All our posts on Knox-Mellases
Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Should The Amanda Knox Defense Maybe Point The Finger At An Angry Daddy?
Posted by Peter Quennell
There is not the slightest sign that their defenses know how to contend with the Supreme Court appeal filed by Umbria’s chief prosecutor Dr Galati. One has already walked (Maori) and the fact that the others don’t respond publicly to Galati speaks volumes to Italian lawyers.
If the first appeal (called in Italy the second level) is rerun in whole or in part, Sollecito and Knox could see Judge Massei’s “mitigating factors” annulled and find themselves each facing 30 years inside or even life.
The whole thrust of Sollecito’s ill-timed book (subtitle “how to shoot oneself in both feet”) is that he deserves to serve less time than Amanda Knox (who he “nobly saved”) and preferably to serve no time at all.
The sliding scales of all discussion of the case
Many bright people follow the case. We have many lawyers and crime experts and even judges read here. Many took a long time to settle on a “guilt” point of view and approached it very professionally (reflected in many of the posts written by professionals here). This is contrary to the klutzy, amateurish FOA campaign and their inaccurate rants about “haters”.
There are various great sliding scales or continuums in considering all aspects of this case. A lot of what we talk about on PMF and TJMK is where, precisely, we should all come down on each of these various scales at the end of the day. Especially of course how the judges in Rome and Perugia should calibrate them.
Via Dr Galati’s appeal and especially Sollecito’s book, we now have a new one. If reconvicted, should Sollecito and Knox serve equal time? Or should one or other serve more? Let us approach this by considering first some of the most-discussed of the sliding scales.
1) Was Knox a good friend of Meredith or increasingly a pariah?
Many here incline strongly to pariah.
Knox has an obvious tin ear and sharp elbows, was doing little study in Perugia, was making life hell for all her flatmates, was bringing noisy threatening lowlife men home (the other three virtually never brought men home), was disturbing Meredith’s studies, was hitting on patrons in Patrick’s bar, and was definitely into drugs to the extent that she might already have become an addict.
2) Pre-meditated murder or a hazing or spontaneous spiral initiated by Guede?
At least some here incline to the view espoused by some psychologists that Knox and Sollecito were probably both at minimum fantasizing violence, Knox against Meredith, and Sollecito long-term generically.
Knox had become threatened by Meredith in several different ways: Meredith was prettier, was much funnier, had won the best available boy, was brighter, had a tougher study regime, was more directed and ambitious, and had left Knox in the dust on all fronts. Hints that Meredith was about to get Knox’s job at Patrick’s bar could have been the last straw.
To most here, Knox has always seemed the initiator and the leader in the rage against Meredith, and the other two were possibly drawn in by group dynamics.
Judge Micheli certainly believed this. Judge Massei might have done, and his pointing at Guede (espoused in spades by Hellmann and Zanetti) and Massei’s “mitigating factors” both seemed “humane” stretches to give them a few years off - stretches which Chief Prosecutor Galati in his appeal and the Supreme Court in their finding on Guede have already both rejected.
3) Isolated crime/unique family or does American society incline this way?
Statistics show that society here in the US is separated out between super-rich and the other 99% more than at any time in the past 80 years and although productivity has been going up amazingly, all fruits of growth have gone to those super-rich. Many of them have a mindset that basically tells them they made it on their own, and government roles in their success and that of their creative hard-working employees dont matter a damn.
The situation and the anger in the US has been worsening, and absence of true growth for most people also have European and Japanese societies in disarray
In the US one can see heightened levels of anger in the losers of the Superbowl, in the renewed buying of guns, in conspiracy theories on the Internet, in the success of the very thought-provoking Hunger Games books and movie (small people against rich and a captured, cruel over-militarized government), in politics (of course!), and in the vitriolic flames on the IMDB movie forums now against the front-runner movies and actors for the Oscars.
We may not see this at major play here in the crime against Meredith, though, except in the over-competition sense, and the sense that Knox grew up in slight poverty (see below) and was burning through her savings with all the cocaine use (Perugia cops think it was cocaine)
4) Mental ill health in the perps and/or families or original evil?
Sollecito’s dad has long admitted that Raffaele is not normal, and he has struggled to keep him off drugs and focussed hard on his studies. His dad also admitted to all Italy that Sollecito included defamatory lies in his book.
An open and shut case? Seems so. Raffaele now looks “uncomplicatedly” psychopathic and the myriad wrong and nasty claims in his chest-beating book really hammer this take on him home.
That book seems to be his equivalent of Knox’s abrasive, uncaring two days on the stand in 2009 which so damaged her with the Massei jury.
Knox’s mental health seems more complicated. She was widely known to be “quirky” as a kid and then she became pretty wild in Seattle after she moved to live near the university. That certainly wouldn’t have helped.
Most recently, Knox seems to be sliding away into a bubble world without any possibility of admitting she needs treatment, which seems to explain her being kept well out of sight for a year now and not working or studying.
Generally the PROSECUTION in Perugia has been the side to suggest she is not mentally fully well (after the psychological tests in Capanne Prison in 2008) and the DEFENSE and FAMILY has been the side that shrugs this off and hasn’t made it any part of her defence.
Knox seems to have given off plenty of signs in the days after Meredith died that she was alternating between glee and horror. So she seemingly did know what she was doing on the night, and our guess is that it was she who pushed the knife in. In these circumstances the original verdict and sentence seem appropriate.
5) Knox made herself what she was or did her family contribute?
Curt Knox’s seeming blind rage at Edda during their marriage and for years after are an open secret among some in Seattle. He apparently had one of the worst records in the entire US in not paying child support to Edda for Amanda and Deanna, and had again and again to be taken to Superior Court by Edda to be forced to make his monthly payments.
Here are two public records showing two instances of him being taken to Superior Court by Edda.
And we are told that Curt Knox was counseled by one or more judges to get himself some anger management therapy. Apparently he wasn’t formally required to take anger management therapy. He may have done so, though there seems no record that he ever did.
Okay. Not all kids growing up in such toxic family situations suffer, but some do, and a few end up with their hard wiring seriously messed up. Some even end up as drug-takers and murderers.
The classic example recently was the mass killer Anders Breivek in Norway, whose early childhood in a toxic family situation was not entirely unlike Knox’s. (In that case also, the prosecution thought maybe he was nuts, and the defense, successfully, argued otherwise.)
Italian lawyers tell us that it would be for the DEFENSE to bring this up in Perugia if it is a possible mitigating factor, and that it doesnt impinge on the prosecution’s case.
But how could they?
Curt Knox was apparently the one who shushed Amanda Knox at their first meeting in Capanne Prison, Curt Knox was apparently the one who misled her about the world-wide skepticisim against her (she didnt know about that until she came out of prison), and Curt Knox was apparently the one who drove the nasty PR bus - and most recently hosted all of the worst of the rabid PR nuts (including Sforza and Fischer) in Seattle.
Curt Knox has apparently consistently instructed the defense lawyers and PR honchos to keep the pedal to the floor, even though Chris Mellas once openly argued against that. Amanda Knox may have pushed the knife in, but Curt Knox for five years has not come clean about his own possible role in any mental condition.
Our present conclusion
Without a lot more information on Amanda Knox’s early days in her broken home in Seattle, and her current mental condition and condition back in 2007, it is pretty hard to calibrate this. It is not really possible to be precise about where she should be on any sliding scale of time deserved in prison if she is finally convicted.
It is really incumbent upon the defense counsel in Italy (their lawyers’ code of ethics requires this) to push hard for this information, and if they think it relevant to present it to court at any rerun of the appeal trial.
Amanda Knox herself should want this.
Archived in The three defendants, Amanda Knox, Officially involved, Psychology and motive, On psychology, Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, Francesco Sforza
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Saturday, January 12, 2013
How Much Or How Little To Blame Rudy Guede? The Defenses’ Immense Headache Coming Up #1
Posted by Cardiol
[Photo by Andrea Vogt as in December 2010 Supreme Court decides that Rudy Guede didnt act alone]
On a scale of 0% to 100% how much of the blame for the crime against Meredith has been heaped on Rudy Guede?
Well, it sure varies.
In trial court and first-appeal court it was never ever 100%. Seemingly very scared of the harm Guede could do to their clients, if they provoked him into telling all, defense lawyers have acted consistently since 2008 and more-so since December 2010 as if they walk on eggshells around him.
In fact among the defendants and their teams only ONCE was Guede ever blamed 100%.
Sollecito’s bizarrely-titled Honor Bound 2012 book, the factually unchecked one which now is causing him and his defense team so much trouble, was the first instance ever among those accused to try to blame Guede for the crime 100%.
Our next post will look at the categoric claims against Guede in that book. Meanwhile, here, let us start at the beginning.
Commencing from when they were arrested, Amanda Knox pointed decisively at a black man, but of course she pointed at the wrong one: Patrick Lumumba. Make that 0%. Not long after they were arrested, Knox and Sollecito were strongly questioning the role of one another. So 100% against each other, but still a zero against Mr Guede.
In his messages from Germany Guede blamed two hasty intruders though he had no choice but to say he was there. Perhaps 33% at this point. After Guede was captured, Sollecito implied that they were at the crime scene together because he was worried that Guede would implicate him. Make that 50%.
At Guede’s short-form trial In October 2008, Judge Micheli blamed Guede 33% too. In sending Knox and Sollecito to full trial he dismissed the lone wolf theory (never really to be revived in court again) and he tentatively believed the evidence pointed to their being equally guilty.
In fact Judge Micheli tentatively blamed Knox for instigating both the attack on Meredith and the rearrangement of the crime scene. In effect he allocated 50% of the blame to Amanda Knox and 25% each to Guede and Sollecito.
Throughout trial in 2009 the Knox and Sollecito defense teams seemed to take great care not ever to blame Guede 100%, perhaps because (for murky reasons not made public) Rudy Guede had refused to testify against their clients.
Judge Massei assigned Guede 33% of the blame as he concluded that Guede had initiated the attack but that Knox and Sollecito had wielded the knives and that one of them had struck the final blow.
During trial and thereafter, the defense lawyers for the three were often on Italian TV and as our main poster the Italian lawyer Cesare Beccaria exhaustively charted in a four-part series, each “gently” blamed the other two.
We can assume that is either 33% or 50% but never more than that.
On February 24. 2011, in the Supreme Court report, on its rejection of Guede’s final appeal of his sentence for involvement in killing Meredith, blamed Rudy Guede and two others equally. Some 33% of the blame each.
The Supreme Court relied upon three facts: the physical evidence of Guede’s presence at the flat, Guede’s actual admission of his presence, and Guede’s implicit admission of shared-guilt in his documented Skype InstaMessage to Giacomo Benedetti on Nov. 19, 2007 (“I was scared that they would say I was the only guilty person”).
In a nutshell, the situation at the start of the Sollecito and Knox appeal before Judges Hellmann and Zanetti in 2011 was this:
- The Supreme Court had decided that Rudy Guede acting ALONE could not have attacked Meredith with several knives over an estimated 15 minutes, left so little physical evidence upon her, staged the break-in via the absurd route of Filomena’s window while leaving zero DNA in her room, placed Sollecito’s DNA on Meredith’s bra clasp, engineered several traces of Knox’s and Sollecito’s footprints outside the room, and placed the mixed DNA of Meredith and Knox in several different locations outside Meredith’s locked door.
- But there remains zero evidence that perps two and three which the physical evidence strongly pointed to were anyone other than Knox and Sollecito. There’s really not one speck of hard evidence to the contrary. Defenses somewhat desperately tried to engineer some at first appeal from the seemingly perjured testimony of jailbirds Alessi and Aviello and some smoke-blowing over the DNA testing, but in terms of HARD evidence came up empty-handed. Alessi did a meltdown on the stand, while Aviello turned completely cuckoo, and Judges Hellmann and Zanetti had to invent arguments frantically to dig Knox and Sollecito out of that hole.
I have done a series of posts (to be read from the bottom upward) on the Hellmann-Zanetti outcome covering many other aspects of their strange arguments.
Back in late 2010 some of us at TJMK were impressed at the alacrity with which Judge Hellman selected Conti and Vecchiotti.
We were thinking that “he had already thought it all out” [we seem to have got that-much right], and that he was “being prudently responsive to the legal and political pressures bearing down on him, and knows the ruling also calls the defendants’ bluff.”
I had posted that the defenses of Knox and Sollecito seemed to be trying to exclude evidence that they themselves tried to destroy, essentially on the grounds that their destructive attempts failed to destroy all of it, and left behind only some of it. Their argument had boiled down to whether the disputed DNA evidence is more unfairly prejudicial than probative.
It was my opinion that because it was the defendants’ deliberate conduct that nearly succeeded in extinguishing all their DNA, any US and UK courts would admit this highly relevant evidence, and let the participants duke out its fairness, in open court, in front of a jury.
I had thought that was what the Massei Court had already done, and was what the Hellmann/Zanetti court was then doing. The Hellmann/Zanetti court was doing that - but that was not all it was doing, as we now know and regret.
I had believed that the defendants would bitterly regret their petition for such DNA Expert-Opinion Review. We should know in March 2013 if they regret it at all, let alone ‘bitterly’. So far they may not, but Sollecito’s current venture into special-pleading journalism in his book seems likely to accelerate their journey to a bitter and regretted destiny.
We were less impressed with how Judge Zanetti started the appeal hearings.
To his eternal discredit Judge Zenetti uttered words to the effect that “the only thing that is ‘certain’ in Meredith’s case is that Meredith is dead.” Nothing else. In effect, illegally promising a whole new trial at appeal level - very much frowned on by the Supreme Court.
Unless the word ‘thing’ is a mistranslation, that is not the only thing that was already certain in Meredith’s Case; Many Things were then certain in her case.
For example, it is certain that the first-ever documented references to Meredith’s scream just before she was killed had already come both from the mouth of Amanda Knox herself, and from the hand of Amanda Knox, in the case of her contemporaneous personal hand-written notes.
Guede, himself, had certainly already made a documented reference to Meredith’s scream.
It was also certain that Guede had made documented references to his actual presence when Meredith screamed.
Some of these already-certain facts inconveniently undermined Hellmann’s and Zanetti’s already-assumed conclusions, so they then proceeded in-turn to undermine the ‘reliability’ of those facts, e.g. ‘it is not certain that the scream was Meredith’s scream; it could have been someone-else’s scream’; or even Amanda’s scream?
The Massei court had exhaustively presented the evidence from all sources in their conclusion that Knox and Sollecito were the ones who shared Guede’s guilt. But Hellmann/Zanetti then contradicted ALL the previous finders-of-fact with regard to Guede, essentially using five ploys in arguing:
- That Guede was Unreliable: “for example, in the questioning before the Prosecutor, he denies being known by the nickname of Baron, ….so as to result in a version completely incompatible with the reality of the facts as perceived and heard…” [Is that ever giving birth to a mouse?], and
- That the Supreme Court had “held Rudy Guede to be an Unreliable person”, and
- That “therefore, among the evidence against the two accused, the testimony given at the hearing of June 27, 2011 by Rudy Guede cannot be included because it is Unreliable, nor can the contents of the letter written by him and sent to his lawyers”, and
- That concerning Guede’s documented Skype InstaMessage to Giacomo Benedetti on Nov. 19, 2007 “… the contents of the chat between Rudy Guede and his friend Giacomo Benedetti on the day of November 19, 2007, also listened to by the Police, can be considered in favour of the two accused”, because “he would not have had any reason to keep quiet about such a circumstance,”
- And that “So, in the course of that chat with his friend….. Rudy Guede does not indicate in any way Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito as the perpetrators…..” and “…..he would not have had any reason to keep quiet about such a circumstance….. he being…. certainly the perpetrator….. of the crimes carried out in via della Pergola, that if Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito had also participated, that he would at that moment have revealed this to his friend.”
So, summarising Hellmann and Zanetti, they have absurdly argued a contradiction:
- Because of Guedes notoriously unreliability, the public evidence in which he did accuse Knox and Sollecito cannot be considered as evidence of their guilt, but
- In spite of Guede’s notorious unreliability, because Guede did not accuse Knox and Sollecito in a private conversation this must be considered as conclusive evidence of their innocence.
We are not the audience to which Dr Galati’s appeal against Hellmann and Zanetti to the Supreme Court is directed. Most of us probably have some difficulty with its legalese, translated into English, so bear with it.
Dr Galati’s appeal against Hellmann and Zanetti refers to Guede’s documented Skype InstaMessage to Giacomo Benedetti on Nov. 19, 2007 as follows:
The Hellmann/Zanetti court, “has… made …. completely anomalous use of the Skype call, accepting it for the time of Kercher’s death, but not for other circumstances which are also extremely relevant for judgment purposes, but which have been totally ignored.
In fact, in the call, Guede recounts having heard Meredith complaining about her missing money and of her intention of asking Ms Knox, with whom she had quarrelled, for an explanation (p. 10 of the call [transcript]), of having seen Meredith look in vain for the missing money in her drawer (p. 18), then of having seen Meredith look, still in vain, for her missing money in Amanda’s room (pp. 18-19 of the call [transcript]), and of having heard a girl enter the house, who could have been one of the roommates, thus Amanda (p. 11 of the call [transcript]), while the Ivorian found himself in the bathroom, just before hearing Meredith’s terrible scream which would have caused him  to exit the bathroom, about five minutes after the girl’s ingress (p 12 of the call [transcript])”... .
The Court has, in practice, without reason thrown the responsibility onto Guede for throwing the rock and clambering in (see pp 121-122 of the appealed judgment): in the same Skype call, Guede, however, repeatedly denies having seen the broken window in Romanelli’s room during the whole time in which he was in the house at Via della Pergola on that evening (pp 8, 20, 34 of the call [transcript]). Not only that: Rudy Guede also said that he was at Knox’s many times‛ (pp 88 of the call [transcript]).
If the Court held the Ivorian citizen to be sincere in the tele-conversation with his friend Benedetti, then why not also believe him when he denies having broken in, or when he recounts Meredith having it out with Amanda, or when he says that he had been at the latter’s place many times‛?
Dr Galati’s appeal to the Supreme Court argues that the Hellmann/Zanetti appeal judgment, apart from being manifestly illogical, is manifestly contradictory with respect to the contents of the case file referred to (Article 606(e) Criminal Procedure Code). Here is what it says about their tortured interpretations of Rudy Guede.
And in the Skype call with Benedetti, intercepted unbeknownst to him, there emerge circumstances that confirm Guede’s court declarations. The Court takes the Skype call with his friend Benedetti into examination, valuing it ‚in favour of the two accused‛ both for what it does not say and also for what it does say, and this it does building from one, not only unexplained, datum but which would have taken little to deny: since Rudy was outside of Italy, he was in some sense safe‛ and thus could well have been able to tell the whole truth (p 40 of the judgment).
Not in the least does the Court depart from the presupposition that in this call Rudy would have been telling the truth and, because in this call he would not have named the current defendants, these have got nothing to do with the homicide. The Court does not explain, though, that even in this call Rudy was tending to downplay his responsibility and, if he had named his co-participants, that would have easily allowed, by means of investigations and subsequent interviews, the bringing out of his causal contribution and of his responsibility.
 Of the things said in this Skype call, the Court seems at one moment to want to value the chronological datum from 9:00 PM to 9:30 PM to affirm that this would therefore have been the time of death of Meredith; successively, though the appeal judges, following the principle of plausible hypothesis, in relation to the outgoing calls on the victim’s English handset, have moved it to 10:15 PM, but they have not altered the reliability of the time indicated by Guede.
In truth, during the course of the conversation, Rudy recounts having heard Meredith complain about the missing money and of her intention to ask Knox, with whom she had argued, for an explanation (p 10 of the call); of having seen Meredith look in vain for the missing money in her drawer (see p 18); of having seen her search, again in vain, for the missing money in Amanda’s room (pp 18 and 19 of the call) and of having heard a girl enter the house – who must have been one of the flatmates, thus Amanda (p 11 of the call), – while he was in the bathroom, a little before hearing Meredith’s terrible scream which would have induced him to exit the bathroom, about five minutes after the ingress of the girl (p 12 of the call).
And also, on the subject of the break-in in Romanelli’s room – thrown without explanation onto Guede’s back (see the judgment being appealed from, at pp 121 and 122) – can remarks by the Ivorian citizen be found in the transcription of the intercept. Guede repeatedly denies having seen the broken window in Romanelli’s room for the whole time in which he was in the house at Via della Pergola that evening (pp 8, 20, 34 of the call).
If the [Appeal Court] had held as reliable what Rudy narrated in the Skype call relating to the time in which Meredith was killed, it supplies no reason at all, on the other hand, for why it does not believe him as well when he denies  having committed the break-in or when he recounts the quarrel of Meredith with Amanda.”
None of this changes my own beliefs that there are even many more things in evidence that are ‘beyond any reasonable doubt’. For example:
- It is beyond any reasonable doubt that Meredith was restrained by hands other than the knife-wielding hand(s); and that Meredith was restrained by the hands of two, or three persons as she was killed.
- It is beyond any reasonable doubt that steps were taken to clean away smears made by Meredith’s blood in the place where she was killed, and tracks of Meredith’s blood transferred by her killers to other places.
- It is beyond any reasonable doubt that steps were also taken to simulate a break-in that never-was.
In the next post, we examine Dr Galati’s appeal further and the strident claims against Guede made in Sollecito’s own book which contradict some of the positions of HIS OWN LAWYERS. Note that Dr Galati has argued in the appeal that it was ILLEGAL for Hellmann and Zanetti not to have taken the Supreme Court’s ruling on three perps fully into account and having innored it or brushed past it.
Verrrry tough situation for defense counsel to be in.
Archived in Officially involved, The defenses, Public evidence, Witness Aviello, Witness Alessi, Crime hypotheses, Spurious Lone-Wolf, Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, Sollecitos, Rudy Guede
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Saturday, January 05, 2013
We Mean You No Harm. Please Take Us To Your Leaders… Oh Yes, But Of Course…
Posted by Kermit
- Scammer Number One is physically absent without officlal leave. He may be hiding out in or near Perugia, probably broke and without a good lawyer as his lawyer walked off the job, facing court dates starting later this month and possible imprisonment in two countries and now also a further defamation suit - he in effect already lost one defamation suit last year when a court ordered Google to take down a site it hosted for him for all the defamation it had contained.
- Scammer Number Two is also physically absent without official leave, and may be hiding out in or near Verona, attempting on Facebook to make out that he is free and relaxed as a bird after nipping across to Manhattan for the New Year. Also that he is and always was loyal as hell to Amanda (give us a break) and that the devastating prosecution appeal and the devastating row of defamation suits about to hit him and his publisher and team sparked by his overheated book dont bother him or his dad a bit.
- Scammer Number Three is mentally absent without official leave. He is to be found squealing and blubbering these days in the stock-room of a fur-store on the north-west outskirts of Chicago, running low on new people to blame, his money-grubbing scams now publicly revealed for the toxic dishonesties on which they were based, his obergruppenführer presence on his internet boards despised now by many who had once gone along with his act, with the biggest defamation target of all on his own back as his vitriolic personal rants still populate the web, and with no Curt Knox or other deep-pockets any longer on his side.
First, here is an understanding word or two for the FOA sheep.
Dear sheep. Of course we dont mean to be unkind or unsympathetic in implying that the broad body of your movement which was elevating these three to gods in their own minds were simply sheep. Many FOA seem to us to be very nice and very well-meaning, if maybe a tad naive. The jaw-dropping revelations of the sums of money that you have been shelling out suggests that the myths you had been made to swallow had stirred your kind hearts to the core.
As a way of disengaging from the flock, and to fill the deliberate vacuum of hard facts, we would highly recommend that you now read all these posts and especially all of these posts here. Our strongest advice to any ex-sheep would definitely be this.
Don’t shell our any more of your hard-earned cash to those three imposters listed here at the top. They all face suits now for going way too far. Dont get mixed up in that.
Okay. Back to Number One.
We are told that Frank may not even have made it to the viza section of the American Embassy in Rome. But let’s say it were true that Frank actually made it across the Atlantic and he showed up at the international arrivals zone of an American airport hours before his date with American justice last December 31.
Then any honest attempt to justify Frank’s non-appearance in court would take into account that Frank knew he wasn’t coming as a tourist, and that as someone with an arrest record (and seemingly having way overstayed a prior visa waiver for a visit limited to 90 days), he would have lots of paperwork to request a visa.
Yet, going back to the end of November when he was being released on bail from the Seattle jail , Frank and his pro-Knox handlers were in a huge hurry to hustle him out of the country following his latest arrest and questioning by police for domestic violence incidents, probably knowing that this might affect whether he could return.
The world waits for some coherent and direct explanations from this cornerstone of the public image defence of Amanda Knox.
Meanwhile, there’s absolute silence from Knox’s corporate PR firm Gogerty Marriott who continue to use the Knox contract as a showcase example of how successfully they work (they are joking, right?).
Many public figures and sheeples have been photographing themselves with Frank over the months presuming that he was in the US on a tourist visa for goodwill. Meanwhile, he was carrying on what the Committee to Protect Journalists has insisted is his money-making and therefore taxable profession, and also earning at the same time “donated” income and gifts maybe up into the tens of thousands of dollars.
Mr Taxman please note.
Meanwhile, the vacuum left by Frank, a god in his own mind in the woven fabric of the Knox PR image, is turning that fabric into tatters. Someone will have to tie up the loose ends, and in particular give an explanation on where Frank’s absence leaves the very serious accusations of improper and abusive treatment by Prosecutor Mignini and the Flying Squad (neither were involved in his arrest).
Those false accusations all stem from Frank and Doug Preston and similar accusations of abuse are the main components of just about every explanations for Knox’s many conflicting alibis and her bizarre reactions to Italian investigators following the murder of Knox’s roommate Meredith Kercher.
As you may know, Frank claimed to have been beaten up by officers of the Flying Squad beholden to the “rogue” Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini because Mr Mignini was allegedly sufficiently upset by “Frank’s” many blog posts in favour of Knox to have sent his henchmen over to Frank’s house.
After promoting this fiction for months and now years, even many pro-Knox commenters are admitting bashfully that in fact the person who complained to Italian police about abuse by “Frank” was actually a female family member in his own home.
Mr Mignini was NOT involved, the Flying Squad was NOT involved, Frank was NOT beaten up (the wounds in evidence were on the cops) and he was NOT taken to a hospital to have him certified as mad. One big body of lies.
This line of physical abuse and malicious fabrications after the fact certainly fit with Frank’s more recent episodes of being arrested and/or questioned for complaints of domestic violence in Canada, Hawaii, and, now, Seattle. Looks like, by his own hand, Frank is finally cooked.
More news in future posts about Scammers Two and Three.
Archived in Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, Sollecitos, Francesco Sforza, Michael Heavey, Steve Moore, Bruce Fischer, More sockpuppets
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Tuesday, January 01, 2013
Might Frank Sforza Already De Facto Be Banned From Ever Reentering The United States?
Posted by Kermit
If the disastrous last few hours of 2012 are any indication, 2013 will be a nightmare year for the Amanda Knox PR campaign and their associated income streams.
As regards the latter, with Knox’s memoirs book set for going on sale next April, there will have to be some serious rewriting or respinning if any mention is made of her family’s stalwart friend and logistics handler in Perugia. The man of many aliases, amongst which is his blogging name of “Frank Sfarzo”.
“Sfarzo” (real name Sforza) did not show up yesterday – New Year’s Eve 2012 - in court in Seattle for his preliminary hearing for a double charge of Assault 4-Domestic Violence related to his latest arrest associated with violence (domestic violence or against law enforcement officers) in different countries and continents.
Already the few remaining “Friends of Amanda” spinners on Bruce Fischer’s TrashForCashVictimsAnywhere forum not yet chilled by his escalating legal comeuppance are desperately justifying “Frank’s” bouts with domestic violence arrests as being the fault of the alleged victims.
One of the victims, Peter H in Canada, who had trustingly contributed to Sforza a very large sum, has now said “enough is enough” and bit the bullet in terms of personal embarrassment and posted a highly abusive and dishonest email from Sforza which passes for truth in his pathological world.
This is reposted with thanks from PerugiaMurderFile.net and deep appreciation to Peter H.
Yes, unlike you, abandoned and avoided like pest by everyone, I’m having fun. And anyway it’s not your business if I’m having fun or not, since the idea of you making my business makes me puke, as everyone who looks at you can only be disgusted by your scary appearances and, if they know you, even more by your person.
You are a zero, in BC nobody knows you, you never produced anything in your life, you just live out of a disability check, you have no money, you save on the electricity, you calculate how much water your victims, who accept to reach you in that barn, consume.
Your “friend” Bill Gates doesn’t have any idea who you are as well as your other “friend” Steve Jobs didn’t.
It’s only your imagination of mythomanic, paranoid, perverted, drunkard, old fool, as you rightly define yourself.
You are a disturbance for every one who has the bad luck to come across you, or who falls in the traps in which you attract them. You harassed Betttina, you harassed me, you are violent, dangerous, you have hallucinations because you are crazy, you are a snitch and a slanderer at once, you called the police at 4am while I was in bed telling them that I had stolen your wallet and cellphone. And that’s in the records of the police of BC. You were so clever to call the police after having made crimes against me, exactly as the other drunkard did. That’s the proof that you are stupid. You are so stupid you are not even able to make up an accusations against your victims. How can someone who has to stay in your house steal your cellphone and wallet, what does he do with your cellphone and your wallet if he’s staying in your house out of the world?
Uh? What? You don’t understand? If you were able to understand you would have produced something in your life, you would have someone close to you instead of having to pay people to get there.
Old disgusting drunkard and fool, remove immediately all my contact information from your email and cellphones. Remove within 48 hours the emails to me or from me you have been publishing online (because you are a nobody mythomaniac who wanted to show to the world that you were my friend). I never authorize you to publish my emails,I told you that you could post them only on the private discussion of IIP, where there are my friends, not on the public one. Remove those emails withing 48 hours or I’m gonna sue you. Never contact me again. You can’t answer this email, you can’t talk about me or say anything about my person with anyone. Next email or any attempt of communication in any form from you towards me will be evidence of your further disturbance to me, I’ll pass the border and I’ll report you to the police, who luckily know you very well.
We checked and Sforza’s malicious description of Peter H is not remotely akin to the truth. Many others can testify that, in terms of Sforza’s endless stream of threatening and abusive emails, that one is very much par for the course. Could Michael Heavey be next?
No wonder more and more one-time supporters of “Frank” and the Bruce Fischer forum TrashForCashVictimsAnywhere and in general the Amanda Knox cause are becoming more and more revolted with an immoral and borderline illegal campaign.
On New Year’s Eve, “Frank’s” Seattle court appointed lawyer initially tried – do give her credit – to arrange a week’s delay in the hearing, alleging “customs” problems that “Frank” was said to be suffering. However, Judge Ed Mckenna probably believed that with a month to prepare for any such problems, the blogger known as “Frank” should have foreseen them and been in court on schedule.
In reality, Frank likely had no problems with the American Customs. There are only three or four grounds. See the form below.
It is doubtful that even he would fly to the US for a domestic violence preliminary hearing and at the same time tried to introduce those prohibited or restricted goods into the country. Given “Frank’s” dependence on other peoples’ earnings, it is unlikely he introduced excessive levels of cash into the US. It is unlikely he tried to introduce livestock, vegetables, or disease agents.
Instead of being allowed a week for Sforza to make it through Customs, the judge gave Sforza’s lawyer only three and a half hours delay in starting the proceedings against him on New Year’s Eve. However, by 1:30 p.m., she had to concede that she couldn’t ensure that Frank could be anywhere in particular at any particular time. She did not even know where he was.
As a result, Judge McKenna had no other option than as prosecution requested to issue a bench warrant for “Frank’s” arrest.
Click for a larger image. That shows that the Amanda Knox PR asset known as “Frank” is now officially wanted under an arrest warrant covering any jurisdiction in the United States. If spotted any police can arrest him on sight. Anyone with any information concerning his whereabouts may inform the nearest law enforcement agency.
However! He may still be in Italy, or he made already be in some other country, indeed even under cover in the United States. In fact, his personal Facebook page currently lists a visited location in the New York area, although given his track record of deception that may or may not be where he really is.
One is the basis on which “Frank”, a foreigner with a recent record of domestic violence arrests, could be released on bail last November following his arrest for attacking two housemates in Seattle.
Just as Amanda Knox was held in preventive prison in Italy to avoid her entourage of fulfilling their promise to get her out of prison and Italy in whatever possible way, why was “Frank” – a foreigner with arrest and legal issues growing around the world – allowed out on only $2,000 bail when it was very likely that what could happen has actually happened: he left the country and hasn’t returned on time for his court preliminary hearing in Seattle. Who facilitated this questionable decision to offer him bail in November?
Having left the country, both the judge who freed “Frank” on bail in November and “Frank” himself should have been more than aware that should “Frank” leave the country – exactly as he seems to have done hours after getting his bailed freedom in November - that he could have serious and lengthy paperwork to prepare should he want to return and face the American justice system?
A justice system that Fischer’s TrashForCashVictimsAnywhere and the Amanda Knox PR campaign has so often favourably compared to what they paint as a corrupt, abusive Italian justice system.
Entering the US if you have an arrest record – as is definitely the case of “Frank” – is difficult and requires much more extensive paperwork than simply filling out the ESTA VWP forms online like an average tourist. Anyone in “Frank’s” situation should have been responsible enough to identify potential problems in returning to the US to face his Domestic Violence charges …
- ...unless the entourage around him (I’m not referring to his court appointed lawyer) felt that in fact the best option of those available is to not have “Frank” go through a difficult trial that could further damage the Knox PR campaign and have a negative impact on upcoming sales of Knox’s memoir “tell all” book and her odds on appeal.
or unless the US Rome Embassy or Immigration decided (not at all for the first time) that it would be way cheaper and safer for everybody concerned to simply keep him out.
The final question is: where actually is “Frank”?
He has an upcoming trial in Italy for biting a police officer who responded to a domestic violence complaint phoned in by a female member of “Frank’s” own family. A prison term is a real possibility. He has an American arrest warrant issued against him. A prison term is a real possibility. He’s certainly not wanted back in Canada.
His attempted point of entry into the USA if there was one is not publicly know. He has not been seen publicly in Perugia for some weeks.
Archived in Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, Francesco Sforza, More sockpuppets, Other cases, Associated trials, The wider contexts, Seattle news
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Monday, December 31, 2012
Judge Ed McKenna Issues A Bench Warrant For The Arrest of Court No-Show Frank Sforza
Posted by Peter Quennell
Before the afternoon session began, Frank’s court appointed lawyer and the court bailiff informed interested parties that he would not be making an appearance. The KING5 cameraman decided to leave before hearing the adjudication. With court in session, the lawyer apologized to the judge for wasting the court’s time on her no-show client by requesting the half-day delay.
In the morning session the lawyer initially requested a one week delay due to Frank having “customs” problems, but could provide no further information for the court regarding Frank’s absence in the afternoon session. The judge was aware of Frank’s legal issues in Hawaii, but could find nothing in Frank’s record that would have prevented him from making it to court and therefore disregarded the claims of “customs issues”.
The judge was willing to entertain any additional excuses or suggestions on Frank’s behalf, but unfortunately there were no supporters to be found, leaving his lawyer to state, “I have no further suggestions, your honor.”
The judge then asked the prosecution for a recommended course of action. The response was, “issue a bench warrant for Mr. Sforca’s arrest”, and the judge agreed, issuing a bench warrant for Frank’s arrest on New Year’s Eve 2012.
Hmmm. Unfortunate that there was not even one supporter to be found…
Frank Sforza has apparently not been seen in Perugia either since his flight out of Seattle a month ago. He also failed to attend a court hearing in Perugia on his (more serious) resisting-arrest charge there.
If he fails to appear in court on the new date next month a Perugia judge is expected to issue a warrant for his arrest. Its is possible that he could be declared an international fugitive if there are more no-shows.
Oddly, Frank Sforza is apparently still sending out his trademark abusive emails to his former fans and financial helpers. Will that come to include Judge Heavey and Curt Knox?
Archived in Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, Francesco Sforza, More sockpuppets, Other cases, Associated trials, The wider contexts, Seattle news
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Will Frank Sforza Show In Seattle Court? If Not Arrest Warrant And Freedom Revocation Probably Next
Posted by The TJMK Main Posters
Live from the Seattle Municipal Court: Sforza a no show this morning.
Attorney requests one week delay, says Frank is having customs problems and interpreter is not available this afternoon.
Judge asks if Frank’s English is good enough to function without interpreter and then resets for 1:30 today.
Will he show? KING 5 cameraman was there.
2. Fly By Night reports
Frank Sforza is a no show this afternoon as well. This time, there’s no KING camera to record the non-event. Waiting for Judge McKenna to make an appearance.
If there were supporters in attendance, they were being very discreet.
Archived in Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, Francesco Sforza, Other cases, Associated trials, The wider contexts, Seattle news
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Saturday, December 29, 2012
One Of The Serial Defamers of Italian Justice Must Face Some Hard Truths Of American Justice
Posted by Kermit
This has not been a good year at all for the increasingly beleaguered Knox and Sollecito campaigns.
As interest in Amanda Knox and her case dwindles precipitately in the United States, her image handlers seem to realize that a major final push effort must be made for their final challenge to be successful: a profitable sales kickoff for Knox’s “tell-it-all” book now promised for April 2013.
At this point, the tough prosecution appeal in the case against Knox and Raffaele Sollecito for the murder of Meredith Kercher seemingly hardly interests the PR campaign, apart from any market “churn” that it can help to develop for the book..
Raffaele’s own US book promotion tour three months ago was little short of a complete disaster. On the one hand, his heated text has provided massive new defamatory material against innocent persons, and on the other he has introduced new affirmations that totally contradict his defence team’s posture throughout the murder trials.
Now, the Perugian Blogger known variously as “Frank Sfarzo”, “Francesco Sforza” and “Francesco Sforca” (real name Sforza) has been arrested and has spent time confined in Hawaii and Seattle jails, in addition to being questioned by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Canada. In Seattle he may face more time.
These arrests and questionings are in addition to his arrest and charging in Perugia for attacking police officers coming to investigate a complaint for alleged domestic violence phoned-in by a female member of his own family. That trial is now pending.
[“Frank Sfarzo” with his fellow serial belittlers of Italian justice, Bruce Fischer and Steve Moore]
Frank’s Canadian Caper and his Hawaiian Punch adventure were of thematic note. In one case, it was an elderly Canadian gentlemen who was acting as Frank’s host who made the phone call in the wee hours to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, because he feared that the often scantily clad and more-and-more argumentative “Frank” was a real physical threat to him. In the other case, a woman had Hawaiian police alerted and had claimed that she was pushed around by “Frank” in the hotel where she had put him.
What is really surprising is that in both cases the victims of alleged aggressions were fervent supporters of Amanda Knox! And in both cases, the victims had given “Frank” substantial monetary gifts: $5,000 by the Canadian man, and air tickets to Hawaii by the American woman.
In both cases, the victims were followers of the absurdly named “Injustice in Perugia” blog run by the beleaguered pro-Knox Chicago-suburbs blogger Bruce Fisher/Fischer. Fischer is actually a mall store assistant and wannabe sleuth who like “Frank” makes use of more than one name in grandly presenting a faux front to the world.
Back when he claimed online to be the upscale “Bruce Fisher of New York”, Bruce carried out many nasty and in-effect anonymous attacks on individuals, mostly women, who did not share his point of view. The “Fischer of Chicago”, now exposed, continues more cautiously in public, but in his little private forum he continues to rant against anyone who doesn’t share his untethered take on Amanda Knox’s total innocence and a vast Italy-wide conspiracy. This authentic Fischer has a fairly unexotic lobbying base and Internet connection for promoting his pro-Knox cause: the suburban-mall fur-shop where he works.
Fisher/Fischer is now maintaining that the plea on his blog for the “Frank Sfarzo Fund Drive” is to help the Perugia Shock blog and not “Frank” the blogger who runs it – however, that’s not what the Fund Drive description says:
[Above: Amanda Knox advocate Bruce Fisher/Fischer has been a key enforcer of donations to the Perugian Blogger]
As is often the case of persons who suffer domestic physical and psychological abuse at the hands and mouth of someone they implicitly respected, it must have taken a major act of self-questioning and doubt before the Hawaiian and Canadian victims were able to make themselves step forward and decry the abuse they allegedly suffered and were humiliated by.
Both of those cases were talked about a lot on several web discussion boards. Not surprisingly, Fisher/Fischer, who has invested heavily in the particular versions of the crimes against Meredith that he promotes to “save” Knox (and, as a necessary side-effect, Raffaele Sollecito) could only try and explain/justify the Perugian Blogger’s behavior, while at the same time directly accusing the two real victims of provoking the Blogger’s “quirky” personality. Fisher/Fischer’s take on Knox and his related income stream would otherwise be at stake.
Perhaps Fischer should be more worried about the potential liability for wrong claims he makes about third parties in this case, especially those in Rome and Perugia, and about the potential for the Perugian Blogger to cause further cases and more victims of domestic violence, given the blogger’s alleged record.
In spite of the statement of “Probable Cause” by the arresting police officer in Hawaii (see image above), in the end, under a great deal of heat, charges were not pressed by the victims against “Frank” in Canada or in Hawaii.
However, what Fisher/Fischer and other pro-Knox PR assets did not reveal in what I consider to be their hypocritical justification of “Frank’s” known violence in his North American travels is that he actually had one further legal case, still going forward in Seattle at this date.
It started to receive public scrutiny only when it was unearthed by Internet commenters on the pro-victim side.
Following his problems in Canada and Hawaii, on November 27 “Frank” was arrested yet again, in Seattle, after allegedly having a physically violent encounter with the persons with whom he had arranged a room when he returned to Washington State after his disastrous emergency exit from Hawaii. He spent over 24 hours in a Seattle jail before being bailed out thanks to donated funds.
The Seattle police report concerning this most recent incident and the arrest of “Frank” states thus:
“(VI – Victim1) said that he was sitting on the couch talking to the District Attorney’s Office when S/Sforza became agitated and slapped the phone out of his hand. S/Sforza then jumped on top of him and punched him in the face approximately four times. V I was able to push S/Sforza off of him and stand up but S/Sforza pushed him back on the couch causing pain to his right shoulder. S/Sforza then jumped on top of V II (Victim 2) and began slapping in the face and scratched him on the temple. While V II struggled to get away he scraped his left knuckle but was able to get to his room. While in his room he grabbed his phone to call 9-1-1. As he was walking out of his room S/Sforza tried to push him back in the room and grabbed him by the throat using both of his hands. S/Sforza then left the house and 9-1-1 was called. V II had a visible red scrape to his right temple, a visible scrape to his left knuckle and redness around his neck. Both victims declined medical attention at the scene.
[ed note. Sforza called 911, informing police that he would meet them] ... at 36th Ave W and W Mcgraw where he said he would be waiting. S/Sforza said that both V I and V II had been giving him a hard time since he returned from his trip. He said they told him that he wasn’t able to leave his room. He stated that V II had tried to force him to leave the house and choked him. S/Sforza did not have any visible signs of assault and did not have any redness around his neck. S/Sforza said the police were called to the house yesterday for a disturbance. A report was written on that incident (12-403658).
S/Sforza was placed under arrest and transported to the West Precinct… Persons took pictures of the injuries to V II and sent them for processing to the SPD Photo Lab via the Digital Evidence Management System (DEMS). 2 Domestic violence Supplemental forms were completed by Officer… S/Sforza has a passport from Italy and requested Consular notification.”
“Frank” has hinted in online conversations that he may be coming to Seattle for the purpose of celebrating New Year’s Eve. He has even gently jibed Amanda’s co-murder suspect (pending final appeal) Raffaele Sollecito for not being sure if it’s worth it to go to Seattle for just a few days at year’s end:
However, if The Perugian Blogger, a man of at least three aliases and now a number of arrests relating to domestic violence, is going to be in Seattle on December 31, it will actually be because he has a court hearing on New Year’s Eve for two counts of Assault 4 – Domestic Violence.
This time, it seems that the alleged victims won’t hold back or be humiliated into letting the crime go unchallenged and have the charges withdrawn.
“Frank” has been a central figure to the pro-Knox forces ever since a few months after the murder of Meredith he decided instead to advocate for Knox in conjunction with other elements of the Knox PR campaign. This was a shocking and sudden 180 degree U-turn for someone who had up until then been strongly pro-Meredith and favorable to the prosecutor. Mr Mignini, on the case.
What incentive did he have to make such a rapid, stunning, radical change? Leaving many former followers behind?
I don’t know, but do note that nobody can account for how he paid his bills these past 4 years since he claims that no Italian media buys his articles. With “Frank” seemingly living off of the kindness of others and/or the PR campaign, and seemingly not having a particular long-term address of his own… Does the term “drifter” come to mind?
In time, the integration of “Frank’s” Perugia Shock blog with the Knox PR campaign was openly evidenced – before its current aesthetic makeover after it briefly was forced down – by the incorporation of key Knox lobbyist Jim Lovering into the blog credits thus:
[Above: Will “Frank’s” campaigner colleague and local resident Jim Lovering appear in court next Monday to support him?]
The Perugian Blogger has been useful to the pro-Knox campaign. In spite of American thriller novelist Douglas Preston’s strange affirmations that Italy has been coming over to Amanda’s side in her legal battle, the truth is that few non-American and specifically no Italian faces have come out strongly in favour of Knox, except for her own lawyers of course.
“Frank” quickly became a local enabler for the Knox-Mellas clan in Perugia, helping out with the most mundane activities, from revealing secret insider “knowledge” or “facts” on his blog, to babysitting the younger Knox-Mellas girls, or involving the girls in paid-for photo shoots.
In return, he was often referred to in pro-Knox circles as a “journalist”. This faux title was certainly a step up from “Frank’s” prior life of maintaining a website dedicated to selling truffles or capitalizing on the Italian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire.
[Image above: “Frank” before Meredith’s murder: a mundane life of waiting for his 10 minutes of fame]
Following Meredith’s murder, and with the Knox-Mellas clan desperately in need of a facilitator for their everyday logistics in Perugia, “Frank” became their handyman and, in time, almost part of the Knox-Mellas clan.
[Image: Perugian Blogger “Frank” and Chris Mellas, Amanda Knox’s stepfather.]
“Frank”, however, was not merely a passive enabler. He asserted himself, and he pushed his envelope of fame and ownership of knowledge, even though he was mostly a receiver of the tidbits of information the Knox-Mellas clan would throw him when convenient.
His particular claim to “ownership” of information given to him got to the ridiculous point of claiming copyright to court documents that he received and posted on his blog. Court officials might find that pretty cheeky!
The official image of the knife later resurfaced in a great video by ViaDellaPergola here.
It seems that befriending “Frank” became the “in” thing to do, for a brief moment anyway, with many FOA-types and Knox Entourage hangers-on. He must have seemed quite exotic, and also, surprisingly, on their side. After all, the rest of Italy was clearly not.
Bruce Fisher/Fischer the blogger and Knox lobbyist has increasingly isolated himself in supporting “Frank”, and has been working around the clock to justify “Frank’s” string of domestic violence arrests and police questionings, after having published and vouched for “Frank’s” need for financial assistance.
Will Fisher/Fischer and Steve Moore continue to befriend and support “Frank” the blogger? Moore once stated that he would trust Amanda Knox as a roommate to his own daughter. Would he trust “Frank” to spend time alone overnight with his own daughter, now that Moore is aware of Frank’s arrest record for domestic violence? Does he approve of “Frank’s” way of living … is it simply “‘Frank’ being ‘Frank’”, or something that a father might be worried about?
Another of “Frank’s” close confidantes in the US has been Candace Dempsey, a person with a personal food blog on the Seattle Post Intelligencer website who hastily erased most of her culinary blogging past in order to get on with her new found life as a pro-Knox writer.
[Food blogger Candace Dempsey has attempted to recycle her professional focus in parallel with “Frank”]
Dempsey continues to dedicate herself – for the moment at least – to writing about Amanda Knox’s involvement in the Meredith Kercher murder case from a pro-Knox point of view. Will Candace be at Frank’s hearing in the Municipal Court of Seattle on December 31? It would be a fine way of supporting someone she has shared so much fellowship with.
Followers of Meredith’s murder case all remember how Dempsey’s man-in-Perugia “Frank” stalwartly supported her affirmation that it would have been impossible for Amanda and Raffaele to stake out any movements of persons entering or leaving the cottage following Meredith’s murder, due to the entrance to the cottage grounds supposedly not being visible from the Piazza Grimana … in spite of every eye-witness observation and evidenciary photo to the contrary.
Another pro-Knox asset who has been supportive of “Frank” in many ways is Seattle’s King County Judge Michael Heavey. Heavey once received a stern official reprimand for sending, on State of Washington stationary, private accusations of judicial negligence to Italian authorities, where he accused Prosecutor Mignini of grave mismanagement of the Meredith Kercher murder investigation, without providing any evidence to support his wild and defamatory claims. Heavey continues his pro-Knox support in a vocal manner, with appearances at university forums that are prepackaged to support Knox, or speaking at local Rotary Club meetings (luckily we saved the video).
[“Frank” the Perugian Blogger and host Judge Michael Heavey pose together.]
Will Judge Heavey be present at “Frank’s” hearing for charges of domestic violence on December 31? Will he use his good offices to help Frank bear the state of Washington’s justice in the lightest manner possible?
Anti-Mignini novelist Douglas Preston, a patron funder of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), appeared (how coincidental) in a strange CPJ open letter to the world by Joel Simon to Italian authorities, complaining that a mysterious police squad that supposedly reports to Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini had beaten up “Frank” and had him arrested on trumped up charges.
]Novelist Douglas Preston – now a self-described “point-of-view journalist”]
Preston was a central source in a Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) open letter which transformed the domestic violence complaint of a female member of the Perugian Blogger’s family into a case of harassment by Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini. It’s hard to make up crazier tales, yet the CPJ stands by the unsubstantiated claims fed to it. In most jurisdictions that’s called defamation.
Now is a good time for the CPJ’s Executive Director Joel Simon to show his face and admit his embarrassing error by recognizing that “Frank’s” arrest for violence against police officers in Perugia while resisting arrest was under the responsibility of Prosecutor Paolo Abbritti and his team.
Mr Mignini who “Frank” and Preston and Simoin smeared globally had no role at all and may well have not even have known about it. “Frank’s” domestic and anti-authority violence in Italy is consistent with his domestic violence related arrests in North America.
No one, not even CPJ’s Joel Simon could ever have seriously considered that the provincial civil servant Mr Mignini has a private goon squad of rogue policemen who report to him and beat up persons on his request.
By recognizing his error, Joel Simon would be making a positive gesture to classic journalistic standards (not gonzo point-of-view journalism standards) of correcting errors, and he would also be doing a great service to victims of domestic violence around the world. Joel, I ask you please to finally do what is right, and not what a financial benefactor of your organization wants you to do.
It is also important to hear what Preston’s response if any is to “Frank’s” current legal woes in the US. So far, no word from him. Will Preston continue to see the long arm of Mignini in all these arrests? Or will he distance himself from a person Preston considers a fellow “point-of-view journalist” in the Meredith Kercher case?
Preston recently contacted this writer, saying he was writing an Afterword to a book by Mario Spezi about what he calls the “Amanda Knox case”. He said this chapter would be dedicated to the key online players on both sides of the case. (Preston was first invited, see here and here and here, to correct some of his previous error-laden work.)
There is probably no other online personality more prominently associated with the Amanda Knox PR campaign than the blogger who goes by the nickname of “Frank Sfarzo”.
If Preston can’t make it to Seattle to support “Frank”, I guess we will have to wait for his new Afterword in Spezi’s book or his magazine article to catch his angle on “Frank’s” travails with the law, or at least what he thinks about “Frank” after they appeared together in the CPJ open letter - after which, Preston wrote some vigorous followup emails about the CPJ’s open letter concerning “Frank”.
If it had not been for Preston the fictionalist and “Frank” the recycled truffle blogger, there would have been no inaccurate and highly unfair demonizing of Prosecutor Mignini, and that would have taken the air out of Bruce Fisher/Fischer’s own very nasty campaign.
It goes on and on. The list of pro-Knox PR assets who have used “Frank” in their own particular contributions to Amanda’s cause is extensive. Will any of them be in Seattle Municpal Court [image below] with the Perugian Blogger this Monday at 10:00 am?
A pro-Knox commenter who goes by the penname of “KayPea” is trying to rally the pro-Knox troops who are now starting to back off in a very natural manner from “Frank” and the string of domestic violence incidents that “Frank” seems to have been involved in. On the “IIP” blog, she exhorts them to remain in the fold. If we believe her, she is speaking for herself - and remarkably, also the Knox and Mellas families:
“several of you good people [she’s referring to pro-Knox readers] seem to be trying to make up your mind about Frank’s credibility as the author of Perugia Shock as it is juxtaposed on his personal life and this crazy mess with Bettina, Peter and the nutters at the boarding house [ed note: these are respectively the pro-Knox Hawaiian, Canadian, and Seattlietes who are now non-grata … it seems that if you want to make sure that you are allowed to be a groupie, don’t let yourself to get into a situation where “Frank” the Perugian Blogger can abuse you].
Please know that the people who know him the best, Amanda’s family and friends, have been at his side throughout the past few months. COME. WHAT. MAY. They, and I, accept all of Frank’s personality quirks ...” (IIP, 27/12/2012)
However, the owner of the blog, Bruce Fisher/Fischer, seems to be trying frantically to isolate the impact of “Frank’s” “personality quirks” on the IIP emporium. Fischer has stated thus:
“lets lay this out in simple terms. Amanda and Raffaele are free. Nothing that happens in Frank’s life at this point has anything at all to do with anything that took place in the past with regard to the case. Nothing happening in Frank’s life has anything at all to do with Meredith Kercher.”
(Bruce Fisher/Fischer – IIP blog – 27/12/2012)
It’s as if Fischer in his surreal bubble is claiming that “Frank” never really ever existed. Never fought tooth-and-nail for years to deny Meredith and her family their justice.
If I were “Frank”, I would be thinking that maybe not very many of my once long list of FOA friends will be showing support during the New Year’s Eve court appearance.
Will they be joining him for drinks later after the court hearing is done? Or maybe further contact would put them at risk of being pushed into being the next “Bettina” or “Peter” in Canada, more victims of domestic violence.
Does anyone reading believe any longer the wild, uninvestigated claim of Douglas Preston’s friends at the CPJ? That the Italian Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini was behind the complaint placed by female members of “Frank’s” family in Italy? Which eventually led to his arrest there after attacking police officers?
Or is that simply another falsehood from the pro-Knox PR myth factory?
Domestic violence is a terrible, terrible issue in our society. We should never try to explain it away, or blame the victim or any third parties who had nothing to do with the violence. To do so only degrades the victim, and distances yet further the perpetrator from correcting his criminal behavior.
Let’s hope that if someone shows up at the Perugian Blogger’s court hearing this Monday December 31, even if all of his erstwhile FOA friends have disappeared, that victims of domestic violence are there with true supporters, demonstrating that they have no fear of decrying this degrading, despicable criminal behavior.
Final question. Will the Knox-Mellas families really continue to support Frank? Will they let him stay at their homes? Would Amanda let him sleep at her apartment or even visit without her boyfriend or anyone else present?
In fact will any of the Knox-Mellas clan members be at “Frank’s” court hearing at the Seattle Municipal Court at 10:00 am this Monday December 31? In particular, will Amanda be there? Or does Frank, as is rumored, have her freaked?
Archived in Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, Francesco Sforza, Michael Heavey, Other cases, Associated trials, The wider contexts, Seattle news
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Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Foolish False Allegations Against Italian Officialdom Sparking Increasingly Tough Legal Reaction
Posted by The TJMK Main Posters
Maybe none of the above. But whoever came up with the hairbrained idea that a pedal-to-the-floor assault on the officlals handling the case would lead to a tranquil outcome for the accused was maybe not thinking very well on that day.
The Italian System
It is a very fair, carefiul and painstaking system, staffed by well-trained professionals all the way up from cops through investigators through prosecutors through judges through the Supreme Court to the President of the Italian Republic himself.
The Italian system may be the least likely justice system IN THE WORLD for rogue police or rogue prosecutors or rogue judges to hijack it and bend things their way. Even ex-PM Berlusconi tried but his charges still plague him.
Prosecutors again and again see their cases tested in front of administrative magistrates, and those magistrates make all of the decisions. Everything is very public, and judges explain how they decided (ask a typical US or UK jury to do that!) and how they arrived at their theory of the crime.
In the Perugia case the judge for Guede developed one theory of the crime, the judges for Knox and Sollecito at trial a second, and the the judges for knox and Sollecito at first appeal a third. In fact none of them swallowed the tentative prosecution theory wholesale, though many of our lawyers found it quite sound.
Those Who Attack
Now we have three Italians either already facing charges or soon to face charges - Mario Spezi, Frank Sforza and Raffaele Sollecito, each in several suits. These are in addition to the three Americans who have already been charged - Amanda Knox, Edda Mellas, and Curt Knox.
So the present total is six.
Spezi is the Italian sleuthing partner of the American fictionalist Doug Preston who for his uninvited interference in what was an ongoing police investigation of the Monster of Florence case has faced legal woe after legal woe in recent years.
Spezi has already lost one defamation suit to the former MOF investigator and prominent novelist Michele Giuttari, he must in February face another, and he may have to face up to another half dozen more after that. We don’t expect Spezi’s losing streak to end any time soon.
Sforza hides behind the name Frank Sfarzo as an intemperate and rarely accurate blogger on the case. He brings no known professionals skills to the task. He is reported to be the target of criminal charges relating to alleged abuse of the sister and mother with whom he lives. His unsavory reputation and desperate finances mushroomed openly the other day, when he was reported in personal confrontations while visiting Canada and Hawaii.
Sforza now faces a defamation suit as well, for claiming to the whole world via Doug Preston and Joel Simon of the Committee to Protect Journalists in New York that he was being persecuted by a prosecutor back in Perugia. The prosecutor was not even involved. Seems to us an open and shut case.
Sollecito still stands accused in Meredith’s death unless and until the Supreme Couirt signs off. It may not do that any time soon.
Flowing from his new book, Sollecito will apparently face a ton of defamation woes in the next few weeks. These may come to ensnare his defense team (who are credited with helping put together the book) and his shadow writer, his Seattle supporters, and his publishers Simon & Schuster of New York.
Our emerging book corrections page shows how riddled with wrong claims we find Sollecito’s book. We estimate up to 300 wrong claims. If and when Sollecito sees all the defamation charges filed, we will know from court filings who among Italian officialdom claims passages in the book defame them.
Maybe the cases against these six could eventually all dry up and then there will be no more. But we sure wouldn’t lay any bets. Do an Internet search and you’ll instantly turn up plenty more defamatory idiocy. Many media sites may be very vulnerable and may be sued to retract and pay up.
Italian anger is riding high - and it sure ain’t against the prosecutors or cops.
Archived in Reporting on the case, Knox's book, Sollecito's book, Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, Sollecitos, Francesco Sforza, More sockpuppets, Other cases, Associated trials, The wider contexts
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Friday, December 14, 2012
The Considerable Number Of Suspected Perps That Countries Extradite Daily To Other Countries
Posted by Peter Quennell
[Umarked Federal flying paddy-wagon, seen here leaving Seattle, transports 300,000 prisoners annually ]
Extradition is not without its controversies and not all extradition requests see a suspect sitting on a plane handcuffed to a federal marshal.
However, most do, and the US at federal and state level is at any one time processing hundreds of requests and transporting suspected perps hither and thither - the majority, of course, internally between U.S. states, but a large minority are incoming and outgoing.
Complete refusals of extradition seem very rare, as that can cause rebound and ripple effects down the ages.
The US is sort of refusing to send some pilots and CIA operatives back to Italy for trial, but those cases are both in the realm of the quasi military. In the case of the Italian soldiers being held in India for the shooting from a oil tanker of Cochin fishermen they suspected were pirates, even Italy says rules for military must be different.
The US and Italy co-operate on law enforcement more than most countries and the FBI and its Italian equivalent have officers from the other service permanently embedded. We posted on this case of Italy sending an American renegade doctor back to Indiana to face charges.
In general extraditions in both directions between the U.S. and Italy seem to go smoothly and if the State Department ever gets involved (it states that this is Justice Department business) we don’t see any evidence of it in recent reports.
These cases - some of them involving countries sending their own nationals to other countries to face the music - are all live cases on the first 10 of 30 pages when “extradition” is searched on Google News.
- The United States extradites US national David Kramer to Melbourne in Australia. He “has been charged with 10 counts of indecent assault allegedly committed in St Kilda East when he was a teacher at a Jewish orthodox school.”
- Canada rules to send Canadian national Rapinder (Rob) Sidhu a former Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer to the US. “The U.S. indictment… alleges Sidhu… worked with convicted British Columbia smugglers Rob Shannon and Devron Quast to operate a cocaine transportation organization based in British Columbia.”
- The UK sends back Joshua Edwards, a murder suspect, to the US after he fought extradition for five years. He is accused in a 2006 shooting death in Maryland.
- The UK sends back Prine “Prince” Jones to Newark New Jersey. “The 46-year-old Birmingham, England, resident is charged in a superseding indictment with conspiracy to import and export cocaine.”
- Mexico sends back two brothers to New York City “to join a third brother to face sex trafficking charges in New York as part of a complex collaborative effort to combat human trafficking”.
- The UK sends back TV star Robert Hughes to Sydney, Australia. ““He is wanted in connection with allegations of gross indecency, indecent assault and sexual assault towards children in NSW, Australia, between August 1984 and August 1990.”
- Guatamala sends Horst Walther Overdick to New York. “Overdick, known as “The Tiger,” was detained in April during an operation to arrest [very dangerous] Zetas [cartel] operatives in the Central American country.”
- Finland sends Igor Vassiliev to the US. “Igor Vassiliev, 38, a Russian citizen, was arrested in July in Finland, based on an Interpol Red Notice. He is only the third person ever extradited from Finland to the U.S….[in 2005] a federal grand jury handed up indictments charging him with health care fraud and conspiracy to commit health care fraud and mail fraud.”
- The United Arab Emirates sends Kamchybek Kolbaye back to Kyrgyzstan after a two-year legal process. “Kolbayev faces charges of kidnapping, robbery, organization of a criminal group, illegal drug trafficking, and illegal weapons possession,”
- Israel will send Israeli national Aleksandar Cvetkovic to Bosnia. He was arrested in 2011 “on an international warrant after witnesses testified that he had assisted in the shooting of some 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Europe’s worst atrocity since World War II.”
- Ireland extradites Philip Baron to Liverpool in England. “Alleged crime gang boss Philip Baron faces four charges relating to money laundering and conspiracy to import a huge shipment of cocaine and cannabis to the UK from South Africa and Costa Rica between 2005 and 2009.”
- The US may extradite David Headley to India. “CNN-IBN reported US Under Secretary Wendy Sherman as saying, “The US acknowledges Hafiz Saeed is mastermind of 26/11 [Mumbai bomb] attacks. President Barack Obama is determined the US will bring Hafiz Saeed to justice.”
- The UK will extradite British national Lee Aldhouse to Thailand. “Mr Aldhouse successfully fled Thailand after allegedly stabbing American Deshawn Longfellow to death in August 2010. He was later arrested at Heathrow Airport on an unrelated charge when he tried to re-enter the UK.”
- Mauritius has sent Captain Kung back to Taiwan. “Kung was suspected of shooting and killing 12 Chinese sailors [in 1999] on his… fishing vessel during a failed mutiny attempt on Feb. 1999. The vessel at the time was sailing on waters northwest of Mauritius…. Kung was later arrested by Mauritius authorities and sentenced to 20 years in prison.”
- Italy will deport Muiz Trabulsi to Tunisia under an agreements signed by Italy Justice Minister Paola Severino. Muiz Trabulsi is “the nephew of Layla Al-Trablisi, Tunisia’s ex-first lady, to stand trial in Tunisia…. [a part of Tunisia’s eforts] efforts to bring back money stolen by members of the former regime”.
- Bulgaria extradited Stefan Klenovski to Italy, who “had a Europol Arrest Warrant (EAW) issued against him by Italian authorities on suspicions of participating in the crime ring practicing ATM fraud [and], was arrested on January 27 in a shopping mall in downtown Sofia.”
Two more cases are now prominently in the news: Wikileaks founder Julian Assad, holed up in the Ecuador Embassy in London, who the Brits want to extradite to Sweden, and John McAfee, the formoer software magnate now back in the US, who Belize may charge with murdering his neighbor.
Almost invariably while awaiting a final decision those subject to an extradition request have to sit out their appeals in prison. If Amanda Knox is reconvicted in a new appeal trial ordered by the Supreme Court, she could face years sitting in an uncomfortable American prison if her extradition is disputed.
Or, of course, she could willingly move straight to an Italian prison, which as she knows offer in-cell TV, private bathrooms, good career skill-building, and concerts.
[Below: Paola Severino, Italy’s relentless no—nonsense justice minister]
Archived in Italian system v others, Officially involved, The appeals, Extraditions, Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, Amanda Knox, Mafia playbook
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Friday, November 16, 2012
Fervent Knox Supporter Tom Wright Seemingly Strongarms Knox High School Into “Honoring” Her
Posted by brmull
One thing is for sure. Not many schools - maybe none, ever - have accepted the creation of a scholarship to honor a convicted felon who, until the Supreme Court signs off, still stands accused of a very cruel crime.
Seattle Preparatory School is a fee-paying Jesuit Catholic school about a mile north of Seattle downtown, on the south side of Portage Bay from the main campus of the University of Washington. See Google Earth image at bottom. The school’s student role is estimated at around 650.
This announcement of a new scholarship in the name of Amanda Knox was recently published: “The fund, established by past parent [and co-founder of the advocacy group Friends of Amanda Knox] Tom Wright, will provide tuition assistance to students in need.”
Early in 2011 Tom Wright [seen reading a statement in a black shirt below] presided over a seriously loopy panel presentation at Seattle University, attended by a sparse crowd of about 35, which garbled all the hard evidence in the case and accused Italian officialdom of a number of crimes. See for example our reports here and here.
For him this is certainly a labor of passion, since Knox with her book advance has more than enough resources of her own to set up an endowment if she wished, though to date we have seen no indication that Knox has made any charitable donations. Tom Wright seeks to make it look noble.
Sara [his daughter] and Amanda were good friends at Prep… With this fund our family wants to honor the courage of Amanda and her family. They displayed great dignity and fortitude enduring a wrongful prosecution on foreign soil. During years of unjust incarceration, the school supported Amanda through prayers and letters of support. Prep acted in the Jesuit spirit by seeking social justice and helped to win a fight worth remembering.
According to the announcement applicants should demonstrate the same “moral courage, strength of character under duress and a sincere desire to help others in need” that was supposedly exhibited by Amanda Knox.
Claims of “wrongful prosecution” and “years of unjust incarceration” are way premature, and contradicted by all these posts here.
“Moral courage” means taking a risk in order to do what one believes is right. Put aside for a moment the overwhelming evidence that Knox did murder Meredith Kercher. To what instance of moral courage could the school possibly have been referring? We don’t have a clue.
“Strength of character under duress” is pretty much expected of any upstanding member of society. But if there’s one person to which it surely doesn’t apply, it’s someone who was convicted of falsely accusing her kind boss of murder and wrecking his business. Billions of people have a “sincere desire to help others in need.” What makes Knox notable here?
Why else might Knox have been deserving of a scholarship in her name? It’s often said that she was an “honor student” but we wonder why she wasn’t wearing any honor cords at her graduation while other students had them. Author and Knox innocence proponent Nina Burleigh wrote that she “almost flunked” a religion class and was made to take summer school.
Knox has also been described as a “star soccer player.” The team she played for, however, endured “four bleak, losing seasons” according to Nina Burleigh’s book.
A few teachers and students spoke up rather listlessly and doubtfully for Knox after she was arrested and put on trial. Several are believed to have said that they were really not too surprised to hear of the mess she was in.
Tom Wright seems to have been motivated above all by his desire to memorialize “a fight worth remembering.” As much as anything else, that fight consisted of himself and a small group of like-minded diehard parents appropriating the school’s good name and resources for the purpose of a nasty, bigoted, defamatory, strong-arming campaign which played fast and loose with the facts.
Dr Kent Hickey [image directly above] became president of Seattle Prep two years after Knox graduated. He didn’t know her at all, and he may not even have met her face to face before the school accepted a scholarship in her name. Nonetheless, he described her to the media as “a good and thoughtful girl”.
He defended the school’s decision to raise funds for her by saying “We can’t pick and choose the graduates we help.” Yet Seattle Prep DOES indeed pick and choose, all the time. The school routinely punishes and expels students for everything from minor insolence to felonies. We can’t find any other instance in which it has held fundraisers for any alum—let alone a convicted felon—despite 8,000 alums living in the Seattle area.
And so Seattle Prep parents and onlookers might be forgiven for thinking that Dr Hickey is grasping at straws to justify his school’s very strange action.
[Above: scholarship creator Tom Wright]
One angered parent commented on the PR campaign as follows in an excellent investigative report by James Ross Gardner in the local magazine Seattle Met late in 2010:
It is true some of the Seattle Prep families have allowed their students to support Amanda Knox. I do not believe that it is a 100%. A number of families have felt their students were pressured into supporting Knox without having a choice. That is not the Seattle Prep I knew from my years there as a student, nor is it what my husband experienced.
In our years as Prep students we were allowed choice rather than pressure. Because of the pressure, a number of family are not making their annual donations to Seattle Prep. I, for one, will be glad when the verdict in the appeal is handed down so perhaps we can all move past this event. Yes, event.
Seattle Prep has made it into an event and it takes away from the students discussing other news and issues. I do not wish Knox ill but my children did not go to school with her and do not know her. They have no idea if she is guilty. They are more worried about their close friend that is fighting cancer. It is time to un-focus on Knox. That’s just my opinion.
I went to Seattle Prep, and did a full year in Italy. I learned Italian and the culture and saw a lot of Americans and Italians from the South that studied in Central and Northern university towns go a little nuts with all the freedom away from home.
Since I started following this trial, I could totally see how immoral behavior could lead to Amanda doing what she was accused of doing. Drug use, jealous roommates, and illicit sex are not a good mix, especially when people need money to support such habits. Amanda seems to have a lobby of easily-swayed-by-propaganda lab rats who bought in to the PR agency story and don’t bother following the case in its entirety.
I do not know the background of the Seattle Prep Principal, but I think he is getting in way over his head by getting into this case, and as a prior poster mentioned, he is putting a lot of pressure on people to get on the pro-Amanda bandwagon. So sick to sway young students’ minds on what to think.
This sounds like our post-modern decaying American mentality of choosing sides and voicing misdirected-emotions in forming opinions. The Principal does not sound like a well educated, worldly individual to put the Academic Institution and its students, employees and graduates in the middle of this fiasco. It reeks of “We Support Our Troops,” military campaigns to coerce and intimidate people into believing in a “popular” movement.
It’s a cruel joke that needy students who are not in a position to turn down financial aid will be forced to associate themselves with Amanda Knox and an ignominious campaign of bigotry, defamation and intimidation.
It is to them and the real victims, Meredith and her family, that Seattle hearts should go out.
Archived in Officially involved, Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, More sockpuppets, The wider contexts, Seattle news, Amanda Knox
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Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Amazingly, Wrong Facts And Defamations Of Italian Officialdom Show NO Sign Of Being Reigned In
Posted by devorah
The assumption made in standard cases is that the defendants are the clients, as it is their necks on the line, while the lawyers and any PR effort work at their command. In effect RS and AK would exercise all control, and courts would hold them responsible for what they did or should have controlled.
In unusual contrast, here we have a situation where it seems like a bunch of clowns is driving the bus.
The hard facts of the forthcoming Supreme Court appeal and the legal strength of the prosecution team seem to be absolutely damning, while the two defendants and/or their surrogates are out there in high profile playing a childish “catch me if you can” game.
Then read TJMK’s recent posts (scroll down) on Sollecito and the frenetic promotion of his bizarre book. And TJMK’s dissection (not yet complete) of its several hundred faults and 20-plus serious defamations.
Then Google the recent confused and nasty utterings on Knox’s and Sollecito’s behalf (very unwisely tacitly endorsed or unconstrained by either AK or RS) by Saul Kassin, Seth Chandler, Michael Heavey, Doug Preston, Michele Moore, David Anderson, Nigel Scott, and on and on.
Fortunately the media websites allowing anonymous drive-by hatchet jobs under their reporting seems to have dwindled sharply, and are now more or less confined to the hapless low-traffic Ground Report and occasionally the Huffington Post.
Perhaps in consequence, the nasty wildly inaccurate drive-by hatchet jobs in the book reviews on the Amazon website and their reader comments continue to mount up more than ever.
I want to use as an example of this trend the furious comments below this one-star book review of Raffaele Sollecito’s book on Amazon.
The many passages I have put in bold highlight the claims that we here and officialdom in Perugia have long KNOWN to be inaccurate and often defamatory.
This series of comments displays perfectly the nasty and bullying strategy, circular arguments, and wrong facts that the anonymous supporters of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito still deploy, to ensure that their PR points get across and drown out alternative viewpoints.
The strategy of the Solllecito-Knox hit team here at work seems to be as follows:
- 1. Numerous people register anonymously and review ONLY Sollecito’s book or ONLY books about the Meredith Kercher case. These people have no other online presence on Amazon and are obviously deeply immersed in the case as they review books only about it (a more sinister explanation is that these are mostly fake reviewers posting shill reviews under different aliases).
2. They post numerous positive reviews about the slanted pro-defense books.
3. They post numerous negative reviews about the objective pro-prosecution books. For example, John Kercher’s book about his murdered daughter has numerous 1- and 2-star reviews. They were written by individuals who reviewed ONLY books on this case and who gave 5-star reviews to pro-defense books.
4. They respond to opposing viewpoints with hostile and intimidating taunts, threats, ridicule and name calling (in the Amazon thread I linked to above, you can see that those who deviate from the story that Knox and Sollecito are innocent and post alternative viewpoints have actually been called lunatics, idiots and perverts).
5. They repeat known lies and mistruths as though they are facts, using the Knox team’s PR talking points. For example, “there is ZERO evidence in this case” and “there was absolutely NO DNA evidence linking Knox or Sollecito to the crime.”
6. When someone responds with facts to the contrary and links to the evidence, they are bullied, called names, or derisively dismissed.
7. Eventually, when trying to win the argument by logic alone fails, they may finally report their opposers to Amazon so that un unknowing Amazon blocks them from making further comments in the book reviews.
Is this working? I think not. Especlally in Italy but also in the US and UK, there is a growing pool out there that is no longer fooled.
On media sites below stories, the level of skepticism is generally very high these days. After all, the truth “got” to Katie Couric and the guests on Jane Velez Mitchell’s show, so Sollecito’s book at least got poor promotion.
Legal commenters and professional reporters like Wendy Murphy, Nancy Grace, Barbie Nadeau and John Follain have all hinted or outright stated that Knox and Sollecito just might have blood on their hands.
Could that be why the campaign has turned to Amazon.com book reviews penned only by people with brand new screen names?
Knox and Sollecito’s supporters must be worried about the extremely strong appeal case the prosecution is moving forward with. Currently, the defense has NO lawyers publicly saying they were framed and NO good experts going public any more.
While their hotheaded surrogates are still out there (see above!) Knox is out of sight and Sollecito probably is too now. Also the Sollecito book is proving a considerable millstone around their own necks as it is so riddled with wrong facts and obvious calunnia.
Two of Sollecito’s key claims have already been denounced on Italian national TV by Sollecito’s own father and his lawyers. Objectively it looks like they are in a heap of trouble.
Please read the review linked to above to see some of Knox and Sollecito’s most strident supporters in action. Want to fight back? Respond back if you wish, write your own book reviews, and direct people to TJMK and PMF, and to the Massei Report and other factual sources of information. Tweeting would be especially helpful.
And do make sure that people remember that Meredith Kercher was the real victim in this case.
Archived in Reporting on the case, Knox's book, Sollecito's book, Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, Sollecitos, Michael Heavey, Steve Moore, Bruce Fischer, More sockpuppets
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Tuesday, October 09, 2012
An Extremely Significant Development For The Perugia Case In Italy-American Relations?
Posted by Peter Quennell
As expected the Supreme Court of Cassation has upheld kidnapping convictions against 23 CIA operatives.
The landmark case dates to Feb. 17, 2003, when Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, a radical Egyptian cleric known as Abu Omar [image below}, walked out of his Milan apartment in broad daylight and vanished.
talian authorities used cellphone records made at the time and location of the abduction to determine that CIA officers snatched Abu Omar, drove him to nearby Aviano Air Base and flew him to Egypt. According to Italian court documents,
Abu Omar was beaten and subjected to electric shock in a Cairo prison. He was later freed.
The significant development for Meredith’s case is that the State Department had refused to organize diplomatic immunity with Italy for any of the 23.
Now at least one of them, Sabrina De Sousa (image at top with her lawyer), is suing the State Department for not having stood by her in retroactively organizing that diplomatic immunity.
All 23 could now be the subject of requests for extradition to Italy to serve out their six-year sentences, and if the US Justice Department refuses to comply they could be the subjects of worldwide arrest warrants via Interpol.
That could mean the end of their operational usefulness in the CIA and conceivably prevent any of them ever traveling outside the US again in their lifetimes.
Why have the CIA and the State Department seriously parted company here? Well, their mandates are almost polar opposites.
The State Department and its Embassies and the very considerable American presence throughout the United Nations tries hard to get along with friendly nations, and Italy is probably one of its top half-dozen friends.
The CIA on the other hand is charged with using fair means and foul to fight back against terrorism worldwide, and sometimes its practices contravene the best interests of diplomacy and the local law.
Here the CIA is coming out the clear loser and State is sweetly sitting on its hands and not upsetting Italy in any way.
Cables released so far by the State Department under the Freedom of Information Act suggest that State and the Rome Embassy really didnt ever lift a finger to subvert Italian justice on behalf of Amanda Knox.
Here’s betting more of the same - no action by State - as the Cassation appeal comes alive. And no standing in the way of an extradition request for Knox if Cassation decides Judge Masssei got the trial right.
Archived in Officially involved, The appeals, Extraditions, Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, Other cases, Others Italian, The wider contexts, Italian context, Amanda Knox, Mafia playbook
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Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Will Sollecito Drop Amanda Knox In It Further In A Public Seattle Interview At 7:00 PM Tonight?
Posted by Peter Quennell
What was described in this excellent series by an Italian lawyer on four of the Porta a Porta shows continues to be the case. One perp slyly pushing another toward the fire, in an attempt to protect his own sorry ass.
On two levels the woolly-brained component of the Seattle media and the woolly-brained Knox-Mellas camp seem to have only the dimmest comprehension of the slow-motion train-wreck Sollecito has managed to create.
(1) Sollecito may continue to claim that he “saved” Amanda by standing by her when others urged not to, but as future posts here will show, he provably didnt, and in his book in a number of places he includes very incriminatory points about her.
(2) Provable lies in Sollecito’s book have already stirred up a hornet’s nest in Italy and his own father and his lawyers have backed off - right when RS and AK face one of the toughest appeals our Italian lawyers have ever seen.
Can Sollecito be expected to make things worse both for Amanda and for himself tonight? It may not be obvious to much of the audience, but our own bet is: for sure. Must-read posts in advance here and here and here.
And a must-read book. That narcissistic killer flaunted the system - and is now doing 33 years.
Archived in The three defendants, Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito, Officially involved, Reporting on the case, Sollecito's book, Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, Sollecitos, The wider contexts, Seattle news
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Monday, September 24, 2012
Strong Trend: Increasingly The Good Lawyers Are On One Planet And The PR Shills Are On Another
Posted by Peter Quennell
This may surprise you. Jane Velez Mitchell is not herself a lawyer. In fact, she has only a possible journalism degree awarded by New York University.
She claims she was hooked after she “read his book until 2:30” and encountered him in some elevator - we have been puzzling over which elevator and when, for if it was an elevator in the Time Warner building in New York why was he not right there in the studio?
Of the three lawyers she had on the show, the two who did know the case (Wendy Murphy and the crime blogger Levi Page) came down very decisively against Sollecito. The third (Joey Jackson) knew nothing about the case, though even he thought the book was terribly timed.
In effect, Jane Velez Mitchell was carrying on like another PR shill. She really wasn’t any less amateurishly invested than Saul Kassin. Another non-lawyer - Saul Kassin is actually a psychologist.
Where ARE the lawyers for Knox-Sollecito?
All of them seem to have gone awol. Our main poster James Raper, himself a lawyer, sent out this invitation to speak up. In the five months since he posted that, not ONE lawyer has come forward.
Well, except for one strange burble from Anne Bremner, about RS and AK watching Amelie and that being their alibi - though the watching of Amelie took place three to four hours earlier. Even RS and AK didnt claim that.
Knox family legal advisor Ted Simon sounds rattled every time he talks, which he hasnt done since late in 2011. And poor lost Michael Heavey still can’t get to grips with the facts.
In contrast, we now have two of the foremost legal talking heads in the US - Wendy Murphy (a former prosecutor) and Nancy Grace (a former prosecutor) - saying the evidence is overwhelming.
In Italy the Sollecito lawyer Giulia Borngiorno, in face of the Galati appeal and possible legal trouble of her own over Aviello and judge-shopping, has become seriously silent. And Sollecito lawyer Luca Maori just had to distance himself from Sollecito, in conceding that Sollecito in his book had been lying.
Where are the PR shills for Knox-Sollecito?
Though they seem to have shadow-written much of the Sollecito book ostensibly shadow written by the real shadow writer, Andrew Gumbel, Curt Knox’s hatchet men have become so nasty and so distanced from the real facts that they now repel classy media company.
To her great credit, a week ago Katie Couric was repelled - and she showed it.
However there are still a few out there shilling for Knox and Sollecito. We would include in the active shill group Andrew Gumbel, Sollecito book agent Sharlene Martin, and maybe the publisher’s own promoters (if any).
Also Jane Velez Mitchel of course now. Saul Kassin (a flagship shill who may have gone silent). And the shrillest of all the shills, David Anderson, Bruce Fischer, Frank Sforza, Nina Burleigh, and Candace Dempsey.
They all seem to have big chips on their shoulders, and of course financial stakes. Maybe that is what it takes to be a shill here? Sort of the opposite of a degree in law?
[Below Two Sollecito shills: ghost writer Andrew Gumbel and literary agent Sharlene Martin]
Archived in Reporting on the case, Fine reporting, Poor reporting, Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, Sollecitos, Francesco Sforza, More sockpuppets
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Wednesday, August 08, 2012
Dr Galati: Attacks On Prosecution By Curt Knox’s Hatchet Men Becoming Shriller, More Fictional
Posted by brmull
For Italians this series should make interesting reading.
Saul Kassin is a psychologist with the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. Curt Knox’s chief hatchet man has made quite clear online that they tracked Kassin down, fed him every single talking point and reference that he uses, pointed him toward no others, and encouraged him to head out to face key audiences as yet another PR shill.
One month ago my fellow poster the Machine took apart ten claims which Saul Kassin made last year in a Seattle radio interview. As the Machine showed, every one of those claims fall apart once one refers to official documents and the more objective case books and websites.
Another post one month ago by my fellow poster Fuji showed that Amanda Knox is NOT likely to issue false confessions in the heat of an interrogation moment.
That is Kassin’s key claim here, and in effect Fuji used Kassin’s own “science” against him.
Then we were warned by a John Jay colleague that Kassin had repeated these same spurious claims live on television - and that Kassin had made even more wrong claims in a keynote speech to a conference of the elite John Jay College in June in New York, in front of an influential international audience.
And he did so again in a paper, apparently peer-reviewed, which the respected journal American Psychologist has placed online. This post provides the truth on the Knox-related claims at the front and back ends of that American Psychologist paper.
Saul Kassin still appears to believe that Amanda Knox was convicted only based on a false confession (as the Machine and numerous posts on TJMK show, she wasn’t - and in fact, Knox didn’t even confess!) and he now makes almost 50 erroneous assertions about the case.
You can see highlighted in the first box-quote below those misleading and erroneous passages of PR shill Kassin which I correct in the second box-quote below.
I really wonder who agreed to publish him. I work in a science-based field. When I first learned Kassin had been recruited by Curt Knox’s hatchet men as a PR shill. had been put directly in touch with Knox herself, and had been provided with pre-selected reading materials, I wrote to ask him why he hadn’t disclosed all this to his readers.
Still no reply.
It’s true that numerous talking heads have exaggerated their qualifications and concealed their conflicts of interest and financial stakes when speaking in support of the defense. Judge Mike Heavey abused his oath of office to try to sway the process.
What’s different about Kassin is that, using his John Jay College aura, he has corrupted the scientific record with misinformation.
And he has done this, at least in part, with the goal of misleading an Italian court. These dirty tricks are especially dangerous because most people, including judges, expect that what’s stated as fact in prominent academic journals is objective and true.
(1) SAUL KASSIN’S ORIGINAL VERSION WITH WRONG STATEMENTS HIGHLIGHTED
As illustrated by the story of Amanda Knox and many others wrongfully convicted, false confessions often trump factual innocence. Focusing on consequences, recent research suggests that confessions are powerfully persuasive as a matter of logic and common sense; that many false confessions contain richly detailed narratives and accurate crime facts that appear to betray guilty knowledge; and that confessions in general can corrupt other evidence from lay witnesses and forensic experts—producing an illusion of false support. This latter phenomenon, termed “corroboration inflation,” suggests that pretrial corroboration requirements as well as the concept of “harmless error” on appeal are based on an erroneous presumption of independence among items of evidence. In addition to previously suggested reforms to police practices that are designed to curb the risk of false confessions, measures should be taken as well to minimize the rippling consequences of those confessions….
Meredith Kercher was found raped and murdered in Perugia, Italy. Almost immediately, police suspected 20-year-old Amanda Knox, an American student and one of Kercher’s roommates—the only one who stayed in Perugia after the murder. Knox had no history of crime or violence and no motive. But something about her demeanor—such as an apparent lack of affect, an outburst of sobbing, or her girlish and immature behavior— led police to believe she was involved and lying when she claimed she was with Raffaele Sollecito, her new Italian boyfriend, that night.
Armed with a prejudgment of Knox’s guilt, several police officials interrogated the girl on and off for four days. Her final interrogation started on November 5 at 10 p.m. and lasted until November 6 at 6 a.m., during which time she was alone, without an attorney, tag-teamed by a dozen police, and did not break for food or sleep. In many ways, Knox was a vulnerable suspect—young, far from home, without family, and forced to speak in a language in which she was not fluent. Knox says she was repeatedly threatened and called a liar. She was told, falsely, that Sollecito, her boyfriend, disavowed her alibi and that physical evidence placed her at the scene. She was encouraged to shut her eyes and imagine how the gruesome crime had occurred, a trauma, she was told, that she had obviously repressed. Eventually she broke down crying, screaming, and hitting herself in the head. Despite a law that mandates the recording of interrogations, police and prosecutors maintain that these sessions were not recorded.
Two “confessions” were produced in this last session, detailing what Knox called a dreamlike “vision.” Both were typed by police—one at 1:45 a.m., the second at 5:45 a.m. She retracted the statements in a handwritten letter as soon as she was left alone (“In regards to this ‘confession’ that I made last night, I want to make it clear that I’m very doubtful of the verity of my statements because they were made under the pressures of stress, shock, and extreme exhaustion.”). Notably, nothing in the confessions indicated that she had guilty knowledge. In fact, the statements attributed to Knox were factually incorrect on significant core details (e.g., she named as an accomplice a man whom police had suspected but who later proved to have an ironclad alibi; she failed to name another man, unknown to police at the time, whose DNA was later identified on the victim). Nevertheless, Knox, Sollecito, and the innocent man she implicated were all immediately arrested. In a media-filled room, the chief of police announced: Caso chiuso (case closed).
Police had failed to provide Knox with an attorney or record the interrogations, so the confessions attributed to her were ruled inadmissible in court. Still, the damage was done. The confession set into motion a hypothesis-confirming investigation, prosecution, and conviction. The man whose DNA was found on the victim, after specifically stating that Knox was not present, changed his story and implicated her while being prosecuted. Police forensic experts concluded that Knox’s DNA on the handle of a knife found in her boyfriend’s apartment also contained Kercher’s blood on the blade and that the boyfriend’s DNA was on the victim’s bra clasp. Several eyewitnesses came forward. An elderly woman said she was awakened by a scream followed by the sound of two people running; a homeless drug addict said he saw Knox and Sollecito in the vicinity that night; a convicted drug dealer said he saw all three suspects together; a grocery store owner said he saw Knox the next morning looking for cleaning products; one witness said he saw Knox wielding a knife.
On December 5, 2009, an eight-person jury convicted Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito of murder. The two were sentenced to 26 and 25 years in prison, respectively. Finally, on October 3, 2011, after having been granted a new trial, they were acquitted. [Actually they still stand accused - and facing a tough fact-based prosecution appeal] Ten weeks later, the Italian appeals court released a strongly worded 143-page opinion in which it criticized the prosecution and concluded that there was no credible evidence, motive, or plausible theory of guilt. For the four years of their imprisonment, this story drew international attention (for comprehensive overviews of the case, see Dempsey, 2010, and Burleigh, 2011).1
It is now clear that the proverbial mountain of discredited evidence used to convict Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito was nothing but a house of cards built upon a false confession. The question posed by this case, and so many others like it, is this: Why do confessions so often trump innocence? ...
Third, it is important to realize that not all evidence is equally malleable or subject to corroboration inflation. Paralleling classic research indicating that expectations can color judgments of people, objects, and other stimuli that are ambiguous as opposed to those that compel a particular perception, forensic research indicates that ambiguity is a moderating condition. Asked to report on an event or make an identification decision on the basis of a memory trace that cannot be recovered, eyewitnesses are particularly malleable when confronted with evidence of a confession (Hasel & Kassin, 2009). This phenomenon was illustrated in the case against Amanda Knox. When police first interviewed Knox’s British roommates, not one reported that there was bad blood between Knox and the victim. After Knox’s highly publicized confession, however, the girls brought forth new “memories,” telling police that Kercher was uncomfortable with Knox and the boys she would bring home (Burleigh, 2011). ...
In recent years, psychologists have been critical of the problems with accuracy, error, subjectivity, and bias in various types of criminal evidence—prominently including eyewitness identification procedures, police interrogation practices, and the so-called forensic identification sciences, all leading Saks and Koehler (2005) to predict a “coming paradigm shift.” With regard to confessions, it now appears that this shift should encompass not only reforms that serve to minimize the risk of false confessions but measures designed to minimize the rippling consequences of those confessions—as in the case of Amanda Knox and others who are wrongfully convicted.
(2) MY REPLACEMENT VERSION WITH CORRECT FACTS AND CONTEXT NOW INCLUDED
On November 2, 2007, British exchange student Meredith Kercher was found sexually attacked and murdered in Perugia, Italy. The next day, 20-year-old Amanda Knox, an American student and one of Kercher’s roommates, became a person of interest, along with Meredith’s downstairs neighbors and several of her other acquaintances. Interviewing close contacts is a cornerstone of police work. Two of Meredith’s close English friends, who were so scared they couldn’t sleep alone, left Perugia in the immediate aftermath of the murder. Everyone else stayed on.
Months before arriving in Perugia, Knox received a citation for a noise violation when a going-away party she’d thrown for herself in Seattle got out of hand. One of the officers described it as a “scene from Baghdad.” Within about three weeks of moving into the cottage in Perugia, Knox was ejected from a nightclub for pouring her glass on the head of a disc jockey.
It’s often said that Knox had no motive to kill Meredith, but it was Knox’s claim of drug use which indicated a possible motive: a drug-fuelled assault. There are various others, though a motive is not actually required for conviction. In crime scene videos from the day Meredith’s body was discovered, Knox can be seen outside the cottage glancing furtively around. Still, it was not this and other odd behavior, but rather the many conflicting witness statements by Knox and her new Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, that led police to believe Knox was involved and lying when she claimed she was with Sollecito at his home continuously on the night of November 1.
Police interviewed dozens of witnesses in the days after the murder, some more than once. All witness statements were written down and signed for, not recorded. The police interviewed Sollecito for the third time beginning at 10:40pm on November 5. Knox later testified that she voluntarily accompanied her boyfriend to the station, because she didn’t want to be alone. The police did not summon her. To the interviewers’ surprise, Sollecito repudiated his earlier alibi when shown phone records, and now said Knox had left his apartment for much of the evening. Some time after 11:00pm the police asked if they might interview Knox. An interpreter was called and by 1:45am Knox had given a signed statement that she had witnessed the sounds of her employer, bar owner Patrick Lumumba, murdering Meredith at the cottage.
In that statement she acknowledged that she had been given an interpreter, and that she herself was now officially a suspect. Knox later testified that she was treated well. She was offered snacks and drinks during the interview and afterward. Made aware that she could not be interrogated without a lawyer, but still anxious to put out as much information as possible, she then requested a chance to make a spontaneous statement without any questioning. The prosecutor on duty agreed, and she gave a statement in front of him very similar to her witness statement from hours earlier.
Knox and the police gave different accounts of how the 11:00 to 1:45 am interview was conducted. Police said Knox was told Sollecito now no longer confirmed her alibi and he had called her a liar. She now had no alibi. Sympathetic to her because Knox now had no alibi, the interpreter urged her to try to remember at least something. Shown a text she had sent to Lumumba at 8:35pm saying “See you later. Have a good evening!” she was asked to explain this. The police say Knox started to cry and burst out, “It’s him! It’s him!”
Both Knox’s witness statement at 1:45 a.m and her voluntary suspect statement at 5:45am were written out in Italian and translated back to her before she signed. After Knox was formally taken into custody at midday on November 6, she asked for paper and wrote a slight modification of her earlier statements, adding: “In regards to this ‘confession’ that I made last night, I want to make it clear that I’m very doubtful of the verity of my statements because they were made under the pressures of stress, shock, and extreme exhaustion.”
Lumumba was arrested along with Knox and Sollecito. Knox and her mother held out on his non-involvement, but he was eventually determined to have a solid alibi. Another man, Rudy Guede, was identified through a hand print in Meredith’s bedroom. Knox appeared to have substituted Lumumba for Guede in her statements, and several details of the crime in her so-called confession were later corroborated by witnesses.
Because police had not needed to provide Knox with an attorney at the impromptu witness interview after 11:00, the Supreme Court ruled that statement inadmissible in the murder case against her. However both statements were ruled admissible in court for the purpose of establishing the crime of defamation against Patrick Lumumba. Knox’s November 6 letter was also ruled admissible.
Guede, the man whose DNA was found on the victim, told a friend while he was still on the run that he had found Meredith stabbed and that Knox had nothing to do with the murder. However, in the same conversation, which was recorded by police, he speculated that Knox and Sollecito might have been at the cottage. In a letter dated March 7, 2010, while his sentence was awaiting final confirmation by the Supreme Court, Guede wrote that Knox and Sollecito murdered Meredith. He reiterated this claim as a witness during Knox and Sollecito’s appeal.
Forensic police from Rome concluded that a kitchen knife found in Sollecito’s apartment had Knox’s DNA on the handle and Meredith’s DNA on the blade. Sollecito’s DNA was on the victim’s bra clasp in Meredith’s locked bedroom.
Several eyewitnesses came forward. Three neighbors testified that they heard a disturbance around 11:30pm in the vicinity of the cottage. A homeless man who at appeal admitted heroin use was reading a newsmagazine at the basketball court near the cottage. He testified that he saw Knox and Sollecito four or five times that night. An Albanian, a possible drug dealer. who the Massei court deemed unreliable after the Micheli court accepted him, said he had seen all three suspects together, and that Knox had accosted him with a knife. A grocery store owner testified he saw Knox at his shop early on the morning after the murder.
The conflicting alibis of the two were never resolved during trial. On December 4, 2009, an eight-person panel consisting of two professional judges and six lay judges found Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito guilty of murder aggravated by sexual assault, simulation of a burglary, unlawful carrying of a knife and, in Knox’s case, criminal defamation of Patrick Lumumba. The two were sentenced to 26 and 25 years in prison, respectively….
Knox’s mother later described her daughter as “oblivious to the dark side of the world.” Knox herself wrote that, on the night of the murder, she and Sollecito were talking about his mother’s suicide. She told him her philosophy was “life is full of choices and that these choices are not necessarily between good and evil, but between what’s better and what’s worse.”...
Kassin asserted that the witnesses in this case imagined “new memories” unfavorable to Knox because of her highly-publicized confession. He referenced an experiment in which an unknown actor walked into a classroom and stole a laptop. The students were asked to try to identify the thief from a line-up. Two days later, the students were told which person in the line-up had confessed. Many changed their minds when told of the confession, although in truth the thief was never in the line-up at all.
Obviously this contrived scenario has very little to do with Knox or people who had met her. In his book, Meredith, the victim’s father John Kercher recalls his daughter complaining about Knox’s poor hygiene and how she brought home strange men several weeks before the murder. Numerous witnesses recounted specific anecdotes of Knox’s gauche behavior.
Could all these be “new memories”?
Psychologists studying eyewitness testimony, interrogation techniques and false confessions need to be circumspect. Even DNA testing, considered the best of the forensic sciences, requires a thorough understanding of circumstances in order to be interpreted correctly.
We are continuing to seek answers from American Psychologist as well as from Kassin and the colleges at which he teaches. Kassin is embarking on a speaking tour in the fall based on his misleading article and we will be pressing our concerns wherever he goes.
Archived in Officially involved, Reporting on the case, Poor reporting, Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, More sockpuppets, The wider contexts, Amanda Knox
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Friday, July 27, 2012
Heads-Up To The Amanda Knox Forces: A Case Showing How Closely The US and Italian FBIs Co-operate
Posted by Peter Quennell
Meet Doctor Mark Weinberger.
That report about his arrest in Italy was broadcast in 2009. We last posted on him here.
Weinberger was apparently a wildly successful doctor who ran a sinus clinic in Indiana and lived a wildly affluent lifestyle a few milers north outside Chicago. In 2004 he disappeared off his large yacht which was then anchored at a Greek marina, and for six years his (very impressive) wife Michelle presumed he was dead.
In the meantime she had found out that he had actually been running a huge fraud, scamming health insurance and the US government via false billing and unnecessary surgery (often botched) for many millions. And that far from being left comfortably off, she was financially wiped out.
In 2006 in absentia she divorced Weinberger and started over.
In 2009 Weinberger was captured in the Alps by the Italian equivalent of the FBI and returned to the United States as soon as his extradition was requested. In perhaps 99 percent of all US-Italian extradition cases, the fugitives are handed over by both governments very promptly. This sure wasn’t any exception.
Weinberger began to lose the first of numerous civil suits a year ago, and on wednesday he pleaded guilty to 22 criminal charges in federal court.
His prison term is set at ten years.
One moral of the tale apparently still not learned by Steve Moore and Bruce Fischer and their hapless ship of fools, so desperate for approbation, is this: much or most of the time it is the fine Italian equivalent of the FBI that they are misrepresenting and defaming.
In the past two weeks alone, we have seen new ramblings by Saul Kassin and Nigel Scott (engineered by Bruce Fischer) that to any informed lawyer are quite crazy. Kassin and Scott clearly didnt have the slightest idea WHO they were defaming or accusing of crimes.
Or how much more determined thier defaming makes the Italian FBI and other law enforcement agencies and the courts to give Amanda Knox (or Curt Knox or Edda Mellas) no special breaks.
The daffy Steve Moore first introduced this confusion way back here. And of course Bruce Fischer, Curt Knox’s hotheaded chief hatchet man, sustains it up to this day.
Eighteen months ago, Chris Mellas (whose business in Seattle is doing well) sensibly recommended from Perugia that the Knox campaign should finally acquire some cool heads and some REAL experts, and toss the trouble-making grand-standers they had acquired over the side.
Perhaps predictably, Curt Knox (whose business in Seattle is doing badly) reacted red-faced and steaming, and shot this seemingly quite smart idea down. So the abrasive, misleading, very amateur campaign goes on.
Added. We are now told that Frank Sforza and David Anderson are in Seattle, and Sollecito will be there soon, to actually jack up the level of defaming in the RS and AK “we were the victims” books being written.
Wow. THAT is Curt Knox’s end-game?l He ran that one past Chris Mellas? It seems universally believed in officialdom in Rome and Perugia that Curt Knox KNEW all along that Amanda did it. Apparently with good evidence.
Archived in The three defendants, Amanda Knox, Officially involved, Police and CSI, The appeals, Extraditions, Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, Francesco Sforza, More sockpuppets, Other cases, Others elsewhere
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Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Dr Galati: Note An Example Of How Curt Knox’s Campaign Is Misleading American Experts And Audiences
Posted by The Machine
Seemingly good, well-qualified lawyers and experts in police science have repeatedly been made to surface to spout inanities and wrong “facts” put out courtesy of Curt Knox’s “public relations” campaign.
It seems that Dr Saul Kassin is yet another of these naive dupes.
Who is Dr Saul Kassin?
The Social Psychology Network website states that he is a Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the John Jay Criminal Justice College in New York City. The website outlines his impressive academic credentials which include a Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut.
Curt Knox’s chief hatchet man Bruce Fischer, himself notoriously unqualified in every field relevant to the case who for a long time masqueraded pompously under a false name, claimed on his website that Saul Kassin gave help to Amanda Knox’s lawyers in Perugia.
Also that his work was presented to the court during the 2011 Hellman appeal.
Many may not know this but Sarah was instrumental in bringing Kassin in to analyze Amanda’s interrogation. His work was presented during the appeal..
The family had asked that we not release Kassin’s work to the public until they received clearance from the attorneys. I know I often state that this case is over but the attorneys rightfully want to keep everything professional until the Italian Supreme Court confirms Hellmann.
Last October, Saul Kassin did speak at length about Amanda Knox’s interrogation in an interview with John Curley on Radio Kiro FM.
In this post we’ll examine ten of the false claims which have long been circulated by Curt Knox’s campaign, with Bruce Fischer’s site as the central clearing house, and which were regurgitated by Saul Kassin in that interview.
False Claim 1: They brought her in for that final interrogation late at night.
No they didn’t.
Neither the police nor the prosecutors brought Amanda in for questioning on 5 November 2007. Amanda Knox herself testified in court that she wasn’t called to come to the police station on 5 November 2007.
Carlo Pacelli: “For what reason did you go to the Questura on November 5? Were you called?”
Amanda Knox: “No, I wasn’t called. I went with Raffaele because I didn’t want to be alone.”
Amanda Knox went with Raffaele Sollecito because she didn’t want to be alone. Kassin’s false claim is the first red flag that Saul Kassin is very confused or has been seriously misled when it comes to this well-documented and well-handled case.
False Claim 2: The so-called confession wasn’t until 6:00am.
No it wasn’t.
If Saul Kassin had actually read Amanda Knox’s first witness statement, he would have known that it was made at 1:45am. Knox had admitted that she was at the cottage when Meredith was killed some time before this.
False Claim 3: She was interrogated from 10:00pm to 6.00am.
No she wasn’t.
According to the Daily Beast Amanda Knox’s questioning began at about 11:00pm.
Since Knox was already at the police station [in the company of Raffaele Sollecito] the head of the murder squad decided to ask her a few questions. Her interrogation started at about 11 p.m.
After Amanda Knox had made her witness statement at 1:45am, she wasn’t questioned again that evening. That was it.
However, Amanda Knox herself then wanted to make further declarations and Mr Mignini who was on duty on the night sat and watched while Knox wrote out her declarations.
Mr Mignini explained what happened in his email letter to Linda Byron, another who was factually challenged.
All I did was to apply the Italian law to the proceedings. I really cannot understand any problem.
In the usual way, Knox was first heard by the police as a witness, but when some essential elements of her involvement with the murder surfaced, the police suspended the interview, according to Article 63 of the penal proceedings code.
But Knox then decided to render spontaneous declarations, that I took up without any further questioning, which is entirely lawful.
According to Article 374 of the penal proceedings code, suspects must be assisted by a lawyer only during a formal interrogation, and when being notified of alleged crimes and questioned by a prosecutor or judge, not when they intend to render unsolicited declarations.
Since I didn’t do anything other than to apply the Italian law applicable to both matters, I am unable to understand the objections and reservations which you are talking about.
In Amanda Knox’s written witness statement, she explicitly states that she’s making a spontaneous declaration:
Amanda Knox: “I wish to relate spontaneously what happened because these events have deeply bothered me and I am really afraid of Patrick, the African boy who owns the pub called “Le Chic” located in Via Alessi where I work periodically.
False Claim 4: They banged her on the back of the head.
No they didn’t.
All the numerous witnesses who were actually present when Amanda Knox was questioned, including her interpreter, testified under oath at trial in 2009 that she wasn’t hit. She has never identified anyone who hit her and on several occasions confirmed that she was treated well.
Even one of Amanda Knox’s lawyers, Luciano Ghirga, confirmed that Amanda Knox had not been hit: “There were pressures from the police but we never said she was hit.” He never ever lodged a complaint.
False Claim 5: All the other British roommates left town.
No they didn’t.
The police also told Sophie Purton that they needed her to stay on in Perugia on precisely the same basis as Amanda Knox. In chapter 19 of Death in Perugia, John Follain states that Sophie Purton was questioned by Mignini and Napoleoni in the prosecutor’s office on 5 November 2007.
Sophie had been counting on leaving Perugia to fly back home as soon as her parents arrived, but the police called to tell her they needed her to stay on; they would let her know when she could leave.
False Claim 6 : Amanda Knox stayed back to help the police.
No she didn’t.
This claim is flatly contradicted by Amanda Knox herself. In the e-mail she wrote to her friends in Seattle on 4 November 2007 she categorically stated she was not allowed to leave Italy.
i then bought some underwear because as it turns out i wont be able to leave italy for a while as well as enter my house
Knox actually knew on 2 November 2007 that she couldn’t leave Italy. Amy Frost reported the following conversation (The Massei report, page 37),
I remember having heard Amanda speaking on the phone, I think that she was talking to a member of her family, and I heard her say, No, they won’t let me go home, I can’t catch that flight.
It’s not the first time that the myth that Knox chose to stay behind rather than leave Italy has been claimed in the media. And incidentally, lying repeatedly to the police isn’t normally considered to be helping them.
False Claim 7: Amanda Knox had gone 8 hours without any food or drink.
No she hadn’t.
Reported by Richard Owen in The Times, 1 March 2009
Ms Napoleoni told the court that while she was at the police station Ms Knox had been ‘treated very well. She was given water, camomile tea and breakfast. She was given cakes from a vending machine and then taken to the canteen at the police station for something to eat.’
Reported by Richard Owen in The Times, 15 March 2009.
Ms Donnino said that Ms Knox had been “comforted” by police, given food and drink, and had at no stage been hit or threatened.
John Follain in his meticulous book Death in Perugia, page 134, also reports that Knox was given food and drink during her questioning:
During the questioning, detectives repeatedly went to fetch her a snack, water, and hot drinks including camomile tea.
False Claim 8: The translator was hostile towards Amanda Knox.
No she wasn’t.
Saul Kassin offers no evidence that the translator was hostile towards Amanda Knox and there is no evidence that this was the case. Nobody at the questura has claimed this. Amanda Knox’s own lawyers have not claimed this.
Even Amanda Knox herself has never ever claimed that Anna Donnino was hostile towards her although she had every opportunity to do so when being questioned on the stand.
False Claim 9: The translator was acting as an agent for the police.
No she wasn’t.
Saul Kassin offers no evidence to support this claim, which by the way in Italy is the kind of unprofessional charge that incurs calunnia suits. Do ask Curt Knox.
False Claim 10: The police lied to Amanda Knox.
No they didn’t.
The police didn’t mislead Amanda Knox. They told her quite truthfully that Sollecito was no longer providing her with an alibi, and that he had just claimed in the next interrogation room that that she wasn’t at his apartment from around 9:00pm to about 1:00am.
This also is the kind of unprofessional charge that incurs calunnia suits
Saul Kassin clearly hasn’t been directed to any of the official court documents like the Massei report, available in accurate English on PMF and TJMK, or the relevant transcripts of the court testimony.
Worse, he clearly hasn’t even studied Amanda Knox’s own witness statements before claiming to the media that they were coerced.
What he seems to have done is to fall hook line and sinker for the fantasy version of Amanda Knox’s interrogation which has been propagated in the media by Amanda Knox’s family.
He has then mindlessly regurgitated this false information in this interview. For somebody with Saul Kassin’s academic qualifications and educational background, it’s inexcusable that he gets so many facts wrong.
He needs to use much more reputable sources or, as so many other dupes before him have done, simply shut up. Of course, it would be professional for him to admit his mistakes.
Archived in Officially involved, Crime hypotheses, Psychology and motive, On psychology, Reporting on the case, Poor reporting, Defense dirty tricks, Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, More sockpuppets, Amanda Knox
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Tuesday, May 08, 2012
Dr Galati: Seems One Of Curt Knox’s PR Operatives Who Has Been Bullying Meredith’s Father Online
Posted by Glinda The Good
We have long heard that the PR run for Curt Knox by David Marriott in Seattle controls all the pro-Knox anti-Italy message everywhere. David Marriott unwisely claimed this, in fact, right after Amanda Knox returned to Seattle. See here.
The PR is said to abuse reporters who dont go along, reward those that do, and fan out nasty commenters around the web to post selling points under various false names. It presumably does that to make the movement look spontaneous and big. An expanding but questionable technique which goes by the name astroturfing.
Every month more evidence piles up, suggesting that online comment threads and forums are being hijacked by people who aren’t what they seem.
The anonymity of the web gives companies and governments golden opportunities to run astroturf operations: fake grassroots campaigns that create the impression that large numbers of people are demanding or opposing particular policies. This deception is most likely to occur where the interests of companies or governments come into conflict with the interests of the public. For example, there’s a long history of tobacco companies creating astroturf groups to fight attempts to regulate them.
After I wrote about online astroturfing in December, I was contacted by a whistleblower. He was part of a commercial team employed to infest internet forums and comment threads on behalf of corporate clients, promoting their causes and arguing with anyone who opposed them.
Like the other members of the team, he posed as a disinterested member of the public. Or, to be more accurate, as a crowd of disinterested members of the public: he used 70 personas, both to avoid detection and to create the impression there was widespread support for his pro-corporate arguments. I’ll reveal more about what he told me when I’ve finished the investigation I’m working on.
The Knox PR astroturfing operation now has Meredith’s father John Kercher and his fine new book in its crosshairs, and for some days it has been raining contemptuous abuse. .
Officialdom in Perugia and Rome and the Italian Supreme Court all seem to know that the Knox-Mellases KNEW Amanda Knox was involved in the crime against Meredith almost as soon as they arrived in Perugia, and that they have been trying to cover that up ever since.
The PR scheme had already swung into operation by then, but the Knox-Mellases made the fateful choice to stick with it regardless, instead of maybe more wisely switching off the PR and turning to a good American lawyer to spread the word instead. Curt Knox recently claimed, before Amanda’s “innocent” persona started to implode, that using PR was one of the best choices he ever made.
This image above is of Seth Chandler, the managing director of Axolotl AB, a public relations firm linked to David Marriott’s which does the usual advertising, copy doctoring, social media campaigning, and so on. The image was captured online before it was hurriedly disappeared.
Seth appears to be the same chap caught red-handed the other day propagating the all-too-familiar FOA selling points while sliming the family of Meredith, who is the real victim here. Under an article on Worldcrunch which reported the imminent release of John Kercher’s book “Meredith” Seth Chandler was observed repeatedly posting that John Kercher (and others there trying to explain the truth) should simply STFU..
With only a couple of exceptions, real names of identifiable people are not used by the PR. We’ve seen them, we’ve read them, but this appears to be only the second time (after “Bruce Fisher of New York”) that one of the anonymous PR operatives/contractors has been exposed for what and where he is. Perhaps we might expect a few more.
For four years in the US and the UK, with big money at stake, the operatives have bashed Italy, the Italian justice system, Italian culture, and the Italian law enforcement agencies involved in the case. The operatives have slimed the Scientific Police, the prosecutor Mr Mignini, the prosecutor Ms Comodi, the British press, the Italian press, the Kerchers’ lawyer Mr Maresca, and all the prosecution witnesses. In various postings they have accused many of these people of crimes, an imprisonable felony in the US.
They have bashed the lay judges in the court because they wear their tricolour sashes routinely as a badge of office. They have claimed that this is an anti-American display. They have decried the Italian courtroom because behind the lead judge a crucifix hangs there.
The operatives have thrown mud at anyone they perceive as dangerously surfacing any hard truth about the case. Respected journalists have received exceptional abuse. Any perceived enemy not so much of Amanda Knox herself as the defense narrative of the murder and the legal processes can expect to get roughed up.
So it’s quite a game-changer when Seth Chandler, or “Seth C” as he now wants to be known, the managing director of Axolotl PR, is apparently caught red-handed telling John Kercher to STFU. Seth Chandler has claimed as he tried to wriggle off the hook that “no one paid” him to say STFU, and that anyway PRs would never say such a thing. Really? But the abuse was right there in his name.
Seth Chandler also works for Electrolux. Its competitors are are Dyson, and LG. I wouldn’t imagine that he employs the same tactics for firms, though I haven’t yet checked his Amazon customer reviews.
Shame on Seth Chandler - and on Curt Knox, whose vile temper reverberates throughout this case and some increasingly believe sent Amanda Knox over the top.
Archived in Officially involved, Defense dirty tricks, Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, More sockpuppets, Amanda Knox
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Friday, May 04, 2012
Dr Galati: Please Check Out What Looks Like A Mischievous Defense-Inspired Global Hoax
Posted by The TJMK Main Posters
Throughout the trial which began back in January 2009 the defense teams often seemed down or depressed or distracted or floundering.
Reports surfaced in Italy that one or two of them might even have considered walking. Knox defense counsel Luciano Ghirga was reported as nodding off or distracted. Sollecito defense counsel Giulia Bongiorno was photographed seemingly showing some exasperation with Sollecito and at zero notice she missed several days in court.
Amanda Knox’s testimony over two days on the stand in June 2009 was widely seen in Italy as a disaster. From then on many in the court and throughout Italy believed this seemingly callous, evasive, forgetful girl had to have had a role in Meredith’s death.
Having failed to attend to observe any of the key forensic tests at the Scientific Police labs in Rome, the defenses were able to introduce some forensic witnesses who testified that there might, possibly, somehow, be contamination in the collection and tests which they chose not to witness, but they never came close to showing how.
By the summations in November 2009 both defenses seemed to be seriously floundering.
2. Fast forward to Friday 20 November 2009
What happened on 20 November might well have made it the defenses’ very worst day.
On that day during their summation the prosecution BEHIND CLOSED DOORS devoted an entire day to reconstructing how Meredith died and the events in the few hours before and since.
The presentation was closed because Judge Massei had ruled in favor of Meredith’s family to close the court to the media when any upsetting material was being presented. For example the results of the autopsy had been presented in closed court.
This resulted in the Massei judges and jury receiving a much more disturbing picture than the Italian public and especially the foreign publics ever did.
The Italian media pieced together what had been presented behind the closed doors on 20 November and Il Messagero and several other Italian newspapers published it several days later. You can read a combined summary in this post here.
To our knowledge none of that summary of events ever appeared in the US or UK media, so the full impact of the reconstruction felt by the jury and to a lesser extent by the Italian public was never felt at all by the US or UK publics.
This excerpt is from that post:
We have left out the depiction of the final struggle with Meredith, which is extremely sad and disturbing. In the evidence phase this was testified-to behind closed doors at her family’s request and we have never posted anything from those sessions….
23:21 - Amanda and Raffaele go into Meredith’s bedroom, while Rudy goes into the bathroom.
23:25 - A scuffle begins between Amanda, helped by Raffaele, and Meredith. The English girl is taken by the neck, then banged against a cupboard. Rudy Guede enters and joins in.
23:30 - 23:45 Depiction in the timeline and computer simulation of a horrific struggle with Meredith
23:50 - Amanda and Raffaele take Meredith’s mobile phones and they leave the apartment. Guede goes into the bathroom to get several towels to staunch the blood, then puts a cushion under Meredith’s head.
That simulation video was a second-by-second depiction of what the crime-scene specialists from the Scientific Police in Rome had concluded, from the position of Meredith’s body in the room, evidence traces and the placing of various objects, and the many wounds described in the autopsy.
It was extremely difficult and laborious to get just right, and every tiny movement of the four that it depicts in three-dimensional space had to be able to stand up unchallenged - as they did.
The fight with Meredith took a horrific fifteen minutes. It only ended when she was lying bleeding on the floor, her hands grasping her neck. She was locked in her room to die, with her keys and phones removed to make sure she could not save her own life.
This was not a minute or two of hazing and a slipped knife. The evident intention was to see her dead - and in the reconstruction it required THREE ATTACKERS to explain all the evidence points.
The prosecution never entered the video into evidence so it could not be leaked to the public (the Sollecito family already stood accused of leaking one video) but the effect on the jury seems to have been profound and the defenses could do nothing to blunt it.
The lone wolf theory was well and truly dead in that courtroom and a perception of three attackers was well and truly alive. The defenses did what they could in their summations but they were unable to shake the perception of a depraved three-against-one attack.
A few days later a verdict was announced. By a UNANIMOUS verdict Sollecito and Knox were found guilty.
3. Fast forward to the first-level appeal before Judge Hellman in 20011
Judge Sergio Matteini Chiari, the most senior judge in the criminal division, was appointed to preside over the appeal.
He was very experienced at presiding over murder trials and appeals. What happened next surprised many among the judges and prosecutors and Italian reporters and the Italian public generally. From the Italian Wikipedia:
Although the Assize Court of Appeal was to be chaired by Dr. Sergio Matteini Chiari, Chairman of the Criminal Division of the Court of Appeal in Perugia, in circumstances not well understood Dr. Claudio Pratillo Hellmann, who chairs the Labor Chamber of the Court, has been called on to preside over the appeal court,
The judge to the side of the main judge, Dr. Massimo Zanetti, came from the Civil Section, and both had had limited experience with criminal trials both rather remote in time (only the cases of Spoleto and Orvieto).
Judge Hellman readily consented to the defense requests. First to re-examine several witnesses previously heard on the stand during trial (primarily Mr Curatolo) and two new ones (Alessi and Aviello) intended to show that Guede or Aviello’s missing brother could have attacked Meredith with unknown others.
And second to appoint two independent experts who would re-examine the DNA on the large knife found in Sollecito’s apartment and the DNA for which traces were collected in Meredith’s room and the methods used for processing them.
The examination of the witnesses seemed to end indecisively, but the vague suggestions of the independent consultants that there COULD have been DNA contamination - never proven - was accepted readily by Judge Hellman.
The reconstruction and the showing of the simulation which the trial jury sat through in later 2009 was not repeated by the prosecution at the first appeal in late 2011. Judge Hellman showed no inclination to sit through the full depiction of the day or the horrific 15-minute attack on Meredith.
So the explanation of all the evidence points in the room and on Meredith’s body was never solidly brought home solidly to Judge Hellman or his jury. In his verdict he overturned the outcome of the first trial, provisionally pending any Supreme Court ratification, and he handed Amanda Knox a three-year sentence for framing Patrick Lumumba.
Having refused to see the reconstruction, he could very torturously argue that the attack on Meredith could have been carried out by a single person. If he and his jury had actually watched the video, they could never have argued that.
4. Fast-forward to the grounds of Dr Galati’s appeal to the Supreme Court
The Umbria Chief Prosecutor’s grounds for appeal were spelt out by him at a new conference in Perugia on Monday 13 February 2012. The PMF translation team will soon have the full document ready in English.
The summary of the grounds for appeal below is translated from the Umbria24 report and to our knowledge NO English-language website except this one and PMF has ever reported what are the full grounds.
Meredith case: the prosecution appeals to Cassation: the acquittal verdict should be “nullified”.
For the Chief Magistrates of the [Umbria] Prosecution, “it was almost exclusively the defence arguments which were taken heed of”
By Francesca Marruco
The first-level conviction verdict was “complete and thorough” while the verdict of the second-level is “contradictory and illogical”. For this reason, the General Prosecution of Perugia asks the Cassation to revoke or invalidate it.
“We are still extremely convinced that Amanda and Raffaele are co-perpetrators of the murder of Meredith Kercher” said the Chief Prosecutor of Perugia, Giovanni Galati and the Deputy Chief Prosecutor, Giancarlo Costagliola.
Verdict that should be revoked “The second-level verdict should be annulled/revoked…. There are precise reasons for revoking it”, Mr Galati went on to say. In the Hellman reasoning report on the verdict with which the second-level judges acquitted the ex-boyfriend and girlfriend “there are so many errors, and many omissions. There is inconsistency in the grounds for judgement, which brings us to nothing.”
“It is as if they had ruled ex novo [anew] on Meredith’s murder” added the Deputy Prosecutor, Giancarlo Costagliola, “basing their decision solely on the arguments of the defence.”
“Normally the appeal judge evaluates the reasoning procedure of the first-instance judge and compares it to new elements. But this one missed that out altogether: there is no comparison between the checks carried out in the first and second instances. Only what was carried out during the appeal was evaluated.”
Only defence arguments were taken heed of For the magistrates, in fact, the second-level judges “took heed, almost exclusively, of the arguments of the defence consultants or the reconstruction hypotheses that were largely to the benefit of the defense theses”.
The prosecutors who authored the appeal [to Cassation] also criticized the “method used”. “The first-instance verdict”, they wrote, “was summarized in just a few lines”,
“The verdict [which we] challenge completely ignored all the other aspects which corresponded with the accusation’s hypothesis, all the aspects which, on the contrary - as was seen in the reasoning report of the first-instance verdict - had been rigorously pointed out and considered by the Assizes Court [trial court] in its decision.”
“In examining the individual [items of] evidence, the challenged sentence has fallen into consistent procedural error in the weaknesses and evident illogicality of the grounds for its decision.”
Prejudice For the General Prosecution magistrates, the second-level [first appeal] judges appear to have shown “a sort of prejudice” with the “infelicitous preamble of the judge [the author], who is supposed to be impartial”, when he declared that “nothing is certain except the death of Meredith Kercher”, which to the others [Mr Galati and Mr Costagliola] is nothing more than “a resounding preview/forecast of the judgement” and a “disconcerting” affirmation.
The ten points The reasons for the appeal to Cassation which Perugia’s General Prosecution presented today against the acquittal verdict of Amanda and Raffaele are based on ten points of the second-level verdict.
The first is the lack of grounds for the decision, in the decree of 18 December 2010, to allow the forensic testimony/expert witness in the appeal judgement.
The second, in contrast, concerns a contrary decision: the decision to not allow a new forensic investigation requested by the prosecution at the end of the ruling discussion. In the appeal to Cassation it is written that the Appeal Court’s rejection reveals “contradictoriness/contrariness and demonstrates manifest illogicality in the grounds for the judgement/reasoning report”.
The other points deal with the decision by the Appeal court of Assizes of Perugia to not hear the witness Aviello, also the definition of “unreliable” [in the Hellman Report] with reference to the witnesses Roberto Quintavalle and Antonio Curatolo, also the time of death of Meredith Kercher, also on the genetic investigations.
As well as the analyses of the prints and other traces, also the presence of Amanda and Sollecito in via della Pergola, also the simulation of a crime [the staged break-in], and also the exclusion of the aggravating circumstance of the crime of “calumny”.
Missing assumption/acceptance of decisive evidence In the appeal to Cassation there is also mention of the “missing assumption/acceptance of a decisive proof”
In other words, of that proof [presented at trial court] which consisted of “the carrying out of the genetic analysis on the sample taken from the knife by the experts appointed by the Court during the appeal judgement, who did not carry out the analyses of that sample, thus violating a specific request contained in the [orders given to them] when they were assigned to the expert-witness post”
“In the second-level [Hellman] verdict”, the magistrates said, “the judges sought to refer to this in their own way, by speaking of an “experimental method” by which these tests/checks could be carried out.
But this is not the case”, said Deputy Chief Prosecutor Giancarlo Costagliola: “Dr Novelli [the prosecution’s DNA consultant at appeal] spoke of cutting-edge technology, not of experimental methods”.
So Dr Galati, himself formerly a deputy chief prosecutor at the Supreme Court who for years handled nothing but Supreme Court cases and knows what constitutes a sound appeal argument, argued that Judge Hellman had made ten serious mistakes. (Aviello claimed in court that he had been bribed; instead of investigating, Judge Hellman very quickly move on.)
But even worse, that Judge Hellman had illegally vastly expanded the scope of the appeal. And he had illegally appointed the independent DNA experts.
Because of Hellman’s alleged sloppiness and overreach, the defenses now stood to lose EVERYTHING they thought they had gained - and had been so noisily jubilant about, especially to the media in the US. An arrogance not taken kindly to in Italy at all.
5. Fast forward to English language press reports of the past few days.
Nick Squires may have been the first to carry the report quoting unnamed sources in the Daily Telegraph.
Two prosecutors in Perugia, where Miss Kercher was murdered, face accusations of wasting 182,000 euros (£150,000) of public money by commissioning a controversial 3D video which purported to show how the murder unfolded.
The contentious video, which defence lawyers said was based on circumstantial evidence, showed Miss Kercher being held down and stabbed to death by Miss Knox and her two co-accused.
The Leeds University student and her alleged murderers were represented in the 20 minute film by animated ‘avatars’. It was played on a big screen to the judge and jury in the original trial in 2009.
The National Audit Office is now investigating the prosecutors, Giuliano Mignini and his deputy, Manuela Comodi, on whether the video was a necessary part of their case.
If found culpable they could have to pay the money back to the prosecutors’ office.
Really? Accusations? Wasting? Controversial? Purported? Contentious? Now investigating?
Note that Nick Squires didnt name his sources. He didnt explain why he claimed the video simulation was controversial. (It wasn’t at all controversial at trial in 2009.) He didnt seem to know who had made the accusations or how or when they had been made or to who.
He failed to mention that the video was played behind closed doors, and that the defenses had no comeback to it. He said it depicted Knox, though in fact it deliberately didn’t. He didn’t explain that the depiction of the fight lasted 15 minutes. He didn’t explain that the depiction of three attackers was overwhelmingly convincing to Judge Massei and his jury.
Nick Squires’s report was nevertheless comparatively brief and restrained in contrast to that of Michael Day which came next. His very much embroidered version was published in the UK Independent. The accusatory tone and serious charges in Nick Squires’s and Michael Day’s reports were then picked up without checking by a large number of American and European media outlets.
Note that not one of these reports was checked out in Italy, and that all these reports slam Mr Mignini (yet again) and indicate that this was an OFFICIAL accusation of “wasting public funds”. Many US reports wrongly state that the British audit office is investigating.
Michael Day claimed that “Agostino Chiappiniello has said he suspects the two of inappropriately spending €182,000 (£148,000) on a crude and cartoonish 20-minute video,”
Really? Agostino Chiappiniello, did you tell Michael Day precisely that?
Michael Day then states that “In both trials [Mr Mignini’s ] interventions were notable for the outlandish motivations and personality traits he attributed to the defendants. He promoted the idea that the murder was the result of a sex-game that got out of control, despite having little or no evidence to support the theory.”
Really? Actually Guede and Knox and Sollecito were all CONVICTED of a sex crime at trial, because to their judges and juries that is what the evidence inescapably pointed to.
And Michael Day concludes with yet another misleading statement (see above on Dr Galati’s appeal for the correct facts which he seriously garbles here.):
Judges at the Cassation court may only overturn the first-appeal verdict on technical grounds. Thus, no new evidence may be introduced and the prosecution’s room for manoeuvre is limited. The pair could not be retried for the same crimes.
Really? But nobody is talking about the pair being retried for the same crimes. This does not arise. Under Italian law they STILL stand accused of the same crimes as they were before trial back in 2009 until the Supreme Court signs off on their case.
6. Fast-forward to the ITALIAN reports of the past two days
Translation by our main poster Jools from an Umbria24 report, posted on Wednesday, which tells a very different story.
[There was several months ago]… a complaint from “a group of private citizens” who did not sign their names and surnames about an alleged misuse of public money….
No comment from the two prosecutors of Perugia, no comment on this news.
As we have learned the prosecutors have not received any legal papers regarding the investigation and they heard of the news from the press.
Who will pay? To decide if the expense was adequate for the State coffers will be the task of the prosecutor at the Court of Audits of Umbria.
Meanwhile if the Supreme Court were to overturn the judgment of the Perugia appellate court, the costs would be paid by the two accused [Knox and Sollecito].
If instead the Supreme Court were to confirm the acquittal, the bill for 182 thousand euros would be borne by the Italian State.
7. In summation
Quite a fizzle. The prosecutors are NOT quaking in their boots. They didnt even know about it. And the full force of Italian justice does NOT have them under the microscope.
- The anonymous complaint was filed over two months ago. Nick Squires and Michael Day sure did not make that clear.
- If the enquiry is actually pursued (not at all certain) then it is Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito who could in fact be stuck for the costs (plus VAT) of producing the video. Nick Squires and Michael Day sure did not make that clear.
- The Corte dei Conti is not the equivalent of a criminal or civic court, it is essentially an investigating tribunal. Nick Squires and Michael Day sure did not make that clear.
- The Corte dei Conti has so far not accused anyone of anything, and it may never do so. It sure doesn’t seem to regard the matter as urgent. Nick Squires and Michael Day sure did not make that clear.
- In fact it has taken over two months to, well… not even assemble the evidence or bother to get in touch with Mr Mignini or Ms Comodi. Nick Squires and Michael Day sure did not make that clear.
On the same basis Judge Hellman could in theory be accused of incurring TWO huge cost over-runs.
- One for running his appeal court only on saturdays to suit just one defense lawyer, when the overtime costs to Italy became huge - substantially more than the cost of the video. Nick Squires and Michael Day sure did not make that clear.
- And one for (according to Dr Galati) illegally appointing the two DNA consultants - the costs of that investigation to Italy became much more than the cost of the video. Nick Squires and Michael Day sure did not make that clear.
The reconstruction video is so powerful and accurate that it could, if it is watched by the Supreme Court in Rome or a new appeal court in Perugia, be quite devastating to the defense of the two accused. This is because it depicts the full cruelty of the attack on Meredith - and it shows that THREE people had to have attacked her.
So who filed the anonymous complaint against Mr Mignini and Ms Comodi? And who used Nick Squires and Michael Day as puppets to make a private claim look official, and make that hoax go viral? We are sure Dr Galati will have all the answers before many days go past. Calunnia charges might apply.
Someone must REALLY fear that Sollecito and Knox will be cooked if that video reconstruction ever gets shown again. Case closed? At one stroke.
[Below: Knox and Sollecito, who could be billed over $300,000 for the reconstruction video]
Archived in Vital Must-Read Posts, Officially involved, The prosecutors, Defense dirty tricks, Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, Sollecitos, More sockpuppets, The wider contexts
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Tuesday, April 10, 2012
My Letter To Claire Wachtell of HarperCollins Protesting How Distasteful Knox’s Book Promises To Be
Posted by mimi
I am guessing, and in fact hoping, that you are receiving many letters similar in content to the one I am about to write. I hope, also, that you have been inspired by these letters to look further into the matter of Meredith Kercher’s cruel and untimely death, and at the bizarre and disrespectful behaviour of her flatmate and purported friend, in the hours subsequent to Ms. Kercher’s murder.
None of us witnessed the attack - had we been there, we would surely have intervened on her behalf - and, therefore, we cannot absolutely finger Ms. Knox and/or her “boyfriend” as the attackers, in spite of a curious amount of suggestive and incriminating circumstantial and physical evidence.
We can, however, express our considerable distaste at the idea of Ms. Knox benefitting financially from exploiting the sordid tale of a misadventure that resulted purely from her own irresponsible and reckless behaviour. Please consider:
- She arrived in Europe and proceeded to revel in her newfound sexual identity, indiscriminately associating with men unfamiliar to her flatmates. She behaved without consideration for her own safety, let alone theirs. She laughed off their concern as prudishness.
- With her “boyfriend” (the term could only be taken in the loosest sense, as she had met him barely a week before the murder), she proceeded to experiment with narcotics, to the extent that she apparently believed that to tell the police investigating a vicious murder which took place in the bedroom adjacent to her own, that she was “too stoned too remember” her whereabouts or actions, was a wise course to take.
- While Meredith’s tortured body lay upon a cold slab in the coroner’s, Ms. Knox saw it as fitting conduct to galavant about a lingerie shop with her “boyfriend”, holding up g-strings and giggling about wild sex. She absented herself from a candlelight memorial held for Meredith, attended, respectfully, by close friends as well as people who certainly had less of a personal connection to the slain woman than did her own flatmate. She concocted ridiculous and contradictory accounts, both for the increasingly frustrated police and for friends, family and acquaintances back home (in a 4 page email, which I highly recommend you read), which not only illustrated her callous disregard for Meredith and of the seriousness of her own situation, but pointed to clues as to her involvement.
- She had no one but herself to blame for her repeated questioning and subsequent arrest. Had she behaved like any normal person (and one need only look to the plentiful examples of Meredith’s other friends and neighbours in Perugia for inspiration: Filomena Romanelli, Laura Mezzetti, Giacomo Silenzi, Robyn Butterworth, Sophie Purton, Amy Frost, Samantha Roddenhurst, all of whom were aghast at Knox’s coldness) she had ample opportunity to say,“Please, I am upset, I’m in shock; someone was stabbed and left to die in the room right next to mine! I don’t know who it was, but, dear god, it was not me!” Instead, she made up stories about mops and doors that were normally locked or unlocked, about being terrified of her employer whom she had described only days earlier as being a kind and good person. She sat in the police station with her lover of the week, and in whispers tried to incriminate other acquaintances - anyone they could throw to the wolves to save their own hides.
- The DNA evidence may not have been abundant, but it was ample and most certainly was not absent. Their lies were indeed abundant, contradicting not only one another’s alibi accounts but their own. The circumstantial evidence against them is most disturbing.
- Despicable only in second place to the behaviour of Ms. Knox and Mr. Sollecito was the conduct of their immediate families, subsequent to their understandable arrest.
I live in West Seattle and have witnessed firsthand the distasteful circus that was the Gogerty-Marriott PR circus designed to recreate Amanda Knox as the Ivory Snow Girl, while grinding Meredith Kercher, who deserved nothing she suffered on 1 November 2007, into utter obscurity.
The Sollecitos went even lower than paying a set of spin doctors, when they released forensic video footage of the crime scene, including unmistakable images of the victim’s nude and battered body, to the Bari television network, Telenorba, which proceeded to air the footage several times. Imagine how you would feel, as the parent, sibling, or friend of a young stabbed, strangled and sexually violated individual, to learn that this is her only value to the world after her death. Shock entertainment to a television viewing audience?
So, having read this, I ask you, honestly, what is the value to the world of a ghostwritten (as she lacks the ability to compose a coherent sentence, unaided) memoir by Amanda Knox?
- She can’t tell us what we want to know about Meredith’s final hours (unless she wishes to revert to the alibi version in which she WAS at the cottage, blocking out the screams).
- She wouldn’t have the nerve, four years on, to suddenly gush on again over how horrible it must have been for Meredith, how terrifying and agonising to be mutilated in such a manner, and left to die without hope of attracting attention or alerting aid from outside her bedroom walls.
- She wouldn’t have the gall to offer her condolences to the Kerchers within the same covers of a volume whose main thrust is to whine to the world about how miserable it was to spend 4 years in prison because her brain was so addled by narcotics she was unable, throughout her police and courtroom questioning, to come up with a scenario that made one iota of sense.
I don’t know your opinion on her conviction, which, until the Supreme Court has rendered a decision, still stands, but I sincerely hope that you are not viewing this book project as an enjoyable opportunity to work with an ebullient and bright Amanda Knox, or, worse, to put the “real truth” before the public.
In either case, I fear you will be gravely disappointed and sorrowfully mistaken.
Yours, Mimi (full name in the original)
Archived in Crime hypotheses, Reporting on the case, Knox's book, Media news, Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, Sollecitos
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Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Dear CEO Gary Pruitt: Could The Associated Press Try To Report Right A Little Harder?
Posted by Peter Quennell
[From the AP website] More than one billion people look to The Associated Press (AP) for news each day. Founded in 1848, the AP is the world’s foremost information resource with more than 3,700 employees at 242 bureaus worldwide serving 121 countries 24 hours a day, seven days a week via newspaper, radio, television and the Web.
The AP is a co-operative owned by over 1,000 newspapers and, like most of the mainstream media it serves, the AP rather has its back against the wall. From the Wikipedia entry:
The AP lost $14.7 million in 2010 as revenue plummeted for a second consecutive year. 2010 revenue totaled $631 million, a decline of 7% from the previous year. This is despite sweeping price cuts designed to bolster revenues and help newspapers and broadcasters cope with declining revenue.
That image above is of Gary Pruitt. A lot is riding on him to sustain a quality service and deversify in any way he can to pump those revenues back up. Right now, he is a senior media executive in Sacramento, California, but he will become the president and CEO of the AP in two months.
Most Americans hear far more about Meredith’s case from the AP than they do from any other source. Typically the AP sends out a story every few days when the case is live in Perugia. Typically these stories then get posted on 200 to 2,000-pus media websites in the US and around the world.
The AP also sends out many video reports, which are broadcast by the many member TV stations, and the AP also posts them on YouTube. If you search Google Video for “associated press meredith kercher” you will get 30,000 hits, and if you search “associated press amanda knox” you will get ten times that amount.
The AP reports on the case have at times veered to the deeply trivial. Here is a post about Amanda Knox’s 2008 Christmas in prison which included only a single sentence about the real victim Meredith and her family. Within hours it was up on 800 websites.
The AP reports have also at times included seriously wrong facts. Sometimes it corrects them, sometimes not. Here is a post about a correction of a mistake which appeared on about 2,000 websites. The apology has been removed but the story when posted was inaccurate and it has been re-written to hide that. .
But the real gut problem in AP reporting on the case is one of deep superficiality and of leaving an awful lot unsaid.
Here is a report by the AP cultural and publishing correspondent Hillel Italie (image below) in New York. It is essentially correct so far as it goes, but it is a good example of the republishing of press releases while leaving an awful lot unsaid.
Here are just three examples of what the AP could have covered in this report and its many other reports but so far hasn’t.
- All trials and appeals have concluded with a sentencing report in Italian explaining what the reasons of the judges were. The AP has not only done no translation (it has bilingual reporters in Italy); of the reports’ very existence, the AP audience would never know.
- There is a lot of legal activity just ahead in the Supreme Court appeal against RS and AK and the calunnia and perversion of justice trials. The once-convicted perps are now looking at a formidable new prosecutor, though the AP audience would never know.
- There has been a costly, huge and highly onesided PR effort which has been unfairly hard on Italy and its justice system and its police and prosecutors and experts, to the point often of defamation, but the AP audience would never know.
Anyone who gets their news on the case only from the AP would essentially know NOTHING of the facts we have advanced in all the recent posts on the books and shortly before that in all the recent facts on the appeal and family trials. They would know only a tiny fraction of the full universe of facts and much of what they do “know” is flat-out wrong.
Nice going, Associated Press. Your worst performance ever, perhaps? But then, why bother, when only an entire very civilized country and hundreds of its officials and truth and justice are being slimed?
What most Italians know of the details of the case is maybe ten times more detailed and comprehensive and fair and accurate than what most Americans and many Brits know. Italian reporting and interviews and media investigations are very fair. In contrast the AP is proving lazy and sloppy and inaccurate. Not to mention very dishonest.
Mr Pruitt, please ensure that AP reporting learns something from this? Right now, they are falling seriously short.
Archived in Reporting on the case, Poor reporting, Media news, Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases
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Sunday, March 18, 2012
Could A Growing Asymmetry Between Raffaele And Everybody Else Be Ensuring No Sleep In Seattle?
Posted by Peter Quennell
Amanda Knox seems to have had a history of putting her foot in it and then (sometimes) when she realizes it she tries to make amends.
That seems to be the arc of her Berlin experience where she upset people by quitting a plum intern job at the parliament after a day and then retroactively at least worrying about it. That may have been what she was doing at the first meeting with her parents in Capanne prison when they very quickly shushed her up.
Meredith seems to have found Knox hard to take with her noise and grubbiness and sharp elbows and general pushiness. But Amanda Knox was losing her few new friends in Perugia fast, and possibly her job in Patrick’s bar, and Meredith seems to have fatefully banked on Amanda Knox coming full circle soon.
There are instances recorded almost to the end where they both seemed to try to get along, although Meredith may have brushed Knox off on Halloween night when Knox made unanswered calls, maybe to ask if she could tag along.
Seemingly a classic loner with no close friends in Perugia, no previous genuine deep relations with girls, apparently no prior sex, a year or two behind the rest of his class in completing his degree, with serious time given to beastie porn and Japanese anime and Japanese manga. Believed to have had a history of cocaine use with some incident on record back in Bari. Loves knives.
Seemingly forever kept on a very short string by his father, who called him on the phone at least once daily, and who made sure to keep his son’s bank balance on a level with Raffaele’s legitimate monthly expenses.
Seemingly already nervous prior to Meredith’s death that Amanda Knox might soon dump him. That after less than one week.
Our Italian poster ncountryside translated these statements by Dr Sollecito which seem to show Francesco trying hard to get a grip over his slippery son.
From a family conversation recorded in Capanne prison
And then this f@cking knife that you carried back and forth .... I told you about leaving it at home .... You’re an idiot from this point of view .... aren’t you? .... and then the f@cking point that you could have avoided the [marijuana] joints .... You promised a few years ago about it, didn’t you? You gave us your promise, to me and to your sister that you would not have used them again, and instead you have not given a f@ck .... is that clear?“
From another family conversation recorded in Capanne prison
If the investigators are finally realizing what the real dynamics of the matter is ... automatically understand that you have nothing to do with [rude in italian] ... Do you understand? ... Amanda can be more or less involved in this matter ... more or less I do not know and do not give a damn ...
She will know something ... precisely ... especially considering all the versions that she has given, maybe she has not told the right one because she was worried about what this character the little negro [i.e. Patrick Lumumba] has managed to do, something like that ... do you understand what I mean? ... But you have nothing to do with [rude in Italian] ... and they understood ... now this morning or Monday there will be also the checking of your computer ... they have already cloned the hard disk ..
If Amanda was home ... if she was out, wtf were you doing? ... were you at the computer? ...... We cannot understand, this [=AK] within three days, when she went to the questura ... she has four to five different versions ... she has pulled in the little negro a@@hole ... Is a strange personality this girl, isn’t it?.
In his second and third alibis Sollecito definitely seemed to throw Knox under the bus.
It was only after hearing of Sollecito’s second alibi from police interrogators that Knox headed off down the slippery slope that now results in a confirmed three-year sentence for her and calunnia trials for both herself and her parents.
It was right then that Knox pointed the finger at Patrick Lumumba, in her own second alibi when still only a witness.
Upon his release by Judge Hellman, Raffaele Sollecito adopts a high and surprisingly jubilant “catch me if you can” profile not dis-similar to that which has been the downfall of many a psychopath throughout history.
He goes on national TV and avoids all the hard questions and he bristles with narcissistic bravado. He makes several statements about himself and Knox from his seclusion in Bisceglie north of Bari, which his father then publicly tries to pull him back from.
A seemingly naive ghost-writer, Andrew Gumbel, is invited in to capture Sollecito’s immortal thoughts, and he seem to have instantly started to mirror Sollecito’s extreme bravado.
More or less the opposite of the cautious, subdued book approach of the Knox camp. Although she may not have wanted this, Amanda Knox will be tied forever to Sollecito in the opportunistic, self-serving title: “Presumed Guilty: My Journey to Hell and Back with Amanda Knox”.
Book announcements are totally mute about all the legal trouble headed down the pike toward himself and Knox and their two families. The publisher’s announcement makes this inaccurate statement:
Over and over, Sollecito came under pressure to change his testimony and get himself off the hook, but he refused to betray Amanda and he refused to lie.
Really?! No, in fact Sollecito threw Amanda Knox under the bus as soon as he was leaned on, in his alibis two and three. He left her under the bus throughout the whole trial. Even after she rather desperately reached out to him in Capanne prison. And he lied again and again and again. Besides:
- Sollecito seems to show no concern at all that Perugia’s formidable chief prosecutor Dr Galati has filed a devastatingly strong appeal with the Italian Supreme Court.
- Sollecito seems to show no concern at all over his own family’s upcoming trial or the fact that they might end up in prison (which could cause his father to lose his medical license).
- Sollecito seems to show no concern at all that, for over-vigorously trying to defend him, his sister Vanessa has now permanently lost her plum job with the Carabinieri.
And now? Well, now there is a new report from the UK press, which seems to keep stringers permanently on the ground in Seattle and may have a direct pipeline to the Knox-Mellases. The report includes this:
Amanda’s new boyfriend, musician James Terrano is understood to be unhappy about Raffaele’s arrival.
James Terrano has himself been very cautious. He is unlikely to have let that damning remark leak out without a heads-up to Amanda Knox and her family. This seems yet another sign that the secret Seattle meetings are not simply a lovefest.
Both families seem to be struggling with a loose cannon called Raffaele.
Archived in Officially involved, Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, Sollecitos, The wider contexts, Seattle news, Raffaele Sollecito
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Tuesday, March 13, 2012
In Desperation A Council Of War? All Of The Sollecito Family Suddenly Hop On Flights To Seattle
Posted by The TJMK Main Posters
Italian media are today reporting this.
Actually, it’s no surprise at all to the close case watchers in Italy. They were wondering how else the two families and their kids could make it through the minefield ahead. They seem to be facing a five-problem agenda.
The most immediate problem for the two families is described in the box at the top of the page here. Curt Knox and Edda Mellas are headed for a civil trial brought by aggrieved police, seemingly without an ounce of proof on the family’s side other than any testimony from Amanda Knox herself under cross-examination (for the first time) on the witness stand.
Almost simultaneously the Sollecitos (five of them) are headed for a CRIMINAL trial for illegal release of evidence and attempted political interference which could eventually land them in prison. The two charges against them seem pretty cut and dried with hard evidence on film and audio tape to which they have not so far offered even a sliver of a rebuttal.
The second problem is that officialdom in Rome and Perugia seem to almost universally believe that the two families have all along known that both of their kids were somehow involved in Meredith’s murder. Some of the suggestive evidence is out there in broad daylight and we suspect that prosecutors may be holding back more.
Contrary to the claims of Amanda Knox’s supporters that prosecutors maliciously threw the book at the defendants and their tribes to somehow save face, the truth is that prosecutors stopped short of taking all of the possible actions open to them.
For example they turned down an offer by Guede to testify fully at first trial (after which he was beaten up in prison and reduced to a jelly which must have pleased him no end) and they seem to know more than they are saying about hard drugs - Knox apparently had a cocaine dealer’s number in her mobile phone. Also they chose not to investigate any of the rumors and backstories in Seattle which US prosecutors might well have done.
In the Sollecito case they may have felt they had no choice but to proceed. The released evidence tape showing Meredith’s naked body was repeatedly broadcast nationally, and the Carabinieri and Rome police are both involved in the political meddling component. Bari prosecutors will of course be trying the case.
The third problem is that Judge Hellman has done the families no favors. On the day after he issued his verdict he contradicted himself in an unhelpful way. Then he published an emotional report explaining the surprise outcome of the first appeal which is short on logic and correct law, and full of innuendo and bizarre intellectual leaps.
PMF and TJMK will be posting a careful translation of the Hellman report with a full analysis of its weaknesses soon.
Chief Prosecutor Galati has already filed a formidable Supreme Court appeal against the first appeal outcome, which argues in part that (1) the scope of Hellman’s report was illegal overreach; and that (2) his appointing of the two independent DNA experts was more illegal overreach.
As it has done in many other cases in the past, the Supreme Court might send the outcome of the first appeal back to Perugia to be corrected just as soon as it reads that.
And if it reads further, it cannot help but note that Judge Hellman has brushed right by hundreds of questions that still remain open. The Supreme Court has ALREADY rejected Judge Hellman’s hypothesis that Rudy Guede broke in and attacked Meredith all by himself. It has sided with Judges Massei and Micheli that there were actually three perpetrators.
The blockbuster book offers required to pay for all this new legal action seemed very short on due diligence in the context of the calunnia minefield that Italian law creates for writers and publishers. Did the writers and publishers even know about that?
Past explanations and alibis from Knox and Sollecito have repeatedly contradicted one another’s. At one point, each seemed to be accusing the other of the crime. At trial, Knox seemed to want to talk all the time, while Sollecito barely ever said a word. Now we are seeing the exact opposite. Sollecito seemingly cannot keep quiet to save himself, while Knox seems petrified and terminally tongue-tied.
Their books are going to need to be line-by-line supportive of one another, and they will be disasters if they rely on slamming Italian officials and moping (Knox’s apparent angle) or on denying all the hard evidence and moping (Sollecito’s apparent angle).
There will be cancellation clauses in the publishers’ fine print, and what they are we may all soon find out. From the two families’ point of view, this entire landscape must look very nasty and foreboding. An ill-advised legal and PR strategy has led them into this minefield.
Not surprising that they now find a sudden need to chat.
Archived in The three defendants, Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito, Officially involved, Reporting on the case, Sollecito's book, Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, Sollecitos, The wider contexts, Seattle news
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Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Perugia Prosecutors Arrest The No #2 Political Leader Of Umbria From Rocco Girlanda’s Home Town
Posted by Peter Quennell
Mr Orfeo Goracci (left above) is the elected Vice President of the Regional Council of Umbria which sits in Perugia. He and eight others have been charged with serious crimes.
Mr Goracci is the former mayor of Gubbio half an hour north of Perugia and he runs the political machine there. The other eight arrested are all Gubbio officials. Mr Goracci is a friend of the Knoxaholic MP Rocco Girlanda who is the Member of Parliament in Rome for the same town.
Gubbio is in the Guinness Book of Records for annually creating the world’s largest christmas tree (image at bottom). A pretty and historic place on a hillside, it is where Knox and Sollecito had planned to go on the day after Meredith died.
Mr Girlanda is from an opposing party to Mr Goracci’s and has been quick to distance himself, but it is being remarked by commenters on Italian websites that there is no way he would have been elected MP if Mr Goracci’s machine had not given him a strong assist.
Last year, Mr Girlanda, who is married with five daughters, tried to intervene to tilt the Knox-Sollecito appeal in four different ways.
He wrote a book rhapsodizing the thoughts of Amanda Knox, using his parliamentary right to check prison conditions to access her. He ran several panels at his US-Italy friendship association in Rome. He attempted in parliament to cut police budgets for wiretapping.
And he petitioned the President of the Italian Republic to order an investigation of the Perugia prosecutors. This was ignored by the President. How ironic now that Mr Girlanda risks being at their receiving end.
This is a translation of the report by Emanuele Ciogli on Avanti Online.
The “Czar” of Gubbio is arrested for criminal conspiracy and charged with sexual assault
I wonder how Don Matteo would deal with the case, the fictional cycling detective in his cassock who is very popular with Italians.
The news these days brings us right to Gubbio, setting of the famous fiction and no longer only fiction: the former mayor of Gubbio, Orpheus Goracci, current vice-president of the Regional Council of Umbria, known for his despotic behavior as “Czar” or “King” or “The Boss”, has ended up in custody along with eight others of his “group”, all politicians, directors or officers in charge of the city.
The charges against him are serious: conspiracy aimed abuse of office, bribery, falsification of public documents, and removal of government records. But especially sexual violence.
He is accused of conspiracy since 2002 and “an undetermined number” of crimes: abuse of office, bribery, falsification of public documents and deletion of public acts. All this in creating “a climate of intimidation and fear in the city of Gubbio.”
According to one of the key witnesses of the prosecution to the Perugia investigation, conducted by the police and the carabinieri, Goracci when mayor “within the administration was acting like a dictator, treating the city as his own thing, refusing any advice that does not conform to his will, and penalizing or favoring at will employees, particularly women. “
Women were “advantaged” in exchange for sexual favors, and friends of friends were backed by virtue of rampant cronyism.
To understand the logic of the former mayor of Gubbio just listen to the testimony given to investigators by one witness, a policewoman with a fixed term contract, who was unlawfully excluded from a permanent contract because she was deemed “unfriendly” to the alleged conspiracy promoted by the former mayor.
“The logic was clear: either you were a woman and relented to the advances of Mayor Goracci; or you were a man and had political connections or friendships with Goracci or persons inside his group. Or you were out of the game.”
The woman’s statements describe a “permanent stop placed on her” say the investigators, confirmed by statements of her friend and colleague: she was unlawfully excluded from the competition for municipal police officer indefinitely after rejecting the alleged advances of the mayor (who in this episode is also accused of sexual assault).
Mayor Goracci on one occasion according to the papers of the investigation “attracted her to him, kissing her shoulder, and trying to kiss her on the lips.” But the woman “extracted herself and had managed to leave the office.”
This episode would be followed by another similar… She told him “to lay off, reminding him that he had a wife and a daughter.”
In the first image below you can see Mr Goracci with the Regional Council leadership. After his arrest there is an empty seat. His buddy Mr Girlanda will face a tough election later this year or next.
Uncharacteristic quietness from him meanwhile might thankfully become the norm. Shades of Amanda.
Archived in Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, More sockpuppets
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Friday, February 17, 2012
Were Prospective Knox Publishers Given The Full Score On The Likely Legal Future Of This Case?
Posted by Peter Quennell
[Above: the seemingly hornswoggled Jonathan Burnham and Claire Wachtell of the HarperCollins house]
One publisher who passed on the Amanda Knox book then came here to read and told us he was rather shocked.
All the publishers going in to the auction were apparently not briefed by the Knox huckster team about the legal minefield this case still continues to represent. It may not have mattered to HarperCollins of course. It was HarperCollins that published OJ Simpson’s notorious “If I Did It” and they seem to have come out ahead.
One of the quirky outcomes of the Simpson venture the Amanda Knox team might like to draw a lesson from is that the “If I Did It” book (written by a ghost writer for Simpson, and as one Amazon reviewer said “chock full of omissions”) directly fueled the public anger that helped to put Simpson behind bars for a long time.
Typical of the hyper-cautious Italian system, this case is passing through three automatic phases like a three-act play. The Knox team can beef now about harassment and double jeopardy, but they have filed their own Supreme Court appeal, and it is written into the Italian constitution that no verdicts and sentences that are appealed are final until the Supreme Court signs off.
Act One started early in 2009 three months after Guede’s trial and we all saw as reported here on TJMK a very speedy and precise presentation of the prosecutions’ case. This was followed by the spectacle of Amanda Knox doing herself considerable harm in her two days on the stand. Thereafter through autumn and well into winter 2009, a weak and faltering defense was presented, with several court days simply cancelled because the defense could think of nothing more to say.
Judge Massei’s jury then quickly came to a unanimous verdict and he wrote up the reasons for it in an excellent 425-page report. He differed in only one major respect from Judge Micheli who in October 2008 concluded that Amanda Knox had organized and led the pack against Meredith and that Rudy Guede was unwittingly or accidentally drawn in to her torture and murder. (He still handed Guede 30 years.)
Judge Massei didnt cover the Rudy Guede evidence in nearly the same depth as Judge Micheli (Guede was only briefly in the Massei courtroom, and because Mr Mignini would not do a deal he barely spoke). In rather a stretch, Judge Massei argued that Guede set the escalation in motion which resulted in Meredith’s death. Few of us believe that.
UK and US lawyers have told us that under US and UK rules it is very unlikely that any judge would have then allowed the case to go to appeal. Knox and Sollecito would have served out their time and possibly emerged much better off for it - you can see the ugliness flowing back into them now..
Act Two in 2010-11 saw the playing field becoming increasingly tilted. Mr Mignini happened to catch on tape a Florence prosecutor lamenting that the Monster of Florence cabal for which Doug Preston is such an eager beaver was tying his hands. The Florence prosecutor then sought to get his own back by taking Mr Mignini to court.
All sorts of amateur second-guessers on the evidence now got into the act, and few outside Italy any more had a firm command of the actual hard facts. It is rumored that Judge Hellman may have had a bias even before he ever got involved with the case. Mention of Meredith was almost nowhere to be found, and there was a constant drumbeat for Sollecito and Knox kept alive by their families and the US media and the MP Rocco Girlanda.
Helping the defenses was that soon after Meredith’s death the defenses played one huge trick. They failed to show up when Dr Stefanoni did her DNA tests. That then allowed them to impugn and slur her and her work with no hard evidence to hand. This rose to a crescendo when Judge Hellman’s two under-qualified consultants reported at appeal.
Amanda Knox still ended up being handed three years in prison, but with time served Judge Hellman released the two “young people” which was a verdict that to very few informed Italians made sense.
Act Three starts with legal terrain that looks very different. Dr Galati has set the stage for a very, very tough third act, and he is making quite sure this time that the playing field is not tilted by any further monkey tricks. No wonder the publisher mentioned up top is surprised though. .
- NOT ONE non-Italian media source has made it clear that the Umbria regional prosecution office has a very special and prestigious status in Italy as the prosecution office that takes on cases against officials and politicians in the Rome government, so that the Rome police and prosecutors avoid conflicts of interest..
- NOT ONE non-Italian media source has explained who Dr Giovanni Galati really is. He could rightly be described as the most experienced and respected and capable of all Italy’s 24 regional chief prosecutors. He was a Deputy Attorney General with the Surpreme Court in Rome before his assignment just over a year ago to Umbria, and unlike the main Knox and Sollecito lawyers he knows the internecine Supreme Court rules and ways of addressing Italian law like the back of his hand.
- NOT ONE non-Italian media source has explained what we have reported in the four posts just below: that Dr Galati is stating that Judge Hellman BROKE ITALIAN LAW in two make-or-break respects. Judge Hellman is seen to have extended the appeals court’s terms of reference in ways that he is forbidden to do. And he introduced the DNA consultants which (as Mr Mignini several times argued) he was also forbidden to do.
Amanda Knox and Raffaele Solecito now face the fights of their lives. The last thing they need in this shark tank is a couple of biased self serving books “chock full of omissions” and anti-Italy smears.
They will almost certainly have to get up on the stand under oath and cross-examination and try to explain their scenario in a context where they each have contradicted and even accused one another. Their lawyers may be okay at trial or first appeal level but they are very outclassed by Dr Galati at this third level and it would seem the Knoxes, Mellases and Sollecitos would be best served to find new (very expensive) Supreme Court teams
Italians on the whole are angry and humiliated at the ill-argued first-appeal outcome. Judge Hellman seemed to show biases that he really should not have. Dr Mignini is back to being in the clear in his case as it was ruled (rightly) that the Florence prosecutors did not have jurisdiction over him. The Supreme Court took a very firm position in December 2010 that Rudy Guede did not act alone. The defense star witnesses Alessi and Aviello that might help accomodate to this have imploded, and both may face trials of their own.
A pretty grim portrait of Amanda Knox both prior to Meredith’s murder and while Knox was in Capanne prison is not hard to find in Perugia from multiple sources. If a devastating “Real Amanda Knox” book is not inspired by the HarperCollins book, we will be surprised, and it could sell more than hers. And if the slightest defamation about anyone in Perugia appears in the AK book, then HarperCollins will have the great joy of finding out what “calunnia” means.
President Obama and Senator Cantwell both have tough elections on their hands and Hillary Clinton and the Rome Ambassador David Thorne (an Obama political appointee) will need to be in ultra-careful mode this time around. Amanda Knox and her parents and Sollecito’s parents all face separate trials coming up. Rabid books will not help any of them there.
And in April the likeable book “Meredith” by her father John will be published - by a global publisher (Hachette) five times HarperCollins’s size.
Archived in The three defendants, Amanda Knox, Officially involved, Reporting on the case, Knox's book, Media news, Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, Preston & Spetzi, More sockpuppets
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Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Watch Out David Marriott! Your Feeble Efforts To Market AK May Land You One In The Eye…
Posted by Peter Quennell
Her lead lawyer was Jose Baez (image above) who may not yet have been fully paid for getting her off minus the convictions for lying to the cops. Early on, Jose Baez compared her to Amanda Knox who now also appears to be struggling for a megabucks deal. Clearly not much synergy there.
Casey Anthony’s need for money to pay her bills and set herself up after her probation period ends (she is now confined to a hideway in Florida) are said to be considerable. For example she owes the State of Florida about $100,000 toward their investigation costs for so often leading them astray.
Last month it was reported that her latest pitch was for $500,000 to $750,000 for a first interview - and that most TV networks had already passed.
Casey Anthony seemed to have had a short shelf life. A few days ago it was conjectured that Jodi Arias may now be edging out Casey Anthony in the notoriety stakes. Jodi Arias has just been accused of shooting her ex-boyfriend and also stabbing him 27 times.
But in this context - perhaps coincidence, perhaps not - two video diaries by Casey Anthony suddenly surface and promptly they go viral. The first one is below. This is Diane Dimond’s report about this in the Daily Beast.
It only took six months—to the day—for Casey Anthony to catapult herself back into the nation’s consciousness. Six months after the verdict in her notorious murder trial, Anthony’s visage flooded computer screens worldwide.
Viewers were fascinated by her suddenly short blonde hair, her oversize reading glasses, and her self-absorbed four-minute soliloquy during which she mentioned herself more than 40 times and uttered not one word about her dead baby girl, Caylee, or her family….
It’s confirmed that it is Casey Anthony on the video. One of Anthony’s criminal-defense lawyers says she kept notes and a video blog as part of her “continuing therapy.” But Cheney Mason steadfastly maintains it wasn’t Anthony who let it loose on the Internet…
Mason was part of the team that successfully defended the young mother during her murder trial and, according to two sources, has now displaced Jose Baez as the media spokesperson for Anthony—apparently at her request.
People close to both men report a recent major falling out among all the parties—between Baez and Anthony, between Baez and Mason—sparked by Anthony’s displeasure at Baez’s inability to win her a TV, book, or movie deal.
Anthony apparently gave Baez until the end of the year to come up with a deal, and absent that anointed Mason as her official liaison. Just how involved Baez will be in Anthony’s future affairs isn’t known, but his unhappiness with the situation has supposedly caused strain around his law office. As one person close to this story who did not want to be identified put it, “Jose is on the outs now. Cheney is in.”
There are many unknowns about the videos. While Anthony gives the date of the v-blog as October 2011, there is no way of knowing exactly when she spoke into her webcam, immortalizing herself.
She could have done it after the first of the year as part of a new self-directed publicity plan—a way to test the waters about a possible rebranding of her image.
Whoever leaked the two videos, whether it was Casey Anthony intent on rebranding herself or another who pirated the videos (Diane Dimond reports the various theories), it may have worked to Casey Anthony’s advantage. Radar Online has just reported this:
Casey Anthony’s web videos have caused a renewed interest in the notorious ‘Tot Mom’ and RadarOnline.com has exclusively learned that a website has offered her an enormous sum for her first post jail sit down interview.
Nik Lamas-Richie, founder of the website The Dirty, has offered Casey Anthony a whopping $350,000 for an interview, according to a source close to the situation.
This is the website referred to. Better take a look, Mr Marriott. But not too close.
Archived in Officially involved, Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, Other cases, Others elsewhere, Amanda Knox
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Friday, January 06, 2012
Knox Movie Offer Is Sharply Withdrawn; Hardly Helpful to Knox Book Agent Robert Barnett
Posted by Peter Quennell
One problem is that Knox is not the real victim in the case and a great deal of compassion still resides for Meredith. Earning windfall blood money from the cruel death of a claimed close friend is hardly a classy way to go.
A second problem is that we are still only at the end of the second act of a three act play in terms of the trials and appeals, and the Italian Supreme Court in the third act to come will almost certainly be no gullible pushover. And a whining or inaccurate book or movie demonising Italy and Italians (as her complaints about Capanne already have done) might not help her legal prospects one little bit.
A third problem is that Italy’s officialdom and its population tend to maintain a hard and unblinking belief in the evidence against Sollecito and Knox, especially as the million dollar PR campaign largely flew below the radar there and they saw much of the hard case and a callous Knox live on TV. For example in Florence and Milan.
A fourth problem is that Amanda Knox and her personal life and her trials and time in Capanne are likely to be a low-viewership yawn. Our main poster Lauowolf did a great job last October of pointing this out.
Does her story have the makings of a Hollywood blockbuster? Probably not.
For one thing, the producer types would have to know that the case is still live. The public won’t be keeping track of that, or at best will be considering it a case of the prosecutor continuing to seek revenge.
But people looking to invest millions of dollars in movies tend to go into all the fine print. And the looming third trial in 2011 is just the kind of complication they are likely to want to avoid. And there’s just too much inconvenient information floating around about the story.
Finally, there really isn’t that much “there” there with Amanda Knox herself. What would her storyline be, anyway, and who does it appeal to?
- Is it the story of the young lovers, AK and RS? Nah, AK and RS are not going to complete the story arc for them, so no drama-romance. And you can’t substitute the Seattle boyfriend, because he’d look like a fool.
- Is it the story of Edda, getting her daughter back, a la Not Without My Daughter? Nah, Amanda is getting a bit old for that storyline to work. The PR played out this line in Amanda’s absence, so that it is already stale, and besides, the target audience is wrong. The Lifetime movie worked that thread, and it didn’t really do all that well.
- Is it a story of Amanda suffering, arrested, in prison, on trial? Nah, there really isn’t much filmic going on there. Arrested people end up sitting in rooms, and prison is boring. Even if they wanted to spend a lot of time on AK giving the performance of her life in court, they’d have to deal somehow with the accusations and evidence. And they really, really don’t want to do any of that.
- Is it the story of Amanda herself? Nah, the PR has reduced her to such a little painted doll that there isn’t anything to be done with her. Seriously, weekly mass and the prison choir? Or hanging out with the middle-aged married Italian political type? Who wants to watch a movie of that? They’ve set her up as a frail, pale victim, and it is difficult to create an entire movie focusing on someone being done to, rather than doing.
Now there is a FIFTH problem looming large.
The up-and-coming movie producer Chad Verdi (left above) has just announced that he has withdrawn a million dollar offer for a Knox movie, implying that he may have been misled. This statement is likely to chill the prospects for any other.
Rhode Island Producer Chad A. Verdi has withdrawn his official offer of One Million Dollars (U.S. $1,000,000) for Amanda Knox’s life rights. The film was to be produced by Mr. Verdi and Noah Kraft if a deal could have been reached. The offer was made through Verdi Productions and was being handled by Hollywood entertainment attorney, Anita First.
Mr. Verdi, the President and CEO of Verdi Productions (VP), stated, “After reviewing all the information we had involving the Knox case, I have decided it was not the inspirational feel good story that VP was looking for and we have withdrawn our offer.”
Very well done, Mr Verdi. That is an act of some class.
The prominent and respected Washington lawyer and book agent Robert Barnett (right above) was seemingly roped in by Knox PR chief David Marriott a month ago to work miracles for Knox in the field of book publishing.
Robert Barnett seems to have made no public statement about it as yet. Seemingly Mr Barnett and all those other supposed eager book agents did not exactly come looking for a deal.
If you read how the Washington Post describes it, the deal was very much promoted by a frenetic Marriott.
“He has a very strong resume,” said Knox family spokesman Dave Marriott, who announced the deal Monday…
Why Barnett? His name “popped up in conversations with many people,” Marriott told us. Though he doesn’t call himself a literary agent, Barnett knows his way around seven-figure deals (he’s also repped James Patterson, Mary Higgins Clark, Rosie O’Donnell and Barbra Streisand) — and the Knox family liked the fact that he’s a lawyer with a powerful firm behind him.
Another plus: He’s arguably a bargain, charging a hefty hourly fee instead of the standard 15 percent commission. He was hired after flying to Seattle and meeting with the Knox family.
A bargain? Hmmm. Perhaps Mr Barnett is at this very moment reading the same judges’ reports and the other in-depth materials that have turned off Mr Verdi, and wondering whether he was snowed.
Or reviewing his hourly fee.
Archived in The three defendants, Amanda Knox, Officially involved, Reporting on the case, Movies on case, Knox's book, Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases
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Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Italian Lawyers Strategically Timed Strike This Week Causes Postponement Of Knox Calunnia Case
Posted by Peter Quennell
This has the effect of putting the court dates past the release of the Hellman sentencing report due latest at year’s end and the filing of the grounds for appeal before the Supreme Court of Cassation due six weeks later.
The main lawyers union in Italy has chosen this week for their industrial action to protest the recent history of extreme political pressure by ex-PM Berlusconi’s party on the justice system, resulting in among other things the underfunding of the police’s forensic operations.
The lawyers’ union also has a long list of requested legal reforms which has long been stalled in the parliament. Lawyers are not expected to be alone in making their bids forcefully in this period as the Italian public sector budgets shrink.
Amanda Knox’s position on the calunnia charge seems weak as she herself at other times said she was treated well, she cannot identify who she claims hit her, and she has no witnesses corroborating her story and up to a dozen denying it.
Her own lawyers filed no mistreatment complaint and very publicly in a media crowd said no hitting ever happened. Knox has already served a three year sentence for criminal slander against Patrick Lumumba.
Most trials for calunnia, a serious charge due to the personal damage inflicted, result in conviction.
Archived in Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, The wider contexts, Italian context
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Wednesday, November 09, 2011
Why The Analysis Of Evidence, Open Questions, Scenarios, And Bigger Issues Won’t Go Away At All Soon
Posted by Peter Quennell
[Above: Raffaele Sollecito, facing Meredith, giving his weak best shot at explaining what “really” happened]
Poor David Marriott. He seems to be embarked on some mind-numbing attempts to try to correct a real mess that is very largely of his own making.
The campaign’s demonization of Italy and the police and prosecution and objective media and internet supporters of justice seem to have painted Knox and Sollecito into an impossible corner. Media sources are telling us that a large minority in the US and UK and a large majority in Italy believe RS and AK still have explaining to do, and that the open questions are far from going away. And that new people have begun digging.
Innocent people when freed from prison are expected to be putting themselves out there brightly on TV almost daily, showing us how seriously attractive and compelling they are, and putting to bed the many open questions. And their online buddies would be presumed to be equally warm and compelling.
Instead, Sollecito’s major appearance on Italian TV last week consisted of a narcissistic hour-long whine which answered none of the tough questions and seems to have won him no new converts. And Knox is giving the appearance of remaining very tightly chaperoned and deeply tongue-tied while the weeks before she actually speaks out turn into months.
Both families seem extremely jittery about what bad things could happen if the two ever connect up again. Perhaps especially if unscrupulous media arranged for the conversations to be bugged. And their online supporters seem as over-the-top as ever - perhaps more-so if they feel they deserve some quality time with Amanda.
The hard evidence and open questions and scenarios we continue to explore on PMF and TJMK are not driven by a hatred of AK or RS.
No very popular websites flourish for years based mostly or entirely on hate. Here on TJMK we very rarely post exclusively on either AK or RS and we post far more often on the much more exceptional person that was Meredith. All of us think the slamming of Italy has been unfair, and the huge majority of our posts concentrate directly on the hard evidence and scenarios and open questions and wider contexts affecting the case.
Our takes on possible motive and psychology continue to presume that Judge Micheli essentially got it right (and Judge Massei who may have blinked rather less-so): that what culminated in Meredith’s cruel death started out as a vicious hazing, for any of various possible reasons: jealousy and competitive rage, fear of being displaced as a waitress, an argument over drug-dealing in the house, use of skunk cannabis or cocaine which causes psychotic episodes, an argument over theft of money, an assumed Halloween night snub, untreated mental illness, and so on. And that the forced-sex aspects were most likely to pour on the humiliation and to aid the cover-up.
Lawyers posting on PMF and TJMK and some others who don’t but talk with us are suspecting that Judge Hellman, in his blunt refusal to allow the prosecution any DNA re-testing, in his jury briefing, in his garbled announcement of the appeal verdict, and in his contradictory comments in the next several days, may have made enough legal mistakes for a 75% probability that the Supreme Court will insist on a major revisiting of the case or even a complete new appeal trial.
We now have on PMF and TJMK over 1,000 pages of translation which is absolutely vital for people in the US and UK to understand the case as Italians have always seen it. That includes both the Micheli and Massei sentencing reports. The massive hard evidence and massive suspicious behavior and highly contradictory alibis and literally hundreds of open questions are described under the various headings in our right column.
And the many scenarios in which prosecutors, judges and our own posters have sought to create a complete narrative to explain what resulted in Meredith’s death are all set out here. In the last few days, many of our members have been doing a terrific job in the comments, filling out some of those scenarios.
Yesterday one of our commenters, Martin, added a post-liberation scenario as his take on what is really going on, and he okayed us to post it here.
I’d like to take a brief moment to parse the present situation and the reports that come to us from various sources, and to consider the message behind the headlines and beneath the surface. We have photos and abundant reports of the Defendant with her latest victim in Seattle. Both her absence of moral restraint and her familiar pattern of seeking immediate gratification remain unchanged. The familiar pattern is aptly described by Sollecito:
“She lived her life like a dream, she was detached from reality, she couldn’t distinguish dream from reality. Her life seemed to be pure pleasure; she had a contact with reality that was almost non-existent.”
The message that she sends to Sollecito is “stay away”; or, if you do come for a brief visit, I am not interested in anything romantic because I already am with someone else; so sorry. There briefly was the possibility that she would fake the continuing romance with Sollecito for the purpose of a TV appearance and profit, but those offers never came in.
And why is she so eager to get out of the houses of her parents? While they attained some form of victory, it is pyrrhic in nature. Though they have the admiration of many, the bankers who have loaned them money for their PR firm, their legal dream team, and for other purposes, are not all smiles; they are, after all, businessmen who have made loans and now want a return on their loans, and they want it now. Pressures have been rising within the households, money is low, and offers are not pouring in as expected. She wants out of the houses.
So, what of her new lover? Beyond sending a message to Sollecito and escaping from the unpleasantness of her home life, she is with him to ride out the pending legal appeal and quite possibly is considering having a child with him, although she will tire of him quickly; if he has a friend on the face of the earth, he should advise him to get away, and fast. She may want a child because in her mind she may think it would make it more difficult for the US to agree to deport her if she has a child, in the event that her conviction is reinstated. However, if the present verdict of not guilty is sustained on appeal, the present boyfriend will become history.
There are yet more reasons for these events. Even among some of her supporters, it’s beginning to sink in that she does not have clean hands. She has kept a low profile among the Cult in Seattle. Among the hundreds of supporters who dug deep into threadbare pockets and worked hard for her, at least a few of them have begun to ask questions. Why hasn’t she come clean with them as to exactly what was her role, how did things actually unfold, what really happened?
And some of them have begun to figure things out and now are feeling taken advantage of. Watch out for the wrath of a man or woman who discovers that their bona fides have been taken for a chump. There are a few of these people out there, and if they ever hook up with one another, or even decide to come out singly, there will be serious trouble. Foxy already knows that she must do what she can to avoid this eventuality, and so she is doing all that she can to stay away from them, to lay low, and to pretend she’s very, very busy. And this means that the best option for her is the safety of a familiar romance, back to school and, I think, the real possibility of surreptitious planning for a child.
There is a reasonably good chance that her conviction will be reinstated on appeal, and she knows it. The evidence remains, hard blood evidence, and overwhelming circumstantial evidence remains, evidence proved to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt. And now the DNA may be able to be retested with newer and more accurate methods. If the criminal conviction is not reinstated, there may be civil claims with a good chance of succeeding, in one forum or another, that will drag on for years. There is no statute of limits on murder, and, there may be no double jeopardy in Italy.
The sharp sting of the photos of Foxy with her newest Boy Toy alone won’t push Sollecito to do it, but there are purely practical reasons that may make it compelling for him to confess. At some point, Sollecito may find it in his best interest to come clean and to cut a deal with prosecutors to spend 3 or 4 more years in prison so as to be able to pay his penalty and to lead a clean life thereafter. If he doesn’t confess, this will drag him under for the rest of his life. Italy is a much smaller fishbowl than the US, and Italians overwhelmingly feel there is culpability; he may come to see that he will be unable to escape without a just penalty.
If Sollecito confesses, which logic and evidence suggest that he and his family would be wise to consider, he will be seen as an honorable man and will be able to hold his head high.
Archived in Officially involved, Reporting on the case, Media news, Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, More sockpuppets, Amanda Knox
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Friday, October 28, 2011
A Famous Black Widow Confirms What MP Girlanda Told Us First: Italian Prisons Are Pretty Nice Places
Posted by Peter Quennell
Florence is 70 miles north of Perugia along a winding roller coaster of an autostrada which everyone drives at great speed.
If you take more than 1/2 an hour you are a sissy. (Just kidding.) The global luxury goods empire House of Gucci with stores in New York, Shanghai, and many other main cities was founded in Florence in 1921.
In 1998 Maurizio Gucci the grandson of the founder who was then aged 46 was executed by a hit man in Milan.
He had sold financial control of the empire he had managed to greatly expand to a Bahrain group in 1993 and then turned to doing other things. That included several girlfriends or mistresses which greatly distressed his wife.
Patrizia Reggiani was subsequently tried for initiating the hit and she was sentenced to 29 years which was reduced on appeal to 26. Nick Squires in the Daily Telegraph picks up the story from there.
Patrizia Reggiani has been in jail ever since being convicted of the killing in 1998. More than a decade later, she was the prospect of day release from Milan’s San Vittore prison, if she will accept a menial job such as working as a waitress.
But the 63-year-old, whose extravagant tastes included spending 10,000 euros a month on orchids, told a court in Milan: “I’ve never worked in my life and I’m certainly not going to start now.”
Her peremptory refusal of the day release deal echoed one of her more famous quotes: “I would rather weep in a Rolls-Royce than be happy on a bicycle.”
Instead she intends to serve the rest of her 26-year sentence in her jail cell, where she reportedly lavishes affection on a collection of pot plants and a pet ferret.
She will continue to be allowed to make twice-monthly visits to her ageing mother, who lives in a lavish palazzo in central Milan – a reminder of the cosseted lifestyle Mrs Reggiani used to enjoy.
A not-unpopular figure in Italy, she may soon be depicted by Angelina Jolie in a new Ridley Scott film to be called “Gucci” with Leonardo di Caprio as the hapless Maurizio.
The description of Patrizia’s prison life comes with no surprises. If you are going to be a prisoner anywhere in the world, Italy does seem the place of choice. .
The prison population is very small (proportionally only 1/6 that of the US) and prisoners often get their own bathroom and even a kitchen attached to their cell. They can watch TV and walk outside (in many prisons cell doors are kept open all day) and get their hair done professionally and attend rock concerts and plays. They can learn a trade if they lack skills, study for a degree, and even work on a computer all day.
Knox and Sollecito are believed to have done all of these things. Not least because the Italian MP Rocco Girlanda often visited Knox in Capanne and publicly told us all so. Mr Girlanda regularly visited to inspect conditions and then he declared Knox to be very well off. (He in return ended up with enough material for a book which nowhere depicted prison life as hell.)
These sob-stuff stories on torrid life at Capanne suddenly emerging from Seattle sure smack of an instant rewrite of history. Perhaps Angelina Jolie could check them out.
[Image at bottom: the Gucci museum in Florence which recently had a celebrity opening]
Archived in Officially involved, Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, More sockpuppets, Other cases, Others Italian, Amanda Knox
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Friday, October 21, 2011
Knox Public Relations Manager Starts Premature Crowing Many Many Months Before It’s Really All Over
Posted by Skeptical Bystander
Cross-posted from my personal website.
Premature exultation in the land of David Marriott
Click on the image above and you will be taken to the Land of Marriott as described by Heidi Dietrich in the Puget Sound Business Journal.
Now that the supertanker has pulled into port, the story about the creation of the narrative can finally begin to be told. We live in a world that needs an endless supply of stories. Just ask Scheherazade - whatever gets you through the night is all right.
In the land of Marriott as Button notes the media operates on the assumption that the American Public can’t remember the day before yesterday.
And in the business journal treatment of the Marriott PR Triumph (aka The Snow White Job), someone has forgotten that the script a month ago stated that there was no PR campaign and that anyone who believed there was one was nothing but a guilter and a hater.
But now all that is swept aside so that Mr. Marriott, who looks like a cross between Colonel Sanders and a dumpling, can lumber up to the stage and accept kudos from one and all. After all, he was hired three days after Knox was arrested, for financial terms neither side will disclose.
Let’s look at how the business journal spins the yarn:
Marriott was as important a player in [Knox’s] ordeal as anyone in the courtroom. As Knox’s publicist, beginning three days after her arrest, Marriott worked to convince the international public that she did not murder her British roommate while studying in Perugia.
“Hiring him was one of the smartest things we ever did,” said Curt Knox, Amanda’s father.
The partnership between the Knox family and Marriott illustrates the potential of a public relations campaign to shift sentiment — and possibly even influence a verdict.
Like I said, if you have the right publicist, anything is possible! The right publicist can make water flow uphill and, once that has happened, can advise you on the best way to make the money you will need to pay for his services. That’s the phase we’re in now, folks. If you ever get in trouble, this is the guy you want working for you, feeding chicken shit to the masses and calling it chicken delight.
More from the Business Journal version of The Story:
Then, there’s the need for money. Curt Knox and Amanda’s mother, Edda Mellas — they are not married to each other — have each said they’ve drained their retirement funds, taken out second mortgages and accrued credit card debt to pay for Amanda’s defense. So, in this new phase, lucrative media deals will be a consideration.
At Marriott’s downtown Seattle office, he fields inquiries from book agents, screenwriters, news shows and movie studios. All want the Amanda Knox saga for their own. Some are offering big bucks. Marriott and the Knox family will be considering the offers, Marriott said — likely in a couple of weeks.
“There will be financial opportunities,” Marriott said. “I’ll be there to walk them through the opportunities.”
Vargas edits darkness out of the story where it suits her
If you have only watched morning television and the truly disgustingly bad mainstream network telling of the Marriott Fairy Tale, you will be excused for not realizing that Curt and Edda are no longer married to one another. They put on such a united front, and Elizabeth Vargas never once uttered the word “divorced” (focus groups show this does not resonate with viewers in a key demographic).
Ah, Elizabeth Vargas. Button has her number. Noting that ABC in particular had descended into “absolute Sleazeville” in its coverage, she makes a telling observation:
Did you happen to notice that Vargas tried to edit Meredith’s mother entirely out of the press conference following the announcement of the verdict? As if she weren’t even there. As if she didn’t even exist.
Archived in Officially involved, Defense dirty tricks, Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, More sockpuppets, The wider contexts, Seattle news, Amanda Knox
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Who Is Behind Repeated Attempts To Make False Claims Of Kercher Suit Against Knox Go Viral?
Posted by Peter Quennell
[Jeanne Sager tweeted and posted “Delusional Kerchers Think Amanda Knox Owes Them $12 Million”]
Is somebody trying very hard to juice the fast-ebbing sympathy for Amanda Knox? Who after three weeks has still not started to explain?
The UK’s Sun (see Google hit below) seems to have been the first to swallow and publish the malicious claim about the Kerchers. Quickly yanked. The UK’s Daily Mail ran a similar report on the malicious claim on the same day. Quickly yanked.
Several other second-tier media websites ran the false story very briefly, and then they yanked it.
Oblivious, the hack reporter Jeanne Sager of The Stir put the malicious claim on steroids with her post “Delusional Kerchers Think Amanda Knox Owes Them $12 Million”. She added some shrill ugly opinions of her own.
It was finally yanked along with hundreds of hate comments Jeanne Sager had managed to provoke.
The Christian Post’s corrections page is here. Both posts have Facebook commenting open below.
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Monday, October 10, 2011
Media Starting To Take A Closer Look At The Knox PR Shills, Starting Out With Nina Burleigh
Posted by Skeptical Bystander
In the news media’s frenzy surrounding an Italian court’s decision last week to free Amanda Knox, the American exchange student convicted of killing her roommate in Perugia, the journalist Nina Burleigh was a near-constant television presence. Her face looped in and out of shows like “Today,” “Good Morning America,” “20/20” and “Anderson Cooper 360.” She made appearances on NPR, the BBC and MSNBC.
With her emphatic defense of Ms. Knox (criticizing the “appalling” treatment of her by the Italian courts and news media, insisting “the evidence didn’t exist,” that the “jury rubber-stamped a conviction”), Ms. Burleigh seemed at times to move from journalist to advocate, treading what she knew, as a longtime reporter and author, was a dangerous line.
Nina Burleigh has certainly had a busy, busy week - playing advocate for Amanda Knox, plugging Burleigh’s own book on the case, and helping CBS sell the first of many (many more than anyone wants to see) pre-packaged Knox pieces that dutifully toe the Marriott Party line.
Those looking for facts are advised to watch major league baseball on Sunday night.
Burleigh found herself facing a dilemma before she penned the first paragraph of her book: Team Marriott, firmly in place by then, would only allow access to advocacy journalists. So Burleigh took that path, a disastrous one for everything but television exposure and perhaps book sales.
Burleigh jumped on board late, does not speak Italian, attended only a handful of trial sessions, and even got the birthdate of the victim, Meredith Kercher, wrong. Worse, she used the Knox’s friendly translator as her interpreter! That trail is a loop that leads to a predictable place.
For authors claiming to be journalists, this excellent NY Times piece should serve as a warning: Advocacy is not journalism. It leads to conflict of interest and turns journalists into shills. And this is bad for all of us.
This book should be on the bedside table of anyone who aspires to be a journalist.
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Wednesday, October 05, 2011
Nancy Grace’s “Miscarriage Of Justice” Observation Goes Viral, Google Says It’s On 38,000 Sites
Posted by Peter Quennell
Nancy Grace says there is NO innnocent explanation for Knox’s second written confession placing her at the house (with Patrick Lumumba) and including observations that only someone who really was there could have known.
We have noticed that time and again commentators have come out batting for Knox, read the evidence, and then gone quiet. Nancy Grace’s CNN colleague Jane Velex-Mitchell had swallowed the Kool Aid at one point, but now she is ambivalent and careful.
Here is Huffington Post Media’s version of what Nancy Grace said last night.
Nancy Grace issued a typically blunt verdict on Amanda Knox during a Monday interview.
The outspoken HLN host and fierce ‘Dancing with the Stars’ competitor declared her true feelings about Knox when she spoke to Access Hollywood following her waltz performance Monday night.
“I was very disturbed, because I think it is a huge miscarriage of justice,” Grace said. “I believe that while Amanda Knox did not wield the knife herself, I think that she was there, with her boyfriend, and that he did the deed, and that she egged him on. That’s what I think happened.”
In Knox’s final plea, she told an Italian appeals court that she was not present the evening her British roommate Meredith Kercher was sexually assaulted and brutally murdered in their shared apartment. Grace said she did not think Knox is telling the truth. “I believe her original statement to the police - that she was there in the home when her roommate was murdered was true,” Grace told Access Hollywood.
Social networks like Twitter and Facebook exploded with celebratory messages on Monday as the judge proclaimed Knox’s innocence, allowing the study abroad student to finally return home to Seattle, Washington after four years in an Italian prison.
Grace was not one of those supporters, saying that while she would love to believe Knox innocent, “I just happen to know the facts.” Grace was even harsher when asked if her show would compete with other networks to get the first Knox interview.
“I’m not trying to get Amanda Knox’s first interview because… my show does not pay for interviews…Second, I don’t think she’s going to tell the truth anyway, so what’s the point?” Grace responded.
THAT will get the noses of thousands of new followers firmly into the REAL evidence. Not all that made-up stuff. Other legal commentators may follow Nancy Grace’s lead, because she is the real pace-setter and power broker in that community.
The equally popular Fox News political and legal commentator Bill O’Reilly discussed the verdict on Monday night with Judge Andrew Napolitano, another prominent commentator. This is from the the summary on Bill O’Reilly’s website.
]Bill O’Reilly] concurred that Amanda Knox likely knows what happened on the night British student Meredith Kercher was murdered; therefore, we shouldn’t really be happy with this outcome since a terrible crime is unsolved.
Pity that Judge Napolitano claimed that Amanda Knox was interrogated as a suspect for 56 hours without an attorney. That did NOT happen. She had an attorney present at all times. Someone please correct him. .
Archived in Officially involved, The appeals, Hellmann appeal, Hellmann Report, Reporting on the case, Media news, Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, Amanda Knox
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Monday, October 03, 2011
Twentieth Appeal Session: Translated Transcript Of Amanda Knox’s Final Plea To The Court
Posted by Peter Quennell
Members of the court. Many times people have said I am some other person, people don’t understand whom I am. The only thing different from four years ago is what I have suffered. I lost a friend, a girlfriend, in the most brutal way in the most unexplained manner.
My trust in the police authorities has been betrayed. I have had to dealt with unfair and unfounded charges. I have paid with my life for things that I did not commit.
Four years ago I did not know what tragedy was. I have never faced so much anger before. I didn’t know how to interpret it. How did we react when we found out Meredith had been killed? I did not believe it. How was it possible?
Her bedroom was next to mine. She was killed in our home. If I had been there that night I would have died. The only difference is, I was not there. I trusted the police’s sense of duty and trust. I trusted them completely. I was betrayed on the night of November 5. I was manipulated.
I am not who they say I am. I am not violent. I don’t have a lack of respect for life. And I did not kill. I did not rape. I did not steal. I wasn’t there at the crime scene.
I had good relationships with everyone who lived in my flat. We all had good relationships. We helped each other. I shared my life, particularly with Meredith. We were friends. She was worried about me. She was very kind to me.
I have never run away from the truth. I insist after four desperate years, that our innocence is true and needs to be recognized. I want to go back home. I want to go back to my life. I don’t want my life and my future taken away from me for something that I didn’t do.
I am innocent. We do not deserve this. We never did anything to deserve this. I have the utmost respect to this court and the care that it has shown. Thank you.
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Sunday, October 02, 2011
Is The Raffaele Sollecito Defense Team About To Separate Him From A Radioactive Amanda Knox?
Posted by Peter Quennell
First, the smartest and most influential of all the lawyers in MP Giulia Bongiorno. Second, a relatively attractive family which has run a low-key smiling campaign. Third, relatively little evidence (the bra clasp and footprint) placing him at the scene of the crime and unlike Knox no alibi that says he was there.
Fourth, no obvious motive for either the murder or the cleanup compared to the many possible motives for Amanda Knox. And fifth, a weak wishy-washy personality on which Bongiorno has already played, casting Knox as the lead player in the drama and Sollecito as either accidentally there or not at all.
The mood does seem to be moving against Amanda Knox now as the extreme arrogance of the million dollar campaign sinks in. And if her “spontaneous” remarks to the court tomorrow follow her usual pattern, they will yet again make her look callous and concerned only about herself.
Several reports are out now in Italian harking on these themes. This report by the Associated Press with a possible nudge from the Sollecito team gives a sense of what the Italian reports are saying.
Even in Sollecito’s native Italy, it is Knox who commands the most media attention. Two prominent celebrity and gossip magazines, “Oggi” and “Gente,” put Knox on their covers during the final week of arguments in the appeals trial, and newspapers characterize him as being in the background.
Not even prosecutors have portrayed Sollecito as the main protagonist in the murder of Meredith Kercher on Nov. 1, 2007. According to their version, Sollecito held Kercher from behind while Knox stabbed her and another man tried to sexually assault her. Ivorian immigrant Rudy Guede was convicted in a fast-track trial and saw his sentence cut from 30 years to 16 years on appeal.
Attention during the investigation focused intensely on the two young female roommates as the world and prosecutors searched for a motive. Knox was portrayed as sexually promiscuous and lacking inhibition, while at the same time working hard to support herself and trying to learn Italian; Kercher was depicted as more serious and studious, who had at the end of her life began to chafe at her American roommate’s sloppiness.
The good girl/bad girl dichotomy drove headlines across the globe, while Sollecito — the mild mannered boyfriend — was largely overlooked in a supporting role.
It’s a role that his defense lawyer plays up. Sollecito is the son of a wealthy doctor from southern Italy who hired a crack legal team to defend his son. It’s led by Giulia Bongiorno, who defended former Italian Premier Giulio Andreotti on charges of mafia association.
“It’s not by chance that Raffaele arrived in this trial as the boyfriend. Nothing connects Raffaele to the crime,” Bongiorno said in her closing arguments last week. “With a girlfriend, you usually get a family. Raffaele got a murder.”
She said the few pieces of evidence in the “Amanda-centric” trial relate to Knox, not to Sollecito. “Nothing connects him to the crime,” Bongiorno said.
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Million Dollar Campaign And American Media Come Under Intense Ridicule By An Influential Italian
Posted by Tiziano
Vittorio Zucconi is the US editor of the major daily La Republicca and lives in Washington. He has more influence over Italian perceptions of America than any other. This is translated from the Italian.
A few hours from the verdict, America is in a trance over Baby Amanda - she is the girl from the golden west, an innocent victim of the wicked witches of the east, the ones wearing the robes of the Perugian judges - now awaiting the happy ending that everyone is expecting, which legions of correspondents and American TV cameras talk about and recount, as if the fate of the west depended upon her release from prison on appeal or on the confirmation of the guilty verdict
By Vittorio Zucconi per la Repubblica
She is the “Girl from the Golden West”, the innocent victim of the wicked witches of the east, the ones who wear the robes of the judges from Perugia. It is a melodrama, sung, played and staged for an American audience which relishes it and avidly follows it like a soap opera or one of those legal thrillers which have made the fortune of of authors like Grisham, Turow and before them Earl Stanley Gardner.
Amanda like Puccini’s Minnie, is the snow-white, naive, extremely innocent girl imprisoned on the wild frontier of the Italian justice system, now awaiting the happy ending which everyone expects, which legions of correspondents and TV cameras tell of and which are preparing to recount as if the fate of the West depended on her release form prison on appeal or on the confirmation of her guilty verdict. And which networks like the ABC are already selling for $7.99 to be downloaded to I-pads and tablets.
Such a show of strength, such a shelling out of money on the part of “news organisations”, all now very careful down to the last cent in bad times, about a legal case the like of which has probably not been seen on the other side of the Atlantic since the trial of historic importance of Adolf Eichmann.
Yes, the monster of the SS, the brain and the accountant of the Jewish genocide. Live satellite coverage is expected for the imminent sentence to be pronounced by the Appeal Court and daily services will broadcast, especially those for the morning shows, those desperate housewives, for mothers who have children anxious to escape from the boredom of suburbia, the same old routine of high school parties to fly far away for new experiences, as Amanda dreamed.
The one whom the British tabloid press straight away stained with the nick-name given to her by her soccer team friends, in the football she played as a little girl: Foxy Knoxy, in which foxy means agile, cunning, escaping tackles and not for that “foxy” which, as in Fellini’s Amarcord evokes the arts of an enchantress and insatiable desires. Because while the USA was barracking for Knox, the English cousins were against her.
As well, other than those irresistible ingredients thrown into the cauldron of the morbidity which gains circulation and titillates the worst in every consumer of garbage TV with bombs and horror reconstructions, sex, blood, satanism, the woman with sacrificial lamb and the butcher, in the fury of the American media who throw themselves against this “court peopled with provincial lawyers” (still Rolling Stones which dedicated an extremely lengthy inquest) there is a great repressed and secret desire for vengeance.
There is the repressed rage against that Europe which is always ready with finger raised to accuse American justice of monstrous errors, of inexplicable acquittals (the O J Simpson case), of “puritanical” persecution as is said precisely on our shores, (Clinton crucified for oral sex), of horrible shows, like the arrest and the world-wide shame of Strauss Khan, or the details of the “panties cover-up” - inside or outside? - of the victim of Willy Kennedy Smith, raped on the beach of the Kennedy villa in Florida.
American justice which triumphantly boasts that it is the best in the world, but refuses to recognise that it has sent, and still sends, innocent people defended by useless bar-room lawyers to be executed.
Now swallow this, you supercilious and presumptuous Italians and Europeans. The frenzy of the specials about Amanda is pursued by the satellite nets which have to recuperate their expenses.
CNN, once the authoritative queen of the satellite, yesterday showed a long special on the four years of torments and injustice, with Amanda on show on the site, with her face in the shadow, her fresh-face and prison profile, the “girl next door”, quite different from the she-devil, the satanic female painted by the “baroque” closing arguments (here is another expression which appears in all the reports on the prosecutor, next to “mediaeval”, all that is missing are the Borgias and Machiavelli.)
On the site her face figures in double format in respect to the pallid and sinister image of the jihadist Anwar al-Awaki, killed yesterday, one of the infinite number of aspiring candidates for the succession of Osama Bin Laden. The number of listeners and hits motivates CNN: Amanda is in first place and is beating the terrible terrorists, as well as news on the economy and the stock market, disastrous again.
We are possibly on the way to a second recession, but there is no match, in the ratings, for that travesty, that parody of justice, put in place against the girl from the golden west, martyred in Perugia.
It is a thought that will print books, burn DVDs, work video-recorders to see once more the specials of CNN, Fox, ABC, CBS, MSNBC, local broadcasters, which have exalted as a hero, the blogger from Perugia who was sceptical from the first day. And the first network which succeeds in obtaining - or buying - the truth from Amanda, the “accidental murderer” who was dreaming of the view of Umbrian cypresses and who saw the prison bars of Italian justice, will be transported to the stars.
‘Is it true that you are always dreaming of sex?” the prison guards would ask the girl, according to her diaries, also printed greedily by Time. True, false, it doesn’t matter. Amanda is a victim, a woman, a little girl, and the verdict has already been issued here. An America, year in year out accused of being an executioner by anti-Americanism, even when its own symbols are collapsing, can finally call itself, this time, the victim. Today, here, we are all Amanda.Knox.
Archived in Reporting on the case, Media news, Defense dirty tricks, Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, Sollecitos, More sockpuppets
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Wednesday, September 14, 2011
A New Book Explains The Unfruitful Emergence Of More And More Conspiracy Theories
Posted by Peter Quennell
Conspiracy theorists have dismally failed to come up with a plausible alternative theory of how Meredith died.
However, they do keep trying. So do the proponents of literally hundreds of other conspiracy theories, constituting vast amounts of effort probably better spent elsewhere - conspiracy theorists very rarely achieve very much, or do well economically, or rise to the top jobs.
In Mr. Shermer’s view, the brain is a belief engine, predisposed to see patterns where none exist and to attribute them to knowing agents rather than to chance—the better to make sense of the world. Then, having formed a belief, each of us tends to seek out evidence that confirms it, thus reinforcing the belief.
This is why, on the foundation of some tiny flaw in the evidence—the supposed lack of roof holes to admit poison-gas cans in one of the Auschwitz-Birkenau gas chambers for Holocaust deniers, the expectant faces on the grassy knoll for JFK plotters, the melting point of steel for 9/11 truthers—we go on to build a great edifice of mistaken conviction….
Mr. Shermer offers a handy guide for those who are confused. Conspiracy theories are usually bunk when they are too complex, require too many people to be involved, ratchet up from small events to grand effects, assign portentous meanings to innocuous events, express strong suspicion of either governments or companies, attribute too much power to individuals or generate no further evidence as time goes by.
The increasingly shrill posts appearing daily on the website Ground Report seem to mark pretty high against that list. Could the Evil Mignini have engineered even this?
Oops. Another conspiracy theory in play.
Archived in Psychology and motive, On psychology, Reporting on the case, Media news, Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, Sollecitos, More sockpuppets
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Monday, September 12, 2011
As We Long Predicted Knox Will Not Face Cross Examination When It Really Matters
Posted by Peter Quennell
Majority opinion in Perugia has long inclined to the view that the right perps were convicted back in December 2009.
It is very hard to see the six jury members (the lay judges) bucking that trend without being given a great deal more red meat for them to convince their friends and neighbors (and for that matter most of Italy) than they have now.
And Judge Hellman has a reputation similar to Judge Massei’s for making sure all the bases are covered and for not arriving at trial or appeal outcomes based on a few outlying contradictory “facts” or a mere whim. He too has been given very little that is new.
Putting Knox and Sollecito on the stand now would seem the last best shot at taking care of that.
But there is no sign that either defense team has been eager to see their clients speak out at any time, and Knox was even publicly warned early on not to do so.
The teams quite possibly winced now and then (along with many others) at Knox’s performances in past spontaneous declarations and in her stint on the stand in July 2009 which did not really go over at all well.
Kermit in this December 2010 post explained the risks Knox would face on the stand. Kermit helpfully included 150 cross-examination questions to drive home the stark point.
So. Knox and Sollecito. Trapped by poor legal and PR strategy between the devil and the deep blue sea.
Archived in Officially involved, The appeals, Hellmann appeal, Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, Amanda Knox
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Saturday, September 10, 2011
Conspicuous By Their Absence Now: Legal Commentators For Sollecito And Knox
Posted by Peter Quennell
There is a marked sharp contrast now between how various reporters without legal backgrounds and various real lawyers are seeing the state of play in the appeal.
The post below shows how flavor-of-the-month reporters like Nick Pisa are still reporting happy talk from Knox and her entourage, while, within their professional constraints, we see more and more lawyers realisng Sollecito and Knox really are cooked.
Half a dozen of the main posters on TJMK who are lawyers (they identify themselves as such when they post) have explained how tough is the real case. Various Italian lawyers continue to offer us insights and tips from Perugia and Rome. And we continue to see maybe half a dozen lawyers a week getting in touch by email or signing up, a trend that shows no sign of fading out.
In contrast all of the lawyers and legal commentators who were once suggesting the process in Perugia had taken a wrong turn have gone quiet, and no new legal voices for Solllecito and Knox are speaking up. The CNN legal shows devote almost no air time to the appeal, and Geraldo Rivera, Dan Abrams, John Q Kelly, Lis Wiehl and others have wound down their commentaries to brief equivocations or nothing at all.
Ted Simon who is believed to be still on the Mellas-Knox payroll seems be operating only from very deep cover. Knox’s own lawyers pass on the (to us sad) happy talk from Capanne while themselves sounding very cautious and down.
And the former lawyer and political commentator Ann Coulter who does us the peculiar favor of including us in her definition of right wing is starkly declaring that the increasingly small number of increasingly shrill non-lawyers for Sollecito and Knox really should get a life.
By now, the only people who believe Knox and Sollecito are the usual criminal apologists and their friends in the American media.
Serial smearer and evidence incompetent Steve Moore as one of the usual criminal apologists?! That has to hurt.
Archived in Officially involved, Reporting on the case, Media news, Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, Sollecitos, Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito
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Friday, September 02, 2011
Nina Burleigh: View From A Broad Who Doesn’t Seem To Like Broads Or Being Abroad
Posted by Peggy Ganong
In Burleigh’s shoddy book on the murder of Meredith Kercher, she gets the victim’s birthday wrong. But that’s not all she gets wrong. From what I can tell, Burleigh simply skips over much of the key evidence in favor of gossiping about and criticizing other journalists who have covered the case.
She is particularly hard on female journalists, which is odd given that she prides herself on being a modern feminist. I find it very telling, for example, that she indicates what Barbie Nadeau and Andrea Vogt’s husbands do for a living (one works for the UN and one is a university professor), but does not see fit to provide us with any information on what the wives of any of the male journalists do.
The implication is clear: these two “females” took up writing as a sort of hobby after trailing behind their menfolk to Europe. Worse, Burleigh notes that though they are both American born, they are more European in “style” and “craft” which, aside from being absolute nonsense, remains unsubstantiated by any analysis whatsoever. It amounts to saying “they’re sooooo European”. What does that mean?
Well, once you know that Burleigh is a relentless and mindless cheerleader for the superiority of all things American, it becomes clear that what she means is that they are inferior journalists because all things European are inferior to all things American. Burleigh also claims that what she calls Nadeau’s “cosmopolitan speech affect” is an attempt to hide her Middle American roots (in Burleigh’s words, her “rural South Dakota accent”). She says the “statuesque redhead” Vogt looks like she could play the role of Brenda Starr.
In other words, Burleigh is trying to suggest that these two are imposters, merely playing at journalism by dressing up like a cartoon journalist or putting on airs and trying to talk like a big city slicker instead of a sharecropper.
In fact, Vogt has been a working reporter for fifteen years, was awarded a Fulbright scholarship in journalism, is trilingual and has published in English, German and Italian. I don’t know much about Nadeau’s academic training, but she currently writes on a variety of topics for both Newsweek and the Daily Beast. And the excellent Christopher Dickey thinks quite highly of her.
Meanwhile, back to Burleigh and her seemingly endless supply of sour grapes. At one point in her book, she mentions an Italian female reporter, but only to comment on her boots! One starts to wonder what she has against women, especially her professional peers.
Her male peers do not get a free pass, either, at least those who work in that dreadful country Italy where, according to Burleigh, freedom of speech does not exist. She criticizes foreign journalists based in Italy, basically calling them a bunch of cowards, so fearful of the Mafia that they confine themselves to writing about la dolce vita—food, wine and bunga bunga. This is absolute bollocks, of course.
John Follain, who has covered the case for the Times, has written two books about Italy in the fifteen or so years he has lived there: one is about the Mafia, while the other takes on the Vatican. Vogt investigated the White Supremacy movement in Idaho and has written an excellent book about it, not without exposing herself to danger. As for Nadeau, she has covered Italy’s garbage crisis, and in one gritty, unforgettable article for Newsweek describes walking through some of the most dangerous Mafia neighborhoods.
All three have been viciously attacked by Knox supporters. Meanwhile, Nina Burleigh is happy to fixate on what her fellow journalists are wearing and eating and drinking. Come to think of it, when she was a correspondent in France, she was obsessed with complaining about and criticizing French women, probably for not instantly recognizing her innate superiority.
It is too bad Burleigh opted to focus on this kind of crap instead of actually discussing much of the real evidence against Knox and Sollecito. Frankly, hers is the most disappointing and surely the nastiest book on the tragic murder of Meredith Kercher that has been published to date. After reading what Burleigh wrote about Nadeau and Vogt, I was left wondering why she has such an ax to grind with them.
Is it because they are at least a decade younger than she is? Is it because they live in Europe and she doesn’t? Is it because they are fluent in foreign languages and she isn’t? I really don’t know, but the book sure has a bitter stench to it.
The good news is I didn’t even have to buy it. In fact, I don’t want to be seen reading it in public. Thanks to Google books, I was able to find many of the offending passages on line. In addition, I can discreetly skim at my local bookseller’s. All in all, I have found it a pretty dull exercise. The book is glib, superficial and gossipy. One walks away feeling dirty and sad, wondering where one would be placed within Burleigh’s social and class hierarchy. Hopefully at least a hair above middle class.
I almost forgot to mention the pièce de résistance in Burleigh’s sliming of the two female journalists who did not roll over for the Knox family PR supertanker. Burleigh also asserts that these two small-town American imposters, after acquiring their polished “style” and “craft” by living in Europe, were “appalled” by the way AK and her family “flouted” Italian mores, implying that this snobbery tainted their reporting.
While I recall both journalists providing good analysis of how and why some of the antics of AK and her family were not good strategy under the circumstances – for example, AK’s decision to turn up in court one day wearing an over-sized “all you need is love” t-shirt or her sister Deanna’s choice of courtroom attire on July 4 (red-white-and-blue hotpants outfit) – I have never read anything suggesting they personally disapproved of or were appalled by the American and her family.
Since this snide and non-sourced aside appears on the same page as Burleigh’s claim that Nadeau tried to hide her “rural” accent with a “cosmopolitan speech affect”, it is fair to say that Burleigh’s real goal is to discredit them as objective reporters. It is almost as if she - Burleigh - were taking dictation from Doug Preston! And if Burleigh finds this to be a sexist remark, then I suggest she take a long, hard look in the mirror.
In the same section of the book, Burleigh describes John Kercher as a tabloid reporter and notes that neither he nor his family even “attempted” to learn Italian, relying instead on their lawyer to tell them what was going on.
Yes, you read that right: Burleigh thinks that the grieving Kercher family should have set aside their grief and contacted Berlitz straight away! And she implies that it is a mistake to rely on their legal counsel for information or advice. (At least Italy gives the victim’s family a legal voice.) I guess Burleigh would prefer that the Kercher family turn to people like Amanda’s stepfather Chris Mellas, or the various profiteers riding the PR supertanker: David Marriott and Doug Preston to name just two. This is apparently what Burleigh did.
It is clear from what I have read that Burleigh is not concerned with the victim Meredith Kercher or her family. She seems more interested in passing judgement on those she considers inferior in station to herself (just about everyone),complaining about life in Italy and taking pot shots at other journalists. My guess is that deep down she likes Italy about as much as she liked France, which is to say not much, maybe not at all. Burleigh is that quintessential Ugly American. I saw early signs of it in her reporting on this case for Time.
Incidentally, she did not begin until June of 2009, when the trial was well under way and almost two years after the murder itself. I had never heard of Burleigh, so I decided to have a look at her earlier work, especially that on life in France. I truly was flabbergasted by her utter inability to cope in a strange land.
She took an instant dislike to the French in general and was unable to understand the culture, in part because she was unable or unwilling to learn the language. I find it ironic – and appalling – that she faults the Kerchers, of all people, for not learning the language of the country where their daughter/sister was murdered when she herself could or would not learn the language of the country she was residing in under happy circumstances.
Is it class or gender or nationality that Burleigh most has a problem with?
Hard to say, since she seems to have a sense of superiority that encompasses all three. Speaking of disapproval, Burleigh treats the Knox women and Meredith’s British friends in the same haughty, catty manner as she treats her professional peers. In fact, she refers to the Knox clan collectively as “a hair on the low side of middle class”. I guess from the throne upon which she has placed herself, Burleigh is able to make these fine distinctions and, in addition, finds it necessary.
And how about this fine value judgement on page 33? “Amanda was the sole member of the gaggle of menstruating, jealous, bitchy, angry, loving, needy females around Curt who could keep her emotions in check”. I’m not making this up; Burleigh actually wrote those words. One pictures hapless Curt surrounded by the seven dwarves (Jealous, Bitchy, Angry, Loving, Needy, Bloody and Amanda).
While I believe that Amanda Knox was rightly convicted for her role in Meredith Kercher’s death, and though I have been critical of her family’s decision to hire a PR firm that has attempted to manipulate public opinion, I certainly think they are entitled to a little more respect and empathy than this. Speaking of entitled, that is how Burleigh herself comes off throughout this book.
Moving on to Meredith’s British friends, Burleigh dismisses them en masse with this tightly packed bundle of sexism and stereotyping: “tweedy peaches-and-cream complected sylphs who moved as a pack”. How Burleigh would even know how they moved is beyond me, since she was not covering the case in the days or even months that followed this brutal murder. Perhaps, if they did stick together, it was for mutual comfort. That’s what the little people do, Nina.
Italian women are not spared either. In addition to her fixation on a local reporter’s boots (perhaps because she could not read her work?), Burleigh describes Police Chief Monica Napoleoni’s style as “part dominatrix, part donatella Versace with a badge” and another Italian policewoman as a “thick-bodied woman”. Nina’s motto: When in Rome and unable to follow what’s going on, focus instead on making disparaging comments about the way other women look.
Burleigh pretentiously dedicates her book to the victims of sexual violence, an odd choice since she does little more here than perpetuate the sexist and sexual stereotypes that underlie this phenomenon. I am all for supporting the victims of sexual violence and will do so by not buying Burleigh’s nasty piece of work, which adds nothing to our knowledge of the case anyway.
Anyone who really wants to read a good book on the murder of Meredith Kercher should try Darkness Descending and/or Angel Face, both out for some time now. In addition to these works, John Follain, who has lived in Italy since the mid-90’s and covered the case from the outset, has a book coming out soon. I seriously doubt he will be focusing on women’s boots.
Archived in Reporting on the case, Poor reporting, Other books, Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, More sockpuppets
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Sunday, July 03, 2011
A Deeply Ugly, Inaccurate And Callous Piece Of Junk By Nathaniel Rich In “Rolling Stone”
Posted by The Machine
According to Wikipedia, Nathanial Rich is an American author and essayist. He is also the son of the influential New York Times columnist Frank Rich.
You would think that being the son of a renowned journalist, Nathaniel Rich would be able to to write a fair and factually accurate and balanced article which has been carefully checked out and which shows no sign of unhealthy pro-female-perp bias.
Instead he comes across like the notorious Stephen Glass. (Image at bottom here.)
Surely, it’s not too much to ask to expect anybody writing an article about the shocking sexual assault, torture and murder of Meredith Kercher for them to have done their due diligence? And to made sure that every single claim presented has been verified by the official court documents or independently corroborated by a number of of objective and reliable sources?
And for the San Francisco-based Rolling Stone editors even in their decline to check out their writers’ submissions?
In this piece, I will analyze some of the numerous wrong claims made by Nathaniel Rich in his article for Rolling Stone The Neverending Nightmare of Amanda Knox and compare them (as he should have done) to official court documents such as the Micheli report, the Massei report, Rudy Guede’s final sentencing report by the Supreme Court, and testimony at both trials.
False Claim 1: There were bloody fingerprints all over the apartment
Nathanial Rich gets his first basic fact wrong in just the second sentence of his article with his claim that Guede left bloody fingerprints all over the apartment. There was in fact not even one. According to the Micheli report, the Massei report and Rudy Guede’s final sentencing report, Guede was identified by a single bloody palm print, not a whole lot of bloody fingerprints:
b) traces attributable to Guede: a palm print in blood found on the pillow case of a pillow lying under the victim’s body – attributed with absolute certainty to the defendant by its correspondence to papillary ridges as well as 16-17 characteristic points equal in shape and position… (page 5, Rudy Guede’s final sentencing report).
It is confirmed that Guede was identified by a bloody palm print in the Micheli report (pages 10-11) and the Massei report (page 43). There was not a single fingerprint of his or Sollecito and almost none of Knox at the crime scene - which consists of the entire apartment.
Rich’s “her killer” in his opening implies there was only one killer but FOUR courts including the Supreme Court insisted there had to have been three. The lone wolf theory has long been dead. This is why the defense had to drag Alessi and Aviello into court two weeks ago, to try to prove Knox and Sollecito were not the other two.
False Claim 2: A provincial police force botched one of the most intensely observed criminal investigations in Italy’s history
A Knox cult myth. Nathaniel Rich attempts to disparage the investigation in Meredith’s murder with the smearing claim that it was seriously botched (it wasn’t) and by a provincial police force. Nathaniel Rich is trying to insinuate that that the police officers involved in the investigation were unsophisticated. However, again he only succeeds in revealing his ignorance of even the most basic facts of the case.
Two separate police departments from the Italian equivalent of the FBI in Rome were heavily involved in the investigation into Meredith’s murder: a forensic team from the Scientific Police led by Dr. Stefanoni, and the Violent Crimes Unit, led by Edgardo Giobbi.
False Claim 3: Sollecito finally stated that Knox could have left his apartment for several hours on the night of Kercher’s murder while he was asleep
Nathaniel Rich’s claim that Sollecito said that Knox “could” have left his apartment for several hours while he was sleeping is simply not true. You can read Sollecito’s various alibis here. Sollecito categorically stated in his witness statement that Knox DID leave his apartment, while he was wide awake. He said she went to Le Chic at 9:00pm and she came back at about 1.00am.
“At 9pm I went home alone and Amanda said that she was going to Le Chic because she wanted to meet some friends. We said goodbye. I went home, I rolled myself a spliff and made some dinner.”(Aislinn Simpson, The Daily Telegraph, 7 November 2007
“Police said Raffaele Sollecito had continued to claim he was not present on the evening of the murder. He said: “I went home, smoked a joint, and had dinner, but I don’t remember what I ate. At around eleven my father phoned me on the house phone. I remember Amanda wasn’t back yet. I surfed on the Internet for a couple of hours after my father’s phone call and I stopped only when Amanda came back, about one in the morning I think.” (The Times, 7 November 2007).
So Sollecito never said Knox “could” have left his apartment “while he was asleep”. The source for Nathaniel Rich’s embarrassing factual error is almost certainly the conspiracy theorist Bruce Fisher, who has repeatedly made the same false claim on his conspiracy website, a site riddled with invented claims.
Shame on Nathaniel Rich for gullibly believing another Knox cult myth, propagated by the likes of Moore and Fisher, and for being too lazy to independently verify this information.
False Claim 4: Amanda Knox was slapped on the back of the head
Another Knox cult myth. Nathaniel Rich employs the same tactic as the conspiracists Bruce Fisher and Steve Moore who are trying by all possible means to rescue Amanda Knox from those dastardly Italians.
Namely, to give what appears to be a very detailed eyewitness account of what happened at the police station on 5 November 2007 despite the fact he wasn’t even there. He even includes “verbatim” quotes from some unnamed police officers.
Nathaniel Rich goes on to claim that Knox was slapped on the back of the head. All the witnesses who were present when she was questioned, including her interpreter, testified under oath at trial in 2009 that Amanda Knox was NOT hit even once.
Even Amanda Knox’s lawyer, Luciano Ghirga, confirmed that Amanda Knox had not been hit: “There were pressures from the police, but we never said she was hit.” He never ever lodged an official complaint.
Nathaniel Rich should have pointed out that Knox claimed this hitting only long after, when she was trying to explain why she had framed Patrick Lumumba. He should not have repeated it as if it were incontrovertible truth.
And he should have pointed out that both Amanda Knox herself and both her parents are enmeshed in separate trials for doing that.
False Claim 5: Amanda Knox finally broke down and accused Diya Lumumba of murder at 5.45am
Nathaniel Rich clearly does not know the chronology of events at the police station on 5 November 2007. His false claim that Knox finally broke down at 5.45am gives the impression that she had been subjected to a continuous all-night interrogation.
In fact Amanda Knox very rapidly “broke down” and claimed that Lumumba was “bad” and had murdered Meredith when she was still only a witness, not a suspect, and was told Sollecito had pulled the rug from under her alibi. She signed a statement at 1.45am, not at 5.45am, when she repeated the claim voluntarily. (She also repeated it later that same day in writing.)
Amanda Knox’s questioning was stopped at 1.45am when she became a suspect. She wasn’t actively questioned again that evening. However, several hours later she decided to make an unsolicited spontaneous declaration. Mignini was called at 3.30am and he observed her declaration. Knox makes it explicit in her witness statement that she was making her statement spontaneously:
“I wish to relate spontaneously what happened because these events have deeply bothered me and I am really afraid of Patrick, the African boy who owns the pub called “Le Chic” located in Via Alessi where I work periodically.” (Amanda Knox’s 5.45am witness statement).
Nathaniel Rich regurgitates another prevalent Knox-cult myth with his claim that the double DNA knife was selected purely at random. However, the person who actually selected the knife, Armando Finzi, testified in court that he chose the knife because it was the only one compatible with the wound as it had been described to him.
“It was the first knife I saw,” he said. When pressed on cross-examination, said his “investigative intuition” led him to believe it was the murder weapon because it was compatible with the wound as it had been described to him. (Seattle PI,
False Claim 7: The confession, in violation of Italian police policy, was not recorded
Another Knox cult myth. The police weren’t required to record Amanda Knox’s interrogation on 5 November 2007 because she was being questioned as a witness and not as a suspect. Mignini explained that Amanda Knox was being questioned as a witness in his letter to reporter Linda Byron:
“In the same way, Knox was first heard by the police as a witness, but when some essential elements of her involvement with the murder surfaced, the police suspended the interview, according to Article 63 of the penal proceedings code.”
She came in to the central police station voluntarily and unasked that night when Sollecito was summoned for questioning, and police merely asked her if she could also be questioned as a witness. She did not have to agree, but she did. No recording of witnesses is required, either in Italy or the United States.
False Claim 8: Amanda Knox refused to leave Perugia
This Knox cult myth is actually contradicted by Amanda Knox herself. In the e-mail she wrote to her friends in Seattle on 4 November 2007 she said she was not allowed to leave.
“i then bought some underwear because as it turns out i wont be able to leave italy for a while as well as enter my house”
Knox actually knew on 2 November 2007 that she couldn’t leave Italy. Amy Frost reported the following conversation.
” I remember having heard Amanda speaking on the phone, I think that she was talking to a member of her family, and I heard her say, No, they won’t let me go home, I can’t catch that flight’” (The Massei report, page 37).
False Claim 9: Mignini suggested that the victim had been slaughtered during a satanic ritual
Another Knox cult myth. He did no such thing. Mignini has never claimed that Meredith was slaughtered during a satanic or sacrificial ritual, and that’s the reason why neither Nathaniel Rich - or anybody else for that matter - has been able to provide a verbatim quote from Mignini.
Mignini specifically denied claiming that Meredith was killed in a sacrificial rite, in his letter to the Seattle reporter Linda Byron:
“On the “sacrificial rite” question, I have never said that Meredith Kercher was the victim of a “sacrificial rite”.
Mignini also made it quite clear that he has never claimed that Meredith was killed as part of a satanic rite in his interview with Drew Griffin on CNN:
1’03” CNN: You’ve never said that Meredith’s death was a satanic rite?
1’08” Mignini: I have never said that. I have never understood who has and continues to say that. I read, there was a reporter – I don’t know his name, I mention it because I noticed it – who continues to repeat this claim that, perhaps, knowing full well that it’s not like that.
I have never said that there might have been a satanic rite. I’ve never said it, so I would like to know who made it up.
In fact Mignini has zero history of originating satanic-sect claims despite Doug Preston’s shrill claims. The notion of a secret satanic sect in Florence goes way back into history and many had declared the Monster of Florence murders satanic because of the nature of the mutilation long before Mignini assumed a (minor) role.
False Claim 10: Mignini referred to Knox as a sex-and-drug-crazed “she-devil”
Another laughable wrong fact. It wasn’t Mignini who called Amanda Knox a “she-devil”, it was Carlo Pacelli, the lawyer who represents Diya Lumumba, at the trial in 2009.
Carlo Pacelli’s comments were widely reported by numerous journalists who were present in the courtroom. Barbie Nadeau describes the moment he referred to Knox as a she-devil in some detail in Angel Face:
“Who is the real Amanda Knox?” he asks, pounding his fist in the table. “Is she the one we see before us here, all angelic? Or is really a she-devil focused on sex, drugs, and alcohol, living life on the edge?”
“She is the luciferina-she devil.” (Barbie Nadeau, Angel Face, page 124).
Nathaniel Rich has deeply embarrassed himself with this sloppy callous error-ridden piece of pure propaganda straight out of the Knox cult handbook, complete with a gushy fawning reference to Amanda Knox in the title, and an inflammatory mischaracterization of the extreme caution of the Italian justice system.
No mention at all of the never-ending nightmare of Meredith’s family or the fact that she is NEVER coming back.
Rich is one of a number of unworldly academics who don’t have the requisite emotional intelligence to realise that they may have been duped and used by the Knox-cult campaign. Presumably Rich was self-satisfied with his “literary” article.
So was Stephen Glass with his hoaxes. I hope that after reading this piece, he realises that he really came across to those who know the case as gullible, lazy and highly unprofessional. Another Stephen Glass in the making.
[Below: the notorious reporter Stephen Glass who was fired by New Republic for simply making things up.]
Archived in Reporting on the case, Poor reporting, Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, More sockpuppets
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Sunday, June 12, 2011
FOA’s Michael Heavey Sends A Rather Confused Letter To President Obama Copied To Congress
Posted by Peter Quennell
Oddly, he seems to have done it again. Click above to read the Open Letter from Michael Heavey to President Obama copied to members of Congress on what looks like official letterhead.
The Open Letter was dated 15 May but, unusually for an Open Letter, took some time to come to light. So far, we are seeing no official response.
Perhaps not surprising. Any quick call to the Italy Desk of Secretary of State Clinton’s State Department will reveal that not one of the claims made is on solid ground and several very, very widely already shot down in flames.
In our usual helpful way, we too will shortly write an Open Letter to President Obama, with a copy to the State Department and the Congress (where a lot of people especially Italian-Americans already think the Knox campaign is a real crock) explaining precisely how each claim made by Mr Heavey is wrong.
For example in quick summary, the consular office found nothing out of order, zero interrogation of Knox as a suspect ever took place without a lawyer, Mr Mignini never came up with any bizarre theories not already out there and anyway Judge Micheli and Judge Massei settled on theories of their own, and Mr Mignini merely recommended to Doug Preston (who was foolishly attempting to mislead him) to go get a good lawyer who speaks Italian. Not to run squealing back to Maine.
Previous posts on Mr Heavey’s many hapless and ineffective insertions of himself into the case can be read here.
Archived in The appeals, Extraditions, Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, Michael Heavey, The wider contexts, Italian context, American context
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Wednesday, June 01, 2011
Michael Wiesner Of Hawaii: Ten Major Mistakes In His Ill-Researched And Malicious Claims
Posted by The Machine
Michael Wiesner is actually a social studies teacher at the Mid-Pacific Institute High School in Honolulu in Hawaii.
Principal Grace Cruz (image at bottom here) is the supervisor of the staff of the school who presumably supervises Michael Wiesner and makes sure that her students are taught the truth - and to stay far away from drugs. Real estate broker James Kometani is the chair of the institute’s board of trustees.
Wiesner is the latest and hopefully the last of the Knox sockpuppets intent on heading up that bizarre parade of middle-aged white knights and snake oil salesmen and commercial opportunists which Knox and her lawyers say they could do better without.
It is unclear if he has ever been to Italy or talked to anyone directly concerned with the case.
So far, he has worked hard to mislead a group of his high-school students as to the real Amanda Knox and the hard evidence in her case, he has posted a YouTube of some of his fabricated claims (above), and he has enmeshed himself in the conspiracy website run by the serial defamer “Bruce Fisher” who (surprise surprise) is now so desperate for adult attention.
To bolster Michael Wiesner’s credibility there “Bruce Fisher” attempts to draw attention away from Michael Wiesner’s irrelevant background, par for the course for that group, by claiming his “speciality” is “critical analysis of sources and media literacy”.
This is an analysis of ten of the claims made by Michael Wiesner in that YouTube. Smart students in Hawaii and smart parents of smart students in Hawaii would do well to absorb this before listening to any more shrill claims from this addled pretender.
False Claim 1: Amanda Knox had never been in trouble in her entire life (minute 0.44)
Amanda Knox had a reputation for being a heavy user of drugs in Seattle long before she ever headed for Perugia and the use of drugs in the US is an indictable crime.
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. She was also warned about the rock throwing.
False Claim 2: Everyone who knew her swear she never could have committed that kind of violence (minute 0.48)
Many who knew her back in Seattle went ominously silent after she first was implicated, and several who claimed to have encountered her there posted on the web that they were not entirely surprised.
Meredith’s boyfriend, Giacomo Silenzi, and her British friends certainly did not swear that Amanda Knox could not been involved in Meredith’s murder. On the contrary, after witnessing her bizarre and oddly detached behaviour at the police station on 2 November 2007, they all told the police that her behaviour was suspicious.
“Giacomo then talked with Meredith’s British friends, who all agreed that Amanda was oddly detached from this violent murder. One by one, they told the police that Amanda’s behaviour was suspicious.” (Barbie Nadeau, Angel Face, page 62).
False Claim 3: Raffaele Sollecito had never been in any kind of trouble in his life (minute 1.11)
If Michael Wiesner had bothered to read the Massei report on the sentencing of Knox and Sollecito, he would have known that Raffaele Sollecito was considered a drug addict, he had unnatural sexual proclivities, and he had a previous brush with the police.
Sollecito was monitored at his university residence in Perugia after hardcore pornography featuring bestiality was found in his room.
“…and educators at the boy’s ONAOSI college were shocked by a film “very much hard-core…where there were scenes of sex with animals” at which next they activated a monitoring on the boy to try to understand him. (p.130 and 131, hearing 27.3.2009, statements by Tavernesi Francesco). (The Massei report, page 61).
Sollecito had the previous brush with the police in 2003.
“…Antonio Galizia, Carabinieri [C.ri] station commander in Giovinazzo, who testified that in September 2003 Raffaele Sollecito was found in possession of 2.67 grams of hashish. (The Massei report, page 62).
Raffaele Sollecito was clearly already a drug addict. Four years after this incident, numerous witnesses testified that Sollecito was using drugs.
“Both Amanda and Raffaele were using drugs; there are multiple corroborating statements to this effect…” (The Massei report, page 62).
It seems that Sollecito was not just using hashish. Amanda Knox claimed in her prison diaries that Sollecito had taken dangerous drugs like heroin and cocaine.
“According to Amanda’s prison diaries, Raf been reminiscing about his incredible highs on heroin and cocaine…” (Barbie Nadeau, Angel Face, page 163).
Mignini stated at the trial that Sollecito and Knox ran with a crowd who often used stupefying drugs.
“He also hinted that Knox and Sollecito might have been in a drug-fueled frenzy when they allegedly killed Kercher. He outlined the effects of cocaine and acid, and told the judges and jury how Knox and Sollecito ran with a crowd that often used these “stupificante,” or stupefying drugs.” (Barbie Nadeau, The Daily Beast, 20 November 2009).
Amanda Knox was in contact with a convicted drug dealer before and after Meredith’s murder. According to this Italian news report, the drug dealer’s name was on Knox’s contact list on her mobile phone.
“The young man defended by [lawyer] Frioni, on the basis of a service report by the police, he appears to be among the list of contacts within the cell phone of Amanda Knox.” (Translated into English by PMF poster Jools).
Knox and Sollecito both admitted that they had taken drugs on the day of Meredith’s murder. Michael Wiesner makes no mention of this in his YouTube video, presumably because it undermines the falsely wholesome portrait of them that he’s trying so hard to sell..
False Claim 4: After the murder Amanda refused to leave Italy (minute 1.26)
This claim is flatly contradicted by Amanda Knox herself. In the e-mail she wrote to her friends in Seattle on 4 November 2007 she said she was not allowed to leave.
“i then bought some underwear because as it turns out i wont be able to leave italy for a while as well as enter my house”
Amanda Knox’s e-mail to her friends on 4 November 2007 can be found here. Knox actually knew on 2 November 2007 that she couldn’t leave Italy. Amy Frost reported the following conversation.
” I remember having heard Amanda speaking on the phone, I think that she was talking to a member of her family, and I heard her say, No, they won’t let me go home, I can’t catch that flight’” (The Massei report, page 37).
False Claim 5: The police called her in at 11.00pm (1.31 minute)
Michael Wisener’s claim is contradicted by Amanda Knox herself who testified in court that she wasn’t called to the police station on 5 November 2007.
Carlo Pacelli: “For what reason did you go to the Questura on November 5? Were you called?”
Amanda Knox: “No, I wasn’t called. I went with Raffaele because I didn’t want to be alone.”
The transcripts of Amanda Knox’s testimony in court can be read on Perugia Murder File. Michael Wiesner is clearly totally unfamiliar with any of her court testimony.
False Claim 6: The police began a brutal interrogation (1.33 minute)
Michael Wiesner speaks with great authority about what what happened to Amanda Knox at that witness interview, despite the facts that he wasn’t present and that Knox herself is being sued for false claims she made about it.
All the witnesses who were actually present when she was questioned including her interpreter (Mr Mignini was not there) testified under oath during her trial that she was treated well and wasn’t hit.
“Ms Donnino said that Ms Knox had been “comforted” by police, given food and drink, and had at no stage been hit or threatened.
The newspaper Corriere dell’ Umbria said that Giuliano Mignini, the prosecutor, would bring an additional charge of slander against Ms Knox, since all police officers and interpreters who have given evidence at the trial have testified under oath that she was at no stage put under pressure or physically mistreated.” (Richard Owen, The Times, 15 March 2009).
She is actually being sued by those who were present (again, Mr Mignini was not.) Even Amanda Knox’s own lawyer, Luciano Ghirga, confirmed that she had not been hit, at Rudy Guede’s fast-track trial:
“There were pressures from the police but we never said she was hit.” Mr Ghirga had every opportunity to lodge a complaint if he believed her story to be true. He never has.
The judges and jury had to decide whether to believe the corroborative testimony of numerous upstanding witnesses, or the word of a someone who had provably repeatedly lied. It would not have been a hard decision to make.
False Claim 7: They coerced from her an accusation from a person who was innocent (1.42 minute)
According to the corroborative testimony of multiple witnesses, including her interpreter, Amanda Knox voluntarily and spontaneously accused Patrick Lumumba of murdering Meredith.
Judge Massei noted the following about Amanda Knox’s false and malicious accusation against Patrick Lumumba:
It must also be pointed out that Patrick Lumumba was not known in any way, and no element, whether of habitually visiting the house on Via della Pergola, or of acquaintance with Meredith, could have drawn the attention of the investigators to this person in such a way as to lead themselves to ‘force‛ Amanda’s declarations. (The Massei report, page 389)
False Claim 8: Amanda immediately released a statement retracting the accusation (1.55 minute)
Amanda Knox didn’t retract her accusation as soon as she got some food at all. In fact, she reiterated her allegation in her handwritten note to the police later on 6 November 2007 which was admitted in evidence:
[[Amanda] herself, furthermore, in the statement of 6 November 2007 (admitted into evidence ex. articles 234 and 237 of the Criminal Procedure Code and which was mentioned above) wrote, among other things, the following: I stand by my - accusatory - statements that I made last night about events that could have taken place in my home with Patrick…in these flashbacks that I’m having, I see Patrick as the murderer…”.
This statement which, as specified in the entry of 6 November 2007, 200:00pm, by the Police Chief Inspector, Rita Ficarra, was drawn up, following the notification of the detention measure, by Amanda Knox, who “requested blank papers in order to produce a written statement to hand over” to the same Ficarra. (The Massei report, page 389).
The Massei court took note of the fact that Amanda Knox didn’t recant her false and malicious allegation against Patrick Lumumba during the whole of the time he was kept in prison.
False Claim 9: Rudy Guede’s DNA was inside Meredith’s handbag (3.05. minute)
According to the Micheli report, which was made available to the public in January 2008, Rudy Guede’s DNA was found on the zip of Meredith’s purse and not inside it.
Guede’s DNA was not in fact found all over Meredith’s room. Guede left no hairs, no saliva, no sweat, no blood, and no other bodily fluid at the scene of the crime, considered to be the entire house. Knox and Sollecito left substantial proof of their presence, including both their footprints, Knox’s blood, and Sollecito’s DNA.
False Claim 10: Rudy Guede pleaded guilty (3.39 minute )
Rudy Guede did not plead guilty at his fast-track trial in late October 2008 which Judge Micheli presided over. He claimed that he was on the toilet when Meredith was murdered. Anyone with even a superficial knowledge of the case is aware of this basic fact.
Extensive evidence Wiesner simply ignores
For example in the YouTube video above, Michael Wiesner does not provide a plausible innocent explanation for the numerous lies that Knox and Sollecito told before and after 5 November 2007.
- He doesn’t explain why Raffaele Sollecito has refused for three-plus years and at trial to corroborate Amanda Knox’s alibi that she was at his apartment when Meredith died.
- He doesn’t explain how Meredith’s DNA got lodged into a microscopic groove on the blade of the knife sequestered from Sollecito’s kitchen.
- He doesn’t explain how an abundant amount of Raffaele Sollecito’s DNA ended up on Meredith’s bra clasp.
- He doesn’t explain why Amanda Knox was bleeding on the night of the murder, or explain how her blood got mixed with Meredith’s blood in several spots in the cottage.
Michael Wiesner might not think the mixed blood evidence is important, but jurors at the first trial clearly thought it was. One sample was in Filomena’s bedroom, especially incriminating considering the simulated break-in there.
“The defense’s other biggest mistake, according to interviews with jurors after the trial, was doing nothing to refute the mixed-blood evidence beyond noting that it is common to find mingled DNA when two people live in the same house.” (Barbie Nadeau, Angel Face, page 152).
He doesn’t account either for the visible bloody footprint on the blue bathmat which matched the precise characteristics of Sollecito’s foot, or the bare bloody footprints of Knox and Sollecito in the corridor in the new wing of the cottage which were revealed by Luminol.
In short, he doesn’t address the vast bulk of the evidence which is detailed at great length in the Massei report, let alone in any way refute it. In fact, it’s quite clear that Michael Wiesner hasn’t even read the Massei report.
The only thing he has really proved is that he’s ignorant of the basic facts of the case.
Wiesner’s use of manipulative images
Michael Wiesner uses the manipulative tactic, which is an old favourite of CBS’s 48 Hours and now of CNN, of flashing images of Knox and Sollecito as children throughout the video as if that is some kind of proof of their innocence.
Childhood photographs of other notorious sex killers, such Myra Hindley and Ian Brady, and Fred and Rosemary West, are readily available on the web. The only thing these kind of photographs prove is that convicted sex killers were children once. Nothing more than that.
The principal and parents and trustees of the Mid Pacific Institute High School should be very concerned that one of its teachers is championing the cause of two people unanimously convicted of sexual assault and a vicious murder by making demonstrably false claims.
It was not only the judges and jurors who thought the evidence against Knox and Sollecito was overwhelming. Legal expert Stefano Maffei made the following observation.
“There were 19 judges who looked at the facts and evidence over the course of two years, faced with decisions on pre-trial detention, review of such detention, committal to trial, judgment on criminal responsibility. They all agreed, at all times, that the evidence was overwhelming.”
The parents and the trustees of the Mid Pacific Institute High School should also be concerned at the fact that Michael Wiesner is shamelessly trying to manipulate the public by using photographs of Knox and Sollecito as children, and by sweeping under the rug any inconvenient facts about them, such as their extensive drug-taking and their previous brushes with the police.
Michael Wiesner needs to do now what the judges and jury did starting over two years ago. Namely, to look at all of the hard evidence against Sollecito and Knox, and stop regurgitating the many false claims which are a small industry on “Bruce Fisher’s” website.
Archived in Reporting on the case, Poor reporting, Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, More sockpuppets
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Friday, May 27, 2011
Several Hundred Questions On The Hard Evidence That The Enablers Postures To Avoid
Posted by The TJMK Main Posters
This Open Letter to Rocco Girlanda was first posted and sent to him in English on 9 November 2010. Six-plus months later, no response. We are now reposting it and mailing it in Italian, as Italian media and opposition MPs are interested in asking him these same questions.
Mr. Rocco Girlanda
Parliamentarian for Gubbio in Umbria
Chamber of Deputies
Parliament of Italy
Dear Mr. Girlanda:
Questions Concerning Your Hurtful Behavior Toward The Family and Friends Of Meredith Kercher
And Also Concerning Your Ethics, Your Politics, Your Legal Behavior, And Your Personal Behavior
Your book Take Me With You – Talks With Amanda Knox In Prison” is leaving readers with a number of disturbing questions as to your motives, timing and interests in writing the book and publishing it at this time.
These questions concern whether your book - or at least its publication right now, directly before the important first level of appeal - is in fact very unethical, and they also concern the appropriateness of the nature of your relationship with Miss Knox.
In order to put these these questions to rest, we are sure that you will be eager to know what they are, and to respond to them in your best way possible. We’d be pleased if you would reply to us through our return address, or - given the public nature of this discussion - email it for posting directly on the TJMK website.
Here are the questions we have assembled. Again, we thank you in advance for your replies:
- Do you believe in the separation of the executive, parliamentary and judicial branches of government? Since you are a parliamentarian (and, in particular, a member of the judiciary committee), do you think that the publishing of your book at this time could be seen as being inappropriate, given the calendar of Amanda’s appeal for her murder conviction, as well as the ongoing trial for slander (for having accused the Perugian police of hitting her during questioning)?
- When you visit prisons in your role as a parliamentarian, what is your main objective: perform an independent check and control over prison conditions, or befriend prisoners? After how many visits to Capanne prison did you realise that you had established a friendship with Miss Knox? How often do you visit prisons in Italy? Which other prisons have you recently visited? Do you visit men’s prisons? Do you regularly give gifts to prisoners, like the books or the computer you gave to Amanda? If you consider that the computer was not a personal gift but rather from the Italy-USA Foundation of which you are president, which other American prisoners in Italian prisons have received such gifts? Which criteria does the Foundation follow in deciding who receives gifts? (for example, prisoners who have expressed repentance, or prisoners who have to use free legal aid due to financial penury, or prisoners who contribute to awareness programs to help others avoid similar crimes in the future ....).
- As president of the Italy-USA Foundation, you have expressed concern that this case has strained relations between the two countries. Have you spoken with the US Embassy in Rome about your concern? Within the framework of Italian-US relations, are there any other issues which you think come close to your-perceived significance of Amanda’s involvement in murdering Meredith Kercher? (for example: Italy’s middle east policy concerning talks with Palestinian organisations, or discussions about the acceptance by Italy of Guantanamo inmates, or the ongoing state of Fiat-Chrysler relations and investments, or the rooting out of organised crime, or even Berlusconi’s joke about Obama being handsome and suntanned?)
- In your over 20 parliamentary privilege meetings with Amanda Knox, did she ever act in a bizarre manner, like performing cartwheels for you? Why didn’t you ever ask her about her murdered roommate, Meredith Kercher or in general about the crime? Can your book really be of any interest to anyone if it only contains bits and pieces of poetry and banal conversation, without linking Amanda to the case which has put her into jail? How can your book come close to one of its supposed objectives - that of trying to understand how a young person could be involved in a violent crime such as that of Meredith Kercher’s murder - it you make no reference to the crime?
- You have stated that you have daughters similar to Amanda Knox. In what ways are your daughters comparable to Amanda? Studies? Personal life and use of drugs, or social habits with the opposite sex? Some other way?
- Amanda wrote you a letter (amongst others) on 7 August 2010, where she tells you in Italian, “The only thing I can show you is my gratitude for your friendship and your support.” What is the extent and what are the characteristics of this friendship and support? Is Amanda’s gratitude one-sided, from the perspective of an emotionally weak prisoner who becomes dependent on any stranger who shows her the slightest kindness, or do you mutually share this friendship which she describes, between the two of you? Do you know if Amanda’s Italian legal team are aware of the extent of your friendship? Do you think that your friendship may actually somehow complicate her legal situation and strategy?
- You describe an affectionate hug between you and Knox: “I blush. She holds me, I hold her. It’s a never ending embrace, without a word. If I said I didn’t feel any emotion I would be lying. Maybe my face reveals that.” is what was quoted in the Daily Mail. Have you ever told a priest, psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker, drinking buddy or your wife about your physical contact with Amanda and your nocturnal dreams which involve her? If so, what advice have they given you?
- Did you attend any of the Knox-Sollecito trial sessions over the course of the year that it was held? (it would have been easy: you could have taken advantage of visits to your parliamentary constituency, just as you have found it easy to visit Amanda in jail). Are you familiar with the evidence? Are you aware that there are two other persons convicted for the same crime together with Amanda? Do you know if - like her - they write poetry and want to be parents when they are freed from prison (a number of years from now)? Do such desires for life under regained freedom make any convicted prisoner less guilty of the crimes they have committed?
- Do you feel that there were any specific errors or problems with the investigation in this case which you believe may contribute to an incorrect verdict and sentence for the three suspects? Did Amanda get a fair trial compared to any other similar crime investigation and legal process in Italy?
- Are you able to offer an explanation as to why not once have the Kerchers and their lawyer, Francesco Maresca, ever been worried about the trial outcome? After three years, why is it that Francesco Maresca still has no worries and is confident that the convicted will lose their appeals?
[Above: Mr Girlanda with images of herself by Amanda Knox released about simultaneously with his book]
- Do you believe that any of the investigation or judicial officials involved in this case are corrupt, or that any type of corruption played a role in their activities? Don’t be shy, please identify those who did wrong amongst Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini, Prosecutor Manuela Comodi, Judge Claudia Matteini, Judge Paolo Micheli, Judge Giancarlo Massei, Judge Beatrice Cristiani, the six lay judges, Appeals Judge Emanuele Medoro, Homicide Chief Monica Napoleoni, Inspector Rita Ficarrra, DNA expert Patrizia Stefanoni, or any other person involved in this complex case. Was there a conspiracy of corrupt officials who directed an evil campaign against an obviously innocent girl with no real evidence against her?
- As a followup to the prior question, do you know that not one credible international attorney or professor of comparative criminal law and procedure has taken the defense of Amanda Knox, claiming injustice in the Italian judicial system? Do you agree that the Italian criminal system is fair, balanced and completely pro-defendant?
- Do you know that Italian citizens constantly complain of their relaxed criminal laws and that criminals are constantly set free even after being sentenced on appeal while waiting for the confirmation of the Cassation Court? For example, little Tommy would still be alive if Mario Alessi had been kept in prison after being convicted on appeal for raping a minor. As a politician, don’t you think the law should be changed by keeping violent criminals in jail after being convicted on appeal, in order to guarantee the security of the citizens of the country you represent?
- Do you know that the Italian attorneys of Amanda Knox don’t approve of this media propaganda perpetuated by the Knox-Mellas clan, that seems intent on spreading falsehoods and misinformation, while at the same time blaming an entire country (the one you represent in parliament) for an alleged “wrongful conviction”?
- In promoting your book, you have stated that during your more than 20 meetings with convicted murderer Amanda Knox, a “friendship” has grown. Would you classify that as a friendship of convenience or a friendship based on caring for the interests of the other? We ask that because it truly shocks us that Knox’s Italian legal team was humiliated, and Knox herself was deprived professional legal advice and support through the publication of your book without it being vetted by her lawyers. “She is very worried,” said Knox’s lawyer Luciano Ghirga, declining to comment on the book which he said he has not seen. “She is not at her best. She is very worried” ahead of the appeal, he added. Although the book will likely change little in Knox’s legal predicament, I would have thought that a “friend” who was also a law-maker would realise the importance of consulting the other friend’s lawyers concerning the possible fallout of a personal literary initiative such as yours.
- Do you know that the American Embassy has followed this case from day one and reported to the State Department? Do you know that the Embassy stated that the trial was fair? Do you know that the State Department never expressed concerns about the outcome of the trial?
- Do you know that the only American politician that once spoke out regarding this trial was Mrs. Maria Cantwell from Seattle when she asked Mrs. Clinton to verify if Italy is a third-world country with a barbarian criminal system and if Amanda Knox was sentenced only because she is an American citizen?
- How did you and your associate Corrado Maria Daclon prepare his list of contacts that he met with in his trip to Seattle when you were writing your book? Did some person or persons arrange for meeting with these contacts? Was this person associated with the Knox-Mellas Entourage?
- Have you ever read the 430-page Sentence Motivation Report (“Dispositivo Della Sentenza Di Condanna”) written by Judge Massei who presided over the Knox-Sollecito trial? Do you know that there is overwhelming evidence against Amanda Knox and that the information spread out by the expensive PR team, hired by the Knox family, is neither a complete nor trustworthy story?
[Above: Giulia Bongiorno. Concern that Rocco Girlanda has gone way beyond what is appropriate to his parliamentary privilege to visit prisons “to inspect conditions” is further inflamed by his presence on the Italian parliament’s Judicial Committee. This committee, amazingly, is presided over by Raffaele Sollecito’s lead defense lawyer: Giulia Bongiorno. Is Giulia Bongiorno turning a blind eye to Mr Girlanda’s extraordinary number of visits, which seem highly abusive of his privilege, and exceed the quota of any family member?]
- Do you know that the vast majority of Americans have no idea of who Amanda Knox is? For example, if you look at the number of hits on videos posted by the Knox clan on YouTube, you would discover that few hundred people have visited the site. Also, do you know that the vast majority of Americans that have heard about this case think she’s guilty?
- Do you know who Steve Moore is? As President of the of the Italy-USA Foundation, do you, Mr. Girlanda, approve the insulting assertions of Mr. Moore when he says that the Italian police questioning of Amanda is typical of a “third world country”? That is was “something close to water-boarding”? Do you know that Steve Moore said that Amanda’s accusation of Patrick Lumumba, an innocent man, was “recanted by Amanda as soon as she had gotten some food”? Do you know that this weird individual said that “the court of final appeal is going to be the press. It’s going to be the public”?
- Have you ever read or seen Steve Moore on American national television? Do you know that he has been interview by all major American television news stations, spreading falsehoods and misinformation? Do you know that Mr. Moore has been accusing Italy as a whole as been responsible for what he calls a “wrongful conviction”, in a “railroad job” by a “psychopathic prosecutor”? Do you agree with him?
- Of the crime scene, Steve Moore said that “there was blood everywhere. There were foot prints, fingerprints, palm prints, hair, fluid samples, DNA of just one person: Rudy Guede”. Do you know that Rudy Guede left very little evidence for someone who has admitted been there and touching everything? Do you know that Guede left no hairs, no saliva, no sweat, no blood, and no other bodily fluid at the scene of the crime? Do you know that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito left plenty of DNA evidence and footprints all over the crime scene? Do you know that Steve Moore is telling falsehoods? Do you know that the motivation report clearly explains, without a minimal doubt, that more than one person was present during the murder of poor Meredith? (Please do read Judge Massei’s report)
- Steve Moore says that the interrogation of Amanda Knox at the police station “was the most coercive interrogation I have ever seen admitted into a court in the last 20 years”. Do you know that the interrogation at the police station on the evening of November 5, 2007, before the arrival of the prosecutor, was just 1 hour and 45 minutes and that Amanda was treated like any other witness that had just been caught lying?
- Have you ever visited Raffaele Sollecito or Rudy Guede in jail and are you planning to write a book on them as well?
- We have just heard that the bound edition of your Amanda Knox book has been pushed by the conservative publisher at least as far away as next spring. Could this be cold feet on the part of your publisher, who may not want to be associated with the public relations campaign of a convicted killer? Or of a disaster in terms of predicted sales? Your agent Patrick King seems in a furious rush now to get the book out one way or another for Christmas .... who on earth would want to give a Christmas gift to a friend or loved one which is composed of bizarre sweet talk with a convicted murderess?
- Are you even slightly aware of the deep hurt which you have caused to the Kercher family and Meredith’s many friends with your book? Do you know that some persons with great sympathy for them have words for you like “a pretty cruel heartless bastard”?
Finally, Mr. Girlanda - and we thank you for your patience in responding to these questions, which many concerned Americans and non-Americans have helped us compile - you have indicated that the proceeds from the sale of this book will go to the U.S.A.-Italy Foundation of which you are president.
If this budget injection is not used to make gifts of additional computers for more American prisoners in Italian jails beyond Amanda Knox, would you please consider applying part of the book proceeds to the new scholarship that the Perugia city council has established together with the University for Foreigners, in memory of Meredith Kercher?
It would be a wonderful gesture which would respond positively to those many Americans and non-Americans who are concerned that Amanda Knox’s conviction for the murder of Meredith should not be spinned into a money-grubbing show-business performance, where the only victim of this case - Meredith - is forgotten, and instead through some sort of twisted publicity campaign, one of the guilty parties is converted into a sympathetic Mother Theresa who escapes fully responding for her crimes.
The original of this letter in English and Italian has been emailed and sent in hard copy to your office in Rome. We greatly look forward to your various responses and will be happy to post them in Italian and English here.
Very many thanks in advance from people all over the world who are seeking true justice for Meredith
Signed in the original for the Main Posters Of TJMK
Who include a number of American and Italian lawyers
Archived in Questions for Knox, Questions for Sollecito, Officially involved, Crime hypotheses, Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, Sollecitos, More sockpuppets, Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito
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Thursday, May 26, 2011
Now The Grandstanding Junior Politician Girlanda Attempts Political Interference In Judicial Process
Posted by Peter Quennell
He first rose to prominence when he dragged a parliamentary team into Capanne Prison right after the trial to make sure that Amanda Knox was quite comfortable. He emerged to make grinning self-congratulatory statements in front of every camera in sight.
Then he extended this privilege of politicians being allowed to inspect prisoner conditions into many more visits to Knox in Capanne, and a distinctly kinky book of Knox’s thoughts and his reflections emerged. That time-consuming process took him extensively away from the duties which Italy actually pays him for.
He also presided over two ill-attended panels for the Italy-USA Foundation of which he is the president (see here and here) and although he seemed to try very hard to insert emotional bias into the proceedings, both the panels equivocated and he emerged essentially empty-handed.
Girlanda is notorious for seeming to be unable to grasp even the simplest details of the evidence and repeatedly mischaracterizing it. Six months ago we posted an open letter addressed to him with an extremely comprehensive series of questions to try to finally make him think straight.
Apparently no such luck.
Here is Girlanda yet again raising grave but essentially spurious questions about Italian justice in this case, which in fact has been very well handled and which Italy can show to the world with real pride.
The letter is addressed to the president of the Italian republic and a similar letter went to the minister of justice signed by a dozen Berlusconi-party MPs. Translation is kindly provided by our main poster Clander who also attended and reported on the second panel.
Girlanda’s nasty charges play strongly into the overtones of xenophobia toward Italy which have repeatedly dogged the case. Nice move, Girlanda. Mission achieved?!
The President of Italy-USA Foundation, Hon. Rocco Girlanda, sent the following letter to the President of Italian Republic, Hon. Giorgio Napolitano, regarding the case of Amanda Knox.
I address you as President of the Italy-USA Foundation - that as you know is an international bipartisan institution to which dozens of parliamentarians belong, together with Italian scientists, journalists, diplomats, politicians - and as a parliamentary member of the Judiciary Committee in the Chamber of Deputies.
The event of the American student Amanda Knox’s detainment has provoked many discussions and debates, above all in the United States where even members of Congress and other influential institutional personalities are involved. I have been working personally for over a year to try to alleviate the tensions, both in Italy and in the United States, that this case has generated.
Also, in full respect of the trial process and of the role of the judicial magistrates, we must make note that the appellate trial has objectively opened more wide and resounding doubts on what was considered clear evidence in the first phase, in which further expertise and examination of testimony were not admitted, limiting the debate in fact to the only reasons of accusation.
After all, the same president of the Court of Appeals has opened the second level of trial with an eloquent clarification: “The respect of article 533 of the Penal Procedure Code (pronunciation of sentence only if the accused is guilty of the offense contested beyond any reasonable doubt) does not consent to share totally the decision of the Criminal Court from the first level”.
The question that I ask myself is who will compensate two young twenty-year olds, in the hoped for case that the appellate trial recognizes their innocence, of the four years of life and freedom that they have been unjustly depraved and for which no economic compensation could ever reimburse.
The use of preventative incarceration will unfortunately with time characterize our country. Even in the United States such measures are difficult to comprehend in so far as the varying rules from state to state. In the U.S. one can be detained from 48 to 72 hours, after which they are officially charged or are released.
Trials like that of Perugia could be celebrated with the charged in conditions of freedom, eventually with the restrictive measures about the ex-patriot regarding a foreign citizen. Still, the magistrate has adopted the possible reiteration of the offense as a reason for the detention in jail, a motivation that I limit myself to define as surreal for those like me whom for over a year in these parts have had the chance to get to know Amanda Knox.
I have in fact felt the obligation to write a book on Amanda Knox filled with many talks that I had with her in prison, in order to bring her justice and to explain to the world’s public opinion that the true Amanda is a girl completely different from the image that, with the contributions of the media, has emerged from the trials.
All of the Penitentiary Police personnel of the prison of Perugia, that have come to know her in the past three years, have confirmed her exemplary behaviour done with respect and kindness towards all of the other detainees and towards the personnel. Amanda is a girl of which today I am proud to call a great friend. She is an ideal girl with which I would send my five children on vacation.
Yet from the beginning, this case has pointed out some of the forceful and disturbing rule of law. During the investigation, a television and internet interview was conducted with a State Police officer that showed the corridor of the Roman Police offices, where there are framed photographs of such figures like the leaders of organized crime, serial killers, and other criminals convicted with severe crimes.
The officer in question also showed some of the successes of the Central Operating Services, and right after the portrait of Bernardo Provenzano, head of the mafia, there was a framed portrait of Amanda Knox. This portrait was displayed in the State Police offices even before the first trial, and it was accompanied by very serious declarations to the press of that ruling (which has never been sanctioned) where he argues that a “psychological” investigation without the help of science and technology has, “allowed us to arrive very quickly to identify the culprits”.
Is it not necessary to recall here that according to the legal principles of our country a defendant can only be found guilty at the end of three sets of hearings by the judiciary and not at the end of police interviews. It seems indeed rather curious and disturbing that in a democratic and liberal state, despite what is required by the Code of Criminal Procedure about the need for absolute and unambiguous evidence, it is possible to judge a citizen convicted only on “psychological” bases after a police interrogation.
Through the light findings from the appeal process, the so-called evidence and testimonies of the prosecution have proved to be at best considered contradictory and unreliable. All of these distortions have occurred in the various phases of the investigation by the out of place statements from the police and during the first trial; they been widely reported and distributed throughout United States, even in talk shows with tens of million viewers.
These distortions, not without reason, are fueling accusations against the administration of justice in our country. As Martin Luther King wrote in a letter from the Birmingham, Alabama prison, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere… Justice too long delayed is justice denied”.
In this light and with the hope of a different ruling on the Amanda Knox trial taking place in Perugia, I’m well aware of the feelings you have towards the American nation and towards the excellent, historic friendship between the two countries. I would make an appeal, Mr. President, because your authoritative intervention will help to reconcile and mitigate the many controversies that this incident has generated on both sides of the Atlantic.
In expressing my deepest gratitude, to the many citizens of Italy and America that the Italy-USA Foundation is honoured to represent, I take this time to express my utmost respects.
Pro-prosecution claims on talk shows in front of tens of millions? Really? All we have noticed 24/7/365 for over three years in the US is invented and seemingly libelous anti-police and anti-prosecution charges on the lines Girlanda is making.
No mention of course of Meredith, about whom, Girlanda doesn’t seem to give a damn.
Archived in Officially involved, Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, More sockpuppets, Amanda Knox
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Thursday, May 19, 2011
Dear Ken Jautz Of CNN: Full CNN Interview With Mignini That CNN SHOULD Have Reflected #1
Posted by Skeptical Bystander
Introduction: Judgment and credibility
Candace Dempsey recently claimed that viewers would be able to “judge the credibility of Mignini […] when CNN airs Murder Abroad: The Amanda Knox Story”. In support of her claim, Dempsey provided an excerpt of the interview at end of her reader blog entry of May 6, 2011.
Viewers who managed to sit through the Drew Griffin/Doug Preston/CNN treatment of the Meredith Kercher case saw bits and pieces of what CNN risibly tried to pass off as an exclusive: access to one of the prosecutors, Giuliano Mignini, who indeed agreed to answer questions. What CNN failed to mention was that Mignini was actually interviewed for two-plus hours, and that he answered Mr. Griffin’s questions openly and without hesitation, not knowing that his answers would be severely and ruthlessly edited and cherry-picked to reflect something very different from what he actually said.
Not only did CNN fail to reveal this fact, Drew Griffin actually said (according to Dempsey) that “Mignini doesn’t really answer questions,” adding that Mignini “…talks and talks, going round and round and returning to certain things. I had to keep bringing him back to the evidence, to what’s actually being presented in court.”
This post and the next two to follow contain the original Italian transcript, authored by Turner Broadcasting and apparently then transcribed by a human being or by software (perhaps CNN will clarify). Whichever it was, the resulting document, which we obtained in the form of a word file, was clearly not subsequently corrected for errors, as readers of Italian will see. Presumably, the “three different interpreters” who “looked at Mignini’s interview to make sure that he was quoted correctly” did not read this transcript version of the interview.
Perhaps CNN can be persuaded to clarify the process or even to provide the actual audio and/or video of the interview. In the meantime, our translators demanded that we issue this translation with a giant red flag to signal that the transcript authored by Turner Broadcasting does not appear to be in complete and correct Italian. There are missing words, repeated words, and clearly wrong words. This may be because it was compiled by a non-native speaker. Again, only the folks at CNN can shed light on the process.
As you read the transcript or the translation of it, which was done by a team of volunteers (PMF posters Clander, Yummi, Jools, Thoughtful, TomM and Catnip), it is important to keep this in mind.
Also keep in mind that, according to Dempsey (based either on what Griffin told her or the cherry-picked interview snippets in the CNN program; perhaps Dempsey will clarify) “…instead of talking about hard evidence, Mignini kept returning to Amanda’s odd behavior; her relationship with Raffaele Sollecito, her Italian ex-boyfriend; and even her eyes (which, since they are blue, the Italian press called “icicle eyes”)”.
Griffin to Dempsey: “He truly believes she was the criminal mastermind behind the murder and that Raffaele was infatuated and under her spell.”
More Griffin to Dempsey: “Prosecutor Giuliano Miginini [sic] is, in my opinion, a rambling, confused individual.” (Drew Griffin to Candace Dempsey).
Dempsey: “Griffin was surprised by Mignini’s willingness to say all sorts of things about Amanda that were not part of the trial.”
Griffin: “The kind of things that, if a prosecutor came to court in the U.S. and put before a judge, would get his whole case thrown out.”
And don’t forget what Candace Dempsey told potential viewers: that they would be able to make their own judgment calls when the documentary aired on Sunday, May 8, 2011.
We beg to differ. We think that the viewers will have a much better basis on which to make a judgment call if they take the time to read the complete transcript and/or our translation of it. Then ask yourselves these questions:
Is Prosecutor Mignini evasive?
Does he give unclear responses?
Does he ramble?
Does he seem confused?
Compare the full interview with what viewers were shown. Then make your judgment call. Like us, you might be more tempted to make one about the people who did the cherry-picking, the packaging and the publicity for this hatchet job.
The remaining hour and a half will be posted in two more posts, one after saturday’s appeal session report, and one after the weekend.
4’09’’ CNN: There have been many stories about this crime, about what people think happened. What do you think really happened?
4’20’’ Mignini: Well, I am a magistrate for the Public Prosecutor’s Office who found himself ... I was on duty at the time and thus I happened to be dealing with this matter randomly. For me it is a criminal proceeding that I dealt with, and I am currently working on it today at the appeal level.
4’49’’ What happened was that a crime was committed for which we conducted an investigation in the best way considering the situation. And there was a trial which, in the first instance, resulted in conviction with full acknowledgement of the theory of the Public Prosecutor’s Office. I know there have been books, there were also films on the subject, but this is something for which I have limited interest. My job is to be a prosecutor for the Public Prosecutor’s Office who dealt with this case. I am interested in it from this point of view, nothing else.
6’30’’ CNN: But exactly how was the crime like, what you and your assistants, I do not say [missing words: *what happened?] ... but [what] you understood, who are the murderers, and the reason for this murder?
6’46’’ Mignini: I can tell you our impression when I arrived on the scene. I arrived basically, I believe, I think around 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 2, and I found myself facing a crime that obviously looked like - this is the impression I got in the first place and it was subsequently confirmed by the investigations and the proceeding - a murder of a sexual nature, in which there was this girl who was undressed or nearly so, a young woman who was covered with this, with this quilt. And the other thing which struck us, which was of immediate interest, I said this on other occasions and I repeat it because I’ve said it also at the first trial, was the break-in. And it appeared immediately – the climbing, the simulation of climbing, with a stone thrown through the window, through two shutters that were there, that left open quite a narrow space, rather limited room between them – immediately that appeared to us to be a simulation.
8’38’’ So there was this crime of a sexual nature and a simulated burglary. That is, the perpetrators or perpetrator, at that moment we were making a preliminary assessment, was someone who attempted, that appeared to be the situation to us, he had attempted [missing words] So that appeared to be the situation, an investigation of unknown persons; whereas instead the house, the house door was completely intact, there had not been a been a breaking open, and this made us think, then, as the investigations progressed, because as investigations go, by approximation you slowly get closer to it, to the ascertaining of the facts, it was, we thought it was someone who knew the victim and had an interest in orienting the investigation toward strangers.
09’44’’ Then the investigation went on. There were other important issues ... [missing word: *facts?] that have occurred [missing words]; they remained as key aspects of ... of what is called the basis of the charge. Which, by the way, for us is not the side of the accusation; we are an office that also has the task of ascertaining facts in favor of the suspect during the investigation.
10’19’’ What struck us besides the issue of the simulation was a series of endless contradictions, of inconsistencies, in the story of the two young people, the two young people who later became suspects and then defendants. And then, in particular, the calunnia [false accusation], then, what turned out to be such, a false accusation, made by the accused against her employer, a black man, Lumumba, Patrick D. Lumumba.
10’53” Here it is, this is it. Then, the elements of which there is much talk today, the elements which consist of forensic evidence, there was also evidence. There are the fingerprints, the [foot] prints, the phone cell records. These elements are ..., especially the forensics, they arose at a later time. This means, from the beginning what oriented the investigations toward these people, and later toward the black subject, Rudy, Rudy Herman Guede, who ... [missing word?] they were, that of Herman Guede was identified through the forensic material that was found.
The two youths were, let’s say they became objects of…[missing words?] the perpetrators of the murder, based on the findings that emerged at the beginning of the investigation, namely the simulation, the contradictions found especially in Amanda’s story, especially when she tells of having spent some time in the house, having taken a shower, in spite of everything. And then the call, the behavior that they maintained, especially the girl, upon the arrival of the postal police. And then the accusation, which was obviously a false accusation against Lumumba. So all these factors then they have, they led to the formulation of these accusations against them, which were later substantiated by the results of forensic tests, scientific evidence, were made by the scientific police, that is, the scientific police, which is that at the top of the national scientific police, which operates directly under the department of Public Security of the Ministry of the Interior. We also had the local scientific police, but the one which operated was the scientific police placed under the command of Public Safety, thus at the central level.
16’34’’ CNN: Before there was the evidence from the forensic police, did you arrive at your conclusions with respect to Amanda Knox by instinct?
17’00’’ Mignini: The scientific elements were coming in, as I recall, they were coming in gradually. Now, I would not be able to tell you [missing words] ... I think, for example, that the issue of the knife, and then the sample, the genetic profile of the victim on the blade and the genetic profile of the defendant on a spot where the handle of the knife is close to the insertion of the blade, I think that was entered quite later compared to the initial investigation. But in fact the order of detention, ... which I ... which is the act by which, under which the two young people and, at the time, also Lumumba who was later released, were taken to the house of preventive detention, that is in prison. In this detention order, there was no mention of any DNA analysis [indagini genetiche], obviously.
18’08’’ There is, in the detention order and in the hearing before the Judge of the Preliminary Investigation [GIP] on the validity of the detention and then in the first months, the first weeks of investigation, that is our belief, mine and the flying squad, that the behavior of two young people and in particular, this actually is [missing words]... it was a detail that was even more obvious regarding Amanda, [we thought] was such that the two were considered involved in the crime. Thus before that, it was an initial assessment of those elements that we had at the beginning to orient the investigation toward them. Then confirmations came. And there were many elements of corroboration at the end; they were very significant, very numerous. But at the beginning we had these elements, again, in particular the issue of simulation.
20’25’’ Mignini: Well, then: so now I, to list all the evidence [elementi] that was found, it would be [missing words] on the other hand they have been mentioned in the First Instance sentence report by the Court of Assize. Mmm, then ...
20’50’’ The issue of the simulation ... The issue of the simulation, in that house just in those days, i.e. 1, 2 November, the second was a Friday, the third was a Saturday, the fourth was a Sunday, on that weekend in 2007 there was only Meredith and Amanda in the house in Via della Pergola. Since the two Italian girls were away from home: Filomena Romanelli was with her boyfriend in another part of town, she was staying there overnight, while Laura Mezzetti was in the province of Viterbo.
21’36’’ So in the house that night there was only Amanda and the victim. Amanda said she was in Sollecito’s house, which is actually a five-minute walk from the house of Meredith. Because of the distance, we must take into account the distance, you shall go to see these places, you see that the distances are very short, very limited. So who might have an interest in simulating intrusion by a stranger? Only a person who might be worried about being implicated in the crime.
There was no sign of forced entry through the front door, so this is an extremely significant element. Then we have again the inconsistencies that can be detected in the statements. There is the fact, then during the investigation the homeless man, the homeless man came in, who very precisely identified the two young people, he said he saw the two basically the night between the 1st and 2nd, a few meters from the house where the crime happened, in which it was committed, presumably at a time compatible with the crime. While instead the two young people stated they had remained all the time at Raffaele’s home. There is another detail which at the beginning of the investigation [was] something that has, let’s say, intensified the elements for us; it was the fact that Raffaele at the beginning had attempted, let’s say he attempted to state that he stayed at home while Amanda had been out and she returned to Raffaele’s house I think at about two a.m.
Then this approach has been kept by Raffaele during the hearing for validation of arrest, and afterwards was abandoned as Sollecito’s defense line became more, let’s say, supportive of Amanda. But at an earlier stage Raffaele stated this position of separation between the two.
Then other elements are given by the fact, were given by the fact that the homeless man saw them on the night of the crime in a location a few steps, a few meters away from the crime and at a time shortly before the murder occurred.
There is a statement of the neighbor lady who lived nearby, who heard a scream at a time compatible with that specified, with what we thought could be the time of death of Meredith, that is between 23.30 and midnight. And this, this lady, heard footsteps, there is a whole description that now I will not repeat because it has been explained ... rather, it was described at length in the first trial, she heard the footsteps of some people who are moving, running, along the clear ground facing the house of the crime, others were running up the stairs, almost simultaneously, running on the metal stairs which are above the garage and basically end up in via Pinturicchio. I do not know if you are familiar with the city of Perugia, but I guess not. So this scream the lady heard, a terrible scream and also another neighbor heard it, at a consistent time, I repeat, and this simultaneous running of subjects on opposite sides, from different, distant areas, basically corroborated the fact that there were multiple murderers.
26’09’’ Rudy himself, in his questioning has, while remaining vague, more or less vague with respect to Sollecito, however later during the various interviews he more or less indicated quite clearly that Amanda was present.
Then [we had] the questioning, then there were questionings that were done. I remember one of them, that of Amanda in prison which was an interrogation that has made me… you asked what elements did I use to let’s say support the charge, saying in quotes the prosecution, there was also an interrogation in prison, Amanda, in inverted commas let’s say the accusation in the presence of the defense attorneys of course, and which confirmed the profound shock in which she always fell every time she had to tell what happened that night.
And then there were the results… well, fingerprints ... footprints, the footprints on the rug of the bare foot stained with blood, an especially important detail which I see many have not talked about but which is extremely important, is the mixed stains of blood in the small bathroom close the scene of crime, those of the defendant and the victim.
31’00’’ CNN: In the room [missing words]
31’05’’ Mignini: But let’s say I may reverse the issue: how do you explain the DNA, the genetic profile of the victim on the knife found in Sollecito’s house, together with the genetic profile of the defendant located at the area of the blade [possibly meaning: handle] where force is applied, not where you cut…
31’40’’ CNN: Are you sure that one was the knife?
31’44’’ Mignini: That it was for us, I can say this: first you have to start from a premise: Amanda and Sollecito knew each other only since October 25. That is, we think, because this detail is very significant with respect to the relevance of this finding, since we [may just] think it was a relationship, usually we don’t think of the fact that actually they had known each other for a week. And thus this knife was never touched in conditions ... I tell you what we found in the investigation, I am talking about what we ascertained during the investigation - this knife was never touched by Meredith under normal circumstances. It was never brought to Meredith’s home, this is what the two Italian housemates say, and so why, [since] Meredith had never been to Sollecito’s house, why was Meredith’s genetic material found on the blade by the forensic police, and the genetic profile of the defendant on the spot of the handle that is where the hand would press not as you apply pressure from top down, but from back to the front, that is in a condition similar to that when you strike a blow, like this. So this…
And I have… during the first trial I tried to show very clearly that this knife, the witness, the inspector I think whose name was Armando Finzi, he’s the one who conducted the search at Sollecito’s and found this knife. And I asked: did you put on your gloves at the time, was it the first pair of gloves you were using, in that search that was the first pair of gloves, he went [there], he started the inspection, he had not touched anything else, he opened the… the cupboard where this knife was. I do not remember if he took away several, but he picked up this knife that was immediately - and thus with the gloves that he was wearing in that moment – it was immediately closed and sealed, was brought to the flying squad, where another police officer, the superintendent, I think, Gubbiotti, using the same technique, put it into a sealed container which was then carried to… was then analyzed. So this was, let’s say because I wanted this to be highlighted and I think the Assize Court says so, I wanted to show that there was no possibility of contamination by the police, by the flying squad, with regard to this item.
35’04’’ Also because, I would like this to be noted, from the perspective of Italian law, evidence of contamination must be given by the person who invokes it. This means: I found the genetic profile, you as defense attorney say ‘there could be contamination’, you must prove it. That is, the burden of proof is reversed: it is you, the one who invokes the contamination, the one who has to give evidence of it. And this evidence was never given and cannot, I think, it cannot be given. That is, the one who claims a fact must prove it, onus probandi incumbit ei qui dicit, non ei qui negat. [Translator’s note: This sentence was spoken in Latin and translates as “the burden of proof is on those who assert something, not on those who deny it”.]
37’01’’ Mignini: No, no, it was like that. It was ascertained as such by the scientific police.
37 ‘20’’ CNN: So your detectives went into the apartment ...
37’28’’ Mignini: No, the knife was collected, then it was brought to the scientific police, it was sent to the scientific police in Rome.
37’ 40’’ CNN: Yes but your detectives entered the apartment and they selected right this very knife…
37’49’’ Mignini: I believe samples were taken from several, that is, not only that particular knife. I think, if I’m not mistaken. I think more knives were tested; however, one of those was definitely exhibit 36, the famous exhibit 36. And on this exhibit is where [a sample] was recovered from, and here it’s the scientific police that did the evaluation of that evidence and I retain, I digress. About [case] aspects, at the end of the investigation phase I asked, given the complexity of the case, the resonance of the case, I felt it was appropriate to have a colleague join me, a deputy [public prosecutor] like myself. Let me clarify, I’m not the chief prosecutor; I am a deputy prosecutor, since I’ve been presented as the chief prosecutor, but I am not the chief prosecutor. Then I requested the assistance of a colleague, Manuela Comodi, and we divided up the tasks. She has remarkable aptitude for these aspects of a genetic nature.
And so in this regard, I don’t know if you notice it in the first instance trial, my colleague did the questioning regarding the genetic aspects. I instead handled the more generic aspects of the case and aspects of a more investigative nature. This is why I remember all the details of the investigation, because I carried out the investigations of people. But for these aspects of genetics and scientific nature, we rely on the scientific police and we retain that the scientific police acted with utmost professionalism. I can recall, for example, going to the crime scene, I was at the place, and I also had to wear overalls, shoe-covers and a kind of cap, not just once but several times, at the same time when we did the inspections, ... I remember having worn many times, for example, the shoe-covers. And I had to… also because, those who worked on the scene did have their DNA samples taken as well, so there is also my DNA [sample]. Dr. Stefanoni took DNA samples of everyone to rule out in case, there could be DNA discovered belonging to some operator who had nothing to do with this matter.
40’38’’ Therefore, I have the utmost confidence in the scientific police because the top of the scientific police in Italy, especially Dr. Stefanoni who acted with great professionalism and these findings on the biological material were carried out in cross-examination with consultants for the defense team, always. The defense consultants, as I recall, and I was present, as far as I can remember, they had no objections if not in later analysis; they had no objection to anything at all at the time. For example, when the famous bra clasp was discovered, the defense consultants were there, for Sollecito there was a consultant who afterwards was replaced, I don’t remember his name, he was quite good, and I remember that he did not make any objections. Therefore, all these findings were carried out in cross-examination and the other parties had the opportunity to challenge what the scientific police biologist was doing, the scientific police expert in forensic genetics.
42’06’’ So I think. I distinctly remember that, in the first trial, I tried to prove that the knife had been collected with the utmost correctness. And I believe that afterwards the same thing happened in the scientific police laboratory when it was analyzed.
44’16’’ CNN: I still have trouble understanding how you can have a crime so horrendous and so bloody without two of the suspects leaving any trace.
44’30’’ Mignini: Look I should then add, it must be also said, at the time. In the bathroom of the two foreign girls, that is Meredith and Amanda, which is attached, next to the room of the murder, blood material was discovered of Amanda and Meredith, mixed. Why is this material important? It is important because in her own account told, in her own deposition Amanda makes in, I think, in early June of 2009, during the first instance trial, she says that when she left the house on the afternoon of November 1st, those spots were not there. She says so herself. So she returns in the morning, says she went back in the morning and sees those spots of blood. Those spots of blood are mixed Amanda and victim.
Also, in the small bathroom, there is a blood stained footprint, which the scientific police attributed to Raffaele, on the bath mat next to the murder room. On the corridor leading to the murder room, [and] leading to Amanda’s room, there are footprints, I’m not sure now, there are even in Amanda’s room, I think, there are footprints that were attributed to the two youngsters by the scientific police, of feet stained in blood. And, by elements, there is also a print of shoe and that one, was inside the murder room. Elements there are, that is, how to explain the presence of these elements if the two youngsters were not involved in the murder, [and] stayed at home? And another detail: it is a crime, this was established at the time by the Supreme Court, then we can no longer put into question at this point, it is a crime committed by several persons. I have, during the first instance trial, I heard this line of approach, and I also opposed this approach, which extended to holding that Rudy was the only one responsible.
The “only one responsible” is not one person, but [transcription error] they are several persons and Rudy is among them. This is now procedurally beyond dispute.
48’56’’ Mignini: The…yes. Well, now: Laura Mazzetti, that is the Italian girl from Viterbo, [said] that it was a scratch, however, she remembers having seen on Amanda’s neck, she told this account and afterwards was also heard [as a person informed], it’s sort of a scratch just few days later, I think it was three or four days, she remembers seeing this scratch on Amanda’s neck that had been also seen, I think, by one of the boys from the Marches region. And in one of the photos taken during the house search by police, I think it shows something. Nevertheless, Laura Mazzetti indicates the presence of a scratch or something like a scratch. That is, she remembers seeing that Amanda had this little injury to the neck.
50’20’’ CNN: None of your investigators noticed it?
50’25’’ Mignini: The investigators did not notice it, because at the time, Amanda kept herself covered, she was, as described by the shopkeeper Quintavalle, covered up. However, Laura Mazzetti saw it and it was also seen, I think if I’m not mistaken or was said, by the young guy from the Marches who was living downstairs.
This girl saw it [the scratch/mark] and she stated this later in the courtroom. Moreover there is even a photo.
51’44’’ CNN: Knox was in contact with the police for several days after the murder. She was interrogated. Was she always wearing something that covered her neck?
52’00’’ Mignini: I think so, to be fair, this was a mark that it was not very visible. Laura Mazzetti said she saw it well. Keep in mind also that we did not focus on it automatically, because it was not like a visually striking mark. She was questioned like Raffaele Sollecito and like all the people who were more or less, that had to be questioned in those days, after the murder, a long series of people were questioned, among which the [girl] friends of Meredith, the English girls she was with the evening of Nov 1 and the night before Oct 31. And, among these people who had been questioned, also several times, Amanda and Sollecito were questioned, Amanda in particular was questioned several times: the evening of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and then on the evening of 5th and the morning, or early hours of the 6th. But look, what I wanted that [??], just for the purposes of explanation, that under Italian law, we must take into account the totality of the findings.
Therefore there is the scientific evidence, there are statements made by people, examination of witnesses, there is the formal interrogation, there’s the conduct of the accused. All of these elements, it is not only the genetic aspect that comes into consideration. The genetic aspect [is], together with many others, must be altogether; it is a whole spectrum of various findings, which should converge towards an affirmation of a reality that is undisputable. This is how it should be, this is important from a judicial point of view. So it is not that the proof consists of the genetic evidence; it is not like that. There are items of proof from witnesses, there is the fact that there couldn’t be only one perpetrator, and this is now indisputable, and one of the positions of the defense of the two suspects always tended to say there was only one murderer who committed the deed, who climbed through in that totally absurd way, [that’s] not credible.
56’10’’ CNN: About Amanda’s interrogation, on the fifth day, what was it is that triggered you, made you begin to feel suspicious, and led you to conduct a more aggressive interrogation?
56’26’’ Mignini: I see you don’t… so, I’ll repeat to you what happened. On the evening of November 5th, the police were going to question Sollecito, and on the evening of the 5th, as I was saying before, the attitude of Sollecito at the beginning was an attitude of, let’s say, different than the one he would assume later, meaning a defense line supportive with Amanda’s; at that moment, he had a different position. That is, on the evening of Nov 5th. Sollecito made a statement saying “I was at home, Amanda wasn’t”. Amanda at that time had followed; she had accompanied Sollecito to the police station and she waited outside [of the room]. As the police heard this version of Sollecito’s, who basically, Sollecito ... with that statement, also this approach by him in practice more or less had become part of the process too, as Sollecito made this statement, the police became suspicious.
That is: why did Sollecito tell us this, and why is he now telling us that Amanda was not home with him? So then they called Amanda, and Amanda was heard by the police as a person not under investigation, thus with no defense attorney, because the person… the witness, the person informed of the facts during the investigation – is not called a witness, he is called a person informed of the facts - she was heard by the police who pointed out to her, they confronted her with this question: why is Raffaele saying something else? Now you say you were with him and Raffaele says you were not there, that he was at home and you were not there? This is the point.
58’44’’ So she did, she was heard in a way, let’s say for long enough, I cannot remember for how long, in the earliest morning hours of November 6, 2007. I was not there when Amanda was interviewed by the police. I was, perhaps I was coming, because I had been called by the director of the flying squad that night. I do not remember what time I arrived at the flying squad, but I think that… I think I got there, maybe I arrived when Amanda’s questioning had already started. But the flying squad is pretty big; I was not in the room where Amanda was being questioned, but rather in the office of the director of the flying squad. We were talking about the investigation and were trying to plan the investigation for the coming days. So now, at some point, they call me, if I remember correctly, they inform me that Amanda had given the name of Lumumba, she had basically confessed that she was at the crime scene in the company of, with Lumumba, whom she had let into the house, that is it. Now I go on, I wanted to explain how I operate. So it’s not me, I did not do the questioning.
[Translator’s note: the transcript in Italian contains these words in English at this point: Starts with ****’* translation. This notation suggests that there is either a second journalist, who does not directly understand the answers, or that **** is using a translator, human or automatic. **** is used in the place of the individual’s name, which elsewhere is given as CNN. This is the only change that has been made to the transcript as delivered.]
Archived in Reporting on the case, Poor reporting, Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, Preston & Spetzi, The wider contexts
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Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Andrea Vogt Obtains New Rome Embassy Cables From State, Still Showing Zero Concern About Knox
Posted by True North
The State Department released seven cables a year ago. Click above for details of the further release.
They were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. These now provide a complete overview. The new cables are as bland and routine and unconcerned about Amanda Knox as ever.
There was no smoking gun among them, as the Knox PR campaign had so very much hoped for. The State Department will never move on this case based on how Italy handled it.
Remarkably, the increasingly bitter loser “Bruce Fisher” actually draws attention to the Knox PR campaign’s big disappointing loss with these bland new cables showing Italy has handled the case just fine in the Embassy’s eyes.
The poster of the first seven cables, History Buff, had hoped they would show the Rome Embassy was really concerned about Amanda Knox’s trial and sentence. No such luck. He seems to have hidden those cables now.
We still have them here
Archived in Officially involved, Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, The wider contexts, American context, Amanda Knox
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Monday, May 16, 2011
Open Letter To CNN Head Ken Jautz: Reports As Terrible As Drew Griffin’s Risk Destroying CNN
Posted by James Raper
Attention Of Mr Ken Jautz
Executive Vice President Of Time Warner Inc For CNN
Dear Mr Jautz:
Concerning Drew Griffin’s CNN report on Amanda Knox viewable or downloadable here with a transcript here.
As a practicing lawyer with a deep knowledge of the case, I watched your report two sundays ago (Murder Abroad – The Amanda Knox Story) with a growing sense of disbelief.
- I know that CNN is these days seriously struggling and losing viewers in droves, and that you have been brought in by Time Warner to try to turn it around.
- I also know that CNN’s extensive past coverage of the case has been unfailingly appalling, and consistently the most biased and misleading of any TV network in the United States.
So when I watched the report I really expected that CNN might have very sensibly turned over a new leaf. Instead, Drew Griffin presented what seems to me to have been the most unprofessional report on the case ever done.
It was as if the expensive and relentless Knox PR campaign had phoned in the entire script, and as if Drew Griffin’s sole role was to parrot it.
If it had been an openly avowed and paid-for public relations exercise on behalf of the Knox/Mellas camapign, it might have won a few points. But the report was promoted as a new investigation. That was a fundamental misdirection. It was in fact the most extraordinarily biased and one-sided presentation that I and I expect many others have encountered.
There were so may errors, omissions, sneers and blatantly misleading suggestions - all leading to a complete lack of balance - that no viewer, other than those who would already be knowledgeable about the case, had a hope of being able to form an impartial and informed view of the case.
One could write a book about the omissions made by the programme, but I will enumerate just some of these, and the errors and blatantly misleading suggestions, as I go through the repprt here below.
Quick summary of the report
First, here is the thrust of the Griffin report. Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito are the victims of a rush to judgement by an obsessive prosecutor, some circumstantial evidence, a discredited star witness, wrong media reports, and limited scientific evidence that is inconclusive and unreliable.
Oh and there was some nasty behaviour, inducing a false confession, by the police towards Amanda which mirrored the nasty behaviour that had terrified the novelist Doug Preston whilst he was in Italy preparing for his book “the Monster of Florence”.
And most, if not all, of this was the fault of the Public Prosecutor, Mignini. The foregoing is also the basic thrust of the Amanda Knox PR campaign which has been repeated over and over again elsewhere.
There were a mere poor fleeting cursory images of the real victim, Meredith Kercher, and maybe three or four dozen highly manipulative images of Knox and her siblings (see several here) going back to when they were tots.
Apart from Dr Hampikian of the Idaho Innocence Project, Doug Preston, and Mignini, and a cameo non-contentious appearance from Meredith’s lawyer, all of the contributors were family or close family friends. None of the defence lawyers partook, perhaps expecting the embarrassing worst, which was duly delivered.
Meredith’s family and friends were not even mentioned, let alone interviewed by Drew Griffin.
Reactions of the prosecutor of the case
CNN interviewed many, with almost endless montages of a young Knox, to attempt to undermine the case.
Although there are dozens of lawyers and experts and reporters that could explain why in the first round Knox and Sollecito were unanimously found guilty, Griffin unprofessionally chose to interview only ONE for that side of the case. He was Mr Giuliano Mignini, one of the two prosecutors on the case, who speaks no English and was thus easy for Griffin to condescend to and seriously mischaracterize. (A full transcript of that interview, translated, will be our next post; be prepared for surprises Drew Griffin clearly wanted to hide.)
I thought that Mr Mignini dealt with Drew Griffin’s unbelieving and cynical stare and his loaded and intentionally unsettling questions ( to which I shall later refer) quite well in the circumstances, since it was obvious right from the start that the unprofessional Drew Griffin was setting him up. At least he dealt with the situation gracefully, and at times even with a little amusement.
As a taster, the first question thrown at him was “Is Amanda Knox evil?” The prosecutor shifted in his seat, thought about this philosophical question for a bit, and then wisely decided to ignore it.
(1) The most vital document on the case of all, a 427 page judgment on Knox and Sollecito known as the Massei Report, which can be viewed via the link at the top here, was not mentioned at all. It seems that neither Drew Griffin nor any of the programme’s producers have ever cast an eye over this document. If they have, they have blithely ignored it.
The Report contains a detailed resume of the evidence presented at Amanda’s trial and the jurors’ evaluation of it. It does not cover all the evidence that was heard by the court, which was huge, but certainly that sufficient to warrant the verdicts that were handed down.
There are also at least two other vital documents, also ignored, which all set the stage for the present mandatory appeal. They are the Micheli report on Rudy Guede’s judgment, and a recent Supreme Court report endorsing that report and accepting that there were THREE perpetrators of the crime.
(2) There was a photograph of the cottage. In fact, in all there were seven still shots of the cottage, and two showings of a film of the cottage, taken from a vehicle approaching along the road outside from right to left, from east to west.
All had one glaring omission in common.
None showed the west side of the cottage with Filomena’s bedroom window through which Rudy Guede is supposed to have broken in. That this was blatantly intentional was demonstrated by the editing of the film which cut out just as the side of the cottage with the window was coming in to view.
(3) The staging of the break in was a crucial piece of evidence against Amanda Knox dealt with at some considerable length in the Massei Report. Quite apart from that, it is evident from a simple inspection that the climb up to the window would have been extremely difficult and dangerous for even an athletic burglar and indeed there is much evidence that this was not attempted (Massei).
It would have been far simpler for Rudy Guede, a frequent visitor to the boy’s flat on the lower floor of the cottage, to have broken into the girls’ flat via the balcony (as seen in the still shots) on the other side of the cottage. He could have done that unseen and unheard in well under one minute.
The glass window was not shattered by a rock thrown from the outside, because the clothing tossed inside the bedroom had glass on top of it, which in itself is hard evidence that the break-in was staged. That such a break-in was highly improbable was demonstrated by an attempt by the defence to reconstruct the climb up to the windowt that failed miserably.
The only person who could have had an interest in staging a burglary would be one of the occupants of the flat. This is a sore point for Amanda’s supporters, amongst whom I must now assume are Drew Griffin and the producers of Murder Abroad.
(4) It was good to hear from Dr Hampikian that the “police did a good job in processing the crime scene and collecting evidence”. Unlikely that on the basis of this observation he will be making any submissioms to the two independent DNA experts appointed by the court to review the DNA evidence concerning the knife and the bra clasp. Particularly as his other observations were quite ludicrous or fell outside his field of expertise.
Consider this: “They didn’t like the way Amanda behaved, whatever that means, and so they wanted to investigate her, and Raffaele and her boss. When the DNA is finally processed it is not any of their suspects. And so what do you do? What would you do? [laughing] You let them go.”
Can he, you, or anyone else, think of a police force anywhere in the world which would want to release a suspect in circumstances where a staged burglary, inappropriate behaviour and language pointing to an insider’s knowledge as to the circumstances and manner of the victim’s death, an alibi that no longer held up, and the framing of an innocent man for murder, clearly points to her involvement.
In addition there was early evidence of Amanda’s blood in the bathroom next to the Meredith’s bedroom, as a drop on the sink faucet and mixed with Meredith’s blood elsewhere. Contrary to Dr Hampikian’s contention (and he is not a lawyer) there was sufficient evidence to charge or at least prefer a holding charge pending further investigation. This happens frequently in the USA and UK. In addition Dr Stefanoni was aware that there was further evidence to be collected from the crime scene.
In murder cases suspects are very rarely released on bail for fear that they may abscond. Particularly a suspect who is not resident in the country.
A question for Dr Hampikian. How would you like it if a suspect in the murder of your daughter was granted police bail and skipped the country to return home and evade justice? Make no mistake about it. That is what would have happened.
(5) The DNA evidence was not finally processed, as Dr Hampikian knows, until after the final DNA evidence was collected on the 18th December, weeks after Amanda’s arrest. That was when the bra clasp was collected together with samples from traces identified by luminol. That delay was entirely attributable to the necessity of having to arrange for the defence lawyers and experts to be present to collect further samples, and not incompetence on the part of police or prosecution.
“Forensic expert Greg Hampikian says finding DNA (Amanda’s and Meredith’s) but no blood makes it highly unlikely that the knife was used in a bloody murder. He also says it is surprising that the prosecutor was even allowed to admit such a small unexplainable sample (Meredith’s on the blade) as evidence.” “Would this have made it into a US court? I don’t think it would have made it into a US lab report”.
Not make it into a lab report? Is he trying to be funny?
(6) Well there is the evidence of the police that the knife smelt heavily of bleach which, with its particular size and the fact that it looked so clean, was what made them interested in it. How many people wipe down an item of kitchen cutlery with bleach? I do not know but in my lifetime I have never known anybody do this. Washing up liquid works just fine for me.
Dr Hampikian is of course referring to the Low Copy Number (cell count) DNA reading but the fact is that the graph produced by the DNA electropherogram was a clear match for Meredith’s DNA profile.
Dr Hampikian might be interested to know that LCN DNA is admissible in evidence in at least one jurisdiction in the USA and there is growing support for it with the advances in DNA forensics. The majority of the experts who testified at the trial said that it was clearly Meredith’s DNA.
(7) Furthermore Raffaele explained the existence of the sample by saying that he had accidently pricked Meredith with the knife whilst cooking at his flat. Untrue. Amanda herself testified that Meredith had never been to Raffaele’s flat, and there was no evidence that she had. Nor was there any evidence or suggestion that, prior to the murder, the knife had been to the girl’s cottage.This evidence would in most courts make the DNA evidence admissible.
(8) Dr Hampikian again, on the bra clasp (with Raffaele’s DNA on it) – “If that’s all there is it’s a very weak piece of evidence”. “And it’s inconsistent with every other piece of evidence in the case”.
Well, there is the bloody footprint on the bathroom mat which the trial court accepted as being consistent with Raffaele’s footprint rather than Rudy Guede or, for that matter, Amanda. As to the DNA on the bra clasp this was, in forensic terms, an abundant amount, and no one, but no-one, has disputed that this was Raffaele’s DNA.
Perhaps Dr Hampikian can explain how Sollecito’s DNA comes to be there considering that his DNA was not found anywhere else in the flat (other than on a cigarette stub in the kitchen and on Meredith’s door handle) in a quantity even close to the amount found on the bra clasp?
He was clearly advancing the lone wolf theory espoused by Amanda knox supporters given that Guede’s DNA was found in Meredith’s room and on her person. Funny how that DNA evidence is accepted by them but the bra clasp DNA is not. As a forensic biologist perhaps he might also want to comment on the fact that –
(9) There was not one single trace of evidence, DNA, fingerprint, footprint or otherwise, relating to Guede found on the window sill, window, glass, or any item located in, or anywhere else in, Filomena’s room. And yet a mixed sample of Amanda’s and Meredith’s DNA was found on the floor there. Explain that!
Without question Dr Hampikian’s soundbite contributions to the program were scientifically very inept for someone in his position, but I am sure that he knew what he was doing.
- DG: Amanda was “confronted (by the police) with evidence of criminal activity which the police didn’t have.”
Amanda was questioned by the police as a witness in the immediate aftermath of the discovery of the murder along with others such as her flatmates Filomena and Laura, and Raffaele and three of Meredith’s English girlfriends. These were not interrogations. The questioning of Amanda for 52 hours (suggesting intensive interrogation) as mentioned by her father at the beginning is an exaggeration if not a fabrication.
Amanda was questioned (interrogated, if you like) at the police station on the 5th November from around 11.30pm to 1.45 am when the questioning stopped because she had become a formal suspect due to her disclosure that she had been at the cottage when Meredith was being murdered by Patrick Lumumba. She was not questioned again other than in court.
A question for Drew Griffin. “During the aforesaid period what evidence was she presented with that the police did not already have?” I, for one, do not know what he is talking about.
- DG: “The case against Amanda Knox appears to be falling apart.”
Really? News to me.
- DG: “The tabloid press is beginning to tell a different story.”
Well, they are reporting (and sensationalising in some cases) developments (such as they are) in the appeal. But a different story? Again news to me.
- DG: “The case against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito seems to be hanging on two very small pieces of DNA evidence.”
Actually Drew, that’s what you would like people to think. It would be far more accurate to say that it is the validity of any defence that is hanging on this evidence, and that what crumbs they may be thrown as a result of the review will not really damage that evidence nor alter the soundness of the convictions.
There is plenty of other evidence, all omitted in this biased documentary.
(11) Drew Griffin next remarks: “Curatolo’s evidence was laughable”.
Really? In what way? He seems to have got the date and times and identifications right. Explain that. In fact whatever the appeal court now makes of his testimony there was nothing laughable about his evidence. He was indeed confused in parts but very clear that he saw Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito arguing together in Grimana Square the night before the police and forensic teams arrived in the square and at the cottage.
The confusion that arose was that he introduced elements of Halloween (the night before that) including a costume he saw in his recollection of the said night. However he was also certain that it was not raining when he saw the two together. It did not rain on the night of the 1st November whereas it did on the night of the 31st October.
- DG – “He revealed that he was under investigation by Mignini’s office at the exact moment he became his star witness.”
I sensed several slurs coming up and I was not wrong.
- DG – “Did he get any favours?
Like what? The promise of a reduction in sentence? It looks like he didn’t.
- DG – “So you believe the testimony of a homeless heroin dealer?”
Yes, for the reasons given. Drew, it does not matter what Mignini really believed or believes now. Testimony is heard and evaluated by the court not by prosecutors. Mignini is not heading the prosecution team on the appeal and he certainly has no influence otherwise on judges and jurors anyway.
(12) Another fatuous claim. “But almost immediately after the arrests Mignini had a problem. The third suspect, Patrick Lumumba had an airtight alibi. He was in his crowded bar that night. He could not have been involved.”
Actually the bar was not so crowded. Pretty empty really. Patrick was fortunate that of the few customers who turned up one was a Swiss professor who travelled all the way back from Zurich to give police Lumumba’s airtight alibi. But for that Lumumba might have stayed in the frame-up longer thanks to Amanda. She did not ever admit to the police that she had lied about him.
(13) Another fatuous claim. “Knox stated that she was denied a translator when referring to her interrogation/arrest.”
Knox testified on the stand in June 2009 that she DID have a translator at that time, by the name of Anna Donnino.
(14) We then had the introduction of Doug Preston, co-author of “The Monster of Florence” (another inadvertent plug – sorry) whose book is in the planning stage for a movie with a star role for this financial donor to The Committee to Protect Journalists. Preston is to be played by George Clooney in the movie.
I do not intend to dwell on this section. It is irrelevant to the Murder of Meredith Kercher and to do so would be to give this pompous individual more of the self publicity he craves It’s sole purpose was to portray the Perugia police and in particular Mignini as arch villains. It might occur to many that Doug Preston has a financial interest in doing this.
We were treated to the following gems –
“Police interrogated people brutally and extracted suspect confessions from them” (in the Monster of Florence case – sorry, another plug)
“I was terrified. I thought these people have the power to put me in prison for the rest of my life.”
Mr Preston obviously does not like having to answer questions or to have to account for himself. Well nobody does really but we are in wimp territory with Preston.
George Clooney could not possibly play such a wimp. Instead the scene in the movie will have to be “sexed up” with Mignini being portrayed as overbearing, obsessive, corrupt and demented.
Hardly the picture he presented in his interview - that is, the two hour long interview that was not shown.
It is not accurate to say the Preston has never returned to Italy as a result of his brush with Mignini. He has been back with Dateline NBC to tape a show on the Monster of Florence (4th and last plug!).
The following are some of the other facts omitted - all pursuant to testimony at the trial or verifiable from other easily obtainable sources. Take note first that there were extensive investigations by experts of cellphone and computer activity and their findings were admitted as evidence. Also it may be helpful to know that Meredith Kercher had two mobile phones, an Italian phone given to her by Filomena and her own UK phone.
These were stolen by her killers and discarded elsewhere. However they were found and handed in to the Postal Police who ascertained that the Italian phone was registered to Filomena and consequently two officers were dispatched to the cottage where they found Amanda and Raffaele.
(15) the fact that Amanda claimed that she returned to the cottage on her own at 10.30 am before the discovery of Meredith’s body to have a shower and collect a mop to clear up a spill of water at Raffaele’s flat the night before– which Massei found unlikely given that by her own testimony she had arranged with Raffaele to visit Gubbio that day and had testified that she had already had a shower at Raffaele’s the evening before; and furthermore that Raffaele employed a cleaner who kept a mop and cleaning equipment at his apartment block.
(16) the fact that cell phone records show that Amanda called Filomena at 12.08 pm (on the 2nd November) to report the front door being open, blood on the bathroom mat and Meredith’s door being locked. She was at Raffaele’s flat at the time. Filomena tells her to try Meredith’s phones. Records corroborate that Amanda did call each of Meredith’s phones in turn,
But these two calls lasted just 3 seconds and 4 seconds respectively. Does this sound like a genuine attempt to get hold of Meredith? One also has to wonder why she did not attempt to call Meredith’s phones again once she and Raffaele had arrived together at the cottage when she might have assumed that they would be heard ringing in Meredith’s bedroom.
(17) the fact that Amanda and Raffaele claimed that Raffaele had called the carabinieri to report a burglary before the postal police arrived. This 112 call was later discovered as timed at 12.51 pm after the arrival of the postal police.
(18) the fact that Amanda told the postal police that Meredith always locked her bedroom door even when she went to the bathroom. This was flatly contradicted by Filomena who said that the only occasion when Meredith had ever locked her door was when she returned to visit her mother in England.
(19) the fact that when the postal police looked into Filomena’s bedroom Raffaele told them that nothing had been stolen. That was true - but why had he been so certain?
(20) the fact that Amanda telephoned her mother from the cottage at 12.47 pm (around 4 am in the morning Seattle time), before the discovery of the body. Why did Amanda wake her mother up in the middle of the night? Edda was subsequently puzzled as to why Amanda was unable to remember this call when, as she put it “Nothing had really happened”.
Amanda persisted even with her parents in denying the existence of the call, but then eventually said that she could not remember it.
Edda says that Amanda mentioned in the call that there appeared to have been someone in the cottage, and that she told Amanda to call the police. Amanda did not mention, according to Edda, that the postal police were already there.
(21) the fact that in her 2,900 word e-mail home of the 4th November she professes to have been in a panic about Meredith’s locked door and her whereabouts (calling out her name, banging on her bedroom door, and running out on to the balcony and leaning over the rail and trying to look through Meredith’s bedroom window), but according to the witnesses exhibited no particular concern about Meredith when the postal police arrived, nor raised any concerns with them, rather quite the opposite, before the discovery of Meredith’s body.
(22) the fact that in the same e-mail she says that during her 10.30 am visit to the cottage she noticed the blood “smeared” on the sink faucet, drops in the sink and the bloody foot print on the bathmat. “Ew! but nothing to worry about” she says. She attributes the blood to perhaps Meredith having menstrual issues.Does that really make sense? A footprint in menstrual blood? Meredith? who was always so clean and tidy and who had admonished Amanda for her uncleanliness in the bathroom.
(23) the fact that she claims in the e-mail that Raffaelle tried to force Meredith’s door before the arrival of the postal police and failed, despite the fact that one of the other witnesses forced it quite easily.
(24) the fact that (if Amanda’s account of returning to the cottage at 10.30 am is to be believed) notwithstanding blood in the bathroom (which by Amanda’s own admission was not there when she left the cottage the day before), the front door being open, Meredith’s bedroom door being locked (when it was usual for it to be unlocked),and unflushed feces in the large bathroom toilet (which,she says, made her feel uncomfortable about the situation), Amanda did not think of attempting to contact Meredith by phone (on the assumption that she had gone out that morning) nor take a decision to notify anyone other than Raffaele for up to an hour and a half, until a 12.07 call to Meredith and the 12.08 phone call to Filomena. Does this seem credible?
(25) the fact that the 12.07 call was to Meredith’s UK phone and lasted 16 seconds but oddly she does not mention this call to Filomena seconds later. Nor, before calling Filomena, does she try Meredith’s italian phone. The italian phone was, Amanda knew, the phone Meredith used to make and receive local calls. Massei infers that there was no need to try Meredith’s italian phone because Amanda knew that both phones had been disposed of together. This explains why the first call (immediately prior to calling Filomena) was 16 seconds long (to check whether or not both phones had been found), and why the subsequent two calls (after the call to Filomena) were both very short.
(26) the fact that Filomena was worried enough to call Amanda twice at 12.12 (36 seconds) and at 12.20 (65 seconds) without Amanda picking up the calls. Amanda did pick up the final call at 12.34. Why did she not answer the first two calls?
(27) the fact that Amanda told Meredith’s English friends at the police station details of the body and wounds, although but for a foot it was covered by a quilt and despite her not being in line of sight when the body was discovered, and not having been told any of these details by anyone afterwards.
(28) the fact that when 3 days after the murder Amanda, Filomena and Laura were requested by the police to accompany them to the cottage to check out some details, Amanda, on being shown a drawer of knives in the kitchen, appeared to have had a psychotic incident, putting her hands over her ears and trembling.
(29) the fact that Raffaelle told a British Sunday newspaper in an exclusive interview that on the night of the murder he was at a party with Amanda and not at his flat. He also said that Amanda had gone back to her own flat the next day at midday, and not at 10.30am as she claimed.
(30) the fact that having told the police that she had been with Raffaele all night on the 1st November, sleeping with him until 10.00 am the next morning, Raffaele then proceeded to destroy this alibi on the evening of the 5th November by telling the police that on that night Amanda had gone out and had not returned to his flat until 1 am.
(31) the fact that Raffaele’s own alibi was not corroborated by computer evidence. He claimed to have spent the night indoors, using his computer until late and then going to sleep. In fact all human interaction with the computer ceased at around 9.15 pm and the computer was not re-activated by him until 5.32 am the next morning when it was used for half an hour for music to be played.
(32) the fact that both Amanda’s and Raffaele’s mobiles were switched off sometime shortly after 8.42 pm and were not switched back on again until after 5.32am in the case of Raffaele who activated a text message his father had sent him late the previous night.
(33) the fact that Raffaele’s father had telephoned Raffaele at 8.42 pm and had testified that during the conversation his son told him that while he was washing the dishes he had noticed a leak of water on the floor. This times the dinner Amanda and Raffaele had together as being prior to this whereas Amanda had claimed first that dinner was a liitle after 9.15 pm and then again that it was quite late, perhaps 11 pm (close to the time that Meredith died).
(34) the fact that Amanda’s claim that she slept in until 10 am does not fit easily with the fact that Raffaele was playing music on his computer from 5.32 am nor with the evidence of Mr Quintaville, the food store owner, who says he saw Amanda when he was opening up his store at 7.45 am.
(35) the fact that Amanda and Raffaele were both using drugs. There were multiple corroborating statements to that effect.
(36) the fact that Amanda and Raffaele were constantly together – in a symbiotic relationship as Massei put it.
(37) the fact that Raffaele was a knife aficionado in the habit of carrying a pocket penknife. Indeed he was carrying one on him when he was interviewed at the police station on the 5th November.
(38) the fact that Raffaele watched animal porn videos and this so concerned his university that his subsequent behaviour was monitored.
(39) the fact that Raffaele posted a picture of himself on Facebook dressed up as a mummy carrying a butchers’ chopper.
(40) the fact that Amanda had also written a bizarre short story about the drugging and raping of a young girl which she had posted on her web page.
(41) the fact that Amanda and Raffaele have both suggested that the other might have committed the crime.
(42) the fact that when Rudy Guede was arrested Raffaele did not celebrate his pending imminent release but wrote in his diary that he worried that this man, whom he says he had never met, “might make up strange things about me”.
(43) the fact that there are two instances of Amanda’s DNA mixed with Meredith’s identified by luminol (a powerful presumptive test for blood); in the corridor and in Filomena’s bedroom. The luminol also identified three footprints, one in Amanda’s bedroom and two in the corridor which tested positive for Meredith’s DNA, the footprints being comparable to the shape and size of Amanda’s right foot.
(44) the fact (as mentioned by me before but not in your programme) that Amanda’s blood was found in the bathroom. Amanda’s blood was on the washbasin faucet, and the mixed blood of Amanda and Meredith was in the washbasin, the bidet, and on the cottonbud box.
(45) the fact that not only was Raffaele’s DNA found on the bra clasp but that in the electropherogram chart there were ten out of sixteen loci having peaks corresponding to Amanda’s profile. Though this is not as decisive as the DNA result for Raffaele, it does give rise to the hypothesis that Amanda touched the bra clasp as well. Amanda’s defence team may consider themselves fortunate that the bra clasp can not be re-tested.
(46) the fact that a shoeprint on Meredith’s pillow was estimated in the area of size 37, or 38. Amanda’s shoe size, not the other two.
(47) the fact that (according to Massei) the nature of the wounds and injuries sustained by Meredith ( who was a fit girl and who had trained in karate) meant that more than one attacker had to be present to inflict those ( knife wounds, strangulation, bruising to her lips and inner thighs) and to subdue her and attempt sexual intercourse.
(48) the fact that Massei also concluded from the wounds that there were at least two different knives used and that exhibit 36 (the knife on which Amanda’s and Meredith’s DNA was found) was compatible with the wound that ultimately caused her death through blood loss and asphyxiation.
(49) the fact that there were blood spots (from coughing up blood as a result of the fatal knife wound to the throat) on Meredith’s chest and bra. This and other evidence shows that her body was moved, and her bra and some other clothing removed after she had died or at least as she lay dying.This suggests that the evidence of a sex attack is, in part at least, staged.
(50) the fact that there was a footprint (Raffaele’s) in Meredith’s blood on the bathmat but none leading from Meredith’s room to the bathroom. Highly suggestive, if not proof, that there had been a clean up operation.
(51) the fact that the discovery of Amanda’s arced reading lamp in an upright position on Meredith’s bedroom floor (as if for close inspection) is also highly suggestive of a staging or clean up operation.
(52) the fact that Meredith’s stolen mobile phones were found in a garden within a few hundred yards of Guede’s and Raffaele’s apartments. The apartments are within 30 seconds walking distance of each other, much closer to each other than either are to the girl’s cottage.
(53) the fact that the other two girl occupants with keys to the flat had rock solid alibis whereas Amanda had not.
(54) the fact that according to witnesses the relationship between Meredith and Amanda had started out well enough but had started to deteriorate, be it over petty things.
(55) the fact that the placing of a duvet over Meredith’s corpse is indicative of some relationship between Meredith and her killer.
Most of the foregoing may be circumstantial evidence, but taken together it is powerful circumstantial evidence, more than enough to secure a conviction in any court in the USA.
Who would have the motive to stage a break in, stage further evidence of sexual assault for an invesigator’s benefit, carry out a partial clean up, and lock the victim’s bedroom door?
Curatolo’s evidence that he saw Amanda and Raffaele in Grimana Square, a few metres away from the cottage, having what appeared to be a heated argument, at various times between 9.30pm and 11.pm, is helpful to the prosecution case but by no means essential.
All the emphasis on the admittedly unhelpful and salacious tabloid newspaper reporting is irrelevant. It is a distraction.
In addition Rudy Guede, in his evidence, did indeed implicate Amanda Knox (starting well before the Italian police got their hands on him), and all the evidence from his fast track trial and appeals is now part of the evidence to be considered in the current appeal.
I think that the Italian Justice system would resent the insinuation in the programme that Guede received a reduced sentence because he was co-operative with the police and prosecution in implicating Amanda.
It should be noted that if Mignini, in his alleged rush to judgement, got things seriously wrong, then he would have had to manipulate the evidence of the prosecution witnesses to fit his erroneous hypothesis. A grand conspiracy! - a laughable hypothesis. The following is a list of such witnesses. It is indicative, not exhaustive.
Filomena Romanelli, Marco Zarelli, Paola Grande, Laura Mezetti, Luca Altieri, Inspector Battistelli (Postal Police), Monica Napoleoni (Head of Perugia Murder Squad), Sophie Purton, Robyn Butterworth, Amy Frost, Jovana Popovic, Antonio Curatolo, Marco Quintavalle, Nara Capezzali, Antonella Monacchia, Inspector Finzi, Superintendent Gubbiotti, Commissioner Bartolozzi, Marco Trotta, Claudio Trifici, Gregory Mirco, Dr Luca Lalli, Chief Inspector Latella, Dr Profazio, Dr Patrizia Stefanoni (Police Forensic Service in Rome and prosecution DNA expert), and Dr Torricelli (DNA expert for the Kercher family).
This particular murder case is unusual not just in the interest it has generated worldwide but also to the extent to which it has been discussed and argued over on the internet and in the manner in which on occasions it has been presented (rather than reported on) in the media. It is also unusual that the family of one of the accused has not only taken part in such activity but has hired a public relations firm to help bring this about.
There have been a number of books already but I predict that in future a number of these, and the media generally, will also deal with these additional features of the case in some detail.
Sadly for CNN I expect that “Murder Abroad – The Amanda Knox Story” will often be quoted and held up as an example of how bad things got.
I dare say you are free to broadcast what you like and perhaps Drew Griffin’s presentation wrought an overpowering sense of injustice in viewers and improved ratings.
With hindsight, however, I am sure that CNN will regret this shoddy little “documentary”.
It would be nice to think, when Amanda’s conviction is upheld, that CNN will broadcast a detailed corrective documentary. I look forward to hearing from you.
c/o True Justice for Meredith Kercher
Archived in Reporting on the case, Poor reporting, Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, Preston & Spetzi, The wider contexts
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Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Open Letter #2 To Joel Simon Of CPJ: Not Even One Anti-Mignini Accusation Withstands Careful Testing
Posted by Kermit
Attn. Mr. Joel Simon
Executive Director, Committee to Protect Journalists
330 7th Avenue, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10001
Dear Mr. Simon,
More on your potentially libelous open letter, sent unchecked to 21 world leaders, and your first attempt at a response.
As previously with Open Letter #1 of April 26, this will have to occupy several posts, because the evidence against your unsubstantiated or misleading accusations against Umbrian Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini is so voluminous.
[Above: Joel Simon of the Committee to Protect Journalists is stepping into the same slippery terrain of unsubstantiated accusations against Mr. Mignini as Friends of Amanda activists such as Judge Michael Heavey have done in the past, and which Amanda Knox’s lawyers have had to disassociate themselves from. Is this just a procedural slip-up by Mr. Simon which he will quickly seek to correct, or is he consciously introducing himself and his organisation as a proxy player in a potential attempt to pervert the course of justice?]
As a public notice, your own open letter definitely has a potential impact on his reputation and career in the professional realm, and on his good name and honour as a person. No demonstrative proof was offered for those accusations. My own skepticism concerning the soundness of your accusatory text was underlined by what seemed to be the only and entire basis for this splashy letter, an aggressive international PR campaign fraught with risk for the CPJ’s reputation:
- Sfarzo told CPJ …
- Preston told CPJ …
- Cottonwood told CPJ …
- Editor Ken Robinson said …
There was no apparent fact-finding, no contrasting of opinion, no double checking, no collecting of documents. Not even evidence of the slightest, minimal effort to contact the subject of these grave accusations, Mr. Mignini (not even a “he didn’t reply to our email” or a “we tried to call his office at midnight but no one answered”).
This is shameful coming from a journalistic organisation, in an industry where every professional worth his salt checks a source before publishing to avoid credibility and legal problems further along.
My letter raised a number of questions about how and why your open letter to the world was prepared, and I made a number of requests or suggestions in order to understand better the basis for the accusations against Mignini.
Some of the red flags which result from my questions are:
- Did the CPJ simply accept the accusation of certain persons against Mr. Mignini without even minimal, Google-based fact checking?
-> If so, then Red Flag
- Having realized that basic fact checking was not carried out, has the CPJ proceeded to do so?
-> If not, then Red Flag
- Does the tipster who set you on this issue also stand to gain something by painting Mr. Mignini in a certain light?
-> If so, then Red Flag
- Is the tipster or one of the subjects of the letter a financial backer of your organisation?
-> If so, then Red Flag
- Could one or more of the subjects that the CPJ sought to protect in its missive be less a journalist seeking to report news freely, and more an element of a lobby group in an open criminal case?
-> If so, then Red Flag
- Do you know that the principal subject who you sought to “protect” in your Letter to the World is actually a screen name, used by the blogger?
-> If so, then Red Flag
- Having realized (thanks to our first reply to you here on TJMK) that you were seeking to protect a screen name, did you proceed to identify the real-life person behind the screen name, and check what provoked a police visit to his home and what he is actually charged with, and if said charges can be in any way linked to Mr. Mignini, who closed his investigation of the murder of Meredith Kercher almost three years ago?
-> If not, then Red Flag
- Upon realizing that your accusations are neither substantiated nor relevant, is it possible that the CPJ could be used as a party to pervert the course of justice in two open criminal cases?
-> If so, then Red Flag
- Have you included as justification for action in your letter to the world the supposed threat to persons who aren’t journalists or reporters?
-> If so, then Red Flag
- As a result of the CPJ Letter to 21 World Leaders, could the until now untarnished reputation of the Organization to Protect Journalists be put into question, favouring the abuse perpetrated against journalists by those in power around the world who actually do threaten the work of journalists?
-> If so, then Red Flag
With the acknowledgement that just one of these red flags (any one of them) is raised, the CPJ should have taken a step back and thought through how and why it ended up issuing its Letter to the World of 19-04-2011, identified internal control issues and external damage caused (both to the organisation’s reputation and to third parties), and taken steps to correct the cause of the red flag and ensure that it doesn’t happen again in the future.
There is negative impact that has already occurred to the Committee to Protect Journalists. However, it will continue to grow as more as more journalists, public agencies and the public in general become aware of and concerned about what is fast becoming the CPJ’s Abusive Accusations Against the Perugian Prosecutor Affair.
Instead of stepping back and reflecting on how to resolve this problem elegantly, only two days after publishing our first reply to you the CPJ posted a note, not on its front page but revealingly hidden away on the institutional blog page on its site.
Frankly, I was astounded that the CPJ seemed to sweep the questions I raised in my first letter under the CPJ’s own carpet by stating that “we stand by” the first Letter to 21 World Leaders on 19-04-2011.
Instead of trying to de-construct what it has created, the CPJ seems to be making the monster grow.
I should say that we – the international followers of progress in the case concerning the murder of the English student Meredith Kercher in Perugia on 1 November 2007 - recognize and are thankful that at least the CPJ did give the reply to our letter, and that comments have been open on that page. We do thank you for that.
However, to some extent, both your reply and some of the comments posted on the CPJ site actually increase our concern surrounding the CPJ’s recent actions and the obvious lack of due diligence applied in the preparation and sending of your Letter to the World. Had it occurred because of a procedural slip up, the normal reaction of an organisation such as yours would be to suspend the Letter to the World and perform detailed (or even basic) fact checking.
But you haven’t.
[Above: CPJ coordinator Nina Ognianova takes the heat on behalf of Joel Simon, admitting that the Letter to 21 World leaders was only written on the basis of accusatory statements offered or requested of “victims” of Mignini, with no fact checking whatsoever.]
The CPJ reply to our letter states: “CPJ has received a number of emails in reaction to our April 19 letter … which details cases of harassment”.
What details? Your April 19 letter didn’t detail anything.
The CPJ reply to our letter states: “CPJ takes no position as to the alleged guilt or innocence of either of the defendants in the Kercher case”
This comment has nothing to do with either your original letter or our response, and I don’t know why you have included it in your reply. We all assume a priori that the CPJ has no position on the case of the murder of Meredith Kercher. What we are concerned about is that CPJ does not provide any detail or checking to its grave accusations against Mr. Mignini.
The CPJ reply to our letter states: “Those in positions of power must understand that scrutiny and criticism, including the harshest of kind, comes with the office.”
We could not agree more with that no-brainer. What is missing in the framework of your open letter to world leaders about Mr. Mignini is what must be said in the next breath, the missing second half of that equation, which is that in addition, the Press (from individual reporters to the sectorial press associations which represent them such as yours) must act in a responsible manner, striving to publish and communicate truthful facts which have been thoroughly contrasted. To not achieve that level of responsibility means a drift towards the Press publishing news and “facts” à la Janet Cooke and Jimmy’s World.
[Click above for a larger image]
[Above: Let’s hope that the CPJ can help avoid a 21st century Jimmy’s World. Does the CPJ have an Ombudsman service when regular channels of complaints provide no adequate reply?]
In my opinion (and that of many persons who have written me, and I’m sure many persons who have written you), that is exactly how the Committee to Protect Journalists is appearing.
When you say that in spite of the extremely serious issues that we raise about your document accusing Mignini “We stand by it”, you are really saying two things:
1) you continue to support the highly doubtful veracity of the unsupported accusations against Mignini
2) you are not planning to do any further checking of the facts, as effortless as that may be. (Instead of “further” checking of the facts, it’s really a question of “initial, basic” checking of the facts)
If that is what you stand by, then the overall reputation of CPJ is called into question, and those who truly should respond for the abuse of real journalists in tough situations around the world know that they can ignore your calls of support for personal freedom and freedom of press, calling into question the integrity of your organisation.
[Click above for a larger image]
[Above: World leaders on all continents who are directly responsible for the abuse of journalists and the free press in general, or who are in a position to improve the conditions of journalists have their life made easier when organizations such as the CPJ are seen as frail or lacking in the very principles that they promote.]
I can understand that from the CPJ’s point of view, you are in a tight position. Your reputation is at stake. You have published a high-profile letter containing grave accusations, which as it actually gets examined beyond the words of the accusers starts to unravel very quickly and evaporate, and by no means justifies a letter of alert to world leaders.
At the same time, the most visible of the persons who supposedly has suffered at the hands of Mignini is on the list of the CPJ’s significant financial benefactors. “Preston … suffered harassment by Mignini himself in 2006 – and eventually was forced to leave Italy for fear of imprisonment – told CPJ ….”
And Douglas Preston is now going his own way promoting and “improving” your letter and claiming that you have carried out an “independent investigation”, when that seems to not be the case. Preston has said in the last few days:
“the Committee to Protect Journalists … has made public the results of their own, independent investigation into the actions of Mignini and the police, prosecutors, and judges in Perugia, Italy.
Their conclusions are shocking. The report details what appears to be an organized campaign to harass, intimidate, and physically threaten Italian and American journalists covering the case. CPJ discovered that in at least on case police in Perugia assaulted a journalist who had criticized Mignini, trumped up charges against him, and then tried to get him certified “insane”—all with Mignini’s knowledge and cooperation.
The CPJ investigation also detailed how Perugian authorities extended their harassment campaign into the United States, threatening American journalists, writers, and newspapers with criminal charges in a gross attempt to extend Italian criminal laws on to American soil and interfere with the freedoms we enjoy in our own country.
The Committee to Protect Journalists was so concerned with their findings that yesterday they sent a strong letter of protest to the President of the Italian Republic, asking for action to end this abuse and calling on him to take steps to protect journalists in Perugia. The letter reads like a horror novel.”
(Source: Doug Preston promoting something he calls The Monster of Perugia)
Mr. Simon, I have highlighted certain expressions of Preston in bold. Is it of your opinion that this financial backer of the CPJ is using expressions and style that actually reflect the content of the CPJ letter which you signed, and how you prepared that letter? If not, what do you think explains the gap?
Could it be the close proximity of the genesis of the 19-04-2011 letter to Preston himself, to him promoting “my nonfiction book, The Monster of Florence, written with Italian journalist Mario Spezi, and currently being made into a movie” that Preston claims will star George Clooney?
[Above: In the name of transparency, it would be appropriate for the CPJ to reveal the financial contributions that Douglas Preston has made to the organisation, as well as to detail the communications and attached documents that Preston has exchanged with the CPJ with regard to the Letter to the World of 19-04-2011. This is what honest Governance is all about.]
I have received a number of emails in the last few days, as I’m sure you have too, and the message people are telling me is that something has gone amiss with the CPJ letter to 21 World Leaders about a local Italian prosecutor in the hills of Umbria.
Let me help you out.
I want CPJ to work. I am not looking for it to be humiliated, as it is a very needed organisation which has done great work. However, respect must not just be earned but it must be maintained. In the case of the CPJ letter of 19-04-2011, I honestly believe that something went wrong in the internal control procedures of the CPJ. Those should be relatively easy to review, revise and use in the future to improve the quality of your activity.
However, in addition to correcting its internal procedures with regard to the future, a wrong committed must be righted. Journalism is not about sweeping things under the carpet.
As regards the latter, it is the CPJ who should decide the action it will take. I suppose that writing a new open letter copied to 21 world leaders, admitting that the CPJ got bamboozled (which is honestly what I think happened), is expecting too much.
However, why don’t you contact Mr. Mignini’s office and give him fair time to respond on your webpage? That would be just, fair and elegant, especially after the lack of elegance shown in your world letter.
Are you even aware if he knows about the supposed incident of 28-09-2010 suffered by the Perugia blogger? My bet is that he learned about it on 19-04-2011 upon reading your letter about what a bad guy he is, and that whatever reason that the police may have gone to the home of a guy who uses the screen-name “Frank Sfarzo” (real name Sforza) has more to do with that blogger’s real-life persona than his blog posts related to the Meredith Kercher case.
Did you even know that “Frank Sfarzo” is only a screen-name? Please, please tell me that you didn’t first learn that fact only once the critical emails started to arrive after your 19-04-2011 post.
If so, that would be a serious pie-in-your-face: a letter to the world to protect a screen name against totally unsubstantiated accusations of physical abuse by police, which even if they occurred show no dotted line to a prosecutor whom some unrevealed OPJ tipster has decided to denounce (although we all have a pretty good idea of who that tipster is).
Let me help out by working to set things straight, and shed some contrasting and revealing light on the grave accusations poured on Mignini in the CPJ’s letter.
Thanks to Google, we are able to contrast the accusers’ words against .... their own words, photos and deeds as documented on Internet. These are mostly made available by themselves in their own posts and comments.
It is truly shocking that the CPJ didn’t exert the minimal effort which I present below in the Annex to this letter, and which allowed me to get a completely different understanding of how shallow the recent attack is against Mignini. To be honest, the CPJ should have seen the bamboozle coming a mile away.
If the CPJ won’t do a basic, minimal, obvious, fast, easy, needed-to-avoid-a-libel-accusation, beginner journalist’s exercise of checking the facts in a high-profile accusation with international repercussions, then I will.
Let’s do a fast “Balance” of facts as we are able to gather them. I’ve set up a Balance Sheet which we’ll use to perform some checking and tests on some of the accusations which appear in the CPJ letter. I would have performed these tests and included them in my first letter a week ago, however, I was hoping that the CPJ would have spent literally, just a few minutes to do the checking.
Given the length of the indicative results that we have obtained, today we will post this letter, and shortly we will post the Annex with our findings with the complete Balance Sheet for Testing CPJ’s Anti-Mignini Accusations.
Please feel free to contact me if you require any further information or if I may be of assistance as you become more familiarized with the complex forces which are out to turn Mr. Mignini into an evil, rogue prosecutor.
However, what’s good for some people’s business is not good for yours.
I hope that with this second TJMK letter the CPJ will finally realize the delicate, weak state of your 19-04-2011 letter and will take the appropriate measures.
In your own words to the 21 World Leaders, “thank you for your attention to this urgent matter. We await your response.”
His Excellency Giorgio Napolitano, President of the Italian Republic
Angelino Alfano, Ministro della Giustizia
José Manuel Barroso, Presidente della Commissione Europea
Herman Van Rompuy, Presidente del Consiglio Europeo
Baroness Catherine Ashton, Vice-Presidente della Commissione Europea e Alto Rappresentante dell’EU per gli
Affari Esteri e la Politica di Sicurezza
Viviane Reding, Vice-Presidente della Commissione Europea e Commissario per Giustizia, Diritti
Fondamentali e Cittadinanza
Neelie Kroes, Vice-Presidente della Commissione Europea e Commissario per la Digital Agenda
Jerzy Buzek, Presidente del Parlamento Europeo
Heidi Hautala, Presidenza del Sottocomitato sui Diritti Umani del Parlamento Europeo
Jean-Marie Cavada, Presidenza dell’Intergruppo per i Media del Parlamento Europeo
Thomas Hammarberg, Commissario del Consiglio d’Europa per i Diritti Umani
Ferdinando Nelli Feroci, Rappresentante Permanente dell’Italia presso l’EU
Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State
Michael Posner, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
Philip H. Gordon, U.S. Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
John Kerry, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Richard Lugar, Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Ranking Republican Member, U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs
Howard L. Berman, Ranking Democratic Member, U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs
Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata, Ambasciatore Italiano presso gli Stati Uniti
David Thorne, U.S. Ambassador to Italy
Archived in Reporting on the case, Poor reporting, Media news, Defense dirty tricks, Diversion efforts by, Knox-Mellases, Preston & Spetzi, Francesco Sforza, More sockpuppets
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