victim”

Jonathan Martin claimed in The Seattle Times. “An autopsy found no evidence Kercher had been raped or had sexual contact with anyone except Guede.”

Reality 

Rudy Guede was found guilty of sexually assaulting Meredith on 30 October 2008. Sexually assaulting. And Judge Micheli in commiting Knox and Sollecito to trial graphically describes how the physical evidence points to a kind of gang rape. 

The claim that Meredith wasn’t sexually assaulted is not only untrue, it’s deeply offensive to Meredith and her poor family. By claiming that there was no sexual assault, the likes of Judge Heavey and Jan Goodwin are insinuating that Meredith consented to sexual activity with Rudy Guede.

False claim 5: The double DNA knife has been essentially ruled out.

The DNA on the blade could belong to half of the population of Italy or there is only a 1% per cent chance that the DNA on the blade belongs to Meredith.

Reality 

Forensic expert Patrizia Stefanoni has consistently maintained that Meredith’s DNA IS on the blade and Amanda’s DNA is on the handle of the knife found at Raffaele Sollecito’s apartment. 

This result was confirmed as accurate and reliable by Dr Renato Biondo, who is head of the DNA Unit at Polizia Scientifica, Rome.

Patrizia Stefanoni and Dr Renato Biondo are highly respected, independent forensic experts with impeccable credentials.

False claim 6: The crime scene was totally compromised by the police or analysts

Many of Amanda Knox’s supporters who seem to have no relevant qualifications or expertise in forensic science have claimed that the crime scene was compromised or violated. One vocal supporter analysed a police break-in downstairs on TV and offered it as proof that the crime scene upstairs had been compromised.

Reality 

This claim has been vigorously refuted by the forensic police. They claim that they have followed international protocols throughout. They recorded the investigation as it happened, changed tweezers when they needed to, and duly informed the defence of every finding.

Independent forensic expert Renato Biondo stated: “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.”

False claim 7: The European press gave Amanda Knox the nickname Foxy Knoxy.

This is a part of the larger “UK and Italian tabloids have crucified her” meme for which actual evidence online is very hard to find..

Reality 

European newspapers, including the quality newspapers, have occasionally called Amanda by the nickname she herself called herself by on her MySpace page.

False claim 8: Amanda has never ever before been in trouble

Paul Ciolino has stated: “I was stunned that this was why he suspected Amanda and her boyfriend were involved in the crime,” he says. “These two kids, never in trouble, classic middle-class college students — it’s ludicrous that they were implicated.”

Reality 

Amanda Knox was charged for hosting a party that got seriously out of hand, with students high on drink and drugs, and throwing rocks into the road forcing cars to swerve.

The students then threw rocks at the windows of neighbours who had called the police.

The situation was so bad that police reinforcements had to be called. Amanda was fined $269 (£135) at the Municipal Court after the incident - Crime No: 071830624.

Incidentally, anyone who has recently tried to gain access to the police report has been denied access. It seems strange that a police report into a “routine” incident has seemingly now been hidden from the public.

False claim 9: Amanda hasn’t lied or if she has, she has only lied once

Amanda’s mother claimed in a recent interview with Linda Byron on Seatlle TV’s King5 (6 January) that Amanda has maintained she told the same story for over a year when she was asked whether Amanda had lied. She had previously stated that Amanda had only lied once.

Reality 

Amanda has given multiple alibis and told different stories repeatedly. Amanda herself apologised to Judge Paolo Micheli for lying about Diya Lumumba’s role in the murder. Amanda’s conflicting statements to the police seem to indicate that she lied to them several times. 

False claim 10: The prosecutors have been widely leaking information to the media

Amanda’s family and supporters have frequently made this claim. The biological parents claimed in their interview with Linda Byron on King5 that the international media frenzy had been fed by leaks by the prosecutors. 

Deanna Knox claimed on the Today Show that Amanda is the victim of an anti-American bias: “It’s because she’s an American,” she told Matt Lauer. “They don’t really like her there because she’s a pretty girl and they see her as some target that they can get to, because she’s from a different country.”

Reality 

In Italy Prosecutor Mignini is widely known for not leaking. Many of the so-called leaks were information put out in the course of the many hearings. The evidence in this case has in fact long been like an iceberg - all but a tiny fraction of it has remained out of sight, as the startling revelations last Friday and Saturday went to show.

Media sources have mentioned that many of the leaks have in fact come from defence sources. Fellow TJMK poster Skeptical Bystander was offered access to Amanda’s diary, not by the prosecutors, the police or prison guards, but by somebody close to Amanda herself.


Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Amanda Knox Defence Team Strongly Objects To Seattle Sliming Strategy

Posted by Peter Quennell


Above: Luciano Ghirga (left) and Carlo Della Vedova.

Click for a larger image. They are apparently thoroughly ticked off. Here’s our previous post on exactly what made them so ticked.

Once again, the demand from the Amanda Knox legal team goes out: Pipe down, Seattle. And give Amanda Knox a break.

Translation below by poster Kermit is of the story in today’s La Nazione

“Those American personalities are not helping Amanda”

Lawyer Ghirga: “I have spoken with Prosecutor Mignini”

by Enzo Beretta - Perugia

“There are people around the figure of Amanda who have no formal role in the student’s defence team, which is formed by myself together with my colleague Carlo Dalla Vedova.

These people are not only not helping our client in the difficult judicial process in the Corte d’Assise in which we have to defend her, but on the contrary, they are harming her judicial position.”

Luciano Ghirga, lawyer for the American accused by the prosecutor of sexually assaulting and killing Meredith Kercher with her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito and Rudy Hermann Guede, once again distances himself from the Stars-and-Stripes “know-it-alls” who repeatedly have tried to throw mud on the work of investigators and have even personally attacked Giuliano Mignini, head of the murder investigation.

There is strong evidence which supports the prosecution, unlike the “macaroni” pleading endlessly and one after the other on American television broadcasts, who pay lawyers, show-men and private investigators not much inclined to read the documentation.

That documentation was studied a lot by the Review and Court of Appeal judges, who confirmed preventive prison for the suspects, and the GUP Paolo Micheli, who has sentenced Rudy to thirty years in prison (with the abbreviated trial) and sent the ex-boyfriend and girlfriend to trial. This is a validation of the good work done by the investigators.

Lawyer Ghirga has not acted on a video in which the correctness of the findings of the forensic investigators is called into question, thereby attacking the protagonists of the case. But he will play his cards at the appropriate time in the trial, which resumes Friday.

“On a personal level I expressed my impressions to Dr. Mignini,” Ghirga said.

The lobbying work by Amanda’s side fits into a framework of traditional adversity by Americans when their fellow citizens are left in the hands of another country’s justice.


Sunday, February 01, 2009

Why The Smears Of Prosecutor Mignini By Knox “Friends” Are Really Simply A Sideshow

Posted by Peter Quennell


Other than, of course, for the corrosive effects on Amanda Knox’s own defense.

Having attracted a defamation suit for his paper from Mr Mignini for his reporting of the antic Friends fund-raiser, Mr Shay (left above) then jubilantly surfaced on the blog of another Seattle newspaper.

As I reported accurately, I was told by people attending the charity that Mignini is mentally unstable. His over-the-top response seems to indicate that this is so, but (disclaimer) I am not degreed in the field of psychology and therefore cannot for certain diagnose Mignini as having the mental problems others have said they have noticed he has. Ironically, I have heard numerous reports on American and European TV that claim Amanda Knox is a “sociopath” because we do not see her cry on camera. I wonder if Mr. Mignini has objected to all these reporters calling her this?

To which the first response of the excellent Seattle Crime Blog (which added the boldface above) was as follows:

If you can’t diagnose it, then don’t mention it…or at the very least, put the term “mentally unstable” in quotes. You write news stories for a fairly well-respected publication, Mr. Shay. Giving opinions on matters such as this is not your job, and the comments above have just provided further fuel for Mignini’s fire.

A good reporter lets his stories speak for themselves, without launching attacks against those who criticize them. Now - whether this is the case or not - you’ve come across as defensive, and just another body who drank the “Amanda is Innocent” Kool Aid. And the snide rhetorical questions do little to help your case.

Do Mignini’s claims hold any legal bearing? Probably not. Is he overreacting by filing a claim that does little more than make a statement? Probably - though let’s not forget that this is a man who has a job to do, one that has been an uphill battle from the start given the media circus surrounding the case since Kercher’s death more than a year ago.

The defamation suit in question seems rather appropriate.

And with regard to Mr Shays’ “sociopath” claim, if you spend real time online studying this case, one big surprise is there’s little professional reporting that demonizes Amanda Knox. And even less that seriously talks negatively about her psychology. She does draw reporters’ attention for sure, but she sometimes gives the impression she seems to like that and might even provoke it.

The demonization of Prosecutor Mignini, on the other hand, seems to have developed into quite a behind-the scenes industry. We have been sent some of the material that is circulating, and it ranges from improbable to frankly very nasty. We’ve checked extensively, and virtually none of it rings true to those in Italy who have encountered Prosecutor Mignini.

Perhaps the commonest response is that he wouldn’t be in his job if it did. And anyway it seems irrelevant to the case going forward.

For one thing, Prosecutor Mignini has alongside him at all times the excellent and very experienced co-prosecutor, Ms Comodi. It would be very tough to put anything over on her, and watchers in Italy all know that. 

And for another, there is the ongoing momentum of the case within the Italian system of justice, with all of its cautious checks and balances. Many or most of them are in favor of defendants, and they are all tough for prosecutors to contend with.

Prosecutors in Italy are possibly quite envious of the more all-encompassing, wide-ranging powers of prosecutors in the UK and the US. Many prosecutors in the US are elected, of course, and if you want to see prosecutors with REAL powers, check out some of those guys.

Here is how Prosecutor Mignini’s powers always have been more constrained than the Friends-driven meme is suggesting, and how his powers seem to become almost of only academic importance as the case proceeds.

  • In Italy, the indicative evidence is summarized in a large and complex case in a huge volume; the famous 10,000-pages-plus in this case. It is the raw work of dozens of evidence professionals.
  • In Italy, the judges (in this case already around a dozen) and the juries and defense lawyers all have to spend a lot of time reading and studying that body of work, and they really get to know the indicative evidence by the time of the hearing or trial.
  • In Italy, the work of the prosecutor at trial is comparatively lightened because of this. The prosecutor and his team get the evidence together, and then they have a relatively restrained role at the trial itself. And remember Judge Micheli openly disagreed with Mr Mignini on the theory of Rudy Guede’s crime. Not that it mattered very much though - Guede still got handed 30 years, and Mr Mignini had only asked for 25.
  • And in Italy, the work of the judge and jury before trial and at trial is relatively heavy because of this. Change prosecutors at this point and there would be barely a hiccup. And then the judge must come out with the sentencing statement. In the case of Judge Micheli’s report on Guede, it is an astonishingly dense 106 pages, which takes some hours of reading and figuring-out.

Given all this, even those who seem to see Mignini as evil-incarnate would find it incredibly hard to make the case (none of them have yet) for how the body of evidence could have been falsified and the prosecutor could have hoodwinked 12 judges, most of Italy, and the close-case-followers - now up in the thousands.

And comparisons being made between Prosecutor Mignini and the rogue American prosecutor Mike Nifong in the Duke lacross-team case are unfounded. Nifong was back then facing an election for prosecutor,  and he had to face none of these checks and balances with the Duke case, so he really could run rampant. And the minute Mr Nifong had to pass his case over the lowest of hurdles, it simply turned into dust. No comparison there.

A good trial for Amanda Knox and justice for Meredith could both use less of this irrelevant sideshow.

Posted on 02/01/09 at 07:56 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Knox “Friends” Paul Ciolino & Co Smear Prosecutor Mignini As “An Out Of Control Maniac”

Posted by Peter Quennell





At the Salty’s hatefest in West Seattle, Paul Ciolino whipped up the crowd with a rant about Dr Mignini being “an out-of-control maniac”.

We see no proof. We check this whole point of view almost daily but we never, ever, ever get independent confirmation.  The BBC also checked it out and found zero proof of ANY of Ciolino’s wild-eyed claims.

We are repeatedly told that Mr Mignini is tough, fair, and effective, in an Italian system of justice where things are not particularly loaded on the side of the prosecution.

And that he has the reputation of being very, very caring of the victims and their families. The Kerchers have expressed their full confidence in him.

Also that Mr Mignini’s stepping-aside would probably make just about zero difference to the momentum of the case at this point.

There seems to be just too much suggestive evidence waiting to be explained, and a dozen careful judges have endorsed it as suggestive, and the strongly dominant mood in Italy seems to be one of: let us proceed.

Amanda Knox is of course very well represented by counsel. They have already shown irritation over attacks on the prosecutor.

Calling the prosecutor a maniac sure won’t be music to their ears. Is this whole PR campaign quite loopy, or what?!


Friday, January 09, 2009

To Our Readers In Perugia: Please Help Us Identify The Person At Back?

Posted by Peter Quennell


Please email to us if the shadowy person in the rear here is known to you?

The shots were taken in Perugia during the hearings in September. We want to know who that is in the background. The Kerchers are in the foreground, seemingly completely unaware of her.

The hotel staff or the police or Mr Mignini might be able to help place her. She may of course be hotel staff, or a fellow guest in the hotel who is unrelated to the case.

But when we checked the shots with professional acquaintances in New York, they were certainly interested to know more.

They noted that the security detail of the Kerchers doesn’t seem to be anywhere in sight. In fact, nobody else seems to be anywhere in sight. They also noted she seems to be staring at the Kerchers’ backs with a very peculiar expression.

We are sure this is all above board and that there’s no cause for alarm. But we would like to confirm. Thanks in advance for a tip.


Posted on 01/09/09 at 12:29 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Honest, Accurate TV Coverage Has Been HIGHLY Overdue

Posted by The Machine



[Above: Anne Bremner blows smoke]

NBC have shown the other American television networks how to make an objective documentary about the case.

I know that a lot of work went into making the NBC Dateline programmes with over 40 hours of tape shot for both stories. I hope the the likes of CBS News and ABC News now follow suit.

And that they always - always - remember this: Meredith Kercher’s murder was exceptionally brutal and sadistic. Specifically:

  • She was sexually assaulted and viciously teased with a knife for many minutes before the final stab.
  • And after the torture, she died a slow and intensely painful death, clutching her neck with both hands.
  • She might still have been saved - but a conscious decision was made that she wouldn’t be.
  • And this was then followed by two days of apparent glee on the part of the two defendants.

The news channels have to get their coverage right from now on. The case is precedent-setting in several ways, and far too important for the media to play fast and loose with the facts.

Hints of anti-Italy xenophobia have abounded in the American commentary. Such abysmal coverage would never have happened if this was an all-American case - the real victim would be there front and center, not a defendant with a notably odd history.

The parents of the prime suspect should not be allowed to dictate the content of the documentaries and news reports. The media have a duty to report objectively and not be used as vehicles for the Amanda Knox PR campaign. Some of the documentaries on the case have been essentially free advertisements for Amanda’s PR company.

I hope any future documentaries don’t include an interview with Curt Knox talking with great authority about Amanda’s interrogation despite the fact he wasn’t actually present. Amanda’s lawyer has already stated for the record that Amanda wasn’t hit by the police, so Curt can’t repeat that false allegation.

Juju Chang of ABC won’t be able to repeat the wild claim that the double DNA knife has been essentially ruled out after Patrizia Stefanoni confirmed that Meredith’s DNA is on the blade of the knife and Judge Paolo Micheli accepted it as evidence.

Rudy Guede was convicted of the sexual assault of Meredith, which means that the deeply offensive and untrue claim that there was no evidence of sexual assault can’t be repeated.

Instead of Anne Bremner analysing the wrong crime scene and ranting about Italian incompetence in a desperate attempt to discredit the investigation, the documentary makers should interview somebody who is actually an expert in forensic investigations.

Renato Biondo would be the best person to interview. He provided independent confirmation that the forensic investigation was carried out correctly, following international protocol. The only person guilty of incompetence was Anne Bremner.

It is always highlighted in documentaries that Amanda’s confession was thrown out by the Italian Supreme Court. However, they never mention that one of Amanda’s statements in which she admits to being at the cottage when Meredith was murdered was not thrown out by the Italian Supreme Court.

Her note to the police on 6 November is almost identical in content to the statements that were not admitted as evidence.

And Amanda Knox was not given the nickname Foxy Knoxy by the European press. It was a nickname she used herself on her MySpace page.

It’s wrong that inconvenient and incriminating facts are airbrushed out of these programmes. There has been a deliberate attempt to mislead and manipulate the general public.

The media should always have an ethical commitment to the truth, and they should never forget that it was Meredith who was the real victim of this terrible crime.

Unfortunately, this hasn’t always been the case. Well done, NBC, for breaking the mould.

Now CBS News, ABC News, and other television networks owe it to Meredith and her poor family to get it right, the next time they cover the case.


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