Collection: Mignini & MOF hoax

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Netflixhoax 6: Omitted - The Almost Unique Carefulness Of Italy’s Justice System

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



Bigotry for fame and profit: Stephen Robert Morse, Rod Blackhurst, and Brian McGinn

Netflix’s Amanda Knox is an extreme example of misleading bias by cherrypicking. This post is another in our ongoing series, the mothership for material for this media-friendly page online soon.


1. Wrong “facts” and numerous omissions

As first explained previously in this series the very loaded Netflix report Amanda Knox included some seriously wrong “facts”.

Here is another of them.  The HIV Hoax. Italian doctors did NOT fool Knox about a possible HIV positive; they told her in confidence not to worry, they would retest (a common practice in HIV testing) and that test soon came back negative.

NOBODY in the justice system leaked about this. The leak to the media complete with Knox’s list of recent sex partners was blatantly and well-recordedly made by the Knox-Mellas defense team. Even several of us were leaked-to - this was months before we got a grip on the case.

We shall be deconstructing the various wrong “facts”.

But mainly though the film operated at the level of cut-and-paste innuendo. And it banked on the extreme ignorance of its audience.  Hundreds of inconvenient facts were omitted, any few of which would have disrupted its propaganda purpose.

We shall be adding in the numerous omissions.

2. The report’s macro-level takeaways

About 50 movie reviewers so far have mostly declared these to be their main takeways.

    (1) A muddled or desperate or evil Dr Mignini framed Knox and fooled his co-prosecutor, numerous experts, 30-plus judges, and most of Italy.

    (2) The justice system of Italy is a dangerous error-prone joke, but thankfully some much smarter Americans are here, to save silly Italy from itself.

    (3) Somehow a few BRITISH tabloids influenced an ITALIAN jury to vote “guilty” and the damning prosecution case the hapless defenses did not once dent in 2009 was immaterial.

All three of them are untrue. We’ll take a first stab at correcting for them below, with much more to come.   

(1) The REAL Dr Mignini

He framed Knox? On this there is vast evidence to the contrary. Dr Mignini has already explained some and we have much more to come. Dr Mignini had no motive, early on he was pretty good to Knox, and the checks and balances against any such hoax are simply enormous.

Ask yourself, why would a prosecutor intent on framing Knox do this recorded interrogation?

In fact he did it as a favor to Knox, because she asked him for it. She asked also for the interrogation at trial. Those were the ONLY two interrogations of Knox. Both damning. There were no others, ever.

In both of them, Knox by her own tongue dropped herself in it, far more than any police or prosecutor ever did. The second had a major effect on the jury (and on Italy).

In that same post we pointed to two of the Netflix team’s numerous self-serving omissions.

(1) [The movie]  appears to accept that innocence was proved and that Knox and Sollecito had zero role. That was not what the Supreme Court said. [See Dr Mignini’s final paras.]

(2) Italian lawyers think the Fifth Chambers ruling may have been illegal as well as bent. The reasoning can be read here. That is headed to court soon.


(2) Italy’s REAL justice system

Pretty well the exact opposite of what you’d suppose if you read only Michael Heavey and Frank Sforza and Paul Ciolino and Bruce Fischer and John Douglas and Saul Kassin and Steve Moore and of course Doug Preston and the late Mario Spezi. Read only them, and one might be excused for thinking Italy’s is a huge, horrible system which the Italian population desperately needs THEM to save it from! Bigotry for fame and profit.

A total illusion, which Morse, Blackhurst, and McGinn now want you to swallow. Bigotry for fame and profit.

The main characteristics of the Italian system are (1) a large and visible national and local police presence with excellent forensics labs, (2) a low crime rate even by European standards, and even more-so by American standards, and (3) a very low rate of incarceration that is only 1/6 the rate of the US.

The system is immensely careful and with two AUTOMATIC rights of appeal for convictions for serious crimes the chances of a false conviction standing are zero. Compare this with thousands uncovered in the US. The vast wave of appeals has clogged the courts and right now Parliament is trying to reverse this. 

Appellants have a huge advantage which makes it easy for them to game this system: the prosecution presents their case ONLY at trial. Then seasoned defences can game bewildered prosecutors at higher levels.

Officially the US knows all of this. It has much to gain politically from Italian co-operation and works very hard on their functional relationships. The FBI and the Italian equivalent embed one another’s officers in Rome and Washington, aid one another’s labs, share huge amounts of information, mutually take down mafia, and organize dozens of extraditions annually.

Almost all prosecutors are highly-trained by career-path; the only three who were not in this case (Judges Hellmann, Marasca and Bruno) and sprung Knox and Sollecito are all believed to have been corrupted.

Finally, the mafias and fellow-travelers work hard to smear police and prosecutors (as well as assassinating them, over 100 now). In this respect the Knox PR has wittingly or unwittingly been functioning as an arm of the mafias. Bongiorno, substituted for the hapless Sollecito PR which cost Vanessa her Carabinieri post, became famous for mafia defenses.

The 20 posts we link to below go deeper. You might read at least the headlines and the quotes below. That Italy’s is a pretty good system should be compelling.


1. Click here for post: How Italian Justice REALLY Works

Comparing the US and UK common law system - a model founded on non-written laws and developed through judicial proceedings - with this system which arose from the Roman Law model - based on a written civil code - is really like comparing apples to oranges.

They were both conceived to protect individual’s rights at a maximum level, while seeking justice for the victims. But with entirely different processes.

One is not necessarily better or worse. But there are legal experts who think the Italian system is distinctly fairer - much more weighted toward the defendants. In the US and the UK the prosecutor usually has to make it through only one pre-trial hoop. In Italy the prosecutor has to make it through a whole row of pre-trial hoops…

2. Click here for post:  Why The Prosecutors In Italy Are Relatively Popular

Italy’s a tough country with, albeit dwindling now, a legacy of violent crime, and many brave prosecutors over the years have been assassinated.

And the Italian legal system is not particularly weighted in their direction, with a large number of hurdles they have to climb over before a case ever gets to trial.

And the Italian prison system is relatively lenient, heavily pro-prisoner-remediation and early release, and proportionally only 1/10 the size of the US’s.

So the endemic attempts to undermine Prosecutor Mignini have invariably won only MORE popular support for him and his case in Perugia and Italy in general.

3. Click here for post:  Why The Italian Judiciary’s Probably Less Prone to Pressure Than Any Other In The World

Italian magistrates enjoy an extraordinary level of autonomy from the other powers of government (executive and legislative) and the point of this post is to explain why. This autonomy is above all due to the Italian constitutional framework.

That framework is intended to guarantee such an exceptional level of independence so as to avoid the abuses that occurred during Mussolini’s fascist regime, when Italian magistrates were forced by the executive to prosecute (and persecute) political opponents to the fascist dictator…

4. Click here for post:  Explaining How The Italian Appeals Process Works And Why It Consumes So Much Time 

The extraordinary broad appeal rights awarded by the Italian system are all part of the 1989 reform, which intended to add even more guarantees to the right of the accused. This has resulted in an incredible increase in pending cases in the overburdened Italian justice system….

This situation is exacerbated by the broad appeal rights guaranteed also on the 2nd level of appeal, at the Supreme Court of Cassation. Like other supreme courts around the world, such court does not re-examine the entire body of evidence, but only ‘errores in iudicando’ and ‘errores in procedendo’ (errors in procedure or application of the law).

However, unlike its American or English counterparts, the Italian Supreme Court cannot refuse to review a case, and defendants have unlimited appeal rights to the Supreme Court of Cassation. They don’t even have to wait for the Appeal Court. You can in fact appeal to the Supreme Court directly after the first trial. ...

5. Click here for post:  Barbara Benedettelli: Campaigner For Victims And Families Says Italian System Denies Them Justice

There are proportionally very few perpetrators in Italians prison by global standards, and when there in prison they are given quite a nice time, trained to perform usefully when released, and very often get out of prison early.

Seemingly very humane. But this does carry very high costs. There are often almost unbearable pressures on victims’ families, as Meredith’s father John Kercher has several times described. On top of all this, there is the growing western fascination with perps, and in many cases their elevating to popular cult-worship status.

Barbara Benedettelli is a writer and columnist and the editor of the popular “Top Secret” program on Rete4 TV…  Her latest book (only in Italian) is called “Victims Forever”. She talks of various prominent perps and the enormous and unrequiting pressures on victims’ families. In polls a large majority of Italians detest this. They want much less stress on “fairness” and MUCH more compassion for victims families and, if still alive, for the victims.

6. Click here for post:  Harvard Political Review Writer Alex Koenig Reproaches The Sliming of Italy’s Justice System 

The fact of the matter is, those that immediately claim that Knox was wrongly accused and jailed by a corrupt justice system make two extremely arrogant assumptions that reveal perverse American exceptionalism.

1) It is assumed that, as an American – an American woman no less – Knox is incapable of murder. This case differs, of course, from the 1,176 domestic murders committed by women because, well, who knows?

2) It is assumed that not only is the Italian justice system incapable of fulfilling its legal duties, but that the intentions of the court were swayed by anti-Americanism.

This is not merely an abstract sentiment, but was actually articulated by Senator Maria Cantwell (D) of my home state of Washington.

7. Click here for post:  Interesting Tilts Of Marcia Clark And Alan Dershowitz Toward Educated, Informed Italian-type Juries 

“[American] jury instructions are so numerous and complex, it’s a wonder jurors ever wade through them. And so it should come as no surprise that they can sometimes get stuck along the way. The instruction on circumstantial evidence is confusing even to lawyers. And reasonable doubt? That’s the hardest, most elusive one of all. And I think it’s where even the most fair-minded jurors can get derailed.”

“Well, if you want justice, don’t look to the criminal law system. That’s not its job. Its job is not to produce a just result. Its job is to produce a legally correct result…”

“We’ve opted for a much more democratic system, and it means that in the end you’re going to be dissatisfied with a lot of verdicts. Just don’t expect too much from our legal system. Don’t expect truth. Don’t expect justice, because that’s not what it’s supposed to give you.”

8. Click here for post:  The Chief Enforcer Of The Constitution And The Rule Of Law is Wildly Popular Throughout Italy 

He is said to receive dozens of petitions a day and in certain cases he does act to get things done. Significantly, two that he chose to ignore recently concerned the ongoing Sollecito-Knox appeal process.

Of two pretty blatant attempts to bias the Perugia process, one came from Joel Simon of the US-based Committee to Protect Journalists, and one came from the junior Berlusconi-party MP Rocco Girlanda.

President Giorgio Napolitano simply ignored both of them.

9. Click here for post:  Compared To Italy, Say, Precisely How Wicked Is The United States? 

We have often remarked that Italy’s crime rate is low, the three mafia families (Sicily, Calabria and Naples) are on the rocks, and the justice system is one of the most cautious - conviction rates are infuriatingly low for the suffering families of victims, but in a forgiving Catholic nation rates of incarceration are unlikely to jump any time soon.

The American incarceration rate in sharp contrast has for a decade led the rest of the world, and it increased every year for nearly 30 straight years from the arrival of President Reagan to the departure of President GW Bush. Its prison rate is ahead of Russia’s, with its mafias and corruption and poverty, and ahead of China’s, with its large population of political prisoners.

10. Click here for post:  Involvement Of The Formidable Carabinieri Shows How Italian Justice Will Not Be Leaned Upon 

Judge Nencini may have invoked the help of the Carabinieri for reasons going beyond simply very good science.

Italy has among the world’s lowest crime-rates, murder-rates and incarceration-rates. Unusually low criminal and anti-social tendencies among native-born Italians, and strong family pride, explains a large part of this.

But another main reason is the high-profile and exceptionally smart police presence. Deliberately a cool presence rather than a hot and intimidating presence, and in fact a very popular one

11. Click here for post:  Italy’s Unpopular Politicians And Mafia Fellow Travelers Against Italy’s Popular Justice System 

For comparison, in 2011 the percentage of Italians who declared they trust the justice system “a lot” or “enough” was 53.3%. By comparison, the percentage of Italians who declared they trust the government “a lot” or “enough”  were 14.7%, and those who trust the parliament were only 15%.

In 2012, the percentage of Italians who trust the parliament is now only 9.5%, and those who trust the Mario Monti administration are only 21.1%.

Over the eight years from 2004 to 2012 the percentage of Italians who trust the justice system was always bigger than those who trust parliament or government by at least ten points, and in some years we can see a spread of 20, 30, even 39 percentage points achieved by the judiciary over the parliament and government.

12. Click here for post:  Italy’s Advanced, Effective, Humane Law & Order System Also Adopted By City Of New York

New York is now the safest big city in America. It is following a route that is not only almost identical to Italy’s - it is being watched and emulated elsewhere across the US….

Now that the United States has the world’s highest reported rate of incarceration, many criminologists are contemplating another strategy. What if America reverted to the penal policies of the 1980s? What if the prison population shrank drastically? What if money now spent guarding cellblocks was instead used for policing the streets?

13. Click here for post:  Italian Prime Minister Renzi Will Push Measures To Speed Up Justice 

In a move popular not least among those who are part of it Mr Renzi announces moves to speed up Italian justice.

Italian justice and those who work in it are widely trusted and respected in Italy. But a very humane system designed post WWII to give those accused a level of rights unique in the world has been even further tilted over the years by politicians passing laws to aid political and business colleagues in legal trouble.

14. Click here for post:  Why Numerous American JUDGES Favor The Supremely Neutral Italian Kind Of System 

See that above at the bottom of the YouTube screen? Some $280 million has been spent since the year 2000. Can you guess what the $280 million was for?

In fact the $280 million is funds raised and spent for judges’ election campaigns in the roughly 3/4 of all American states where such judges’ elections are held - the original intention of which was good: to get judicial choices out of smoke-filled rooms.

15. Click here for post:  Meredith May Not See Justice (Yet) But She Will Leave At Least Three Legacies 

Knox behaved grossly irresponsibly in heading to Perugia under-funded, intent on drug-doing, and with zero intention of seriously studying.

The University of Washington and many others realised they could have huge liabilities if they did not distance themselves a lot from such loose cannons in future.

In October 2009 we reposted this report by Andrea Vogt which described the initiation of measures many American universities have now come to implement….

16. Click here for post:  Counterterrorism: Another Way Italian Law Enforcement Is An Effective Model For Everywhere Else 

A leading military analyst is citing Italy as a model of counterterrorism done right, pointing out that despite many factors going against it, Islamic terrorists have failed to kill a single person on Italian soil.

17. Click here for post:  Italian Justice & The Telling Status Of Extraditions To And From Italy 

If countries agree to extradite to other countries, that suggests a high degree of trust in justice at both ends. They are in effect voting confidence in each other’s justice systems.

Italy achieves an exceptionally high rate of extraditions in both directions and continues to sign more bilateral treaties.

It is clearly trusted almost worldwide as a destination where those charged will receive a fair shake. And it is very no-nonsense about sending back fleeing felons who try to go to ground there.

18. Click here for post:  Knox’s Nasty-Prisons Hoax: NY Times Describes How Italy Leads The World In Rehabilitation 

Around five years ago, largely because of immigrant crimes, the prison population (previously below 100,000 - in the US, California prisons alone hold almost twice that) began to balloon.

New prisons were built, with no expenses spared, and in these images you can see the result.

Stories of extreme over-crowding have gone away, and the New York Times profiles the new prisons and their programs of today.

19. Click here for post:  How The Italian “Justice Tortoise” Is The Likely Winner Compared To For Example the US System 

Italy is working to try to update its justice system right now and we will report on that shortly. At least in theory, it has one of the easiest tasks in the world, because post WWII its legal system was redesigned from the ground up. It had already junked bad aspects, some going back centuries.

Italy already has some of the world’s smartest juries - jury service is compulsory, so smart people cannot dodge them. And the system already has some other very positive things going for it.

Mainly what is needed is some weeding. And such reforms are made easier in Italy because (1) judges and prosecutors all follow career paths and so they are not politically competing with one another;  and (2) there is the Council of Magistrates (CSM) which can be very progressive in the reforms it pushes at its level.

20. Click here for post:  So Where Would YOU Want To Go On Trial? In Italy Or In The U.S.?

We have still not seen even ONE American lawyer claim that after the first trial in 2009 which found RS and AK guilty that there were strong grounds for an appeal.

In the US, back in 2009, full prison terms would have been begun.

And in fact virtually nothing at the 2009 trial was challenged in the appeal. But the defenses subversively organized to get Civil Judge Hellmann instead of Criminal Judge Chiari to preside, and in 2011 a farcical “not guilty” outcome was the result.

Then there was a THIRD jury trial, in 2013-14, which (as so often in Italy) threw out the not guilty outcome of the previous appeal trial.

And finally, in 2015, due to more subversive defense machinations with a little mafia help, the final Supreme Court appeal was assigned to the FIFTH Chambers, for the first murder appeal that Chambers has ever heard.

A second farcical “not guilty” outcome was the result.

Say what you like about the American system, there is not remotely any parallel in its judicial history to all of that.  Quite the opposite in fact. We have had various posts pointing to an increasingly hard line in the US.


(3) British tabloids corrupted a jury in THIS system?

Subject of future posts. Check back shortly.


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Netflixhoax 4: Omitted - Stephen Robert Morse Defamed Reporters & Italian Officials For Years

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters


Netflix’s Amanda Knox is an extreme example of misleading bias by cherrypicking. This post is another in our ongoing series, the mothership for material for this media-friendly page online soon.

Pretty funny, that last tweet above. Almost nobody has painted a larger legal target on his own back over many years than the blustering Netflix producer Stephen Robert Morse himself.

The first two tweets are of course both defamatory lies. See the two posts below for an honest take on Dr Mignini, not the mafia’s one which Morse parrots. .

As he was lying about an officer of the Italian court in the first two tweets, he could in theory be charged with contempt of court on the same basis as Frank Sforza and Andrew Gumbel have already been charged.

He could certainly be made to sweat pounds off in a British or Italian civil court. Hot potato in waiting for Netflix there.


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Netflixhoax 3: Omitted - Netflix Demonizes Dr Mignini To The Certain Satisfaction Of The Mafias

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above: Giuliano Mignini at left at Lake Trasimeno where Dr Narducci’s body believed bound was recovered]

The Cynical Demonizing Of Dr Mignini

This was was in fact a deliberate PR ploy, with some collusion from the mafias.

Remember that huge PR campaign, probably the largest and most abusive ever run for someone charged with a crime? Which the Netflix producers somehow managed to forget totally?

More on that later. This corrects wrong impressions about a main target.

Our posts here and here and especially here blow the gaff on the “power-mad prosecutor” claims.

The demonization originally began as a ploy to stop Amanda Knox talking. It was because she was so exceptionally naive.

The Supreme Court noted how Curt Knox shut her down angrily when her parents first visited Knox at Capanne Prison. Family knew she could very well spill the beans, and she maybe came very close to that at various times.

From late 2007 she seemed to rather like Dr Mignini, and to want to keep explaining to him over and over again. Dr Mignini thought she came really close at the interrogation on 17 December 2007 when her lawyers stepped in to stop her.

So they started to demonize Dr Mignini in her eyes.

In her book she says she wanted to keep talking, especially to him, and she quotes things that they told her to try to frighten her - pretty far from the truth. The lawyers once said quite publicly that they wish she’d simply shut up.

The demonization was deliberately jumped to a higher plane by Curt Knox, Paul Ciolino and David Marriott, still with no basis in fact unless you consider Doug Preston’s and Mario Spezi’s MOF book fact (they left out that they were caught trying to frame an innocent man) in a meeting in West Seattle in January 2009.

The month the trial began, after 14 months already of Knox still dropping herself in it. 

Watch this amazing Powerpoint in which Kermit brilliantly takes the big lie apart.

Here we correct two of the main hoaxes which are yet again pushed out, this time by the Netflix team.

False Charges And A False Verdict Against Dr Mignini Were ANNULLED

Annulled means “wiped off the books” as the Supreme Court’s First Chambers wiped off the books most of Hellmann’s appeal verdict in 2013.

Read the whole arc of this case from 2010 to 2013 here and here and here.

The year 2013 was the year BEFORE Morse’s dishonest tweet. Both the rogue prosecutor and rogue judge took considerable hits.

By then it was extremely well known why and how Dr Mignini was set up, and why the Florence Appeal Court and Supreme Court not merely arrived at a not-guilty verdict but annulled the verdict of the rogue Florence Court.

Dr Mignini Has Never Consulted A Psychic, Never Claims Satanic Plots

Take a look at what Dr Mignini himself wrote to Corriere on this in 2013. This was translated and posted here three years ago.

To the editor of Florence Corriere

Dear Director,

I am Giuliano Mignini, the magistrate who performed the investigation and trials of first instance and appeal in Perugia against the people accused of the murder of Meredith Kercher, as well as the investigation into the death of Francesco Narducci linked to the one performed by the Florence Prosecution Office in relation to the masterminds of the “Monster of Florence” murders.

I saw reported the interview that the journalist Mario Spezi – a person accused in the Narducci case – did with Amanda Knox, a main defendant in the appeal trial that will start today – published in the Corriere Fiorentino on Sep. 29.
 
In two recent cases the Court of Cassation has annulled verdicts, which acquitted Knox and Sollecito, and which decided [by Judge Micheli] a dropping of charge against Spezi (the parts regarding ‘lack of certainty about malice’ were annulled too).

Therefore I don’t need to add anything further on that point.  Instead, I need to point out the falsehood of an assertion which Mr. Spezi makes at the beginning of his article, as he tries to explain the reason for a link which, in his opinion, allegedly exists between the two cases, the one related to the Monster murders and Narducci’s death, and the one about the Kercher murder.

Mr. Spezi’s text says: “… a strangely similar background, for two different cases, behind which the magistrate thought he could see satanic orgies on the occasion of Halloween for Amanda, and ritual blood sacrifices as a worship to the Devil in the Monster of Florence case…”.

This is an assertion that Mr. Spezi and crime-fiction author Douglas Preston have been repeating for years, but does not find the smallest confirmation in the documentation of the two trials, nor in the scenario put forward by the prosecution in which the Meredith murder (which didn’t happen on Halloween but on the subsequent night) was the consequence of a sex hazing to which Meredith herself did not intend to take part, and, above all, it was the consequence of a climate of hostility which built up progressively between the Coulsdon girl and Amanda because of their different habits, and because of Meredith’s suspicion about alleged money thefts by Knox.

Furthermore the object of the proceedings in the Narducci case is the scenario about the murder of the same Narducci and the attempt, by the doctor’s father and brother, to conceal the cause of his violent death, and this included the background within which the event – which was a homicide in my opinion and in the opinion of my technical consultant, coroner Prof. Giovanni Pierucci of the University of Pavia – had developed and taken place.

I had already denied several time assertions of such kind, but Mr. Spezi and Mr. Preston, and some people connected to them, go on repeating a lie, apparently hoping that it will become true by repeating it.

Another astonishing fact is that, despite that I was the prosecutor in the Kercher trial together with my colleague Manuela Comodi and then subsequently with my colleague Giancarlo Costagliola [at annulled apeal], and despite that I limited myself to formulating judicial requests which were all agreed to by a multitude of judges and confirmed by the Supreme Court, I am still considered as the only one responsible for an accusation against Ms. Knox and Mr. Sollecito, by twisting its content in various ways.

In the Narducci case, in the same way, I simply limited myself to performing the investigation and requesting the remands to trial, and the trial will have to start again now because the Supreme Court has annulled the dropping of charges [by Judge Micheli] and sent back the trial to another preliminary judge in Perugia.

The purpose – quite overt – of such endlessly repeated lies, is to defame the investigator, picturing him as a magistrate who is following alleged personal obsessions rather than sticking at facts, as instead he is.

The hope that such conscious misrepresentation of reality could bring advantage to the defences (foremost that of Spezi himself) is consistent with a bad habit which has all along flourished in Italy but is now also copied abroad.

Therefore I ask you to please publish my rectification against false and seriously defamatory information.

Kind regards

Giuliano Mignini

Do you know who is most often on TV in Italy DENOUNCING the notion that satanic plots are widespread?  Dr Mignini, in fact. Satanic plots do occur (the MOF crimes are accepted in Italy as one) but they are extremely rare.

Dr Mignini in fact locked up the psychic for false testimony to the police. And as he says, and as a vast volume of documents and media reports and court testimony attests, he never ever claimed anything satanic in Meredith’s case.

Dr Mignini Is Doing Just Fine

Dr Mignini is a huge hero in Italy for getting both the Knox-Sollecito-Guede case right (even Judge Hellmann and the Fifth Chambers did not fully let the perps off the hook) and the Monster of Florence case right.

Meanwhile, the crackpot Stephen Robert Morse who rages incessantly at Dr Mignini looks terrible. Much more to come.


Special credit to Machiavelli, Ergon, the Machine, Kermit, and the PMF Dot-Net crowd, for the guts of this post.


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Why Numerous American JUDGES Favor The Supremely Neutral Italian Kind Of System

Posted by Peter Quennell



See that above at the bottom of the YouTube screen? Some $280 million has been spent since the year 2000.

Can you guess what the $280 million was for?

In fact the $280 million is funds raised and spent for judges’ election campaigns in the roughly 3/4 of all American states where such judges’ elections are held - the original intention of which was good: to get judicial choices out of smoke-filled rooms.

Sitting judges and prospective judges themselves usually dont like this fundraising, because they have to take time off to raise these funds,  and pressures from donors - including bad-boy donors and in some cases defense lawyers seeking a break - can become extreme.

We have posted previously on enlightened American lawyers favoring main aspects of the Italian kind of system and on American cities now doing the same. Now we see many American judges and public-interest groups inclining the same way.

Why all judges in Italy are impartial and well-trained in the extreme (like all prosecutors) and dont have to keep their paws outstretched is that they are in a merit-based system where only their performance and not their politics counts.

We described how Italian justice system officials have to jump hurdle after hurdle in getting their cases advanced. A very demanding process in which only the best succeed.

It’s the same with their careers. They have to jump hurdle after hurdle in exams and peer assessment to advance from level to level - to make it as high for example as this revered prosecutor here.

Do such serial defamers of the Italian system as Doug Preston and Steve Moore and ex-judge Michael Heavey bother to tell you this about the Italian system? Probably not. They have never been truthful about it before.


Friday, July 25, 2014

Why It Will Be Republic Of Italy v Knox And Sollecito For The Myriad False Claims They Have Made

Posted by Peter Quennell



Bergamo in the foothills of the Alps where the journal Oggi is published


Yesterday’s post quotes some statements that Sollecito has already started winding back.

For Raffaele Sollecito that marks a significant first. Amanda Knox still seems headed the other way, pouring yet more gasoline on the flames.

Yesterday’s post also mentioned the growing pressure the Italian system is asserting to surface and adhere to the truth. When Cassation rules as widely expected, that Knox’s and Sollecito’s appeals did fail in Florence, and off back to prison they must go, Italy probably wont stop there.

It needs a single truth to stand at the end of the day, and in the courts is how its inquiry-based system arrives at that truth. More prison time is probably ruled out, but there should be some big fines. And that truth.

Sollecito wrote those claims quoted yesterday only in English, of course, exclusively for English-speaking audiences. There are no editions in any other language, certainly not Italian.

The only claim of those quoted yesterday that is widely known in Italy is Sollecito’s false charge, challenged on national TV, that the prosecution offered him a deal for his turning on Knox. That was one of his many claims accusing Italian officials of crimes. All his other claims are still sleepers in Italy.

Sollecito’s father Francesco was asked on national Italian TV why the book was not written or published in Italian. He awkwardly replied that no Italian publisher was interested; he didnt name even one that refused.

He didnt explain why it was written on the US west coast with the help of a British-born shadow writer (an unfortunate choice: Gumbel himself seems to have a big chip on his shoulder about Italy after his stay there, like Peter Popham and Nina Burleigh; unusual but it happens).

So, with no Italian version, what passages in what language were those Italian publishers if any shown?

Not much liked in Italy, Sollecito has been trying to burnish his image there since 2008 when he began writing diary-type reports on several websites.

Passages from the book put into Italian by the Republic of Italy for his book trial in Florence could come to irritate many Italians, and really rain on his parade in the months coming up.

Good reporters should perhaps press Knox to release the Italian version of her own book and let Italy have a close look.

It was yanked from publication at the last moment (like the UK version) when the US edition came out. Some excerpts were put into Italian by Oggi. See our own rebuttals here.

Their publication along with some other articles has resulted in both Oggi and Knox facing a trial in Bergamo. The statute of limitations on the entire book itself expires in 2017. If and when Italy targets all of Knox’s malicious claims she could find her parade rained on too. 

Both books are available globally in the Kindle edition and so a few English-speaking Italians have read them that way. The only version of Knox’s book that was officially sold in Europe was in German. There’ve been no others so far though a Spanish translation may exist.

None of the other English-language pro-Knox books have been put into Italian either. In fact the only book translated into Italian that takes Italy to task is The Monster of Florence by Spezi and Preston - and that one is quite different (very toned down) from the edition in the UK and US.

Back here on Planet Earth, various objective books on the case have been written and published in Italian, which kinda shoots Francesco’s claim in the foot that there is no interest among publishers there.

Those books are mostly quite classy affairs, carefully researched. All the books (like TJMK) essentially concentrate on explaining the prosecution’s case in depth, and those from late 2009 all saw “case proven” after the Knox and Sollecito lawyers put on an ineffective defense.  There isn’t even one which says Italian officials maybe got it wrong.

The Knox people sued Corriere for damages over the Sarzanini book and in the third round won, but that was only because the book published excerpts from Knox’s prison diaries - which her own people had put around - which invaded the privacy of others she mentioned.

The Sarzanini book is still on sale in Italy and was not ordered withdrawn, so Knox at most won half a loaf via her case.

Our main poster Yummi has at various times pointed out that over 100 prosecutors and judges have been assasinated in the anti-mafia fight.  Hate stirred up in the US for Italian officials is of real concern, because it could have a nut with a gun headed to Italy to “even the score”. Hate messages have been received.

Hate is still being perpetually beamed at the real victim’s suffering family as well. That started way back in 2008. There is zero precedent for that - in fact the US and UK and Italy all have strong anti-harrassment laws.

So Knox and Sollecito, and by extension Sforza and Fischer and Moore and so on, will face put-up-or-shut-up time in court on a whole row of claims which appear to Italy malicious and wrong.

Italy wants a searchlight cast on those.  It is for this reason above all that the book trials will take place. To wind back the hate, and to cast light.

This whole publishing scene (really two parallel publishing scenes) is absolutely unique in the world. It shows in stark terms the cowardice of the “public relations” wave of defamation which Curt Knox brought alive in 2007 and beamed away from Italian speakers.

No wonder Amanda Knox could not bear to head for Florence late last year for her own appeal - or “new trial” as she still seems to suppose. Her team has burned too many boats.

Gee thanks dad for that….


Monday, June 30, 2014

Apart From Cassation’s Unyielding Mandate, More Problems With The Belated Sollecito/Bongiorno U-Turn

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters


1. The Appeal’s Grounds For Separation

That bizarre infatuation of Bongiorno’s with Knox as Jessica Rabbit is clearly long-gone.

Now the poor boy was home alone and the absent Miss Rabbit had reason and opportunity. Tiziano posted these ten translated points from the new Sollecito appeal to Cassation, which seems to have the highly nervous Knox camp’s tongues tied.

Among the numerous flaws the proceedings appealed against present, the one linked to the claimed impossibility of differentiating between the two accused stands out.

On this point the Appeal Court denied any in-depth analysis at all of the individual roles - an investigation urged by the defence - avoiding taking any position about alternative constructive hypotheses.

10 points are enumerated by the defence in this regard:

- AK’s memorial referring to events at via della Pergola was in the singular

- AK reported receiving SMS not to go to work from Lumumba, but went out just the same

- AK admitted having lied to RS

- RS did not calumny anyone: the accusation against PL was never confirmed by RS

- AK in her memorial positioned only herself at the crime scene at the time of the scream

- only AK’s blood was on the knife blade

- no mixed traces RS/MK were found and highlighted by luminol in the house

- Quintavalle claimed to have seen AK the morning of November 2nd, not RS

- RS did not know RG and had no reason for wanting MK’s death

- the alleged bad relations and the question of disappearance of money regarded only MK and AK


2, Popper Explains Why They Will Go Nowhere

Popper the highly informed Italian commenter on TJMK and PMF has explained on a previous post why this will fall on deaf ears in Cassation.

if RS said something he has not said before it would make no difference now. No more evidence can be admitted at the trial.

Fase istruttoria is over as judgement of merit.  Cassazione can only respond on points appealed and they must be points of law otherwise they are not admissible. Defendants do not talk in hearing.

Once they are convicted, for example, if he had new information on the case and new evidence that proved (in a convincing way) he is not guilty, he could ask for revisione, basically a review of the trial.

He clearly has nothing to say though ... if he said she went out, judges knew that already. If he said that night he was in Milan and could prove it conclusively, that could trigger a review of a final sentence.

We are clearly talking in theory, no such thing will happen.


3. Could The 10 Points Have Worked Previously?

If Judge Nencini was still in the saddle could the ten points have had merit?

Our continuing Interrogation Hoax series has been hammering on the fact that on 5-6 November 2007 quite unpressured Knox herself did state that she went out alone without Sollecito on the night Meredith was murdered. 

But these ten cherrypicked points above and a claim that RS was not even at Meredith’s house that night are self-destroying over-reach. They would not have caused a win or partial win for Sollecito. Not one of them stands up as a get-out-of-jail-free card upon close readings of the reports of Judge Massei and Judge Nencini.

The lower courts did NOT deny analysis of the individual roles - the two themselves opted to be tried together, while Rudy Guede, fearing two snakes, chose to be tried separately.

WHEN did the defense urge investigation of their differing roles? What did the Massei trial court miss? It had many months of the sight of Sollecito - sitting there sulky, saying little, not taking the stand. Yes, not assisting Jessica Rabbit with an alibi, but that was not so obvious.

The wounds on Meredith and the evidence points in Meredith’s room point overwhelmingly to three attackers. They prove the use of two knives from opposite sides. It was Sollecito’s knife that was used for the fatal blow; that remains unshaken - actually, more confirmed by the Carabinieri.

See Ergon on the implacable knife evidence. Sollecito was the knife fetishist, and the one who was already into the cocaine or crystal meth that Knox was probably on judging by her telling smell the next day, her bizarre behaviors through the week following, and her odd money trail.

See the implacable evidence against him on the bathmat by SomeAlibi and Yummi.  That footprint had to have been imprinted within a few minutes of the end of the attack on Meredith.

After the hijacked Hellmann appeal in 2011 Sollecito was deeply craven to Knox and her family and entourage on the US west coast. Craven to the extent that his own family (which despises the Knox-Mellases and blames Knox for his predicament and their lost name and enormous expenses) once hurriedly hopped on an aircraft to Seattle to enforce their separation.

Sollecito’s hapless book-agent Sharlene Martin and shadow-writer Andrew Gumbel both live on the West Coast and Knox’s radioactive FOA obviously provided most of the malicious fantasy that constitutes his defamatory book.

Playing chicken with the Italian justice system is notoriously suicidal. The crazy aggression of the Prestons, Fischers and Moores did not help Sollecito at all at the Nencini appeal (though it helped Knox even less - she got handed the longer sentence.)

The gods-in-their-own-minds in the FOA got Sollecito no US job and no US viza. The email to Judge Nencini and the appeal to ECHR and the promised fight against extradition for Knox are to him merely insults, and attempts to separate Knox off.

So, back in Italy, he is confused, let-down, disgruntled, and loaded for bear. Knox was the loose canon in 2007, Sollecito is the loose canon now.

Here is a key exchange between our main posters SeekingUnderstanding and Hopeful from previous threads.

4. Take On RS Now By SeekingUnderstanding

[t does seem so very sad and frustrating that Raphaele did not open the window of opportunity, as Judge Nencini tried to nudge him to do, just before Christmas.

He is less easy to read than Ms. Knox , for a number of reasons - more introverted, less articulate (certainly in English; but he also doesn’t seem expressive in his own language), and because of the psychology itself.

You may remember I suggested AK finds it unbearable to acknowledge her darker side, to own her projections; unbearable to be thought of as ‘a monster’, to be unlovable, or indeed hated by people. This may be a strong component in her lying.

I believe Raphaele also finds things unbearable, but whereas Amanda appears to turn this unbearable feeling into lashing out to others, - I think in Raphaele, he finds himself and ‘what has happened to him’ (passive aggression) unbearable. His judgement has not only been poor, but catastrophically poor, - and he must know this. One wonders why the self-destruct.

He knows his life is ruined, and he knows his appalling judgement was instrumental. He truly doesn’t have confidence in himself, but bluffs anyway. His ‘ex’, by contrast,has too much. If only she could have self-doubt, and feel shame.

He is not unintelligent, by no means, yet his choices and decisions at times have seemed near idiotically stupid. So there must be something else going on, something deep in his psyche that causes such confusion in his mental and emotional universe.

He seems unable to organize his emotions. He appears to want or expect or need a woman to ‘sort them out’ (sort him out). His relationship with his mother would probably reveal the source of this. How did she manage her emotions? Or did they rule her? . These are the sort of questions I might be asking. He seems overwhelmed, swallowed up by the juggernaut that AK set in motion.

Was his mother easily overwhelmed by life’s problems? Something has gone wrong (drastically) with a healthy model for his ‘anima’.

Where Amanda is the arch manipulator, he is highly manipulable. He seems to copy. Like her, his self-identity is weak, but for different reasons. Drug use, I would suggest, has been both crucial and disastrous for his mind. From this point of view, prison will be a constructive environment for him, (as AK too). Perhaps without the distorting and illusory aspects of drugs he might begin, over many years, to experience true spiritual (and therefore moral) issues.

I always think drugs give a delusion of spiritual experience (‘the highs’),  - wanting them can be (for an introvert) indicative of longing for something more spiritual, but using them will actually prevent such an experience, emphatically.

So then there is bitterness and emptiness, as well as despair and, still, confusion. Thus the addiction which starts as a cycle in the mind.

I knew a psychologist who worked with highly motivated and successful people in the Arts - people who would have burn out, creativity, and performance issues. He was extremely clever. But he was adamant that there had to be a hierarchy for dealing with problems.

That is to say, if someone was using drugs and/or alcohol to the point of misuse (extremely common in the performing arts), - this problem had to be mastered and dealt with FIRST, before anything else could even be addressed. This may seem irrelevant (as Sollecito hasn’t shown he is creative), - but I would
say the signs are that his past (and current?) drug use needs to be sorted before anything else can possibly be.

Such a destructive shame that this has all dragged on for 7years.

I don’t think he has any idea as to how to give a ‘press conference’ - even supposing , by a miracle, he was going to tell the unadulterated truth. He is way out of his depth. I doubt he has sufficient communication skills in his own language, let alone In English for the American media.


5. And The Take Of Hopeful On RS Now

As he is back in the spotlight for the July 1 press conference, your observations about him are timely. He does seem more introverted than Knox, and less articulate. Correct me if I misinterpret what you said about him, that rather than lash out at others aggressively like Knox does to disperse and blame others for her awful feelings about her dark side, Sollecito does the opposite and feels the weight of shame but turns the unbearable feelings inward. He is poster child for passive-aggressive.

I also believe he does have a sense of deep loyalty and faithfulness to his family, since his father has never abandoned him nor did his mother. He has misplaced loyalties at times, and combines a stubborn streak with false sense of need to persevere after he has made wrong steps.

This comment is mainly a review of what you conclude about Raf, but bears repeating. He is ashamed of his “catastrophically bad judgment.” I agree, his pride is wounded, his vanity more than his love for Knox.

I believe Raffaele sincerely regrets what he realizes he has done to his own family, but still can’t quite confess it. Maybe part of him is sorry but part of him is secretly glad he is controlling his father’s destiny, in punitive action for divorcing his mother. He also sent his sister’s career down the cliff. His sister is really to blame for that so with true passive-aggressive deceptiveness he can hide his responsibility for it while causing it.

His wanky emotions have made a trainwreck of his intelligence and caused him to do “idiotically stupid” things and self-destruct.

His drug use to relieve inner confusion caused by lack of self-identity is a coping method that does more harm than good. His patience is more of a drug stupor that makes him slow to act, than real gritted teeth patience, which may be why we’ve waited this long (6 years) for him to reveal the truth about Knox.

He stayed in a cloud of marijuana until she came along. She liked the drugs, too. He allowed her to set the course of his life because he needed or wanted a woman to sort out his emotions. Maybe he was competing with dad with a new hot blondie, too. He didn’t fathom that Knox would become so extreme and so terrifying.

He underestimated Knox, and she saw she could manipulate and destroy him with one hand tied behind her back. She reveled in the besotted weakling, and she felt superiority over Guede too, and soon despised them both. She wouldn’t fall into some darkened room or quiet void of depression like Raffaele’s mom had done giving up on life. The insulated quiet Italian boy raised scrupulously did not see that with Knox he would be “swallowed up in the juggernaut AK set in motion”. He wanted her power and excited vision, but he couldn’t understand her mental illness that went with it. Love is blind.

As long as he could blame her and not himself maybe he was OK with it, especially with drugs to dull the pain, until he felt the full impact of her punishment and years later her treachery. Finally he grew a brain and saw it was Knox who betrayed him, not vice versa. Maybe the press conference is to set that straight.

His drug use got him through much of his first year of prison when he lost all sense of time and space. He was a basketcase. He probably used meds his last 3 years behind bars as well. Perhaps Dr. Sollecito saw that his son got legal prescriptions for him, maybe even purchasing prison favors that way, who knows?

Maybe Knox scoffed at Raf’s crutch, and she continued to compete with him behind bars. She scoffed at her mom for taking antidepressants. Knox had no room to talk as she herself was reportedly a massive drug user at UW and in Italy found a job where liquor flowed.

Has Raf continued the drug use? Does Greta his new girlfriend use drugs? Or has he sworn them off motivated by anger and determination to clear his head for his legal fight?

The concept of “anima” is unknown to me, although the term is familiar. I will research it online, thank you. Your insights are always valuable, thank you for sharing them. Thanks for educating us in the short comment format which can’t do justice to your full knowledge of the subject, but does shed a lot of light and points the way.


Raffaele’s mother and her sad demise seem to be at the root of her son’s depression. Raf has lack of confidence and the need to bluff where he feels no real power. He and Knox are still learning tricks from each other.

I think Knox may have been a father-figure to him in a twisted way, because Amanda is energetic and adventurous and for a short while in Perugia seemed to have it all together and be a hard worker like his dad. Raf met Knox at the peak of her exhileration with her new life in Italy. Like a drug high, it might not have lasted. He was completely deceived.

He may have felt he could never compete with his older sister who might have seemed to him like Amanda and his dad: energetic, capable, feet on ground. This is probably what Raf needs in his life.

Raf commented on Knox living life as if in a dream, there was no reality in her mind, she lived only for pleasure. Maybe he did not like this side of her. This was his wakeup call and he spoke about it openly because it was something he didn’t like, having thought at first glance she was a strong American. He didn’t know whether to attribute her odd mental impracticality to her nationality, her genetics, her femaleness, or her unknown religious upbringing. He had no clue, and maybe it even made him feel stronger and more grounded by comparison since he had formerly thought of himself as a tetherless dreamer but he didn’t want another spaced out confused dreamer like himself for a partner and was having second thoughts. He preferred her rough kick-butt side. She was the brother he never had, a wild West type, a cowboy to climb trees with and roam the range, the key to a new country after his launch to Munich didn’t work out.

In early childhood Raf maybe got labeled or saw himself as “slow” or “dumb” and began to live a self-fulfilling prophecy. He might have felt misunderstood knowing that he did have a lot of intelligence, but that he did not have the same personality as his dad or sis, and not wanting to be equated with his pushed aside mom. He must have felt very alone.

He also may be carrying a lot of shame about his MPD Psycho habit and his secret fantasy life of violence.

Raffaele may have been turned off yet partly tantalized by his father’s profession. A doctor sees a lot of blood and gruesome things with the body.

Raffaele may hero worship a father who can face such grotesque things without wincing, and a sister who had power with the police and saw crime victims.

You mention the Arts and a psychologist who treated performers with burnout and creative types who needed help or a life coach. Maybe Raffaele does see himself as more that artsy type of person, someone wanting to create computer games, sci-fi fantasy, or be an “Experience Teller”. He did write a book, so maybe he does fall into the category of artistic temperament, which often needs a guide or an infusion of stiffened backbone to face the realities of life in a business sense.

Knox seems to be struggling with math, yet her mom is a math teacher and her dad an accountant.


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Fifty Of The Most Common Myths Still Promoted Without Restraint By The Knox PR Campaign

Posted by The Machine



Fooled ya! Knox’s parents have the mythmaking machine’s pedal to the floor, and arent slowing it

Introduction

I’ve listed the 50 most common myths circulating in the media with regard to the Amanda Knox/Meredith Kercher case and refuted them using as far as possible the official court documents and court testimony.

Click here for more


Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Knox Interrogation Hoax #1: Overview Of The Series - Multiple Knox Versions v One Stark Truth

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[Amanda Knox at trial on 28 February, the day Inspector Rita Ficarra testified]

1. Court-Accepted Events Of 5-6 November 2007

This is an overview of Knox’s so-called “interrogation” at Perugia’s central police station, the subject of the first ten posts.

It led to her arrest and three years served. To make this picture really firm we will quote a lot of the testimony at trial. The Case Wiki carries all of these transcripts, many in English translation, and more. 

Senior Inspector Rita Ficarra testified that she arrived back at the police station late on 5 November, and finds her way blocked by a cartwheeling Knox.

She rebukes Knox, who testily responds that she is tired of the investigation. Rita Ficarra tells Knox to go home and get some sleep. Knox testily refuses, and remains there.

Shortly after, Ficarra suggests to Knox that if she really wants to help, she could add to the list of possible perps - men who Meredith knew and who might have visited the house.

As the defenses themselves acknowledge during their cross-examinations of key investigators present on the night, this was an informal recap/summary session, a simple checking of facts with someone who might or might not be of help.

This could have been done on a street corner or in a house by a single officer. It was not a witness or suspect interrogation.

Knox eagerly agrees. So they begin on the list.

This goes slowly because of language problems, until an interpreter, Anna Donnino, arrives. In total only Knox and four others (three of them women) are present.

Knox builds a list of seven people and adds maps and phone numbers (placed in evidence) in a calm proceeding. These were the names: Peter Svizzero, Patrick, Ardak, Juve, Spiros, Shaki and “a South African [Guede]” who played basketball near the house.

At several points in the evening Knox is provided with refreshments. No voices are ever raised, no bathroom breaks are refused.

Inspector Napoleoni and a couple of colleagues are seeking facts from Sollecito in a separate wing. Shown conflicts between what he has said and what his phone records show, Sollecito backtracks and declares that Knox went out alone, and made him lie.

Knox is gently informed of this, and nobody reports any immediate reaction. Knox defense lawyers in cross examination do not go there at all.

Suddenly, to the considerable surprise of all present, Knox has a yelling, head-clutching conniption (the first of several that night) when they observe a text she had denied sending, saying she would see that person later.

Knox explains that it was Patrick, who they had never heard of, along with a torrent of yelled accusations. As described at trial, various efforts are made to try to help Knox to calm down.

Despite warnings she should not do so without a lawyer, Knox insists on a recorded statement which says she headed out to meet Patrick that night after he texted her. She accuses Patrick of killing Meredith. 

Knox is put on hold, given more refreshments, and made comfortable on some chairs so she might try to get some sleep.

A second session ending at 5:45 is intended as merely a formal reading of Knox’s legal status and her right to a lawyer, with Dr Mignini presiding.

Having again been strongly warned that she should not do so without a lawyer present and no questions can be asked, Knox nevertheless insists on a spontaneous statement culminating in a second recorded statement.

This also says she went out to meet Patrick that night, also accuses Patrick of killing Meredith, and now also hints Sollecito may have been there. 

Just before noon, now under arrest and about to be taken to Capanne Prison, Knox insists on writing out at length a third statement this time in English.

She gleefully hands it to Rita Ficcara who of course cannot read it as she as no English. In the statement, Knox included this damning remark without any mention of having been coerced: “The questions that need answering, at least for how I’m thinking are… 2. Why did I think of Patrik?”

Knox’s lawyers have never ever substantially challenge this version. At trial they accept that there was no interrogation, leave standing that Knox insisted on all three statements, and dont ever pursue Knox’s claims that she was coerced.

In July 2009 at trial Knox herself tried to challenge this scenario in face of days and days of prior testimony. Of course she was disbelieved. For the calunnia framing of Patrick Lumumba Judge Massei sentenced her to a year more than Sollecito, later amended by Judge Hellmann to three years served.

The Supreme Court overruled her appeal. For her false claims she is a felon for life with the possibility of more years inside.

2. The Knox-Promoted Alternative Version

This will be the subject of many later posts. Though her precise claims vary and often contradict one another, Knox herself has on and off since November 2007 tried to portray otherwise the cause of her conniption and her false accusation of Patrick for the death of Meredith.

For example read this post of 11 February 2009 which was about two weeks before the Knox “interrogators” were cross-examined at trial, and several months before Knox herself took the stand.

Her defense team furthered this version in the annulled appeal in 2011, and she did so in for example her April 2013 book, her December 2013 email to Judge Nencini, her appeal to EHCR Strasbourg, some TV and newspaper interviews, including one with the Italian weekly Oggi and now her further appeal to the Supreme Court. 

This version has been blown up by a number of others in internet posts, articles, TV interviews, and books. Among others propagating it have been Raffaele Sollecito (in his book), Doug Preston, Saul Kassin, John Douglas, Jim Clemente, Paul Ciolino, Michael Heavey, Greg Hampikian, Chris Halkidis, Mark Waterbury, Doug Bremner, Candace Dempsey, Nina Burleigh, Steve Moore, Bruce Fischer, and many posters on the Knox sites and on Ground Report.

  • Here is Steve Moore claiming that around a dozen cops in rotating tag teams of two assaulted a starving and sleepless Knox over 20/30/40 hours, threatened her, and refused her a lawyer throughout.

  • Here is Saul Kassin claiming that Knox was interrogated over the entire night of 5-6 November, until she was finally broken and a coerced “confession” emerged - even though the “false confession” actually framed Patrick and was in reality a false accusation. That Kassin ignores.

  • Here are several former profilers actually expanding upon the same claims in a book with (today) 60 five-star reviews.

And yet Knox’s own Italian lawyers specifically denied her accusations! No complaint against the police was ever lodged.

And of course Judge Massei, the discredited Judge Hellmann, and Cassation all disbelieved the claims and Knox served her three years.

But still the hoax keeps rolling on, on TV and books and websites.

3. The Intended Course Of Our Interrogation-Hoax Series

Hopefully we will get this done in 20 posts. Starting in the next post is trial testimony, the first from Inspector Ficarra, newly translated by the professional translator ZiaK.

Rita Ficarra presided over the first recap/summary with Knox (again, a recap/summary is not an interrogation) on 5-6 November and was later present when Knox was read her rights.

We’ll then post more newly-translated trial testimony of other police present at the central police station on the night, and what the magistrates in 2008 and 2008 and trial and appeal judges from 2009 to 2014 made of this.

Then we enter the alternative universe of the numerous conspiracy claims, extending to Sollecito’s 2012 book and Knox’s 2013 book, her lengthy email to Judge Nencini in 2014, and so to her appeal to Cassation, pending as of this date.

4 A Guide To Posts In The Series

This list of posts is updated each time a new post in the series is added.

Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #1: Overview Of The Series - The Two Version of the 5-6 Nov 2007 Events

Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #2: Trial Testimony From Rita Ficcara On Realities 5-6 Nov

Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #3: More Defense Pussyfooting Toward Rita Ficcara, Key Witness

Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #4: More Hard Realities Fron Rita Ficcara, More Nervousness From Defense

Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #5: Key Witness Monica Napoleoni Confirms Knox Self-Imploded 5-6 Nov

Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #6: Sollecito Transcript & Actions Further Damage Knox Version

Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #7: Testimony Of Witness Lorena Zugarini On The Knox Conniption 5-6 Nov

Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #8: Testimony Of Interpreter Anna Donnino On Events Night Of 5 November

Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #9: Officer Moscatelli’s Recap/Summary Session With Sollecito 5-6 Nov

Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #10: Challenge To Readers: Spot The Two Landmines For Lawyers & Knox

Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #11: Why Prosecution And Defenses Never Believed Knox’s Version

Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #12: Proof Released That In 5-6 Nov Session Knox Worked On Names List

Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #13: The First Two Pre-Trial Opportunities Which Knox Flunked

Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #14: The Third Pre-Trial Opportunitty Which Knox Flunked

Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #15: Dr Mignini’s Knowledge Of Knox “Interrogation” Explained To Media

Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #16: The Fourth Pre-Trial Opportunity Which Knox Flunked

Click here: The Knox Interrogation Hoax #17: Sollecito April 2008 Before Supreme Court Again Coldsholders Knox

Click here:The Knox Interrogation Hoax #18: The Final Pre-Trial Opportunities Which Knox Flunked


Sunday, October 06, 2013

Dr Mignini Pushes Back Against His Demonizers Trying To Pin To Him False “Satanic Theory” Claim

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Preston left, Spetzi center, and George Clooney who is at legal risk for his option on their defamatory book]


Previously on the mafia playbook:

As we have posted previously, the mafia and their handmaidens strive constantly to bring the Italian justice system down a peg or two. When not using dynamite, as they often have, they especially favor the weapon of character assassination.

The vilification campaign being run in the United States by David Marriott, Chris Mellas, Doug Preston, Bruce Fischer, Steve Moore, Michelle Moore, Nigel Scott, and David Anderson (and from Italy by Frank Sforza) seems to be right out of the mafia playbook, whether all of them know it or not.

How the mafia have been using the public relations campaign to their own advantage seems set to emerge further in at least five of the associated trials coming down the pike: those of Luciano Aviello, Frank Sforza, Mario Spezi, Raffaele Sollecito (his book trial) and Amanda Knox (her book trial)

And now Mario Spetzi, obviously a real glutton for punishment, once again piles on. Spetzi has had incessant run-ins with the Italian law - and now he seems to have entered some kind of self-immolation end-game.

With Doug Preston, Spetzi published several editions of their Monster of Florence scenario. These are widely discredited in Italy, not least because they are such obvious attempts to apply lipstick to a pig (half of the text is about an obviously red-handed and very very scared Preston trying to prove he did not actually melt down under interrogation for his probable felony interference in a case.)

Spetzi has been charged with interfering with and hampering both the Monster of Florence investigations and the related investigation (which involved Dr Mignini) into the Narducci drowning - a clear murder (the body was found bound and another substituted) though a nefarious group worked very hard to deny that. (They were all charged as well, and the Supreme Court has recently confirmed the correctness of that.)

In recent weeks the Supreme Court has given a firm order for both prosecutions against Spetzi to go ahead. How Spetzi stays out of prison if he is found guilty is anyone’s guess. Doug Preston came up with a calamity of an explanation for the arrest of Frank Sforza for domestic violence, but presumably his assistance wont be sought this time around. 

So in face of impending prison Spetzi really watches his tongue, right?

No, in fact in a move bizarre even by his own standards, Spetzi on 29 September published a surreal “interview” with Amanda Knox in Florence Corriere. It once again repeats the felony claim that the prosecution charged Knox and Sollecito in the first place based only on some “satanic theory”.

The Perugia prosecution has never never NEVER claimed that. The Florence prosecutor has already moved into felony-investigation mode (this could cost Spetzi more years in prison) and on 3 October Florence Corriere published this correction below by the defamed prosecution (translation is by Yummi).

This unequivocal statement (far from the first but the most prominent) has its own legal status. It is a clear legal warning to the likes of Chris Mellas and Bruce Fischer that if they sustain the libel they are at risk of felony charges also.

The statement has already had a strong ripple effect in Italy. Many former allies - some of them not very savory - now feel that Spetzi has lied to and betrayed them for his own ends.

To the editor of Florence Corriere

Dear Director,

I am Giuliano Mignini, the magistrate who performed the investigation and trials of first instance and appeal in Perugia against the people accused of the murder of Meredith Kercher, as well as the investigation into the death of Francesco Narducci linked to the one performed by the Florence Prosecution Office in relation to the masterminds of the “Monster of Florence” murders.

I saw reported the interview that the journalist Mario Spezi – a person accused in the Narducci case – did with Amanda Knox, a main defendant in the appeal trial that will start today – published in the Corriere Fiorentino on Sep. 29.
 
In two recent cases the Court of Cassation has annulled verdicts, which acquitted Knox and Sollecito, and which decided [by Judge Micheli] a dropping of charge against Spezi (the parts regarding ‘lack of certainty about malice’ were annulled too).

Therefore I don’t need to add anything further on that point.  Instead, I need to point out the falsehood of an assertion which Mr. Spezi makes at the beginning of his article, as he tries to explain the reason for a link which, in his opinion, allegedly exists between the two cases, the one related to the Monster murders and Narducci’s death, and the one about the Kercher murder.

Mr. Spezi’s text says: “… a strangely similar background, for two different cases, behind which the magistrate thought he could see satanic orgies on the occasion of Halloween for Amanda, and ritual blood sacrifices as a worship to the Devil in the Monster of Florence case…”.

This is an assertion that Mr. Spezi and crime-fiction author Douglas Preston have been repeating for years, but does not find the smallest confirmation in the documentation of the two trials, nor in the scenario put forward by the prosecution in which the Meredith murder (which didn’t happen on Halloween but on the subsequent night) was the consequence of a sex hazing to which Meredith herself did not intend to take part, and, above all, it was the consequence of a climate of hostility which built up progressively between the Coulsdon girl and Amanda because of their different habits, and because of Meredith’s suspicion about alleged money thefts by Knox.

Furthermore the object of the proceedings in the Narducci case is the scenario about the murder of the same Narducci and the attempt, by the doctor’s father and brother, to conceal the cause of his violent death, and this included the background within which the event – which was a homicide in my opinion and in the opinion of my technical consultant, coroner Prof. Giovanni Pierucci of the University of Pavia – had developed and taken place.

I had already denied several time assertions of such kind, but Mr. Spezi and Mr. Preston, and some people connected to them, go on repeating a lie, apparently hoping that it will become true by repeating it.

Another astonishing fact is that, despite that I was the prosecutor in the Kercher trial together with my colleague Manuela Comodi and then subsequently with my colleague Giancarlo Costagliola [at annulled apeal], and despite that I limited myself to formulating judicial requests which were all agreed to by a multitude of judges and confirmed by the Supreme Court, I am still considered as the only one responsible for an accusation against Ms. Knox and Mr. Sollecito, by twisting its content in various ways.

In the Narducci case, in the same way, I simply limited myself to performing the investigation and requesting the remands to trial, and the trial will have to start again now because the Supreme Court has annulled the dropping of charges [by Judge Micheli] and sent back the trial to another preliminary judge in Perugia.

The purpose – quite overt – of such endlessly repeated lies, is to defame the investigator, picturing him as a magistrate who is following alleged personal obsessions rather than sticking at facts, as instead he is.

The hope that such conscious misrepresentation of reality could bring advantage to the defences (foremost that of Spezi himself) is consistent with a bad habit which has all along flourished in Italy but is now also copied abroad.

Therefore I ask you to please publish my rectification against false and seriously defamatory information.

Kind regards

Giuliano Mignini

There is plenty of further reading in our posts on Dr Mignini in which the “satanic theory” has again and again been shot down. See also our posts on Spetzi & Preston.

See also this overview of the two cases requested by our poster Kmcvick.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Expected Calunnia And Diffamazione Trials Could Reverse Another Attempt To Take Justice Down A Peg

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[Above: Florence’s Chief Prosecutor Dr Quattrocchi now prosecuting defense witness Aviello]

Stance of the Supreme Court

Criminal enterprise?! Don’t take our word for it. That is what the Italian Supreme Court considers it may be, and is prompting strong measures normally held in reserve for mafia-type assaults on the justice system.

The Italian Supreme Court is nothing if not remorseless in its mandated pursuit of justice and the truth. We saw this the other day when a prison sentence was allowed to stand against the former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi who had long thumbed his nose at the courts.

We also saw it in the convictions allowed to stand against the many CIA operatives and their Italian counterparts who kidnapped Abu Omar and flew him for torture to Egypt.  Though most of their sentences were permitted to be reduced, most are still left with a felony record for life - and the lead CIA operative is now a world-wide fugitive.

We can now see this same strong reaction against contempt of the courts in the Meredith Kercher case and the Monster of Florence case and the hairbrained “defense” campaigns nominally run for the perps in those two parallel cases.

Italian officials have various reasons to believe not only that Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox are surely guilty, just as Judge Massei described, but also that they and their American supporters are foolish pawns in some much bigger and even nastier games, and deeply in over their heads.

In its annullment of the Hellmann/Zanetti appeal and its instructions to the Florence Palace of Justice, Cassation reveals its own suspicion that some very unsavory elements may be attempting to take the Italian justice system down a peg and it wants fast decisive action to stop this. A high-stakes new trial described at bottom here is a first huge warning shot. 

The “usual suspects” with anti-justice interests

As we explained three months ago in this post the “usual suspects” pretty openly working to take Italian prosecutors and police down a peg or two can be bunched into these seven groups. 

  • The three regional mafias;
  • A few defense lawyers and well-funded defendants;
  • Politicians shielding corruption;
  • In some instances the freemasons.
  • Those wanting investigations like MOF/Narducci to drop dead;
  • Muckraking magazines like Oggi;
  • Some anti-Italy foreigners.

If we look closely - a lot closer than all the UK and US media and most of the Italian media - we can spot attempts to further the interests of all seven of these groups in the campaigns against justice for Meredith and especially against justice for the Monster of Florence victims.

  • The three mafias have their toe in the door in various ways including but not only the mafioso witness Luciano Aviello (on which more below), and the Narducci 22 including Spezi, and the editors of newspapers like Oggi who have long done their handiwork for them.

  • The defense forces and the well-funded, sneering, money-grubbing defendants Knox and Sollecito are very well-known to us here; their myriad dirty tricks go as far back as early 2008 and the list has not yet stopped growing.

  • The Berlusconi loyalist and fervid Knoxaholic Rocco Girlanda wrote to the President, asking that he order that the Perugia prosecutors be investigated; Girlanda also tried to cut the national police budget before he was voted out of office..

  • Both the judges in the annuled appeal were freemasons and our main poster Yummi described the furtive freemason fingers in the pie (some freemasons feud strongly with catholics, which Perugia police and prosecutors are) in his well-researched posts here and here.

  • Those who wanted the MOF/Narducci investigations to drop dead used the ever-willing “useful idiot” Doug Preston to ridicule the investigations in a strident book and numerous media appearances; also they tried hard to take down Dr Mignini, their most recent nemesis though the Supreme Court has totally reversed that for reasons explained here.

  • The notorious editor of Oggi has a long history of sneering and essentially fact-free reporting, aimed at undermining the courts and the police; playing to his advantage, there is a smallish but terminally paranoid readership for such conspiracy myths in Italy.

  • And as for anti-Italy foreigners with their fingers in the pie, well, where to begin? Doug Preston? Nina Burleigh? Candace Dempsey? Greg Hampikian? Paul Ciolino? Judy Bachrach? Bruce Fischer? David Anderson? Joel Simon? Donald Trump?

All seven groups were happily on a roll up to around the end of 2011, when Knox and Sollecito were released, and many (including Curt Knox’s PR guru David Marriott, Hampikian, and Fischer) prematurely declared that they had won total victory.

But it is astounding how much matters have reversed in the past year and a half. Take a look at the state of play for them as it is now.

Their reversals in Meredith’s case:

Knox has served three years, will be labeled a felon for life, faces an enormously tough new appeal against an excellent prosecutor, and has her name on a book which commits against Italian officials THE EXACT SAME CRIME she served three years for: false accusations of crimes. She is expected to be charged soon by Bergamo prosectors.

Sollecito in his own book committed some of the same crimes as Knox did in hers (did we mention criminal enterprise?!) plus another one (accusing the prosecution of wanting him to roll over on Amanda) which his own father has renounced on national TV. He is expected to be charged soon by Florence prosecutors.

Everybody involved in the writing and publishing of the two criminally defamatory and very self-serving blood-money books (illegal in Italy) could soon be about to take a fall, both in the Italian criminal courts and in the US civil courts. The foolish publishers and deal-makers included, of which Curt Knox himself is one.

If neither RS nor AK turn up for the new appeal in Florence later in September, they risk warrants being issued for their re-arrest. If they DO turn up they could well turn on one another, and their books will help the prosecution and hamper the defenses no-end - with those mad claims, how can they possibly take the witness stand?

Criminal defamation charges are still pending against Amanda Knox and against both of her two biological parents. Corruption charges are pending against Francesco Sollecito and Raffaele’s sister Vanessa for attempting to use political means to up-end the Perugia prosecutors.

Judge Hellmann has been eased out ignominiously, and Judge Zanetti demoted. Conceivably both may face charges, along with Conti & Vecchiotti and maybe Hampikian. And all the defense lawyers are in a ton of trouble for helping AK and RS to write their books, Giulia Bongiorno especially. The former MP Rocco Girlanda is of course long gone. 

Many of the Knox defense forces have exited or ended up as being of no consequence: Frank Sforza (on the run from the law in the US and Italy); Halkidis and Hampikian (see Machine’‘s posts below), the hapless two Moores, the proven phoney Bruce Fischer, and so on and on. 

And US officialdom, not least the State Department and the US Embassy in Rome, still show not the slightest interest in intervening. Any judge is expected to approve extradition of Knox if her refusal to face trial and prison is sustained in face of a final guilty verdict. 

Their reversals in the Monster of Florence case.

Yummi mentioned some in the post linked to above, including the trouble rained down on the heads of the prosecutor and judge who put on trial Giuttari and Mignin, whose convictions were scathingly reversed by a very angry Supreme Court. 

The Narducci case was put back on track by the Supreme Court and a prison sentence seems a sure thing for Mario Spezi and up to 2 dozen others. A prison sentence might be incurred by the delusional weakling and serial defamer Doug Preston.

The “theory” of the MOF case Dr Mignini has good reason to hold is that the murders were not those of one single serial killer. This perception of a shadowy self-protecting group is absolutely mainstream in Italy, and is reflected in the excellent Guittari book on the case (Il Mostro) which could soon with good reason (it tells the truth) push the silly Preston MOF book off the US and UK bookshelves.

That theory is espoused by all the current prosecutors in Florence.

The one media outlet which never fails to take an anti-prosecution stance, Oggi, Is being investigated and could be put on trial for publishing Knox’s false charges against the Perugia and national police and prosecutors and may have problems hanging in there.

Dr Mignini looks set to be promoted to becoming the next attorney general of Umbria, the region of which Perugia is the capital. And the hold of the freemasons and the mafias over Italian justice is not getting any stronger, just as most Italians prefer.

And the stick of dynamite now in a Florence court

Former Sollecito witness Luciano Aviello could be the direct cause of a lot of people ending up in jail.

His trial for perjury and contempt of court is happening now in Florence. His trial has been fast-forwarded as a direct result of the Supreme Court declaring that getting to the bottom of his erratic day in court in 2011 with too-familiar mafia-type allegations must be a top priority.  His forthcoming defense is expected to be explosive.

We have posted extensively on Aviello since he first surfaced. A mafioso since his teens in Naples, now aged about 40, he has spent most of his adult years in prison. (He is back there again right now - for killing a dog and extortion.)

As police and prosecutors all know, Aviello has a very long record of making things up to try to give himself some breaks and to keep in with the mafia. He has been repeatedly convicted for perjury.

He was the witness summoned by a hapless Giulia Bongiorno to try to arrive at an explanation that fits with the prevailing conclusion of the Supreme Court that THREE people had attacked Meredith on the night.

What Aviello came up with on the stand was that his own missing brother and one other habitual criminal had unintentionally committed the murder. They were trying to steal some artworks, but they got the address of the house wrong.

Raffaele Sollecito was so thrilled at this (palpably false) testimony by Aviello that he says in his book that he sent Aviello an embroidered handkerchief, perhaps because Aviello has urges toward a sex change operation.

On the witness stand in mid 2011 Aviello really roasted the police and prosecution in mafia-type terms for failing to come down on his side and follow up on his allegations (actually they had already followed up, but found nothing).

Then two fellow inmates at his prison near Genoa testified for the prosecution that he had told them that the Sollecitos had offered or paid large bribes for any false testimony helpful to their boy getting sprung.

Extraordinarily, Judge Hellmann brushed all of this under the rug, and hurried on to other matters less embarrassing to the Sollecitos and Bongiorno.  This REALLY caught Cassation’s attention as there have been strong suspicions in Perugia and Rome that Hellmann and/or Zanetti were in the pocket of one of the families.

Why did the unqualified Judge Hellmann replace the excellent Judge Chiari, suddenly and inexplicably decided upon by Chief Judge Di Nunzio? Why are seemingly all of the lead players bending things to the Knox-Sollecito side freemasons?

Were Hellmann and Zanetti and Aviello and Aviello’s fellow inmates among those who received some sort of inducement to bend RS’s way? What was Giulia Bongiorno’s precise role in all this?

Directly, Aviello could be in a position to bring down both families, both defense teams, and both appeal judges. He could even make a guilty verdict for RS and AK a sure thing.

Criminal enterprise indeed. We will continue reporting. Oh and make sure to watch your back, Luciano. 


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Hard Line Against Seeming Self-Serving Meddling By Preston & Spezi Likely To Get Cassation Nod

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Another crazy provocation from Preston & Spezi The Angel With The Eyes Of Ice due in Germany soon]


Breaking news.  Cassation is deciding right now on a formidably worded appeal by the Umbria Prosecutor General to sustain the MOF/Narducci investigation.

The mood generally in Italy is pro the Giuttari and Mignini Monster of Florence supposition, for which there is some firm proof, and not in favor of the hairbrained Spezi and Preston supposition, for which there is none at all. Giuttiari’s book Il Mostro sells very well, while Spezi’s and Preston’s MOF hardly sells at all.

Continued investigation had been stymied by the self-serving actions of certain Florence prosecutors in charging and convicting Giuttari and Mignini for supposed harm to themselves. That conviction was reversed a year ago by an appeal judge in Florence for lack of jurisdiction, and several week ago Cassation scathingly ruled that the case must come to a total end..

The judge who found Giuttari and Mignini guilty (Francesco Maradei) is now up to his ears in his own trouble for bending court outcomes, seemingly due to pressures and bribes. Meanwhile the way has been opened for Mignini to move up to the level of Prosecutor General for Umbria (there are four prosecutor posts at that level) in the next few weeks.

Giuttari spoke out strongly about the trumped up case, and in yet another unexpected development the police chief he blamed for blocking strong pursuit of the case, Antonio Manganelli, has just died.

This post by Yummi of 21 January (especially the second half) is a vital read.

One thing you can say for the fictionalist Doug Preston: he never knows how to quit when he’s behind! 

Read our many, many posts especially by Kermit exposing Preston as a serial liar here.  This new book [image at top] by Preston and Spezi in German on Meredith’s case is promised for release next month, and included in the publisher’s blurb is this claim:

In Perugia, Italy, the British student Meredith Kercher is brutally murdered in her apartment. Prime suspect is her American flatmate Amanda Knox and her Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito. With sparse circumstantial evidence both are convicted to extremely long prison sentences. Two years later, an appeals process frees both. Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi roll out the spectacular case of Amanda Knox from scratch. Previously unpublished details, interviews with lawyers involved and the exposure of the dubious machinations of the Italian prosecutor Giuliano Mignini guarantee a breathtaking reading that can compete with any thriller.

Yeah, well, good luck with that one.

As we have reported in depth the Chief Prosecutor in Florence is already considering contempt-of-court charges for Raffaele Sollecito based on a large number of complaints about his book. If Amanda Knox’s book which is promised for next month impugns even one Italian official, she can be assured of the same..

Presumably so can Preston if this book, the latest of his many hairbrained ventures, comes forth.  More reporting right here when Cassation decides on the Prosecutor General’s appeal.


Monday, March 04, 2013

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

Posted by Peter Quennell



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


Foolish False Allegations Against Italian Officialdom Sparking Increasingly Tough Legal Reaction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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













Saturday, February 23, 2013

An Overview From Italy #3 Dr Michel Giuttari Speaks Out About The Trumped Up Florence Case

Posted by Machiavelli (Yummi)



[Dr Michele Giuttari, former head of the Mobile Squad in Florenece and prominet authoer]


Dr Giuttari and Dr Mignini are connected because they both investigated the Monster of Florence case - and because a nasty case trumped up in Florence in retaliation has just been killed by the Supreme Court. .

The erratic Mario Spezi and his timid colleague the sniper from afar Doug Preston have blown up that case to gigantic proportions, as have the Knox and Sollecito forces, and most recently (very foolishly and ill-timed, as his claims may constitute contempt of court) Raffaele Sollecito himself.

Some important background can be found in Overview #2 and Comments here.

Michele Giuttari started his police career in the 1970s’ as a mobile squad detective in Calabria; after 15 years of “Calabrian “ experience he was appointed to the Anti-Mafia Division of Naples, and subsequently became the head of the Mobile Squad in Florence.  During his Florentine service time, following investigation guidelines under the direction of prosecutor Piero Luigi Vigna, he produced a solution to the ‘Monster of Florence’ case, but also brought the investigation to an unexpected turning point.



[Former Florence chief prosecutor Piero Luigi Vigna created the “monster of Florence” term]


As Vigna deduced, the MoF was not really one serial killer, but rather the manifestation of the killing activity carried on by a small group of people, at least three.  In fact three people were found guilty for taking part to the murders;  but both prosecutor and judges were not entirely satisfied: because there was evidence – so the court concluded – that someone else was involved too, who remained unknown.

The investigation into the death of Dr Francesco Narducci was opened in Perugia in 2005 as a routine cold case, because of Narducci’s wife’s and relatives’  doubts about the “official” version of his “accidental” death in Lake Trasimeno. 



[Former Perugia doctor Francesco Narducci found drowned in Lake Trasimeno]


Points of contact between Narducci and the MoF emerged independently from two directions, from the Perugia investigation, and from Giuttari’s findings from the previous Florence investigation.

Crossed analysis with the data bank collected by Michele Giuttari showed that several people were common witnesses both in the Narducci and the MoF case, while many things in the Narducci case were not adding up (for example, the unburied body was found to have died by strangulation, not by drowning, his trachea and hyoid bone were crushed). 

Something even more unexpected was that the investigation into the Narducci case revealed - and partly itself triggered - a network or other collateral crimes. A number of people were caught engaged in criminal activities with the purpose of plotting cover-ups and obstruction of justice on this cold case.  Among them were law enforcement officers and lawyers. 

But most surprising and peculiar, there was a fierce reaction from some magistrates among the Florence judiciary, in an attempt to stop the Perugia investigation. 

The first wild accusations launched by a Florentine prosecutor against Perugia offices were proven false, so the most serious charges were dropped by a preliminary judge as obviously unfounded. 

But a second wave of legal action followed, alleging that Giuttari and Mignini’s wiretapping recordings were false;  this accusation was also proven false in a trial, as expert technicians demonstrated the authenticity of all material.

But after ignoring the objection about territorial competence the judge managed to let one accusation stand – that of abuse of office, a charge less serious than the previous ones, which was not formulated on points of facts but only on points of law – at the first degree trial.

After some years,  this charge was canceled, as the courts finally declared the whole investigation illegitimate, and they nullified both the first degree trial, and the investigation and indictment itself.

A last attempt by the Florentine prosecution to further delay closure was ended by the recent, final Supreme Court verdict.  Meanwhile, a couple of Florentine magistrates were successful in stopping the investigation into the Narducci case, for a total of seven years.   

Unfortunately these happenings are not entirely new to the Italian judiciary. This one resembles other happenings – possibly more serious – that affected the system in recent Italian history (the most famous examples are the Elisa Claps, or the plots known as “Toghe Lucane” targeting known magistrates such as Luigi De Magistris and Henry John Woodcock). 

The system shows symptoms of stress from the whole extreme political instability of the country, but so far it still manages to fiercely resist those drifts.

Michele Giuttari is also an author.  Albeit he is not the top crime fiction novelist for sales in Italy (the Italian market has top-class masters in the genre), yet he is the top-selling Italian crime writer in the English speaking world. Curiously, the best-seller among all his titles published in Italy – the non-fiction book about the history of the true MoF investigation – is the only one in his books which has so far been rejected by American publishing houses.   



[The top-selling Michele Giuttari book, the non-fiction Il Mostro]


His last book bears the title “The Evil Dreams of Florence” [image of cover at bottom] and he might have chosen it as a metaphor of what he was drawn into by some people within the Florentine authorities and some in high positions.

After the final Supreme Court verdict on Feb 8., he posted a long comment about it in Italian on his Facebook page, in which he addresses his criticism mainly toward the head of police Antonio Manganelli . 



[Chief of Italy’s civil police Antonio Manganelli]


I agree with Giuttari about the shame police chief Antonio Manganelli brought on his administration through the terrible handling of the case of the Genoa G8 violence.  In 2001 some police corps attacked and tortured peaceful demonstrators in Genoa, following political inclinations, in what was called by Amnesty International “the most serious violation of civil rights committed by police forces in Western Europe” after WW2.

The leader of the Democrats (the main opposition party) at the time called it “state violence with a fascist mark”. Recently Cassation definitively called the event a “shame”, and prominent journalist Marco Travaglio wrote an open letter to Antonio Manganelli, saying “I beg you to kick out from your police force the authors of such henious crimes” . 



[Police violence against peaceful protestors at Group of 8 meeting Genoa 2001]


Yet Manganelli (ironically his name means “batons” in Italian, and the Diaz School night assault is now remembered as “la notte dei manganelli”) –  a man who apparently has the quality of being friends with many high-profile politics – had chosen to “help” them, to defend and protect from prosecution the proven authors of political violence, while at the same time, apparently he didn’t care about what was going on in Florence and quietly pulled a curtain of silence on a “politically uncomfortable” issue. 

I add that Manganelli was recently found to be the most paid public employee of the Italian State (with a wage of 621,000 euros per year).

Dr Giuttari expressed his outrage against Manganelli in a comment on his Facebook page which I translate below: 

Seven years of deafening silence by the head of State Police Manganelli

On February 8. 2013 the Supreme Court of Cassation, by declaring them inadmissible, put the final seal on the investigations that the Florentine prosecution had “illegitimately” carried on against myself, on the basis of mere accusatory theories about absurdly formulized charges of abuse of office which, allegedly, I committed concurring together with Perugia Public Minister Giuliano Mignini in the course of official activity, during my enactment of the written orders of a PM [supervising magistrate] at the time when I was responsible for a special team which had been created by the head of the police through a Ministry decree. 

And this [Supreme Court] decision confirms, in a certain and incontrovertible way, on the one hand the “instrumental” nature of the judicial events, and on the other hand the fact that we should not ever have been investigated; and, what’s worse, that we should not ever have been tried in Florence by magistrates who weren’t impartial at all: and this is exactly what Cassation has asserted, addressing the investigators with a clear message, even if they did it by using the available legal formula of territorial incompetence (functional rectius)! 
     
So ended a case of Italian miscarriage of justice, which, besides causing damages to we the defendants, it also caused – and this is even more serious and absolutely unforgivable – the stopping in 2006 of the ongoing investigation into the death of the medical doctor Francesco Narducci in Lake Trasimeno, which was believed to be connected to the serial murders of couples around Florence (the so-called monster of Florence). 

It was seven long years of bitterness.  Seven long years of blocked investigation.  Seven long years of denial of justice to the victims’ relatives.

Seven long years during which the head of State Police held to deontologically [ethically] reprehensible behavior, which was especially serious since we are talking about a man [Manganelli] supposed to be an institutional point of reference for many people who put their lives at risk on a daily basis – who was appointed to occupy a top post (by the way, as we recently learned, a financially very, very well paid post), and he simply abandoned to his fate one police officer [myself] who had a professional history not inferior to his own, though not to his predecessor who held the same post before him.

This officer – leaving aside the solving of the monster of Florence case – was

(1) honored in the fight against the ‘ndrangheta [the Calabrian mafia] (on July 10. 2009 the Chief Prosecutor of Reggio Calabria declared publicly that Giuttari as a detective “created a turning point in the history of fight against ‘ndrangheta”);

(2) honored in the fight against the camorra (when responsible for the judiciary police department of the Anti-Mafia Division of Naples, I was appointed on request of the national Anti-mafia prosecutor Bruno Siclari for travel to South America for an important and dangerous investigation about an international drug traffic and an impressive series of murders);

(3) honored in the fight against the Cosa Nostra, and in particular the investigation of the 1993 mafia massacres of Florence, Rome and Milan (chief prosecutor Vigna, as he concluded the preliminary investigation, sent a letter to the head of the Anti-mafia Division – letter #8/95, sent on 2.2.1995 – where he stressed the officer’s important contribution);     

I could go on.

They were all “pure” investigation , with no contribution from mafia turncoats or cooperators!

And what about the head of the state police?

He didn’t do what he was supposed to in his function as the police chief:

(1) protect his officer, from risks including those deriving from the important police activities accomplished; answer – or make someone answer for his office – the explanatory letters that were sent to him, very detailed letters which had a judicial corroboration today (letters were sent directly to him on 2.20.2010 and 5.20. 2010);

(2) protect him from professional and economical damage (for example by paying in advance, as was his duty, the legal expenses)  since he knew very well that the officer operated in an institutional role, in the name of and on behalf of his administration.

He remained deaf to the various requests which were forwarded by the Minister of Interior himself at that time, he didn’t do anything. Inexplicably, he ignored everything. 

And further, I cannot keep quiet about the punishments against the cooperators in my working team.

None of them was allowed to go back to the Mobile Squad, they were all appointed to totally unrewarding duties such as guard work.  All these humiliations were offenses to the personal dignity of hard working people, as humble servants of the state let alone being police officers. And moreover it was true professional competences that were lost. 

A deafening silence.

I might go on but I want to recall instead what Manganelli did – even at the cost of his own public exposure – in favor of those colleagues who were involved in the Genoa G8 events, the saddest page in the history of Italian police to my memory!

They were actually promoted in their rank and functions! I think about what he did for them, even paying thousands and thousands of euros in advance for their legal expenses and for the provisional damage payments, as reported in newspapers (Il Secolo XIX of 5. 22. 2010, p.6).

A deafening silence.

These of the head of police are conducts reasonably leading anyone to conclude that he used a double standard, he considered his employees, involved in different cases, as divided between “sons and stepsons” (the Genoa case ended with definitive convictions of all on all charges, the case where I was involved was shown to be a judicial flop). 

Or even better put (it is incorrect to call his behavior a “double standard” or a different treatment for “sons and stepsons”)  it was actually two opposite policies, on situations that were opposites to each other.

No, that’s really not good at all. That’s not how it should be. 

And you should not ignore your own employees while you listen to those who are criminally indicted, you have your personal secretary call to fix a hearing at the Ministry with them, and you listen to them while they complain against others who were investigating them by written orders of the Public Minister ! (in the trial papers – no longer officially secret – there are phone call recordings with unequivocal meaning).

the head of police Manganelli was utterly disappointing to me, since he revealed himself to be light-years distant from the man and the officer I happened to know at the beginning of the eighties, before his drift into pernicious “political” things.

Hopefully, soon or later, a parliament inquiry on the Perugia and Florence judicial events will be appointed, to search into the behavior of some institutional personalities. I’ll be ready to offer my contribution to that.

And I’m sure Dr. Mignini will do the same too.

I conclude with a twofold question:  Will the head of police now feel some guil, at least morally as a person? Doesn’t he think he should respond – if not to an ordinary court – to the most severe tribunal of his own conscience, within his internal judgment?

Michele Giuttari,  ex-head of the Florence Mobile Squad

 



[Cover of Michele Gittari’s book “The Evil Dreams of Florence ”]


Monday, January 21, 2013

An Overview From Italy #2: Current Perceptions In Italy, Justice Perverters Fail, Mignini Vindicated

Posted by Machiavelli (Yummi)





My previous report on the bad news remorselessly building here for the defense was on the Procura Generale appeal to the Supreme Court.

One year ago – between the end of December 2011 and beginning of January 2012 – there were only rare idle comments in the Italian press about the Meredith Kercher case, more or less sarcastically noting the “suspicious” circumstances of the Appeal trial.  I recall how a mention of the topic was dropped into the last number of “ll Venerdì” of 2011.

“Il Venerdì di Repubblica” is the weekly magazine issued together with the newspaper “La Repubblica” (thus probably the most read magazine in Italy).

The cover theme of that week was provincialism – or better “the provincials” - the adjective used to assemble a sample of seven little cities (Cuneo, Voghera, Rimini, Jesi, Perugia, Benevento, Partinico), picked from different regions, and taken as examples on the theme, that is stories of “local colour”;  what goes on in small “provincial places”.  A few characters and stories are brought in to depict the local life of each place, and the voices of local authors adds something about the places.

The article about Perugia (at pages 62-68) was by Luca Cardinalini. In that number of Il Venerdì, having stories of “local colour” as weekly theme, there were shades of ironic tones for each city, often through the voice of local intellectuals. As Perugia is described, the Meredith trial is quickly recalled among its local stories; the reader can’t miss how this is viewed as in connection with another most remarkable feature of the city, that is Masonry.

According to Luca Cardinalini and Enrico Vaime, Masonry is called a “Specialty” of Perugia, like chocolate. Local author Enrico Vaime intends to convey the people’s perception about shady powers existing in the city, about a local environment saturated by plots and informal powers, as something behind recent strange judicial decisions such as the Hellmann verdict and the apparent dropping of the Narducci case.  The widespread belief of Perugians that the Public Minister (prosecutor) is the righteous one shines through the words of Enrico Vaime.

Also notice how racism appears to be another key perception about the verdict. Quality media press in Italy has a typical style of understatement.  This comment hints that it seems obvious that the Appeal was a racist verdict - and it was “expected” that they would find a way to blame the black one and the outcast. 

Some of Perugian “provincialism” seems to include a very narrow localism of Perugian identity: a person from Orvieto is reported to be called “a foreigner” ; but this is because the cultural viewpoint is based on the assumption of a personal knowledge of all people.  In among this, there is Vaime’s knowledge about how rooted Masonic tradition and power is in the city, in a scenario of “brotherhoods” and “tribes” (the article includes a photo of the most known “Masonic” monument in Perugia: the gryphon or griffen – the emblem of Perugia – grabbing a toppled Pope’s Tiara in a sign of rebellion). 

The report by Vaime is objectively correct : the concentration of members of Masonic lodges in Perugia is the highest in the world, about 5 times the national average of Italy (which is anyway very high). 

In Vaime’s wording decent people in Perugia are ‘Christians’ or ‘Communists’ – these are the names he uses to address the main categories he sees as “good” people, two transparent moral systems.  He devolves skepticism toward the less transparent allegiances, the murky and informal connections to powers. 

I believe these perceptions from one year ago, in this colorful article about Perugia, should be most interesting to the readers of this site.

The first part of the article on Perugia is not that interesting - it speaks mostly about a local character named Ivano Massetti, nicknamed “Savonarola of Umbrian football”,  the director (“boss”) of a local TV network and leading showman of his own soccer talk show. I skipped this first part with depictions of local folks, and get to the point at p.66 where the Kercher case is first mentioned. 

This is my translation of the article from this point:

[…](p.66 line 17):

As Enrico Vaime – a 100% Perugian, a writer, and among many other things fiercly provincial – already knows: “Only in Perugia do you hear people saying “actually Tizio [random guy] was not a native from Colombella, but from Piccione”, which is three times further”. And when his grandfathers (farther of his father) bearing the same name Enrico Vaime, moved his formal place of residence [to Perugia] from Spello, on the official documents they wrote “emigrated to Perugia and married to a foreigner from Orvieto”.

The roots are extremely deep. “Still today” Vaime says “when I say to my family “we go back home”, I mean here, in Perugia, where I have not owned a house for decades. And I still call the roads and shops with the names they had when I was a child, even if now the owners are foreigners, from Shangai or, as I say, from Terni”.

Vaime is cross with the bad reporters who described Perugia, in the Meredith murder case, as a capital of corruption and vice: “An invasion of charlatan journalists who, as they believed they were visiting a remote and lost province, they painted it as a sort of Chicago on the Trasimeno Lake”.

[The fact] that no Perugian was involved in that sad story, to them that was an irrelevant detail. And the trial ended just the way many Perugians expected: a black guy first wrongly put in jail, another black one convicted, the two white, good-looking, wealthy and well defended young people, free.

So it was that the Public Minister Giuliano Mignini became a target. He’s a Perugian whom the Perugians know as the dominus of the other judicial case – this also is, yes, entirely local – about which everybody talks and knows, but always in a low voice: the death of doctor Francesco Narducci,  the one suspected of having ties to the crimes of the Monster of Florence. From the judicial point of view that was - by half – just another hole-in-the-water [a failure] for which some critics have hastily put the blame on some alleged lunacy of the public minister.

But…  however… meanwhile, this [Naducci] corpse-swap was indeed found to have been for sure, a kind of unique case in the criminal history of the country. And, for what concerns the recent acquittals of those characters involved in this death, well, after almost a year and a half we are still waiting for the verdict motivations. All of the suspects were esteemed high-class professionals. That’s a perfect mix of strange deaths, sex, lead-astray investigations, and Masonry; this is in the city with the highest number of Masonic lodges in Italy.

Vaime sighs: “Masonry is something alien from me, but I have many friends who are in it. In Perugia it works as a compensation chamber for various powers, but also as an effort for the surge of the spirit to many decent people. Masters, masons and “33”, but all of them decent Perugians”.  Masonry is considered a local specialty, just like the bruschetta or the Etruscan arch.

“One day you find out that that mediocre employee of your acquaintance, or the one who performed an incredible career in the public administration or in politics, is a ‘son of Horus’. Then you either laugh, or you slap yourself on the forehead just like saying to yourself “Wow! [how could I ] think about it!”. “That travet* [*a generic mediocre opportunist employee], too” 

Vaime says “to me it is a strange Perugian, with little interest for the Egyptian god compared to his covet for entering inner circles of a certain world. Their internal motivation is “I want to see how the lords sit at the table”. But in there [Masonry], you see, there are also good Christians and good Communists; as has always happened in this province, which has the art of living together in its genes”.

[…. ]



This month – Jan 2013 – the Italian press returned to the topic of the case again in a few brief articles. This time it was because of Sollecito’s book.

After Maurizio Molinari’s report from New York on the book in September, and the busting by Bruno Vespa on Porta a Porta of Francesco Sollecito, who ended up openly contradicting his own son’s statements, another hint appeared in the local press about what is cooking up backstage. 






This article in Perugia Today has a neutral take, but the same understatement and kind of vagueness as it anticipates that something very likely will happen.

What I find most delightful is the quotation marks in the title around the word “author” – journalist Nicola Bossi doesn’t believe for a moment that Sollecito actually wrote the book: 

Meredith Case: “author” Sollecito at risk of criminal lawsuit

The recounts about an alleged negotiation in order to pin the main charges on Amanda Knox, and unproven violence by the Perugia Police are under target. Mignini is considering criminal lawsuit.

Written by Nicola Bossi – Jan 4. 2013  

The Meredith case is not closed, and this despite books and movies almost tend to drop it after the acquittal in second instance of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito - who were convicted in first degree for the murder of the English girl that took place in Via della Pergola.

On upcoming March the 25th the Court of Cassation of Rome will have to decide on the request for a re-opening the trial, submitted by the Procura with the authorization of Public Minister Giuliano Mignini.

In the environment of the magistrates there is confidence about a [guilty] verdict that many – in Italy and in the USA - have heavily attempted to discredit. But from the same environments around them, they talk about a greatly serene Mignini making assessments about the next strategic moves, following the attacks directed against him – and against those in Law Enforcement who cooperated with him – contained in the book by Raffaele Sollecito.

An upcoming criminal defamation lawsuit is becoming more and more likely every day, especially about some particular paragraphs. The material published by Sollecito has already resulted in discussions and clamor above all about claimed negotiations [with the prosecution]  aiming to shift the blame onto Amanda alone, to be rewarded with his immediate release.

But there are also accusations against the Police about violence during his interrogations. “If you dare get up and walk, I beat you up in a bloody pulp and I kill you. I leave you in a pool of blood”. This is what you read in the book ‘Honour Bound’ issued in the US, as what Sollecito attributes to the Perugian officers.

“They wanted me to lie so they could frame Amanda”: this is the premise of the claimed negotiations claimed to indirectly involve Mignini too, which he always denied. Allegedly this would have been enough to get [Sollecito] out from prison soon, leaving the American woman in trouble.

So, these are grave accusations which Mignini apparently does not intend to let go unpunished. The criminal lawsuit is likely to be filed earlier than the date of Cassazione [25 March].

 

Another small piece of news is this article below published in Leonardo and written by Valentina Cervelli: 

It seems basically a “commented” version of the Perugia Today article. Cervelli adds a few polite lines on her own thoughts in this piece, published on the Bbooks page of Leonardo,it; this is my translation:

Is Raffaele Sollecito going be sued soon for “Honor Bound”?

By Valentina Cervelli -  6. Jan 2013

Are there troubles in sight for Raffaele Sollecito? His “Honour Bound” book is going well in the United States in terms of sales, but here in Italy it might be soon result for him in a lawsuit for defamation by the Law Enforcement forces and by the Public Minister Giuliano Mignini.

As we know already, in Honor Bound – My journey to hell with Amanda Knox and return Raffaele Sollecito has reconstructed the whole judiciary story from his point of view, telling in his autobiography what [he says] is his own truth.

On March 25 Cassation in Rome will decide on the [prosecution] request for the re-opening of the trial submitted by the Procura authorized by Giuliano Mignini, after the acquittal in the second instance of the two main accused, Sollecito and Amanda Knox.

The young woman has returned back to her country and we bet it’s going to be difficult, if not impossible, to get her back in our country even in case of retrial after Cassation and a possible conviction. But lets leave aside this possible dispute and lets focus on the book. In Raffaele’s book Mignini is iimplicated because he reportedly comes out discredited. In the material published by Sollecito in his book he even talks about alleged negotiations in order to blame Knox alone, obtaining in reward a quick release.

And what about the allegations of Police violence during interrogations? Of course we don’t get into the merits, but it seems obvious that parties that may be considered offended would tend to launch a counter-attack to defend their dignity and their work. At the moment no lawsuit has been submitted. But with much probability that will be done before the decision of Cassazione.

By now we can only wait for the publishing of the book in our country, in order to assess with our minds what Raffaele Sollcito has written and the “hot” material published in his made-in-the-US autobiography.

By the way; one thing Valentina Cervelli might get wrong is the purported good sales of Sollecito-Gumbel’s book.

The Amazon.com site is reliable as quick indicator of a product’s success;  the price of a new copy of “Honor Bond” on Amazon.com is now $ 3.51 (last week it was 3.76; the cover price is $ 24). It suggests sales are not quite as expected.  The drop speed is significant if you consider that the book has been out for only four months.



[Above: the Florence Palace of Justice]


While many honest magistrates seem to be working in Florence, there is still some strange behavior by one or two people in the Florence prosecution office.

Iin particular by the chief prosecutor there were some unexplainable decisions.  As people reading this site know, Giuliano Mignini and Michele Giuttari were convicted (of some of the charges) in the first degree trial in Florence. 

The motivations document was disconcerting because: besides the proof of their innocence on the main charge, what was described as the evidence on the remaining charge constituted extremely weak and vague arguments for what was claimed about Giuttari, while they were totally non-existent about Mignini. 

In the second instance appeal as we know the court completely crushed the trial case.

The case against them collapsed not because of a technicality, as the FOAs falsely claimed. In the figment of their imagination the Knox supporters erroneously thought that the Florence court had an “option” to overturn the case, to find Mignini and Giuttari innocent, but that they instead decided to pass the judgment on to some other tribunal.

The pro-Knox believers are probably also ready to believe blindfolded that there was some kind of evidence against Mignini.

The Knox believers are wrong. What in fact happened in Florence is something almost unique in a judge’s career. The first remarkable event was the decision by the Florence court of nullifying the first degree verdict. They did not simply overturn the verdict (neither change, or “reform” it as we say) since an overturning would imply acceptance that a previous verdict actually existed and was legitimate.

The cancellation was in fact an in limine act about the validity , which does not require an assessment about it correctness. The court went way beyond. In fact they nullified the whole trial, not only the previous one in terms of judgment, but also the preliminary hearing, and the indictment; and even the request of indictment. 

It is a legal outcome not comparable to a simple change or overturning because it is a ruling that the whole proceeding was illegitimate from the very roots. The investigation itself of Mignini and Giuttari was declared illegitimate. 

If elements were found for the opening of an investigation, the prosecutor would be entitled to carry on their duties, though the investigators should be from another territory.  This is important because the Florence court found evidence that people from the same office were involved in cases against Giuttari and Mignini, both as offended parties and as prosecutors. 

Because of a basic conflict of interest, the local prosecutors were incompatible and the Procura of Florence had no jurisdiction. Not even Genoa would be compatible.

Florentine prosecutors therefore had no right to bring cases against Mignini and Giuttari. The investigation files now must now be sent to the competent jurisdiction – where they should have been sent from the beginning – which is Turin; there other legitimate prosecutors will decide if and how there is anything to investigate about, and if there are any charges to bring against anyone.  The Florentine trials should have never taken place. The court ordered that the legitimate investigators are the Procura of Turin. 

In addition, they also ruled that the court of Florence would be an incompetent jurisdiction in any further possible case that stems from that investigation: since the competent prosecution is Turin, in case elements for the indictment of anyone for any charge are found, in the future, everything should go to a court in Turin – this, only if there will be any charge to bring to court . 

This decision in Florence was a total debacle for the Florence prosecutors.  It is in fact “politically” much worse than an overturning of a verdict. It is not just a like a different conclusion on the merit, it is the decision to take away even the investigation from them, a kind of implicit censure of their work as highly illegitimate.

But at this point in the procedings, something even worse and even more strange happened.  The Procura of Florence did something even more unusual, in fact unprecedented as far as I know. 

Apparently the Florence prosecutors are not happy at all to pass the investigation file on to Turin. For some reason they seem instead to want to do unnecessary and irrelevant hard work instead.  The Florentine prosecutors impugned the decision and revisited this at the Supreme Court against the Florentine judges.

This step is almost unheard of because the decision of the Florence appeal court is of a type that manifestly cannot be impugned at the Supreme Court. The recourse is obviously going to be declared inadmissible. If that submission was done by a private citizen, they would get a heavy fine for that.

Here it is a power in the Florence judiciary branch making this inadmissible move; for unknown reasons. 

I’d like to know the real motive behind the latest Florence move, the only effect of which can be a waste of time (and money), a delay, of at least one or maybe two more years, which only makes the failure of the whole proceeding against Mignini and Giuttari more likely due to lapse on an expiration terms.

I say “I’d like to know” but in fact one motivation stands out as obvious:  the whole proceeding against Giuttari and Mignini, from the first bringing of the charges at the lower courts, appeared as having a wasting of time among its purposes. 

One practical effect - maybe a practical purpose - of pushing the charges against Mignini, was taking the file about the Monster of Florence case links with the Narducci case away from Perugia. By this move, the Florentine prosecutors managed to factually put their hands on the Narducci-MoF file and remove it from the investigating powers in Perugia.

Another effect of this was delay. Now this latest move looks as if its purpose were to delay, as much as possible, the transfer of the legal documents to Turin.   

What is the ultimate event that, by all this, they seem to be seeking to delay?  I can’t know for sure, I can only guess; in fact, I have only one answer, which also stands out as something obvious for those who know a bit of the backstage: 

Giuliano Mignini is not an ordinary magistrate, he belongs to the Anti-Mafia Territorial Division of Umbria, and recently was selected for a further promotion by the Supreme Council of Magistrates.

In fact what is delayed is the advancing of Mignini’s career:  in fact he has been already promoted to a directive function; but, by the rules, his taking the post was frozen while awaiting the outcome and conclusion of the Florentine prosecution. 

Prosecutor Mignini is de facto already functioning as a prominent Magistrate in Perugia and considered as such; but formally he has not been given the directive power.  Several people – among them Spezi and a number of his journalist friends, but possibly also other much more important people too – are likely not at all eager to see Mignini awarded further power.

About the latest endeavor by Raffaele Sollecito, who became liable for criminal defamation by writing false allegations about Mignini and others in his book, I expect - as logically unavoidable – that several powers and subjects will basically have no option but taking legal against him.

There will be a strategic necessity to doing this in order to prevent extradition issues in the future, but also, above all, on principle, because Sollecito made false claims about public institutions that needt to have their names cleared.  Considering the kind of allegations against the judiciary as an institution, and considering that Mignini is a judge of the Anti-Mafia Division, this is the kind of lawsuit that I see as likely to be submitted on a national level, in Rome. 

If that is the case, it would not be the only strange thing that the courts of Rome will deal with.

It seems like there is a kind of “curse”  on proceedings related to the Narducci case. All sections of the Supreme Court which have been asked seem to have attempted to declare themselves ‘incompetent’ about re-opening the cases related to the Perugian doctor. The Cassazione is a huge office with a hundred judges working there, but maybe not so many of them are eager to deal with this case.

This could be only a coincidence. It only brings up to my mind, through a free association of thoughts, a more generic question – a personal question of mine – that is whether the words “Masonry” and “Politics” have an echo in Roman corridors too.

*****

Finally I want to add another significant piece of Italian news. 

The news a week ago was that the Procura of Florence is investigating a possible corruption/mafia plot involving construction enterprises and politicians that revolves around the building of a new high speed railway in Florence.

Some 31 people are being investigated and among them is the former governor of Umbria. A huge drilling machine – nicknamed the “Mona Lisa” – used to dig subway tunnels in Florence was sequestrated by the Procura. 

In the last couple of years Perugia’s prosecution office had a main role in fighting political corruption, but it seems that the Florence Anti-Mafia division is also active, just as it was in the times when the prosecutor Vigna worked with them.

Vigna was the one who first evolved the “secret sect” scenario in the Monster of Florence case, raising unexpected problems among the Procura staff.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Powerpoints #20: On Contradictions, Here Preston Contradicts Preston

Posted by Kermit



[James Frey, Stephen Glass and Clifford Irving; writers caught playing fast-and-loose with the truth]


This is the second in a new Powerpoint series. Click here if you have Powerpoint or the Powerpoint Viewer program loaded. If not here is the Viewer download.

In the first question that we posed to fiction thriller writer (and now, self-described “point-of-view journalist”, whatever that euphemism means) Douglas Preston a few days ago, we asked him about his and Spezi’s Afterword to their book The Monster of Florence.

It appears to be full of errors and insinuations in linking the MoF to the Meredith Kercher murder case. A book that is based on a “True Story” should not be found to be derelict in presenting errors or fiction as true fact, neither at its end, nor in its beginning, nor in any other point between.

In this, the second question that we pose to Preston (and Spezi, if he’s available for replies), we go to the start of the story, where Preston recalls how he met Spezi, in the smoky haze of a backroom of the Caffè Ricchi in the centre of Florence and first learned of the existence of the monster … or did he? 

The problem is that in equally emphatic terms, you can also hear Preston on an NBC Dateline documentary describe how a few months earlier (I calculate) than the Caffè Ricchi tête-a-tête, he describes hearing about the Monster of Florence for the first time from his neighbours in the town he lived in in Italy.

And this, in an interview with Stone Philips of NBC with a camera crew and their equipment on-site in Italy in front of his old rented house. At a time when Preston was already telling the rest of the world that he couldn’t return to Italy, banned by Mignini! In my opinion, things can’t get much more cynical than that.

The contrast between Preston’s two clear, explicit and totally mutually-exclusive descriptions of how he learned of the Monster of Florence may seem like a trivial point, but it really is not.

Every writer knows that the key factor at the start of a book is engaging and maintaining the reader’s interest so that it lasts to the very end. A fiction writer is free to use whatever mechanism he may need to make that engagement. However, authors who describe their tale as a “True Story” as do Preston and Spezi should realize that reader trust is – poof! – lost if you load the start of the True Story with something that isn’t so.

Recent history has seen a number of writers who push and cross the limit of the Truth and rush headstrong into Truthiness, Mistruth, or Lies, peddling stories that attract our interest and are human, daring .... yet end up being exposed as blends of truths and half-truths.  Together with insinuations and a lot of out and out fibs:

  • Clifford Irving went to jail for his unauthorised and totally false “autobiography” of Howard Hughes, see the Richard Gere movie poster below..
  • The New Republic magazine fired Stephen Glass after determining that at least 27 of 41 stories written by Glass for the magazine contained fabricated material.
  • James Frey’s publisher has had to reimburse those purchasers of “A Million Little Pieces” who bought it believing it true (it was commercialized as such).

Where will Spezi and Preston take us with The Monster of Florence? All it takes is for one reader to question: could this really have happened as they are making us think it happened? Why when I read the Italian version of the book do I understand something completely different? Why in Italy is Il Mostro considered the better, much more accurate book?

From there the truth in the story starts to unravel. As we already see in the Powerpoint presentations, the start and end of the English-langage MoF book don’t exactly encourage us to take any of its contents at face value.

Now that the Meredith Kercher murder case approaches its final appeal, it looks like Preston and Spezi are moving to develop some sort of MoF sequel that could be titled The Monster of Florence: The New Generation starring Amanda Knox and of course Preston and Spezi. And including fresh new “True Stories” by the pair. 

Personally, I feel that they could spare both us and Amanda’s cause their “truth” – Amanda and her legal team have more than enough to think about right now, with the Supreme Court appeal and the mess the Raffaele Sollecito book dams them in.

I believe that the shrillness of Preston’s and Spezi’s tales of “truth” will increase its pitch as we approach the March final appeal of Knox and Raffaele Sollecito as suspects in the murder of Meredith (Knox has already been found guilty of one crime and has served her prison sentence for falsely accusing Patrick Lumumba of murdering Meredith). 

This is going to be a very tough appeal – I urge readers to take a look at the English translation of Prosecutor Galati’s request for the appeal. It is surprising in its strength and balance. The Knox and Sollecito legal teams must be busy (will either defendant dare to be in Italy at that time?) and they know they are going to have a rough time of it in March.

How nice for all concerned if all the fictions now drop dead.



Posted on 10/25/12 at 04:11 PM by KermitClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

How Doug Preston’s Wrong Claims In His MOF Afterword Were Often Contradicted In The Past

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



[Above: Said to be Doug Preston’s nice workshop in coastal Maine where he apparently makes his stuff up]


This is our own “afterword” to Kermit’s Powerpoint post below on Preston’s Afterword in which Kermit quoted original sources to back up all his claims.

Our profuse quoting of original sources, including many translated ONLY by PMF and TJMK from the original Italian, is what gives PMF and this site such strength as points of reference used regularly by media on both sides of the Atlantic.

Preston doesn’t really seem to be able to provide references for his own work.

In his deeply anti-Italy MOF book, he offers no bibliography, no footnotes, no overview of key documents, few sourced quotes, and interview quotes that often seem stretched and maybe flat-out wrong (as with the one with Madame Bene in the Afterword, about the claimed non-investigation of the screaming drug addict in the square). 

In a rather self-congratulatory comment Preston posted on the CPJ website 18 months ago, he claimed this.

Before publication [The Monster of Florence] was minutely vetted by no less than five attorneys in two languages in Italy, the U.K., and the United States. Since publication, it has been read by millions of people in many European languages. In all that time, and with all the millions who have read the book, not one significant error of fact came to light. Mario Spezi and I stand by every single assertion of fact in that book today just as strongly as we did when it was first published three years ago.

Really? Well, without sources to check, what exactly did all those lawyers do?  The Afterword claims were published only in English, so that very few Italians who do know Italy and the case ever got a chance to provide alternative points of view - a few did, though, and there are several sarcastic Italian reviews on Amazon. In Italy, the more credible Guittari version outsells it 10-to-1. 

Preston’s lurid and under-researched claims then of course went viral.

You can see his claims about Rudy Guede and the “14 hours” interrogation and the meanie Mignini and junk Italian reporting and the incompetent Italian justice system and anti-Italianism generally disseminated all over the web. Read things by Candace Dempsey and Nina Burleigh and Michael Heavey and Saul Kassin and Bruce Fischer and Nigel Scott and Joel Simon and you will see the Preston claims parroted there.

Even in Raffaele Sollecito’s book we are turning up some of the claims!

And yet literally dozens of correct statements of fact that contradict Preston’s MOF Afterword have been posted on PMF and TJMK and other sites and in various books over the past four years. These are just a few on the 14-page Afterword posted on this site alone.

1) Contradicting Preston’s claims about the incompetence of the Italian System.

    Click “They Were Held For A Year Without Even Being Charged!!”

    Click Why The Italian Judiciary’s Probably Less Prone to Pressure Than Any Other In The World.

    Click Why The Prosecutors In Italy Are Relatively Popular.

    Click The Chief Enforcer Of The Constitution And The Rule Of Law is Wildly Popular Throughout Italy.

    Click Italian Campaigner For Victims And Their Families Says The System Is Denying Them Justice.

    Click A Token Balance In The Italian System: The Voice In The Court For The Victim

    Click Compared To Italy, Say, Precisely How Wicked Is The United States?

    Click Why The Totality of Evidence Suggests Knox And Sollecito Are Guilty Just As Charged.

    Click An Overview From Italy Of The Galati-Costagliola Appeal To The Supreme Court Of Cassation


2) Contradicting Preston’s claims about the Knox “14 hours” interrogation

    Click Our Take On The Case For The Prosecution: #3 Raffele Sollecito’s Multiple Conflicting Alibis.

    Click Our Take On The Case For The Prosecution: #4 Amanda Knox’s Multiple Conflicting Alibis.

    Click This Testimony Does Not Seem To Have Gained Much Traction Here In Italy.

    Click Italy Shrugs: Why The Defendant’s Testimony Seems To Have Been A Real Flop.

    Click Dr Galati: Note An Example Of How Curt Knox’s Campaign Is Misleading American Experts And Audiences.

    Click Dr Galati: Attacks On Prosecution By Curt Knox’s Hatchet Men Becoming Shriller, More Fictional #1


3) Contradicting Preston’s claims about Rudy Guede and his central role in the events

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

    Click A Visual Guide To The Staged Break-In Via Filomena’s Window.

    Click Powerpoints #6: Trace Evidence Seems To Confirm More Than One Perpetrator At Scene.

    Click Powerpoints #7: Forced Entry Via Filomena’s Window Fails The Giggle Test.

    Click Powerpoints #10: Telling Evidence Against Sollecito The Experts Seem To Have Got Absolutely Right.

    Click Powerpoints #12: The Telling Case Of The Doctored Footprint

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


4) Contradicting Preston’s claims about the large knife and DNA in the house

    Click Understanding Why The DNA Is On The Knife.

    Click What We Believe Are The Hard Facts On The Double DNA Knife.

    Click Setting Out What We Know About The Mixed Blood Evidence Samples From The Massei Report.

    Click Conti-Vecchiotti DNA Review Is Weak, Tendentious, Cites Non-Existent Standards

    Click An Overview From Italy Of The Galati-Costagliola Appeal To The Supreme Court Of Cassation


5) Contradicting Preston’s claims about an evil Mignini and satanic illusions

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

    Click Prosecutor Mignini Offers Some Helpful Advice To A Factually Challenged Reporter

    Click New Mignini Interview Makes Doug Preston Look Increasingly Incompetent And Vindictive.

    Click What His Florence Conviction Means For Giuliano Mignini And The Case.

    Click That Widely Watched LA7 TV Interview With Giuliano Mignini

    Click Open Letter To CNN Head Ken Jautz: Reports As Terrible As Drew Griffin’s….

    Click Full CNN Interview With Mignini That CNN SHOULD Have Reflected

    Click Mignini’s And Giuttari’s Florence Convictions Are Overturned As Florence Court Had No Jurisdiction.

    Click Dr Galati: Please Check Out What Looks Like A Mischievous Defense-Inspired Global Hoax.

    Click A Ten Part Series Showing How Mignini Was Misrepresented By Preston, Sforza and CPJ.

    Click Powerpoints #13: We Now Examine The Compelling Evidence For The REAL Railroading From Hell

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Powerpoints #19: Placing The Noisy Claimant Doug Preston In The Hot Seat

Posted by Kermit





This is the first in a new Powerpoint series. Click here if you have Powerpoint or the Powerpoint Viewer program loaded. If not here is the Viewer download.

This curious incident instigated this series:

A week or two ago I received an unexpected email from Douglas Preston, co-author with Mario Spezi of The Monster of Florence (Spezi also wrote an Italian version that seems to conflict at points with the English version) and a heated champion of the attempt to free Amanda Knox, who is stlll accused pending Supreme Court appeal of the murder of her housemate, Meredith Kercher, in Perugia on 1 November 2007.

Preston explained that he wanted to write a “piece” about the “Knox case” and that he would like to do a 10 question email interview with me.  I got the hunch that Preston and Spezi are going to be active over the next few months in the media as their cause is increasingly thrown in disarray. Along with, I presume, their possible movie based on the Monster of Florence book.

I was surprised that Preston said he would “quote you accurately, honestly, and in context, and represent your views respectfully and accurately”. 

Hmmm. We all have in our memory Preston accusing me (see his comment April 28 2011 at 6:57 pm) of “distortions, falsehoods, and crackpot opinion presented as settled fact. Kermit’s open letter contains many out and out lies”.

He also claimed, erroneously, that I hide behind a “screen of false IP addresses and various other hacker tricks” (what, has Preston tried to hack me?) and that I had “demonstrated a long history of falsehood and dishonesty” (I have?!).

Given that past experience, would you trust Preston? Silly me, I’m ready to give anyone another chance.

In return I proposed that the interview be two-way, and that we each proceed question by question on the issues that we wanted to clarify for us to publish in due course. I included a first question on seeming significant errors and mistruths in the “Afterword” or epilogue chapter of his and Spezi’s Monster of Florence book.

Very disappointingly, he didnt respond in kind. Nothing useful came back. He concluded “as for my (Preston’s) ‘objectivity,’ I am a point-of-view journalist in this case. People know where I stand and they know my bad history with Mignini. I don’t pretend to be objective”.

Should Preston really call himself a journalist or an opinion maker, or a lobbyist?  Why can’t people just respect the Italian legal process, which right now is not (and never was) firmly in the hands of Prosecutor Mignini, Preston’s perceived nemesis?

As we seem set to be subjected once again to seeing Preston and/or Spezi regularly sharing their rancid opinion of Prosecutor Mignini and Italians officials on the case with the public, I decided to get out in front, with this series pre-emptively checking their versions of the “truths”.

The Monster of Florence book is labeled (see above) a “True Story”, and while it does include historical facts related to the MoF murders in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s,  the two authors also personally intrude themselves into events.

This series should help the public to decide how seriously (if at all) they should accept Preston’s and Spezi’s opinions expressed in their media appearances where they interject themselves into Meredith Kercher’s murder case.

And to see if any of Preston’s self-described “point-of-view journalism” truths he shares with Spezi really stand up.

Please check back to TJMK every few days as we pose new questions to Preston and his co-author Spezi.


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

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

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

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.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mignini’s And Giuttari’s Florence Convictions Are Annulled: No Evidence, And No Jurisdiction

Posted by Peter Quennell





The ANSA news service is reporting that Giuliano Mignini’s and Michele Giuttari’s 2010 convictions have been annulled.

The Florence appeal court ruled scathingly that no evidence exists and also that the Florence trial court did not have jurisdiction. The case might be looked at again by the prosecutors in Turin or Genoa, which Mignini and Giuttari favor to get the spurious case against them more than just annulled. They’d like its root causes brought out. .

Mignini had caught the exact-same Florence prosecutor on tape, with a judge’s consent, bewailing the fact that the Monster of Florence cabal was tying his hands. That trial was simple a panicky attempt to get himself out from under which will hurt his career and the trail judge’s too.

It wasn’t Mignini who invented the Florence cabal (or satanic sect) notion, and he is suspicious of people (like Preston and Spetzi) who work so hard to deny it.  Many of the Italian Monster of Florence books also argue 180 degrees away from Preston. Hmmm. What hold does the Monster of Florence sect have over Preston? Is he a secret satanist?! The world really wants to know…

Mignin’s quoted remarks outside the appeal court make it sound like he would like to resume the investigation of why Dr Narducci died suspiciously in Lake Trasimeno. That had to be halted because the Florence prosecutor seized all the papers on the case.

We have posted several times as much on Mignini as most of the UK and US media combined, and we translated a long email from him, and two long and very revealing interviews.

Kermit’s contrast of Preston’s satanic obsessions with Mignini’s really very mundane interests are an absolute must-view.


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.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Dear Ken Jautz Of CNN: Full CNN Interview With Mignini That CNN SHOULD Have Reflected #3

Posted by Skeptical Bystander


The previous post is here.

CNN’s report is downloadable here. The first hour is here and the second hour here..  Our translators were PMF posters Clander, Yummi, Jools, Thoughtful, TomM and Catnip.

0’28’’ CNN: you certainly made no secret about intimidating Preston and Mario Spezi

0’49’’ Mignini: Well, I do not understand what intimidation. So, well look. For starters, this proceeding near Florence has nothing to do with this issue. So this is a non-issue. So, as for Mario Spezi, and I’ll come to Preston later, Mario Spezi was subjected to an investigation that, in relation to this matter is not closed yet since it is still pending, and following [in relazione a] this investigation, a precautionary measure was requested, which the investigating judge granted. Then the re-examination Court [Tribunale del Riesame] instead reversed the decision. While, in Amanda’s case, [the precautionary measure] was confirmed. As you can see, in Spezi’s case, the re-examination Court [Tribunale del Riesame] canceled the precautionary measure on grounds of default. In the Court’s view, there were not enough serious indications of guilt on the subjective aspect [of the crime].There were [indications of guilt] on the objective aspect of the crime of calunnia [false accusation], the crime for which he was being prosecuted. On the subjective aspect, i.e. the bad faith, there were not. And thus the court, the re-examination Court, reversed this measure.

But during the investigation, even before a measure against Spezi had been requested, a relationship between this writer, Douglas Preston, and Mario Spezi had emerged. And Preston, a writer, was summoned as a “person informed about the facts”, I do not remember, I think it was February 2006. And he was, just like many other people “informed about the facts”, he was interrogated by me. During the interrogation, this time he was questioned by me as if he were, let’s say, a witness, during the examination as a person informed about the facts, evidence of guilt emerged against Preston. And, in particular, Preston’s answers were not consistent. They appeared to me, in that moment, they did not appear to be true. So at that point I stopped the examination. Look, the examination lasted approximately twenty minutes, not more. I met Preston only on that occasion. About twenty minutes ... I told him: “I must suspend this examination.” Just like the Police did with Amanda, always according to art. 63. “I must suspend your hearing because evidence of guilt has emerged in relation to the crime under art. 371 bis of the Penal Code”. Now, pay close attention to this [missing words]. “And thus you must appoint a lawyer”.

He signed. Present in my office, which was not the one you saw this morning but it was another one, also on that floor, were my assistant, the clerk, Dr. Daniela Severi, there was the captain of the Carabinieri, Antonio Morra, there was a police [woman] officer from Florence, and I think there was a magistrate in training that I think was training with me, I do not remember this now. However, there was the captain, a police officer and the clerk. He signed [the statement]. I accompanied him to the door and to try to explain to him, he had told me that he spoke Italian but, in my opinion, but he did not [missing word] Italian. He believed he could speak Italian but he did not fully understand this procedural aspect. I told him, I remember we were by the door, “you must now appoint an attorney. This process that I am now opening against you for making false statements to the prosecutor, Article 371-bis, will remain suspended by the law, because the law provides that this offense, if one makes false statements to the prosecutor in a criminal case, this process that has been opened for false declarations will remain suspended until the main proceeding in which these statements were made is defined”. He did not understand this detail and he, I was really surprised and amazed by this fact, he thought that I was encouraging him, and he then said that I had encouraged him to flee, that I would arrest him. I never said such a thing because this charge does not provide for arrest. And that’s all.

Then I followed what he said throughout this matter which is completely [..missing word.. ] .. completely misrepresenting what happened, and then I dismissed the case because there was no… I decided to terminate the proceeding and there was nothing else. It’s all there, the Preston matter ends there.

07’37’’ CNN: I interviewed Preston and, according to him, this is not true. He said the interrogation lasted two hours. And (reading what Preston said): “I started to sweat, the prosecutor began to ask again the same questions, worded in a different way” he insisted with his secretary for [having her] repeat what he had said, which is the truth? “I started to feel that I was looking like a liar by the way my voice was trembling”. He had to write a statement in Italian, he had to do it several times because the person who was writing it did not understand well. Is he lying?

09’20’‘Mignini: Well, you have listened to Preston, I had the assistants, I did not think to bring them with me, but they can tell you everything. I do not remember now how long the interview was, I think about twenty minutes, perhaps half an hour, perhaps, perhaps, I do not know, an hour or so, I do not know, I have to look at the record.

However, what is certain is that when you make a statement, a few things are asked and the person must tell the truth and I challenged some of the things he said. I do not remember now in detail because it is of no [word missing], I have had other things to deal with [and] I do not even remember it. I challenged some of the things he said, I remember that I made him listen to a few phone calls that had been intercepted, phone calls in which he was speaking with Spezi, and what he was saying was not credible, it did not seem to be credible to me. I put it on record, because I had to dictate the statement to the assistant, who wrote the statement, and Mr. Preston signed [it] and he therefore recognized the validity of the statement, because he signed it, he did not refuse to sign it. Therefore an interrogation was made and a few statements were challenged.

The person, Preston, made a few statements that were not [missing word], that did not appear to be at all credible to me. I made him listen to, to prove that according to me he was not telling the truth, a few intercepted phone calls and I do not recall seeing him particularly [missing word]. Then if he was in a state of mind that a person is in when interrogated by a magistrate, if he felt troubled, I do not know. If that were to be the case, I am sorry but I’m afraid that it is like this in my line of work. Interrogations are made, one must hear [missing word], the person must tell the truth. And if [a person] does not tell the truth then objections must be raised. What is clear is that I challenged these facts, we put [everything] on record. Others were present: the assistant, the clerk, the Carabinieri captain, the police woman, therefore there is no point in discussing this, there is nothing more than what has emerged, than what came out in the statement. Preston signed the statement.

12’02’’ Then, the thing that struck me is that I subsequently received a few requests asking me, and I read this on a few Internet websites as well, if certain statements had been made. I really do not wish to comment on those statements because I do not wish to get into an argument here. I would like to try to explain that, if he had come back, because he had to flee because he would have been arrested if he had come back to Italy: this is a pure fiction, a total fabrication, non-existent. Furthermore, I dismissed his case and therefore I do not see how [missing words]. While the other proceedings, the proceedings against Spezi, are still pending.

13’00’’ This is the situation, I remember that I [missing words], subsequently he [Preston?] even asked me for an interview, to which I, to this request, did not respond.


14’16’’ CNN: it sounds very similar to what Amanda Knox described.

14’22’’ Mignini: It is completely different because I interrogated Preston [while] Amanda was interrogated by the Police. In Amanda’s case, her interrogation was halted by the Police. In Preston’s case, his interrogation was stopped by me. Preston was not arrested, Amanda was [arrested]. The two things are completely different. They have absolutely nothing in common apart from the fact that I was the prosecutor in both cases. But this is all. Just like in many other proceedings. There is not the slightest element in common.

15’23’’ CNN: you have just said that your job is to make sure that a witness tells the truth but at the same time you did not verify what was said by the homeless man and by the two neighbors…

Mignini: A person tells me that he saw her, he tells me that he saw what they did, he tells me the times, and he tells me things that no one has denied. If Mrs. Capezzali, Capezzali I think, relates what she heard and the thing is confirmed by another witness who lived below her and no one denies this. And that’s not all… there are two Calabrian girls who lived in [missing words], almost where the metal staircase ended, the one that was presumably used by one of the young people. These two girls as well say that they heard running. Therefore, there is the scream, heard by two people, the repeated footsteps that were heard, the scream and the footsteps that were heard by Capezzali and by these two Calabrian girls.

Whereas in Preston’s case there were the telephone calls that contradicted his statements. In that moment I had the telephone calls and if someone says something [missing words], this is contradicted by these telephone calls. I do not remember now in detail because I did not, I do not remember in detail these aspects but they were documented. In that case, I therefore had the elements to say: “you are telling me things which are not true”. In the other case, there were never any [contradictory elements]. The homeless man, the two Calabrian girls, Mrs. Capezzali and the teacher Monacchia were heard, they were subject to examination and cross-examination and they confirmed everything. This means that their statements became evidence, witness evidence. Whereas Preston made those statements that were contradicted by the intercepted telephone calls and I challenged those statements. It emerged immediately there, I objected, it’s very clear. There is no [missing word].

18’41’’ CNN: In your opinion, do you believe that Narducci was involved in the Monster of Florence murders?

18’50’’ Mignini: This matter was the subject of a criminal proceeding, proceeding number 1845 0821, which was dismissed, for those were investigated, due to lack of evidence [formula dubitativa] in the case of the murder and due to the statute of limitations for the other crimes. This means that the crimes had been committed, they had been attributed to certain people but too much time had gone by and the offences had become statute-barred. In this proceeding, the GIP fully sustained the Prosecutor’s (that was me) request, which was: the three fundamental points were that Narducci had been murdered because the autopsy that was performed demonstrated that there was a fracture of the left superior cornu of the thyroid cartilage which cannot be caused by accidental impacts but it can only be caused by a restricted, localized and increasing pressure because it is [in] a protected location and the medical examiner determined the cause of death to be strangulation; the GIP acknowledged that the body pulled out of the water, which had been officially established as being that of Narducci, was not Narducci after all; and that Narducci was involved, the GIP said, in the case of the double homicide murders of the couples. This order was appealed by Narducci’s relatives, not by his wife but by his relatives. However the Supreme Court of Cassation rejected the appeal as inadmissible. Therefore, the matter is now closed at this point.

20’48’’ CNN: Yes, but the question is if you think…

20’50’’ Mignini: It is what I maintained. I maintained it and the GIP acknowledged it. He accepted these aspects. Then, regarding the whole matter, since there is another pending proceeding, it will not add anything more. I will only say that this aspect was the subject of a proceeding in which I maintained these things and the GIP acknowledged them. He accepted the whole accusatorial framework [impianto accusatorio].

21’55’’ CNN: The body in the lake was not Narducci’s?

22’00’’ Mignini: let me explain. The coroner who performed the autopsy is Prof. Giovanni Pierucci of the University of Pavia, head of the Forensic Medicine department at the University of Pavia, and other consultants, among them Brigadier General Luciano Garofano, who determined, from different points of view, the following things: the corpse that was pulled out of the lake on October 13, 1985, was that of a person who was almost bald, size 60, which means that it was in a state of bloating decomposition, was wearing specific clothing and was in such a state that the coroner, before he opened the coffin, thought he would be in the presence of a corpse that could no longer be effectively examined. Conversely, once he opened the coffin, he found Narducci’s body, with thick hair and it was wearing size 48/small belted pants. Around the waist the body was in excellent cadaver condition. In particular, the encephalon did not contain any diatoms which would have been present in a drowning case.

Therefore, the consultant who performed the autopsy stated that this situation, the dimensions of the corpse, the different clothing and the different state of cadaver preservation, indicated that the correspondence between the corpse that had been at the time recovered from the lake, as described by witnesses, and Narducci’s body was at best uncertain. To further ascertain whether or not the body recovered from the lake was Narducci’s, an anthropometric examination was conducted by a Pavia Forensic Medicine assistant, Dr. Cristina Carlesi, and then by the Parma RIS Commander, General Garofano, at that time a colonel. [The examination] confirmed that the corpse [recovered from the lake] had dimensional characteristics that made it incompatible with Narducci’s body examined [rinvenuto] during the autopsy. These aspects have been subject to multiple tests.


25’39’’ CNN: Dr. Mignini, do you like a good conspiracy theory?

25’42’’ Mignini: AHA! Here comes the conspiracy… Listen, there is no conspiracy here, I do not know what that means. A size 60 person does not fit in a pair of size 48/small pants. There is no conspiracy here!

26’08’’ Mignini: There is not a conspiracy. This is reality. Fairy tales are another matter but this is reality. The reality is that one must examine the reality. Unfortunately, the reality is that when I started these investigations, which are different from the ones we discussed now, I did not have, I said: “let’s see what there is”. And the medical examiner told me these things. A corpse that has been under water for five days and that is in an advanced state of decomposition is in the emphysematous phase when it surfaces again which means that there is also abdominal bloating and a pair of size 48 pants cannot fit. And this one had hair, the other one did not. The point is that [missing words] if one drowns, you have diatoms but this one did not have any. And then there is the matter of the hyoid bone fracture… This is not a conspiracy. I do not know what you mean by conspiracy.

27’16’’ CNN: Or rather a very imaginative reconstruction, one says, sorry, let me be clearer: in English one uses a lot [missing words]

27’31’’ Mignini: Look, there would have been a conspiracy if I had led with this idea. But I did not start off with this idea. I took note of, I always say this, take note of what is reality, of what can be touched, of what can be seen. That is, I cannot make up reality. If reality tells me that that person is wearing a pair of size 48 pants and it is preserved in perfect condition, eh! Forensics tell us that there is something that does not make sense.

0’11” Mignini: Pardon, if I might add, it’s the exact opposite of what he said. It is exactly because I take notice of the outcomes, I don’t have a predetermined idea. And so I take notice of what is there. And so if they say, ‘Look, that can’t be so’, his wife tells me, ‘he was wearing other clothes when I saw him leave for the last time. I’ve never seen these clothes before that I can see here in the photo of the recovered body’. Ah, so there is no conspiracy, it’s reality and it needs to be taken note of.

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. This is a conspiracy, a fantasy, to my detriment though, to my detriment. Simply a sexual act. And maybe I have always said, I maintained this in the first-instance trial, there was a relationship which deteriorated between the two girls. I’ve always maintained that. I’ll tell you this because…

2’54” CNN: The discussion of the news that came out yesterday, of the non-DNA that they found on the knife…

3’03” Mignini: Well, then I’ve said that I would prefer not to speak about the current phase of the case. Although I’ll tell you this, that when the tests were carried out by Forensics at the time, Forensics used, with cross-checking of the parties involved, all the genetic material present on the knife and the [bra-]clasp. That is, on the clasp there was a lot of it, so a part of it was used, but on the knife all the material that was there was used. It was an unrepeatable test, that exactly why it was unrepeatable [was] because all the material was used, because, taking all of it, a more reliable finding could be made, unable to be repeated. And so it came to be done with cross-checking of the parties involved. If this material was collected up three and a half years ago, what could have remained of this material? Nothing. The material on the clasp turned out then, I believe, to have deteriorated due to the presence of rust. And the rust could not have been prevented because, if one uses an anti-rust product, it would have burned the genetic material that remained. So I, I won’t enter into the merits of this discussion although, the test that was done at the time, was a definitive test, unrepeatable. The Court ruled that it was admissible to try and see if there was the possibility, to see if there were some material, some portion of material remaining. Probably there’s none left because it was used to do the tests at the time. That’s it. So it’s quite simple.


5’48’’ Help me to understand how is it possible that there was none found (DNA) in the room?

5’57’’ Mignini: How is it possible? It is possible, to begin with on the knife. The knife was in the room, means it was used. If the knife is the murder weapon, the knife was in the room. If that genetic material [is] like Dr. Stefanoni said, the genetic material of the victim on the blade and that of Amanda on the handle was in the room. The bra clasp contains the genetic material of Sollecito, and it was in the room. It was moved by one meter, because police can’t…. this can happen when there are so many items in these checks, but the bra clasp was in the room. There was genetic material of Sollecito there, of Rudy, and of the victim. So it is not true that there was no genetic material in the room, there was genetic material belonging to Sollecito, for example. And then if the knife is the murder weapon, as we found in the investigation process, the knife was on the scene of crime.

7’04’‘And then, anyway at one meter [distant] from the scene of the crime, in the corridor and in the small bathroom, there was: the mixed blood of Amanda… how is that possible? And so now I put the question to you, I return the question: how is it possible that there is mixed blood of Amanda, that mixed blood of Amanda and the victim was the small bathroom, which is very near, next to the murder room? That in the bathroom there is a footprint on the little mat dirty with blood, which is attributed to Sollecito? That in the corridor in front of the door of the crime room there are bloodied footprints attributed to Sollecito and Amanda? How is it possible to find these elements if they were not there? [That is a] question. I would like an answer from you but I’ll tell you.

Only a question – but I would like an answer to that – I ask you this:

08’52” Mignini: but that blood…., Amanda says that she did not see it on the night of the first; she saw it in the morning [of the 2nd] when she says she went into the room. How is it possible, if they stayed the night in Sollecito’s house, they spent the night in Sollecito’s house, that there can be mixed blood victim/Amanda in the little bathroom?

Sollecito’s blood-stained footprint on the bath mat? And the prints of Amanda and Sollecito in the corridor? Eh eh, we always come back to that?

09’42” Mignini: In any case, the law is not an exact science, as you can see, because it is capable of being appraised, the pieces of evidence are capable of being evaluated in various ways. The day there is a centralized computer, we will have fewer trials, we will feed the data into the computer and it will give an answer. Although it is clear that there are differing evaluations because the facts can be evaluated in different ways, the testifying, this happens in all trials.

10’40’’ CNN: is it possible for a prosecutor, who is facing problems on his own, to take this opportunity, of a so sensational case…

10’58’’ Mignini: I have not taken any opportunity, since that day I was [on duty] on my shift. We have a one-week long shift, so I have not taken this opportunity. I had been on duty since the previous Monday, and my shift would end on the following Monday, which was the 5th. I think, and since the crime was discovered on the 2nd it was me who had to intervene. Then if you tell me: how is it that there is a procedure of this type, in which there is an acquittal which I would like to be talked about, because, I notice, that nobody speaks about this acquittal. And instead the whole truth must be told, because [in] this procedure against us which, let me tell you the whole truth, this as a process is a bit strange, anyway there is an acquittal. A full acquittal of which no one has spoken. The conviction instead is temporary and is undergoing appeal.

Now, the Italian procedure provides that whenever there is a disciplinary proceeding against a magistrate, when disciplinary action would be, as in this case, merely related to a criminal proceeding, i.e., you have a criminal proceeding, there is automatically disciplinary procedure, the disciplinary procedure is suspended until the determination of the criminal proceeding. So, for one part there was a full acquittal, not “doubtful acquittal” [insufficient proof] but full, ascertained objectively. For another part there is an ongoing appeal, in which we have objected to the jurisdiction of the court of Florence. That is, the court of Florence shall not judge in this process because prosecutors in Florence were involved in the case in various ways. They could not deal with the proceeding in Florence because you can’t have a trial in your own home.

13’53’’ Mignini: after that I would like to add one more thing, if it helps. During the trial, I never [*avoided questioning], I have always undergone examination. That is, I said: ‘just put questions, I have no problem’. Because I have no problem about this case, I have done the investigations that were needed to be done. So, there was no attitude of intimidation, in the most absolute way, because, among other things, I explain to you, you can’t put pressure on a person by performing activities that will remain secret for that person, even a child understands this. Maybe my children [little girls], even the smaller ones would understand this. So I cannot intimidate a person if I try to put pressure on that person through an activity that the person knows nothing about; I am not intimidating anyone, you see, this thing is just unrealistic. Thus I never [*avoided] I have always undergone questioning and I have the utmost confidence in [*justice] because I always had the utmost confidence in the judiciary activity. I was always ready to undergo examination, I said ‘ask me what you want’, I have put all the acts at their disposal.

Those are investigations that require you to understand them, because they are complex investigations and a judicial authority that didn’t do these investigations won’t understand them. So much that I had a confirmation - now I won’t say much about this, I won’ explain in detail this aspect - I had a confirmation that, about this case that I dealt with, the magistrates who have dealt with did not grasp the range of it, and they assessed that these acts were acts unrelated to this case. I may add to this, since this is for the purpose of explaining the picture the Italian legal system [ .?. ]: ‘the crime of abuse of office’ [...] I’ve seen many times when they were explaining “convicted” [repeats “convict” in English] I think, of “abuse of power” [in English in text]. It is not abuse of power.

The “abuse of office” is a misdemeanor in Italy, that is, before the 1997 reform, it was a very indeterminate crime, and then one could even, giving a wrong interpretation, even configure a charge of this type. Today, in order to configure a charge of abuse of office, conditions are required such that the charge is unlikely to be configured because it requires a breach of the law in real time ... that is a law that has to be immediately “preceptive”, which means not a procedural violation, such as those that have been charged against me. This violation must have resulted in unjust harm as a direct result of that violation of the law. And the subject who committed the violation must have accomplished this action with willful malice. That is, they must have done it primarily in order to harm another person. But I cannot harm or intimidate someone by performing an activity that will remain unknown to the person. This I… it is just logic, not a matter of [ .?.]


18’16’’ CNN: Don’t you have even the slightest doubt that perhaps you accused two people who maybe are innocent?

18’32’’ Mignini: Look, I want to make you a [ .?. ], I want to be, I am very sincere, so, I’m very, very fair and very sincere when talking. I have the [.?. *certainty?], since I made some requests I had the absolute certainty that they were responsible. Thus, otherwise, if I had a doubt, this is my assessment, I would have asked for an acquittal with dubitative formula. I tell you another thing, though I was told this, I have not seen the movie, I do not know [if] this movie will be aired in Italy, about how is that one of the Life Time movie like… I was told that in that film the actor who plays me was smiling when Amanda was convicted. I was told that, I haven’t seen it, I don’t know if it’s true. Is it true, did you see it?

CNN: No.

Mignini: I was told that the actor smiles. I did not smile instead because it was a duty to make this request, but a judge who makes a request of conviction does not do it, let’s say, lightly, far from that. Because they are two young people whose families I can see and hence the suffering of these families. But I do it because it is my duty, I deemed to do it, so I did not have the slightest doubt. But it’s not true that I was happy. I mean that I was [not] like the actor that I was told about who smiles, because asking for the sentencing of two youths who could be my children, in short, is not something that makes you happy. This I would like to make it clear. That is I did it because I was sure, I did it but .... These are weighty matters. Because the judge who asks for a conviction does it with a, how to say it, a feeling of necessity It is a duty, but it’s not that one is happy about it. This is, I would like to make this clear. (...)

22’45’’ CNN: But at the same time, can you sleep at night thinking you did the right thing?

22’53’’ Mignini: I have a clear conscience, yes. You, I remember you were present when I made the request for conviction, the sentencing request, I have ... I explained it, it happened to me because I was the most senior judge, that was not the colleague, my colleague had carried out her work, her scope: the matter relating to genetic testing, cells phones, computer investigation. I had to do the investigative part, let’s say that by the event, the part dealing with the evidence collection. And then at the end I had to make the final request, I tell you, I have four daughters, so I know what it means, I am… I have a clear conscience because I asked, and I did, what I deemed [it had to] be done. I asked what I deemed and this is my assessment, I am ... who knows me knows that there is a way to persuade me: to convince me rationally. I am ... and those who know me know it, one who, when faced with a rational assessment, I often happened to concede that the person who has proven it to me was right. But I must be convinced. If I am not convinced, I am not convinced and I have my position. My position [is one] that I draw from the analysis of the elements, never by a preconceived or conspiracy-oriented assessment, anyway from the facts, from facts alone absolutely.

25’32’’ Mignini: I hope that, I do not know if it’s over, think it’s over, I hope that there was a [..?.. *question] ..., there is one, a lot of different views, including the interpretation of events that occurred, that are very different. I tried, I didn’t have means because the judge is not allowed to speak much, and not much freely. I had read many times, I also received messages that were not exactly pleasant. Then also I read a lot of things that were totally unfounded and I hope I made a contribution. That means, you can have different opinions. I [think]… Sure, you can have different opinions, I, as the magistrate who works as a prosecutor; it was me in the investigation at the first instance trial and now as an assistant on appeal. You can have different opinions, I respect opinions but I expect that you do not put into question the good faith and intellectual honesty of the investigators, because there are no [*prejudices? reasons?] towards those young people who were totally unknown.

We did what we deemed [was right] doing, what we found, which one may not subscribe to. I respect all opinions, but the ones who were responsible for conducting the investigation and supporting what is called the accusation, that anyway, let’s repeat it, is not an accusation but an organ of justice, [those ones] are us. And we took the responsibility for doing what we asked for. There is a colleague who worked with me, she was very useful because she helped me on some issues, from a biological standpoint, she is a colleague with whom we work together in the executive council of the National Association of Magistrates. So I hope that, I don’t know, but I wish, just hope, that at least I have been able to help in clarifying [the matter]. That is, that at least something could be said [missing words] that is not exactly what we thought. This is what I would like, at least I hope.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Dear Ken Jautz Of CNN: Full CNN Interview With Mignini That CNN SHOULD Have Reflected #2

Posted by Skeptical Bystander


The previous post is here.

CNN’s report is downloadable here. Our contexting and the first hour are posted here..  Final post Tuesday. Our translators were PMF posters Clander, Yummi, Jools, Thoughtful, TomM and Catnip.

0’40’’ English question [Translator’s note: These words are in English in the Italian transcript of which this document is a translation.]

0’48’’ CNN: You didn’t interrogate Amanda?

0’50’’ Mignini: Oh, the police interrogated her. I was told about it. I wanted to explain this. I remember that I had gone to sleep and the director of the flying squad, Dr. Profazio, called me, because he tells me: “There are developments; Raffaele in fact has denied what he had said before”. So I went down and the head of the flying squad told me what had happened. At some point they tell us that Amanda has made this statement.

And thus her interrogation as a person informed of the facts was suspended by the police in compliance with Article 63 of the Italian Code of Criminal Procedure [c.p.p. - Codice di Procedura Penale], because if evidence appears that incriminates the person, the person being questioned as a person informed of the facts can no longer be heard, and we must stop. “Everyone stop! There must be a defense attorney [present]”. And thus the police stopped and informed Amanda, who had placed herself on the scene of the crime and who said that she had accompanied Lumumba and let him in and that then Lumumba, in the other room, allegedly committed a sexual act and killed Meredith. This is what she said.

2’11’’ Then I was called, I was informed about this, I went to Amanda who, I remember how she was, what she looked like, I remember her very well, she remained imprinted in my memory, I still remember then two things about Amanda that struck me at the time: first, she looked like she was relieved of a burden and second, she was like, and this is another detail that was impressive, it seemed as if she was terrified of Lumumba.

20’48’’ Then I, as I had in some way to, let’s say… this police interrogation had been suspended. At that point I remember that… they made me notice that Amanda, because she wanted to go on talking, I remember she had, like a need to. So I told her: “you can make statements to me; I will not ask questions, since if you make a spontaneous statement and I collect it, I will collect your statement as if I were in fact a notary”. She then repeated [her story] to the interpreter, who was Mrs. Donnino, I remember there was a police woman officer who wrote the statement down [verbalizzava], I did not ask questions. She basically repeated what she had told the police and she signed the statement. Basically I didn’t ask Amanda questions. Not before, since the police asked them and I was not there, and not after, since she made spontaneous statements. Had I been asking her questions, a defense attorney should have been there. This is the procedure.

05’24 CNN: She had an interpreter during the whole time?

05’26’’ Mignini: Yes.

05’29’’ CNN: She says no.

05’32’’ Mignini: Look the interpreter was there, when I heard her there was the interpreter. The interpreter Anna Donnino, who is an interpreter for the police; she was hired by the police.

Just like I believe that there was [before], I do not have the minutes now, but yet now this is a fact, it is undisputed that there was an interpreter.

06’02’’ CNN: Amanda Knox says she was interrogated for 14 hours…

06’11’’ Mignini: No, look, absolutely not. At 1 a.m., the minutes of Nov 6th has started at 1 a.m. and I arrived, 14 hours that cannot be, we are really… that’s absolutely impossible. So the minutes were done at one o’clock, then the minutes of the spontaneous declaration was taken at 5.45, it maybe lasted half an hour because no questions were asked. She made her statements; they were translated; then at around 8 a.m., I think, at approximately 8, I drew up the detention order. Thus it is… well, she had been heard earlier, so she had been questioned as a person informed of the facts at around one forty-five a.m. She had previously been heard by a female police officer, but [that’s] because she had gone voluntarily to the police and she reported that, she said things quite relevant to the investigation of Raffaele and was heard by the inspector [Rita] Ficarra. However this [event] ... I was not there, I do not know [about it]. But remember, there are the minutes. Then the minutes in which she was questioned as a person informed of the facts starts at 1:45 of November 6, and cannot have lasted 14 hours ... in no way whatsoever. Then she was arrested at around 8 a.m. or at about 9 a.m. or so.

08’16’’ Mignini: Look, I remember what I saw when I saw her personally, because she said, I told her: “you can make, if you deem it [necessary], a spontaneous statement, because Italian law provides for this. If a person is aware that he/she is suspected [under investigation], may request to speak before a magistrate, it happened many times, they came also to me, and they say “I want to make a statement”. Very well, I listen. If I listen, I wanted this to be highlighted…. to be clear, I listen and that’s all, and I ask no questions, the defense attorney may be not present. But if I ask questions and I object to the facts [of your answers], it is like an interrogation and thus we would need a defense attorney.

09’10’’ CNN: was [Amanda Knox] scared?

09’11’’ Mignini: Well, I recall this feeling that I had in that moment which, [as] I am explaining to you, in the spirit in which I am doing this interview, to explain to you the acceptance [adozione] of our requests [provvedimenti], what was, why the trial went in a certain way. [Translator’s note: The Italian in the CNN transcript is nearly incomprehensible. We have provided the foregoing on a best effort basis.]

09’36’’ She was, she seemed to me like she was uplifted, freed of a weight, and terrified of Lumumba. That’s an impression that has stayed with me, yet I don’t understand. I remember that there was a policeman who was called, from the SCO [Servizio Centrale Operativo] in Rome, who made an impression on me because he was very fatherly. She was crying as though freed of a great weight, and he was trying to console her. I remember there was also a policewoman who, well, she…[missing word?] and I’m sure that.. [missing word?] .. well, all that picture how it was described later… at that moment it wasn’t like that. Right then, there was a situation in which I was trying to console her, to encourage her, because actually we believed that she had told the truth.

11’03’’ CNN: No one hit her?

11’06’’ Mignini: No, look, absolutely not. I can state this in the most positive way, and then, let’s say… I wasn’t there when she was being questioned by police, the rooms are quite far away… you don’t know but I was… it’s quite far, there’s a corridor, and I was with the director, Dr. Porfazio, and she was being questioned in a different place. I also remember that passing through, I also saw Sollecito who was alone in a different room; he was also being questioned, as I recall. I don’t exclude…well…it’s clear that I wasn’t there, but I don’t believe that anything whatsoever happened, and in my presence absolutely not.

11’55’’ On the contrary, there was an attitude of… I mean they gave her [some] ... [missing word?] then she was like, you know, like someone crying from a sense of liberation, as though she had been freed. That was the attitude.


12’51’’ CNN: Why wasn’t there any video or transcript of those hours?

13’00’’ Mignini: Look, that’s, I was at the police station, and all the…let’s say…when I made investigations in my own office, I taped them. I taped them, we have an apparatus for that, and I transcribed them. For example, there’s the interrogation of the English girls, Meredith’s friends, it was all taped. The interrogations of Amanda in prison were taped, and then transcribed, and we have the transcripts of… But in a police station, at the very moment of the investigation it isn’t done, not with respect to Amanda or anyone else. Also because, I can tell you, today, even then, but today in particular, we have budget problems, budget problems that are not insignificant, which do not allow us to transcribe. Video is very important…I completely agree with you that videotaping is extremely important, we should be able to have a video recording of every statement [verbale di assunzione di informazioni] made Because what is said is very important, but it’s maybe even more important how it is said, the non-verbal language. Because from the non-verbal language you can [missing words].

15’14’’ Mignini: It isn’t only Amanda, it’s always like that. But I wanted to say that I agree with him that it’s fundamental, only there’s a problem, especially when the witnesses are so numerous, and in fact just recording, I mean recording the sound, isn’t enough according to me.

15’38’’ CNN: It doesn’t cost much, he says.

15’40’’ Mignini: Well we have significant budget problems, that’s what it is.

15’38’’ CNN: So in the end, you did get a confession. But then, everything that was written in the confession became a lie?

16’16’’ Mignini: But then, there was the fact that she placed herself at the scene of the crime, and Lumumba wasn’t there, together with the three of them, the two of them, but Rudy was there, according to the facts that emerged later. But the fact of having accused…and she’s even accused of calumny in regard to Lumumba, was an element that was very important from the point of view of her legal position at the trial. Why accuse someone of participating in a crime, placing yourself at the scene of a crime? Because with those declarations, she placed herself at the scene, at the place of the crime. And she placed someone there who was a complete stranger to it. Why did she do that? There is one detail that’s particularly significant. Above all when Lumumba was arrested and no one – if it hadn’t been for the Public Prosecutor’s Office that conducted the investigation, and that is mandated to seek elements in favor of the accused, Lumumba would have stayed in prison. But we investigated, and we saw that Lumumba wasn’t involved, that he was the object of calumny and so he was freed and the case against him was archived.

18’15’’ CNN: Was she asked to imagine what might have happened?

18’24’’ Mignini: No, absolutely not. Either you saw a person or you didn’t. I can’t ask someone what they imagine because it would be a question that doesn’t mean anything, that I even don’t understand.

18’44’’ CNN: Do you think Amanda Knox is bad?

18’46’’ Mignini: Look, by the way we did make some personality assessments, we usually do make them, but they are only for investigative purposes. About Amanda I can tell you that she is a very, extremely intelligent girl, I always said so, about being bad, I don’t .... I wouldn’t, I couldn’t say anything. It seems to me that going beyond this would be a personal judgment, devoid of significance. What is important is the fact, what is important is why an event takes place which is a crime, a crime accomplished without premeditation. So I don’t… any… I mean, I don’t want to do it, I don’t think it would be right to say that someone is good or bad, absolutely not.

20’09’’ This means the assessments that we did make were made only in order to ascertain responsibility, but what someone’s personality is, the personality of the accused, that deserves great respect and we don’t, the evaluations that we do we only make them to ascertain responsibility and then for the sentencing. At that stage in fact the personality of the criminal is taken into account, for the purpose of establishing penalty, in Italian law, but we did that in the request for a guilty verdict. There, there was one element that has some relevance to the psychological aspect; it was the fact that a crime was alleged that was committed for futile motives, which is an aggravating circumstance. And we did hold that this was an aggravating circumstance, but it was only for this purpose that we made personality assessments, not for any other purpose.

21’26’’ During the investigation, I heard them being made, and I read articles, they kept attributing judgments to the investigators that were never made; certainly I never made judgments like that. I have the greatest respect for the persons of the accused.

22’30’’ CNN: The accusation [Translator’s note:  non-grammatical question] is like: once it was proven that Lumumba was basically a lie of Amanda’s, you should have started again from scratch. Once all the DNA evidence of Rudy Guede came out, you should have said we’ve found the culprit, because of the fact that there just wasn’t any trace at all inside the room, and then, according to the defense, the defense says that you became fixated on Amanda and Raffaele, almost obsessional.

23’19’’ Mignini: No, absolutely not. I did what I did and now I’m talking about the past, about what the investigation showed, about what happened at the first instance trial, because I am, I was and I am, I did what I did because I’m convinced, on the basis of the evidence collected, that they were responsible, in the most absolute way. There isn’t…how was Rudy involved? Rudy was one element, but the crime, I repeating, one can’t say any longer that this crime was committed by a single person. Now we have a judgment from the Court of Cassation, the Supreme Court, saying this crime was committed by Rudy together with other people, and it then indicates, by confirming the verdict and sentence of the Court of Appeal which condemned Rudy, that it is incidentally speaking of Amanda and Raffaele. So from now on, this crime must be seen as having been committed by more than one person, one of whom is Rudy.

24’36’’ So what has been assessed was held, I want this to be clear, precisely for the purpose of reconstructing the facts: I am called[C1] , I issue the warrant of arrest, for the arrest of Amanda, Sollecito and Lumumba, it goes in front of the Judge for the Preliminary Investigations who rules on the grounds of the warrant for arrest, so there’s a request to validate the arrest and permit a precautionary measure; the judge for the preliminary investigation validated the arrest and allowed the precautionary measure. Then Lumumba was removed from the picture because we conducted our investigation and saw that he wasn’t involved, so he was out. So, when we had collected the elements that convinced us, me in particular since I was the one who made the request, the archiving request, first his release and then the archiving of the proceeding against him.

25’37’’ If that had been, but I don’t accept that attribution, there isn’t any, there isn’t any [missing word?]. If the magistrate, if that attribution were true, having started with Lumumba I would have had to continue with Lumumba. But in fact, it isn’t that way because Lumumba had nothing to do with it. So, the precautionary measure was challenged before the re-examining tribunal, where three judges preside for each of the accused. On the order of the re-examining tribunal, Sollecito, Rudy and Amanda appealed the precautionary measure to the court of Cassation, but the court of Cassation confirmed it [Translator’s note: i.e., denied the appeal]. The measure was also taken for Rudy, and the court of Cassation confirmed it.

Then there was the judge of the preliminary hearing who sent the case to trial, condemned Rudy, rejected a request to revoke the measure, and finally the first instance trial ended with a guilty verdict. Here, eight judges, i.e., two magistrates [giudici togati] and six lay judges, recognized that the accusations were well-founded. So, when there are elements that had to be archived, we did request that they be archived. So there is no such attitude [Translator’s note: i.e., obsession], absolutely not. This is what I can [do?]. If there were, if there were some true or even just credible elements, because I would need something like that, which hypothetically could prove that they had nothing to do with the crime, I would take account of it and would act accordingly, I would have acted accordingly. In the most absolute way.

27’48’’ I’ll tell you what happened, and please believe me, because around this event there have been a lot of things which are unfounded, to say the least. According to me, intellectual honesty is the main quality in a magistrate.


29’53’’ CNN: Is Antonio Curatolo a trustworthy witness?

29’59’’ Mignini: But the witness takes an oath and assumes his responsibility, if he says something false then he is committing the crime of perjury and calumny, at the limit, if he’s explicitly accusing an innocent person of a crime, so in our, in Italian law, the witness is considered to be trustworthy, authentic, until the point at which you can’t prove he said something false. Unfortunately, however, or fortunately, we don’t know, the person who was in the piazza, who has lived in that piazza for ten years, at least ten years, who knew everything about that piazza, was this homeless guy. So the homeless guy is a bum so that’s no good. But that’s not right, he’s a witness like the others. The woman what’s her name, the witness who lived there, near the house, the one who heard the scream, is a totally credible person, a very normal lady who told what she had heard coherently. The school teacher, the one who lived nearby, is a totally credible, trustworthy witness.

With witnesses, it’s not that we can choose their testimony. Witnesses are the people who are, by chance, able to give some indications. And for that matter, Curatolo is someone who actually lived there, and his declarations are altogether pretty credible, and confirmed by other people. Other witnesses were also heard, who were, I don’t know, for example Gioffredi, a perfectly normal person. So I don’t see…basically, it’s the testimony of a perfectly normal person which has to be weighed according to what it says, and its coherence with a reconstruction [of the events, translator’s note], and we have to believe it unless it’s proven wrong.

32’26’’ Because if he says that he saw something, he exposes himself, he’s under oath so he exposes himself to an accusation of perjury if he’s not telling the truth, so we have to believe him. Otherwise justice, without witnesses…it’s not as though we had a film of the crime, if only that could be the case.

33’30’’ CNN: Was Toto being investigated [sotto inchiesta] when he gave his testimony?

33’42’’ Look, I know that at the moment in which he gave it, I believe that there were some lawsuits against him, but in the stage of appeal, I think he had been condemned but was appealing, so, then later the sentence became definitive, but he gave his testimony when the sentence wasn’t definitive yet. I don’t know, those are details that I wouldn’t know about exactly…but I know for certain that the sentence was not definitive, so was still being contested.

34’34’’ CNN: Did Toto give his testimony hoping to obtain some kind of favor?

34’36’’ Mignini: Non, there was no favor, absolutely no favor. This didn’t happen…the witness presented himself and made his declarations, that’s all. We took note of them, because they were relevant declarations.

35’17’’ CNN: So, you believed the testimony of a heroin-addict bum?

35’25’’ Mignini: Well, on let’s say the legal position of this person, I have nothing to say because he was judged for something different, for a true and totally different fact, having nothing to do with the present one. For this one, he was a witness. And it’s true that it’s completely different in that he was heard as a witness, with no lawyer. If it had been a related fact, he would have had to be assisted by a lawyer and he would have had the choice to abstain from making declarations. But for this event, he is a plain and simple witness. Then, also, I wouldn’t want to, because the witness, it’s not that we ask the witness if he has a previous record, previous condemnations. We can ask that to the accused, to the accused, amongst the other questions that we ask the accused, we ask him if he has a previous record, but we don’t ask witnesses this question, except during the defense’s investigations. This is the…so he’s just a witness who made declarations. His declarations have remained quite, rather credible.

There’s also for example the fact that, well, take for example the rain. Curatolo remembers that the evening during which he saw the two young people, it wasn’t raining, and it’s true that on the evening of the crime it wasn’t raining. Vice versa, and they say this, also other witnesses say this, on the previous night, only in the town of Perugia, there was a limited weather phenomenon; in the late afternoon of October 31, it rained. And even I remember that, because I remember that the street was wet. So, this is to say that this is a detail which was confirmed by…there. I’m giving an example to tell you that also a person who has a criminal record…and then, one would have to go see all the witnesses who were heard at the first degree trial, all of them, to see if they had them. We don’t do it because it isn’t relevant.


38’45’’ CNN: From the response of the bum, I assume that you took the responses of the two ladies as valid, and never went to check in their apartments if it was possible to hear footsteps with the shutters closed.

39’04’’ Mignini: So, the question of Curatolo is one thing, the declaration of Mrs. Capezzali, what’s her name, I think Capezzali, is something else. You say, she’s quite an elderly woman, she said she heard a scream, the scream that… She lives, I don’t know if you know the area, but, I don’t think you know it, she lives above the garage and looks over the house on via della Pergola, where there’s a kind of, something like an amphitheater. So the sounds coming from below can be heard with particular clarity and she heard the scream perfectly. She said so. And that same scream was heard by a very young teacher who lives lower down, in a street in the direction of, towards, let’s say towards via Pinturicchio. And around the same time, she also heard a scream like that. Then she went down to her parents who were in a different part of the house and they said they hadn’t heard anything.

40’26’’ CNN: He wants to know if you went to the house.

40’28’’ Mignini: Did I go? I have taken note of this witness’s statement and also of the other and, being two statements from persons who had no reason to lie and being these statements entirely credible since they are very similar to each other, the houses are very close to Via della Pergola, this statement was deemed fully reliable. There was then a request for an expert opinion, now I will not go into the merits of the trial events, but this thing was assessed during the investigation, by the Gup, and by the Assize Court that heard this person, who was cross-examined, she said, she repeated what she said. An absolutely believable person, who obviously [missing words]...further, as here [missing words]…an experiment on the possibility of hearing was not done. We are, we took note of the fact that she told about this, about the scream that she heard. She confirmed it, she gave her, her, we say word, that she took an oath in court, to have heard this scream.

The same thing was said by another witness. What should we have done? Have an expert [perizia] ascertain, under different, not repeatable conditions, that which was heard at the time? The witness said what she heard. And, then, neither I nor the Court of Assizes considered submitting [missing words]. The Assize Court decided instead to do something very important. And this is a detail which I consider [missing words]. When I inspected the house on Via della Pergola, which in my opinion was a very important initiative, very crucial for the decision. That is, that was an opportunity to make an inspection to see that house as it was, how was this window through which this unknown subject would have climbed, which then would have been Rudy. And the court was aware that this reconstruction was, in my opinion, unlikely.

43’35’’ CNN: Would it have been easy to conduct [fare] the experiment?

43’38’’ Mignini: But let’s say if a person has made these statements and it was this way. Because, you see, I’ve listened to this person, she was recorded, among other things, she was cross-examined during the trial. She was very precise. She said that she constantly used to hear, even during other nights, that she used to hear the noises of the youngsters who made quite a noise in the garage, in the parking lot. So. ... These things, these noises, she was used to hearing them. She stated this. There was no reason, she did not know the victim, she did not know the accused, what reason could she have had to [missing words]?

44’44’’ CNN: not that she lied but this is a fundamental question for your work. Is your job finding the truth and solving the problem or is it following your intuition and trying to incriminate the first person you find suspicious?

45’16’’ Mignini: Well this is, in the Italian legal system, the prosecutor is not a lawyer for the accusation. He/she is an organ of the judiciary who must also seek evidence in favor of the suspect. Which we have done, particularly in the case of Lumumba. And all the people, all the witnesses who were suggested by the accused, were heard in cross-examination. A very long preliminary investigation was made, extremely thorough, verifications of all kinds were made, [including] verifications on the phone cells. I have not spoken of the phone cells, for example, but that is another point that showed people’s movements, people’s location, that were confirming the accusatory hypothesis, as we say. So, [after] all these evaluations, the prosecutor, made a few requests. I did nothing. I made an order of detention, I asked for [its] confirmation. Then the judges had to confirm everything. And the Preliminary Hearing judge should have considered, he would have had to, if there had been any grounds of non-credibility of witnesses, they should have been pointed out, they should have highlighted this. But the Preliminary Hearing judge evaluated the indictment request, I asked for an indictment but is was the GUP Micheli who [actually] indicted the defendants.

There was the trial before the Assize Court, which took place, it was a proceeding that lasted a year, a trial that lasted a year, during which the case was examined thoroughly from every possible angle and therefore this is the [missing words]. The magistrate, the prosecutor has an obligation, let’s say, in the current legal system, to seek, he is an impartial body, that has the obligation to seek the truth and if new elements emerge which make [a person] appear to be credible, which make a person appear to be unrelated to a crime, [then the prosecutor] has the obligation to request that all charges be dropped or, if during the trial, [to ask for an] acquittal. I myself have come across many times, during a trial, in light of witnesses, new witnesses, who were produced again in other cases, I asked for an acquittal. Anyone who knows me knows that this has occurred many times. But in this case I had, let’s say, during the investigation phase and during the trial, I made, we made our requests, we explained them, we justified them, and the court gave, acknowledged the validity of this case. Then there is an instance of appeal. There is the appellate level. Now, I will not discuss this because it is on-going.

49’11’’ Mignini: The phone call, for example, another thing that had a considerable influence on the investigation was the phone call that Amanda had with her mother in the middle of the night in Seattle, even before [the body] was discovered. This is another element that comes to mind, even before the body was found.

49’52’’ There is a call that is made in an hour, now I do not remember, it was I think, I do not remember exactly, I think it was 3 AM in Seattle, I think.


50’58’’ CNN: In 2006, you were found [missing words], let’s move on now to the other case, the prosecutor of Florence said that you would do anything to defend yourself in front of those who criticize the way you investigate…

51’43’’ Mignini: Well, I will not comment on this statement, I do not know when it was made. The proceeding that this person brought against me and Dr. Giuttari, ended in part with a full acquittal because no crimes had taken place [i fatti non sussistono], for one part. And this is a final acquittal because the prosecution did not appeal. So, this part of the allegations that were made, which were formulated, which was the most important part and led to the searches in the offices of the prosecution and also in Giuttari’s police offices, this part has totally collapsed. A search was carried out, a seizure was made, which had already been annulled by a court in Florence.

Then the court of Florence acquitted us because no crimes had been committed, with a full acquittal. And this acquittal is final. A part of the charges formulated against us remains, that I honestly find hard to understand, because they say [si dice], we were accused of having carried out investigations that had no relevance according to the theory [impostazione] of the Florence prosecutor’s office, I make this distinction, they had no bearing on the investigation we were conducting. I say that they had a full relevance and among these files there were interceptions that were all authorized by the competent magistrate. So this conviction was based on alleged offences [ipotesi di reato] to which we object, we have appealed, objecting to the jurisdiction of the prosecutor of Florence that conducted a trial although magistrates from the very same Florence Public Prosecutor’s office were involved in this very trial. And this cannot be done.

54’26’’ Because when there is a magistrate who is involved for different reasons in a matter, the trial must be moved [to another city]. So, if there is a magistrate from Perugia, the trial is moved [si va] to Florence, but if there is a magistrate from Florence, one goes to Genoa. And if there is a magistrate from Genoa involved as the offended party, as it was in this case, you go to Turin. And this is not what they did in Florence. We have objected to the jurisdiction of the Court of Florence for the violation of article 11 of the c.p.p. and if this jurisdiction should be recognized, everything comes to be nullified, and everything goes to Turin.

55’14’’ In addition there are other aspects that I do not wish to, well, you asked me the question about Preston, then I spoke, and I would like a moment

56’05’’ Mignini: Then I would add one thing, listen well to this. If I want to do something intimidating, meaning that I want to do an investigation that has an intimidating purpose [carattere] against a person because that person speaks against [me], no? If I want to do an act of intimidation, I have to do an act which that person feels, that that person understands, knows, perceives. I must, hypothetically, carry out a search, make a seizure, do an inspection ... Instead, I performed [faccio] a wiretap that was secret, I heard a witness who remained secret. How can I intimidate a person if I carry out an investigation that remains secret? Because the investigation must be secret. This activity is not like a search that is immediately known by the person. If I want to intimidate a person do you think that I carry out an investigation that remains secret? And how can I intimidate him? It’s a contradiction in terms. So someone will have to explain to me the meaning of this accusation.

57’32’’ The problem is that at the origin of these proceedings there was [missing words], I do not mean the whole Florence Prosecutor’s office with which I have very good relations. I’m talking about a time when [missing words] I talk about a conflict between offices, a conflict that has ended up in front of the Supreme Court Prosecutor General’s Office because the Prosecutor General of Florence. That is, the Florence Prosecutor’s Office wanted us to hand over to them a case we had,  the one regarding the death of doctor Narducci. We said no, the competence is ours. The prosecutor general of the Supreme Court, Dr. Febbraio, on July 29, 2005, agreed with Perugia.

So at the origin of this matter there is a conflict of jurisdiction and there is an indictment brought by us, I would like to make this clear, the Perugia Prosecutor’s Office had indicted the Florence Chief Prosecutor at that time, and this proceeding, at the origin of this proceeding, there is this fact. And this person also filed a civil lawsuit against me and Dr. Giuttari. This is the ... there is a contrast between offices, there was.

The next post is here.


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.





First hour of the interview

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.





20’13’’ CNN: And what was the proof, because from what we understand the scientific evidence does not point to them ... the two of them?

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”.]





36’50’’ CNN: Was it certain the genetic material was that of Meredith, and not genetic material that might be consistent with that of Meredith?

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.





48’48’’ CNN: He also wants to know if you also found [missing words], that is, Sollecito perhaps, had a few cuts, did you check to see if he had any cuts?

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.]

The next post is here.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Open Letter To CNN Head Ken Jautz: Reports As Terrible As Drew Griffin’s Risks All CNN’s Credibility

Posted by James Raper




Attention Of Mr Ken Jautz
Executive Vice President Of Time Warner Inc For CNN
CNN Headquarters
Atlanta Georgia


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.

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.





Points of error and omission in the report in the order in which they arise

(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.”

Really?

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.




(10) Drew Griffin’s loaded, error strewn and unsubstantiated commentary continued -

  • 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, Roman Mero, 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.





Some conclusions on the case and Griffin report

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.

Yours etc

James Raper

c/o True Justice for Meredith Kercher


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. 



[Click above for a larger image]

[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.



[Click above for a larger image]

[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?



[Click above for a larger image]

[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.

Here’s the format of our Balance Sheet for Testing CPJ’s Anti-Mignini Accusations. We’ll fill it out as we go along.



[Click above for a larger image]

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.”

Sincerely,

Kermit

A Main Poster on TJMK (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address))


Copied to:
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

Posted on 05/10/11 at 12:26 PM by KermitClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
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