Series Hoaxers from 2008

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Dear CEO Gary Pruitt: Could The Associated Press Try To Report Right A Little Harder?

Posted by Peter Quennell





The New York-based Associated Press (headquarters shown at bottom) bills itself as the world’s oldest and largest news-gathering organization.

[From the AP website] More than one billion people look to The Associated Press (AP) for news each day. Founded in 1848, the AP is the world’s foremost information resource with more than 3,700 employees at 242 bureaus worldwide serving 121 countries 24 hours a day, seven days a week via newspaper, radio, television and the Web.

The AP is a co-operative owned by over 1,000 newspapers and, like most of the mainstream media it serves, the AP rather has its back against the wall. From the Wikipedia entry:

The AP lost $14.7 million in 2010 as revenue plummeted for a second consecutive year. 2010 revenue totaled $631 million, a decline of 7% from the previous year. This is despite sweeping price cuts designed to bolster revenues and help newspapers and broadcasters cope with declining revenue.

That image above is of Gary Pruitt. A lot is riding on him to sustain a quality service and deversify in any way he can to pump those revenues back up. Right now, he is a senior media executive in Sacramento, California, but he will become the president and CEO of the AP in two months.

Most Americans hear far more about Meredith’s case from the AP than they do from any other source. Typically the AP sends out a story every few days when the case is live in Perugia. Typically these stories then get posted on 200 to 2,000-pus media websites in the US and around the world.

The AP also sends out many video reports, which are broadcast by the many member TV stations, and the AP also posts them on YouTube. If you search Google Video for “associated press meredith kercher” you will get 30,000 hits, and if you search “associated press amanda knox” you will get ten times that amount.

The AP reports on the case have at times veered to the deeply trivial. Here is a post about Amanda Knox’s 2008 Christmas in prison which included only a single sentence about the real victim Meredith and her family. Within hours it was up on 800 websites.

The AP reports have also at times included seriously wrong facts.  Sometimes it corrects them, sometimes not. Here is a post about a correction of a mistake which appeared on about 2,000 websites. The apology has been removed but the story when posted was inaccurate and it has been re-written to hide that. .

But the real gut problem in AP reporting on the case is one of deep superficiality and of leaving an awful lot unsaid.

Here is a report by the AP cultural and publishing correspondent Hillel Italie (image below) in New York.  It is essentially correct so far as it goes, but it is a good example of the republishing of press releases while leaving an awful lot unsaid.

Here are just three examples of what the AP could have covered in this report and its many other reports but so far hasn’t.

  • All trials and appeals have concluded with a sentencing report in Italian explaining what the reasons of the judges were. The AP has not only done no translation (it has bilingual reporters in Italy); of the reports’ very existence, the AP audience would never know.

  • There is a lot of legal activity just ahead in the Supreme Court appeal against RS and AK and the calunnia and perversion of justice trials. The once-convicted perps are now looking at a formidable new prosecutor, though the AP audience would never know.

  • There has been a costly, huge and highly onesided PR effort which has been unfairly hard on Italy and its justice system and its police and prosecutors and experts, to the point often of defamation, but the AP audience would never know.

Anyone who gets their news on the case only from the AP would essentially know NOTHING of the facts we have advanced in all the recent posts on the books and shortly before that in all the recent facts on the appeal and family trials. They would know only a tiny fraction of the full universe of facts and much of what they do “know” is flat-out wrong. 

Nice going, Associated Press. Your worst performance ever, perhaps? But then, why bother, when only an entire very civilized country and hundreds of its officials and truth and justice are being slimed?

What most Italians know of the details of the case is maybe ten times more detailed and comprehensive and fair and accurate than what most Americans and many Brits know. Italian reporting and interviews and media investigations are very fair. In contrast the AP is proving lazy and sloppy and inaccurate. Not to mention very dishonest.

Mr Pruitt, please ensure that AP reporting learns something from this? Right now, they are falling seriously short. 

[Below: the Associated Press cultural and publishing reporter Hillel Italie in New York]

[Below: part of the main AP press room located on 33rd Street on the west side of Manhattan]

[Below: the AP occupies space in that large square dark building immediately behind the Hudson Rail Yards]


Thursday, March 22, 2012

No, Book Agent Sharlene Martin, Your Client Raffaele Sollecito Really IS A Hot Potato

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above and below: Verona in north Italy where Sollecito is accepted by the university for a masters degree]


Los Angeles book agent Sharlene Martin posted this gung-ho comment on a Daily Telegraph thread (presently page seven) late Sunday night UK time.

I couldn’t be happier for Amanda Knox getting $4M for a book deal.  What happened to her and Raffaele is a sin.  BTW, I represent Raffaele for his book that we’re working on. 

There is no restitution for wrongful conviction and both families incurred absorbent costs to help exonerate them so good for them if they help recoup the lost monies.  They’ll never recoup the lost time of 4 years in prison.

She posted that at just about the same time we posted (post below) on the various hot-potato qualities of Raffaele Sollecito.  Since then… no further word.

In terms of the book’s sale to a publisher she may not have much to worry about.

For this reason the deal is probably set in stone: Simon and Schuster are a fully owned subsidiary of CBS Broadcasting, which has gone to eye-popping lengths (post on this soon) to remain in bed with the Knox-Mellases.

The content of this ill-considered book might be a lot more problematic. Sharlene Martin might still believe that there are just a few open questions, easily accommodated to by the FOA talking points. In actual fact there are hundreds.

And the FOA have studiously stayed away from creating the alternate-universe scenario that Sollecito and Andrew Gumbel must now create, if they don’t want to end up as the laughing-stock of the western world.

This is a road-map of the Sharlene Martin-Andrew Gumbel-Simon & Schuster minefield.

Hmmm. Lotta questions to be answered in a hurry, if the book is to stir a wave of sympathy or outrage to stop the Italian Supreme Court punting the case back to Perugia to get it right this time around.

Above and below are images of the northern Italian city of Verona. It has the largest and best preserved intact Roman ampitheater in the world. It also has a very good university.

Possibly legitimately or possibly by way of strings pulled by his father, Raffaele Sollecito had gained a place in a graduate class at the university there for the Department of Computer Science’s masters degree in computer engineering. 

In January Sollecitos father made several statements from Bari to the effect that Raffaele really was done with Amanda and dreams of visiting Seattle and would soon be headed for Verona to complete that postgraduate degree.

Rather suddenly, less than two months later, Raffaele is headed for Seattle, with his father and sister seemingly in hot and unexplained pursuit. Microsoft is suddenly mentioned as a firm which will interview him, masters degree or no masters.

So what happened? Well possible one explanation might be found in the comments area of every recent Italian report which allows them, which suggests that just about 100 percent of those posting don’t really like him.

That Italians dont really like him and are even inclined to physically take after him is also well illustrated in this story which we posted 18 months ago.

Sollecito was in the very modern solar-heated Terni prison for most of last year.  He was moved back to Capanne this year just before the trial, amidst his loud complaints that Capanne lacks the internet connections for his computer-science homework.

Sollecito has just received word that he failed the virtual-reality entrance exam that he took at Verona University last March.

When he was being transported there in a police van for the exam, he was yelled at by an angry crowd when the van stopped at an autostrada rest-stop for what Americans call a bathroom break.

He was bundled back in, and the police van took off in a hurry. No bathroom break? That must have rattled his exam-taking composure, that is for sure. 

Another possible explanation is that Sollecito is putting half a world between himself and Italy, because the Sollecito-Knox-Mellases realize that in light of Dr Galati’s formidable appeal that legally they are cooked.

Lots of good interview questions for Microsoft above. And a suggested new subtitle for “Presumed Guilty: My Journey to Hell and Back with Amanda Knox” ?

“Oops. This book idea really wasn’t very smart.”


[Below: A Verona audience waits in ampitheater for Sollecito to be fed to the lions, if they’ll have him]


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Could A Growing Asymmetry Between Raffaele And Everybody Else Be Ensuring No Sleep In Seattle?

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Louise Burke, Jen Bergstrom, and Tricia Boczkowski, top editors at Sollecito publisher Gallery Books]


Amanda Knox seems to have had a history of putting her foot in it and then (sometimes) when she realizes it she tries to make amends.

That seems to be the arc of her Berlin experience where she upset people by quitting a plum intern job at the parliament after a day and then retroactively at least worrying about it. That may have been what she was doing at the first meeting with her parents in Capanne prison when they very quickly shushed her up.

Meredith seems to have found Knox hard to take with her noise and grubbiness and sharp elbows and general pushiness.  But Amanda Knox was losing her few new friends in Perugia fast, and possibly her job in Patrick’s bar, and Meredith seems to have fatefully banked on Amanda Knox coming full circle soon.

There are instances recorded almost to the end where they both seemed to try to get along, although Meredith may have brushed Knox off on Halloween night when Knox made unanswered calls, maybe to ask if she could tag along.

Enter Sollecito.

Seemingly a classic loner with no close friends in Perugia, no previous genuine deep relations with girls, apparently no prior sex, a year or two behind the rest of his class in completing his degree, with serious time given to beastie porn and Japanese anime and Japanese manga. Believed to have had a history of cocaine use with some incident on record back in Bari. Loves knives.

Seemingly forever kept on a very short string by his father, who called him on the phone at least once daily, and who made sure to keep his son’s bank balance on a level with Raffaele’s legitimate monthly expenses.

Seemingly already nervous prior to Meredith’s death that Amanda Knox might soon dump him. That after less than one week.

Our Italian poster ncountryside translated these statements by Dr Sollecito which seem to show Francesco trying hard to get a grip over his slippery son.

From a family conversation recorded in Capanne prison

And then this f@cking knife that you carried back and forth .... I told you about leaving it at home .... You’re an idiot from this point of view .... aren’t you? .... and then the f@cking point that you could have avoided the [marijuana] joints .... You promised a few years ago about it, didn’t you? You gave us your promise, to me and to your sister that you would not have used them again, and instead you have not given a f@ck .... is that clear?“

From another family conversation recorded in Capanne prison

If the investigators are finally realizing what the real dynamics of the matter is ... automatically understand that you have nothing to do with [rude in italian] ... Do you understand? ... Amanda can be more or less involved in this matter ... more or less I do not know and do not give a damn ...

She will know something ... precisely ... especially considering all the versions that she has given, maybe she has not told the right one because she was worried about what this character the little negro [i.e. Patrick Lumumba] has managed to do, something like that ... do you understand what I mean? ... But you have nothing to do with [rude in Italian] ... and they understood ... now this morning or Monday there will be also the checking of your computer ... they have already cloned the hard disk ..

If Amanda was home ... if she was out, wtf were you doing? ... were you at the computer? ...... We cannot understand, this [=AK] within three days, when she went to the questura ... she has four to five different versions ... she has pulled in the little negro a@@hole ... Is a strange personality this girl, isn’t it?.

In his second and third alibis Sollecito definitely seemed to throw Knox under the bus.

It was only after hearing of Sollecito’s second alibi from police interrogators that Knox headed off down the slippery slope that now results in a confirmed three-year sentence for her and calunnia trials for both herself and her parents.

It was right then that Knox pointed the finger at Patrick Lumumba, in her own second alibi when still only a witness.

Upon his release by Judge Hellman, Raffaele Sollecito adopts a high and surprisingly jubilant “catch me if you can” profile not dis-similar to that which has been the downfall of many a psychopath throughout history.

He goes on national TV and avoids all the hard questions and he bristles with narcissistic bravado. He makes several statements about himself and Knox from his seclusion in Bisceglie north of Bari, which his father then publicly tries to pull him back from. 

A seemingly naive ghost-writer, Andrew Gumbel, is invited in to capture Sollecito’s immortal thoughts, and he seem to have instantly started to mirror Sollecito’s extreme bravado.

More or less the opposite of the cautious, subdued book approach of the Knox camp. Although she may not have wanted this, Amanda Knox will be tied forever to Sollecito in the opportunistic, self-serving title: “Presumed Guilty: My Journey to Hell and Back with Amanda Knox”. 

Book announcements are totally mute about all the legal trouble headed down the pike toward himself and Knox and their two families. The publisher’s announcement makes this inaccurate statement:

“Sollecito was an unwilling participant in a case that riveted the world. The Italian media convicted the young couple before any evidence had even been heard,” Gallery Books said in a statement. “Over and over, Sollecito came under pressure to change his testimony and get himself off the hook, but he refused to betray Amanda and he refused to lie.

“In ‘Presumed Guilty,’ Sollecito will finally tell his side of the story — from his first meeting with Amanda Knox, to his arrest, prison time, subsequent release, and current relationship with the woman he stood by through the worst ordeal of both their lives.”

Really?! No, in fact Sollecito threw Amanda Knox under the bus as soon as he was leaned on, in his alibis two and three. He left her under the bus throughout the whole trial. Even after she rather desperately reached out to him in Capanne prison.  And he lied again and again and again. Besides:

  • Sollecito seems to show no concern at all that Perugia’s formidable chief prosecutor Dr Galati has filed a devastatingly strong appeal with the Italian Supreme Court.
  • Sollecito seems to show no concern at all over his own family’s upcoming trial or the fact that they might end up in prison (which could cause his father to lose his medical license).
  • Sollecito seems to show no concern at all that, for over-vigorously trying to defend him, his sister Vanessa has now permanently lost her plum job with the Carabinieri.

And now? Well, now there is a new report from the UK press, which seems to keep stringers permanently on the ground in Seattle and may have a direct pipeline to the Knox-Mellases. The report includes this:

Amanda’s new boyfriend, musician James Terrano is understood to be unhappy about Raffaele’s arrival. 

James Terrano has himself been very cautious. He is unlikely to have let that damning remark leak out without a heads-up to Amanda Knox and her family. This seems yet another sign that the secret Seattle meetings are not simply a lovefest. 

Both families seem to be struggling with a loose cannon called Raffaele.



Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Rome Appeal Court Rejects Vanessa Sollecito’s Appeal For Reinstatement In The Carabinieri

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above and below: Francesco, father of Vanessa and Raffaele, outside their Bisceglie family home late 2011]


In 2008 Vanessa Sollecito and her father Francesco were caught on tape discussing the manipulation of Rome politicians into forcing changes upon the investigation team in Perugia.

Vanessa was fired from the Carabinieri the prestigious Italian national civil-military police force in November 2009 for demonstrating behavior and psychology inappropriate to a law enforcement officer’s job.

Our Italian poster ncountriside has just alerted us to the posting of the official statement that her appeal has been turned down.

The European Court is quoted in that report as confirming that national members have the right to fire official staff for psychological and behavioral cause.

The Carabinieri carried out a very thorough investigation which included the secret bugging of her mobile phone and her father’s phone. Jools translated one key conversation here. Her father suspects they are being bugged by the police but she blithely talks on, digging them in deeper.

This ruling was probably posted when Vanessa Sollecito was already in the air bound for Seattle (see the post below) but she would have known it was coming. This does not bode well for the criminal trial she faces along with her close family, possibly starting in Bari at the end of this month. The charges could incur prison terms.

The Sollecito family arc has almost never been reported on in the English language press. In 21 June 2008 Tom Kington of the Guardian did file this brief report.

The investigation into the murder of British student Meredith Kercher in Italy took a dramatic twist yesterday when the family of one of the suspects was accused of attempting to interfere with the inquiry.

Police tapping the phones of the father of Italian student Raffaele Sollecito overheard discussions that appeared to suggest plans being made to get senior politicians to use their influence and get detectives whom the Sollecitos considered hostile taken off the case. The phone tap information is in files handed over to lawyers as magistrate Giuliano Mignini officially completed the investigation into the strangling and stabbing of Kercher, from Surrey, who was found on 2 November semi-naked in a pool of blood in her bedroom in Perugia.

‘We’ve got to flay the Perugia flying squad,’ a family member was overheard saying, according to the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. ‘If we can get rid of the head of homicide and that other one, we’ll be OK.’

Relatives of Sollecito, including his sister, a policewoman, were also overheard discussing politicians who could help their case. Giulia Buongiorno, a lawyer and MP in Silvio Berlusconi’s ruling coalition, has now been retained to represent Sollecito. ‘She can help out on this case at a political level,’ Sollecito’s father was overheard saying.

Sollecito’s father, Franco, a well-to-do doctor from Bari in southern Italy, has campaigned to prove his son’s innocence, even to the point of allegedly leaking to a TV station a video obtained from the crime scene showing Kercher’s corpse, as well as highlighting perceived errors by the investigators, including the delayed recovery of parts of Kercher’s bra strap which were found to carry Sollecito’s DNA.

Police are holding in custody Sollecito, 24; his former girlfriend and Kercher’s flatmate, American student Amanda Knox, 20; and a third suspect, Rudy Guede, 21. All three deny involvement in the vicious killing.

As you can see here, Italian reporting like that translated by Jools usually includes a lot more damning detail.




Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sollecito Ghost Writer Andrew Gumbel Reveals To MedaBistro How Ill-Informed He Is About His Client

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Above left: Sollecito ghost writer Andrew Gumbel; above right, Sollecito agent Sharlene Martin]


Right now Sollecito ghost writer Andrew Gumbel is making loud, silly claims like many other writers who came upon the case and first fired from the hip.

And then “mysteriously” went silent and have not been heard from again.  We have helped to edge back from the brink several dozen such reporters. Perhaps they ought to thank us - oh, actually in several instances they did.

Here on Media Bistro Andrew Gumbel gives a shoot-from-the-hip interview in which he seems to display a terrible batting average on the hard truths. The interview is being smartly ridiculed in the comments below it by among others TJMK’s own well-informed pro-Meredith campaigner Bucket Of Tea.

Here, to help set Mr Gumbel straight before it is too late, is our own informed commentary on what he said.

A: It’s a rule of thumb that prosecutors dictate media coverage in a criminal trial. They are the ones who bring the charges, and are either vindicated or successfully challenged in court; the texture and the substance of the defendants’ stories tend to get lost. And so it was here. The media coverage focused largely on the yes/no question of whether Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were guilty.

Untrue.

The mechanics of the case from the inside — how they were interrogated, why they were prosecuted even after the most obvious perpetrator, Rudy Guede, was caught and convicted, the behind-the-scenes haggling between lawyers, defendants, expert witnesses, court officials and others — have been revealed only in glimpses, if at all.

Untrue.

Both Amanda’s book and Raffaele’s book are sure to shed light on how and why this grotesque miscarriage of justice arose. I would venture to say Raffaele’s story is even more absorbing than Amanda’s, because it was his family which orchestrated the detective work that made it possible to dismantle the case against both of them piece by piece. It was a high-wire act from beginning to end, and it’s a thrilling tale.

Untrue.

Amanda and Raffaele can’t bring Meredith back, but they can give everyone the benefit of the truth. It’s an important story to tell. And after all they have gone through — including the huge hit their families took to their reputations and their pocket books — they certainly deserve both vindication and compensation….

Untrue.

Not only will the book leave no doubt about Raffaele’s innocence; everything Raffaele and his family have to tell, backed by previously unpublished documents in the case, suggests that his incarceration had almost nothing to do with the actual evidence but had another motivation entirely — to be revealed when the book comes out…..

And untrue.Absurdly so.

Thirty plus judges who reviewed the case had no “other motivation entirely”. Please drop the smears of Italy and Italian justice. It isn’t becoming and there are already enough calunnia suits for felony defamation in the works.

And Sollecito’s family orchestrated no amazing detective work that showed that all the evidence was at fault. The defenses had every opportunity to do so in 2009 at trial and they did a truly terrible job. The Supreme Court already knows this so in what way exactly have they won?

In fact the main thing the Sollecito family is famous for right now is that they all face a trial in Bari. The charges are (1) illegally releasing video evidence to a TV network and (2) illegally attempting to subvert the police and prosecution by political means.

Now that’s true. Its seems two serious laws may have been broken. Andrew, read up about your Dear Clients here and especially here. They haven’t even attempted to “explain” all that as yet, and are almost certainly going to go down at trial.

And by the way, the evidence that the Sollecito family leaked to Italian TV? Video images of the naked body of Meredith. Very nice clients? You’ve been conned.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Curt Knox And Edda Mellas Diffamazione Trial Will Resume In Perugia 30 March.

Posted by Jools





First, here is an explanation of diffamazione.

The charge of calunnia (art. 368) has been commonly translated as “slander” in the English/US media. This translation is incorrect, however, as calunnia is a crime with no direct equivalent in the respective legal systems.

The equivalent of “criminal slander” is diffamazione, which is an attack on someone‟s reputation. Calunnia is the crime of making false criminal accusations against someone whom the accuser knows to be innocent, or to simulate/fabricate false evidence, independently of the credibility/admissibility of the accusation or evidence.

The charges of calunnia and diffamazione are subject to very different jurisprudence. Diffamazione is public and explicit, and is a more minor offence, usually resulting in a fine and only prosecuted if the victim files a complaint, while calunnia can be secret or known only to the authorities. It may consist only of the simulation of clues, and is automatically prosecuted by the judiciary.

The crimes of calunnia and diffamazione are located in different sections of the criminal code: while diffamazione is in the chapter entitled “crimes against honour” in the section of the Code protecting personal liberties, calunnia is discussed in the chapter entitled “crimes against the administration of justice”, in a section that protects public powers.

The suit against Curt Knox and Edda Mellas will commence in earnest on 30 March.

That is two days after the scheduled start of the Sollecito family trial in Bari for alleged subversion of justice, and about six weeks after the prosecution lodges its grounds for appeal with the Supreme Court against the appeal verdict on Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. 

The defamation charges were lodged not by the Perugia prosecutors’ office but by those who considered themselves to have been defamed. Under their rules they are required to do that to safeguard the system.

Amanda Knox is quoted as saying how much she likes Italy and how she would like to be at that trial.

Amanda Knox “loves Italy and likes Perugia”.

She wants to return as a tourist but, if necessary, she’ll do so to testify in the trial against her parents”. To say as much was one of the defenders of the American [female], lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova. Words came in the space of the proceedings for defamation against the parents of the student from Seattle, which is taking place in Perugia.

The name of Amanda Knox was included in the list of trial witnesses that the defence for Kurt Knox and Edda Mellas, lawyers Dalla Vedova and Luciano Ghirga intend to call to testify in court. “Both are accused of libel through the press in an interview which appeared in 2009 on the website of The Sunday Times” in which they spoke of alleged abuses on her daughter at the police headquarters during the questioning for the investigation into the murder of Meredith Kercher. For which crime Knox was provisionally acquitted on appeal.

In the meantime today the single judge Giuseppe Noviello has rejected an instance by the defence in relation to the territorial incompetence of the Perugian judiciary in dealing with the court proceedings.

“Amanda - said Dalla Vedova - is very interested” in the trial hearings against her parents and to which she is accused of calunnia, also against the flying squad police agents”. With her lawyers she maintains a correspondence by e-mail and every now and then they speak on the phone. “We have not seen her again – explains Dalla Vedova - since she was acquitted and went back to the United States. At Christmas though we exchanged greetings and yesterday she sent me an email asking for information on today’s hearing. Tonight I will tell her how it went”.

For the record the hearing in question was then postponed to March 30. On that date the witness for the prosecution will be heard. Then will be the turn for defence witnesses.


Friday, October 28, 2011

A Famous Black Widow Confirms What MP Girlanda Told Us First: Italian Prisons Are Pretty Nice Places

Posted by Peter Quennell




Florence is 70 miles north of Perugia along a winding roller coaster of an autostrada which everyone drives at great speed.

If you take more than 1/2 an hour you are a sissy. (Just kidding.) The global luxury goods empire House of Gucci with stores in New York, Shanghai, and many other main cities was founded in Florence in 1921.

In 1998 Maurizio Gucci the grandson of the founder who was then aged 46 was executed by a hit man in Milan.

He had sold financial control of the empire he had managed to greatly expand to a Bahrain group in 1993 and then turned to doing other things. That included several girlfriends or mistresses which greatly distressed his wife.

Patrizia Reggiani was subsequently tried for initiating the hit and she was sentenced to 29 years which was reduced on appeal to 26. Nick Squires in the Daily Telegraph picks up the story from there.

Patrizia Reggiani has been in jail ever since being convicted of the killing in 1998. More than a decade later, she was the prospect of day release from Milan’s San Vittore prison, if she will accept a menial job such as working as a waitress.

But the 63-year-old, whose extravagant tastes included spending 10,000 euros a month on orchids, told a court in Milan: “I’ve never worked in my life and I’m certainly not going to start now.”

Her peremptory refusal of the day release deal echoed one of her more famous quotes: “I would rather weep in a Rolls-Royce than be happy on a bicycle.”

Instead she intends to serve the rest of her 26-year sentence in her jail cell, where she reportedly lavishes affection on a collection of pot plants and a pet ferret.

She will continue to be allowed to make twice-monthly visits to her ageing mother, who lives in a lavish palazzo in central Milan – a reminder of the cosseted lifestyle Mrs Reggiani used to enjoy.

A not-unpopular figure in Italy, she may soon be depicted by Angelina Jolie in a new Ridley Scott film to be called “Gucci” with Leonardo di Caprio as the hapless Maurizio. 

The description of Patrizia’s prison life comes with no surprises. If you are going to be a prisoner anywhere in the world, Italy does seem the place of choice. .

The prison population is very small (proportionally only 1/6 that of the US) and prisoners often get their own bathroom and even a kitchen attached to their cell. They can watch TV and walk outside (in many prisons cell doors are kept open all day) and get their hair done professionally and attend rock concerts and plays. They can learn a trade if they lack skills, study for a degree, and even work on a computer all day.

Knox and Sollecito are believed to have done all of these things. Not least because the Italian MP Rocco Girlanda often visited Knox in Capanne and publicly told us all so. Mr Girlanda regularly visited to inspect conditions and then he declared Knox to be very well off. (He in return ended up with enough material for a book which nowhere depicted prison life as hell.)

These sob-stuff stories on torrid life at Capanne suddenly emerging from Seattle sure smack of an instant rewrite of history. Perhaps Angelina Jolie could check them out.


[Image at bottom: the Gucci museum in Florence which recently had a celebrity opening]








Friday, October 21, 2011

Knox Public Relations Manager Starts Premature Crowing Years Before Legal Process Ends

Posted by Skeptical Bystander




Fake News By Marriott™

Click on the image above and you will be taken to the lies-filled world of Marriott.

Now that the supertanker has pulled into port, the story about the creation of the narrative can finally begin to be told. We live in a world that needs an endless supply of stories. Just ask Scheherazade - whatever gets you through the night is alright.

In the world of Marriott as Button notes the media operates on the assumption that the American Public can’t remember further than the day before yesterday.

And in the business journal treatment of the Marriott PR Triumph (aka The Snow White Job), someone has forgotten that the script a month ago stated that there was no PR campaign and anyone who believed there was one was nothing but a guilter and a hater.

But now all that is swept aside.

Now Mr. Marriott, who looks like a cross between Colonel Sanders and a dumpling, can lumber up to the stage and accept kudos from one and all. After all, he was hired three days after Knox was arrested, for financial terms neither side will disclose.

Let’s look at how the business journal spins the yarn:

Marriott was as important a player in [Knox’s] ordeal as anyone in the courtroom. As Knox’s publicist, beginning three days after her arrest, Marriott worked to convince the international public that she did not murder her British roommate while studying in Perugia.

“Hiring him was one of the smartest things we ever did,” said Curt Knox, Amanda’s father.

The partnership between the Knox family and Marriott illustrates the potential of a public relations campaign to shift sentiment — and possibly even influence a verdict.

Like I said, if you have the right publicist, anything is possible! The right publicist can make water flow uphill and, once that has happened, can advise you on the best way to make the money you will need to pay more for his services.

That’s the phase we’re in now, folks. If you ever get in trouble, this is the guy you want working for you, feeding chicken shit to the masses and calling it chicken delight.

More from the Business Journal version of The Story:

Then, there’s the need for money. Curt Knox and Amanda’s mother, Edda Mellas — they are not married to each other — have each said they’ve drained their retirement funds, taken out second mortgages and accrued credit card debt to pay for Amanda’s defense. So, in this new phase, lucrative media deals will be a consideration.

At Marriott’s downtown Seattle office, he fields inquiries from book agents, screenwriters, news shows and movie studios. All want the Amanda Knox saga for their own. Some are offering big bucks. Marriott and the Knox family will be considering the offers, Marriott said — likely in a couple of weeks.

“There will be financial opportunities,” Marriott said. “I’ll be there to walk them through the opportunities.”


Who Is Behind Repeated Attempts To Make False Claims Of Kercher Suit Against Knox Go Viral?

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Jeanne Sager tweeted and posted “Delusional Kerchers Think Amanda Knox Owes Them $12 Million”]


Is somebody trying very hard to juice the fast-ebbing sympathy for Amanda Knox? Who after three weeks has still not started to explain?

The UK’s Sun (see Google hit below) seems to have been the first to swallow and publish the malicious claim about the Kerchers. Quickly yanked.  The UK’s Daily Mail ran a similar report on the malicious claim on the same day. Quickly yanked.

Several other second-tier media websites ran the false story very briefly, and then they yanked it.

Oblivious, the hack reporter Jeanne Sager of The Stir put the malicious claim on steroids with her post “Delusional Kerchers Think Amanda Knox Owes Them $12 Million”. She added some shrill ugly opinions of her own.

It was finally yanked along with hundreds of hate comments Jeanne Sager had managed to provoke.

And here we ago again. The daily surfacing of the malicious claim. This time TWICE in the Christian Post by their reporters George J. Wienbarg and Ravelle Mohammed.

The Christian Post’s corrections page is here. Both posts have Facebook commenting open below.

[Below: Believed to be the George J. Wienbarg who wrote one of the misleading reports]


Monday, October 10, 2011

Media Starting To Take A Closer Look At The Knox PR Shills With Nina Burleigh Exhibit One

Posted by Skeptical Bystander





Click on the image above for the report on the PR role of Nina Burleigh by the New York Times’s Kate Zernike.

In the news media’s frenzy surrounding an Italian court’s decision last week to free Amanda Knox, the American exchange student convicted of killing her roommate in Perugia, the journalist Nina Burleigh was a near-constant television presence. Her face looped in and out of shows like “Today,” “Good Morning America,” “20/20” and “Anderson Cooper 360.” She made appearances on NPR, the BBC and MSNBC.

With her emphatic defense of Ms. Knox (criticizing the “appalling” treatment of her by the Italian courts and news media, insisting “the evidence didn’t exist,” that the “jury rubber-stamped a conviction”), Ms. Burleigh seemed at times to move from journalist to advocate, treading what she knew, as a longtime reporter and author, was a dangerous line.

Nina Burleigh has certainly had a busy, busy week - playing advocate for Amanda Knox, plugging Burleigh’s own book on the case, and helping CBS sell the first of many (many more than anyone wants to see) pre-packaged Knox pieces that dutifully toe the Marriott Party line.

Those looking for facts are advised to watch major league baseball on Sunday night.

Burleigh found herself facing a dilemma before she penned the first paragraph of her book: Team Marriott, firmly in place by then, would only allow access to advocacy journalists. So Burleigh took that path, a disastrous one for everything but television exposure and perhaps book sales.

Burleigh jumped on board late, does not speak Italian, attended only a handful of trial sessions, and even got the birthdate of the victim, Meredith Kercher, wrong. Worse, she used the Knox’s friendly translator as her interpreter! That trail is a loop that leads to a predictable place.

For authors claiming to be journalists, this excellent NY Times piece should serve as a warning: Advocacy is not journalism. It leads to conflict of interest and turns journalists into shills. And this is bad for all of us.

This book should be on the bedside table of anyone who aspires to be a journalist.


Posted on 10/10/11 at 11:30 AM by Skeptical BystanderClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Hoaxes Knox & team20 No-PR hoaxHoaxers from 2008Knox-Mellas teamNina BurleighNews media & moviesTerrible reporting
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Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Nancy Grace’s “Miscarriage Of Justice” Observation Goes Viral, Google Says It’s On 38,000 Sites

Posted by Peter Quennell





Amanda Knox will be lucky if CNN’s popular legal commentator Nancy Grace doesn’t get on her case the way she still is on Casey Anthony’s.

Nancy Grace says there is NO innnocent explanation for Knox’s second written confession placing her at the house (with Patrick Lumumba) and including observations that only someone who really was there could have known.

We have noticed that time and again commentators have come out batting for Knox, read the evidence, and then gone quiet. Nancy Grace’s CNN colleague Jane Velex-Mitchell had swallowed the Kool Aid at one point, but now she is ambivalent and careful.

Here is Huffington Post Media’s version of what Nancy Grace said last night.

Nancy Grace issued a typically blunt verdict on Amanda Knox during a Monday interview.

The outspoken HLN host and fierce ‘Dancing with the Stars’ competitor declared her true feelings about Knox when she spoke to Access Hollywood following her waltz performance Monday night.

“I was very disturbed, because I think it is a huge miscarriage of justice,” Grace said. “I believe that while Amanda Knox did not wield the knife herself, I think that she was there, with her boyfriend, and that he did the deed, and that she egged him on. That’s what I think happened.”

In Knox’s final plea, she told an Italian appeals court that she was not present the evening her British roommate Meredith Kercher was sexually assaulted and brutally murdered in their shared apartment. Grace said she did not think Knox is telling the truth. “I believe her original statement to the police - that she was there in the home when her roommate was murdered was true,” Grace told Access Hollywood.

Social networks like Twitter and Facebook exploded with celebratory messages on Monday as the judge proclaimed Knox’s innocence, allowing the study abroad student to finally return home to Seattle, Washington after four years in an Italian prison.

Grace was not one of those supporters, saying that while she would love to believe Knox innocent, “I just happen to know the facts.” Grace was even harsher when asked if her show would compete with other networks to get the first Knox interview.

“I’m not trying to get Amanda Knox’s first interview because… my show does not pay for interviews…Second, I don’t think she’s going to tell the truth anyway, so what’s the point?” Grace responded.

THAT will get the noses of thousands of new followers firmly into the REAL evidence. Not all that made-up stuff. Other legal commentators may follow Nancy Grace’s lead, because she is the real pace-setter and power broker in that community.

The equally popular Fox News political and legal commentator Bill O’Reilly discussed the verdict on Monday night with Judge Andrew Napolitano, another prominent commentator. This is from the the summary on Bill O’Reilly’s website.

]Bill O’Reilly] concurred that Amanda Knox likely knows what happened on the night British student Meredith Kercher was murdered; therefore, we shouldn’t really be happy with this outcome since a terrible crime is unsolved.

Pity that Judge Napolitano claimed that Amanda Knox was interrogated as a suspect for 56 hours without an attorney. That did NOT happen. She had an attorney present at all times. Someone please correct him. .


Monday, October 03, 2011

Twentieth Appeal Session: Translated Transcript Of Amanda Knox’s Final Plea To The Court

Posted by Peter Quennell





The image above and Knox’s remarks below are from one of the live broadcasts of the pressroom feed.

Members of the court. Many times people have said I am some other person, people don’t understand whom I am. The only thing different from four years ago is what I have suffered. I lost a friend, a girlfriend, in the most brutal way in the most unexplained manner.

My trust in the police authorities has been betrayed. I have had to dealt with unfair and unfounded charges. I have paid with my life for things that I did not commit.

Four years ago I did not know what tragedy was. I have never faced so much anger before. I didn’t know how to interpret it. How did we react when we found out Meredith had been killed? I did not believe it. How was it possible?

Her bedroom was next to mine. She was killed in our home. If I had been there that night I would have died. The only difference is, I was not there. I trusted the police’s sense of duty and trust. I trusted them completely. I was betrayed on the night of November 5. I was manipulated.

I am not who they say I am. I am not violent. I don’t have a lack of respect for life. And I did not kill. I did not rape. I did not steal. I wasn’t there at the crime scene.

I had good relationships with everyone who lived in my flat. We all had good relationships. We helped each other. I shared my life, particularly with Meredith. We were friends. She was worried about me. She was very kind to me.

I have never run away from the truth. I insist after four desperate years, that our innocence is true and needs to be recognized. I want to go back home. I want to go back to my life. I don’t want my life and my future taken away from me for something that I didn’t do.

I am innocent. We do not deserve this. We never did anything to deserve this. I have the utmost respect to this court and the care that it has shown. Thank you.

Posted on 10/03/11 at 09:14 AM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Defendants in courtAmanda KnoxThe officially involvedAppeals 2009-2015Hellmann 2011+Hoaxers from 2008Knox-Mellas team
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Sunday, October 02, 2011

Is The Raffaele Sollecito Defense Team About To Separate Him From A Radioactive Amanda Knox?

Posted by Peter Quennell





Sollecito has at least five advantages over Knox in what may be the final day of court tomorrow.

First, the smartest and most influential of all the lawyers in MP Giulia Bongiorno. Second, a relatively attractive family which has run a low-key smiling campaign. Third, relatively little evidence (the bra clasp and footprint) placing him at the scene of the crime and unlike Knox no alibi that says he was there.

Fourth, no obvious motive for either the murder or the cleanup compared to the many possible motives for Amanda Knox. And fifth, a weak wishy-washy personality on which Bongiorno has already played, casting Knox as the lead player in the drama and Sollecito as either accidentally there or not at all.

The mood does seem to be moving against Amanda Knox now as the extreme arrogance of the million dollar campaign sinks in. And if her “spontaneous” remarks to the court tomorrow follow her usual pattern, they will yet again make her look callous and concerned only about herself.

Several reports are out now in Italian harking on these themes. This report by the Associated Press with a possible nudge from the Sollecito team gives a sense of what the Italian reports are saying.

Even in Sollecito’s native Italy, it is Knox who commands the most media attention. Two prominent celebrity and gossip magazines, “Oggi” and “Gente,” put Knox on their covers during the final week of arguments in the appeals trial, and newspapers characterize him as being in the background.

Not even prosecutors have portrayed Sollecito as the main protagonist in the murder of Meredith Kercher on Nov. 1, 2007. According to their version, Sollecito held Kercher from behind while Knox stabbed her and another man tried to sexually assault her. Ivorian immigrant Rudy Guede was convicted in a fast-track trial and saw his sentence cut from 30 years to 16 years on appeal.

Attention during the investigation focused intensely on the two young female roommates as the world and prosecutors searched for a motive. Knox was portrayed as sexually promiscuous and lacking inhibition, while at the same time working hard to support herself and trying to learn Italian; Kercher was depicted as more serious and studious, who had at the end of her life began to chafe at her American roommate’s sloppiness.

The good girl/bad girl dichotomy drove headlines across the globe, while Sollecito — the mild mannered boyfriend — was largely overlooked in a supporting role.

It’s a role that his defense lawyer plays up. Sollecito is the son of a wealthy doctor from southern Italy who hired a crack legal team to defend his son. It’s led by Giulia Bongiorno, who defended former Italian Premier Giulio Andreotti on charges of mafia association.

“It’s not by chance that Raffaele arrived in this trial as the boyfriend. Nothing connects Raffaele to the crime,” Bongiorno said in her closing arguments last week. “With a girlfriend, you usually get a family. Raffaele got a murder.”

She said the few pieces of evidence in the “Amanda-centric” trial relate to Knox, not to Sollecito. “Nothing connects him to the crime,” Bongiorno said.


Million Dollar Campaign And American Media Come Under Intense Ridicule By An Influential Italian

Posted by Tiziano





Vittorio Zucconi is the US editor of the major daily La Republicca and lives in Washington. He has more influence over Italian perceptions of America than any other. This is translated from the Italian.

A few hours from the verdict, America is in a trance over Baby Amanda - she is the girl from the golden west, an innocent victim of the wicked witches of the east, the ones wearing the robes of the Perugian judges - now awaiting the happy ending that everyone is expecting, which legions of correspondents and American TV cameras talk about and recount, as if the fate of the west depended upon her release from prison on appeal or on the confirmation of the guilty verdict

By Vittorio Zucconi per la Repubblica

She is the “Girl from the Golden West”, the innocent victim of the wicked witches of the east, the ones who wear the robes of the judges from Perugia. It is a melodrama, sung, played and staged for an American audience which relishes it and avidly follows it like a soap opera or one of those legal thrillers which have made the fortune of of authors like Grisham, Turow and before them Earl Stanley Gardner.

Amanda like Puccini’s Minnie, is the snow-white, naive, extremely innocent girl imprisoned on the wild frontier of the Italian justice system, now awaiting the happy ending which everyone expects, which legions of correspondents and TV cameras tell of and which are preparing to recount as if the fate of the West depended on her release form prison on appeal or on the confirmation of her guilty verdict. And which networks like the ABC are already selling for $7.99 to be downloaded to I-pads and tablets.

Such a show of strength, such a shelling out of money on the part of “news organisations”, all now very careful down to the last cent in bad times, about a legal case the like of which has probably not been seen on the other side of the Atlantic since the trial of historic importance of Adolf Eichmann.

Yes, the monster of the SS, the brain and the accountant of the Jewish genocide. Live satellite coverage is expected for the imminent sentence to be pronounced by the Appeal Court and daily services will broadcast, especially those for the morning shows, those desperate housewives, for mothers who have children anxious to escape from the boredom of suburbia, the same old routine of high school parties to fly far away for new experiences, as Amanda dreamed.

The one whom the British tabloid press straight away stained with the nick-name given to her by her soccer team friends, in the football she played as a little girl: Foxy Knoxy, in which foxy means agile, cunning, escaping tackles and not for that “foxy” which, as in Fellini’s Amarcord evokes the arts of an enchantress and insatiable desires. Because while the USA was barracking for Knox, the English cousins were against her.

As well, other than those irresistible ingredients thrown into the cauldron of the morbidity which gains circulation and titillates the worst in every consumer of garbage TV with bombs and horror reconstructions, sex, blood, satanism, the woman with sacrificial lamb and the butcher, in the fury of the American media who throw themselves against this “court peopled with provincial lawyers” (still Rolling Stones which dedicated an extremely lengthy inquest) there is a great repressed and secret desire for vengeance.

There is the repressed rage against that Europe which is always ready with finger raised to accuse American justice of monstrous errors, of inexplicable acquittals (the O J Simpson case), of “puritanical” persecution as is said precisely on our shores, (Clinton crucified for oral sex), of horrible shows, like the arrest and the world-wide shame of Strauss Khan, or the details of the “panties cover-up” - inside or outside? - of the victim of Willy Kennedy Smith, raped on the beach of the Kennedy villa in Florida.

American justice which triumphantly boasts that it is the best in the world, but refuses to recognise that it has sent, and still sends, innocent people defended by useless bar-room lawyers to be executed.

Now swallow this, you supercilious and presumptuous Italians and Europeans. The frenzy of the specials about Amanda is pursued by the satellite nets which have to recuperate their expenses.

CNN, once the authoritative queen of the satellite, yesterday showed a long special on the four years of torments and injustice, with Amanda on show on the site, with her face in the shadow, her fresh-face and prison profile, the “girl next door”, quite different from the she-devil, the satanic female painted by the “baroque” closing arguments (here is another expression which appears in all the reports on the prosecutor, next to “mediaeval”, all that is missing are the Borgias and Machiavelli.)

On the site her face figures in double format in respect to the pallid and sinister image of the jihadist Anwar al-Awaki, killed yesterday, one of the infinite number of aspiring candidates for the succession of Osama Bin Laden. The number of listeners and hits motivates CNN: Amanda is in first place and is beating the terrible terrorists, as well as news on the economy and the stock market, disastrous again.

We are possibly on the way to a second recession, but there is no match, in the ratings, for that travesty, that parody of justice, put in place against the girl from the golden west, martyred in Perugia.

It is a thought that will print books, burn DVDs, work video-recorders to see once more the specials of CNN, Fox, ABC, CBS, MSNBC, local broadcasters, which have exalted as a hero,  the blogger from Perugia who was sceptical from the first day. And the first network which succeeds in obtaining - or buying - the truth from Amanda, the “accidental murderer” who was dreaming of the view of Umbrian cypresses and who saw the prison bars of Italian justice, will be transported to the stars.

‘Is it true that you are always dreaming of sex?” the prison guards would ask the girl, according to her diaries, also printed greedily by Time. True, false, it doesn’t matter. Amanda is a victim, a woman, a little girl, and the verdict has already been issued here. An America, year in year out accused of being an executioner by anti-Americanism, even when its own symbols are collapsing, can finally call itself, this time, the victim. Today, here, we are all Amanda.Knox.


Friday, September 30, 2011

“Million Dollar Campaign” To Try To Influence The Jury Is Being Widely Reported To A Startled Italy

Posted by Peter Quennell





It looks like a perfect storm is flaring up in Italy for the hapless Knox PR campaign. Just about every media outlet in Italy seems to be running a variation of this report.

Next Monday will see delivered the verdict against the girl in prison since 2007 on charges of murder of her British roommate Meredith Kercher. The decision was confirmed today by a judge of the court in Perugia.

Meanwhile there transpires shocking news: The Amanda Knox clan has spent a million dollars to change her image and influence the jury.  This is one of the allegations made by the prosecutor during the summations of the appeal of Amanda Knox.

“Have you ever seen a defendant who takes on a large public relations firm?” asked the prosecutor Giuliano Mignini, which the people on the benches behind the lawyers deny. “Behind her was a communication campaign for a million dollars.”

The much touted executive jet waiting at the airport to whisk her home gets considerable mention in a very negative way, as does the fact that a freed Knox stands to make many millions.

Also much mentioned is that a freed Amanda Knox might never come back to Italy for the final appeal before the Supreme Court of Cassation which is due next year.  Cassation is the ONLY body in the Italian justice system that can finally declare whether Knox is guilty or innocent. The Hellman court, like the Massei court, can only in effect make recommendations.

Also reported is that Michelle Moore of the Knox entourage may well be charged for her bizarre verbal lunge at Mr Mignini during a break at court. The file on that case is being sent to Florence, where cases involving court officers in Perugia are handled, for a decision to be made.

And also reported is that Steve Moore, who seems to us to have the mother of all tin ears, is still ranting on about those clumsy Italians. Steve Moore so far as we know speaks no Italian and is now on his first trip to Italy in the context of this case. He has still not listed the evidence he claims he has reviewed (which of course is all in Italian) or released his real resume.

With the meme now increasingly hostile to the campaign, we’d be surprised if there is not more to come. 

Posted on 09/30/11 at 06:22 PM by Peter QuennellClick here & then top left for all my posts;
Right-column links: Hoaxes Knox & team20 No-PR hoaxHoaxers from 2008Knox-Mellas teamNews media & moviesMedia newsThe wider contextsN America context
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