Collection: Prosecutor leaks hoax

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Traitor? How Sollecito Extensively Smeared Italy In English To Save His Own Skin #1

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters




1. Overview Of “Sollecito As Traitor” Series

By way for example of his new Italian book, Sollecito is trying hard to make himself liked in Italy.

An uphill task at best. Most Italians, who could follow the case a lot closer than most people outside Italy, know about all of this.

    (1) At his central-police-station interview 5-6 November 2007 and his first Matteini hearing two days later he dumped very heavily on Knox.

    (2) Throughout trial he gave Knox no help with her current alibi (that she was at his place all night) and again and again pulled out the rug from under her.

    (3) After the Hellmann outcome late 2011 Sollecito took off like a rabbit for the US (with his family soon in hot pursuit) and after Knox stiffed him tried very hard to get someone - anyone - to marry him so he could stay.

    (4) Before the Nencini verdict came out in early 2014, a panicked Sollecito took off to the north in a car and got cold feet (or was warned to stop) at the Austrian border and ignominiously came back.

    (5) Before the Fifth Chambers verdict came out in early 2015 a panicked Sollecito took off for Bari rather than remaining at the Supreme Court to find out what the verdict would be.

    What Italians mostly dont know is this. In late 2013 Sollecito’s first book - only in English - came out, and he was soon all over American TV once again sticking it to Knox.

    In the book his self-serving strategy was threefold: (1) Despite the title, point hard to Knox; (2) Point harder to Dr Mignini and the supposedly bungling, mean police; and (3) Point hardest to the official mechanisms, by lying on a grand scale, to make them out to be brutal and highly archaic at best.

    This series will lay out how Sollecito, lying and lying from what he thought would be a safe distance across the Atlantic, tried hard to make Italy look bad in the eyes of the world.

    A lot of posters contributed to the analysis of Sollecito’s 2012 English-language book on which much of the series will be based. Thanks especially to Sara, Kermit, Cardiol MD, and James Raper, who did the most work. 

    1. Sollecito’s First 20 False Claims

    We first posted a version of this analysis in May 2014. These twenty examples of felony claims all appear in the book’s preface which is only seven pages.

    Such claims continue throughout the book at approximately the same rate and they will be examined in future posts. 

    1. That Italian justice authorities took the easy way out

    This is the story of two ordinary people who stumbled upon an extraordinary circumstance, the brutal murder of a British student in Italy. Neither Amanda Knox nor I had anything to do with the crime, but we came perilously close to spending the rest of our lives in prison because the authorities found it easier, and more convenient, to take advantage of our youth and inexperience than to mount a proper investigation.  It’s that simple. And that absurd.

    No advantage was taken of them. The two stood out very sharply from all the others of similar age, and of similar inexperience (whatever that means). They did and said dozens of things in the early days that set them sharply apart.

    They were interrogated quite fairly, the Italian media was not especially hard, Dr Mignini never ever leaked, and they had lawyers and family handy at every turn after they were arrested. They each gave the authorities less than zero help - they tried to lead them off on wild goose chases, for example the false claim AK made against Patrick and dozens of other false claims, and apparently tried to finger yet another north African, Hicham Khiri, in a conversation they clearly knew was being recorded.

    A “proper” investigation was indeed done. Simply read through all the posts on the trial here in the first half of 2009, and the prosecutor’s excellent summations, and you will see what a smooth comprehensive job was done. And the Supreme Court concluded that THREE had to have been involved, from the recreation of the attack and all the wounds on Meredith’s body. Subsequent to Patrick, AK and RS and their lawyers never came within light-years of throwing real suspicion on anyone else.

    2. That the preventive custody was very harsh

    On November 1, 2007, Amanda and I were carefree students at the beginning of a cross-cultural love affair in a beautiful Umbrian hill town. Within days, we were thrown into solitary confinement in a filthy prison, without access to lawyers or loved ones, accused of acts so heinous and disturbing we may never be able to banish them from our thoughts, or our nightmares.

    Raffaele was sent to preventative prison on Tuesday November 6. Capanne Prison was almost brand-new then, and far from crowded. Cells contain TVs and private bathrooms.

    All questioning had been stopped early on 6 November until Sollecito could have a lawyer present. He himself wrote to his father in his “prison diary” on November 7:  “I may see you tomorrow, at least that is what I was told by Tiziano [Tiziano Tedeschi, his lawyer at the time], who I saw today and who defended me before the judge.”

    Mr Tedeschi made no complaint about any delay in the first meeting with his new client. In Italy, a judge must determine within 48 hours whether to hold or release detained suspects. Judge Matteini did so meticulously with Tedeschi present and refused Sollecito’s release.

    3. That the prosecution and Italian media demonized the pair

    In the newspapers and on the nightly news, we were turned into monsters, grotesque distortions of our true selves. It did not matter how thin the evidence was, or how quickly it became apparent that the culprit was someone else entirely. Our guilt was presumed, and everything the prosecution did and fed to the media stemmed from that false premise.

    In the real world, the prosecution fed nothing at all secretly to the media and publicly very little, none of it self-servingly biased. Italian reporting was sporadic and very mild compared to anything one can see said daily about possible perps in the US and UK newspapers and on US TV. Besides, any coverage, which was in part deliberate in the situation as dozens of students were fleeing Perugia, had no influence on anything, neither on the investigation nor the trial.

    The Italian system is set up so media can have less influence than almost any other media on any other justice system in the world. The Micheli and Massei sentencing reports show the judges were not unduly influenced even by the lawyers right in front of them, let alone by mild media reports 1 or 2 years before that.

    4. That four years were wasted showing where the prosecution went wrong.

    By the time we had dismantled the case and demonstrated its breathtaking absurdity [in the annulled Hellmann appeal] we had spent four of what should have been the best years of our lives behind bars.

    “We” meaning the defense lawyers did very little in the annulled Hellmann appeal that they hadn’t flailed uselessly against in the trial. Except of course maybe shopping for an inexperienced and pliable business judge, and for DNA consultants who they could then spoon-feed. Much of the hard evidence they simply kept well away from in the trial and annulled appeal. Such as the extensive evidence in the corridor and bathroom and Filomena’s room, which were all considered parts of the crime scene.

    On the other hand, RS’s claim could well apply to what Dr Galati and Cassation did for the Hellman sentencing report. Dismantled the appeal verdict, and demonstrated its breathtaking absurdity.

    5. That Knox was made a target because timid Italy was scared of her.

    Amanda and I certainly made our share of mistakes. At the beginning we were too trusting, spoke too frivolously and too soon, and remained oblivious to the danger we were courting even after the judicial noose began to tighten. Amanda behaved in ways that were culturally baffling to many Italians and attracted a torrent of gossip and criticism.

    An inaccurate and xenophobic remark originated by the American Nina Burleigh, who was having severe culture shock of her own and surrounded only by other foreigners with similar mindsets. What EXACTLY was so baffling about Knox to the very hip Italians? That Knox was pushy, obnoxious, humorless, rather lazy, rather grubby, and not especially funny or pretty or bright?  That she put off Patrick, Meredith, her other flatmates, the boys downstairs, the customers in the bar, and just about everybody else except for the distasteful druggie loner Sollecito?

    Read this post by the Italian-American Nicki in Milan. To quote from it “As many of us were expecting, Amanda’s testimony has backfired. She came across not as confident but arrogant, not as sweet but testy, not as true but a fake who has memorized a script, an actress who is playing a part but not well enough to fool the public….. Amanda Knox is not on trial because she is American and therefore too “emancipated”....Italians don’t much like Amanda primarily because they perceive her as a manipulative liar, who is suspected of having committed a heinous crime for which there is a whole stack of evidence.”

    6. That Knox and Meredith were really great, great friends.

    We were young and naive, unthinking and a little reckless. Of that much we were guilty.  But what we did not do—and could not have done, as the evidence clearly showed—was murder Meredith Kercher.

    Meredith was Amanda’s friend, a fellow English speaker in the house they shared with two Italian women just outside Perugia’s ancient city walls. She was twenty-one years old, intelligent, and beautiful. She and Amanda knew each other for a little over three weeks, long enough to feel their way into their new surroundings and appreciate each other’s interests and temperaments. I never heard about a single tense moment between them.

    Plenty of other people did know of tensions. Meredith’s family and friends all knew Meredith was finding the noisy dirty lazy loud unfocused Knox and her drugs and one-night-stands hard to take.  Her other flatmates found her hard to take. Her employer Patrick found her hard to take. His customers in the bar found her hard to take.  The Lifetime movie got this strident angle pretty straight.

    Remember, Meredith enrolled for a full academic load at the main university. Knox in sharp contrast took only one undemanding language course - which anyone could walk into - requiring maybe 10 hours of study a week.  They increasingly did less together. In fact after several weeks nobody was lining up to have anything to do with Amanda Knox.

    Seemingly unable to reverse herself, she was headed to being among the least popular of students in Perugia.  It should be recalled that the callous remarks by Amanda Knox about the death of her so-called friend Meredith included “Shit happens”, “She fucking bled to death”, and “‘I want to get on with the rest of my life”.

    7. That an intruder knew about the rent money and so murder ensued.

    Meredith, of course, suffered infinitely worse luck than we did: she came home, alone, on an ordinary Thursday night and had her throat slit by an intruder hoping to steal the household rent money.

    There is zero evidence that this was the case. Knox herself ended up with a similar amount of cash that she has never been able to explain. There is zero possibility that Guede would know that any money was lying around - or not lying around, as it was concealed in Meredith’s drawer.

    And take a look at the many images of the brightly lit house at night. There are several dozen other houses behind it in the dark which any smart burglar would have chosen first.  In 2008 two real break-ins occurred at the house - both were in the dark behind the house, which is by far the easiest place to break in.

    And how many burglars break into an occupied home between 8:00pm and 9:00pm at night? Approximately none. So much for the spurious lone-wolf theory, which Judge Micheli first ruled out even before trial.

    8. That the media got hysterical and portrayed heartless killers.

    But the roles could easily have been reversed. If Meredith’s Italian boyfriend had not gone away for the weekend and if Amanda had not started sleeping over at my house, she—not Meredith—might have been the one found in a pool of blood on her bedroom floor. That reality was quickly lost amid the hysteria of the media coverage. But it continued to hover over both of us—Amanda especially—as we sank into the legal quagmire and struggled in vain to overcome the public image of us as heartless killers.

    There was zero media hysteria. This silly claim was addressed above. Watch the Porta a Porta YouTubes and dozens of other Italian reports and try to find ONE that is not fair and cautious and mature.

    How precisely did the two struggle in vain to overcome their public image? By coming up repeatedly with stories which didnt even tally with others of their own, let alone with one another’s? They never between them made even one helpful statement which actually helped the police.  And even their respective parents strongly suspected or knew of their guilt and were all caught incriminatingly on tape.

    9. That Rudy Guede did it alone; ignore vast evidence that proves not.

    This should not have been a complicated case. The intruder was quickly identified as Rudy Guede, an African immigrant living in Perugia with a history of break-ins and petty crimes. His DNA was found all over Meredith’s room, and footprints made in her blood were found to match his shoes. Everything at the crime scene pointed to a lone assailant, and a single weapon. Guede repeatedly broke into houses by throwing a rock through a window, as happened here, and he had been caught by the authorities in the past with a knife similar to the one that inflicted Meredith’s fatal wounds.

    This is laughable. It has in fact been demonstrated in numerous ways that the attack involved multiple assailants and this was accepted by the Supreme Court.

    Sollecito’s own lawyers never forcefully argued this. They produced two non-credible witnesses in the appeal trial (Alessi and Aviello) to actually prove that Guede had some other accomplices or that several others did it. Also Amanda Knox if anything diverted attention AWAY from Guede as he did in turn from her. He wasn’t quickly identified precisely because Knox had rather credibly fingered Patrick.

    There is no proof Guede was an intruder. The trial court concluded Knox invited him in. Guede had zero proven history of break-ins or petty crimes or drug-dealing, and late in 2008 at his trial Judge Micheli became angry at such claims. Guede had no prior criminal record at all. He had only been back in Perugia for a few weeks, after an extended stay up north.  His DNA was not found “all over” Meredith’s room. A major surprise, in fact, was how few traces of him were found.

    The recreation of the crime scene and the autopsy both pointed AWAY FROM a lone assailant, not toward.  From Meredith’s wounds, it was quite evident that two and perhaps three knives had been used, and not a single weapon. What lone intruder carries or uses two or three knives?  And footprints in blood outside the door matched the feet of both RS and AK. This is why the Supreme Court confirmed Guede’s guilt only “in concorso” (with others).

    10. That the cops could have caught Guede fast, despite Knox’s frame

    Guede did not call the police, as Amanda and I did, or volunteer information, or agree to hours of questioning whenever asked. Rather, he fled to Germany as soon as the investigation began and stayed there until his arrest two and a half weeks later.

    Guede’s apprehension and eventual conviction on murder charges should have been the end of the story. But by the time Guede was identified, the police and the public prosecutor’s office had convinced themselves that the murder was, incredibly, the result of a sexual orgy gone wrong, in which Amanda and I had played leading roles. Their speculations ignited a media firestorm, inspiring sensationalist headlines across the world about the evil lurking behind our seemingly innocent faces.

    The authorities had no shred of evidence to substantiate this story line, only erroneous suppositions and wild imaginings. We had an alibi for the most likely time of death, and none of the initial forensic evidence tied us to the scene of the crime. Nothing in our backgrounds gave any hint of a propensity for violence or criminality. We were both accomplished, hardworking students known to our friends and families for our gentleness and even tempers.

    Four more untrue remarks. All three were convicted of a murder with a sex-crime element and nobody was wrongly “convinced”. Which alibi is Sollecito talking about now? He himself admits in chapter 1 (Love and Death) that they had no “real alibi”. They still have no alibis at all for the second half of the evening, neither of them, when Meredith’s murder indisputably occurred.

    Extensive forensic evidence within days tied them both to the scene. Not a single element of it has been discredited in the eyes of the Massei trial and Nencini appeal court. Not even one. Nothing was falsified.

    Neither of their backgrounds was squeaky clean. Both had long been into illegal drugs, the loner Sollecito had to be watched by his father and teachers, the increasingly disliked Knox had a history of doing and saying crass off-putting things. Both were lagging behind their brighter peers in their studies and Knox was taking a year off.

    11. That the prosecution fed the media a huge number of false claims.

    Yet the authorities stuck to their guns. They fed the media a steady diet of sensationalist stories of how Amanda, the promiscuous American she-devil, and I, her sex-and-drug-addled Italian helpmeet, had tried without success to drag Meredith into our depravity and punished her by plunging an outsize kitchen knife into her neck.

    Complete fiction. Again, in the real world, as the media reporters all confirm, the prosecution fed nothing at all secretly to the media, and publicly very little, none of it self-servingly biased.

    Italian reporting was sporadic and very mild compared to anything one can see daily on possible perps in the US and UK newspapers and on US TV crime shows. There is zero sign this mild coverage mattered to the courts. As the media reporters all confirm, they were fed next to nothing by the police or prosecution on the case,

    But whereas Mr Mignini famously never leaks, the defenses are widely claimed to have leaked throughout like sieves. So did Sollecito’s own family - they leaked an evidence video to Telenorba TV, for which they were considered for trial. Even we at TJMK and PMF received several offers of juicy leaks. Here is one example of where the Knox forces leaked - wrongly in fact - and then nastily slimed the prosecution and defenseless prison staff.

    12. That the authorities had lots and lots and lots of scenarios.

    It might have been funny if the consequences had not been so devastating. Listening to the tortured language of the prosecution—“one can hypothesize that . . . ,” “it is possible that . . . ,” “one can imagine that . . . ,” “this scenario is not incompatible with . . .”—it became clear that the authorities, like the media, were treating our case with the bizarre levity of an after-dinner game of Clue, or an Agatha Christie mystery. Everyone, even the judges in their black robes, had theories they were itching to air.

    Have Sollecito and Gumbel ever before been in any other court in Italy or the UK or the US?  Every judge and/or jury has to arrive at a scenario on lines not unlike this. That is the whole POINT of having courts - to weight the probabilities in what happened in the crime.  The only difference in Italy is that the judges have to think their verdict through for weeks, and then write it all out, and then see it scrutinized by a higher court. This is hardly a requirement to be sneered at.

    Gumble and Sollecito should have studied how US and UK juries arrive at their own scenarios. Very few US and UK lawyers think they do a better job. Ask those who watched the OJ Simpson and Casey Anthony trials and bitterly criticised the outcomes. And Italy has a vastly lower rate of false imprisonment than the US does.

    13. That Italy is a medieval country with a primitive justice system.

    It could have been Colonel Mustard in the drawing room with the revolver; instead it was Amanda and Raffaele in the bedroom with the kitchen knife. How was it conceivable that a democratic country known for its style and beauty and effortless charm—the Italy of the Renaissance and la dolce vita—could allow two young people to be catapulted to international notoriety and convicted of a horrific crime on the basis of nothing at all?

    This is not remotely what happened. There was very far from nothing at all. Convictions in the US and UK regularly result based on evidence 1/10 or 1/100 of that here - sometimes from one single evidence point. Any one or several of maybe 100 evidence points here could have convicted them in a US or UK court.

    Italy gives defendants every possible break, and the justice system is seriously loaded against victims and their families. Read here and here.

    14. That the prosecutors office and media were in a grim embrace.

    The answer has something to do with the grim embrace that developed between the prosecutor’s office and the sensationalist media. Like addicts constantly looking for the next fix, each fed the other’s insatiable appetite for titillation and attention. The casual cruelty of “Foxy Knoxy” and her Italian lover became too good a story line to abandon, even when it became apparent it was overheated and unsustainable. Our suffering was the price to be paid for the world’s continuing entertainment.

    WHAT grim embrace? WHAT addicts? WHAT fix? WHAT insatiable appetite? WHAT titillation and attention? This is clearly defamatory if it can’t be proven, and we can turn up no evidence that any of it is true. It has to be one of the most foolish lies in the entire book, it is so easy to disprove. These who are being accused of crimes here are career police and prosecutors secure in their jobs, and none have the slightest gain to make from false convictions.

    15. That in the justice system speculation and hearsay run rampant

    The meandering complexities of the Italian legal system, where speculation and hearsay are allowed to run rampant and time invariably slows to a maddening trickle, did little to help our cause.

    Total mischaracterization. First note that by comparison with any country in the world THERE IS NOT MUCH CRIME IN ITALY.  There is some minor corruption and still some minor mafia action, but thefts and burglaries and assaults are few and murders even fewer. The main crime if you can call it such is not lining up to pay taxes.  Italy’s murder rate is 1/6 that of the United States and its prison incarceration rate is 1/30 that of the United States, so where IS all this crime about which the claimed speculation and hearsay are running rampant?

    The legal process could have been fully over by the end of 2009 if (1) there was not the entitlement to two automatic appeals; in UK and US terms there was very little to appeal about;  and (2) the Hellmann appeal court had not been fixed to produce a corrupt outcome, as the displaced judge Sergio Matteini Chiari and Cassation and the Council of Magistrates have all made plain.

    And compared to American police and prosecutors, their Italian counterparts are famously taciturn under their unusually firm rules. There is media interest, for sure, as there should be when there are crimes, but that also is comparatively restrained. Watch the various Porta a Porta shows on YouTube and you will see how sedate crime discussion tends to be.

    The Constitution and judicial code set out to achieve the exact opposite of speculation and hearsay affecting justice, and they do so.  Creating this restraint is a primary reason for the judges’ sentencing reports and all the magistrates’ checks of investigations along the way.

    This whole series of dishonest claims about the the Italian system in the preface of the book and in a later chapter have clearly not been read through or okayed by even a single Italian lawyer.

    16. That in Italy proof beyond a reasonable doubt scarcely exists

    For reasons deeply embedded in the country’s history, the concept of proof beyond a reasonable doubt scarcely exists in Italy, and the very notion of undisputed fact is viewed with suspicion, if not outright aversion.

    So Gumbel and Sollecito are historians and legal experts now? It would be nice, wouldn’t it, if either were able to explain the remark. This may be an ignorant swipe at the Napoleonic Code on which the law of a lot of continental Europe is based. Ignored is that Italy carried out its own reforms to the Code in 1990 and more subsequently. Much of that reform, it should be pointed out, was procedural or structural rather than substantive law.

    There are two things wrong with “..the concept of reasonable doubt scarcely exists in Italy.”

    1. It is factually wrong. Italian jurists, the courts, and so on, are well acquainted with the concept as it has been a fundamental aspect of criminal proceedings in Italy as elsewhere for many decades if not centuries.

    2. It suggests that Italians are not intelligent enough to understand the concept anyway. That of course is an insult to Italians.  Actually they are no less intelligent than the rest of us elsewhere who strive to understand it.

    Until the 1990 Reforms the relationship between criminal and civil proceedings in Italy were governed by the principles of unity of jurisdiction and the prevailing status of criminal proceedings. Hence, if the facts were the same then criminal proceedings (to punish the guilty) and civil proceedings (to render liable the guilty for damages) were heard at the same time and still sometimes are, as in the Meredith Kercher case.

    What has changed (relevant to the above quote) is that civil cases can be and are more likely to be heard independently from the related criminal cases and, where not, the standard of proof in civil cases (the preponderance of evidence or, as we usually refer to it, the balance of probabilities) is to be applied to the civil case, and the civil case only, rather than be confused with or overriden by the criminal standard of proof (beyond reasonable doubt).

    Not an easy task, admittedly, to apply different standards to different tasks, based on the same facts, in the same proceedings, but Italian judges are trained to do this because that is their system. No judge would EVER confuse “beyond reasonable doubt” with “the balance of probabilities” when the issue at stake is depriving an individual of his freedom.

    17. That the Italian judiciary has vast, unfettered powers

    Few in Italian society wield as much unfettered power as the robed members of the judiciary, whose independence makes them answerable to nobody but themselves.

    Radically the opposite of the truth. The paranoid claim reads like it came from ex PM Berlusconi fearful of his own conviction or one of his parliamentary lackeys such as Girlanda.

    The checks and balances on judges in the Italian system are enormous, perhaps the toughest checks and balances in the world. Read here and here about them.

    All of the best judges in the world are independent and they all follow a demanding career path, not elected (as ex-Judge Heavey was) under zero criteria, or appointed under the political sway of politicians. We wonder if Gumbel and Sollecito have ever heard of the US Supreme Court? Do those judges answer to anybody? No? How unfettered. 

    18. That the courts are the most reviled institution in Italy.

    Many Italians retain a healthy skepticism about the reliability of their procedures and rulings. The courts—tainted by politics, clubbishness, pomposity, and excruciating delays—are the most reviled institution in the country.


    As our Sollecito Book pages make clear again and again and again, the Italian system is remarkably NOT tainted by politics, as even the most surperficial watcher of the trials of ex Prime Minister Sylvio Berlusconi would know.

    And on the issue of popularity we have previously posted this and this and also this.

    Our Italian poster Machiavelli (Yummi), who posted our deep analysis of the appeal to the Supreme Court by Dr Galati, has provided these hard facts:

    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.

    However, some cases of corruption (such as our Hellmann-Zanetti case, but also several others indicated by the Rapporto Italia 2012) do hamper trust.

    The most trusted institutions in Italy above all are the Carabinieri (74% of Italians trust them) and the Polizia di Stato (71%).

    Which means the most trusted institutions are precisely those law enforcement instruments which are deployed to enforce the orders of prosecutors.

    19. That prosecutors can spin their cases into any shape they please.

    Because the Italian legal system is almost completely blind to precedent and relies on a tangle of impenetrable codes and procedures, prosecutors and judges have almost boundless freedom to spin their cases into any shape they please and create legal justifications on the fly. Often, they are more interested in constructing compelling narratives than in building up the evidence piece by piece, a task considered too prosaic and painstaking to be really interesting.

    Whoever wrote this either wasnt an Italian or a lawyer, and either way didnt have much of a clue. The entire Italian system under the post WWII constitution was designed to PREVENT what Sollecito & Gumbel claim it allows here.

    There are checks and balances and reviews every step of the way. Magistrates (initially Matteini here) determine what a prosecutor may do in developing and presenting a case. Parties may appeal to the Supreme Court AT ANY TIME as Knox’s lawyers did over her second written confession - which she herself had demanded to make in front of Dr Mignini after he finished warning her of her rights.

    Hard for Sollecito & Gumbel to believe, perhaps, but the defense is actually present in the same courtroom. They can raise points of order at any time. So can the defendants themselves, at any time, something maybe unique in the world.

    And judges actually have minds of their own. And then there are the unique written sentencing reports, and the two automatic appeals if any parties want to pursue them.

    Sollecito & Gumbel should have read the 2012 Galati appeal more closely. The Prosecution’s Appeal To The Supreme Court is available in English here.  Precedent has a section to itself - “The non-observance of the principles of law dictated by the Cassation Court in the matter of circumstantial cases (Article 606(b)) in relation to Article 192 paragraph 2 Criminal Procedure Code.”

    Well, that’s precedent, via the Court of Cassation no less! How surprising from Gumbel/Sollecito that they should make that claim about ignoring precedent when in fact there it is, going right to the heart of the flawed Hellmann/Zanetti judgement on circumstantial evidence!  What else is a Code but in effect a codification, a gathering together, a rationalisation, of best law - and precedent? 

    There is an absurd irony here, were they aware of it. Perhaps they are. Surely it is Hellmann and Zanetti who have displayed “a boundless freedom” in spinning the case “into any shape they please”, and who have “created legal justifications on the fly”?  As for prosecutors doing this, at least Dr Mignini followed the evidence, and American readers may recall the infamous Jim Garrison, the DA hero of Oliver Stone’s movie “JFK” but who in reality, unlike Dr Mignini, was a total and utter crackpot.

    And what issue exploded the Porta a Porta TV show in Italy in September 2012? It was Sollecito’s false claim that the prosecution had secretly tried to offer him a deal if he would roll over on Knox.  NOBODY including his own father and his own lawyers confirmed him. Evidence against both was overwhelming. Nobody needed such a deal, and Italian prosecutors are highly rules-bound against ever offering such deals.

    Sollecito was in effect accusing Dr Mignini of a felony with this much-repeated false claim in his book. (In her book Knox also accused Dr Mignini of a felony.)

    20. That the prosecutors and judges in Italy are far too close.

    Prosecutors and judges are not independent of each other, as they are in Britain or the United States, but belong to the same professional body of magistrates. So a certain coziness between them is inevitable, especially in smaller jurisdictions like Perugia.

    Yes, prosecutors and judges in Italy belong to the same professional body of magistrates. But then so does the defense lawyer Ms Bongiorno. The claim that there is no independence between prosecutors and judges in Italy, in fact a coziness between them, is a bit rich.

    Consider, say, the UK. It is true cases are prosecuted by the Crown Prosecution Service, a government body, but in serious cases the CPS will employ barristers from the Inns of Court. There is scarcely a judge in the UK, even up to the highest level, who was not and who is not still a member of one of the Inns of Court from whence barristers, for the prosecution or for the defence, ply their trade.

    You can’t walk past an Inn without seeing the names of judges on the roll call on the plaques outside. A judge is still a barrister, just fulfilling a different function, although, of course, now paid by the State.  The old school boy tie? Corruption? No, the fulfilling of different roles by members of the same body is called professionalism. 

    Judges and lawyers all belong to the American Bar Association in the US and attend the same conferences. No sign that this lack of “independence” ever affects trials.  This claimed excess of coziness is often ranted about online by the Knoxophile David Anderson who lives near Perugia. Nobody who pays him any attention can get where he derives this from. Maybe he heard it from Hellman?

    Perugia prosecutors and magistrates are all known to do a fine job, and the national Olympics & earthquake relief cases involving powerful Rome politicians were assigned for competent handling to where? To Perugia… Defense lawyer Ghirga and Prosecutor Mignini have the reputation of being good friends. And Mignini and Massei would both draw their salaries from the State. But so what? Do not judges and DAs in the the USA do likewise? Are Gumbel and Sollecito impugning the professionalism of the counterparts of Mignini and Massei all over the world? It sure reads like it.

     


    Sunday, January 04, 2015

    That Supposed Tsunami Of Leaks That Supposedly Hurt The Alleged Perps: Who REALLY Leaked?

    Posted by Peter Quennell



    Curt Knox spins the day in court; prosecutors are forbidden to correct him or explain “their side”

    1. How The Supposed Leaks Began

    On 6 November 2007 investigators into Meredith’s death thought they had caught a big break.

    That was when Knox herself snapped and claimed to be an eyewitness to Meredith’s killing on the night. From 1:30 am to about noon on 6 November Knox repeated that claim and staged her huge fright of Patrick Lumumba again and again. She proved hard to shut up though police did gently try.

    Three times in those ten or so hours Knox herself insisted on writing her claims down, including a claim that she did go out alone. She was repeatedly warned she should have a lawyer present first but pressed on.

    False claims to have witnessed a murder are rare, but not entirely unknown - there can be fame and big bucks in it, played right.

    But in Knox’s case this did not seem to apply - she snapped explosively under no pressure except that just placed upon her by Sollecito who had claimed she made him lie and she had gone out alone from Sollecito’s on the night Meredith died.

    And she had to some extent implicated herself - she said she saw a crime she did not report.

    On 8 November supervising magistrate Claudia Matteini reviewed police and psychology reports and what Knox and Sollecito had claimed (including Sollecito’s writing that he never wanted to see Knox again).

    Judge Matteini declared them both to be bad news. She ordered them to remain locked up. Judge Ricciarelli confirmed that that was all correct.

    In coming months Knox was given repeated opportunities to clear herself, to put the evil genie back in the bottle, but she failed every time. In April 2008 Cassation ruled there was plenty of prima facie evidence, and that Judge Matteini had done the right thing.

    Knox herself inspired these events of 6 to 8 November. They are what caused the voracious UK media and relatively mild Italian media to get their paid snoops to Perugia fast.

    All of them were lobbying to get an edge. Investigators had some difficulty performing their tasks because they were getting so many calls and being crowded in the streets.

    2. Did The Police Or Prosecution Ever Leak?

    The Italian rules are quite clear. Unlike the US, cases for and against the accused must be fought only in court, and when the prosecutor or judge speaks, it will mostly be in a document that has been cleared.

    How many proven examples do you think there are of police and prosecutors slipping reporters leaks and tips and inside tracks to advance their case?

    In fact NONE. Not one.

    Among the frustrations we picked up from the excellent Italian-speaking reporters who were actually there was how under Italian rules there was so little that police and prosecutors were allowed to share.

    In the UK it is also a bit like this. But in contrast in the US there would typically be daily press conferences and prosecutors (85% of them are elected in the US) appearing on the cable-news crime shows like that of Nancy Grace.

    And Dr Mignini himself famously never leaks. The few things he ever says are on the record and they always prove accurate, low-key, and very fair. From 2007 right up to today he continues to maintain that Knox had no advance intention to kill. A softer line than some of the judges settled upon.

    3. Did The Defenses And Families Leak?

    Sure. This case must have broken all records for defense-biased leaks. Finding themselves in a vacuum of police and prosecution information and pushback, the Knox PR grew to an angry and often abusive and dishonest roar.

    The sharp-elbowed Knox-Mellas presence was constantly “available” in Perugia and Burleigh and Dempsey among others got totally taken in. Ann Bremner and Judge Heavey and Paul Ciolino became more and more shrill. Heavey wrote to the president of the Italian Republic on his official letterhead. Senator Cantwell issued many unfounded claims. 

    And through 2008 and 2009 one can spot increasing leaks from each defense team, often to try to advantage their client against the other two. We were offered some of those leaks, among others “the truth” about the autopsy and “the knife”.

    The Perugia Shock blog by PR shill Francesco Sfarzo (now on trial in Florence for making things up, and wanted by police in the US) came to be a main conduit for defense lies and misleading information, possibly some from a disgruntled cop. 

    Here is one easily proven leak from the Knox defense that was intended to hurt the police and prosecution in the case.

    But putting police so overtly on the spot was a dangerous game. More often each perp and their defense team took whacks at the other two as a Rome lawyer showed here and we showed here.  In the past few posts we have been showing how many things about Rudy Guede were made up (more to come).

    4. Making Things Up For Profit And Fame

    In 2007 and 2008 various unsavory characters surfaced in Perugia, to try to win fame and make a buck. This quote is from our post directly below.

    Christian Tramontano, who had claimed someone threatened him in his house in the dark with a knife who looked like a shot of Guede in the papers two months later, was not even called, perhaps because at a hearing in October 2008 Judge Micheli denounced him as having made things up.

    Tramontano is right now a jobless bouncer, as the mafia was found to have some involvement in his club. Judge Micheli scathingly repudiated his tale as his story did not ring true - he made no police report about it at the time.

    But worse, he looked like one of quite a few around Perugia (and later in the US) who were seeking global fame and big bucks from the media for “inside knowledge” and claimed close connections to one or other of the alleged perps.

    Despite this Tremontano’s self-serving claims are repeated as gospel by the PR shills all over the place. Those claims appear as gospel in every one of their books.

    This is from Tom Kington of the Guardian in a report posted 27 September 2008:

    The trial in Italy of Rudy Guede, one of the three suspects accused of sexually assaulting and murdering British student Meredith Kercher, was thrown into disarray yesterday when a judge stopped proceedings after learning that one of the main character witnesses had allegedly tried to sell his story to Italian television.

    Abuker Barro, known as Momi, a Somalian acquaintance of Guede, was due in court in Perugia yesterday to repeat claims made to investigators that he had seen Guede rifling through women’s handbags in clubs in Perugia and making aggressive advances to women when drunk.

    But the judge, Paolo Micheli, blocked him from completing his testimony after lawyers for Guede showed a video of Barro meeting journalists to allegedly negotiate payment of €2,000 (£1,588) for revealing his testimony on Italian television. Micheli will ask magistrates to decide whether Barro should be prosecuted for abusing his role as a witness, which could exclude his testimony.

    The incident, described by Guede’s lawyer, Walter Biscotti, as ‘an assault by the media’, follows a series of leaks to the press of evidence and even jail diaries by suspects during the investigation into the brutal slaying of Kercher, 21… [bold added]

    Few real reporters were unethical or incompetent enough to accept and report biased and unconfirmed claims like Tramontano’s or Barro’s. But you can find those false claims hyped pervasively throughout the pro-Knox books as if they were gospel.

    Among others Dempsey’s, Burleigh’s, Moore’s, Preston’s, Hendry’s, Waterbury’s, and Fischer’s books come to mind.


    Friday, September 21, 2012

    CNN’s Jane Velez Mitchell Has A Nervous Sollecito And Then TWO Guests Who Think He Did It

    Posted by Peter Quennell



    A lively debate! CNN Headline News tonight around 7:30. No “I wuz beaten up by meanie policemen” claims this time by Sollecito.

    Mistakes were made by all the speakers, but super-lawyer Wendy Murphy and the crime blogger Levi Page gave the case for guilt their best shot. Even the third commentator thinks the timing of the book is insane.

    Wendy Murphy didnt know about the Meredith book, but it was published only in England and transgressed no Italian law. She did vigorously get across just how much evidence there is, and not for the first time. See her tough article here and tough interview here where she assesses Knox as dangerous.

    Jane, Mignini is NOT in a ton of trouble and never was. No satanism, repeat, no satanism. Your senior CNN colleague Nancy Grace believed Knox did it. Your CNN colleague Drew Griffen set Mignini up. See here and also here.

    There were no leaks - at least not by Mignini. He never leaks. There were no tabloids, at least not in Italy. The only 2-3 were in the UK, and they affected no jury. There was no invented Foxy Knoxy - that was her own Internet presence.

    Sollecito couldnt get his story out? But he maintained a code of total silence for four years - could THAT have been the problem? And Sollecito did NOT support Amanda’s alibi - he sold her down the river in a heartbeat when a policeman looked at him funny (kidding - just a little).

    And what’s with your squealing, Jane?! He isnt THAT adorable. Not if you are at the wrong end of a knife.


    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.


    Wednesday, March 02, 2011

    Serious Felony Charge Of Deliberate HIV Leak Was In Fact A Knox Defense-Team Hoax

    Posted by Michael



    Above and below: images from the two misleading scenes

    Movie Advances HIV & Sex Partners List Hoax

    The Lifetime movie nicely depicted Meredith and Mignini, and was not tough on Knox, though it seemed to leave many viewers sensing the possibility of guilt.

    However, there were some seriously wrong scenes in the Lifetime movie, and also in the following Lifetime documentary. Two advanced the HIV sex partners hoax.

    In a first long and emotional scene, the film depicted Amanda Knox being told by the doctor at Capanne that in a routine test she tested positive for HIV. It implied the test was a form of pressure. It showed Knox being told she should write down a list of her previous partners.

    In a second long and emotional scene, the film depicted a confrontation between an angry Amanda and the doctor when he told her she was all clear. And thereafter the sex partners list was leaked by the prosecution.

    These implied criminal actions on the part of the Capanne Prison medical staff and the prosecutors, and may have aroused a lot of false sympathy for Amanda Knox.

    Reality: The Routine HIV Test And First Results

    Lifetime depicted Amanda Knox being told by the doctor at Capanne that she tested positive for HIV. It implied the test was unusual.

    But on her admittance to Capanne Prison, Knox was simply routinely tested for HIV and some other possible conditions, as all prisoners are for their own good.

    When the first result came back the doctor told Amanda that the first result of the test was probably a false positive.  She shouldn’t worry, and another test would be run. Her diary reads:

    Last night before I went to bed I was taken down to see yet another doctor who I haven’t yet met before. He had my results from a test they took—which says I’m positive for HIV.

    First of all the guy told me not to worry, it could be a mistake, they’re going to take a second test next week….

    Reality: Knox Herself Creates Sex Partners List

    Lifetime claimed Amanda Knox was told to write down her list of partners by the doctor.

    But in Amanda Knox’s own words, you can read how it went down: She chose herself to create the sex partners list. The doctor never instructed Amanda to write out that list. Her diary reads:

    Thirdly, I don’t know where I could have got HIV from. Here is the list of people I’ve had sex with in Italy general:...

    Reality: There Was No Angry Confrontation

    The film depicts a yelling, pointing Knox who has to be restrained.

    The doctor merely conveyed the news of a negative results and Knox cheerfully went off. He had no ill intent, she did not get angry, and no accusations were made.

    Reality: The Prosecutors Never Leaked That List.

    Lifetime implied that Knox’s diary with the list of partners was leaked by the prosecutors to the public.

    We know this to be false. We know that it was instead Amanda Knox’s own lawyers that leaked the diary with the sex partners list (to journalists like Barbie Nadeau).

    And that the family effort leaked it to people like Frank Sforza (who duly published Amanda’s diary page on the previous sexual partners), and Candace Dempsey, and even tried to leak it to us!

    Reality: Knox Forces All Know HIV Story Is Untrue

    Amanda’ Knoxs family know the truth of this, but have not yet come out and corrected a seriously wrong pervasive impression.

    And Lifetime repeated the lie of the sex partners list, leading millions to believe the ILE deliberately terrified, tricked and humiliated Amanda Knox.

    But they didn’t. Even Amanda Knox herself showed it was not so. 


    Above and below: the first partly imaginary scene




    Above and below: the first partly imaginary scene




    Below: the second very misleading scene




    Below: the second very misleading scene


    Friday, April 02, 2010

    How The Strongarm Public Relations Resulted in Most Of The Media Getting It Wrong

    Posted by Peter Quennell


    Click above for the full excerpt from Barbie Nadeau’s new book.

    This is surely one of the worst cases of misreporting and malicious bias in all of media history. It’d be very nice (though don’t hold your breath!) if journalism schools and media owners examined the firestorm to stop it ever happening again.

    Consider just the US hall of shame.

    And please remember: this is the SAME media that turned a blind eye to the Micheli sentencing report on Guede, and appears to be trying hard to do the same (not one of them is translating it) to the Massei sentencing report on Knox and Sollecito.

    Here is Barbie Nadeau describing how the sharp-elbowed Knox/Marriott public relations bombardment warped Americans’ take on the case.

    Coverage of the crime began to diverge on the two sides of the Atlantic. From the vantage point of Perugia, it seemed as though the Knox family’s American supporters were simply choosing to ignore the facts that were coming to light in Italy….

    The American press hung back, at first, objective and somewhat disbelieving that such a wholesome-seeming girl could have any connection to such a sordid foreign crime, and then, as the family stepped up its defense, increasingly divided between two camps that would become simply the innocentisti—those who believed she was blameless—and the colpevolisti, those who did not. In Perugia, these labels governed access…

    Of the handful of American journalists in Perugia in late 2007 and early 2008, none got access to the Knox family without certain guarantees about positive coverage. Within months, the family decided to speak on the record primarily to the American TV networks, often in exchange for airfare and hotel bills. Most of the print press was shut out. And the TV producers learned to be very cautious about being seen with people like me, lest the Knox family should cut them off.

    But as interest in the case grew, an odd assortment of American talking heads attached their reputations to Amanda’s innocence. An aggressive support group called Friends of Amanda formed in Seattle, headed by Anne Bremner, a media-savvy criminal lawyer who had cut her teeth as a tough prosecutor in Seattle’s King County Court…

    Very quickly, [PR manager David] Marriott lost control of the situation. As he spoon-fed the Knox-approved message to American outlets that couldn’t afford to send correspondents to Italy, those of us on the ground in Perugia began passing his contradictory e-mails around as entertainment during the long days in the court.

    [We reporters in Rome] began what would be a two-year battle against the Seattle message machine, incurring personal attacks and outright threats.

    .

    We rather like the Daily Beast book, for its splash of cold water on the media, and for its highly accurate accounting of the court proceedings and of the voluminous evidence the judges also describe in their report.

    We also believe that although Meredith’s family did not participate, Barbie Nadeau has strong compassion for them, and a sense of real loss over Meredith.   


    Wednesday, September 16, 2009

    Report By Bob Graham In The Daily Express Close To Breaking New Record For Inaccuracy

    Posted by The Machine


    Here is a short list of the competition for most misleading reporter on the case: Peter Popham, Peter Van Sant, Simon Hattenstone, Steve Shay, Timothy Egan, Linda Byron, Candace Dempsey, and Jan Goodwin.

    Typically after their report they disappear, hopefully shamed into never being heard from again (Popham, Egan, Van Sant, Goodwin, and Hattenstone). And the others seem to have become more innocuous and one or two close to strange mutterings (Byron, Shay, and Dempsey).

    Now another hapless reporter, one Bob Graham, has floated an ill-conceived and ill-researched report, this time in the UK’s Daily Express. There is no Bob Graham who writes regularly for that paper, so the one reporting here might be an America freelancer - if not, apologies in advance. 

    False claim 1

    Endless leaks of court documents, private conversations, diaries and correspondence paint a picture of Amanda as a cold-blooded killer.

    There is well over 10,000 pages of evidence. There have not been many leaks and almost all of those have come from the defenses. In fact Sollecito’s father may soon be under indictment, for leaking a video showing Meredith’s body to a Bari TV station. In the course of the trial there have been many small surprises which were never leaked in advance. And Edda Mellas here is blaming the prosecution and authorities for leaking documents when Knox’s family and team seem to have done much or more.

    False claim 2

    Yet if the prosecutors and gossips are wrong and Amanda was, as she claims, at Sollecito’s house at the time of the murder, she has been subjected to a staggering injustice.

    Amanda Knox admitted that she was at the cottage on the night in question on four separate occasions (once to police officers now in evidence, twice to interrogators but ruled inadmissible, and once to the prosecutor in a handwritten note now in evidence). Sollecito has claimed she wasn’t there at his apartment for part of the night and he has never reversed that position. It’s not only the prosecutors and gossips who think she was at the cottage - Judge Micheli, who indicted her after reading the 10,000 pages of evidence, also thought so, and so did the scientific police.

    False claim 3

    They claim they took part in the murder in a tiny room, that after the murder they returned, still under the influence of drink and drugs, and managed to erase every trace of their own DNA and fingerprints without removing any of Guede’s DNA or fingerprints or other DNA that has not been identified. Is that credible? Of course not.

    Edda Mellas seems to have told a deliberate lie. The prosecutors have never claimed the defendants removed every trace of their own DNA. Sollecito left an abundant amount of his DNA on Meredith’s bra clasp. Knox can be placed in the murder room by way of the double DNA knife and the woman’s bloody footprint on the pillow plus footsteps in blood outside. Professor Vinci also claimed he found Knox’s DNA on Meredith’s bra.

    False claim 4

    The name [Foxy Knoxy] has returned to haunt her, implying something altogether less innocent.

    It is well-known that Knox herself pushed that nickname out on the internet. It rarely appears in a derogatory way in any of the reporting these days, and it is hard to see how the few mentions demonize her. Amanda Knox would have been aware from the age of four that Foxy has sexual connotations, especially as she was an “A-grade student”.

    False claim 5

    In September 2007 Amanda, then at the University of Washington, was awarded a year-long scholarship to further her Italian studies at Perugia’s university for foreigners.

    This is not true. Knox paid for her trip abroad herself by working part-time jobs in Seattle. The University of Washington in Seattle had no role in her registration for the Perugia language school, and did not agree to accredit her scores. UW did not play a larger role. Her arrangements in Perugia look to have been under-organized, under-supervised and under-funded. She seems to have been running very low on funds, and had no work permit, just when Meredith may have been under consideration to replace her as a waitress at a bar.

    False claim 6

    Financially, it’s been devastating, the cost already in excess of $1 million.

    Curt Knox and Edda Mellas chose to hire an expensive Seattle PR firm and two expensive Italian lawyers, and to fly large family presences to Perugia. Those were their choices to make, and it is suspected that at least some of the media have made payments in kind or cash to gain exclusive access. The PR campaign has been spinning its wheels for 18 months, and seems to us to have been a huge waste of money and quite damaging to Amanda Knox’s own best interests.

    False claim 7

    In the first hours after she was arrested she made a statement, later retracted, suggesting she and Raffaele had been present at the murder, and wrongly implicating Congolese barman Patrick Lumumba.

    The statements were in fact made at the police station on 5-6 Nov under no police pressure after Sollecito had whipped the rug out from under her first alibi. She made three statements categorically accusing Diya Lumumba and spelling out some imaginary details. She said in all that she went out on the night. And she didn’t just “suggest” that she and Raffaele were there, she categorically claimed that she was indeed there.

    False claim 8

    Her defence team says she was threatened into making it. Amanda claims she was slapped around the head. Curiously, a tape-recording of the initial interviews have “disappeared”.

    The defense never claimed that. There were many witnesses to the interrogations at the police station, including a senior police officer from Rome, and not one has corroborated this testimony. We have seen no evidence that any tapes were made or have disappeared. One statement cannot be used against Knox not because she was banged around but because she didn’t have a lawyer at the time. She later repeated it in writing when she was certainly not being banged around - she was under no pressure to speak up at all.

    False claim 9

    No less bizarre is the fact that chief prosecutor Giuliano Mignini is facing criminal charges for allegedly abusing his powers to question suspects in a separate murder case. He denies the allegations.

    This is not true and it is possibly libelous. There is plenty of information on TJMK here that points to Mr Mignini being a competent, popular and hard-working prosecutor, who only faces an administrative charge because he seems to have guessed right on some of the murky details of the Monster of Florence case. At issue was not “abusing his powers to question suspects” it was a taped recording approved by a judge that caught the prosecutor saying damning things.

    Peter Popham, Peter Van Sant, Simon Hattenstone, Steve Shay, Timothy Egan, Linda Byron, Candace Dempsey, and Jan Goodwin? Please now welcome Bob Graham to your misleading company.


    Tuesday, September 08, 2009

    The Vilification Of Prosecutor Mignini Clearly Continues To Misfire

    Posted by Peter Quennell


    In this recent post we included an amazing statement from Mr Mignini.

    A number of sources then confirmed that he and we had it exactly right in that post and that the claims of the American writer of the lurid “Monster Of Florence” are nasty, mischievous, and simply don’t check out.

    Sources tell us Mr Mignini may have sharp elbows - but he is also very fair and careful, rarely leaks or does anything just for the publicity, does a great job for Perugia (where he is rather popular), and really respects the victims of crimes and and their families - in this case, Meredith and her family who repeatedly sound like they respect him.

    Now La Nazione is reporting that Mr Mignini is again aggressively fighting back against the so-far-fruitless campaign to vilify him. 

    He is planning to sue a Joe Cottonwood, seemingly a publicity-hungry carpenter and occasional journalist in California whose knowledge of the case would apparently not even cover a postage stamp. And who seems to feel he has a license to shoot his mouth off slanderously in Italy, regardless of who actually gets hurt.

    The publisher of his uninformed take on the case in Il Giornale will apparently also be sued,

    From La Nazione:

    According to the American writer [Cottonwood] among other things, “perhaps in Italy there is a hatred of American college students who give joy to madness. Amanda will pay not for her guilt or innocence, but because of popular resentment towards rich and superficial Americans. The murder of Meredith Kercher is one of those mirrors that reflect the prejudices of the investigators.”

    The last time that the prosecutor had moved for legal action was in January, when the West Seattle Herald described him as “inadequate” and “mentally unstable”. In that case, in a move that many had regarded as completely understandable as well as justified, the prosecutor saw fit to start concrete legal action.

    And now the same judge [Mr Mignini] is preparing for a new legal battle after suffering yet another attack from the disparaging “‘stars and stripes”. Mr Mignini and his colleague Manuela Comodi are preparing an indictment for after the conclusion of the trial, which resumes in mid-month this month.

    Nice going by the fatuous Joe Cottonwood. For those of a less xenophobic frame of mind here actually is the evidence. A series still far from complete.


    Wednesday, February 11, 2009

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

    Posted by The Machine



    [David Marriott of a Seattle public relations firms]

    Marriott’s dishonest campaign

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

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

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

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

    Not exactly what we’d call a big win.

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

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

    So the campaign was maybe handicapped right from the start.

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

    Ten obvious public relations lies

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Reality 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Reality 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Reality 

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

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

    False claim 4: Meredith wasn’t sexually assaulted.

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

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

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

    Reality 

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

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

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

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

    Reality 

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

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

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

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

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

    Reality 

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

    Independent forensic expert Renato Biondo stated: “We are confirming the reliability of the information collected from the scene of the crime and at the same time, the professionalism and excellence of our work.”

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

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

    Reality 

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

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

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

    Reality 

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Reality 

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

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

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

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

    Reality 

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

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


    Monday, October 27, 2008

    Peter Popham Of The UK “Independent” Sure Has Drunk The Knox PR Kool-Aid

    Posted by Peter Quennell




    Popham’s Bias Against Italy

    Among the European papers The Independent is really standing out now for its coverage of the Kercher case.

    A long list of wrong and omitted facts. And a great deal of biased editorial comment masquerading as straight reporting. All the work of Peter Popham, the Independent’s Rome reporter.

    Check out some of Popham’s Rome Notebook pieces, in which he comes across as contemptuous of Italy and all things Italian.

    If Popham has actually published anything sympathetic to Italy in his time there, we are unable to spot it.   The Italian police and justice system seem particular targets of his scorn.

    Ignored: Mountain of Evidence

    By mid-year 2008 the main accumulation of evidence was complete and extremely extensive. It had already been reviewed twice by the Supreme Court and found to be strong.

    A flavor of it was available to any reporter who bothered to attend the many preliminary hearings in 2008 summarised here.  To our knowledge, the lazy, opinionated and slapdash reporter Peter Popham never did.

    Popham Again Channels Knox PR

    Here now is Popham’s latest garbling of the real case. We put what is obvious bias in bold.

    See our corrections below.

    Peter Popham: A chance to redeem Italian justice

    Rome Notebook: When he gives his verdict, Judge Paolo Micheli has the opportunity to redeem the reputation of Italian justice somewhat

    If the prosecutors in the Meredith Kercher murder case had wanted to give the world a demonstration of what is wrong with Italian justice, they could hardly have done a better job.

    Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito have been in jail since last November….  The evidence? [only] household tiffs between Amanda and Meredith in the flat they shared. Amanda supposedly invited undesirable men back to the house. Raffaele wrote in his diary that he sought “extreme experiences” (he had apparently been a virgin till meeting Amanda a fortnight before.) Yet the girls cohabited well enough…

    After allegedly killing their friend, did they flee? Not at all. Next morning they called the police, and hung around to give statements. In the absence of other suspects, prosecutors accused them of murder with an African friend. Unfortunately for the prosecutors, Patrick Lumumba had never even set foot in Mez’s flat and eventually they had to let him go.

    Two weeks after the murder, scientists found bloody fingerprints on a cushion under Mez’s body which belonged to a drug dealer and serial house-breaker called Rudy Guede, who had gone on the run right after the murder. The crime, it seemed, was solved – but prosecutors clung to their original theorem, merely substituting one African for another.

    When he gives his verdict, Judge Paolo Micheli has the opportunity to redeem the reputation of Italian justice somewhat. Though if he sends Guede to jail for life and frees the other two, the cries of “racist” and “American dupe” will doubtless be raucous.

    Our corrections of Popham

    1. The evidence is merely household tiffs? Really? What of the small mountain of damning witness testimony, luminol and other forensic evidence, and eyewitness accounts? Why does Popham make zero mention of that?

    2. Hung around and called the police? Actually, the Postal Police turned up of their own accord and seemingly interrupted a rearrangement of the crime scene in progress.

    3. Sollecito’s calls to the Perugia Central Police Station seem to have been made only in frantic catch-up mode - some minutes later.

    4. The police messed up over Patrick Lumumba? Actually, he was fingered by a self-proclaimed eyewitness: Amanda Knox. Strongly. And not just once; several times. For which criminal slander, of course, both the prosecutor and Patrick Lumumba are now suing… Knox!

    5. Rudy Guede is “a drug dealer and serial house-breaker”? Really? Is there ANY proof of that? Popham is happy to decry racist stereotypes and yet propagates them himself.

    Still, it is interesting to know that Knox deflowered Sollecito. We can thank Popham for that mental image…


    Tuesday, September 16, 2008

    Frank Sforza’s Perugia-Shock Blog: Coming Clean…

    Posted by Skeptical Bystander

    As you probably know, the complex and controversial case of Meredith Kercher is widely posted about on websites in Italy, the UK and the US. They vary a lot in their objectivity and the quality and timeliness of their information.

    Some appear to be little more than shills for the defendants and spend a lot of time blowing smoke and trying to brush inconvenient facts under the carpet.

    Others are much more objective and really do want to see justice done and, just as importantly,  seen to be done..

    The busiest forum on the Meredith Kercher case remains the True Crime Meredith Kercher board hosted as one of his sites (though he usually does not post there) by Steve Huff, a much-admired American crusader for justice.

    That board has been busy since last November, in several technical iterations, and it is supported by a large community which has posted some thousands of remarks on it since early in November. (I’m a moderator and poster on that board.)

    One of the several blogs of widely varying quality is Perugia-Shock, which is run by an Italian resident of Perugia named Frank. It started out being objective, on-the-ball, amusing, caring for the victim, and widely admired.

    But seemingly no longer. Recently it has wandered and the comments below the posts have become more heated.

    As many Perugia-Shock readers have noticed, Frank has become quite annoyed with the True Crime board in the last couple of months, and what this suggests about Perugia-Shock is interesting and revealing.

    • Those who post on True Crime board tend to examine, analyze and discuss every piece of information pertaining to this case, and then they decide individually what it is worth. In contrast, Frank brings “scoops” to his public, which he gets from his “sources,” and to which he adds a dash of irony to make his interpretation go down easier. In his comments, he doesn’t seem to appreciate people questioning his authority, his sources or his judgement. And some posters on the True Crime board have been quite vocal and, in most cases, quite astute in their criticism of Frank’s evolving position on the case.
    • One of the criticisms of Frank’s blog on the True Crime board was the temporal (if not causal) relationship between the appearance of the Paypal button for contributions, his proximity to some of the Knox/Mellas family members, and a noticeable change in his focus. I am sure this criticism was noted, although Frank says he doesn’t read any other boards or blogs and gets all the information he needs from his own sources. The Paypal button has now disappeared - although the shift in focus has remained and even intensified.

    His blog now seems to have become all about Amanda Knox. I would say that two things have pushed him in this direction: Frank’s audience, and Frank’s sources.

    • The seeming role of Amanda Knox in the crime is undoubtedly what has attracted the attention to the case of much of the English-speaking world and of course a focus on Knox results in more website traffic.
    • Frank’s sources don’t seem to be what they used to be. Perhaps he has broken some important trusts. It is clear that at the beginning he was getting his information from the police and perhaps from the prosecution.

    And since? Well, first there was Frank’s Biscotti phase - Mr Biscotti is the lead lawyer for Rudy Guede, one of the defendants, who seems to be under siege by the other two defendants. At this time, Frank was quite vocal about Raffaele and Amanda as suspects.

    Then at some point, Frank stopped talking about Raffaele. I think it may have been after the Sollecito clan’s “trafic d’influence” activity was disclosed.

    Frank’s comments about Biscotti have since turned quite negative. He recently compared Biscotti to Alan Dershowitz, a flamboyant American trial lawyer, and scoffed at Biscotti’s team of young acolytes in Perugia. What I suspect, my personal opinion, is that maybe these people are now spurning his advances - trust is gone, so no scoops from them.

    The strangest turn for me came when Sollecito defense lawyer Giulia Bongiorno made her famous visit to the Kercher/Knox cottage several weeks ago, in which a demonstration was attempted that someone could have come in through flat-mate Filomena’s window.

    Just prior to that visit, Frank unveiled a “scoop” about Rudy having a laptop and a cellphone in his possession when he was found in the Milan kindergarten, both stolen from a Perugia law firm by someone who had climbed through a window - just about as high off the ground as Filomena’s.

    Given the timing of the Bongiorno visit, the findings that emerged from it, and the content of Frank’s scoop, one has to wonder if the source for Frank’s “scoop” was not the “smiling team” of Sollecito and Knox. (Incidentally the team is not referred to in this way any more—ever since Raffaele stopped being referred to as Daddy’s Boy.)

    We can wonder too who gave Frank the Amanda Knox prison diary, and why it was published with the story of an HIV possibility included.

    This certainly struck me as odd, since it was just after I myself had been offered a peek at the diary, and had been privately given the HIV story. (Incidentally, when this story was told to me, there was not a hint of anger about the diary being leaked to the press. Only the spin it got seemed cause for concern.) I declined the offer and, considering the source, did not publish the story.

    Lo and behold, a photo from the diary and the HIV story were then prominently featured on Frank’s blog a couple days later!

    Frank has been referring negatively to the Umbria press. He apparently feels that these papers are not reliable - because they are getting their information from the prosecutor. Or so I gathered from a comment he made on his blog. The book published by four Perugia journalists is worthless, according to Frank, and he is not happy with the True Crime board for translating and dissecting much of it.

    The moral of this story? I think you are more than smart enough to work it out for yourselves. If I could offer any advice, it would be to take very lightly Frank’s put-downs of the TC Board. What does he really know about it anyway? According to him, he doesn’t actually read it!

    In reality, the posters there seem to have pissed him off by seeking out multiple sources of information and making their own interpretations of it. Keep up the good work!!

    *******

    Incidentally, I formerly edited many of Frank’s blog posts for him. For those who may have missed it, I am no longer doing this editing. I think my editing was a big help to him, and I didn’t mind doing it, even though I often disagreed with him.

    I especially disagreed when he posted about the falsely-accused Patrick Lumumba. Specifically Frank’s post about a money angle; I rarely advised Frank not to post something, but I thought that post reflected a personal vendetta and jealousy, and was unworthy of him.

    Frank claimed this post had no bearing to the case whatsoever. So I was surprised when he posted negatively yet again about Patrick Lumumba, and yet again about money. The transcript from the December audience with Prosecutor Mignini was used to harm Patrick, not to help Amanda.

    Which shows it’s sometimes possible to harm two birds with one stone…



    Transposed comments

    Skep,

    Thanks for clearing up what has happened over at the Perugia Shock Blog.  I was a long time reader over there, and the shift to supporting Amanda Knox is SO transparent, as well as the editing change since you stopped helping him.  Take today’s entry for example.  It’s title is “Rudy Gets the Short Trial”, yet who’s picture appears with the caption “no, no handcuffs”? Amanda Knox!

    To me, when you see a comment section on a blog with an inordinate amount of “comment deleted” entries, it’s time to move on, and conclude something is very wrong.

    That is exactly what I have done.

    Tara

    Posted by Tara on 09/17/08 at 02:47 PM | #

    Signs of a real growth-industry here. Fame and fortune via the “Amanda Knox Was Rairoaded” route.

    Slime the defendent. Slime the police. Slime the prosecutors. Slime Guede. Slime Italy.

    Resulting in books galore. TV crime-chat programs nightly. A standard figure of outrage on CNN’s Nancy Grace outrage program (a wonder they have not already made it on there). Google ads on their websites by the hundred.

    If this cannot be spun into a $250,000 a year income, they are not really trying.

    We are The Wall here! It will go no further. A very fine piece up there for starters, Skep.

    Posted by Fast Pete on 09/18/08 at 11:28 AM | #

    Incidentally, and as if on cue, Frank himself has provided support for my arguments above.

    Exhibit one: His entry from yesterday is entitled Short Trial for Rudy, but the photo shows Amanda Knox and the caption reads “no, no handcuffs.”

    Exhibit two: In the comments section, the Italian Woman at the table asserts that Frank is the first and only source we have for the verbatim deposition of the Albanian witness who claims to have seen the three suspects together on the night of the murder. In fact, Frank’s own source may have been TGCOM, which published the verbatim. It was brought to the TC board immediately by Jools, and then was quickly translated and discussed by the TC board—well before Frank posted. In the comments section to Frank’s blog entry, Jools set the record straight and reproduced her original, time-stamped post from the TC board. Kermit followed up with a link to TGCOM. Both of their comments were deleted by a blog administrator.

    After numerous deletions in what seemed like one angry gesture, the blog entry was disabled for comments, although someone (Frank?) noted that perhaps some of the comments had been deleted in error. Thinking that hers had been, Jools reposted her clarification under the prior entry. That too was deleted and the entry was then disabled. I can understand why Frank might want to close his blog when he isn’t there to monitor, but I don’t understand why these simple clarifications were deleted. Is it because both Jools and Kermit indicated Frank’s source (or at least a source that had the information at the same time as or even before he did), or is it because they demonstrated that his “scoop” was not really one at all? Strange doings over there.

    This may seem unimportant, but in a case where the press has been maligned for providing inaccurate information, and where certain individuals like Frank claim to be beacons of truth, they need to set the example by, well, being truthful. Or at least correcting their errors. It may be that IW did not know that TGCOM had already published, but once that clarification was provided there was no reason to delete THE TRUTH. In fact, the posters should have been thanked for setting the record straight. But they weren’t. It is hard to trust a source that is more interested in self-promotion than accuracy. If I am wrong about any of this, I hope someone will correct me.

    Exhibit three: Not directly related, but interesting nonetheless. IW claimed that all reporters had kept a respectful distance from the Kercher family at all times and had not asked questions. The entry under which she posted this claim is the same one in which Frank tells us that he asked Stephanie how Amanda Knox and her late sister got along. Before she could answer, according to Frank, her lawyer “shouted her mouth.” This was later changed to “shut her mouth,” which is not much clearer. I still don’t understand if this means he placed a hand over her mouth, took his fingers and physically closed her lips, told her to zip it or what. In any case, at least one reporter did not keep a respectful distance and even asked Stephanie a question about Amanda Knox and her late sister.

    Posted by Skeptical Bystander on 09/18/08 at 12:26 PM | #


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