Headsup: The first 8 episodes of the RAI/HBO production "My Brilliant Friend" about a supreme alpha-girl and her "moon" of a best friend airing in 60-plus countries are proving amazingly endearing. So many colorful elements of evolving post WWII Italy on display. Yes, some violence too, but peanuts compared to say New York in that era. A real must-see.

Series 7 No witnesses hoax

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tomorrow In Rome: Italian American Foundation Panel - May Be Tilted Anti Truth

Posted by Cesare Beccaria



The venue Palazzo Marini above and at bottom

1. Notice Of The Panel

[See at bottom for a report]  Strange panel. Perhaps we are wrong, but none of these names seem to have surfaced before in connection with Meredith’s case.

Nobody seriously acquainted with the facts to be there? The introducer and organizer Rocco Girlanda blatantly pro-Knon?

This is the notice of the panel posted on the Italian American Foundation website. And these are the experts who will speak.

  • Anthony Sistilli, lawyer, Novastudia Law Firm

  • Catherine Arcabascio, Dean of Nova Southeastern University Law Center of Fort Lauderdale FL, and a co-founder of the American organization The Innocence Project

  • Rebecca Spitzmiller, Faculty of Law University Roma Tre

  • Patricia Thomas, Associated Press

The chairman will be Moreno Marinozzi, Sky Tg24 journalist. And the meeting will be introduced by the President of Italy-USA Foundation Hon. Rocco Girlanda.

2. Andrea Vogt Reports

Excerpts from the Seattle PI 18 March

In Rome, a discussion of Amanda Knox tries to improve U.S.-Italian relations

Amanda Knox sits in a prison in Italy, convicted of murdering her roommate, Meredith Kercher.

But in Rome on Thursday, lawyers and professors gathered to consider what would have happened if Knox, a Seattle native and University of Washington student, had been tried in the U.S.

The gathering was not so much an exercise in legal theorizing as one to smooth the hard feelings between Italy and the United States over the trial of one American college student. It’s a case that has spawned books, Websites and congressional involvement.

In fact, experts decided they couldn’t say what would have happened in an American trial.
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“The only answer is, it is impossible to answer this question,” lawyer Anthony Sistilli told the audience, according to ANSA Italian wire services that covered the forum. “We do not want to retry the case. We want to help bridge the gap of understanding, which is our mission for this meeting.”

The debate, held at a parliamentary annex in Rome, was sponsored by the Italy-USA Foundation. The panelists included Sistilli and two American law professors, Catherine Arcabascio, dean of the Nova Southeastern University Law Center in Fort Lauderdale and Rebecca Spitzmiller, who teaches at the Roma Tre University, as well as the American University in Rome.

“Trial outcomes are unpredictable. You really can’t guess what the outcome would be,” Arcabascio, who is co-director of the Florida Innocence Project, told the crowd.

“But reasonable doubt is a standard of proof we use in both countries.”

Arcabascio also noted that sequestered juries are still used in the United States, but less and less common due to the high cost.

The forum’s aim, organizers said, was to bridge the widening gap between observers of the case in Italy and in the United States, where Washington state politicians in particular have made their voices heard on the case.

“No-one had any intention of bringing up criticisms,” said Rocco Girlanda, president of the U.S.-Italy Foundation told seattlepi.com. “Our scope was simply to compare the judicial systems and trial processes of Italy and the U.S.”

Girlanda ended the evening on a light note, saying that perhaps after the case’s expected appeal, the association would even have the chance to have a “special honored guest,” meaning Knox.

He also mentioned that the association is continuing to meet regularly with Knox in prison. Italy-USA Association officials said that prison authorities have called Knox’s behavior in Capanne “exemplary.”

Though she had requested work in the prison laundry, she has been given a less menial task with the prison commissary. Her job, according to foundation officials who meet with her, is to take orders from the various cellmates about what they want from the prison store. Inmates are able to buy items such as candy, cheese, soda or other small shopping items….

The Italy-USA Association, which works closely with the U.S. Embassy in Rome, has waded into the Knox debate before.

When angry reactions criticizing the Italian justice system flared after Knox’s guilty verdict, Girlanda, the association’s current president, used his position in the Italian parliament to arrange for a visit to Knox in the Capanne prison.

Parliamentarians are able to request access to the prisons at any time to review prison conditions. Girlanda, is from a small Umbrian town of Gubbio, near Perugia.

Girlanda has spoken with Prosecutor Giuliano Mignini about concerns raised over the case. He works in public relations.

Behind the scenes, a few observers speculated that Girlanda might become the Italian version of David Marriott., the Seattle public relations expert who represents the interests of Amanda Knox and her family and who has coordinated media appearances of Knox’s family and friends in the U.S.

Marriott is also the gatekeeper for Italian journalists who have wanted to interview friends and family of Knox’s in Seattle.



Monday, February 09, 2009

Trial: Highlights Of The Testimony On 6 February And 7 February

Posted by Peter Quennell


These seem to have been the most significant and dramatic happenings in the courtroom on Friday and Saturday.

This was the first part of the prosecution’s case to be presented, and so the first of the prosecution witnesses were testifying and were being cross-examined by the defense lawyers.

In the defense part of the trial coming up, the defense counsel will present their own witnesses to try to rebut this testimony, and then the prosecutors will cross-examine their witnesses.

So none of this can be considered cast in stone, then. But it looks quite a tough case so far. The defenses seem to have their work cut out for them.

Reports in the Italian media were considerably more detailed than in the UK media, though coverage there was good too. It looked in both countries to be pretty objective.

Americans are as usual the most ill-informed or mis-informed on this tragic case. With one or two fine exceptions, the US media continues to fall short.

Translations here from Italian to English are mostly by our own team. 

  • Judge Massei admitted into evidence the uncoerced written admission of Amanda Knox that she was present at the scene during the murder of Meredith.

  • In a surprise statement to the court, Sollecito claimed that “I barely knew Meredith, I didn’t know Guede at all” and that he began a close relationship with Knox only on 24 October, days before the murder.

  • The communication police testified on the lines of the Micheli report on how Meredith’s two mobile phones were found in Signora Lana’s garden and retained at the police station.

  • Mr Bartolozzi, whose agency oversees internet activity in Italy, said an examination of Sollecito’s computer had indicated that contrary to his claim there had been no activity on it between 9.10pm and 5.32am.

  • The communication police seem to have found Knox and Sollecito embarrassed and surprised when they arrived, and they were apparently encountered with a bucket and a mop.

  • Sollecito’s claim to have already called the Carabinieri to come to the house when the communication police officers arrived seems to have been misleading.

  • The communication police noticed that there was a washing machine in operation and they could hear the noise of the centrifuge. Soon after, the mobile-squad police found that the machine had finished its work a few minutes earlier, and the clothes were still warm.

  • Filomena testified that the washing machine was still warm when she returned to the cottage and that it contained some of Meredith’s clothes.

  • Filomena said of Knox “She told me: ‘It’s very odd. I’ve just come back to the house and the door is open. I had a shower but there’s blood everywhere. I’m going to get Raff. Meredith is nowhere to be seen. Oh God, maybe something’s happened to her, something tragic’.”

  • Filomena said she replied “But Amanda. I don’t understand. Explain to me, because there’s something odd. The door’s open. You take a shower. There’s blood. But where’s Meredith?... The door’s open. I go in. There’s blood. I take a shower? I don’t know about you, but I really don’t think that that’s normal.”

  • To the communication police, the break-in via Filomena’s bedroom window appeared to have been faked, as there was window glass on top of some disarrayed clothes, valuable items had been left in the room, and luminol had revealed Knox-sized and Sollecito-sized footprints on the floor.
  • Filomena testified that her first instinct on returning to the apartment had been to go to her room. Her clothes were on the floor and her cupboard was open, but none of her jewellery was missing, nor were her designer sunglasses and handbags.

  • Filomena said there was glass on top of the pile of clothes. Her laptop was among the clothes.“I remember that in lifting the computer I realised that I was picking up bits of glass because there were bits of glass on top and it was all covered with glass.”

  • Filomena testified that the relationship between Amanda and Meredith started off well and they bonded immediately.  “They were of the same age, they had interests in common, and both spoke English.” Then the relationship seemed to deteriorate.

  • Filomena said that Kercher was involved with a “very kind” young man, Giacomo Silenzi, who lived in an apartment downstairs and who she said “courted her very sweetly…. Meredith never brought men home – the only people who came to the house were two of her English girlfriends.”

  • Filomena contradicted Knox on whether Meredith was in the habit of locking herself in her bedroom, according to Filomena, Meredith never did, whether inside or outside.

  • Filomena testified that Knox and Sollecito just cuddled at the scene while everyone else was in tears and she said she was bewildered by Knox’s behavior. Another witness testified that Knox may have cried.

  • Filomena examined the knife found in Sollecito’s apartment and said she had never seen that knife in Via della Pergola. She was unaware of any dinner or lunch that Meredith had attended at Sollecito’s apartment which could explain her DNA on that knife.

  • Filomena said she saw Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox exchanging a note at the police station.

  • Luca Altieri said “With the police we decided to break into the room - I don’t know exactly where Amanda and Raffaele were at that time, but I can tell you, they were not in a position to see inside the room.”

  • Inspector Bastianelli described having made everyone exit the house after the door to Meredith’s room had been opened. And of then having stood for about half a minute at the door of the room, facing into the room without entering it, and concluding that Meredith was already dead.

  • But according to Luca Altieri, Inspector Bastianelli seemed to enter into Meredith’s room a little and incline toward Meredith on the floor [this has been modified, as Italian reports say he did not claim the inspector touched the duvet.]

  • Paola Grande confirmed not having seen the inspector entering the room, but hearing him subsequently confirm that the person under the bedcover was dead, that there was a lot of blood, and that the victim had struggled because there were bloodied prints on the wall.

  • The police were curious as to why Knox’s lamp was in Meredith’s room, especially as there was no other light source in Knox’s room.



This next Friday, Meredith’s English friends will be heard in court. And Meredith’s former boyfriend Giacomo Silenzi is expected to tell the court about his relationship with Meredith.

And now rescheduled for next Saturday are Giacomo Silenzi, Stefano Bonassi and Daniele Ceppitelli.


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