Collection: Assoc Press

Saturday, January 09, 2016

How A Major Media Controversy In The US Augurs Well For The Imminent Reframing Of The “Knox Case”

Posted by Peter Quennell


1. The Wisconsin Case Now In Dispute

1. The Netflix Report

In mid December a pay-per-view documentary about a murder case in Wisconsin was put online.

Millions of people in the US and elsewhere have paid up and watched the 10-hour Netflix report. Convinced that they are experts now on the whole case, hundreds of thousands of Americans have signed petitions to the President and the State Governor requesting that the convicted Steve Avery be released.

Some viewers have even taken to berating and threatening the investigators and the prosecution both online and in telephone messages and texts.

Their take seems to be of the investigators and the prosecution corruptly making many, many things up during the investigation and trial. Their supposed motive was to cover their tails in a previous case where Steve Avery was indeed wrongly convicted, for which they could now face court and loss of jobs.

Furthermore some reports claimed that a juror had said the jury felt intimidated and were never convinced of guilt.

2. Reaction Of US Media

A growing wave of reports and articles have been aired and published online in effect saying most of the hardest evidence was left out.

The lead prosecutor has been quoted as saying “90 percent of the evidence” against Avery and a relative convicted as an accomplice was not even mentioned in the report.

So a wave of fact-checking is going on.

Even though it is still early days here and here are Time Magazine. Here is the Los Angeles Times. Here is the New York Times. Here is On Milwaukee’s website. Here is the International Business Times.

Several TV documentaries contradicting the Netflix report are reportedly already in the works. See the reports here and here and also here.

And the juror has now denied that the jury was intimidated and did not do an honest job. So far, all the jurors seem to be standing by their verdict, in the face of a lot of heat.

Oh and on those petitions which Netflix stirred? President Obama’s spokesman has said it is not a Federal case so he will not intervene, and the Governor of Wisconsin has said he will not intervene either, as the state has good justice systems in place.

So they will ignore opinion that was deliberately muddled for commercial ends, and instead leave matters to the courts.

2. Parallels To Reporting Of The “Knox Case”

The parallels to the Perugia case are in fact immense.

The prosecution case in 2009 was extremely persuasive and the entire jury (panel of judges) voted for guilt. They sat through the very tough and convincing 1/4 of the trial that was held behind closed doors.

A majority of Italians still believe that Amanda Knox led a cruel pack attack on Meredith and (to Guede’s and Sollecito’s seeming considerable shock) landed the fatal stab in Meredith’s neck.  They watched Knox on the stand for two days, in fact doing herself great harm.

In contrast, almost the entire American media followed the Netflix route.

Main media have struggled to report the trial for language and local-staff reasons, and the Associated Press carried by 2000 media outlets actively misled. Main media presented almost no reporting of the very painstaking judicial checking by ten judges that preceded the case ever going to court.

Main media have still not translated not even one major document (the Wiki and two PMFs and TJMK have translated hundreds of documents now and are still not done) and have left hundreds of evidence points unaddressed.

Main media have also misreported the overturning of the Hellmann outcome and the Nencini appeal. They have especially misrepresented the supposed complete Marasca-Bruno reversal for the Fifth Chambers of the Supreme Court.

As lawyers for Dr Mignini and three of our main posters (James Raper, Machiavelli and Catnip) have shown, in fact the Fifth Chambers (a) should not even have had the case; (b) broke two laws, (c) misinterpreted a few elements of the evidence, (d) left literally hundreds of evidence points out, (e) went against strongly established Italian legal precedents, and (f) even ridiculed plain hard science.

And even so, they still placed Knox right at the scene of the attack at the time, and Sollecito probably so. Accessories before or after the crime. Felons in their view in fact.

So here’s a prediction on what Americans will see in the media soon on this case.

The widespread media reaction against Netflix will be reflected in a major correction in the main media against the serious under-reporting and misreporting of the Perugia case.

We have some idea of what is already in the works. Stay tuned.

 


Saturday, January 25, 2014

How Many Extraditions Do The US And Italy Refuse? Approximately Zero, When It’s To Each Other

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Ex-fugitive Florian Homm above and below in front of his palatial Mallorca Spain home]


The State Department and FBI collaborate more closely with their Italian counterparts than with almost any others in the world.

Italy is a very loyal political ally to the US and has helped out a lot diplomatically and militarily around the world. The FBI and their Italian counterparts in Rome have officers permanently embedded from one another and there are dozens of transactions going on all the time..

Extraditions both ways take place without fuss at the rate of a few a year, which the State Department and Justice Department are not inclined to fight. A couple of weeks ago, the Supreme Court in Rome declined the final appeal of fugitive swindler Florian Homm and sent him on his way to the US.

Homm had many millions to pay top lawyers to fight his extradition case. But he still lost.

The only extradition requests from Italy the US doesnt fulfill are the CIA kidnaping in Milan and Air Force Dolomites case.

It is the CIA and Pentagon overtly or clandestinely exercising special military privileges that is the cause of the two standoffs. NOT the Department of State, which has made clear it is not too thrilled.

Contrary to broad confusion in the US (fed by biased stories from Colleen Barry of the Associated Press) the Florence appeal is not a second or third trial of Knox.

It is a FIRST appeal, actually filed by Sollecito and Knox, on the same lines as any American first appeal, after the previous Hellmann appeal was furtively bent, and then scathingly annulled.  Knox has been in provisionally guilty status since late in 2009.

So double jeopardy absolutely does not apply.

The one REAL difference between this appeal and any American appeal, which seems over Colleen Barry’s head, is that this appeal request was automatically allowed. Any American appeal judge (except Heavey, who serially gets the hard facts wrong) would have thrown the flimsy appeal grounds out.

It may take up to a year, if Amanda Knox chooses to waste more big bucks on lawyer fees -  their batting record for that is pretty dismal so far, though, and a confirmed-guilty verdict in Florence next week might be only the start of more legal strife. False claims in her book will soon see her back in court.

But it seems 100% likely that Italy will “get their man”. To a rapidly increasing number of Americans, Italy’s gain would also be the US’s gain.



Monday, November 25, 2013

Appeal Session #4: Today Lead Prosecutor Alessandro Crini Summarises The Prosecution’s Case

Posted by Peter Quennell




Good reporting on the court today

Andrea Vogt has posted an objective report here and Barbie Nadeau an objective report here.  We will post excerpts from both and other sources after the appeal session on Tuesday is done.

Warning about AP’s Colleen Barry

The Associated Press’s Colleen Barry is once again filing highly biased reports from the court. This is an appeal by Knox and Sollecito AGAINST a guilty verdict (by Judge Massei) and not an appeal by the prosecution to “reinstate” a guilty verdict. Get a grip.

Final post from the court today

It is 5:30 pm in Italy. Judge Nencini has declared today’s session at an end and he has allowed the prosecution to resume its presentation tomorrow. Prosecutor Crini has about 1/3 of his presentation on the evidence still to come.

Tweets from main poster Yummi

Yummi has warned us that the wireless internet bandwidth inside and just outside the courtroom gets overloaded late in the day as the reporters get busy on their reports.  Yummi does have a way around this but it involves leaving the courtroom when key arguments might be made and walking some distance away. So there might be some slight delays.

[More pending; Dr Crini has alerted that his presentation will be in 16 chapters]

51. [Judge] Nencini suggests to interrupt and go on tomorrow with following prosecution’s points. New schedule.

50. Chapter 11. is DNA. Crini says we may have evidence enough by now anyway

49. Crini censures Hellmann-Zanetti’s reasoning about calunnia (why not indicate the real culprit?). Says H-Z committed ‘physical violence’ on trial file

48. Knox’s calunnia is a strategy protracted over time says Crini

47. Dreamlike component in Knox’s statement, fish blood, are devices needed to surround a calunnia strategy

46. Knox needed to put some additional content into the ‘calunnia’, says Crini, or wouldn’t be believed, so she puts in pieces of truth

45. Knox spoke about a scream an a sexual violence before anyone knew. Sollecito said nothing was stolen before they knew.

44. Points out Sollecito says Romanelli’s door was wide open; Knox doesn’t notice theft. Crini highlights the ‘combination’ of inconsistencies

43. Knox thinks locked door is normal; does not flush toilet when finds feces; does not notice blood before having a shower; thinks blood is ok

42. Notes Knox’s statements are inconsistent and ommisive before her interrogation.

41. Crini speaks about Knox’s declarations. Interested in the timings. Says too much was repeated to be coerced.

40. Crini speaks about chapter 9, the statements of Sollecito. His call to her sister. His alert was late but even so preceded the postals arrive

39. Bathmat print and luminol prints were chapter 7. of Crini’s argument; 8. is the staging of theft.

38. The most significant stain may be the one in Romanelli’s room, says Crini.

37. Speaking of a female’s print left in luminol, Crini sounds outraged, saying other substances is vague unsubstantiated conjecture [eg it was blood not bleach]

36. Guede’s sentencing was not well calibrated says Crini. But a Guede alone scenario is not tenable

35. Does it make sense for Guede to leave there the evidence of (putative) theft, and clean footprints?

34. The unitary sense made by elements like the bloody print, is a cleanup. Considers the lone-perp scenario: inconsistent

33. Crini: starts talking about the isolated bloody print; calls it a ‘talking element’. Why is that print alone?

32. Suspects are only ones with a ‘logistic’ capability and an interest to ‘clean’ the murder scene. They aimed at ‘diminishing’ the evidence mass

31. Knox’s lamp was the only light in her room.

30. Crini: the perp(s) organized a rather complex plan to clean up and ‘sidetrack’ at the murder scene.

29. Still to be determined if calunnia was “occasional” due to pressure, or “aggravated” [sidetracking]; Crini saya a ‘depistaggio reale’ (sidetracking) occurred

28. Crini: suspects’ statements are extremely interesting: RS’s statements; AK’s e-mail, internet statements, [Knox’s] memoriale

27. Crini: a most fertile chapter of analysis is the ‘post-factum’ actions and behaviors of defendants

26. Crini has unfolded five chapters. Says he has a total of sixteen

25. Quintavalle, details of his testimony and woman’s description are exceptional indicators of accuracy.

34. Crini: it is unlikely that Quintavalle got it wrong. Because of contextual elements.

23. It is incorrect to dismiss a witness a priori because late. But for reasons totally different. Sometimes late is symptom of reliability.

22. Wants to deal with the issue of the fact that he came forward late, urged by an acquaintance

21. Crini: fifth argument is Quintavalle. He says he is sure about his testimony. Is a different kind of witness

20. Crini accepts both alternatives on time of death, after 23.15 or before 22.30 (but seems to prefer the earlier one)

19. Crini: Do not overestimate importance of timings that are not anchored accurately or cannot be proven

18. Crini: timeline is marginal to the case. All unproven timings to be taken cautiously.

17. Crini starts fourth theme: timings. Says they are very vague, except the tow truck

16. Crini: Curatolo is no ‘super-witness’, but can contribute to helping the court to draw their scenario

15. Curatolo saw a couple discussing and this memory is very specific, peculiar

14. Curatolo did not confuse night with Halloween, because it was big party in piazza the previous night, and because it did not rain

13. Crini: the court saw Aviello, shows what top [level] of unreliability is; the SC suspected so unreliable that calunnia elements had to be assessed

12. Crini: many trials could not exist if drug addicted testimonies were dismissed

11. Crini: the H-Z court assessed Curatolo a priori based on him as a person, stemming from questions of the court itself

10. Crini about Curatolo, describes Piazza Grimana; he was an habitual presence of the piazza, proven reliable in other cases

9. Crini: computer records and alibi point to Sollecito being not at home but on murder scene

8. Crini cites the log files of Fastweb: no internet activity, only automatic connections.

7. Crini: failure of computer alibi is evidence against, not just lack of confirmation.

6. Nencini notes prosecution did not ask to interrogate Sollecito. Crini cites D’Ambrosio’s computer expert report. No interaction before 5am

5. Sollecito gave computer alibi days later, and words his statement in the singular form.

4. Crini: first theme he deals with is presence of crime scene; alibi, if it’s false it is evidence no matter why false (cite from Guede trial)

3. Crini attacks the method of logic reasoning of annulled appeal: parceling out evidence, parrots aspects of civil procedure

2. Crini: Supreme Court censure was against the foundations of appeal , all parts not just some errors; appeal was ‘razed to ground’.

1. Crini: this appeal is unusual, not because of the case but for the course followed. Usually appeals are narrow, this SC annulment is not.

Tweets by Andrea Vogt

3. At Crini’s side in amandaknox appeal today is veteran Florentine prosecutor Tindari Baglione. Before this, he was in Cassazione.

2. Prosecutor Crini in Florence: don’t repeat error of Perugia appeal. Consider evidence wholly, including Curatolo.

1. Will prosecutors ask life sentences in amandaknox appeal today? Will Sollecito’s presence in court benefit him? Verdict January 10.

First post

This is the prosecution’s day. Sollecito is reported as being in court but low-key.

Various reporting notes the significant presence of Dr Tindari Baglione, formerly with the Supreme Court, about whom we posted on in September as follows:

The new Prosecutor General of Tuscany (Florence’s region) Dr Tindari Baglione, the chief prosecutor of Tuscany’s appeal court, is selecting the prosecutors for the appeal. He arrived in Florence in May of this year. He is said to be formidably unbending. He recently imposed tough sentences on 27 people for the environmental damage caused by illegal work in Mugello on the high speed rail link between Florence and Bologna.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Differences Between Micheli, Massei, Hellmann and Nencini Courts Pointing To Almost Certain Outcome

Posted by Peter Quennell





What are the biggest differences? In fact the Supreme Court already pointed them out: science, scope, and balance.

Judge Micheli, Judge Massei and Judge Nencini all have a very extensive criminal-case background. All three have handled many cases of murder, many cases against the mafia, and many cases involving criminal science. All three have remarkable success records and have hardly ever been overturned on appeal. 

Judge Hellmann and his court are the extreme outliers. Until forced into early retirement by the Council of Magistrates, he had been a (quite good) business judge. His one major criminal case, years ago, had led to a farcical outcome, and he was ridiculed for this at the time.

Cassation made it very clear that he simply did not reflect a knowledge of the precise Italian law on scope and balance at the appeal level, and that he mishandled the science. In fact, as he actually said, the reason he appointed two independent DNA consultants was that he was at sea on the science.

That left Judge Hellmann’s panel of judges like a rudderless ship, bereft of the kind of good guidance from the lead judge on science, scope, and balance that comes only from many years of experience.

Which, given a level playing field, the pathbreaking Italian system enforces competently like almost no other.

Above all as the Hellmann Report makes extraordinarily plain, his court came to be swayed by the CSI Effect, with the help of two tainted consultants and probably the irresponsible Greg Hampikian in Idaho.

The CSI Effect is a phenomenon very, very unlikely to happen in Judge Nencini’s court.  First, take a look at this good explanation of what the CSI Effect is in the Fox Kansas City video.



Many crime shows such as the BBC mysteries and the Law & Order series and spinoffs show investigators solving their crimes in the old-fashioned way. Lots of witness interviews and alibi and database checking, and walking around and loose ends and lying awake at night puzzling. And often there’s a big stroke of luck. 

But if you watch the very popular CSI Las Vegas series and its spinoffs in Miami and New York, and the various clones on other networks, you will see something very different indeed.

When those shows first began airing worldwide in the late nineties, the producers explained that audiences increasingly appreciate learning something new when watching a show, and it is true, one sure can load up on the trivia.

But you will also see the US equivalent of Dr Stefanoni and her forensic team in those shows, roaming far beyond the narrow crime scene, interrogating witnesses and checking alibis and finding a lot of non-forensic evidence, and even at times drawing guns.

Most unreal is that, time and again, the forensic evidence testing is clearcut and takes just a few minutes and instantly clinches the case.

  • There are several articles like this one and this one on whether the Casey Anthony jury was affected by a shortfall in the starkness of the forensics when the behavioral evidence seemed so strong.
  • There are several articles like this one and this one on whether the appeal verdict outcome in Perugia might be affected in the same way.
  • There are many articles like this one and this one and this one and especially this one saying there is a tough added burden on investigators and juries without a commensurate improved outcome.

With conviction rates declining in the US and Europe, professionals are taking a scientific look at whether the CSI Effect is one big cause of that decline.

At the macro level in the US this writer doubted that the CSI Effect is fatally unbalancing takes on the wider evidence. The same conclusion was reached in this first major study at the micro level.

But the belief in the CSI Effect continues. Articles like this one on an Australian site talk of a backlash against too many acquittals. Some articles like this one argue that maybe lay juries are out of their depths.

And judges and prosecutions are taking countermeasures.

In Ohio and many other states prosecutors and judges are acting against a possible CSI Effect in their selection and briefing of juries. And an NPR report came up with these findings.

Some states now allow lawyers to strike potential jurors based on their TV habits. Judges are issuing instructions that warn juries about expecting too much scientific evidence based on what they see on TV.

In the field, Shelton says death investigators sometimes run useless tests, just to show they went the extra CSI mile.

“They will perform scientific tests and present evidence of that to the jury. Even if the results don’t show guilt or innocence either way, just to show the jury that they did it.”

This is coming at a time when death investigators in America have no resources to spare. An investigation by NPR, PBS Frontline and ProPublica shows some states have already opted not to do autopsies on suicides, others don’t autopsy people who die in traffic accidents, and many don’t autopsy people who die over the age of 60.

But Murphy, the Clark County coroner, expects things to get worse.

“You know, we’re in budget cuts right now. Everybody’s in budget cuts. Las Vegas is no different than anybody else. We’re hurting. We’re going to feel that same crunch as everybody else,” he says.

One of Zuiker’s great disappointments is that, for all its popularity, his fictional Las Vegas crime lab didn’t generate more political support to fund death investigation.

“I’ve done my job. You know, we’ve launched three shows that cater to 73.8 million people a week and is a global phenomenon and the largest television franchise in history. We hoped that the show would raise awareness and get more funding into crime labs so people felt safe in their communities. And we’re still hoping that the government will catch up.”

None of the science in Meredith’s case has ever been discredited in court. Even in Judge Hellmann’s court the agenda-driven independent consultants Conti and Vecchiotti failed - and under cross-examination admitted it.

Also remember that the Hellmann court did not get to see two very key closed-court scientific presentations (the stark recreation of the attack on Meredith, in a day of testimony, and later in a 15 minute video) which had a very big balancing effect on the Massei court. 

Right now the reputation of not one defense-campaign stooge who has attacked the science remains intact.

Greg Hampikian has headed for cover. He had widely proclaimed that he clinched the Hellmann court’s outcome, in an act which may well have been illegal. Unsurprisingly, he is now trying very hard to hide his own claimed “proof ” of shortfalls in the science, as Andrea Vogt has been showing in her Boise State University investigation, and as we will soon post more on. 

Saul Kassin is another defense-campaign stooge who falsely claimed that he clinched the Hellmann court outcome by “proving” a false confession by Knox - in an interrogation that never even took place.

Despite all of this, maybe as straw-snatching, we can again see an organized attempt to confuse American opinion on the science of the case.

Whether she did this intentionally or not, that is what the PR tool Colleen Barry of the Associated Press was doing when she omitted that the trace of Meredith on the knife is undisputed hard evidence.

Judge Micheli and Judge Massei handled the science, scope, and balance with some brilliance. In all three dimensions Judge Hellmann fell short abysmally.

What is your own bet on the outcome under the exceptionally experienced Judge Nencini?





Parts of this post were first posted in 2011 after the disputed and much examined outcome of the Casey Anthony murder trial..


Thursday, November 07, 2013

Another Highly Misleading Associated Press Report Already Appears on 700 Media Websites

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



{Above: the AP headline. At bottom: the AP reporter, Colleen Barry; will she correct the report]


Read here what Colleen Barry of the Associated Press (image below) falsely claims.

How exactly does a second proven DNA trace of Amanda Knox on the knife prove that Meredith’s proven DNA on the knife wasn’t there?  The correct facts on the three DNA samples were posted here.

Nothing - nothing - that was said yesterday in court affected that. Two samples of Knox and one sample of Meredith on the knife are confirmed. All three are there.

In fact, Judge Nencini leaned hard on the bumbling Amanda Knox lawyer Dalla Vedova to make him stop. Dalla Vedova was repeatedly trying to trap the Carabinieri experts Dr Barni and Dr Berti into saying that Dr Stefanoni did something wrong in her test of Meredith’s DNA.  Judge Nencini had not even instructed the Carabinieri labs to look into that.

Dalla Vedova and Colleen Barry of the AP have apparently forgotten that defense observers were there at the Scientific Police labs test and testified that they saw Dr Stefanoni do nothing wrong. Dr. Renato Biondo, Professor Giuesppe Novelli, Professor Francesca Torricelli, Luciano Garofano, Elizabeth Johnson and Greg Hampikian all confirmed that Meredith’s DNA was indeed found on the blade of the knife..

Judge Nencini clearly believes that firm evidence of Meredith’s DNA is there in front of his court, and that Dr Stefanoni and Judge Massei got it right. Meredith’s DNA really was proven to be on the knife. He would not allow a clumsy red-herring argument from Dalla Vedova which lacked the slightest bit of proof.

Unlike Reuters, the Associated Press is not a public company. It issues no stock.

It is instead a co-operative jointly owned by about 1000 media groups, and its reports are carried on up to 1000 sites. It is financially not very well off, and many of its media owners are in the same boat. The AP and many of its owners are increasingly cutting corners to save a buck. Increasingly they are under-researching, failing to check, and so their viewers and their readers are ending up misled.

Does financial strain excuse the AP for hyperbole and seriously wrong claims, for reprinting of false public relations handouts and false lawyer claims as hard fact? As it has too often done before?

Would it not be better when facts are in doubt and justice on the line to not report at all?


{Below: Colleen Barry of AP Germany was the writer of the misleading piece]


Thursday, July 19, 2012

This Formidable Prosecution Appeal To The Supreme Court Is Placed On The Agenda Next March

Posted by Peter Quennell





The Associated Press once again reveals its strong systematic anti-Italy bias in reporting the scheduling of the appeal.

Its headline on the report it sent out to thousands of its owners the media outlets reads “Amanda Knox Case: Acquittal Appeal Set For March By Italy”

Huh? That is the guts of the thing?

Well, hardly.

First, defense chances are slim, as there is no question that Knox did point falsely to Lumumba. On tape she even admitted that to her own mother, and her various explanations on the stand at trial simply dropped her in it some more.

That defense appeal could be dismissed in a sentence or two. It is simply grandstanding.

And second, vastly more importantly because this could lead to a complete retrial back in Perugia the AP headline and story should have fully explained the real 80,000 pound gorilla in the room.

This is the appeal that the Chief Prosecutor for Umbria Dr Galati has filed. The Associated Press has never told the global audience either what is in the prosecution appeal or precisely who Dr Galati is. Not even a hint.

Dr Galati was a Deputy Chief Prosecutor at the Supreme Court and is one of the most powerful and experienced in Italy. Why was he not quoted in the AP’s story?

Here is the real story of his appeal that the Associated Press doesn’t seem to want the global audience to know. First posted here back on 14 February when Dr Galati called his press conference on the appeal. 

Italian lawyers are already remarking that Dr Galati’s appeal as summarised below is as tough as they ever get.

In their view the Hellman report reads more like a defense brief than a balanced appeal-court outcome in a murder trial. Both judges were put on the case on mysterious instructions from Rome, suggesting that the minister of justice had perhaps been leaned on - the judge pushed aside was extremely annoyed.

Both Judge Hellmann and Judge Zanetti, while undeniably good judges in their own fields (business and civil), are vastly less experienced at criminal trials than either Judge Micheli or Judge Massei. The entry in the Italian Wikipedia describes them thus.

Although the Assize Court of Appeal was to be chaired by Dr. Sergio Matteini Chiari, Chairman of the Criminal Division of the Court of Appeal in Perugia, in circumstances not well understood Dr. Claudio Pratillo Hellmann, who chairs the Labor Chamber of the Court, has been called on to preside over the appeal court,

The judge to the side of the main judge, Dr. Massimo Zanetti, came from the Civil Section, and both had had limited experience with criminal trials both rather remote in time (only the cases of Spoleto and Orvieto).

Judge Hellmann’s announcement of the verdict on the night was very odd, suggesting he had been outnumbered and was embarrassed. Remarks he made the next day seemed to confirm that. The weak sentencing report is said to be not his work, and was written by Judge Zanetti.

The Supreme Court of Cassation could insist on a complete new appeal trial or a partial new trial in Perugia if it accepts any of Dr Galati’s arguments at all. His appeal statement appeal is in three tiers, and a reversal could be ordered at any tier..

1. The Hellmann Court’s wide scope was illegally far too wide

Italian judicial code is very clear on this. They MUST stick to just the appealed items and not wander all over the map. Judge Zanetti was quite wrong at the start to declare that everything was open except the fact that Meredith had been murdered. 

2. The DNA consultancy by Stefano Conti and Carla Vecchiotti was illegal

Defenses had every chance to attend the Scientific Police testing the first time around. It was a slippery dodge to skip those tests and then slime them. They had every opportunity at trial to throw aspersions. They are not meant to shop around.

3. There are many problems of wrong logic, evidence, and witnesses

The Massei trial sat through weeks and weeks of skilled prosecution presentations of the evidence including the forensic evidence and the many witnesses. The Hellman court got to see almost none of this and heard mostly from the defense.

This translation is from Umbria24 by our main poster ZiaK.

Meredith case: the prosecution appeals to Cassation: the acquittal verdict should be “nullified”.

For the Chief Magistrates of the [Umbria] Prosecution, “it was almost exclusively the defence arguments which were taken heed of”

By Francesca Marruco

The first-level conviction verdict was “complete and thorough” while the verdict of the second-level is “contradictory and illogical”.  For this reason, the General Prosecution of Perugia asks the Cassation to revoke or invalidate it.

“We are still extremely convinced that Amanda and Raffaele are co-perpetrators of the murder of Meredith Kercher” said the Chief Prosecutor of Perugia, Giovanni Galati and the Deputy Chief Prosecutor, Giancarlo Costagliola.

Verdict that should be revoked

“The second-level verdict should be annulled/revoked….  There are precise reasons for revoking it”, Mr Galati went on to say. In the Hellman reasoning report on the verdict with which the second-level judges acquitted the ex-boyfriend and girlfriend “there are so many errors, and many omissions. There is inconsistency in the grounds for judgement, which brings us to nothing.”

“It is as if they had ruled ex novo [anew] on Meredith’s murder” added the Deputy Prosecutor, Giancarlo Costagliola, “basing their decision solely on the arguments of the defence.”

“Normally the appeal judge evaluates the reasoning procedure of the first-instance judge and compares it to new elements. But this one missed that out altogether: there is no comparison between the checks carried out in the first and second instances. Only what was carried out during the appeal was evaluated.”

Only defence arguments were taken heed of

For the magistrates, in fact, the second-level judges “took heed, almost exclusively, of the arguments of the defence consultants or the reconstruction hypotheses that were largely to the benefit of the defense theses”.

The prosecutors who authored the appeal [to Cassation] also criticized the “method used”. “The first-instance verdict”, they wrote, “was summarized in just a few lines”,

“The verdict [which we] challenge completely ignored all the other aspects which corresponded with the accusation’s hypothesis, all the aspects which, on the contrary - as was seen in the reasoning report of the first-instance verdict - had been rigorously pointed out and considered by the Assizes Court [trial court] in its decision.”

“In examining the individual [items of] evidence, the challenged sentence has fallen into consistent procedural error in the weaknesses and evident illogicality of the grounds for its decision.”

Prejudice by the two appeal judges

For the General Prosecution magistrates, the second-level [first appeal] judges appear to have shown “a sort of prejudice” with the “infelicitous preamble of the judge [the author], who is supposed to be impartial”, when he declared that “nothing is certain except the death of Meredith Kercher”, which to the others [Mr Galati and Mr Costagliola] is nothing more than “a resounding preview/forecast of the judgement” and a “disconcerting” affirmation.
 
The ten points of the appeal

The reasons for the appeal to Cassation which Perugia’s General Prosecution presented today against the acquittal verdict of Amanda and Raffaele are based on ten points of the second-level verdict.

The first is the lack of grounds for the decision, in the decree of 18 December 2010, to allow the forensic testimony/expert witness in the appeal judgement.

The second, in contrast, concerns a contrary decision: the decision to not allow a new forensic investigation requested by the prosecution at the end of the ruling discussion. In the appeal to Cassation it is written that the Appeal Court’s rejection reveals “contradictoriness/contrariness and demonstrates manifest illogicality in the grounds for the judgement/reasoning report”.

The other points deal with the decision by the Appeal court of Assizes of Perugia to not hear the witness Aviello, also the definition of “unreliable” [in the Hellman Report] with reference to the witnesses Roberto Quintavalle and and Antonio Curatolo, also the time of death of Meredith Kercher, also on the genetic investigations.

As well as the analyses of the prints and other traces, also the presence of Amanda and Sollecito in via della Pergola, also the simulation of a crime [the staged break-in], and also the exclusion of the aggravating circumstance of the crime of “calumny”.

Missing assumption/acceptance of decisive evidence

In the appeal to Cassation there is also mention of the “missing assumption/acceptance of a decisive proof”

In other words, of that proof [presented at trial court] which consisted of “the carrying out of the genetic analysis on the sample taken from the knife by the experts appointed by the Court during the appeal judgement, who did not carry out the analyses of that sample, thus violating a specific request contained in the [orders given to them] when they were assigned to the expert-witness post”

“In the second-level [Hellman] verdict”, the magistrates said, “the judges sought to refer to this in their own way, by speaking of an “experimental method” by which these tests/checks could be carried out.

But this is not the case”, said Deputy Chief Prosecutor Giancarlo Costagliola: “Dr Novelli [the prosecution’s DNA consultant at appeal] spoke of cutting-edge technology, not of experimental methods”.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

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

Posted by Peter Quennell





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Inaccurate Report By The Associated Press Carried By Over 2,000 Media Sites Is Now Corrected

Posted by Peter Quennell


Above is one inaccurate headline. The witness Curatolo has NOT been convicted of drug dealing. No reason to be feeling encouraged. .

1) From the original A&P release last Saturday

That Antonio Curatolo, the eye-witness in the park, had already been convicted was maybe mischievously planted by Luciano Ghirga (image below) the hands-on lawyer for Amanda Knox.

Or maybe he just made a mistake. This wrong fact was then widely quoted in commentary and blog posts. Total search hits are over 2,000.

A defense lawyer for Amanda Knox, the U.S. college student serving a 26-year prison sentence for the murder of her British roommate, expressed optimism Saturday that a drug charge conviction of a prosecution witness might help the American in her appeal in Italy.

The defense always maintained that Antonio Curatolo, a homeless man in the university town of Perugia, wasn’t a credible witness, Luciano Ghirga told The Associated Press in Rome.

Perugia court offices were closed Saturday, and officials could not be reached to confirm Italian news reports that Curatolo had been convicted earlier in the week for dealing drugs. It wasn’t immediately known what his sentence was or if he had been jailed….

“We have always said that he was not a credible witness,” Ghirga said, referring to Curatolo. “It was the court that held he was credible.” The drug charge conviction “will be an additional thing to help prove the witness is not credible,” Ghirga said in a phone interview.

2) From the A&P correction issued today.

This release states that Curatolo has NOT been convicted. As of noon New York time on Tuesday the number of sites carrying this correction is less than 1,000.

ROME — In a Jan. 15 story about a prosecution witness in the Perugia murder trial of U.S. college student Amanda Knox, The Associated Press, relying on information from a lawyer, erroneously reported that the witness, Antonio Curatolo, had been convicted on a drug charge. Curatolo has been ordered to stand trial on a drug charge, but has not been convicted.

The defenses are seeming pretty desperate. Understandably so. Luckily for justice for Meredith, in Italy as in the US and UK the defenses cannot use a mere charge against a witness to discredit them on the stand.


Posted on 01/18/11 at 02:58 PM by Peter QuennellClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
Archived in Evidence & witnessesOther witnessesHoaxers - main mediaAssoc PressNews media & moviesTerrible reporting
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Friday, November 05, 2010

Rocco Girlanda’s Very Criticised Book On Knox Is Discussed By A Panel In Rome

Posted by Clander



[left to right: Mangani, Girlanda, Gramaglia, Thomas, Esposito]

On Monday 14 February Yahoo News linked to this post but we suspect Yahoo actually referred to this post which is our many many question (never responded to) to the Amanda Knox apologist Italian MP Rocco Girlanda

Our previous posts on Italian MP Rocco Girlanda’s energetic involvement with Amanda Knox can be found here and here and here.

Rocco Girlanda’s Italian-American Foundation organized a panel discussion of his book “Take me with you - Talks with Amanda Knox in prison” which took place on Tuesday of last week at the Palazzo Marini

Beforehand I had lunch in a bookstore next to Palazzo Chigi. One hour later I realized I had read half of Girlanda’s book. It’s a really easy read. Too easy.

It’s all about “me, me, me and more me.”  Sound familiar?.

Girlanda promotes himself (and his foundation) so much in the book that at a certain point I was not sure if the book was even about Amanda Knox. Girlanda and Knox are using each other.

Less than 40 people in total were present at the discussion. Sitting next to Rocco Girlanda were Giampiero Gramaglia (moderator, not involved in the case); Patricia Thomas (Associated Press), Pina Esposito (SkyTG24) and Cristiana Mangani (Il Messaggero)

Sabina Castelfranco (CBS) could not make it.

The Massei Sentencing Report was never once mentioned and rather extraordinarily it remained unclear throughout whether anyone on the panel had actually read it.

Meredith was first mentioned by name a full 35 minutes from the start of the debate.

I got the impression that Girlanda had read the negative comments about him that have appeared on the Internet - it almost seemed as if he was quoting from some of the comments I had read. His statements were watered-down compared to the stuff I’d heard from him in the last few days.

For example, when Gramaglia asked Girlanda if he thought that Knox was innocent, Girlanda said that he “does not know” and that “thankfully, it is not up to him to decide” reading this from his book.

We’ll see if that’s really his position on the case in the next few weeks.

Not once did he mention in the discussion that he wrote the book/is involved in the case because he thinks that he (or his foundation) has a role in US-Italy relations.

He said he recently purchased 4 laptops. Three were for his eldest children. The fourth one was for AK and he had it delivered to her a while back.

He had met yet again with Amanda Knox just two days before (that must be added to the number of visits) and he gave her a copy of his book.

The panel discussion had opened with a few sentences from Girlanda in which he explained that he started following the case after Senator Cantwell made her “anti-Americanism” claims.

Patricia Thomas stated that those remarks were “ridiculous” and that “anyone who has been to Italy or knows Italy knows they are not true”. In her words, “Italians simply love Americans” (vabbè, mo’ non esageriamo). Her spoken Italian is really good.

Girlanda stated that he is interested in the state of the prisons in Umbria and that is why he went to visit Knox in prison (in his words, his “first visit to AK was the first time I had ever entered a prison”) and that the book was written “by chance” after his numerous encounters with her.

He stressed numerous times that, as an MP, he has the right to visit prisoners.

We were told at the meeting that one American journalist has visited Knox in prison: Patricia Thomas. She was present during Girlanda’s very first visit to Knox.

Patricia Thomas described the prison. She said it is a lot better than many summer camps she had been to when she was younger. The food is amazing and she could not believe that they even have bidets in the cells. She said that she took a lot of flack for writing about this a few months ago.

Girlanda said in response that the men’s section of the prison is not as nice since it is overcrowded. He made no mention of whom he visited in the men’s section, if anyone.

Ms Thomas said she could not believe that Knox’s mom and sister were taking pictures of each other inside the Court (“as if they were tourists inside the Sistine Chapel”) only a few hours before the verdict.

She spoke very highly of the Kerchers. In particular, she spoke of Merdith’s siblings at the press conference after the trial. She described them as “beautiful, well educated and articulate”.

Gramaglia asked the 3 journalists sitting next to him how they would have voted had they been on the jury panel:

Patricia Thomas, who really did not want to answer this question, and showed no familiarity with the Massei report, said that she would have acquitted Knox and Sollecito.

Pina Esposito said that, based on the evidence, Knox and Sollecito are guilty. She would have voted guilty.

Cristiana Mangani, who showed no familiarity with the Massei report, said that Rudy Guede alone killed Meredith and that “Knox and Sollecito are in prison based on NOTHING” (yes, she said “nothing”, NIENTE). So, of course, she would have acquitted.

Ms Thomas said that Knox was “terribly handled by the PR firm and the lawyers”.

She said that in her opinion the lawyer Mr Della Vedova was hired for “opportunistic reasons” and that Mr Ghirga was “like a father who could not control his exuberant kid”.

She said that “AK’s PR efforts” should have focused on Italy and not on the US and she added that “it’s a good thing that this book has come out a few weeks before the start of AK’s appeal”.

At this point, the moderator Mr Gramaglia asks if anyone had any questions.

There was an ANSA journalist sitting in the first row who was really anxious to ask a question after Patricia Thomas made her remark about the book coming out “a few weeks before the start of the appeal”.

First of all he responded to Ms Thomas by saying that her statement that “it is good that this book has come out a few weeks before the appeal” is an insult to the Appellate Court. The ANSA journalist explained to Ms Thomas that the book would have no effect whatsoever on the Court.

He then asked Girlanda how he responds to those who are accusing him of exploiting the case and of being just another “puppy” in Knox’s hands (and by the tone of his voice and how he asked the question, it seemed as if he was one of those making the accusations).

Girlanda replied by saying that the proceeds of the book were going to his foundation and that he would not be involved when the board decides how that money should be spent.

Regarding the puppy comment, Girlanda replied “they can think what they want”.

Suddenly, no more questions were being taken.

[below Associated Press reporter Patricia Thomas who said she would have founnd AK and RS not guilty]


Friday, January 16, 2009

Trial: Court Report From Trisha Thomas Of Associated Press

Posted by Peter Quennell

Posted on 01/16/09 at 04:47 PM by Peter QuennellClick here for my past posts, via link at top left.
Archived in Trials 2008 & 2009Hoaxers - main mediaAssoc PressNews media & moviesGreat reporting
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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Perhaps Associated Press Should Try Reporting The Odds?!

Posted by Peter Quennell

Click for larger images. Online polls on whether Amanda Knox will be found guilty. 

Gulp! The odds now [above] have become even more ominous than the odds one year ago [below]. 

Polling is by avid news followers. Probably only a small minority follow Meredith’s case specifically and seek to distort those polls

Obviously the PR campaign is doing a terrific job (!) Obviously the Associated Press is right to take it so seriously (!)


Slanted Associated Press Paroting Of Knox PR Campaign Release Achieves Over 800 Google Hits

Posted by Peter Quennell


Click above for Marta Falconi’s rather slanted AP report.

At time of posting it appears on at least 800 news websites. It opens with these paragraphs sympathetic to Knox’s Christmas plight:

The family of an American student accused of killing her British roommate says she is heading into her second Christmas in jail disappointed at a trial delay but “holding up pretty well under the circumstances”.

Knox is planning to attend an in-jail Christmas Day Mass, the family said in a recent statement emailed to The Associated Press.

Visitors are not allowed to bring in wrapped presents, but Knox’s parents are trying to get her “warm sheets, slippers, cold weather underwear, wool socks and a sweater.”

Trial delay? Of course the trial might have happened very much faster if (1) the defendants had not told several differing stories, (2) the crime scene had not been extensively rearranged to make it look like a sole-perpetrator crime, and (3) more and more witnesses had not kept coming forward.

But the AP story does not mention any of this.

It instead implies that the Italian slowness is unfair. But luckily, our plucky heroine “is holding up pretty well under the circumstances.”

Then we get this single sentence - one suggesting cold indifference - on the Christmas plight of Meredith Kercher’s sad, bereft family.

For their part, Kercher’s family will be spending their second Christmas without Meredith.

Finally, to their slight credit, the Associated Press conclude with the prosecutor’s scenario of the crime.

Prosecutors allege that Kercher was killed during what began as a sex game, with Sollecito holding her by the shoulders from behind while Knox touched her with the point of a knife. They say Guede tried to sexually assault Kercher, and then Knox fatally stabbed her in the throat.

Prosecutors say Knox’s DNA was found on the handle of a knife that might have been used in the slaying, while Kercher’s DNA was found on the blade.

For that slight attempt at corrective balance, we reckon Falconi’s story rates an E grade rather than an F.

The AP is notorious for parroting press releases rather than for doing any real digging. American newspapers are relying on it more and more as they cut back on their own reporting operations..

It is the main source for news and analysis of Meredith’s case for most American newspapers. The case reporting has been spasmodic and indifferent at best. To its credit, the New York Times has not usually published the AP releases.

The Associated Press would welcome your feedback on the story here. So would the 800-plus newspaper sites that carried the story.

They do pay for AP’s reporting, of course.


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